Tag Archive | Romance

REVIEW: Kissing Max Holden by Katy Upperman

Kissing Max Holden by Katy Upperman

Read: July 24, 2017

Format: NetGalley E-ARC

My Book Rating: 5 Stars

Publisher: Swoon Reads

Release Date: August 1, 2017

Genre: YA Contemporary Romance

Pages: 304 Pages

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

Kissing Max Holden was a terrible idea…

After his father has a life-altering stroke, Max Holden isn’t himself. As his long-time friend, Jillian Eldridge only wants to help him, but she doesn’t know how. When Max climbs through her window one night, Jill knows that she shouldn’t let him kiss her. But she can’t resist, and when they’re caught in the act by her dad, Jill swears it’ll never happen again. Because kissing Max Holden is a terrible idea.

With a new baby sibling on the way, her parents fighting all the time, and her dream of culinary school up in the air, Jill starts spending more and more time with Max. And even though her father disapproves and Max still has a girlfriend, not kissing Max is easier said than done. Will Jill follow her heart and allow their friendship to blossom into something more, or will she listen to her head and stop kissing Max Holden once and for all?


REVIEW

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

BE STILL MY HEART!

This book grabbed me from page 1. There’s so much I love about this story. On the surface it’s a friends to lovers romance, but it’s deeper than that.

First of all, there may be some spoilers here. I’m trying to keep them VERY mild so they won’t spoil your enjoyment of the story.

The characters in this book are amazing.

Jillian is the good girl. She’s an only child, a straight A student, and an excellent baker with dreams of going to a prestigious cooking school in New York City.

Max is the bad boy. He was Jillian’s best friend growing up, but after his father had a stroke, he took it really hard. He started acting out, getting drunk, and partying.

But these characters are so much more than that. When Jillian’s family life gets rocky, we see her struggle to cope. Meanwhile, we see that Max is more than a party boy. He’s really broken up, wracked with guilt over his father’s stroke, convinced it’s his fault. He’s in a rocky relationship with his sisters best friend, and though she treats him like garbage, he knows that part of that is because of how he’s treating her. But being a teenager under so much stress, he doesn’t have the maturity to handle things properly.

When Jill and Max fall into a physical (kissing/making out) relationship this sparks new feelings and emotions in both. They both know it’s wrong, because Max has a girlfriend, but they both want it.

If you hate cheating under any condition, this might not be the book for you. I personally feel it was handled well. There are actually multiple cheating storylines going on here, and I felt like the author tackled them nicely. Because here’s the thing. We’re all human. People make mistakes. Is cheating right? No. It’s selfish and disrespectful. But what makes this story so beautiful is how the characters deal with their actions. The consequences they suffer. I really don’t want to say too much because it would really spoil the book. I’ll just say this, Jillian feels 100% guilty for having ever kissed Max while he was still seeing his girlfriend, even if he instigated it. She even puts an end to things because even though she does want to be with him, she doesn’t want to be the other woman.

So should you read this? If you have zero tolerance for cheating story lines under any condition, run far away. However, if you want a steamy/funny/sweet romance with a good message – despite the cheating – dive into this one.


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QUOTES

– From an advanced release copy, subject to changing in the final copy

 

Max is little more than a peripheral figure in my life these days, but Dad’ll be pissed if he finds the neighbor boy lurking outside my window like a creeper.

 

I have the briefest, most inappropriate thought ever: I wonder what he tastes like?, before I remember how damaged he is.

 

Just like that, I forget all the reasons why kissing Max Holden is an awful idea.

 

He’s probably nursing a hangover, and he’s sporting his semipermanent scowl, but still. He looks good.

 

I want to go to him because, more than anything in the world, I want him to tell me he’s willing to try to get his life back on track. But I don’t think he is, and I won’t enable him—not like Becky.

 

How on God’s green earth did I think this was a good idea? How can Max and I be friends when I’m hyperaware of the energy crackling between us? When I know how his kisses make my skin sing.

 

“I don’t understand why, but you’ve stayed with Becky through thick and thin and all the bullshit in between. Even though you cheated on her, she still wants to be with you. Honestly, I think you guys are terrible for each other, but for whatever reason, you’re hanging on. At the risk of sounding like a shrink, I feel like you need to do some serious thinking about what you want from her. It’s not fair otherwise.”

 

Break the rules blatantly and people rarely question you—a lesson I learned from Max.

 

“Thank you, Nostradamus. Consider your prediction noted and ignored.”

 

“Maybe you haven’t noticed, but my happiness relates directly to yours. I never want to see you cry again.”

 

“What’d you do this morning?”
“Made fondant.”
“What the hell is fondant?”

 

“Even though I knew cheating was fundamentally wrong, I still took part…. Does genuine emotion pardon unfaithfulness?

REVIEW: Cure for the Common Breakup by Beth Kendrick

Cure for the Common Breakup by Beth Kendrick

Series: Black Dog Bay #1

Read: June 22-28, 2017

Format: Hardback

My Book Rating: 4.5 Stars

Publisher: Penguin

Release Date: May 6, 2014

Genre: Chick Lit / Womens Fiction / Romance

Pages: 336

Reading Challenge(s): Beat the Backlist 2017

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

Welcome to Black Dog Bay, a tiny seaside town in Delaware known as “the best place in America to bounce back from your breakup.” Home to Better Off Bed-and-Breakfast, the Eat Your Heart Out bakery, and the Whinery bar, Black Dog Bay offers a haven for the suddenly single.

Flight attendant Summer Benson lives by two rules: Don’t stay with the same man for too long and never stay in one place. She’s about to break rule number one by considering accepting her boyfriend’s proposal—then disaster strikes and her world is shattered in an instant.

Summer heads to Black Dog Bay, where the locals welcome her. Even Hattie Huntington, the town’s oldest, richest, and meanest resident, likes her enough to give her a job. Then there’s Dutch Jansen, the rugged, stoic mayor, who’s the opposite of her type. She probably shouldn’t be kissing him. She definitely shouldn’t be falling in love.

After a lifetime of globe-trotting, Summer has finally found a home. But Hattie has old scores to settle and a hidden agenda for her newest employee. Summer finds herself faced with an impossible choice: Leave Black Dog Bay behind forever, or stay with the ones she loves and cost them everything…


REVIEW

I won a copy of this book from Goodreads with no expectation of a review.

This book is as utterly delightful as that cover. It is a laugh out loud ’till you cry, unputdownable joy of a book.

This book throws you right into the thick of the plot. To be honest, I didn’t care for the beginning. It felt rushed and Summer felt like such an over the top cariacture I didn’t think I’d like this book.

Then she arrived in Black Dog Bay. And ran over the mayors rose bushes. And blamed it on turtles and Taylor Swift. From this point on I was 100% sold on this charming rom com.

I ended up absolutely loving Summer. She has her baggage, and at times it felt like she fell for Dutch too quickly (specifically because of all that baggage!) but I can look past that. Summer is charming and brass and fearless.

I loved Dutch. He’s a great hero. He’s a sweet, no-nonsense kind of guy. I hate politicians on principal, but Beth Kendrick had me falling in love with this mayor.

The chemistry between Summer and Dutch was amazing. The little inside jokes and flirtations they had were hot, hot, HOT — especially for such a clean book!

The side characters were all so charming. I was able to quickly give them all unique voices and even imagine my dream cast for the movie playing in my head. (Kelly Bishop [aka Emily Gilmore] as either Hattie or Pauline – can’t decide which! Diane Wiest as Marla, Lennon Stella [Maddie from ‘Nashville’] as Ingrid, Leslie Mann [from ‘Knocked Up’, ‘The 40 Year Old Virgin’, and ’17 Again’] as Summer—that voice of her is perfect.)

Every single chapter had me wishing I could read JUST ONE MORE, to the point where I accidentally read 50% of the book in one night. I only went to bed because my eyes refused to stay open and the words stopped making sense.

And here’s a word to the wise, don’t read this book anywhere you can’t let out a good belly laugh. Because I was holding in laughter while reading this late at night while my husband slept, and it just wasn’t the same.

I need to find out what happens next in Black Dog Bay.

If you’re in the mood for a light, comedic, romantic page turner, THIS is the book to read!



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QUOTES

 

Summer had never been accused of being sensible.

 

Rustic outdoorsmen weren’t Summer’s type, but something about him… He looked like he could ravish you so right and then stride off to chop a cord of wood.

 

“I promise you, I’m coming back to fix your landscaping situation.”
“Please don’t.”

 

If Barbie hired Hello Kitty to decorate her dream house, the result would be the Winery.

 

He caught her gaze and held it, and in that moment, she saw him as everyone else in Black Dog Bay did: strong and stern and quietly authoritative. Someone who took his responsibilities seriously. Someone who was not to be trifled with.
And it only increased her desire to trifle with him.

 

“Can you talk sense into a bunch of adolescents sloshed on Alabama slammers?”
”Like a professional hostage negotiator.”

 

“Just make me look like I’m a lobotomized lady who lunches. On something other than grilled cheese.”

 

He took in the activity pages and the facial expressions and the iced tea before asking, very slowly, “What are you doing?”

“Connecting the dots,” Jenna said.

“Coloring a frog,” Hollis said.

“Making this word search my bitch,” Summer said.

Dutch glanced behind him. “Is this… am I missing something here?”

 

He made her laugh. He made her think. He made her want to stay.
Oh no.

 

REVIEW: Her Darkest Nightmare by Brenda Novak

RoamHer Darkest Nightmare by Brenda Novak

Series: The Evelyn Talbot Chronicles #1

Read: May 21-June 21, 2017

Format: Paperback ARC

My Book Rating: 4.5 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Release Date: August 30, 2016

Genre: Romantic Thriller

Pages: 407

Reading Challenge(s): Beat The Backlist 2017

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

THE HUNT FOR A SERIAL KILLER

Evelyn Talbot knows that a psychopath can look perfectly normal. She was only sixteen when her own boyfriend Jasper imprisoned and tortured her—and left her for dead. Now an eminent psychiatrist who specializes in the criminal mind, Evelyn is the force behind Hanover House, a maximum-security facility located in a small Alaskan town. Her job puts her at odds with Sergeant Amarok, who is convinced that Hanover is a threat to his community…even as his attraction to beautiful Evelyn threatens to tear his world apart.

BEGINS WITH AN ESCAPE FROM HER PAST

Then, just as the bitter Alaskan winter cuts both town and prison off from the outside world, the mutilated body of a local woman turns up. For Amarok, this is the final proof he needs: Hanover has to go. Evelyn, though, has reason to fear that the crime is a personal message to her—the first sign that the killer who haunts her dreams has found her again. . .and that the life she has so carefully rebuilt will never be the same…


REVIEW

I received a copy of this book from Goodreads First Reads. I am in no obligation to review this book, let alone give it a good review.

  

Word to the wise: Don’t read two thrillers concurrently in which a teenage girl is the sole survivor of a massacre.

This was a book I won through Goodreads. (Yay!) I don’t read a lot of straight up romance, but this is a romantic thriller. And though from the very beginning I was hesitant, I wound up absolutely loving this book. I need to get my hands on the prequel and the next one in the series!

Evelyn Talbot is an interesting character. Having survived being tortured and left for dead by her psychotic high school boyfriend—after he killed all her best friends—she’s spent her life dedicated to unraveling the minds of psychopaths as a psychiatrist. Now running Hanover House, a prison in the wilderness of Alaska meant to house the most dangerous psychopaths in America, Evelyn must face her past.

In this book, one of Evelyn’s dearest friends at Hanover House is murdered, her dismembered head the only thing found. Evelyn is sure it’s Jasper, her psychotic ex-boyfriend, toying with her before finishing what he failed to do when she was sixteen. From there, the clues keep piling up.

This was a very fun, dark, and twisty ride. There were so many red herrings it was hard to know who the killer really was. And just when you think it’s going to end — BAM!! Another twist!!

The romance was really good too. Evelyn is emotionally scarred because of Jasper and has never been with a man since. The sexy and fierce state trooper, Amarok (a nickname, which means wolf), is determined to break through her shields though. She doesn’t think she’s worth the hassle, but he begs to differ. The chemistry between them is awesome. I can’t wait to see what happens next for them.

I also really loved all the quotes from real psychopaths which preceded each chapter. Those plus the story itself had me looking at every person I know with a “could they be a psychopath?” filter on.

I absolutely recommend this to readers who enjoy mysteries and thrillers. This was a real treat and won’t be my last Brenda Novak novel.


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QUOTES

 

Looking down at their entwined hands, he moved his thumb over her palm in a seductive circle. “You realize you’re giving me conflicting signals.”

 

Maybe he was as attractive as sin, but they were worlds apart in every other way.

 

Psychopaths dismissed murder as easily as most people dismissed neglecting to send a thank-you card.

 

“I haven’t seen you with anyone since I’ve been here. So. . . Who is your type?” She held her breath after she asked. She’d opened herself up, knew he had to understand she wanted to be his type ….

“Apparently I like uptight psychiatrists.”

 

“I can’t—I can’t be restrained.”

“I’m not restraining you. This is called comfort. There’s a difference.”

 

“I don’t want to fall in love with you.”

“Because of my age, Evelyn? Really?”

“No, because love is the biggest risk of all.”
 

REVIEW: Secret Vampire by L. J. Smith

Secret Vampire by L. J. Smith

Series: Night World #1

Read: April 6-8, 2017

Format: Paperback

My Book Rating: 5 Stars

Publisher: Archway Paperbacks / Simon Pulse

Release Date: June 1996

Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

Pages: 242

Reading Challenge(s): Beat The Backlist 2017, 2017 YA

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

The diagnosis for Poppy was death. there was no hope—until James, her best friend and secret love, appeared in the hospital. But this was a James she didn’t know. He offered Poppy eternal life. Only he could open the door to the Night World. They’re soulmates—but can she follow him into death and beyond?

THE NIGHT WORLD isn’t a place. It’s all around us. The creatures of Night World are beautiful and deadly and irresistible to humans. Your best friend could be one—so could your crush.

The laws of Night World are very clear: humans must never learn that Night World exists. And members of Night World must never fall in love with a human. Violate the laws and the consequences are terrifying.

These are the stories about what happens when the rules get broken.


REVIEW

This is actually a re-re-re-re-re-etc-read for me. Its been roughly 20 years since I first discovered L. J. Smith and her Night World series. (Did I just age myself???) Unlike another favorite series from those days, which I re-read in recent years and then questioned my middle grade taste in books, this series is still as amazing as the day I read it.

Smith doesn’t waste time with describing every little nuance that her readers honestly aren’t going to care about, but within 2 pages I had a solid sense of who the heroine, Poppy, was as a person and how she felt about James, the hero of our story.

I was always a huge fan of the whole Soulmate trope and this series executes it perfectly. For me, there needs to be some kind of supernatural reason for Soulmates to exist, and in a world of vampires, witches, and shifters, it’s very easy to buy into that reasoning. Add in forbidden love and what teen girl could resist! Certainly not this one, even now that I’ve said goodbye to my teen years ages ago.

This is a short read, but it is utterly satisfying. There’s the star-crossed lovers, the villain, and vampires and witches galore! I seriously can’t wait to dive into the rest of these books. Who knows, maybe by the time I re-read the last of them, there will finally be a new release date set for the final book in the series. It’s only 17 years past due.

So should you read this one? YES. This was the book for the generation before Twilight. (And the author also created The Vampire Diaries – though the TV series took great liberties with the story. For the better IMO. But that’s a whole other book review!) So, what are you waiting for? Go sink your fangs into this amazing series!



Get the Book here:

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OR GET THE FIRST 3 BOOKS IN 1 VOLUME

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QUOTES

Looking at him, Poppy felt a pang—as always. It didn’t matter that she had seen  him every day, practically, for the past ten years. She still felt a quick sharp throb in her chest, somewhere between sweetness and pain, when first confronted with him every morning.

 

Until today she’d assumed it was her unconditional right to live. She hadn’t even been grateful for the privilege.

 

You don’t love a girl because of beauty. You love her because she sings a song only you can understand…

 
“There are two cardinal rules in the Night World,” he said steadily. “One is not to tell humans that it exists. The other is not to fall in love with a human. I’ve broken both of them.”

REVIEW: More Than Friends by Monica Murphy

More Than Friends by Monica Murphy

Series: Friends #2

Read: February 20 – March 2, 2017

Format: Paperback

My Book Rating: 3 Stars

Publisher: Self Published

Release Date: November 14, 2017

Genre: YA Romance

Pages: 320

Reading Challenge(s): 2017 YA, Beat The Backlist 2017, TBR 2017

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

He’s not perfect, but he’s all I want…

I’m your average girl at your average high school, trying to figure out my place in life. After catching my now ex-boyfriend messing around with my now ex-best friend, I’ve made some big changes. No more band, no more backstabbing friends and no more boring old life. Now I have new friends, a new job and new interests.

But there’s a certain someone who’s interested in me, and I don’t get it. Jordan Tuttle could have anyone he wants. He’s the most popular boy in school. Rich, gorgeous, smart and the star quarterback, he’s perfect. Yet he acts like he wants no one else but…me.

So despite my fears and doubt, I let him get close. Probably too close. I discover that he’s not so perfect after all, but it doesn’t matter. I’m falling for him, even though he runs so hot and cold. I know someday he’s going to break my heart.

And I’m going to let him.


REVIEW

I received a copy of More Than Friends from Goodreads First Reads. I took one look at that cover and wanted it. It’s so pretty!

Alas, I didn’t enjoy the book as much as I’d hoped. I read through it fairly quickly, it was a page turner, but I guess I just prefer books with less teen drama and different plot devices.

As far as the characters go, I liked them. Both Amanda and Tuttle. They both had depth and character flaws. They felt real. Tuttle in particular. He comes across as the perfect golden boy, but once you get inside his head you realize he has a lot of baggage. A LOT of baggage!

It’s been a while since I was in high school, and perhaps I just wasn’t / didn’t hang out with the kinds of kids in this book, but I was surprised that a book with such a tame cover would contain so much sexual content! As a parent, I would not be happy to catch my own young adult reading this book, which seems to glorify sex in high school and make it seem as though everyone is doing it. And yeah, maybe I’m letting my prudish side show, but those are my feelings. I prefer my teen fiction to remain clean. If anything happens it’s behind closed doors/fade to black, as well as being between two characters who actually know where they stand with one another, because throughout this entire book Amanda didn’t know if she was actually with Tuttle or not.

As a whole, this is a well written book filled with teen drama drama drama, but there is far too much sexual content IMO for a YA book. I’d have much rather seen them at least in college.


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QUOTES

It’s like I’m always waiting for the bomb to drop. For the joke to be on me. No one in a million years would ever match me with Jordan Tuttle. Not even me.

 

Ugh. I’m actually pissed people aren’t noticing me when I don’t want them to notice me. I make no sense.

 

“Wait a minute. You apologized to her?” Livvy shakes her head. “Why.”

“Because what I said to her was wrong. It bothered me all night. I had to tell her I was sorry.”

“You’re too nice.” She’s still shaking her head.

Maybe you’re not nice enough, I almost tell her, but I don’t. That’s opening a whole new bag of trouble.

 

Whispering “sorry” under my breath—because yes, I do talk to my car sometimes, thank you very much—I turn the key and the engine starts right up.

 

I have no photos of Jordan and me together. None. And in this social media driven world we live in, if there’s no photographic proof, then it didn’t happen.

 

“Passion only lasts so long, especially with those two. They are a prime example that you cannot sustain a relationship based merely on passion.”

REVIEW: Mercury Striking by Rebecca Zanetti

Mercury Striking by Rebecca Zanetti

Series: Scorpius Syndrome #1

Read: December 29, 2016 – January 7, 2017

Format: ARC Ebook (NetGalley)

My Book Rating: 4 Stars

Publisher: Kensington

Release Date: January 26, 2016

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Pages: 384

READING CHALLENGE: #TBRChallenge

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

With nothing but rumors to lead her, Lynn Harmony has trekked across a nightmare landscape to find one man—a mysterious, damaged legend who protects the weak and leads the strong. He’s more than muscle and firepower—and in post-plague L.A., he’s her only hope. As the one woman who could cure the disease, Lynn is the single most volatile—and vulnerable—creature in this new and ruthless world. But face to face with Jax Mercury…

Danger has never looked quite so delicious…


REVIEW

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

While being entirely way too smutty for my tastes, Mercury Striking is a well thought out page turner.

With the Scorpius bacteria on the loose, more deadly than the plague, Jax Mercury has created his own community in Los Angeles where the people are protected and everyone does their part. Meanwhile, Lynn Harmony aka “Blue Heart” is fugitive #1. Said to be carrying a mutated strain of the Scorpius bacteria, she is supposed to be turned into what’s left of the government if she’s found. As the former head of the CDC, she’s too valuable to let go.

So obviously this is a romance. And it’s a steamy alpha male romance at that. Personally, I don’t get the whole alpha male attraction. They’re mostly just jerks. Jax isn’t too bad, as far as Alpha’s go. He’s got a lot of backstory and reasons for acting the way he does. He’s got a past and demons to conquer.

Lynne is far from the damsel in distress herself. She’s got a brain and knows how to use it. She’s got her own demons to vanquish and together with Jax, they may just be able to take on the world.

I was surprised by how much I liked about this book. The action was good and kept the story moving. The explanations for the Scorpius bacteria was well thought out and interesting, it wasn’t a last minute cop out thrown together by the author in order to get the characters in bed together. It was legit. And I liked it. The side characters were also very interesting and I have a feeling there is plenty to find out about each of them in the future.

As far as what I didn’t like, as I said before, I’m not one for books with lots of sex. It’s just not my reading preference. If you like a lot of sex scenes, this is the book for you! For me, it was too much. Especially a particular scene in the book which was WAY too rapey for my liking. The author knows each partner wanted it, but there was no way that Jax knew she really wanted it. She said no, and he did it anyway. It left a really bad taste in my mouth and if I were the kind of reader who quit partway through a book, I would have quit. Aside from that scene, I had no other major issues with the book.

 

So, should you read it? If you like LOTS of sex scenes and romance novels that have more substance than just the romance aspect, YES. If you don’t like sex scenes, you may have a harder time. You could always skip over them, but you’ll miss some of the relationship development.



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QUOTES

 

Her shoulders went back, and she rested her head, staring up at the roof. “I’d love to be useless.”

 

Fairy tales do not tell children that dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children that dragons can be killed. – G. K. Chesterton

 

“I have an IQ well into the triple digits, Mercury. Killing you right now surrounded by your people would be incredibly stupid. I’m not stupid.”

 

The world either wants her dead because they blame her for not stopping the illness, or they think somehow there’s a cure in her blood since she’s the only one with a blue heart.

 

The guy was quoting Nietzsche? What kind of an ex-gang member turned army special ops turned leader of a vigilante group knew philosophy?

 

“A gentleman would give me the bed.”
He scratched the stubble next to his scar. “All the gentlemen are dead, baby. Soldiers and survivors are what we have now.”

 

For a badass, dangerous killer of a soldier who had no problem wielding a belt, Jax Mercury sure liked to cuddle.

 

“This doesn’t mean I need to get your name tattooed to my ass, does it? With the former gang affiliation, with military and the new group, I’m unaware of the protocol.”

 

“You need a woman.”
“A woman is the last thing on earth I need,” Raze countered.
Jax raised an eyebrow. “A guy, then?”

 

REVIEW: Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

Read: December 1 – 6, 2016

Format: ARC ebook

My Book Rating: 3.5 Stars

Publisher: Thomas Dunne / St. Martin’s Press

Release Date: February 7, 2017

Genre: YA/NA Fantasy

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

Beware the goblin men and the wares they sell.

All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns.

But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let Käthe go—for a price. The life of a maiden must be given to the land, in accordance with the old laws. A life for a life, he says. Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no rebirth. In exchange for her sister’s freedom, Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the Goblin King. He accepts.

Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her—musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl’s life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the Goblin King’s bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world.


REVIEW

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

First – look at this cover. Is this not a stunningly beautiful cover? Wow. I want to frame it and hang it on the wall. I love this cover so much. This cover is the reason I wanted to read this book, well, that and the fact that it’s also about the Goblin King.

Now let’s talk for a moment about the 1986 movie Labyrinth staring the fabulous David Bowie and a young Jennifer Connelly. This book is not at all like the movie, aside from the connection with the Goblin King, the taken sibling, the midnight balls, the oubliette, and those weird hand things. You remember that scene, right? “Up or down?” Anyway, that sounds like a lot in common, but it’s really not. It’s the ideas, but the way they’re weaved in the book is very different from the film.

So, back to the book. First, I believe this is billed as a YA. There is a LOT of sex in a book for teens! I would actually classify this more as a new adult novel, or a YA/NA crossover at best. I would not let my kids read this book until they were 17 at the earliest, and even then if they were mature enough to handle it. As an avid adult YA reader, it was fine for me.

This story takes place in 18th century Bavaria and follows Elisabeth aka Liesl, the 19 year old daughter of an inn keeper. She is the oldest, but unlike her younger sister Kath, she is not beautiful, but plain. She is as talented as her little brother Joseph, if not more, but she is a girl, and therefor her talents have largely gone ignored.

S. Jae-Jones has proven that she has a voice to be heard with this book. The prose is hauntingly beautiful. I felt like I was taking this journey with Liesl/Elisabeth. I felt what she felt, I saw/heard what she did. I fell into this world of music and folklore and got lost. This book made me feel like I knew something about playing the violin, when in actuality I have nothing more than a couple of months piano lessons under my belt.

Despite the beautiful prose, this book dragged for me. At times there were pages and pages of nothing happening. Repetition of Liesl/Elisabeth’s feelings and thoughts. This book is actually broken into sections and within Part I I wondered if anything would actually happen. And then it did. And it was fabulous. Part II was strange. Part III is where things got really weird and Liesl/Elisabeth began to act very out of character. I get that she’s changing on this journey, but it was odd. I didn’t like her much here. By the end, I mostly liked her again. Ultimately, this is the story of Elisabeth finding herself, and I think she succeeds.

I did love how vivid the characters were, even the Goblin King who is so shrouded in mystery, became real. I loved how protective Liesl/Elisabeth was of her siblings, especially her close relationship with Joseph.

I didn’t care much for how Liesl/Elisabeth and the Goblin King treated each other. It was obvious they each had strong feelings for the other, but neither expressed those feelings in a healthy way. It was very uncomfortable.

The end of this book is bittersweet. This is a very dark romance. There is no chance of a truly happy ending, no matter the outcome. I won’t tell you what happens, but I feel like the author ended this with the best possible outcome. And with a sequel due out in 2018, I wonder where that will lead us. And I wonder if it will be as many pages!

So, would I recommend this book? Eh…. It depends. This book is very long-winded, but the prose is utterly beautiful. If you like quick paced books, skip this one. If you don’t mind a book to take its sweet time getting from point A to point B, then you may enjoy this one.

Walking away from this book I really am conflicted. I’m still thinking about it two weeks later, which is something all authors want for their book! And if not for

the extremely slow pacing at times, I think I would have rated this book much higher. I’m curious to see what my friends think of this book, if any of them read it.
 


 
Wintersong releases February 7, 2017
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QUOTES

 

Will you mary me, Elisabeth? The little boy asked, and the little girl did not yet understand his question was not part of a game.

 

Time—like memory—was just another one of the Goblin King’s playthings, a toy he could bend and stretch at will.

 

Dangerous? Little Liesl had asked. Dangerous how?

Dangerous as a winter wind, which freezes the marrow from within, and not like a blade, which slashes the throat from without.

 

This was the Goblin King. The abductor of maidens, the punisher of misdeeds, the Lord of Mischief and the Underground. But was he also not the friend of my childhood, the confidante of my youth?

 

“Your sister,” he said, nodding toward Kathe in the crowd, “would prefer pretty enchantments to the stark ugliness of reality, I think.”

 

There was a grace to every line of his body; elegance was not only in his air, but in the way he moved. Even when he was unsure.

“I—I—“ He was flustered. I relished this bit of power over him, this ability to unsettle him as much as he unsettled me.

 

The surrounding forest was unfamiliar, lit with the otherworldly glow of starlight. The trees grew into twisted shapes, sculpted by centuries of wind—or a goblin-led hand. They grew as though striving to dance and roam free, only to be rooted fast and trapped by the earth beneath them.

 

“That sort of passion she inspires in me is all flash and no heat. I need an ember, Elisabeth, not a firecracker.”

 

He tastes like a winter wind, but the heat of our mouths warms him up, and then everything is languid, humid, hot, like still summer night.

 

I want to lie with the Devil and would do so again and again, just to feel like this.

 

“Go to bed, Elisabeth,” he said. “You’re drunk.”

 

I knew who I was not: my sister. Without my sister to define me, I was unsteady, unstable. I had lost the crutch that propped me up.

 

REVIEW: Hazel’s Promise by Emily Larkin

Hazel’s Promise by Emily Larkin

Series: The Fey Quartet #2

Read: September 1-14, 2016

Format: Print Book

My Book Rating: 4.5 Stars

Genre: Fantasy Romance

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

A lighthearted and magical tale of adventure, true love, and disguises.

Hazel Miller gave her heart to a man who went off to earn his fortune, but he’s been gone longer than she thought he would. A lot longer.

Dressed as a boy, Hazel sets out to find her lover, but the roads of Medieval England are fraught with peril. When a ragged stranger risks his life to protect her, how can she refuse his company?

Hazel’s quest is about to get complicated—and at its end, she may discover that her true love isn’t the man she has waited ten years for.

This is Hazel’s tale.


REVIEW

I received a free copy of this book via Goodreads First Reads.

 

At only 74 pages, I had some reservations about this novella. I often find that authors can’t develop realistic characters that the reader can understand and identify with. That was not the case with Hazel’s promise.

On his way back to the isolated village in which he lives, Tam passes a young man on his way out. Upon second glance, he realizes the young man is actually a young woman in disguise. Despite longing to arrive home, he turns his cart around and follows her.

The young woman is Hazel, who has just received a wish granted by the faeries. When she was just a young girl she fell hard for a nam named Drewet. He promised to come back for her, once he’d made his fortune away from their little village in Dapple Valley. But Drewet never came back. Using her faeries wish, Hazel is able to locate him and sets off to find him. This is when she meets Tam.

Tam proclaims himself Hazel’s chaperone and accompanies her the rest of the way to Drewet. Along the way they get to know one another and their chemistry is hard to deny. As predicted, by the end of the book Hazel has given up on Drewet and realizes she’s fallen in love with Tam.

I liked the characters in this story. Tam is kind and chivalrous. He isn’t described as being exceedingly good looking, but that doesn’t matter to Hazel because his personality shines. Meanwhile Hazel is quite pretty, at least in the eyes of Tam. She’s also headstrong and determined. When she makes a promise, she keeps it. She’s loyal to a fault and a little naive.

The charming way in which this book is written, it feels like it’s aimed at a younger audience, however some of the content is definitely not. It’s by no means erotica, but there are a couple spicy scenes.

In the end, this little story left me with a smile. I would gladly read the rest of this quartet. And at only 99 cents a pop, I may just do that.



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QUOTES

 

“The debt you owe is much smaller than you think, Hazel Miller…” The smile became speculative. “I slew your dragons; I would be content with a kiss.”

 

“I’d rather live in a one-roomed cottage with you than a manor house with any other man.”

 

REVIEW: Friday Night Brides by Samantha Chase

Friday Night Brides by Samantha Chase

Read: May 9 – August 1, 2016

Format: ARC Ebook (Kindle)

My Book Rating: 4 Stars

Genre: Contemporary Romance

 

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

Friday Night Brides is the story of four best friends. For the past 20 years they have modeled wedding fashions in a bridal show every Friday night. Now in their mid-twenties, we get to follow their (mis)adventures in love.

I love that this story followed four different main characters and the author did a great job weaving their individual stories into one cohesive book, and in making them stand out as their own person.

Hailey’s mom owns Enchanted Bridal, the whole reason for the Friday Night Brides existence. She’s in lust with the perfect Logan, who has never shown even an inkling of returning the attraction, and can’t stand Jackson, the long haired, tattooed bad boy who models in the shows as well.

Becca always falls for the wrong guy. She has self esteem issues because she doesn’t have the slim figures of her friends. When she meets Max though, her luck seems to turn around.

Angie doesn’t really have a filter, she tells it how it is. When her ex comes back into her life, she has to decide if she can forgive him and try again.

And finally, Ella: she and her boyfriend Dylan have been together since middle school. With their wedding looming before them, and growing out of control thanks to their families, she’s beginning to doubt being with just one man EVER.

The only reason this book took me so long to read is because I started reading too many at once. Once I dedicated myself to finishing this book toward the end of July I sped through it. I needed to know what was going to happen with each of the women. And I was not disappointed. This book reads like a drama on The CW – in a good way!

I wish I could say that one couples story was more interesting than another, but I loved them all. I would say Ella’s probably resonated with me most because she’s marrying the man she’s been with since forever. I also married my high school boyfriend and have experienced some of her same feelings about wonder what, if anything, she/I missed out on by not dating other people. As far as character growth, I feel like Hailey grew the most as a person.

If you’re looking for a fun contemporary romance that’s a little different than others, this is it for you. I was honestly afraid at first it might read like chic-lit, but thankfully it does not! (At least not the chic-lit I’ve read in the past!)

 


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QUOTES

 Okay, I was so engrossed in this book I only highlighted one passage because it spoke to me!

“You want to know how I see us? I see us as people who work hard and are planning for our future. While everyone else is running around—or sleeping around—we’re committed to each other. We’re not pissing away our money at bars and clubs. … You’re looking around and thinking ‘look at all we’re missing’ and acting like it’s a bad thing. I’m looking at the same people and thinking about it all with relief! You know what, El? I bet if you asked any of them they’d all rather be us!”

 

REVIEW: Just Say Maybe by Tracy March

GUESS WHAT! In 3 hours I’m meeting my fav author – Richelle Mead!!!

To keep me occupied until then, I’m posting this review for your enjoyment. (I’ve been putting off writing it for a few days now. Along with another review.)


BOOK DESCRIPTION FROM GOODREADS:

Award-winning author Tracy March follows up Should’ve Said No (“Wonderfully quirky . . . a pleasure to read!”—Laura Drewry) with this enchanting novel set in Thistle Bend, Colorado, a magical place where old wrongs are righted, and adventure leads to true love.

Real estate lawyer Holly Birdsong’s hike in the Rockies takes an unexpected turn when a smokin’-hot stranger tumbles off his bike and into her path. Turns out he’s purchasing the abandoned Lodge at Wild Rose Ridge, and Holly agrees to take him on as a client—despite her family’s traumatic history with the previous owner, who shamelessly abused the town’s goodwill at every turn. But when their professional relationship turns personal, Holly must reconcile the past with her hopes for the future.

Adding the rustic lodge to his portfolio of adventure properties isn’t just a business decision for Bryce Bennett. The rugged mountains also offer a killer setting for his extreme-sports camps for at-risk teens. What’s not in the blueprints is finding a kindred spirit in his irresistible lawyer, even if she seems apprehensive about getting involved in the deal. Bryce’s plan to ease her mind just might work, as long as no one discovers his secret. Yet he can’t stand hiding the truth from the woman who makes him want to build something permanent: a happily ever after.


REVIEW

Just Say Maybe by Tracy March

Series: Thistle Bend #2

Read: May 2016

Format: ARC Ebook (Kindle)

My Book Rating: 3 Stars

Genre: Contemporary Romance

 

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

Last September I had the privilege of reading Should’ve Said No, book 1 in Tracy March’s Thistle Bend series. I was impressed with a romance novel full of likable characters and a mystery to boot!

I was excited when Just Say Maybe appeared on NetGalley because why wouldn’t I want to follow up that fabulous 4-star book 1 with the sequel?

Well, I think I liked book 1 so much that I was let down by book 2. While book 1 featured the mystery as the center plot, this one is very much romance centric. Sure, Holly says she doesn’t want to be with Bryce if he’s not going to stay, but it was barely an obstacle. There was a misunderstanding and jumping to conclusions that had me rolling my eyes as well.

I did like the characters, they were interesting and believable. The hotel storyline was somewhat interesting, but I would have liked this book more if that was the central story, and not the romance.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I like the romances to be built around the plot. If that makes sense. And this book felt like the plot was built around the romance.

I think those who like traditional contemporary romances will enjoy this book. I’ll probably read book 3 as well, but I doubt it will live up to book 1.


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