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Sunday, May 31, 2015

Five Dates by Amy Jo Cousins

This short novella was so damn CUTE and funny and heart warming! Devin made a few choices in his life he ISN'T sorry about, most have to do with being there for his sister when she found out she was pregnant and the age of 18. Now, more than ten years later after losing (another!) bet to her she makes him go on 5 dates so he can do something for himself for a change. 

Saturday, May 30, 2015

The Dream Alchemist (Somnus #1) by Joanna Chambers

Joanna did it again! Another wonderfully written novel, sweet slow developing romance. Interesting and real feeling characters (even in a Paranormal environment..). Though I'm not sure I"d be able to explain this novel, I REALLY enjoyed it. It was such a RIDE! I was drawn into Somnus and into the main character's struggle unable to put the book down. 

Friday, May 29, 2015

Dreams of Gods & Monsters (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #3) by Laini Taylor

I really intended on reading this book - front to cover, even though the previous installment prepared me that this one is heavier on the Fantasy side than I would prefer. I'm not even sure if that's the problem really I just couldn't find my interest in the plot. I felt lost. Everything moves SO damn slowly I just wanted for something to HAPPEN and nothing actually did. I should say that maybe 18% into a book isn't a lot, yet considering the length of this novel, I'd say more than 100 pages into a book something SHOULD happen. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Heir Apparent by Tere Michaels

This was SUCH a sweet read! After a few busy days I sat yesterday and devoured this novella. It's quite long for a novella, which is probably why it was easier to see the change in the MC and how the things they had to deal with effected them and changed their relationship.  

This novella is told from both MC - Archie and Henry. Henry and Archie know each other from the age of 5 when Archie's mother came to work for Henry's family. They became fast friends but only in their 20s their relationship changed into a sexual one. They always cared about one another, they were best friends! But they didn't have a romantic relationship, both not wanting to "go there" and speak about it, especially now when Archie is Henry's driver.. It's too much of a cliche anyhow.. Henry is the sole heir of a very successful company, his father have been grooming him to inherit it, yet when the day finally comes unexpectedly he is confused with what he finds out and doesn't know how to interpret his father's decisions. 

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Night of Cake & Puppets (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #2.5) by Laini Taylor

This one is a short sweet romance novella of Zuzana and Mik's first date, mentioned briefly in the previous installment. The idea behind their first date and how Zuzana had orchestrated it was very special and so like her. I really enjoyed her character as a side character in the previous installments of the series so it was nice being inside her head but also interesting getting for the first time Mik's POV and finding out how actually alike they are in the special way they see things. 

Days of Blood & Starlight (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #2) by Laini Taylor

I'm a bit confused and quite disappointed with this installment and the fault is all MINE. 
When I was looking for the right "tags" for this series I categorized it "Paranormal Romance" because that's the general concept for me - "another world" or "creatures" and a love story. But I added "Urban Fantasy" because the series centers around Karou. Then I rightly added "Young Adult" since she isn't even 18.. (Though very mature for her age) But I guess I was all wrong.. This is neither of those genres. It's simply a "Fantasy" series. The funny thing is, when I look NOW at the books' GoodRead page I see most people categorized it as "Fantasy"! Stupid me!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #1) by Laini Taylor

This has been one of the best Paranormal Romance I've ever read. I wasn't expecting to be pulled into the story so fast and enjoying every minute of it, never getting lost in the intricate world of "Angels vs. Demons" Laini created. Yeah, I was waiting for things to be unraveled, but I didn't have the general feel we have through most Paranormal novels - when the world is too difficult or there are too many details or characters you are not sure who is who and what everything means. Also my biggest fear of this being too childish evaporated SO quickly. I LOVED Karou. Nothing about her felt childishly annoying. On the contrary she kept surprising me with how mature she can be even if she does enjoy being silly at times (we all do :)). Akiva was a sweet heart as well but I need more page time with him to get to know him a little better.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Two of Hearts (Golden Arrow, #1) by Christina Lee

I wanted and frankly expected to utterly love this book, yet somehow I didn't.. I know exactly what went wrong (for me) and I know that some of the things that annoy me others find sexy / a turn on, yet I am who I am, and when I read a book, I need to be able to somehow relate to the character, to understand HER and what and why she finds things attractive or compelling. In this book both MC were "off" for me. Dakota wasn't who I thought she was (or who she perceives herself to be) and Shane was a total turn off. I didn't like him and I wouldn't be attracted to someone like him and Dakota, with how she sees herself, shouldn't either.. 

I've read and absolutely loved Christina's "Between Breaths" New Adult series. All her characters are simply amazing. Each has a unique story, something to deal with, alone as well as together with their love interest. All 5 books were a PLEASURE to read (all are 5 stars reads). So this is what I expected from this one even though the problems that Dakota and Shane (the MC in this one) encountered were naturally more "outside" problems and not the New Adult variety (meaning a "coming of age" internal struggle) since both are in their late 20s. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Truth & Tenderness (Faith, Love, & Devotion #6) [Evan & Matt/Jim & Griffin] by Tere Michaels

So here is the final installment in the "Faith Love & Devotion" series. Though it came as a surprise to find out about it, I'm so glad I did. This series, both couples were amazing. But I think, somehow, the last installment was a bit different from the first 4 novels, and not only because we got the two couples mixed together (like in "Blessed"). It's hard for me to think what really changed because when I think about it more seriously I realize that nothing really did, we just got too many sub plots in one novels. Two couples is pretty crowded as it is..

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Cherish & Blessed (Faith, Love, & Devotion #4 & #5) [Evan & Matt/Jim & Griffin] by Tere Michaels

This is a new compilation of "Cherish" the 4th installment in the "Faith Love & Devotion" series previously published as a stand-alone ebook together with the newer 5th installment "Blessed". As I understood it was compiled together so it could go on print (as both are rather short). Since I've recently read "Cherished" I didn't re-read it, so I'm just adding my original review of it here together with my review of "Blessed". 

I have to say, finding this book was a blessed mistake (pun intended ;)). I saw Tere has a new book this month - the 6th installment in the series. Wait, say WHAT? where is the 5th? what's going on? 
When I went hunting for answers I found this compilation and the explanation for the bundle and hurriedly added these two to my reading list this month. Originally I planned on reading two Anthologies by Tere this month, but they were a sort of end list kinda deal, I wasn't sure I'll actually get to them as I always plan more than I actually manage.. So yeah, it wall changed with the release of "Truth & Tenderness" which is my next read. 

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Sidecar by Amy Lane

Utterly heart warming, beautiful, touching love story. Yet again, life kept interfering with my reading, I would have read this one in one gulp. Though it was "just a love story", without a lot of twists and turns just friendship, companionship, love between two men who meet on the middle of the road - I was just drawn into their world, and couldn't wait for their HEA. Yet, the way it progressed - SLOWLY - was just perfect and right. I don't have enough words to praise this book. 

The story begins with a short chapter in the "present" and a full circle once you read the next one, back in 1986 when it all began. Josiah "Joe" Daniels finds Casey in the middle of the road, cold, hungry and damaged. He offers to take him home to feed him, get him a shower and a place to sleep and though Casey eventually agrees he still isn't sure this guy isn't going to rape him and abuse him like the others did. But Joe intend to do exactly what he promised, in the order he promised. What he did intend to do and never actually did was call social services the day after.. It was just strange circumstances that made Casey stay that day, and then the next one and the next one as Casey and Joe somehow made it work. The two of them, together, taking care of each other though it was mostly Joe being a guiding hand to Casey, wanting him to grow up and have a good life he enjoys. A rather strange companionship is formed between the two. While Joe originally wanted to be left alone in his isolated home, with Casey it was somehow right. He enjoyed his company, their friendship and Casey himself. 

Friday, May 8, 2015

Excitement Week! Two of Hearts by Christina Lee is OUT!

It's the first time I'm doing something like this :) I'm joining The Rock Star of Romance on a promotion Tour of Christina Lee's first Contemporary Romance novel "Two of Hearts" which was released this week. I was really excited about this novel since I'm a HUGE fan of her "Between Breaths" New Adult series.  


A gripping standalone adult contemporary romance about finding yourself while taking a second chance at your first love... 

Dakota Nakos was always the resilient, strong-willed achiever. But when her father dies and she's entrusted with the family's casino, she feels vulnerable, scared, and more than a little emotional --not exactly the best time to see an old lover she's never really gotten over.

Dakota once meant the world to Shane Garrity. Then suddenly he left town to train as a U.S. Marshal, and their love for each other crashed into a memory. Now he's come home for her father's funeral, and one look at the girl he left behind stirs up both memories and regrets, and reignites a fire he feared he'd lost forever.

Dakota may be the same driven girl she always was, but she's also changed in ways neither could have anticipated. She's not just a young woman searching for own identity in the Native American community in which she was raised, but one questioning her new life outside her father's shadow. Above all she wonders if Shane can push past her weakened defenses to rekindle what they once had, or whether the intense blaze between them will ultimately reduce her heart to ashes.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Clear Water by Amy Lane

This book was SUCH a beautiful, sensitive, sweet, compelling, heart warming love story. I can't even.. no. There are no words. One of those books you can't and simply WON'T put down. Even after you decided you're going to sleep now. Too late to keep on going, eyes can't hold themselves.. excuses.. excuses.. 

This is my second read by Amy Lane and right now I feel like giving myself a not so friendly "pat" for getting to this one just now and for not having MORE of Amy's books on my immediate list. Well, I do have one I'm going to start reading today and I have a few more planned for the following months but I'll have to add up MORE. Though Amy have so many books I"m not sure where to start.. 

Let's get to our story, shall we?

Saturday, May 2, 2015

May 2015 Goals

Another month gone by.. April (Goals / Recap) flew out the window without me even realizing it. I was suppose to be finished with everything related to my M.A. application but naturally I wasn't exactly.. also I was REALLY sick with a fever and couldn't even concentrate enough to read (a shame really, I spent almost a whole week at home).  

This month I'm suppose to get summons for an interview for my M.A., quite stressed about it.. There are decisions to be made once I actually know if I got accepted or not.. Also this month I have two important dog shows meaning half my weekends this month are already busy (with probably no reading time..) 

I have a new series this month, one I had on my list for a LONG time now, but since the books are quite long I didn't find the time for it and the other one is me re-visiting an author I recently enjoyed. Which is also true for the rest of this month's reading list. 

Two of Hearts   ★ ★ ★
Christina is surely a favorite author. She has 5 amazing novels in the "Between Breaths" series and this one is her first Contemporary Romance stand alone novel (though it's connected to the characters mentioned in the 3th installment in the series). 
I kindly received this book as an ARC from "Rock Stars of Romance".

Clear Water   ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 
Sidecar   ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I got a lot of recommendation to Amy's books. I actually only read her in a collaboration with Aleksandr Voinov in the MM Romance "Country Mouse" mini series yet since it was great I decided to look for more books by her.

Originally I planned on reading the short novel following by two anthologies with short stories by Tere THEN I discovered that this month the 6th (and final?) installment in "Faith, Love & Devotionis out and not only that! It seems I missed the 5th installments! (recently re-published with the 4th installment "Cherish"). Faith, Love & Devotion is SUCH a highly recommended series! I can't wait to have my final fix!

Me and Young Adult.. yeah, usually it doesn't work, unless it's a "Paranormal" Series like this one, then it somehow tend to be okay by me. I guess it's because the MC have to deal with life in a somewhat mature way (usually it's world-ending kinda deal so...). I read many good reviews of this one so I'm finally finding the time to give it a go. 
This is actually the only new territory I have this month, not knowing the series or author of this one.

The Dream Alchemist (Somnus, #1)   ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 
On February I had my first try of Joanna with "Enlightenment" an Historical MM Romance series. While I'm not usually into Historical Romance in general I LOVED this series and really wanted to try out more by her. As this is a new series I decided to start with this Paranormal MM Romance. I already added more stand alone novels by her for later on this year.   

Five Dates   ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 
As I didn't finish "Daughter of Smoke and Bones" I found a few days "off" so I added this free read to my immediate reading list. I wanted to try novels by Amy for a while now but didn't find the time to schedule them before. 

A Symphony of Echos   ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 
I added this one in the last day of the month when I saw I have an "opening". I was very impressed with the previous novel I've read by Cecilia promising myself I'd read all her other short novellas SOONER rather than later.

Thinking about my reading the past few months I realize that apparently I've been reading mostly MM Romance. I don't know why that is, I also enjoy my fare share of Paranormal Romance as well as New Adult and Contemporary Romance. It seems I've found a few favorite MM Romance authors and I'm on a roll of reading more by them. This month there is actually just one Contemporary Romance at the beginning of the month and then a Young Adult Fantasy series with the rest being MM Romance. 

So yeah, that's on my plate for this month :) I hope it's going to be a sunny and enjoyable month :) 

Check out more of my Recap and Goals of the past months!

Friday, May 1, 2015

April 2015 Recap

I gotta say, I did quite well with my April readings. Maybe not as I expected (had 3 more books originally).. but I'm starting to realize I expect a little bit too much.. 

In numbers: 

Total Read - 14 ebooks (+ 1 DNF) / 3396 pages (~113 pages a day)

This is an average I can "live with", not just in the sense that it's "acceptable" by me, but it's something I find "manageable". When I make my lists I plan on 130-140 pages a day but I think that I shouldn't jump that high. After all, one does need (?) to live life and not just read books ;)

I had a lot of great novels this month by authors I know I enjoy reading. Had one series that really surprised me to the better and one that sadly I gave up on. But all in all, great monthly reads!

★  ★  ★  ★  ★ - Cheers and Shouts for the Favorites -  ★  ★  ★  ★  ★
"Finding Purgatory" is another favorite by Kristina M. Sanchez. I loved her two previous novels (one is more of a novella). I love her writing and how she portrays her characters. This one is a New Adult novel, focusing on the relationship between two sister that were apart for most of their lives. There is a little romance on the side but it's not the main issue of the novel. Hungrily waiting for her next release!  

"The Shameless Hour" is the 4th installment in the "The Ivy Years" New Adult series by Sarina Bowen. Not a surprise I loved this one, for me everything Sarina writes is gold! Each installment in the series not only deals with two MC finding their HEA, it also brings a not so easy subject and deals with it beautifully without the whole story feeling depressing. While I wasn't sure I'll like the Bella (the MC) I really came to love her, as well as her love interest Rafe. 

I've been following Christina Lee's work from the first one she published in the "Between Breaths" series. Back then the first installment was a stand alone and I really hoped I'd read more by her - I'm really happy she continued with the series, I enjoyed each novel in the series, "There You Stand" was no different. Unlike the previous ones in the series this one is a MM New Adult Romance novel which was great! I loved both MC, the romance between them and the way it was building - so beautiful and tender. It wasn't too angsty even when dealing with pretty difficult staff. Can't wait for her next Contemporary Romance novel "Two of Hearts" (to be published 5th May 2015).

The "Market Garden" series by Aleksandr Voinov and L.A. Witt was a real surprise this month! I added it because I loved 2 previous work by Voinov and Witt together, but the subject at hand - a brothel.. (even if caters for the "well off" costumers) - got me worrying we're going to get a whole lot of sex without any real story (or enough of it). Boy was I WRONG! The series focuses on a few couples, some have a few short novellas bundled up to a full story - Tristan & Jared / Nick & Spencer - while others bring a whole novel in one installment - Capture & Surrender / If it Drives

My absolute favorite of the bunch was "Capture & Surrender" (Frank & Brandon's story). It wasn't just about two guys finding their way to one another it also dealt with a very heavy subject. I was with a constant heart ache and shivers while reading it. 
Beside that I also really enjoyed "Tristan & Jared"'s story with "Nick & Spencer" being a nice read and "If It Drives" my least favorite (I partly blame the BDSM relationship in these two though it wasn't the sole reason). 

I really want to try more novels by L.A. Witt. I only read her with collaboration with Aleksandr Voinov. But she has so many novels I don't even know where to start! I'll have to think about it and see if I can make her a "project" for next year though I think that if I actually read ONLY her novels the whole year I still won't finish them all hehe 

I was contemplating if to add "A Different Blue" by Amy Harmon to my favorites. It WAS a sweet and touching coming of age New Adult novel, yet since I had one MAJOR misgiving about it (mentioned in quite the rant in my review..) I'm still not sure it IS in fact a favorite. It beautifully written, the friendship and much later on, the love between Wilson and Blue was building slowly but surely, making it feel very genuine and heart touching. The story itself, and the sensitive way it was brought to us, the full story of Blue's past was all done extremely well. 

★ DNF ★ - Cries and Sniffs for the Disappointments - ★ DNF ★ 
The "Cut & Run" series by Abigail Roux (partly co-written with Madeleine Urban) was my first real venture into the MM Romance genre and for a long while have been my absolute favorite series. Since then I've read a lot of great MM Romance novels and series so this series had a lot of competitors yet it was my Holy Grail nevertheless, well up until the last two installments in the series. The first 7 were absolutely amazing and re-listening / re-reading them only made me love Ty and Zane even more. Yet both "Ball & Chain" and "Crash & Burn" (Installments #8 and #9) which tried to bring the story to a closure with a bang left me feeling unsatisfied. Yeah I loved the way it ended but the final journey there wasn't what I would have liked it to be. Not to mention I feel the new couple (Nick & Kelly) took too much of the stage in a series that was suppose to be of another couple entirely.. 

I won't be reading the spin off of Nick & Kelly. I don't find myself interested in them (on the contrary), yet I do think I should try out more by Madeleine Urban considering the amazing series she built with Abigail Roux. 

Another series that really disappointed me for the past two novels have been "Black Dagger Brotherhood" by J.R.Ward. This is another series that was Holy Grail and brought me into a genre I haven't read before - the Paranormal Romance. "The Shadows" (Installment #13) could have been SO good, yet I had so many misgiving with it. I feel as though Ward has gotten lost with all the sub plots and the progression of her previously main characters that the series has changed into something I'm not sure I want to keep on reading. Now it's more of an Urban Fantasy series, dealing with family and kids, the MC don't take center stage and the huge amount of sub plots make it feel as though nothing is happening in too many fronts. I will probably read the next one, but I'm not sure about the others and I'm surely NOT going to read the new spin off series of the original brother "Black Dagger Legacy". 

One last very saddening disappointment was "Scorpion" (Memory of Scorpions, #1) by Aleksandr Voinov. I love Aleksandr's writing! I've read quite a lot by him this year including the amazing "Market Garden" mentioned above. Yet this one, which was a sort of MM Erotic Fantasy, wasn't what I expected from him and in general. The world building was superb! But sadly the sex took center stage and I just felt bored and annoyed with it. There was so much to the story yet I couldn't get there with all the hard ons.. A total shame.

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

The past two years I've discovered a lot of amazing authors and I keep on adding more and finding out more novels by them. This month wasn't any different. I truly feel blessed with the amount of great books I have on my "Read" shelf as well as the ones that are still on my "To Read" shelf. Next month I plan on mostly enjoying those new authors I've recently discovered. 

Hope you enjoyed my recap of April. More and more and more reviews to come soon :)

A Different Blue by Amy Harmon

This book is a beautiful story of growing up, learning who you as well as finding a true friend, your best friend who also becomes your true love. Well, not really OURS, but Blue's a sad girl who at the moment has nothing but her love for carving wood. 

Blue's story up until the book starts is rather gloomy. She was abandoned at the (probable) age of two years old to be picked up by a man who soon becomes the only father she ever knows. They spend their time together, yet apart from society, him being afraid because as it seems the baby's mother was found dead and though he wanted to take care of this young sweet baby he didn't want to be accused of murder.. They lived happily for about 8-9 years until one day Jimmy goes on a walk and never returns. When the authorities get involve they have no idea who this little girl is! So they let her be who she knew she was Blue Echohawk. The daughter of Jimmy Echohawk the Native American and an unknown (from her looks - probably American) mother. She goes to live with Jimmy's sister where she lives up until her last year in school - when the story begins.