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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.)


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.


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.



REVIEW: The Selection by Kiera Cass

The Selection by Kiera Cass
Series: The Selection #1
Read: November 16, 2015
Format: Ebook (Kindle)
My Book Rating:  3 Stars
Genre: Dystopian Romance

Confession: I was sucked into this book by the beautiful cover, what can I say? I’m a sucker for girls in pretty dresses. And royalty. Yeah, I’m a sucker for a princess story too.

The Selection takes place in a futuristic world in which the caste system plays a heavy role. Really, the only way to move up a caste is by marriage. The heroine of this story, America— a middle caste girl—is in love with Aspen, but he’s in a lower caste than she is, which is pretty taboo.

Enter THE SELECTION – a contest, similar to TV’s The Bachelor – in which 35 girls are selected from all castes and compete for the chance to marry Prince Maxon. Of course, America want’s no part of this, but to appease her family, she agrees to enter and—surprise! She’s selected. She makes it very clear from the get-go that she doesn’t want to be a princess, but Prince Maxon agrees to let her stay, because there are sparks between them, and every day she stays means more support for her family back home.

What I liked about this story: America, I think she’s an interesting character and I like that she’s not in love with the prince just because he’s a prince. I also love the idea of the story, basically a dating game to pick a worthy princess for the kingdom.

My list of dislikes is a lot longer, however…. First of all, the character depth is pretty shallow all around. I liked America, she was probably the most in depth character. But everyone else fell flat. More importantly, the plot fell flat for me. I love character driven stories, but the characters need to be stronger than these were, and the plot needs to be based on more than a reality TV show. It felt as though the author wanted to write The Bachelor, but with a prince and girls competing to be a princess, then said, “Oh, dystopian stories are in. I’ll just throw a dystopian world in the background and call it good.” The beginning set up was good, but then it was just kind of tossed aside. There were the rebel attacks, but we really don’t know much of anything about them. It all just felt so shallow. I wanted more substance. And don’t get me started on Aspen. I really didn’t care what happened to him. He’s not even worth America’s time. Prince Maxon seems like a genuinely good guy, so I really want him to be the one to come out on top, but….

To add to my list of grievances, this book didn’t even have a proper ending. There are cliffhangers, and then there are books that end so abruptly you flip back to make sure you didn’t somehow miss 50 pages. This is the latter. In my version of a proper cliffhanger, there’s some sort of subplot happening in the story that wraps up at the end of the book, while the larger overall story arc is still going. The author needs to leave the reader satisfied, but wanting more. I didn’t feel that here.

I really struggled with a proper rating to this book. Part of me wants to give it a 2 star rating, because it is so shallow. But, because I will continue to read, just to see what comes next in the story, I settled on a 3. This book is average at best, it’s light and fluffy and lacks any real substance. We’ll see how book two goes.

Would I recommend this book? Only to younger teen girls who want to read a light and fluffy romance. Or maybe to die hard fans of The Bachelor who can’t get enough. For those looking for a book with a complex plot or interesting characters, skip this one.

REVIEW: A Thousand Sunsets by Jannie Lund

No Tidy up Tuesday today. I think that will become a more sporadic thing, since I’m not being very good about working on it daily. I did conquer some clutter this past week, but I was too lazy to pull the photos from my phone to the computer so… maybe next week?

I do have a review of a book I really enjoyed though!

A Thousand Sunsets by Jannie Lund

December 2015

Kindle Ebook

My Book Rating:
4/5 Stars

Contemporary Romance

I didn’t read this book for the longest time because, based on the blurb, I didn’t think I’d like it. I gave it a chance after reading another of the author’s books, Finding Clara. In the end, I really enjoyed this story. Jannie Lund has become a MUST READ author for me, as this is the second book I’ve read and really enjoyed from her. (Her new Vintage Dreams will hopefully be read and reviewed within the next couple months as well!)

Anyway, in this book, Alexander was rescued from the streets as a kid by an old man named Patrick McCullough, and later adopted by the man, and now he’s a doctor.

Sarah is the granddaughter of Patrick, an artist, who has dealt with both the loss of her grandmother—Patrick’s wife—many years ago, as well as her father more recently.

When Patrick, on his death bed, asks that all of his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren come see him at his manor, things are shaken up and will never be the same. Patrick was born in Ireland to a poor farmer, he never expected to be anything more than a poor farmer himself. However, he fell in love, proposed marriage, and asked her to go with him on a journey to a new life in America, where he became very successful. In trying to give his family everything he didn’t have growing up, he neglected to give them his time and attention. Before he’s realized it, his life has passed and his kids want nothing to do with him.

This isn’t a typical romance in that the story isn’t just about Alexander and Sarah. They are a big part of it, and sort of the glue that holds things together, but the bigger theme of the book is learning to forgive and make the best of what you have.

By the end of this book, Patrick may not have had all of his wishes granted, but he’s able to move on knowing he’s done all that he could do to repair the scattered remains of his family.

I definitely recommend this book to those who are looking for a romance that’s a little outside of the box.

Disclaimer: I work for the company that released this book, however I receive no monetary compensation for any sales of this book. My employment with the company in no way changes my opinions or rating of the book.

REVIEW: Monarch by A. R. Ivanovich

MonarchMonarch by A. R. Ivanovitch

Series: War of the Princes #3

Read: January 24-25, 2016

Format: Kindle Ebook

My Book Rating: 4/5 Stars

Genre: YA Fantasy


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


Monarch, like it’s predecessors, Haven and Paperglass, is a fantasy / steampunk novel packed with action, adventure and surprises.

We pick up immediately after the events of Paperglass with Katelyn and crew fulfilling their promise to Common Lord Brendon Axton in helping to aid the city of Breakwater.

I love that in this book we get to learn more about the Northern army. We already learned a lot about the Dragoons and Margraves of the West in previous books, but the Northern army has their own tricks up their sleeves as we learn in this book. And secrets.

I really can’t say much without spoiling the plot, but I’ll tell you this. There’s a huge secret unveiled and a huge betrayal. Beyond that… I just can’t!

I know this is pathetically short, but if you enjoyed the previous books, I think you’ll enjoy this one. The set up for the end is beautiful and I honestly don’t know how everything will go down.

The only criticism I have is that up until the 40% mark it kind of dragged. Then—BAM! We’re thrown into the action again. There were also a couple of editing mistakes I caught as well, but not enough to pull me out of the story or lower my rating.

REVIEW: Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

Hey readers! Don’t forget to enter to win the ebook copy of Jill Bisker’s sophomore novel ‘The Way Forward’ over HERE! One part (clean) romance / One part ghost hunting fun!


Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

Series: Caster Chronicles #1

Read: Nov – Dec 2015

Format: Kindle Ebook

My Book Rating: 3/5 Stars

Genre: YA Paranormal Romance


Things I liked about Beautiful Creatures: The small town southern setting. The fact the book is a YA romance told from the boys POV. The lore surrounding the family curse. Ridley and Link.

Things I did NOT like about Beautiful Creatures: The pacing. The fact that the book is told by the boy, who is actually an outsider looking in on the action. Lena… for the most part.

I really wanted to like Beautiful Creatures. I wanted to love it. I somewhat enjoyed the movie, though it was a little confusing, I hoped the book would bring some clarity. It cleared up a little bit, but not a lot.

If you don’t know what it’s about, Lena is a Caster (basically a witch, but they don’t call themselves witches.) When a Caster turns sixteen, he or she must choose to become Light or Dark. Due to a long ago family curse, Lena’s family does not get to choose – the choice is made for them; they are claimed. Lena’s cousin Ridley was claimed by the Dark, as was Lena’s mother. So, Lena is super depressed and convinced she’s going to be claimed by the Dark. When she moves to the small town of Gatlin, SC to live with her uncle, she meets Ethan Wate. And he is obsessed with her from the first time he lays eyes on her. They soon discover they have a connection neither can deny.

As I said above, I love that this book is told from the hero’s POV instead of the heroine, as is typical in YA paranormal romances. However, the story is Lena’s. Ethan is an outsider looking in. We as the reader are limited by what Ethan knows, and it really wasn’t enough for me. When Lena shuts Ethan out, we the reader are shut out of the story because the plot surrounds Lena.

Lena was cold and standoffish. If I could see in her head, maybe I would like her more. But as is? I didn’t really care what happened to her. She was honestly pretty boring. She had cool powers, but she was so depressed about her pending claiming, it was really hard to like her.

The best characters in the book were Ethan’s BFF Link and Ridley’s Dark cousin Ridley. They had the spark that kept the story moving for me.

When I read this, I really was hoping to experience more details about the ending. The movie ending. Yes, I saw the movie first. (I got it dirt cheap on Black Friday a couple years ago, not having seen it before.) I was disappointed with how different the ending was. Rarely do I find movie adaptations to make changes for the better, but Beautiful Creatures was an example of just that. This ending was more confusing and left more loose ends.

Will I continue the series? Probably not. I did start reading the second book, but I gave up early on because, even more than in Beautiful Creatures, Ethan was the outsider looking in.

So, would I recommend this book? Again, probably not, unless you want to see how the book is different from the movie. Overall it wasn’t terrible, but it certainly wasn’t memorable.

REVIEW: Hourglass by Pauline C. Harris

The book I’m reviewing today, Hourglass by Pauline C. Harris, is on SALE right now for only 99 cents!

I highly recommend grabbing this book now while the price is rock bottom!


Hourglass by Pauline C. Harris

Read: November 1, 2015

Format: Ebook (Kindle)

My Book Rating: 4/5 Stars

Genre: Sci-Fi / Fairytale Retelling – YA

At just seven years of age, Jude Sprocket was rescued from a mysterious planet—her hand having just been severed from her body—and adopted by a space pirate. Flash forward ten years and Jude is now an orphan, her adoptive father having just died, leaving her all alone with just his spaceship, Hourglass. Missing her father and eager to return to outer space where she feels most at peace, she quickly assembles a small crew of teenagers to man the ship and help raid the atmosphere for abandoned space ships and other space junk which they can sell on the black market.

Plans are soon forgotten as the crew discovers an uncharted planet not far from Earth. Despite everything telling her not to land, Jude brings Hourglass to the surface and things get weird.

Hourglass is a sci-fi novel, but it’s also got a bit of horror and mystery to it. Upon landing on the mysterious planet, creepy things happen. This part of the book actually reminded me a bit of the episode ‘Midnight’ from Doctor Who, in which The Doctor takes a tour of a diamond planet and freaky stuff starts to happen.

Ms. Harris does a beautiful job of weaving the story of Peter Pan into a futuristic sci-fi setting. The character of Jude is well developed and easy to like. The villain, Prince, is easily disliked, but we’re also given a chance to try to understand him and feel for him. It’s easy for an author to simply have the “bad guy” and make the reader hate him, but to help the reader understand him is a step up that I for one appreciate.

I don’t want to give too much of what happens on the planet away, but this was a very creative and interesting take on Peter Pan. I loved the character Hook being not only the hero, but also a teenage girl. I only wish the story was longer!

If you are a fan of fairy tale reimagining’s, mild horror or sci-fi, I recommend checking this book out. I don’t think you’ll regret it!

Favorite quote from the book: While recruiting one member of the crew and trying cautiously to explain that they are a pirate crew, Jude says: “How attached are you to… the law?”


Disclaimer: I designed the cover for this book so I do receive a small monetary compensation for sales of the book. This in no way affects my review of the book. If I wanted to be dishonest, every book I design covers for would be a 5 star read! 😉


Add to your Goodreads shelf.


REVIEW: Pyromancist by Charmaine Pauls

Before I get to the review of Pyromancist by Charmaine Pauls, I have the share the wonderful news I received earlier this week related to this book.

Each year EPIC (Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition) holds two contests, one for books and another for book covers. A handful of covers which I designed were entered in various categories and I am so incredibly humbled and honored to have received word that I was selected as a finalist in three categories of the EPIC Ariana Cover Awards!

One of which is the cover for Pyromancist, in the erotica category. Also in the running are my covers for Unhinged by Shelley R. Pickens (horror) and First Sun by Tara Tolly (romance). Winners won’t be announced until March, but honestly, I’m just so excited to be a finalist, actually winning would be the icing on the cake. I already feel like a winner!



Pyromancist by Charmaine Pauls (Seven Forbidden Arts #1)

Read: October 6-7, 2015

Format: Ebook (Kindle)

My Book Rating: 4/5 Stars

Genre: Paranormal Romance Erotica

Pyromancist is the story of a young woman named Clelia. Her mother, who died in childbirth with Clelia, was an oddity in the town—a Japanese woman who was abandoned in the village as a child—and said to be a witch, due to the mysterious fires that began upon her arrival. Fast forward many years and we find Clelia, now in her early 20’s, living with her grandfather in the village in which she was raised.

Josselin was just a boy when Clelia first met him. A few years her senior, she developed quite a crush on him, especially after he rescued her from a bully. Josselin is quite damaged however, with a very tragic past, and as soon as he could, he left town with no plans to return.

The story finds Clelia on the run, fearful that the fires, which have been popping up in the night all around her village, are her doing. Before she can get far, she’s captured by Josselin and his paranormal crime taskforce.

This is a steamy book. I don’t usually read erotica because it’s just not what I like in books. For me, there was too much sex. For those who like super hot books, trust me, this is the book for you! That said, once I put the sex aside, I did enjoy the story. The concept of the paranormal crime taskforce, and the seven forbidden arts, is an interesting one. Josselin’s power, which is not one of the seven, is a very unique and interesting one as well.

While I liked the build up of the relationship between Clelia and Josselin, I didn’t much care for Josselin and how he treated Clelia in the story. He is very much a domineering alpha male, which I know many readers absolutely love, but he was a little too controlling for my liking. He obviously cared very deeply for Clelia and that was how he knew how to deal with things. And that’s not to say Clelia just let him walk over her, but she certainly didn’t assert herself as much as I would have liked. That said, just as all people are different, so are all characters. Since this is the first in the series, and I know Clelia and Josselin will be popping up in the rest of the books (though not as the main characters), I hope to see Josselin tame his domineering side and Clelia stand up to him a little more.

Ultimately, if you’re looking for a super sexy paranormal story that doesn’t involve vampires or shifters, this might be just the book to hit the spot.

Disclaimer: I designed the cover for this book so I do receive a small monetary compensation for sales of the book. This in no way affects my review of the book. If I wanted to be dishonest, every book I design covers for would be a 5 star read! 😉

REVIEW: Dead Ringer by Jessie Rosen

Dead Ringer by Jessie Rosen

Read: September 2015

Format: ARC Ebook (Kindle)

My Book Rating: 3/5 Stars

Genre: Contemporary Mystery YA


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


I actually didn’t think I was going to like Dead Ringer at all when I first started reading it. The point of view started with the new girl in school, Laura, then started jumping to other characters and I’m honestly not a real big fan of that. It has it’s moments, and it has to be done right. I forced myself to keep reading and I came to appreciate the multiple POV’s, ultimately they did work, I just wish the transition had been smoother.

As I said, Laura is the new girl at school and she looks eerily similar to Sarah, the girl who died almost two years prior. As Laura adjusts to live in her new school she begins digging around the past, trying to figure out what really happened to Sarah.

We also get into the head of Charlie, he’s the schools star soccer player. He has his own secrets to hide about Sarah and he’s also getting close to Laura. I really liked Charlie, I liked how his character was developed. I was able to sympathize with and root for him.

The third character from whom we see a POV is Sasha. She’s also out for answers to Sarah’s death and an enigma herself for much of the book. We initially don’t know her motivation or how she even knows about Sarah. I think she was a great addition to the story and added a nice extra layer of mystery.

All of this was great, except…. details were given in the beginning of the book don’t match up with the end game. I really can’t say a whole lot or else it will ruin the book for those who have not yet read it. The ending is fabulous, minus the terrible cliffhanger the author leaves us with. But, the motives and inner thoughts from the beginning of the book do not fit with the character after the big twist. There’s suspension of believe in fiction, and I’m pretty lenient with what I’ll let slide, but this stuff was big. Like the author changed the ending as she was writing it and didn’t go back to change those earlier details.

The characters were likable though, and trying to solve the mystery was fun, but I’m a stickler for the details and I’m just really irritated with this one

Will I read the next book? If NetGalley offers it up to me, I will happily take it to see if the resolution to the cliffhanger will make up for the details in this book that didn’t make sense.

Ultimately, I’d say this book is average. It had a lot of potential but it needed some reworking in order to make the pieces fit together properly. If you’re less of a stickler for details and are just looking for a nice mystery with some interesting twists, this may be the book for you.



REVIEW: Dark Heart of Magic by Jennifer Estep

Dark Heart of Magic by Jennifer Estep

(The Black Blade, Book 2)


Read: September 2015

Format: ARC Ebook (Kindle)

My Book Rating: 5/5 Stars

Genre: Urban Fantasy YA


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


When I requested to read and review Dark Heart of Magic from NetGalley, I didn’t realize it was the second book in a series. I actually didn’t realize until partway through the book!

I do recommend starting with book one, because I’m pretty sure this one is full of book one spoilers. Even without starting at the beginning this was highly enjoyable and I was not lost.

Lila is a thief and makes no excuses for it. She’s a strong female lead and absolutely entertaining to read about. Lila also a person of magic in a very unique town. Set at the base of Cloudburst Mountain, Cloudburst Falls is full of magic and monsters, and the ruling families (mobs) have taken full advantage, turning their little town into a tourist trap. People come from all over to see the monsters that live in the parks, petting zoos, forests, and on the mountain.

Lila works for the Sinclair Family as bodyguard to their leaders son, Devon. There’s obvious chemistry between the two, but Lila is all business. She’s doing her job as a means to an end — revenge on the Draconis family, those responsible for the murder of her mother.

Trying to blend in and stay invisible (she’s a thief, remember?) becomes very difficult, however, when Lila is entered into the summer Tournament of Blades, an annual battle of magic among the families, and fodder for the tourists. And, it seems as though someone is out to get Lila.

There’s magic and mystery, action and romance. And, though I figured out who was behind it all before the characters did, I enjoyed every second. So much so, that soon after, I one-clicked book one for my Kindle!

As a fan of The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, I think other fans of that series will love Jennifer Estep’s series. While in TMI the magic is kept hidden from the normal humans, in DHoM the magic is flaunted and used as a source of income. The magic system is pretty cool as well, with everyone who has magic having some variation of strength, speed or senses as well as some level of power – minor, moderate, or major. Some powers are more rare and desired than others. Some are more of a curse than a blessing as well, we learn in this story.

The end of the book was a satisfying conclusion to this story arc, yet it left me thirsting for more of Lila, Devon, and the rest of their crew.

Dark Heart of Magic is available from Kensington Books on October 27, 2015. Until then, you can check out book one, Cold Burn of Magic. (Book three, Bright Blaze of Magic will be available May 2016.)


REVIEW: Finding The Way Back by Jill Bisker

Finding The Way Back by Jill Bisker

Read: September 2015

Format: Ebook (Kindle)

My Book Rating: 4/5 Stars

Genre: Ghost Story (paranormal, light romance)


I put off reading Finding The Way Back for a while because I don’t typically read adult fiction. I’m pretty sure I’ll be 19 forever, though my body may age. That said, I know Jill Bisker personally and I designed her cover, so I gave it a chance.

Finding The Way Back is the story of Laney, a young woman going through a divorce. She’s picking up the pieces of her life and learning to be herself again now that she’s no longer under the spell of her loser of a (soon-to-be) ex-husband. To help get her mind off things Lancey’s mother invites Laney and her cousin Connie to live in and fix up the old house their grandfather lived in. As it turns out, Gramps had a bit of a hoarding problem, there’s hardly any room to move around the old house he’s packed it so full!

As Laney and Connie begin their mission of clearing out the house—trashing the junk, dispersing sentimental items to the family, and selling the valuables on eBay—things really get interesting. As it turns out, the house is haunted and the women’s mothers’ never bothered to share that little bit of information on them. Let me tell you, there are some creepy moments in this book that made me wonder what I was thinking reading this on my Kindle in bed in the dark late at night!

So, when the ghost makes it’s appearance, Connie does what any intelligent girl does: she calls the Ghostbusters. Okay, not really, but close enough. She invites a guy she knew in high school, Emmett, plus some of his friends, to come scope out the joint. Emmett is a hobby ghost hunter. And hot. Really hot. Laney tries to deny the attraction but it’s there. So as Laney and Connie attempt to cohabit the house with a ghost, Emmett becomes their knight in shining armor.

I liked the romance in this book, it was a slow build that didn’t seem sudden and out of nowhere. The ghosts were the perfect blend of spooky, creepy and wondrous. And Ms. Bisker created a fabulous story for the haunting of the house. As a bonus, there were some local details in the book that made me chuckle because I know those things oh so well. Not to mention the little points of humor scattered throughout the story (I loved the closet scene with Emmett and Laney!)

There were some things I didn’t enjoy as much. I found some parts of the book to be too over detailed (I read YA, remember? We gloss over the details for the most part in YA!) and sometimes it felt a little repetitive.

Overall, I did enjoy this story and I will be reading (and reviewing!) the sequel which is due to come out from Melange Books this fall.


Disclaimer: I designed the cover for this book so I do receive a small monetary compensation for sales of the book. This in no way affects my review of the book. If I wanted to be dishonest, every book I design covers for would be a 5 star read! 😉