Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Book Review: Train Wreck by Elise Faber

train wreck
noun

1. A chaotic or disastrous situation.
2. An utter catastrophe or mess.
3. A devastating calamity or source of trouble.
4. Pepper O’Brien.

As the daughter of a famed film producer, Pepper O’Brien is Hollywood royalty.

Also, her life sucks.

Because, unfortunately for her, the old adage is true: money can’t buy everything—including grace, true love, or the ability to not screw up every single opportunity her life has brought her.

After her latest disaster, Pepper moves across the country to start over but, as usual, her life has other plans, namely in the form of Derek Cashette, her former teenage crush and now ridiculously handsome friend of her older brother.

Derek is determined to salvage the train wreck of her life and Pepper’s determined not to let him. Her life is her problem and, dammit, why can’t she be her own hero?

But sometimes fate has other plans. Or maybe it’s hormones. Especially when her rescuer comes with a killer smile, a chest Thor would be jealous of, and a butt that any girl just wants to—






I was lucky enough to read a book recently that had a novella from Elise Faber in it and I absolutely adored it. And this one wasn't too bad either.

The storyline for Train Wreck was really good. I enjoyed getting to know Pepper through all of her mishaps. Pepper is such a clumsy lady, you do find yourself starting to feel really badly for her because of the situations that she finds herself in. Granted ... most of these situations are pretty funny as they are happening and then as you keep reading, you feel guilty for laughing to begin with. When you're introduced to Derek, you can't help but root for him. He seemed to have the classic underdog stigma and you'll find yourself just pulling for him from the get-go. For the most part, the story really chugged along at a great pace and with the exception of a couple of spots, it really didn't lose momentum and the fun idea of the novel carried you through to the end.

For me, I really gave super short descriptions about the characters. Unfortunately, there's a reason for that. As much as I empathized with Pepper and found her endearing and as much as I rooted for Derek, that is kind of where my feelings ended for these two. If I'm totally honest ... I kind of found them absolutely forgettable. Not good. And while that isn't a really nice thing to say about something someone has slaved over ... that's just how it was for me this time. After I put the book down, I sat there and I couldn't remember what either of these characters looked like. Their descriptions just eluded me. I remembered bits and pieces about their personalities, obviously, but that was it. Two characters that I enjoyed reading about had become non-entities by the end of the book. Because Pepper and Derek started to kind of Back-to-the-Future-mickey-mouse-shirt-fade on me over time, so did their romance. It lost the spark for me and I didn't feel the heat surrounding their interactions as I had in the beginning. Honestly, this could be for a number of reasons ... more than likely I disconnected from the characters because I've got summer brain and I'm lucky to know my own name and day of the week. 

Like I said, it was entertaining if for nothing else than to see what Pepper is going to get herself into next. This book is loved by many and I'm definitely in the minority with my thoughts on the characters. So don't take my word for it, give it a shot. 

* I received this novel in exchange for an honest review *



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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Book Review: Her Wish (Playboy Genie #1) by Sophie H. Morgan

This playboy has finally met his match...

Charlie’s sick of Genies. Too beautiful, too sure of themselves, too "celebrity". And way too eager to grant wishes in the worldwide Lottery that entices mortals into buying tickets in the hope of winning their desires. Charlie would rather walk naked through Times Square than buy a ticket. Unfortunately, her friend springs for one in Charlie’s name – and it gets picked. She refuses to get sucked in and has no qualms about saying so to the famously arrogant, devilishly handsome Genie at her door. Sexy Blue Eyes will just have to take no for an answer.

Jax Michaels would love to take no for an answer. As the most famous Genie on the East Coast, known for his sex appeal, his cheeky interviews, and his roguish style of granting wishes, he only has to turn to the next in line to find a willing partner. After all, every woman wants him – except, apparently, Charlie Donahue, who throws back his charming words, sneers at his calculated grins, and refuses to even consider wishing. Jax isn't a fool. He’s prepared to wash his hands of this infuriating, appealing female…until his Handler informs him that quitting is not an option. And if he can’t talk her into wishing, Jax will have to try playing a little dirty.






I really don't read that many paranormal romance novels and the few that I have read, haven't had a genie in them, so I really didn't know what to expect. Now pair that with an author that I'm not familiar with and reading this book was like stepping into the unknown. 

Let's get the stuff I didn't like out of the way ... there wasn't much. It really came down to the pace of the story. To me, it just lagged a bit and I wish it was sped up just a notch or two. I think that if I didn't feel like I was wearing heavy boots through some of it, I would have read this one in just one sitting. The pace is really the only reason I gave it four stars instead of five. There's another thing but this didn't play into my rating ... but I feel the need to bring it up because well ... my husband says I like complaining. Too true, dude. So ... the word "lover" is thrown around on these pages multiple times and I can't freaking stand that word. It's almost as bad as the word "panties". Don't know why. It is like nails on a chalkboard to me. My bestie calls her husband "love" and I want to punch her in the boob each time. 

Anyway ... now that we've gotten that nasty business out of the way ... I REALLY liked our main characters, Charlie and Jax. Charlie is this tough as nails chick that really sticks to her guns - even sometimes against her better judgement. I just really liked everything about her. She doesn't take b.s. from anyone. Cool chick. And Jax ... he's obnoxiously and irritatingly adorable. You want to just roll your eyes at this ladies man but then he does something sweet and you forget about how irritating and cocky he is and your head falls to the side as you say "awww". You won't realize it happened until you are a couple pages away and then it smacks you in the face that he's pulled the wool over your eyes. Both of these characters, and the secondaries, were really well written. 

As I was nearing the end of the book, I just kept thinking to myself that this author was NEVER going to wrap everything up in time for the last page. There was absolutely no way that all of my questions would be answered by the time I got to the last period. Well, this has only happened two other times in my life, but I was wrong. I'll admit it. Everything was buttoned up nicely at the end of the book and it was a pretty good read. I really liked how the plot played out and things happened that really kept me interested in what was going on.

I definitely enjoyed this different spin on a romance novel and I'm pretty interested in seeing how the rest of this series goes. One to watch out for, that's for sure.

* I received this novel in exchange for an honest review *



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Sunday, June 11, 2017

Book Review: Feel Me Fall by James Morris


Emily Duran is the sole survivor of a plane crash that left her and her teenage friends stranded and alone in the jungles of the Amazon. Lost and losing hope, they struggle against the elements, and each other. With their familiar pecking order no longer in place, a new order emerges, filled with power struggles, betrayals, secrets and lies. Emily must explain why she's the last left alive.

But can she carry the burden of the past?

Discover the gripping new adventure novel that explores who we are when no one is watching, and how far we'll go in order to survive.








Lately, I've been really sticking to romance novels. It's not often that I've gone out of that genre in the past 6 months so when I was approached about giving this book a read, I was a little hesitant. Between it not being a romance and it being YA and a survival story ... I just didn't know what to think. But the blurb pulled me in and I knew that if I didn't read the book and learn what it was all about, it would haunt me. 

In the end, I'm glad that I decided to give it a chance. Throughout the entire book, my emotions were really on a crazy rollercoaster. I found myself hopeful, then sad, then sick to my stomach, then confused and around and around it went. I really didn't know what to feel at the end of the book. Did I like it? Did I not like it? I really didn't know. I finished this book two days ago and I've had to just set it aside for a while just so that I could really process what my final thoughts were. 

At the beginning, the abundance of characters was a little much. Then when you throw in the flashbacks to multiple different time periods ... I just honestly didn't know if I would make it through the book. It felt like these flashbacks were coming at you ninety to nothing and changing so fast that you can't get your bearings. After a while, the flashbacks grow on you and you start to realize why the story needed to be told the way that it was. And now, days later looking back on my reading experience, you realize that it was actually kind of genius. The story wouldn't have had the same impact on the reader if it wasn't written this way. 

The characters themselves were very well written. By the time I was finished reading the book, I felt like I really understood whom each of them were and I had a firm grasp on what made them tick and why. It's nice to read a YA book and have fully fleshed out characters to go on a journey with. 

Yes, I enjoyed the book. So why did I only give it four stars? Well ... it's because there were some parts that I just kind of skimmed over. For my reading preferences, it was just a little ... too descriptive at times. But that's just a personal thing and while it did detract from the story for me, it didn't ruin the novel for me. The story ends in a way that it seems like there might be a second book following it but it's nothing that really leaves you hanging ... it just opens a door and leaves you wondering. All in all, a pretty good book. 

* I received this novel in exchange for an honest review *



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Thursday, June 8, 2017

Book Review: Solo (Symphony Hall #1) by Lauren E. Rico


When graduate student Katherine Brenner walked into my class, I couldn’t stand her -- all perfect skin and big, blue eyes -- just like the woman who broke my heart.

If it wasn’t for that blizzard, if her car hadn’t broken down outside my house, if she hadn’t looked amazing by the firelight, I never would have kissed her. No matter how hard I try, every excuse I make not to see her comes up flat.

I can’t stop thinking of her lips. Or the way her curves fit perfectly in my hands. There’s a million reasons why this won’t work. I’m her professor. It’s against university policy.

And if this gets out, I could lose everything.









Before I even start talking about what kind of marvelous things are going on between these pages, I think that we need to have a moment of silence for this cover because ... DAMN. 

Moving on! There's always been something intriguing about the college student/teacher romance thing AND when you throw in how these two start off ... this book was the perfect storm of disasters for the characters. I just couldn't put this book down!!

The story was absolutely fabulous. It wasn't too heavy and weighted down with details that I couldn't care less about. The author just dives right into the story and then barely gives you a second to buckle up for the ridiculously exciting plot. There were more exciting twists in this romance novel than I experienced with the last thriller that I read! Every time I turned around, there was some shocking plot twist that knocked me on my ample butt. 

OMG. The characters. I absolutely loved Katherine. I think maybe it was because I saw a bit of myself in her. Each time she would turn the other cheek, I loved her character even more. She was spunky when she needed to be and entirely too humble for her own good. And then the men in the book ... I don't want to spoil anything with names ... but the men in the book were written just as fabulously as Katherine. You hated some, loved some, loathed others ... they were all perfect. I found my views on each gentleman in the story changing as the novel chugged along. I definitely have my favorite but I'm not telling!! 

I read this one in one sitting and I wanted to start it all over again after I finished the last sentence. I positively adored this book. I'll definitely be picking up other books by this author!

* I received this book in exchange for an honest review *



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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Book Review: Romancing the Bachelor (Hamilton Family #2) by Diane Alberts


Eric Hamilton isn’t looking for love. Hell, he isn’t even looking for a girl. He has a five-year plan, and he’s one hundred percent focused on that. But then Shelby walks into his life, and suddenly, he can’t think about anything else. Unfortunately for him, she hates his guts, and wants nothing to do with him. But he’s a man who loves a challenge.

Shelby Jefferson can’t wait to get out of the city, and back to her country roots. She moved to Atlanta for a guy who promptly left her, and the last thing she wants is to fall for another man who might make her want to stay. But Eric is nothing if not persistent, and before long she’s inside his arms, in his bed, and falling for him. Hard. But when history repeats itself, she’s left having to choose between a man and herself…again.



 



I positively just blew through this book. I sat down to read it in the morning and then all of the sudden I was at the end of the book and I have no clue where those hours went. I was completely immersed. 

I think what may have drawn me so deep into the book were the characters. Every single thing about Shelby and Eric was absolutely perfect. Shelby is this snarky little spitfire that will just tell you how it is. While this does come off as icy at times, I found myself frequently saying "DAAAAMMMMNNN" and then being jealous that she is so confident that she can just say whatever is on her mind. And Eric ... this man is stubborn and has just enough cockiness to back it up. It was sexy as hell. The poor man is completely oblivious though ... I don't want to tell you why ... it would spoil the surprise but it is definitely eyeroll worthy. I may have even called him an idiot. Both of these characters were just awesome and the further I got into the book, the more I got a kick out of how both of them were painfully blunt. Both of them! It created some definite sparks between them and made the book that much more exciting. 

The plot was great, the storyline was awesome. I literally read this book in one sitting and I wish that I didn't plow through it so quickly but I'm a greedy reader. I just couldn't get enough. Now I just need to read the rest of the books in the series because I have a feeling that they are all just as awesome. 

* I received this novel in exchange for an honest review *


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Monday, June 5, 2017

Book Review: Without Words by Delancey Stewart


Sometimes love speaks for itself…

After an accident in the line of duty, firefighter Roberto DeRosa’s life is turned upside down. His career fighting fires is over, and he’s left with an uncertain future and an injury that makes communicating difficult for him. The only time words flow easily is when they’re lyrics and he has a guitar in his hands. Talking to women is definitely out, especially if they have bright blue eyes that seem to see right into his soul.

Dani Hodge is on the brink of realizing her dream of opening a small combination wine and book store in San Diego’s funky Ocean Beach neighborhood. But before she can open the doors, there’s work to be done, more work than she can do herself.

When the tattooed guy who completely ignored her at a bar walks by and offers her a hand wrangling a tile saw, Dani can’t afford to say no—and why would she say no to Mr. Strong and Silent when his stare conveys more than words could?



 


This is the first book I've ever read by Delancey Stewart and I'm a bit ... conflicted ... about my rating. It was nothing big and it's not that the book was bad ... I never would have given it a four star rating if it was, but there were parts that I just felt pulled the speed of the book back from a pretty cantering unicorn to an uncoordinated turtle. 

Is the speed or pace of a book that important? I sure think so. Here's the deal ... I've got two kids (boys - aged 14 and 10) on summer break right now and I've got to put down my Kindle every few minutes to break up a fight, be a maid or help decide who gets the last Cheez-It that is stuck between the couch cushions because apparently, those taste better than the brand new box sitting in the pantry and why not fight to the death for a stale, lint covered cracker. I need something that I can put down quickly and pick back up without having to reread the same sentence that I already read seven times because someone keeps asking me at 7:20am when lunch is. To put it bluntly, I just don't have the patience to read the long, descriptive paragraphs about someone's feelings. I end up just skimming paragraphs to get the gist of it and then move on to some exciting stuff. 

And that's what I had with this book. Now, the book was well written and maybe to someone else with less neurotic reading preferences, it will be perfect. The storyline was great though, I really liked the unexpected twists that happened a couple of times and you are left at the end of the book feeling completely fulfilled as a reader. 

Our main characters, Dani and Rob were written pretty perfectly. Dani has such a kind heart and sweet disposition. She's the kind of girl that you want to be friends with because you know she's going to always be understanding and empathetic. That's not to say she's flawless, she isn't, she has flaws but I'll leave those for you to discover. Now on to Rob. To put it plainly, I adored him. He is perfectly imperfect. Especially in his mind. You'll find Rob endearing and sweet and completely oblivious to how amazing he is. But that's the cool thing about Rob ... you get to experience his character growth and that is truly one of my favorite things about a flawed character.

All in all, pretty good book and maybe if it weren't for my two minions, I would have given it that one extra star. As it is, this is a book that I won't soon forget and one that I'll probably read again. I think I may have found another author to book-stalk. 

* I received this novel in exchange for an honest review *



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Sunday, June 4, 2017

Book Review: The Irish Prince (Billionaire Dynasties #2) by Virginia Nelson


CEO Aiden Kelley’s life of billionaire extravagance is flipped upside down when his ex shows up with a ten-year-old she claims is his. Totally out of his element and losing the control so integral to his success, he needs help. To top it all off, the only constant woman in his life, his executive assistant, has given notice just when he needs her help to survive his newfound fatherhood.

Chelsea Houston is an executive assistant, not a nanny. The only person more clueless about kids is her boss. Helping him on a daddy-daughter road trip is her last task before he’ll accept her two weeks’ notice and she can be free of the infuriating man she’s had a crush on for longer than she’d admit.

Aiden’s carefully ordered life has never been so disorganized, and he’s suddenly tempted by the things he thought he could never have. Things like love and family. Who knew chaos could be so damn fun?



 


Usually, I don't pick a book up that is in the middle of a series unless I've read the books that come prior to it. But something about this one just screamed at me and I knew that I just needed to give it a shot even though I knew absolutely nothing about this author. I'm glad that I did. It was a sweet book that I totally blew through. 

The book was really endearing. I tend to shy away from books that involve characters that have kids. Probably because I have two boys and I don't want to read about anything that is similar to my life - books are an escape from your life, right? At least, that's how I look at them. But I enjoyed the moments of the book that involved Aiden's kiddo. The daughter's character was actually one of my favorite parts. I liked how spunky and so very headstrong she was. It added an interesting aspect to an already fabulous book. 

Aiden's character ... he was simultaneously infuriating and sweet in a lot of situations. I just wanted to knock him upside his head with my Kindle quite a few times. When a character is THAT irritating and you still love him, you know that he's super well written. He had so many misguided hangups that you couldn't help but just adore him. 

And Chelsea. Lord, that woman ... she is a bit bullheaded and isn't afraid to tell Aiden what she thinks but at the same time, she does back down. This trait made her super realistic and I could see a lot of myself in her - which just enriched the whole reading experience. 

All in all, I really enjoyed most things about this book. There were a few slow parts that I kind of skimmed over, which is the reason for the almost-perfect rating. I'll definitely read another book by Nelson in the future. Good "by the pool" read for the summer!

* I received this novel in exchange for an honest review *



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Saturday, June 3, 2017

Book Review: Serenade (The Nightmusic Trilogy #1) by Heather McKenzie


Kidnapped and held hostage in the Rockies, a teenage heiress falls for her abductor while her corrupt father and devoted bodyguard fight to get her back. The discovery of true love and dark family secrets turns deadly in this epic coming of age adventure.

Kaya Lowen dreams of living like a normal eighteen-year old, but being heiress to a billion-dollar company has put her life in constant danger. Fiercely guarded by her powerful and corrupt father, she develops close bonds with those who protect her, especially Oliver a bodyguard who has proven his devotion to her time and again. He wins her heart - until a chance encounter with a mysterious stranger has her questioning everything she believes in.

Haunted by true love and reeling from a guilty conscience, Kaya's world unravels when she's kidnapped. Held captive in a rugged wilderness fraught with raging storms, mystical caves and deadly predators, Kaya's father scours the forest and her bodyguard fights to get her back. But, the discovery of a dark family secret makes Kaya wonder if staying in the arms of her blue-eyed abductor, a captivating stranger with dark secrets of his own, is a safer place to be. At least, that's what her heart is telling her, her head is saying run...

An epic adventure centered on a smoldering love-triangle, Serenade sings a timeless tale of courage, self-discovery, and life-or-death love that will leave you breathless.



 


When I received this book (from who I think was an editor for Heather McKenzie), I really didn't know what to think. I don't really read Young Adult novels any more and when I saw that it was published by Clean Teen Publishing ... I REALLY didn't know what to think. What I DID know is that the blurb for this book was intriguing. Here's the deal, it's not any secret that I appreciate a well placed f-bomb or a steamy sex scene in a book. While I don't seek those things out when choosing a book, I also don't mind them. But the words 'clean teen' made me think that there would be scenes that were a bit watered down. Dude. Not the case. I didn't find this out until after I finished the book but Clean Teen is all about just letting the reader know what they will find within the pages - kind of like a rating on a movie. 

Anyway, onto the book. THE. BOOK. Holy crap. I didn't expect to enjoy this as much as I did. And maybe I went into it with some preconceived notions but those were all shot down VERY quickly and I was able to immerse myself into the interesting life of Kaya. Kaya is this amazing girl that has been through so much yet, amazingly enough, it didn't kill her spirit. I think that she is a super strong character that needs to be seen more in Young Adult novels. 

I don't really want to get into any secondary characters because well, I don't want to ruin the twists and turns on these pages. But I will say this, as a reader, you're going to REALLY struggle with whom to support. The author did a great job of putting the reader through the push and pull of good and bad. Who is good and who is bad? Don't worry. Your alliance will shift quite a few times as you steamroll through Serenade. 

The story moves along quite swiftly but not jarringly so. It's just the perfect pace. I didn't find myself getting bored or skipping even a single sentence. It was a little shocking, how fast I flew through the words on these pages. I just couldn't get enough of Kaya and her life - how things were, how things became and what could be for her future, if there was one. It's nice getting to the end of the book and being left with absolutely NO questions about characters or the plot.

It's been a long time since I've enjoyed a romantic suspense this much ... probably since my last Sandra Brown and that is saying something. ESPECIALLY for a first book from an author. Are you kidding me?!? THIS is what you're coming out of the gate with? Geez. I'm in trouble. I'll be stalking library shelves indefinitely for this author - she had me hooked after the first page. Lifetime fan. SO good. 

* I received this novel in exchange for an honest review *



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