Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Review: In The Red Zone by Crista McHugh


In the Red Zone


Author: Crista McHugh
Series: Kelly Brothers #6
Pages:Paperback, 212 pages
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: March 25th 2015



Summary:

All-Star linebacker Frank Kelly is as well-known for his off-the-field hits as he is for his on-field ones. When a dance club brawl ends with him in handcuffs again, he’s rescued by a well-connected woman who can get the charges dropped in exchange for a small favor. If he’ll agree to play the part of a doting boyfriend for two months, she’ll keep him out of the slammer and help restore his reputation.

Kiana Dyer may be the daughter of a Hall of Fame football player, but the charity organization she took over when he died isn’t getting the media attention she’d hoped for. A staged romance with Frank Kelly is just the ticket she needs to get in the spotlight. As the lines between fake and real start to blur, she begins to wonder if bailing him out was the best call she’s ever made. Just when everything seems to be falling perfectly in place, scandal surrounds her charity, and she’s the one left scrambling to clear her name.

Recommended for those who like:
Sports Romance
Interracial or Multicultural Romance
BWWM





Review:

This is book six of the Kelly Brothers Series... BOOK SIX!! I can't believe I read six books in this series, it feels like way less. This is a good thing by the way, I rarely keep interest for a series beyond 6book, I quite often get kinda bored after book five or so. When I realised that In The Red Zone is the penultimate in the series, I thought, can't McHugh invent some half brothers? I mean just add that Kelly senior had an affair or two and add a few illegitimate previously unknown brothers.... okay maybe I am a tad bit unreasonable. But sufficient to say, I like the series and wish there would be more way more than just one more book

This one just like the others features one of the Kelly brothers and his love interest. So he is rich and handsome and all around awesome, naturally. McHugh did this really clever thing though, that each brother is in a different profession and in a different place than all the others. Which as a result means each book is set in completely different premisses.  As I said very clever. It makes each book feel fresh and each book works as a standalone as well. While naturally it's advised to read the series in order, you don't really have to. The books don't really give away any spoilers- well nearly none at least. Which brings me to one of the things I found lacking in In The Red Zone; I really would have liked more of the other Kelly in this book. I love the brothers and other than a few phone call, there was no interactions between them.

The story line is, well frankly, predictable. None of the twists surprised me at all, not only that I saw them coming from a mile. There is the usual usual that comes with a cute & fluffy - and a really sweet ending.  No surprise but very enjoyable, I read this in one sitting. So if you need an insta c&f fix this is your thing.

The writing, well no surprise, is great. I adore Crista McHugh's prose. In fact I found her books by chance on Netgalley and have read every single thing she released ever since. She has definitely a way with words and is one of my favorite Indie authors.

The character building was interesting for a couple of reasons. First Frank is a red head... which well, no offense doesn't usually make me think of hot and sexy.... but well, true to form, McHugh made him not only a total toyboy, she also gave him integrity and made him desirable not just because of his abs.. trust me total marriage material. Let me illustrate that for you...


Changed my mind entirely ;) I like red heads now.. and the smut, oh the smut in this, it helped greatly achieve that..yep, McHugh did write some rather enticing smut scenes


Kiana is of a totally different background than any other female character and comes with plenty of baggage. But frankly I wasn't sure I could relate to some of her issues. In fact some of them just made me roll my eyes and feel she was being over dramatic.
Her brother was too cliche for me, I found him not believable, though to be honest, I could not point out exactly why and what. Maybe it was just all a tad too over the top? Not sure. I had huge issues with his name calling for starters, but not only that, I could just not understand where the animosity came from at all...
Talking about that, I am not sure how I feel about how Kiana handled the situation in the end. I mean she did live with T for most of her life? And how does the mother feel? It was a bit to fast and to easily done with.

A side note: as someone who is in a mixed race marriage, I found it really cool that McHugh went that route. And even better that she actually showed that while often the couple doesn't really think of themselves in that term- others not only do, they often point it out as well. I don't think I'll ever get the issue and will definitely never even get close to understanding the name calling. While this is not a deep social analyses- it was nice to read a romance set in that setting. McHugh managed to bring diversity without making it a big deal. Just like in real life!

All in all: a great addition to a wonderful series and I am looking forward to the next book in the series.
Well written, fun cute & fluffy a must read for lovers of the genre.





Rating: 





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Monday, March 23, 2015

Review: Damian by Jessica Wood


Damian


Author: Jessica Wood
Publisher: Createspace
Series: Hearbreaker #1
Pages:Paperback, 308 pages
Genre: Romance
Release Date: December 22nd 2013



Summary:

Meet Damian Castillo. The man, the legend, the heartbreaker. As a self-proclaimed man-whore, Damian doesn't believe in love or commitment. In fact, he can't remember the last time he's had feeling for a woman that went beyond hot, no-strings-attached sex. The only things he cares about are his bar, his appearance, and his needs. But then he meets Alexis. Meet Alexis Blythe. A small town girl that has lost a lot of love in her life. Wanting to leave her past behind her, she moves to San Francisco looking for a big change. Yet, despite everything she's gone through, she still believes in true love. But then she meets Damian. When Alexis shows up into his life, Damian's caught by surprise. She's different. She's sweet, innocent, and feisty. But above all, this woman didn't respond to his charm and piercing-blue eyes the way every other woman did. To Damian, she's his ultimate challenge. Could Alexis be the girl that will break through Damian's wall of perpetual bachelorhood without getting hurt? Or will Damian remain true his ways and break Alexis's heart and her hopes of true love?




Review:

So let's just start with the positive.It does have it's moments... Though mere moments they are.

This is quite well written, actually, which is why I finished it. And I think if the writing style would have been bad, I would have felt less ...well.. disappointed, but as it is I am just asking myself, why?

The Character building was kinda interesting. There is a clear visible attempt made to make the two MCs unique-ish. Sadly it was not quite successful. It was very promising at first and then just fell short, because it was completely overshadowed by the storyline and somehow it felt like Wood didn't dig deep enough. There is too much cliche going on here for starters, but that could have been remedied if it the characters would have had more depth, if Wood would have gone on and depend what she started...But instead she relied on the plot. It's sadly a plot driven novel.

The story line- well, the story line --- let me give you an outline:
So he is a tots manwhore- but he is the most beautiful male, just freakn perfection.Just a male dripping with gorgeousness. And with the most fabulous cocky douche lines ever to grace the world. He is so full of himself confident.
EVERY woman wants to f@$* him, literally EVERY female -oh yes they do! trust me every single one of them- and they will do whatever it takes... WHATEVER it take...
BUUUUT he doesn't do commitment... EXCEPT he has this special connection with HER
*drum roll*
queue insta-Ls....
The HER is clumsy, immune to his wooing, down to earth, girl-next-door and while super gorgeous totally unaware of it
Naturally she knows he is trouble EXCEPT she has this special connection with HIM.
Get the picture? Yeah, I guess it cute & fluffy cliche-ville. And I would probably rated this a quite a bit higher- if this would not have been just a string of cliches added up.There is a pottery wheel scene in this book as well and I was simply wondering why on earth would anyone touch that scene? It was done so big time in Ghost - that it is never going to be salvageable like ever. I also should mention, my biggest worry didn't come true, Wood didn't make it all sexy, she turned it into a fun scene, still it was a cringe worthy one as well.
There is the big drama at 75%- and I actually found myself kinda surprised with the fact that I cared. Which I decided was down to the good writing style... Then it's all happy clappy and the perfunctory cliffy. Now the happy clappy just put me off. It so beyond cliche, so grand gestures and statement, it feels fake, over the top and well, it made my eyes sore. Seriously. And I just couldn't care anymore. And then there is the cliffhanger. *snorts* Dude, can you say predictable? Want me to give you a run down of the next book? Trust me I could! But really I couldn't even give a fig!

So someone tell me: WHY?

Why just string up cliches? Why write this? Why add the pottery scene? Why use the words: "That was amazing" after and during every smut scene?
And WHY did I spend my precious reading time on this?? Why didn't I just DNF?
But mostly, why would anyone read the next book?!

Rating: 


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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Review: Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman


Shadow Scale


Author: Rachel Hartman
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Series: Seraphina #2
Pages: Hardcover, 608 pages
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: March 10th 2015



Summary:

Seraphina took the literary world by storm with 8 starred reviews and numerous “Best of” lists. At last, her eagerly awaited sequel has arrived—and with it comes an epic battle between humans and dragons.

The kingdom of Goredd: a world where humans and dragons share life with an uneasy balance, and those few who are both human and dragon must hide the truth. Seraphina is one of these, part girl, part dragon, who is reluctantly drawn into the politics of her world. When war breaks out between the dragons and humans, she must travel the lands to find those like herself—for she has an inexplicable connection to all of them, and together they will be able to fight the dragons in powerful, magical ways.

As Seraphina gathers this motley crew, she is pursued by humans who want to stop her. But the most terrifying is another half dragon, who can creep into people’s minds and take them over. Until now, Seraphina has kept her mind safe from intruders, but that also means she’s held back her own gift. It is time to make a choice: Cling to the safety of her old life, or embrace a powerful new destiny?





Review:

Shadow Scale is a really difficult one to review for me. I am rather heartsore for two reasons:I had huge expectations and somehow they were not met,  the other being that this is a well written book, but  if you take a look at my rating, I didn't much enjoy it.
I adore Seraphina. I couldn't wait for it's sequel, I was convinced that there was no way that I wouldn't like it. But sadly though, I don't loath it, it just didn't work for me. It took me ages to pinpoint what it was actually. Because there are many things that are really good about Shadow Scale. So if you would add it all up this should be great, right? Uhm, wrong. And this fact actually made me think about what makes one like a book? What makes me, specifically enjoy reading one book and not the ohter? Before I go all geek philosopher let's take a look at this particular book.

The writings style is beautiful. It is just as I expected. Hartman is an extremely talented writer. Her prose at times feels like poetry. There is a great sense of humour to the characters, which made me smirk, there is a wonderful eye to detail when it comes to descriptions. I enjoy her prose and I am looking forward to hopefully many many more books from her.

The world building is exquisite. I adore the quirky and slightly weird world Hartman created. It's unique and really interesting. But there were times when the extensive world building felt more like being dumped on me than elegantly woven into the story, like it was in Seraphina. And while I adored Serphina's mental garden in the first book, for some reason it grated on me in this one. Why? I honestly don't know.  I thought about it and I can't explain why, only that it felt more and more tedious, made the pace of the story slow down even more. And at times I just didn't get why Hartman added it. It didn't add to the story, in fact I felt it distracted me. It just didn't work for me.

The character building is well done. Again, I didn't expect anything else. There is another rather big cast added to this one. And they were done meticulously. Maybe a tad to meticulous? It is just like in Serphina my favorite part of the book.

The plot is probably the biggest let down actually. This is slow. And I mean slow. Look Seraphina was quite slowly paced, there is a lot of world building, tons of details and character building- but I didn't care one bit. Shadow Scale on the other hand felt like a chore to read. It's way to slow paced for me. It took me ages to get into it, well actually I never really did.  Towards the end some of the things that happened were just not in character of the MCs, they made no sense to me. Which was rather annoying, then let's not even talk about the odd solution of the romance.... It just, well beyond unsatisfying? It made me wanna throw my kindle, actually. How did Hartman go from doing one of the sweetest love connections to just appalling?! Honestly I more than dislike the end of the series. It wasn't just disappointing, I mean I care for Seraphina, a great lot, I read over a thousand pages about her, and THAT end left her with what? What was the point of the journey exactly? I don't need a HEA but what was that? It's beyond depressing, it's worst case scenario on so many levels....

My biggest issue with Shadow Scale though: after reading Seraphina I had certain expectations. Which clearly weren't met. But I guess I could have lived with them... But the elements that I loved so much in Seraphina were no where to be seen in it's sequel. Namely the connection between Kiggs and Seraphina- gone. BUT most importantly the music. I adore Hartman's description of all the musical bits, Serphina's feelings, it's meaning to her... All of it. It's some of the most beautiful writing I ever read. In Shadow Scale there is nothing about Serphina's music - at all. It makes no sense to me, simply because it is supposed to be one of the most important things to Seraphina. Instead I was put through the tedious mind garden excersise- why chose that? I am not quite sure why Hartman went that way. All I know is that looking at the two books, both well written one- moved me to the core of my heart the other really didn't.

So what makes one like a book and not another? I guess this will be an eternal question with little answer. Some books just work for me, others just don't....But in the case of this series one spoke to my heart, the other just... well, it just didn't. So despite the great writing, the amazing world building and endearing character building- there was something missing in Shadow Scale-  a spark, something that resonates with me... And I can't tell you how much I wish it would have had it.



Rating: 




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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Blog Tour : The Infinite by Lori M. Lee





We excited to be part of the blog tour for The Infinite by Lori M. Lee. Lori kindly answered a few questions for us, find out more about her books and don't miss the giveaway at the end of it!
Certainly a fun tour for a new talent to look out for!

Praise for Lori M. Lee


“Lori M. Lee excels in building a world of intrigue, oppression, and magic amidst a Labyrinth setting as twisted and winding as the secrets hidden inside her characters’ hearts. Fans of strong heroines who don’t need a boy to hold their hands, action-packed fighting scenes, and whispers of steampunk and mythology, will find themselves wishing they, too, could manipulate the threads of time, if only to stay inside the story a little longer.”

A.G. Howard, New York Times bestselling author of the SPLINTERED series

“Inventive, romantic, and gripping. I was hooked from the first page!”
Amy Tintera, REBOOT and REBEL

“Lee has woven a captivating fantasy that will thread its way into your heart and pull you into a world of magic and intrigue.”
Christina Farley, GILDED and SILVERN




About Lori M. Lee


Lori is the author of young adult fantasy novels Gates of Thread and Stone and The Infinite. She has a borderline obsessive fascination with unicorns, is fond of talking in capslock, and loves to write about magic, manipulation, and family. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband, kids, and a friendly pitbull.

WEBSITEGOODREADSTWITTER FACEBOOKTUMBLRPINTERESTINSTAGRAM












Tell us 5 random things very few people know about you?

1. I had mild OCD as a kid (namely the counting among other things), but I just thought I was weird and didn’t tell anyone about it. I only realized what it was years later while watching Elektra.

2. I met this girl during summer school after sixth grade, and I thought she was super cool because she had all this sexual experience. So I totally lied and pretended I was experienced too. (I had not yet had my first kiss.)

3. My first kiss was in seventh grade with my boyfriend (who I didn’t really even like that much) in a closet because our friends had shoved us in there and wouldn’t let us out until we kissed. It was just a quick peck on the lips. I dumped him a week later.

4. I used to steal my sisters’ romance novels to read in secret. They were such a great bad influence on me.

5. When I was working the drive thru at BK when I was a teen, I used to amuse myself by talking to customers with a British accent. They always looks so confused. (In hindsight, it was probably because I was bad at faking a British accent...)


Coffee or Tea?

Neither. Hot cocoa :)


Who’s your fictional crush?

Oh my god, where do I begin? Haha. Currently, it’s Morpheus from the Splintered series by A.G. Howard. He can steal me away any time *_*


Which book have you read last?

I recently reread The Hobbit. You just can’t go wrong with Tolkien.


How did you end up being an author?

I’ve always wanted to be an author, so when I thought my writing was finally ready, I went about the usual way: writing what I hoped was a good book and querying an agent.


Gates of Thread and Stone is your debut novel, what was your inspiration for this series?

I mashed together two ideas—one about the daughter of Time and another about mind-controlled super soldiers.


Are you a method writer? Do you work on the world first, or do you start with characters, or the plot? How do you work on a book?

It’s a combination of character and world. I have an extremely vague idea of who the main character will be, and then I work on world building. With GoTaS, I conceived the character of Kai and then I worked on fleshing out her world before jumping into any sort of plot. The setting and her circumstances will always inform the story/plot, so that’s usually how I go about things.


Any advice for an aspiring author?

Read a lot. Practice your craft a lot. Whichever publishing route you want to go, educate yourself on it. And don’t give up!



Find more Interviews and other fun stuff on the other stops of the BLOG TOUR


Gates of Thread and Stone Series



Gates of Thread and Stone


Author: Lori M. Lee
Publisher: Skyscape
Series: Gates of Thread and Stone #1
Pages: Hardcover, 335 pages
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: August 5th 2014



Summary:

In the Labyrinth, we had a saying: keep silent, keep still, keep safe.

In a city of walls and secrets, where only one man is supposed to possess magic, seventeen-year-old Kai struggles to keep hidden her own secret—she can manipulate the threads of time. When Kai was eight, she was found by Reev on the riverbank, and her “brother” has taken care of her ever since. Kai doesn’t know where her ability comes from—or where she came from. All that matters is that she and Reev stay together, and maybe one day move out of the freight container they call home, away from the metal walls of the Labyrinth. Kai’s only friend is Avan, the shopkeeper’s son with the scandalous reputation that both frightens and intrigues her.

Then Reev disappears. When keeping silent and safe means losing him forever, Kai vows to do whatever it takes to find him. She will leave the only home she’s ever known and risk getting caught up in a revolution centuries in the making. But to save Reev, Kai must unravel the threads of her past and face shocking truths about her brother, her friendship with Avan, and her unique power.

INDIEBOUND ⎢ AMAZON ⎢BARNES & NOBLE ⎢ THE BOOK DEPOSITORY ⎢ BRILLIANCE AUDIO ⎢ ITUNES





The Infinite


Author: Lori M. Lee
Publisher: Skyscape
Series: Gates of Thread and Stone #2
Pages: Hardcover, 378 pages
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: March 10th 2015



Summary:

The walls of Ninurta keep its citizens safe.

Kai always believed the only danger to the city came from within. Now, with a rebel force threatening the fragile government, the walls have become more of a prison than ever.

To make matters worse, as Avan explores his new identity as an Infinite, Kai struggles to remind him what it means to be human. And she fears her brother, Reev, is involved with the rebels. With the two people she cares about most on opposite sides of a brewing war, Kai will do whatever it takes to bring peace. But she’s lost her power to manipulate the threads of time, and she learns that a civil war might be the beginning of something far worse that will crumble not only Ninurta’s walls but also the entire city.

In this thrilling sequel to Gates of Thread and Stone, Kai must decide how much of her humanity she’s willing to lose to protect the only family she’s ever known.
Den's Review

INDIEBOUND ⎢ AMAZON ⎢BARNES & NOBLE ⎢ THE BOOK DEPOSITORY ⎢ BRILLIANCE AUDIO 





Giveaway

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Release Day & Cover Reveal: Only Series by Cristin Harber






It's here! Only for Her.
Happy Release Day to Grayson and Emma.
ONLY FOR HER is now available! This is the continuation of Grayson and Emma’s story.

Only For Her




Summary:

First loves never die but Grayson Ford comes close. Bleeding out in a war zone, he barters with God. Bring him back alive, and he'll make it right with his girl.

All I want is Emma. I need her, and I fight for her memory. A story. A smile. Anything. But it's all blank.

Emma is not his girl anymore. Time has skipped by and life's been hard. She strips to pay the bills, waitresses to fill the hours between classes and her third job. All while working to be the best mama she can be to the little girl who will never know her daddy. Even though Grayson abandoned her, she mourned his death. Until he calls, and everything she knew was wrong.

It's him. The him that ruined my life. That made my life. That confused my mind to the point that I can't figure out if I've been destroyed or set free. The him that... is... dead.

He's back with one objective--Emma Kingsley--and she never sees it coming.


Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo



Cover Reveal! Only For Us

The next book in the Only series is ONLY FOR US. Here is the gorgeous cover!



What do you think? We love it.

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