Wednesday, May 31, 2017

May Read Roundup

It's finally warming up in my parts and I am loving the sunshine :)  I'm one of those people who always gets a bad sunburn in the beginning of summer because I would hug the sun if I could when it finally appears and can't imagine it would betray me by burning me to a crisp. May was my Random Number Generator month and as usual, I had fun seeing what it chose for me. There were some winners but also some major missteps towards the end; you live by the RNG, you die by the RNG. Those selection books will be denoted with ***book cover***. June is my Start a New Series month. I originally started this to make myself start series I was hearing so much about but was too intimidated to start because of how many books there was already. Now I just grab out of a box/off my Kindle any book #1 in a series. 

*Click on book cover to be taken to my review or if I didn't write one, the book's Goodreads page

5 stars

4.3 stars

The Wicked Cousin by Stella Riley

4 stars

3.5 stars

To Win a Lady's Heart by Ingrid Hahn  ***The Damsel and the Daggerman by Delilah S. Dawson***

3 stars

Because of Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn  ***A Debt Paid in Marriage by Georgie Lee***  Wicked Sexy by J.T. Geissinger

2.5 stars

***Hell Breaks Loose by Sophie Jordan*** *** Only by HelenKay Dimon***  Wired by Julie Garwood
***To Wed a Rebel by Sophie Dash***

2 stars

Wed to a Spy by Sharon Cullen  The Bad Luck Bride by Janna MacGregor  The Highland Commander by Amy Jarecki
***Dark Needs at Night's Edge by Kresley Cole***

1.5 stars

***Closer by Sarah Greyson***  The Earl Next Door by Charis Michaels

1 star

***Zoey And The Nice Guy by Carter Ashby***

17 books in all with 8 being my selection of the month picks. Looking back, I read an even range of great, good, and awful. The highlight of the month was definitely The Wicked Cousin by Stella Riley. I feel so out of the loop since this was the first book I've ever read by her. Can't wait to start some new series for June and hope everyone has a great reading month!

How many books did you all get to read this month, any favorites?

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Review: Spotless

Spotless Spotless by Camilla Monk
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Freebie Alert!
Amazing deal on Amazon right now (as of 5/30/17) books 1-3 FREE!
I have read the first and second, super fun series.
Download these, y'all!
Amazon Get Yourself Some Link

4.3ish stars (I won't fit into your box Goodreads!)

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

When Island opened the door to her apartment and found a man standing there with his back to her going through her filed taxes, she had no idea how her mundane normal world was about to be shook up. Questioning her about a 2 billion dollar diamond March, the tax papers organizer, doesn't like the answers he is getting and decides to kidnap her. On the run with a hitman, who is slowly starting to look like her safest port in the storm, Island begins to learn that her seemingly previous boring life may have just all been a lie.

Spotless is the first in a series by newcomer Camilla Monk and is a fabulous debut; the writing is topnotch. The story was suspenseful, intriguing, humorous, and most importantly interesting. It is completely told from our heroine Island's point of view, I did miss hero March's take on things but nevertheless, Island was a good leader. The story takes us from New York, Paris, and to Tokyo with enough details to fill in the scenery, place you mentally there, and make it believable. The pace is steady as we learn along with Island that her mother may have been even more of an adventuress than she knew and travel along with her and March as both try and fight their attraction for one another. There was some good tension and humorous thoughts and moments while Island and March struggled to maintain their distance as it would have been equally dangerous for either one to succumb.

Island was a fun character to follow with her realness and slightly quirky thoughts. She was an interesting blend of sheltered naïve worldliness; in her childhood she traveled the world with her mother but never attended schools, at fifteen when she goes to live with her father she lacks the knowledge of how to interact at her new school and becomes a bit of a social outcast. March had his own quirkiness with his OCD, which lent to some playful moments but also respectfully showcased the compulsive aspect. As I mentioned, we never get March's pov which had him coming off a little stiff (not in the good way) to me as the reader, I get he is supposed to come off that way to Island but I would have really enjoyed seeing/reading his emotion towards our heroine at times. Their relationship was slightly slow moving as I could have stood to see more closeness from them. My issue with this could stem from the fact that this is a pretty clean romance, no pervy payoffs here. Fundamentally though, the humor and danger between them may go a bit off kilter on occasion but ultimately they work and this was what I liked so much about them.

There were also a handful of secondary characters that brilliantly did their job in adding compelling pieces to the story without clogging or stealing the spotlight from our leads. It was about 20% in when I thought this book really hit its stride and it was around the 60-80% mark that I thought things started to slow down. Our couple starts to go in a circle and the action side of the plot starts to get a tad long but I also don't know what should have been cut because the steps to finding the diamond were all needed, maybe Island's mother shouldn't have been so clever.

While I won't quite call it a cliffhanger, the ending of this book is clearly not the ending of Island and March's story, so be prepared to lock yourself into continuing with the series. As this is a new author and wondering about comparisons, I would say you could fit this book comfortably between “Agnes and the Hitman" by Jennifer Crusie and "Cloak and Dagger" by Nenia Campbell. If you're in the mood for a jocular bit off center suspense with a dash of romance involving shady world organizations, the shady men and women who work for them, a broody caring OCD hitman, and a plucky heroine lost in the mix and falling love, then you must give this book a try. There is also the delightful bonus of each chapter starting with a quote from a fake romance book that lightheartedly pokes fun at what makes us love so much and groan over in the romance genre.

View all my reviews

Monday, May 29, 2017

Review: The Wicked Cousin

The Wicked Cousin The Wicked Cousin by Stella Riley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4.3 stars

After his twin brother died and his father smothered him trying to keep him from any danger, Sebastian broke the chains to live a wild and carefree life. Now that he is a little older and wiser, he just wishes all the fervor from his younger exploits would die down.
Cassandra is less than impressed with all the stories about their wicked "cousin" but when she actually meets the man, she finds herself singing a different tune.

Fourth in the Rockliffe series, The Wicked Cousin focuses on Sebastian and Cassandra. I'm a newbie to this series and while it is entirely possible to start here, the extended family and friends secondary characters (heroes and heroines from the previous books) will make you wish you had read their stories. If you've read Grace Burrowes and her Windham series, the incorporation of past characters and world building is in the same vein here. I did think Riley did a slightly better job of unobtrusively weaving them in, not as much a feeling of off tangent if you're not previously acquainted with them.

And with the utmost reluctance, she saw what she had been unconsciously determined not to see. She saw what all the fuss was about.

Cassandra was our wondrously level-headed heroine, who does get a bit outshined by the hero, but always likeable. A heroine from a loving family with no horrible trauma almost seems like a novelty these days. However, the angst that was replaced with loving family dynamics, a sweet father and mother paired with an overly precocious little sister, provided heartwarming nuances and emotions more modern trends have been leaving out. I would have liked more scenes with Cassandra interacting with her sister, mother, and friends, as Riley did a tremendous job showcasing the male relationships.

It occurred to Sebastian that, in only a handful of meetings, he had come to like Cassandra Delahaye much more than was probably wise.

Our hero Sebastian is one that you won't help but fall in love with. The pain and sense of loss (both brother and sense of self) when his twin brother dies is heartbreaking. The way that Riley took this instance and constructed how it affected Sebastian, his family, and therefore their relationships added immense depth, you'll feel this story. Before we are introduced to Sebastian we learn of his persona but just like Cassandra learns, the true man is much more. His character make-up was so rich, confident, and teasing but yet vulnerable and shy at times. He was no one-trick pony or cardboard cutout, if you're a hero-centric reader, you don't want to miss Sebastian and his gorgeous garnet hair.

This was very much a character driven story, in which there was such an ease and flow to the writing that it envelopes you into the story. There was dramatic flair added with a scorned mistress causing problems for our couple. This provided some of the drama we all secretly love in romance but did stretch out for an unneeded extra scene; it turned around to feel like the deranged villain needed serious help instead of the truth spoke a bit harshly to her, even if it also felt justified. The story tempo is more leisurely, which with the richness of characters and story I didn't mind, but there were a few times I thought it was too slow following a bit long on offshoots. I also thought the climax of the story hit around the 80% mark and created a bit of a deflated balloon ending, however, people who like extended epilogues will probably enjoy the continuation.

All in all, I was a big fan of this story with its rich depth in characters and world. I've been complaining lately of story structure, definitely not a probably here, it feels like this was edited with a fine tooth comb. I'll be going back and reading the rest of the books in this series, I have a strong desire to grow more acquainted with the Duke of Rockliffe after his appearances here. There was also glimpses of a secondary romance featured and with the set-up of a duke's brother and woman who feels she couldn't be good enough for him, you can bet I'll be first in line when it gets published. We read romance to get lost in another world for some time, this is one you'll not want to come back from.

View all my reviews

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Reading Update: 50%

The Wicked Cousin (Rockliffe Book 4) - Stella RileyI can't remember it exactly but the quote about falling in love slowly then all at once, yeah, that is how I feel about this. This is the kind of story you specifically buy a soft, cozy blanket to wrap up in and zone out the world to.

Also, because I would be remiss if I didn't send out the Ginger Haired Hero Alert. 
Or maybe that should be a Garnet Haired Hero Alert :)

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Random Number Generator Month!

Round 4!
And probably the last of  the month, give me winners, RNG...

I'm loving all these been on the tbr longest picks

To Wed a Rebel by Sophie Dash

Not a lot of friends have read it and the ones who have are very divided. Differences of opinion, I'm sold!


My favorite number!
(Not really but I needed something to say here)

Zoey and the Nice Guy by Carter Ashby

Another book that I have no idea/memory of how it got added to my tbr. The reviews have me a bit nervous but the RNG has SPOKEN.

Hope everyone has a good Friday and great weekend!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Reading Update: 50%

23398634“What happened before was as much my fault as it was yours,” she explained very matter-of-factly. “For as long as I’m your asset, we’ll keep a professional relationship. I promise I won’t let you kiss me again. I have more self-control than you do.”
"You think so, huh?”
He leaned down and whispered in her ear, “Wanna bet?”

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Review: The Earl Next Door

The Earl Next Door The Earl Next Door by Charis Michaels
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

1.5 stars

Was there a love triangle involving a staircase in this? 'Cause it felt like there was a love triangle involving a staircase.

The story felt chaotic with all the characters, nosy neighbors, a bachelor earl who simply dramatically can't quit kissing the heroine, cartoon-y villainous mother and five step-brothers, bad guy Greek, and more.

The hero had no depth while the heroine sort of did but the unevenness of her having the courage to travel to England to buy a house on her own but couldn't possibly stand up to her family had me head tilting. Also, what is up with the whole paper thin catalyst of the heroine moving to England? Head tilt. Don't even ask me about the inheritance issue and how mom and bros wanted to get control of the money. I also can't really comment on the pseudo-Greek mafia dude who showed up at the end because my eyes were a glazing by that time.

This was a new to me author and she had some moments that felt encouraging but the story was too chaotic, the hero severely lacked depth, and I need more in my relationships than "I can't help but kiss you!" a few minutes later and a dramatic turn away "I can never marry you! Stay away!" repeated for 80% of the story. Seriously, this is what composed the majority of their relationship. I would also recommend not reading this if in an actual historical mood, 'cause yeah, head tilt. The upgrade to 2 stars is for the glimpse of cute moments between the hero and heroine.

View all my reviews

Friday, May 19, 2017

Reading Update: 20%

In the confines of the stairwell, out of her sight, Philip paused. Opening and closing his fist, he tried to shake off the heat of her fingers.

Gawd, this right here is why I've read so much Regency/Victorian. The attraction and sexual heat hidden repression, y'all.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Random Number Generator Month!

Round 3

RNG didn't have the best Round 2. Redeem thyself, RNG!

Early-ish selection...

A Debt Paid in Marriage by Georgie Lee

A Mills & Boon, no way I can turn down this selection! 


Oooh, this could be a newer book

Dark Need at Night's Edge by Kresley Cole

Well, not quite a new book, lol. However, it is a holdover from Halloween Bingo that I never got to, so I also couldn't possibly turn this one down :)

Hope May has been treating everyone well!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

New Release: Lethal Lies by Rebecca Zanetti Reading Playlist! #Giveaway

Revenge. It's the only thing that will help Anya Best sleep at night. The serial killer who murdered her sister is on the loose, and Anya will stop at nothing to put him behind bars—even use herself as bait to lure him out of hiding. But she can't do this alone.

Private investigator Heath Jones's job is to bring bastards to justice. This time it's personal. He knew the Copper Killer's latest victim so when her sister asks for his help, he's all in. But when Anya uses the media to taunt the killer, she exposes Heath's identity, putting them both in jeopardy. Now, secrets buried long ago are coming to light and the forces determined to destroy him are watching Heath's every move, waiting to exact their own revenge. And they'll use anything and anyone to get to Heath.


Title: LETHAL LIES      
Author: Rebecca Zanetti
Series: Blood Brothers, #2
On Sale: May 16, 2017
Publisher: Forever
Trade Paperback: $14.99 USD
eBook: $5.99 USD

“4 1/2 stars! Top pick! This is a true thriller that will keep readers frantically flipping the pages as death and danger come at the protagonists from several directions.  Zanetti's brilliance at storytelling is on full display...When it comes to high-octane thrillers, they don't get better than Zanetti!” —RT Book Reviews on LETHAL LIES

“Zanetti’s stories are always woven with vivid detail and a breakneck pace. As a reader, there’s really no time to draw a peaceful breath until the story ends. Lethal Lies is another winner.” –Heroes & Heartbreakers on LETHAL LIES

“Zanetti balances the adventure and menace of Zara and Ryker's lives with a relatable romance. The result is a story that's sexy and emotional, and filled with a rich look at love in all its forms.” —The Washington Post on DEADLY SILENCE

“Budget your time, readers, because this is one that's hard to put down.” — Heroes & Heartbreakers on DEADLY SILENCE


**Pick up the print edition for exclusive bonus content!**

All Beauty Fades
One Less Reason
Fire Breather
Kiss Me
Ed Sheeran
Come Over (Acoustic Mixtape)
Sam Hunt
When I Was Your Man
Thomas Rhett
Crazy In Love (2014 Remix)
I Lived
I'm Comin' Over
Chris Young
Gonna Wanna Tonight
Chase Rice
In Ruins
Theory of a Deadman
If You're Gone
Sam Thacker
Full of Grace
Sarah McLachlan
For Those Who Wait
Figured You Out
Devotion (Demo)
Howie Day
Brothers In Arms
Celtic Thunder & Ryan Kelly
Broken Girl
Matthew West
Anything Goes
Florida Georgia Line
Here Without You (Acoustic Version)
3 Doors Down

LETHAL LIES, #2  My Review


Rebecca Zanetti is the author of over twenty-five romantic suspense, dark paranormal, and contemporary romances, and her books have appeared multiple times on the New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon bestseller lists. She has received a Publisher's Weekly Starred Review for Wicked Edge, Romantic Times Reviewer Choice Nominations for Forgotten Sins and Sweet Revenge, and RT Top Picks for several of her novels.  She lives in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest with her own alpha hero, two kids, a couple of dogs, a crazy cat...and a huge extended family.  She believes strongly in luck, karma, and working her butt off...and she thinks one of the best things about being an author, unlike the lawyer she used to be, is that she can let the crazy out.


Saturday, May 13, 2017

Review: Because of Miss Bridgerton

Because of Miss Bridgerton Because of Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Found the heroine hard to connect with, she was a bit oblivious/ignorant of how rude she would come off. The hero was a beta treat and their enemies-to-lovers trope I'm a sucker for but their interactions and chemistry seemed a bit off and uneven. This could have been a novella as a lot of the story dragged and felt like not much happened, very character driven but problems with unevenness I mentioned hurt it. Quinn's writing is always good so I liked it but this felt uninspired compared to her original Bridgerton series.

View all my reviews

Reading Update: 70%

He looked at her in wonderment. She was so much more than he’d ever allowed himself to see.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Random Number Generator Month!

Round 2

Oooh another early selection

Only by HelenKay Dimon

The reviews do not look too promising but what the hey, I'm game.

Show me what ya' got RNG!

Waaaay down the list I go...

Scandalous Ever After by Theresa Romain

I wish, RNG! This doesn't come out until July 4th. 

Baaaack up the list I go...

Closer by Sarah Greyson

Another one I have no clue about but giving it a whirl :)

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Review: To Win a Lady's Heart

To Win a Lady's Heart To Win a Lady's Heart by Ingrid Hahn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 stars

Distinct writing style that I think will capture some and may turn others off. A bit abrupt with how some scenes ended, cutting off the climax (the distinct writing style I mentioned) but I adored the leads. The hero and heroine are beautifully awkward and I loved how different they are from the usual regency masses. Heroine gets a bit annoying with her back and forth and martyr syndrome but her relationship with the hero had me being more forgiving.
Have a feeling the writing style will make this a love it or hate it, I quite enjoyed it and will definitely be looking out for more from author.

View all my reviews

Review: The Bad Luck Bride

The Bad Luck Bride The Bad Luck Bride by Janna MacGregor
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Claire is on her fourth fiancé when her "curse" strikes again but Lord Alexander Pembrooke miraculously shows up and wants to be her fifth.
Years of planning have finally put Alex in position to destroy his old friend Lord Paul, gaining the beautiful Claire is simply a bonus.
Old hurts and lies by omission will work to keep Alex and Claire apart if they can't figure out how to open their hearts to one another.

"Our marriage is based upon hate and revenge."

First in the Cavensham Heiresses series, The Bad Luck Bride is Janna MacGregor's debut book. The prologue was intense, dark, and intriguing as we get introduced to our hero Alexander and his two friends, Lord Somerton and Lord Paul. There's betrayal, pain, anger, and hurt, all set in a swirling snow storm; I was instantly hooked. As the story went on though, the author had a tendency to overwrite (a bit too descriptive at times for my tastes), the cast of characters became a bit overwhelming, the story started to drag with repetitiveness, and the focus on the lead's chemistry faded away.

Alex misinterpreted a suicide note left by his sister and blamed his friend Lord Paul for her death. This is the catalyst for the story as he works to destroy Paul and leads Alex to marrying Claire. If we would have just had this one misunderstanding, I would have went with it but Alex is a rush to judgment guy and the repeating of him getting angry and then saying oops (not the best apology man) was a bit frustrating.

I liked Claire in the beginning as she seemed unfairly saddled with the "curse" talk but we lose her as the story goes on. The curse was brought up so much, I almost thought I was reading a medieval and it was a big deal because people wanted to burn the witch at the stake. I wish it would have been handled more as a bullying tactic the ton was using instead of the awkward heavier weight it was given, especially since it isn't fully explained until the very end.

When our leads first meet, I loved the chemistry they had, their discourse had some great by-play but as the story went on, due to the overload of the curse talk, overly handful of secondary characters, and forced angst, Alex and Claire seemed to be kept apart more than they were together. Their fights and flushing out of feelings was less interactions and more in their own heads, I prefer the characters to interact more.

I wish the editor had been heavier handed as trimming up side tangents that become repetitive or simply didn't add much to the story, could have made this stronger as more scenes and the focus would have been more on what worked, the chemistry between the leads. There's also some series baiting characters, I'll be interested to see if the author plans on trying to redeem Lord Paul as he seems to have gotten a raw deal but also had a tendency to tell some lies that make him pretty hard to like.

As a debut though, I can see the hints of promise this author has and will be interested in trying her again.

View all my reviews