Friday, January 30, 2015

Review: Sweet by Emmy Laybourne

*People would kill to be thin.*

Solu’s luxurious celebrity-filled “Cruise to Lose” is billed as “the biggest cruise since the Titanic,” and if the new diet sweetener works as promised—dropping five percent of a person’s body weight in just days—it really could be the answer to the world’s obesity problem. But Laurel is starting to regret accepting her friend Viv’s invitation. She’s already completely embarrassed herself in front of celebrity host, Tom Forelli (otherwise known as the hottest guy ever!) and she’s too seasick to even try the sweetener. And that’s before Viv and all the other passengers start acting really strange.

*But will they die for it, too?*

Tom Forelli knows that he should be grateful for this job and the opportunity to shed his childhood “Baby Tom-Tom” image. His publicists have even set up a ‘romance’ with a sexy reality star. But as things on the ship start to get a bit wild, he finds himself drawn to a different girl. And when his celebrity hosting gig turns into an expose on the shocking side effects of Solu, it’s Laurel that he’s determined to save.

Talk about being pleasantly surprised! Emmy Laybourne is a new author for me, she has a bunch of other books from another series that look pretty good ... I'm pretty interested to see what those are about. Anywhoo ... Sweet ... let's just say ... it was a rush.

I really didn't know what to expect from this one. I knew from the moment I read the summary that I would have to get my hands on this book. The cover was also very intriguing, I mean, it's just an upside down picture but I love it! Maybe the beauty is in the simplicity. The summary of this book really didn't do it justice. There are so many more elements going on in this story that aren't even HINTED at in the blurb and because of that, it was just one surprise after another. It really kept me on my toes.

The characters were extremely well written, I loved getting to know each of them. Now, there were quite a few important characters but they were super easy to remember and differentiate, I didn't have even one instance where I had to go back to the beginning and try and figure out where someone came into the picture. I enjoyed the main characters, Laurel and Tom ... I found their interactions were realistic and easy to love and look forward to in the story. 

I really can't say all that much more. It would give away too many surprises. I know I'm being a little cryptic but if you enjoy a fast paced, easy, suspenseful read then this is for you. There is also a light romance going on  - nothing too heavy or story-hogging. I'm actually excited to put this one down and read something else because I want to forget some of these plot twists so that I can pick it back up again and hopefully be surprised all over again. Very enjoyable read. You definitely need to give it a look-see!

This is out June 2015 ... pre-order or put it on your wish list!!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Review: Untouched (Florence, Arizona #1) by Lauren Hawkeye

Some secrets are best left locked away in the past….

Alexa Kendrick has no recollection of the car accident that left her scarred and sent her life careening wildly off course. When the half-sister she thought she’d never meet shows up at her door with an invitation to a new life, Alexa finds herself in Florence, Arizona, a town notorious for being populated with more prison inmates than actual citizens…a town that has done its best to hide its own dark secret.

After Ellie is called out of town, she leaves her sister with the keys to her flower shop and Alexa finds herself swapping lives with her sibling: running Ellie’s business, living in the house left to them both by their absentee father…and forging a smoldering relationship with sexy-as-sin penitentiary officer, Nate Fury—a man with his own demons.

But arranging flowers by day and tangling with the only man who has ever seen her real self by night isn’t enough to silence the mysterious panic that fuels Alexa’s dark dreams. When Nate brings home a book written by an inmate, one describing an unspeakable crime, the shackles binding Alexa’s own lost memories begin to shatter. And as the devastating truth comes to light, she realizes that Nate holds the key to unlocking her past, as well as her heart.

I'm just going to jump right in on Untouched. This one left me feeling ... unsatisfied. I don't know if that is the right word, but it's the closest I could think of for what I'm thinking on this one. It's not that the book is boring ... it was just ... unmemorable. 

I think my biggest issue with this book was Alexa. Just everything about her. Now, this is a bit of a spoiler but I gave you a warning, so you're welcome. You know ... she met a dude for less than a minute and then the next day she's practically all over him and not weirded out when he comes to your place and says that he needs her ... bitch, he doesn't even know you! As if that isn't a big glaringly red flag, you don't know him! That's like inviting a potential murderer into your place because he has a nice face and you felt some sort of SOMETHING between you. Well, what if that something actually turns out to be your common sense telling you that something is wrong and not that you should totally do this random dude. I don't know ... it also didn't help that the author kept having the characters acknowledge that it was weird (which was done over and over) because it just brought more attention to the fact that it was fast and not very realistic. 

There were quite a few times in the story where there was so much buildup for a situation and then it just fizzled out like a dud firecracker. I would get so excited reading certain passages and expecting something explosive just to find out that a big deal wasn't really being made about what just happened. And a lot of the time, it was something major in the story. There were even a couple of opposite times when nothing was going on and then BAM!! Surprise! Those went pretty well but I just couldn't get past he meh vibe around some of the things happening in Untouched. 

All in all, it was okay. Not one of my favorites but not the worst either. I might give this author another try at a later date. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Review: Watch Me (Dark Obsession #1) by Cynthia Eden

He was hired to protect her.

Watching gorgeous Gwen Hawthorne wasn’t a hard job—but it certainly was tempting. Chance Valentine had tried to keep his distance from the sexy socialite for years, but when her father hired him to keep watch on her—as a twenty-four, seven bodyguard—Chance knew his control was about to be pushed to the limit.

He’d never wanted another woman the way he desired her. Hot. Intense. Consuming. Being so close to Gwen, Chance knew that he wouldn’t be able to resist her. So he gave into his need, her need, and he took them both to the edge of a dark and consuming desire.

But Chance soon realizes that he isn’t the only one watching Gwen. Someone else is out there, a stalker who won’t rest until Gwen is destroyed. Every day, every moment…Gwen is in danger. And Chance knows that if he can’t unmask the stalker, then he may just lose the only woman he has ever loved.

Historical romance novels were always my favorite. I love everything about them. But then I got into the romantic suspense genre and this book is a perfect example as to why. I think that these might be my new favorite!

I've never read anything by Cynthia Eden but I would most assuredly read something by her again. I was kept on my toes the entire time with Watch Me. There were so many twists and turns that it really kept me interested from the beginning all the way to the last page. 

The characters were really well written and while I wished to know a bit more about Gwen and Chance and their past, I was okay with just the info that I was given. But I wouldn't mind a little novella about these two. I really liked the chemistry between them but it felt like Gwen sometimes let Chance off easy. A bit more ... conflict ... between them would have been nice. The secondary characters were awesome as well and I like how it was setting up the next novel in the series. It really hooked you and made you want to know what was going to happen next. 

I really don't have much more to say about the book. I think that I'll probably pick up the next in the series because I want to know what is going to happen ... Cynthia Eden left a few things open-ended and I'm wondering if little subplots will open up because of that, I sure hope so!!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Review: Disturbingly Beautiful (A Paradox in Time #1) by J. Wells, L. Wells

Is it really possible that somewhere in time, the perfect paradox could be created? Does romance really stand a chance, and could it ever flourish amidst so many intricacies and broken lives? How can a nineteenth-century governess unknowingly cause so much devastation?

As Nell’s world opens up, we follow her on a complex journey, on which she discovers love, loss and betrayal, and is forced to play a dangerous game from which there appears to be no escape.

An intricate family plot slowly begins to unravel, in which she finds herself centre stage. She was never supposed to leave Haunchcroft estate, and he will do everything in his power to keep her there…

Could a possible rip in time be the salvation that Nell seeks?

“I find you disturbingly beautiful,” are the contradictory words bestowed upon the governess by her master.

Mr Buchannan’s infatuation is a shadow from which Nell cannot escape. The feelings he holds for her are not reciprocated, and though his lust soon turns to love, Nell’s feelings towards him turn to hatred. Dreams and a love of literature are Nell’s only escapism from the downtrodden life she leads as a governess in the nineteenth century.

One night, an intruder on the estate catches Nell off guard, but she gives chase; a decision that leads her through an opening in time between the centuries, where she finds equality, true friendship and a completely different outlook on life.

Despite using this to her advantage to escape the advances of her unwanted suitor, she is somewhat perturbed when she unexpectedly finds him at her side in the twenty-first century. Will love conquer all, or will time always stand in their way?

Before I even dive into this review, I think that it needs to be said that this cover is absolutely amazing. I loved it! Unfortunately, that's where my love for this book begins and ends.

Picking up this book, I had hoped for something like the historical romance novels that I love so much. But that wasn't what I got. The beginning was a bit boring and confusing, I never really knew why the character would be in one room one moment and then it would totally just skip to a part where she was in another room. It just didn't flow. At all. It was reminiscent of when I started driving ... pushing on the gas hard just to push on the brake hard and then I end up with whiplash, one less person willing to teach me to drive and the next door neighbor's cat is roadkill. The flow part made it incredibly boring. That being said, I think that the idea behind the book was really interesting. I haven't read anything like this and I ended up putting all of my eggs in one basket. Then the fluffy kid down the street sat on my basket and those eggs were toast. 

I also thought that the future part was ... yep ... boring. And random. It was just in the 1800's and then all of the sudden, you're in the 1960's with this weird dude who doesn't even know what he's talking about. It was just weird. 

I didn't connect with this one in the slightest. Not even a smidgen. I don't really have anything else constructive to say, so I'm going to stop while I'm ahead.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Review: Revive Me by Charity Ferrell

When I lost him, I lost myself. Tessa Benson is lost. The most important person in her life is dead. And everyone she loves left with him. She’s doing everything she can to mask her pain. Even if it means traveling down the road of destruction. Dawson Thomas has loved her for years. But she's his dead best friend’s sister. He made a promise to stay away from her. He also promised to always protect her. She’s destroying herself and time is running out. Will he hurt her by keeping his word or break his promise to save her?

Whew. This one was a doozy. I wavered between two and three stars and finally settled on two. Revive Me was just all over the place for me. I have quite a few reasons why ... I'll highlight a few of those I guess. 

This isn't a first novel for this author, so I expected a lot from her. I don't think that I go easier on new authors but I do find that I put higher expectations on an established author. Okay ... the book was a bit boring. I skipped I don't know how many pages just to get through this one. Is that the right thing to do? Absolutely not. If I'm going to review a book, I should read each and every page but after a while on this one, it was either skip some stuff or just file it under Did Not Finish and be done with it and I hate doing that. So skipping some pages was the only way to get to the end. 

In the beginning of the novel, I was sadly and grossly fascinated with "watching" the main character (Tessa) just spiral out of control. I was excited to see this happen because I think that there is some author magic involved in the rebuilding of that same character. It can transform a book from MEH to HELL YES! But unfortunately, I just didn't get there and the reason is because it was just too much. I mean, come on. And there is a big spoiler here so if you don't want to know, don't read anymore of this review!! You've been warned! Okay ... so the main character lost her brother. And lost her best friend. And she's depressed. And she's an aspiring alcoholic. And she does drugs. And she lost her V-Card to a bad boy who dumped her. And she's a cutter. And she has to take care of her little brother because her parents are alcoholics. And kids at school slut shamed her. It was just so much and so unrealistic. So, so, SO unrealistic. After the 847th thing went wrong in this girl's life, I just totally checked out. 

That's it. That's all I'm going to talk about. OOOH! Okay, one more thing ... I DID NOT appreciate that most of the characters had names that started with the letter D. Petty, I know. But again, it was just a ridiculous amount. I mean, I know that in real life, you're going to have friends that have the same first initial and it's totally normal. But her best friend was named Daisy, her boyfriend was named Dawson, her brother was Derrick and her dad was Darryl. Overkill. It was hard to keep track of the dude names and remember which one had which issue that was unrealistic and the whole thing just ended up annoying me. I mean, two D names is okay, three is pushing it but 4 was just ridiculous.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Review: Bulletproof Weeks (When You're Gone #2) by Taryn Elliott

Being a famous rock star for almost two decades means putting his life on display. But for the last two years Logan King has dealt with the uglier side of fame. When his stalker escalates to issuing veiled threats against the first woman he's allowed in his life, Logan locks down and shuts Izzy out. His stalker isn't just anyone—she's as famous as he is with a financial reach that makes her infinitely more treacherous.

Falling for Logan King wasn't part of Isabella Grace's plans and their spectacular public breakup didn't make it easy to move on. Whispers and pitying looks from people in her small town send her fleeing from the first place that finally feels like home. Her solace becomes her travel for work, but the niggling sense that someone is watching her follows her from city to city. When she begins to unravel the secrets that surround the man she still loves, she discovers her personal security detail and demands answers. And they all point to Logan.

Letting him back into her life comes with many more challenges–and rewards–than she could've ever dreamed. But loving a man like Logan comes at a dangerous cost. One that has a lasting effect that could echo into all their tomorrows.

Well ... a certain adage comes to mind with this one ... Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, I'm the biggest damn idiot in the land. Fine. That's not how the saying goes, but that is what it means. I fell for this damn bullshit ending AGAIN. Again. I don't know what I was thinking ... maybe that the book would have an ending. Maybe that things could be closed out in this one. But NOOOOO. I'm an idiot and this book is bullshit. 

So. In case you didn't guess, there is a cliffhanger ending. Again. And I use the word "ending" VERY loosely here. It's not an ending. It's the middle of a paragraph that was never finished. I mean hell, the book is only 200 pages, this crap could have been sewed up nicely and the story over. But no. I mean what was the thinking on this ... "Hey guys, let's just rip this 400 page book in half ... then we can sell it as two books!!! We already conned these readers into buying the second installment ... I bet we could get 3 or 4 more out of them!!" Bastards. Greedy bastards.

Okay, maybe I would be more okay with this "ploy" (highway robbery) if the book was just that amazing but it wasn't. I didn't find it nearly as exciting or interesting as the first in the series. This one was basically a non-starter for me. The characters were okay and their interactions were good ... when there were any. I didn't think that there was as much dialogue in this one and I missed that snarky/sassiness from the first novel. 

But never fear, there are sex scenes in abundance. Again. These scenes didn't do anything for me except make the urge to flip someone the bird almost unbearable. I. Am. Ticked.

I WON'T be picking up the next book in this series. My urge to find out what happens is not strong enough. Not again. Ever. 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Review: Anything But Mine (When You're Gone #1) by Taryn Elliott

Rock star Logan King has come home to Winchester Falls for the annual Summer Festival. Only this time he's hauling a helluva lot more baggage than a few suitcases and vintage guitars. His closet contains more than the usual skeletons…and if he doesn't keep the door firmly locked, someone might get harmed. The specter of what haunts him forces him to turn away from anything more than one-night-stands.

Until Izzy and her topaz eyes finally give him a reason to try again.

Since moving to town Isabella Grace has found friends and a place to belong for the first time in her life. Running the Summer Festival is the perfect way to show how important her new community is. She just never planned on a whirlwind fling with a man too used to saying goodbye. Or to fall for a guy who has as many secrets as he does hit songs.

Logan is used to protecting himself, but protecting Izzy is all new territory. With everything that matters to him at risk, he refuses to let her get hurt—even if that means he has to walk away. For her own good.

First of all, this ending was complete and total bullshit. It wasn't even an ending!!! It was practically the middle of a damn sentence and it just cuts off like it was completely normal. NEWSFLASH!! It's not normal to end a book like that. Damnit. So of course, I had to go buy the next book just so I could find out how the sentence ended. Fine, it wasn't LITERALLY in the middle of a sentence but the story was just kicking up like 20 notches and then BOOM!! Oh, you can't find out what happens unless you pick up the next novel. It was a bait and switch technique that I really didn't appreciate. But the author got what they wanted, for you to buy the next one and being the sucker that I am, I did it. I think it would have been nicer to finish out their story and then when (or if) your writing is good enough (which it is with Taryn Elliott) then you would pick up the next novel and continue the story. Ugh. It just really irritated me. In case you didn't notice. 

Let's move on because I could really just go on and on right now. Okay ... the story ... the bones of the story are really good. I liked the premise of the whole thing and reading about the lives of Logan and Bella. I did think that the sex scenes were just too long. I get it. Spoiler ahead!!! They go at it like rabbits. I actually ended up skimming a lot of the sex scenes because I was enjoying the other elements of the story so much. I just wanted to read more about Bella and Logan as a "couple" (can you really say that about a fling?!?) trying to figure each other out. 

You know, this book would have been 5 stars for me if not for the sex scenes. Oh, and if not for the amount of times that the author referenced Logan's wealth. You don't need to say it repeatedly or extra slow while speaking loudly, I get it. He's rich. He's the richest guy ever in the history of wealth. But it's tiring to have to read that over and over like I'm 98 years old, hard of hearing and a little slow. 

Other than that, it was a good book. I really enjoyed the back and forth between the characters. I like reading about sassy/smart-mouthed characters. It makes the read more interesting and gives it a little zing where other books fall short. I'll probably read this again later on ... maybe after I finish the 2nd book ... which I just bought ... damn you, Taryn Elliott!!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Review: Radio Silence (Off the Grid #1) by Alyssa Cole

Arden Highmore is majorly cynical, but even she wouldn’t have predicted the end of the world–or at least the world as she knew it. One winter day, everything modern society has grown to rely on–electricity, cell phones, and, unfortunately, plumbing—stops working. Arden and her best friend, John, flee to his family’s cabin near the Canadian border. On the way there, they’re assaulted by scavengers, but saved by John’s hot brother, Gabriel, who takes an instant dislike to Arden.

The duo think they’ve finally found refuge at the Seong’s cabin, but things aren’t quite as peaceful as they seem: John’s parents are missing. Maggie, their teenage sister, resents Gabriel for treating her like a child. No one knows what, exactly, is going on in the outside world, and in the midst of all that, Arden and Gabriel are finding that there’s a thin line between love and hate, indeed.

You know what? This was pretty good! First, I want to say how much I absolutely hate the blurb for this one. It gives away too much information!! I, personally, want something a bit more vague ... grab my attention but don't give me the deets! Le sigh. 

Other than that ... as I said, it was pretty good! I really enjoyed the first chapter ... the suspense and scariness of it all was absolute perfection for a first chapter. I love being thrown into a book that is in the middle of a situation and not knowing exactly why or how or anything! It kicks up the adrenaline and sets up the rest of the book wonderfully. The rest of the book went kind of the same way! There were a few times when I felt like it was long winded and I found myself skimming a paragraph or two but that was probably because I'm impatient and I wanted to get to the excitement.

I haven't read an apocalypse book ... ever, I think. I can't think of one that I've read ... sure, I've read bundles of dystopian novels but not an apocalypse. So this was a nice change of pace, getting involved in a soon to be dystopian environment right from the beginning. It was interesting to follow the characters as they are trying to traverse this new lifestyle and brave the new world that may or may not last for the rest of their lives. 

The characters were endearing ... I really loved Gabriel almost right from the beginning. It was hard not to! And then John and Arden and Maggie were all equally captivating. I think I would have been a little happier if I had known more about each of their pasts though. It would have made the story just a bit deeper and I would have enjoyed that. 

Between the new environment, the excitement, the romance and the lighthearted moments,  I found myself wanting more with each page. Someone did say in another review that it seemed a little childish at moments but I didn't get that at all. I think that the characters were bored in their situation (who wouldn't be) and the way that they let off a little steam was a nice break from their dreary new life. All in all, a good book and I'll be interested to see what the next in the series holds!

Available February 2nd, 2015

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Review: New Point by Olivia Luck

Imagine the worst day of your life. Immerse yourself in the details. How did you feel? Who were you with? What were the consequences?

Recalling my darkest day is as simple as typing a few search terms into a web browser. It only took thirty minutes for me to become the center of a media frenzy that caught the attention of an entire country.

So I hid.

Nine months later and I'm getting better. Moved two hours from home, landed my dream job, and met a delicious new guy.

Healing is that simple, right?


New Point. Oh, New Point. I actually started writing this review several hours ago and I had to step away from it because I don't really know what to say ... there are so many things but then again, there's nothing at all. That doesn't make sense, I know. Okay ... let's see ... first, I didn't NOT like the book. I did like it. It kept me entertained for the most part. So keep that in mind as you peruse the rest of my review ...

I just found it ... cheesy in places. The things that some of the characters would say or what they would do ... it was just eye-roll worthy. That wasn't all the time, just sometimes. Well ... enough times for it to warrant a comment in my review. 

The characters were well written ... mostly. I enjoy a more full background on each character. I would have liked to have heard just ... more. I'm being so incredibly vague, I know. But I don't want to give things away about the plot because it is something that you might want to pick up and how much fun is it if you're told the ending or something pivotal?!? Yeah, it's not. My mom is forever spoiling television shows for me, so I know how that is.

The same issues I had with the characters, I had with the plot at times. I just wanted MORE. There is a thunderstorm scene that I wish was dug into a little bit more because it is a super important part of the story (in my opinion, that is). There were just quite a few times that I felt like it wasn't enough. Scare me! Make me feel the characters emotions! Make me cry or get pissed or terrified or elated ... just make me feel SOMETHING. I think that those kind of heightened emotions connected with a character can help the reader connect with the situation, the character and in turn, the plot. Like that damn Nicholas Sparks. That infuriating man can make me cry in every single novel! I will even pick up one of his novels and think "NOT THIS TIME!!" but it still happens. Every damn time. 

Anyway ... I just felt like this novel had that potential. It could have been really amazing and it just felt short. The ending was even meh ... totally anticlimactic and a bit of a disappointment. Again, I just wanted more. Don't get me all excited about something and then try to wet-noodle it for me. It's not gonna cut it! 

You know, I would be interested in reading something else by Olivia Luck in the future because I think that an amazing novel is on the horizon for her. (In my opinion) She's on this cusp of something super amazing and I want to get my hands on that when it happens. That isn't something that I say lightly ... usually, if a book falls short for me, it's dead to me and the author won't get a second chance but this time, I think an exception is in order. I hope she doesn't disappoint in the future.