Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Wednesday Chatter #17: Blogging and guilt

Wednesday Chatter is a weekly feature at Ruby's Books where we'll be talking about anything and everything related to books and reading. Click here if you want to see what we talked about in the previous weeks

WARNING: Some bad words might be used in the following post. Don't say I didn't warn you!

Hello lovely book lovers! I hope you're having a great Wednesday.

Today's post was inspired by a recent discussion topic Tonyalee from Lilybloombooks wrote about reviewing every book you read. Reading that post and writing a comment gave me an idea to write about when I feel guilt in my blogging life, but also how I plan on changing that, because after 6 years of blogging, I feel like I've grown up as a blogger, and I want to keep doing this, so there's a few changes that I feel are needed. Sort of. Maybe. Moving on! Can't believe I'm doing this!

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I feel guilty when:

  • I'm not reviewing books on my blog, just on Goodreads
If you've followed me for a longer time, you probably know I don't review books I don't like or books that I DNF. I tried that once and I felt terrible. I try not to, but, especially with books that everyone around me loves, I feel so bad, because there's definitely a hidden message somewhere that I'm missing. So I tried writing small reviews on Goodreads, or if the books I DNF are from Netgalley, I simply send a note to the publisher to let them know that I couldn't finish the book. I feel so much guilt over not writing that review on my blog, that you guys wouldn't even believe. It's like I'm betraying my blog. I sound like a maniac right now, but that's how I feel.

How I plan on changing that? I might start posting tiny reviews for the books I DNF, mostly because I realize (and I always have realized that) it's not something to be ashamed of, and also because by doing it, maybe someone will find the aspects I didn't like compelling enough to read that particular book. OR we could have a nice, honest, respectful conversation about those aspects, in which we discuss what I got wrong or right. 
  • I don't review books I picked up to read on my own
Look, I tried staying away from Netgalley. I really did. I actually did it for about a year or so. Then I went back to it, BECAUSE NETGALLEY IS AWESOME!! Also, some other sites that are just like Netgalley, work with other authors, and those are awesome too, and OMG HOW TO I STOP THE MADNESS? (You can't, Ruby, you can't!) And don't get me started on blog tours. Those are my weakness, guys! Especially when I see authors that I desperately want to read more books of.

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This would be me, if you see Roger as the image of Netgalley, blog tours and the likes

Basically there's not a lot of time for me to post reviews of books I've read because one day I was browsing my shelves and picked one at random.

I actually have a plan to change this, and it's really simple. This year I did something really different with my reading habits. I picked a monthly theme, if you can call it that, and I stuck to reading only books with that theme. Kind of like ARC August, if you will. Of course, I'll probably keep September as an ARC-only month as well, just to get control over those ARCs, but I'm thinking of making November and December "shelf-only" reading months, so I'll probably try really hard to control myself starting with October and not request anymore books. That way I'll review those books that I picked up on my own and this guilt shall disappear. 
  • I'm writing reviews for books intended to different age groups
This one is a bit difficult for me. When I started my blog 6 years ago (HOLY BANANAS, IT'S BEEN OVER 6 YEARS GUYS!!!), I read adult books exclusively. Starting my blog, getting to know other bloggers, opened up the world of YA to me, and for a while I managed to keep it kind of balanced, to read both YA and adult books, as well as review them. Then, about three years ago or so, I started reading more YA books, and therefore review more YA books, and not a lot of adult ones. Now I crave the more adult themes, and the darker side of fictional worlds, and I have this... I don't know if you can call it guilt, really, but it's a strange feeling for me, to write reviews for YA books in the same week as adult books. I do have an "age group" entry at the beginning of each review, and I do realize there's nothing to be guilty of when posting those reviews, but I still am confused over how to balance the two. 

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No, I can't choose an age group. Because I like both

I was thinking of making a schedule. So for the last few months, Tuesdays are exclusively for comic book reviews, so maybe I'll do the same with the rest of the books I read. I don't know. Does anyone else have this problem? Or I'm just that weird?
  • I can't come up with a discussion post topic every week
Look, coming up with stuff to talk about is a hard thing. I signed up for Book Blog Discussion Challenge and said I was going to post somewhere between 25 and 36 discussion posts, but it's not an easy thing to do. I've done only 5. Actually 6, if you're counting the present post. I have this idea that all of the topics I come up with have been done already, and there's nothing more to say on the matter, and that might be true, (or not, who knows?) but the point is that I don't always have something to say. And when another week passes and I've come up with nothing, I feel guilty. Because come on, lets be honest here for a second. Who reads reviews? I've had more views on cover reveals, memes, and book tags than on reviews. It's sad, because I and all of the other book reviewers out there, pour our hearts and souls into a review, but it's true. It's a thing that's happening. Or maybe my reviews don't get read all that much, which is sad too, but there seems to be a shift in blog readers' preferences. When I first started blogging, it was all about the reviews. For a few years now I've felt this change in focus, this need for more discussion posts than for reviews. I understand having a discussion post, because it's always interesting to have a conversation between blogger and readers, but I kind of find it sad that reviews are taking a backseat in terms of views. Sure, I don't stress over it, but I feel the pressure to come up with discussion posts that are new, fresh, interesting. And while I think I'm a smart cookie, my brain doesn't always come up with things to write about.

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Do I have a solution? No. Do I want one? Maybe. Depends on the solution, really. And depends on the topic.
  • I don't always feel like blogging
Balancing blogging and work and studying is hard. I know there are teenagers doing it, and kudos to them. But it's hard. Blogging actually feels like a second job sometimes. It starts as something you do for fun, but unless you're really dedicated, at some point in your life you'll realize it's not what you want it to be anymore. Collaborating with publishers, authors, and PR companies, means keeping an active presence in the blogging community, being social, writing new content every week, no matter the community you're in, be it bookstagram, book blogosphere, booktube, booklr, and so on. And I find that sometimes my daytime job sucks so much of my energy, I have none left for blogging. It's sad, and I hate it, and it makes me feel guilty, because I do this for fun, because I enjoy it, because I want to help people discover new books and new authors. So yeah, I feel a little guilty when time passes and I haven't written a blog post in a day or for a few days. 

I know the solution is to schedule posts, which is what I've started doing for a while now, but again, the inspiration/time/energy doesn't always come to me. 

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I hope this post doesn't sound whiny or anything. I'm not really complaining, just merely confessing to my moments of guilt in blogging.

Let's discuss. Do you feel any guilt when you're blogging? If no, HOW DO YOU DO IT? WHAT IS YOUR RECIPE?? SHARE WITH THIS CONFUSED MORTAL. If yes, welcome to the club, have a cookie, and know you're not alone!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Book Review: Flame Unleashed by Jillian David

Author: Jillian David
Series: Hell To Pay #3
Audience: +18
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Crimson Romance
Release Date: September 14th 2015
My Rating: 4 stars
Source: Reading Alley
Blurb (from Goodreads):
When Civil War nurse Ruth Blackstone sacrificed her soul to save her husband’s life, he utterly betrayed her trust. Now, 150 years later, she’s still stuck killing depraved souls to feed her devil of a boss, Jerahmeel. She’s never been one for hair-brained schemes or sweet-talking flirts. That is, until she meets Cajun rogue Odie Pierre-Noir.

Odie has the research and the war plan to overthrow Jerahmeel and win freedom for all Indebteds. There’s just one hitch: he needs Ruth to act as bait. With charm on his side, he shows Ruth an intense passion she’s never experienced before.

Now Ruth must make the hardest decision of her long, damned life: continue in relative safety as an Indebted with Odie as her lover, or risk their eternal souls for one chance to break the curse. Will she choose the lesser evil?

*Disclaimer: I received an e-copy of this book from Reading Alley and Crimson Romance in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my opinion or my rating of the book in any way.

The last book in the Hell To Pay series was a pretty intense one, and definitely not how I pictured it would be. Actually the entire story was surprising and different than what I imagined at first.

You have Odie, an older Indebted, who, I'll be honest, wasn't my favorite in the beginning. I let my feelings be a little bit influenced by Ruth's reluctance to let him in, to be honest. But besides Ruth, I kept wondering what was his angle. I knew he showed his cards from the very beginning, and he was pretty honest from the get go about what his plan was and what he wanted, but a part of me wondered if he wasn't more than just the guy who wanted to end Jerahmeel forever, that maybe he wanted more. Then as the story progressed, I started liking him, especially after he shared his story, which is rather heartbreaking. I liked his dedication and his willingness to do whatever it took to free his brothers and sisters from their boss.

Then there's Ruth. Ruth was also a very different heroine than Allie and Hannah. Reading the book, I kept having this impression that she's much more than a nurse and a killer, like those were just masks. I liked the power struggle that went on between her and Jerahmeel. It was an intriguing aspect of the story. I am happy with how the story ended for her, especially with what she found out about her human family, because she really deserved it.

We finally find out more about Jerahmeel, and his story was not what I expected. Of course, knowing him and knowing what he did to Peter and Dante, I have to question some parts of his story. I also wonder if the ending of the book really meant the end of Jerahmeel. I know this is the last book in the series, but you know me, I'm always craving some drama in my books.

The pacing was great, not different from the other two books. I feel like the ending was a little rushed, especially since I still have some questions about this world. Also Jerahmeel's story kind of brought up more questions. It answered a few, but it certainly opened up a whole bunch of others, for me at least. All of that aside, I really enjoyed this book and I'll definitely be checking Jillian David's books in the future.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Book Review: Ecstasy Unbound by Setta Jay

Author: Setta Jay
Series: Guardians of the Realms #1
Audience: +18
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: January 18th 2014
My Rating: 5 cups
Source: Netgalley
Blurb (from Goodreads):
As one of the twelve Guardians, Urian has spent the last several centuries in a constant battle to keep the inhabitants of Earth’s Realms under control. Humanity has to evolve, hell beasts need to die, and Immortals need mates. But lately, Uri's mind is overrun with thoughts of when his sexy voyeur will find him again, watching him from the shadows, continuing their wicked game. All Guardians are forbidden contact with the little goddess and her brothers, but his need for her escalating, he finds it increasingly difficult to keep from pinning her down on the nearest surface and making her his.

Alexandra has managed to evade the Guardians and being cast out from the human Realm for centuries, ever since the Creators sent the Gods to sleep for their sins against humanity and banished all Immortals. Always sensing that she was needed on Earth, only once has Alex gone against her instincts and the price she paid will forever haunt her. It is for that reason she forces herself to stay away from the only male who has ever truly enticed her. The only one who has ever made her long for what she knows is dangerous.

In a desperate need to help her beloved brother, she will have to go to the enthralling Guardian, her dark obsession, and even though he will surely attempt to exile her, she won't go easily…

Warning: This book contains explicit and sizzling sex scenes with big dominant males. MFM, ménage, and light bondage.

*Disclaimer: I received an e-copy of this book from Netgalley and Setta Jay in exchange for an honest review. This odes not influence my rating or my opinion of the book in any way.

Discovering new authors is such a fantastic feeling, especially in the realm of urban fantasy/paranormal romance. If the stories also happen to have even the smallest tie to mythology and ancient gods, then I'm the happiest reader ever.

I loved the concept of this series. The idea that the Greek Gods were punished due to them being mostly villains is so interesting. I liked reading about how the realms are divided, how the Guardians all have to protect them and make sure that the gods don't wake up. I also liked the story of who the Guardians are. My inner history geek squealed, to be very honest. I also loved the story of how the Gods came to be, or the little part of that story that the readers gets to read about. I am curious to see if the rest of the books in the series also show that and if they explore that aspect more.

I really liked Alexandra. Her backstory is really painful, and it's interesting to see how it still affects her, both physically and mentally. I found that her story was pretty unique, which I loved. Seeing how she had all that power, and yet there were things she couldn't prevent herself from doing or going through was an interesting aspect of her story. I liked her relationship with her brothers. She loves her brothers a lot, and you can really see that, especially with how she's willing to sacrifice herself to save them.

I liked Urian. I liked reading about his struggle to keep from contacting Alexandra, but I also enjoyed the twisted game they seemed to play with each other. It felt almost like a dare, like they were pushing themselves to see who would give in first. Urian is a pretty great Guardian, and I liked how dedicated and how loyal he was to his brothers and sisters. I liked how he helped Alexandra overcome some of her issues, but I would have also enjoyed seeing him teach her how to control what was happening with her.

There's a secondary plot line developing in this book, that I can only hope will be explored in the next books, involving one of Alexandra's brothers. I'm very curious to see what will happen with him in the future. The pace of the book was pretty good, and I am so, so excited to read the next books in the series. The book is also very sexy, which is always nice, and it didn't feel forced or over the top. The physical aspect of Alexandra and Urian's relationship was very interesting and I'm curious to see how that aspect will be explored with the other characters, if it's going to be similar, or if it's going to be very different. Basically I loved this book and I need more. If you're a fan of paranormal romance, you definitely need to read this book.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Release Day Launch: 1001 Dark Nights: Bundle Six

Bundle Six - RDL banner


We are absolutely thrilled to bring you the Release Day Launch for 1001 Dark Nights: Bundle Six! 1001 Dark Nights: Bundle Six is brought to you by 1001 Dark Nights. The Bundle contains 7 novellas, including 2 novellas from 1001 Dark Nights Discovery Authors, Rebecca Yarros and Kennedy Layne! This is one hot bundle. Grab your copy today!

    Bundle Six - cover

From New York Times and USA Today Bestselling authors Jennifer L. Armentrout, Lorelei James, Alexandra Ivy, Laura Wright, Donna Grant, and introducing Rebecca Yarros and Kennedy Layne.

Seven Dark Tales. Seven Sensual Stories. Seven Page Turners.

Every Dark Nights tale is breathtakingly sexy and magically romantic.

DREAM OF YOU: Abby Erickson isn’t looking for a one-night stand, a relationship, or anything that involves any one-on-one time, but when she witnesses a shocking crime, she’s thrust into the hands of Colton Anders. His job is to protect her, but with every look, every touch, and every simmering kiss, she’s in danger of not only losing her life but her heart also.

STRIPPED DOWN: A flirty game of sexual truth or dare between best man, Wynton Grant, and maid of honor, Melissa Lockhart during their BFF’s wedding reception results in a steamy hookup. But their plans for a one and done change when a family crisis leaves Wyn shorthanded at the Grant Ranch. Mel volunteers to help and gets way more than she bargained for.

RAGE: Rage has never had a problem charming the females. All except Lucie Gaudet. The lovely Geek is a born troublemaker, and it was no surprise to Rage when she was kicked out of the Wildlands. Now the Pantera need a first-class hacker to stop the potential destruction of their people, and it’s up to Rage to convince Lucie to help.

KILLIAN: Gorgeous, brutal, aggressive, and human, Killian O’Roarke wants only two things: to get rid of the Pantera DNA he’s been infected with, and get back to the field. Rosalie lost her mate to a human, and now the Hunter despises them all. In a time of war between their species, isn’t any chance of love destined for destruction?

DRAGON KING: Grace Clark has found the perfect spot to break through her writer’s block. Until Arian, a Dragon King who has slept away centuries in his cave, appears and tries to force her away from the mountain. Unaware of the war she just stumbled into, Grace doesn’t just discover the perfect place to write, she finds Arian – the most gorgeous, enticing, mysterious man she’s ever met.

IGNITE: In Legacy, Colorado, I buried my father alongside his elite Hotshot team. Ten years later, I’ve followed in his footsteps—fighting fires in the mountains of Alaska with my brother. Amid the flames, nothing ignites me like Avery Claire. She’s stubborn, strong, sexy as hell, and my best friend. She also has no idea that I’m in love with her.

FATED IDENTITY: Grady Kenton relishes the long seductive weekends with Brienne Chaylse, the beautiful CIA liaison who understands his boundaries and accepts things the way he needs them to be. When Brienne’s identity as a CIA special agent is leaked to the media, she and Grady must race to discover whose betrayal runs deep while their true feelings emerge.

Experience the 1001 Dark Nights: Bundle Six Here…

      Romantic photo of the loving young couple  

About the 1001 Dark Nights: Bundle Six Authors-

JLA - headhsot
About Jennifer L. Armentrout: #1 New York Times and #1 International Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing, she spends her time reading, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki. Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV. Her young adult romantic suspense novel DON’T LOOK BACK was a 2014 nominated Best in Young Adult Fiction by YALSA. She also writes Adult and New Adult contemporary and paranormal romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.

Lorelei James - headshot  About Lorelei James: Lorelei James is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of contemporary erotic western romances set in the modern day Wild West and also contemporary erotic romances. Lorelei’s books have been nominated for and won the Romantic Times Reviewer’s choice Award, as well as the CAPA Award. Lorelei lives in western South Dakota with her family…and a whole closet full of cow girl boots. From Lorelei: “Why do I have a particular fondness for all things western? Well, I’m a fourth generation South Dakotan, living in the Black Hills, which is chock-full of interesting characters, including cowboys, Indians, ranchers, and bikers. The geographical diversity of the surrounding area showcases mountains, plains, and badlands. Living in and writing about rural settings gives me a unique perspective, especially since I’m not writing historical westerns. Through my fictional world, I can show the ideals and the cowboy way of life are still very much alive.”

Alexandra Ivy - headshot  About Alexandra Ivy: Alexandra Ivy is a New York Times and USA Todaybestselling author. From Alexandra: “I’m not exactly sure when I fell in love with books. Probably on my mother’s knee listening to her read Dr. Seuss to me. I do remember that I was barely old enough to cross the street by myself when I discovered the delights of the local library. Could anything be more wonderful than spending summer days surrounded by stacks of Nancy Drew mysteries? Over the years I fell in love with Victoria Holt, Jane Austen, Agatha Christie, and J.R.R. Tolkien just to name a few. I read poetry, essays, biographies, and plays. In fact, I read anything I could get my hands on. Years later (no, I’m not admitting how many) I’m still an avid reader, and my tastes are still as varied as they were in my youth, which I suppose helps to explain why I enjoy writing regency historicals under the name of Deborah Raleigh, as well as my contemporary paranormals as Alexandra Ivy. For now that is enough to keep me busy, but who knows what the future might hold! I do have a few other loves in my life besides reading and writing, the most important being my unbelievably patient husband, David, and my two sons, Chance and Alexander. Without their constant support and belief in me, I never could have been able to follow my dreams. They are truly my heroes.

Laura Wright - headhsot  About Laura Wright: Laura Wright is a New York Times and USA Todaybestselling author. From Laura: “Unlike many of my peers in the writing world, I wasn’t a writer or a reader until I left high school. During my youth I was into theater, song and dance, commercials and boys. I loved romance surely, but I had never read a romance novel until my late teens. With that said, I remember the day I did like it was a moment ago – my aunt gave me the Jude Deveraux novel, Knight in Shining Armor and I couldn’t put it down until the very last word. Then I went straight to the library and got another – then another until I’d read everything she’d ever written. After that, it was McNaught, Howard, Schone, Kleypas, and the Silhouette line, Desire. I instantly loved those emotional, sexy reads, so much so that I began to carve out ideas for my own stories, themes that were unique to me and moved me. In 1997 I enrolled in UCLA extension writing classes, met my mentor and critique partners and since have never stopped writing. I was committed then and I still am now; the need to tell my own romantic stories a full on obsession. My first manuscript was rejected, and though the second one was as well the editor who’d rejected it wanted to see something else from me. I had something (note to authors; always keep working, even after you’ve sent in a proposal) and sent it right away. The day I got the call telling me Desire wanted to buy Cinderella and the Playboy was the best day of my life. That is until I married my husband, and had my two beautiful children. But I must say, writing is much like motherhood – tough, grueling, surprising, delicious and for me, a dream come true.”

Donna Grant - headshot  About Donna Grant: Donna Grant is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the sizzling Dark King series featuring dragons, immortal Highlanders, and the Fae. She was born and raised in Texas but loves to travel. Her adventures have taken her throughout the United States as well as to Jamaica, Mexico, and Scotland. Growing up on the Texas/Louisiana border, Donna’s Cajun side of the family taught her the “spicy” side of life while her Texas roots gave her two-steppin’ and bareback riding. Despite deadlines and voracious reading, Donna still manages to keep up with her two children, four cats, and one long haired Chihuahua.

Rebecca Yarros - headshot  About Rebecca Yarros: Rebecca Yarros is a hopeless romantic and lover of all things chocolate, coffee, and Paleo. In addition to being a mom, military wife, and blogger, she can never choose between Young Adult and New Adult fiction, so she writes both. She’s a graduate of Troy University, where she studied European history and English, but still holds out hope for an acceptance letter to Hogwarts. Her blog, The Only Girl Among Boys, has been voted the Top Military Mom Blog the last two years, and celebrates the complex issues surrounding the military life she adores. When she’s not writing, she’s tying on hockey skates for her kids, or sneaking in some guitar time. She is madly in love with her army-aviator husband of eleven years. They finally can call Colorado home along with their gaggle of rambunctious kiddos and snoring English Bulldog.

Kennedy Layne - headshot
About Kennedy Layne: “First and foremost, I love life. I love that I’m a wife, mother, daughter, sister…and a writer. “I am one of the lucky women in this world who gets to do what makes them happy. As long as I have a cup of coffee (maybe two or three) and my laptop, the stories evolve themselves and I try to do them justice. I draw my inspiration from a retired Marine Master Sergeant that swept me off of my feet and has drawn me into a world that fulfills all of my deepest and darkest desires. Smoldering romance, military men, intrigue, with a little bit of kinky chili pepper (his recipe), fill my head and there is nothing more satisfying than making the hero and heroine fulfill their destinies. “Thank you for having joined me on their journeys…”   

Bundle 6 - Now Available
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Release Day Celebration: Into The Light by Caroline T. Patti with Giveaway

Welcome to the Release Day Celebration for
Into The Light (Into The Dark #2) by Caroline T. Patti
presented by Month9Books!
Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!
Happy Book Birthday, Caroline!
Into the Light Cover
Mercy’s family is back together and the threat of danger appears to have passed. But any relief she feels is short lived as she is ripped from her body and thrown in jail. Gage and Nathaniel’s plans to break Mercy out won’t exactly be easy. Stuffed full of a chemical binding agent, Mercy is trapped inside the body of a convict without the ability to breach and set herself free. Unfortunately for Mercy, being trapped in jail becomes the least of her problems when she meets her evil twin, Justice.
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Into the Light (Into the Dark #2) by Caroline T. Patti Publication Date: August 23, 2016 Publisher: Month9Books
A girl’s sweet sixteen party is supposed to be among the most memorable events of her life. But on the night of hers, Mercy Clare wakes in the waiting room of a hospital with no memory of how she got there. To make matters worse, she’s wearing something she’d never be caught dead in: her best friend Lyla’s clothes.
Mercy’s nightmare is just beginning. The doctor arrives to tell her that it’s she who lies in the hospital bed waiting to die. A trip to the bathroom confirms Mercy’s fears, as Lyla’s face stares back at her and Lyla’s curvy figure pokes through her tight clothes.
But finding out what’s really going on won’t be easy. Because if Mercy wants her body back, it might just cost her Lyla’s life.
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Amazon | Kobo | B&N | Chapters | iBooks | BAM | TBD
Caroline T Patti is the author of The World Spins Madly On and Too Late To Apologize. When she’s not writing, she’s a school librarian, mother of two, wife, avid reader and Green Bay Packer fan. You can chat with her on Twitter: carolinetpatti or find her on Facebook: Author Caroline T Patti.
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Monday, August 22, 2016

Book Review: Rookie Move by Sarina Bowen (ARC)

Author: Sarina Bowen
Series: Brooklyn Bruisers #1
Audience: +18
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Sports Romance
Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group
Release Date: 06 Sep 2016
My Rating: 5 cups
Source: Netgalley
Blurb (from Goodreads):
The first novel in a sexy new series featuring the hockey players of the Brooklyn Bruisers and the women who win their hearts—from the USA Today bestselling author of the Ivy Years series.

In high school they were the perfect couple—until the day Georgia left Leo in the cold...

Hockey player Leo Trevi has spent the last six years trying to do two things: get over the girl who broke his heart, and succeed in the NHL. But on the first day he’s called up to the newly franchised Brooklyn Bruisers, Leo gets checked on both sides, first by the team’s coach—who has a long simmering grudge, and then by the Bruisers’ sexy, icy publicist—his former girlfriend Georgia Worthington.

Saying goodbye to Leo was one of the hardest things Georgia ever had to do—and saying hello again isn’t much easier. Georgia is determined to keep their relationship strictly professional, but when a press conference microphone catches Leo declaring his feelings for her, things get really personal, really fast...

*Disclaimer: I received an e-copy of this book from Netgalley and Berkley Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my opinion or my rating of the book in any way.

Sports romance is becoming one of my top 5 romance subgenres. This paired with my newly discovered love of hockey, made me desperately need to read Rookie Move. Let me tell you, it was an awesome decision.

It's always interesting to read about second chances, about high school sweethearts getting a second chance at a relationship, mostly because it's interesting to see how they evolved and how the relationship can grow, but also because it's cute. I admit it! My inner romantic goes giddy over second chance stories, I think I've already told you that. Georgia and Leo's story is particularly beautiful because of what happened to make them break up. It's a sad story, really.

Georgia was a great character. Her story is heartbreaking. There's a beautiful scene between her and her roommate, Becca, where she realizes that fear and courage aren't mutually exclusive, and I loved that scene. And it also touches on the fact that some crimes affect your loved ones as well. Georgia is fearless even with her past, and I loved reading about that.

Leo was such a sweetheart. I loved him so, so much. I think even as a teenager, he was a great man, and I was so happy that he got to find his happy ending, because a guy like that deserves that and more. We don't get to see much of his life from the time he was apart from Georgia, aside from a few mentions here and there. I would have wanted to see more of that, but this is probably due to the fact that Brooklyn Bruisers is a spin-off to Bowen's Ivy Years, and there's a possibility that some of those scenes are in those books.

I was also glad that there was a lot more sport in this book. The sport wasn't just something some of the characters did, but at times it kind of felt like another character in the book, which was nice. I am curious to see how the author will approach the various aspects of the sport in the future books, depending on the main character's involvement in the team. And, yes, I may be very happy about who the hero of the next book is.

This was my first Sarina Bowen book, but I'll definitely check her other titles out while I'm waiting for the next Brooklyn Bruiser book to come out.

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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Book Review: Relentless Flame by Jillian Davis

Author: Jillian Davis
Series: Hell to Pay #2
Audience: +18
Genre: Paranormal romance
Publisher: Crimson Romance
Release Date: May 4th 2015
My Rating: 5 cups
Source: Reading Alley
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Immortal. Colossal. Suave. Indebted killer Dante Blackstone has the world at his feet. Every vice, any desire, is his for the asking—until he finds the one person he cannot have: one sweet, diminutive woman who could bring about Dante’s destruction.

Despite her supernatural ability to heal others, a devastating act of evil has left Hannah Miller broken in body and spirit. As she rebuilds her life while on the lam, a not-so-chance meeting with Dante chips away at the walls surrounding her fragile heart. But before their fledgling love can take flight, Dante’s boss sends an evil minion with one mandate: Eliminate Dante’s new reason to break his eternal contract.

As they fight to survive, Hannah’s amazing gift gives Dante one chance to save them both from the vicious minion. How can any love survive eternal hell and annihilation?

The answer lies in Dante’s inferno.

*Disclaimer: I received an e-copy of this book from Reading Alley and Crimson Romance in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my opinion or my rating of the book in any way.

There are books in series that are good, and then there are books that kind of set the bar for the next installments in the series. Relentless Flame is that book for the Hell to Pay series.

First of all, let me tell you that the cover model looks so similar to Kevin Sorbo. If you don't know who Kevin Sorbo is shame on you, and go search him. I had to get that off my chest before talking about the book. My love for the book has nothing to do with KS, just FYI. Anyway, moving on.

Dante is the kind of hero that I love to love. He is cocky, he is sure of himself, and he knows what he wants and acts accordingly. The part that I love about him? He is so freaking adorable when he's out of his element. I giggled like a loon reading his first interactions with Hannah, because he was so confused by her. Here you have an old-as-dirt man that has been with more women than he could ever count, and Hannah renders him speechless. I loved that so much, mostly because I love reading about the inner struggle of any character to realize that they can be bested. Aside from the funny stuff, I love that with him you can sort of see the old, kind of classic upbringing. I love his speech patterns, his vocabulary, even the little phrases in Swedish. A testament to Davis' writing style really, because it was a different experience than with reading Peter's book. I loved that book, yes, but this book had an old-soul feel to it.

Hannah was awesome. Her life was so tragic, and I am so happy with how the story ended for her. I was impressed by her, really. She has an interesting ability, to heal people, and it's interesting to see how that ability isn't helping her heal her soul. I found that aspect of her really intriguing.

I like how the story is going for Jerahmeel. I love how both the previous book and this one show how he is slowly losing it. I also like that he's not portrayed in a typical way, he isn't smooth or silent or just deadly. He seems more deranged, and I like that.

I liked the pacing of the book, it felt fast enough to keep me on my toes, but slow enough to not make the relationship between Hannah and Dante forced. This book also introduced a new character, Ruth, and her book is next. I'm curious how that will go on, and how the rest of the Indebted start fighting for their freedom. I'm not ready for the series to end, though. Is it too much to hope for a spin-off?

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Comic Book Tuesday #13: Monstress #2 by Marjorie M. Liu

Author: Marjorie M. Liu
Series: Monstress #2
Genre: Comic Book, Graphic Novel
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: December 9th 2015
My Rating: 4 cups
Source: Netgaley
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Maika fights to cross the wall. Elsewhere, the Warlord makes her move.

*Disclaimer: I received an e-copy of this book from Netgalley and Image Comics in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my opinion or my rating of the book in any way.

This second issue of the Monstress comic book picks up right after the first one ends. We get to see the struggles of Maika to get away from the people hunting her, as well as from herself.

We also get to see a little bit more from the villain's POV, and so far I'm wondering who the biggest threat is. I haven't yet decided if Maika's more in danger because of other people or because of herself.

The art is, as in the first issue, beautiful, with dark colors, although some rich colors do appear because of some new characters.

My favorite thing about this issue was the ending, which presents a different view of the history of the world in this comic book. It's difficult to talk about it without giving too much away, but I like how it gives a sort of unbiased view of what happened before this particular story. I adore it, anyways.

I did however felt the need for the issue to be bigger, maybe not as big as the last one, but I felt like the story is so rich and complex, that I wished it lasted longer. All of that aside, a good installment and I am curious to see what happens next.

I loved it photo Image10.png

Sunday, August 14, 2016

ARC August 2016: Week 2 Progress Update

Hello fellow readers! I hope your weekend went great and that it will continue to be fantastic. I decided to give you an update for my ARC August challenge. In case you don't remember, I planned on reading at least 27 books during this challenge. Here's where I stand after the first two weeks:

ARCs read that were part of my initial list:

ARCs read that weren't part of my list:

I know I said on Twitter that I was going to start with my oldest ARC on my initial list, Menagerie, and I was going to, honestly! But for some reason my heart wasn't into it, and I decided instead of DNFing, to work my way up to it. Plus, I was craving some fast paced books. Also, I recently got some other books that I need to get to, that are ARCs and that weren't part of that list. I hope to get to read them all *fingers crossed*.

So as of right now, I've read 3 books out of 27, and 1 book extra. Pretty proud of myself, considering I've had to do some work around the house and could only read at night, before bed. Hopefully soon I'll get some free time on my hands.

Did you make any progress on reading the books you wanted to during this challenge?

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Book Review: Kayden/Simon by Alexandra Ivy and Laura Wright (ARC)

Author: Alexandra Ivy, Laura Wright
Series: Bayou Heat #21-22
Audience: +18
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Evil Eye Concepts, Incorporated
Release Date: August 9th 2016
My Rating: 4.5 cups
Source: InkSlinger PR
Blurb (from Goodreads):

Kayden is obsessed with revenge after his parents disappeared when he was just a cub. Now the gorgeous Hunter has discovered the man responsible for betraying them - Joshua Ford - and it’s time for payback. Beginning with the kidnapping of Joshua’s daughter, Bianca. But last thing he expects is to be confronted with the horrifying realization that Bianca is his mate. Will he put revenge before his chance for eternal happiness?


Sexy male model, Simon refuses to give up his exciting life in New York City to return to the slow heat of the Wildlands. For a decade, many pantera have tried to capture the rogue Diplomat and bring him home, but all have failed. Now it’s Tryst’s turn. The hard, brilliant, and gorgeous, Hunter is the ultimate tracker. But can the admitted beast-girl of the Wildlands capture her prey without losing her heart in the process?
*Disclaimer: I received an eARC of this book from INKSlinger PR and Evil Eye Concepts, Incorporated in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my opinion or rating of the book in any way.

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. First of all, I've never before read this series (shame on me, I know), so I was a bit afraid that I'd be lost, that maybe I wouldn't understand the way the series works.

I am very happy that that was not the case. Yes, there are chunks of story that I'm missing, but I didn't feel that way while reading this book, I didn't feel like I was lost in an unknown place, which is a fantastic thing, especially for series this long.

The second thing that surprised me was the format. I felt that writing two stories into one book was a very unique idea, and also a very good one. It made the pacing be a little bit more smoother, more relaxed and yet fast paced. And because they're two stories into one, there's no need to drag the story to get to the page count that you need to get to, so the book is basically filled with scenes that need to be there, if that makes sense. Even with the two stories inside, I feel like the authors did a great job at creating the world and for making it as rich as it is.

Speaking of the two stories, I liked them. Kayden is a guy that has suffered a lot, especially since his parents disappeared when he was really young. I liked that even so, he didn't let that anger and that pain rule his judgement. I liked him, and I hope to read more about him in the next books. Bianca is a heroine that I enjoyed reading about. I liked that by the end of the story she finds courage to do certain things that I don't think in the past she would've done them.

Simon's story was my favorite one out of the two. Simon is a hero that hides stuff, and he hides them really well. I loved him, really. He's one of those characters that just need a bear hug, you know? I liked his interaction with Tryst, I liked seeing him trying to keep one step ahead of her. Tryst is a unique character. As the blurb says, she's more her animal than she is human, and I don't think I've ever read about a character like that before. It was interesting, but I would've wanted to read more on that subject. Maybe if the story was longer, we could've explored that side of Tryst more, but even so, I enjoyed reading the way she sees the world.

Like I said, I really enjoyed this book and I'll definitely be checking the other books in this series out. I may have (happily, I might add!) just found yet another paranormal series to fall in love with.

Friday, August 12, 2016

The Olympic Book Tag

This amazing book tag was created by Shannon from It Starts At Midnight and it is absolutely glorious. When I was a kid I used to watch the gymnastics events, synchronized diving, diving. I also used to watch show jumping, because the horses are gorgeous, but not so much anymore. Anyway, on with the tag.

I actually loved this book, from the very beginning. Especially since it starts with the girl hiding in a library. I'd hide there and never get out. EVER! Can you live from pizza and books?

I read The Edge Of Never about three years ago, and I remember loving it. I might do a reread soon.

Look, there's no nice or cute way for me to say it. Unless it's in erotic romance, in which case there's a threesome, I don't care for love triangles. And it's not a triangle. It's usually a character (most of the times female) that's attracted to two other characters (most of the times males) and doesn't know who to choose, because that character kind of needs to grow up and understand that there's love and then there's lust, and in no way does finding someone attractive means you're a cheater, but kissing someone else does and for the love of all the bookish gods, let's not have love triangles anymore please and thank you!

Look, Sophie Kinsella is probably one of my favorite authors ever, and she's on my Auto-buy list and probably will stay there forever. However, the Shopaholic series confuses me to no end. Because, and this is an honest question of mine, HOW MUCH TROUBLE CAN YOU GET INTO AND NOT LEARN ANYTHING FROM IT???? Becky seriously doesn't learn a goddamn thing, and it becomes frustrating. I actually put this one aside, because maybe I'll forget what the series is all about and pick this one up and like it, but honestly, I feel like 3 books about these characters are enough. Sorry, Shopaholic fans out there.

I realize now that haven't read many book set during the summer, which is very sad. I did love Nantucket Blue a lot.

Helm's Deep, people, Helm's Deep. 

Although I've stopped reading this series a while ago, I do remember one of the plot twists in this book that had me reconsidering, in a way, the books that I did read. Not a huge one, necessarily, but an important one. Maybe I'll pick the books up again sometime.

I think I've only ugly-cried during only a handful of books. One of them is this one. Because what else can you do when a character is drawing a portrait of their loved one and their child and then you get to learn the ugly truth, that I won't mention because major spoilers, but it's painful and I'm feeling like crying just thinking about it?!

Although a good book, Ironskin was too slow-paced for my taste.

Y'all were expecting me to say Harry Potter weren't you? I thought about it, and I realized that while, yes, it is a childhood favorite, it's not the book that I first fell in love with. The Hunchback is a fantastic book, and while it has some moments when I was confused, because most of the action is supposed to happen over the course of just two days, I loved it.

There are so many animals in Harry Potter that I adore. But you know what? I want to know what happened to Croockshanks. 

It's not that this book is bad, because it's not. My main issue is that I knew who the killer was before the detectives confirmed it. I felt disappointed that the author showed from the first few pages who the killer was. Sure, there's a certain twist at the end that kind of makes up for it, but barely, really.

The relationship that Wesley and Bianca have is pretty weird, and not a platonic friendship in any way, but I like it.

So I admit that I haven't read many books featuring Olympic sports. The only one that I can think of is Girl Against The Universe. I do imagine that at least one of the books from the Play by Play series by Jaci Burton features an Olympic sport, but I'm not sure.

*phew* I had fun doing this tag! Thanks Shannon for making it! Did you make the tag? If you did, let me know so I can check it out.

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