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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Sartorialist by Cecilia Ryan

This is SO different from my usual reads. Even if I've read a few Historical Romance novels in the past, mostly MM. The way it was written, from George Beau Brummel POV as a sort of memoir of his past made is one of the reasons, but also just the way he described things and the importance he gave to the little impressions of life. 

I can't and won't do this short novella justice. I know I simply can't. It was funny and witty, and of a time I know nothing about (which usually means my ability to understand the nuances is much slimmer - not really in this case) but it was also sensitive, sweet and yeah, quite heart breaking.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Merger by Cecilia Ryan

So so short yet beautiful beyond words! Whenever I add another of Cecilia's novellas into my "Read" pile I look longingly at her GoodReads page and wish for another book to appear, yet at the moment it seems there are no new material since 2012. It really makes me sad because I only have two novellas left..

It doesn't even make sense to me to be over emotional about a character I've only just "met" something like 2 pages ago. Yet this is exactly Cecilia magic way with words. The relationship between Owen and Carter was heart clutching from the start. There was something there that drew me into the characters' life and all I wanted was for them to realize just how much they mean to one another. 

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Ride the Fire (Firefighters of Station Five #5) [Sean & Eve] by Jo Davis

I waited for this installment for SO long, ever since the first book where we were introduced to Sean Tanner and his grim past and grimmer present. Also I was very intrigued as with how it will work between him and Eve Marshal and not only because he is actually her boss. Being the only female firefighter can be difficult I"m sure but also harboring a HUGE crush on her boss (even before he was available) can't be easy.. then seeing him ripped to pieces by lose and being (almost) unable to pull himself together while not being able to actually DO anything to help is also heart crushing. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Line of Fire (Firefighters of Station Five #4) [Tommy & Shea] by Jo Davis

I didn't really care for this book.. There was something wrong, I'm not sure what, but it didn't feel like the books before it, or I should dare say, didn't read like the same author wrote them all.. It was cheesy beyond words, I couldn't get or care for both Tommy and Shea (together or alone) and after making myself read about a third I started skimming. I really wanted to know what's the story with the arsonist and what's going on with Sean (preparation for the next book) but if it was a stand alone novel it would have been a sure DNF.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Hidden Fire (Firefighters of Station Five #3) [Julian & Grace] by Jo Davis

What a BEAUTIFUL ride. I enjoyed this one SO much. Another one of those it's impossible to put aside. The suspense side is VERY dark and I think it's even better we didn't get all the horrible details.. some things were left for our imagination which was a good thing in my mind.. we had everything we needed in the suspense and a sweet rather slow developing romance (from Grace's side at least). I think making it darker with abuse wouldn't have added anything good to the story. It was there all the time, it was frightening which is part of what made this one so engaging. I liked both Julian Salvatore and Grace McKenna from the start. Since this is the third installment we got enough of them to get the gist of who they are - He the eternal gigolo and she the ice queen.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Under Fire (Firefighters of Station Five #2) [Zack & Corrie] by Jo Davis

I enjoyed this book, but I have to say, the first installment was much better. I"m not even sure why. But I felt less "sticky" about it if it makes any sense. I mean, when I'm obsessed with a book, my hands feel glued to the kindle, not being able to un-glue them to handle everyday life and putting the book aside almost feels like "withdrawal", as in "must-get-back-to-my-book" whenever life gets in my way of my reading. With this one, life DID get in my way of my reading (quite a lot!) but I wasn't as obsessed with it as I was with the first installment, I like both MC but much more the heroine than the hero who I didn't really "get". With Howard "Six-Pack", hell, he can be my book boyfriend FOREVER, but Zack? he's a nice enough guy I guess but maybe a tad too sensitive and not enough "in tune" with himself. Cori on the other hand was strong, capable, she had enough dark days in her past to know what she wants now and is determined to get it (Zack included).

Monday, June 15, 2015

Trial By Fire (Firefighters of Station Five #1) [Howard & Kat] by Jo Davis

WOW! What a ride. It's difficult to start at the beginning, when all I can think about is the last hour or so of the book where I couldn't move from terror and anxiety. This book had it all. It has a beautiful heart warming romance, even though it was fast progressing it felt very genuine. The connection between the two MC - Howard "Six-Pack" Paxton and Kat McKenna - was very real, with realistic difficulties. Neither of them is perfect but I guess relationship-wise Howard had a lot to learn. Besides the romance we had the suspense - someone trying to kill Howard but first making his suffer putting literally in the line of fire people Howard cares about. It was chilling getting not only Kat and Howard's POV but the killer as well! 

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Bad Ex Karma by Donna Cummings

About two years ago, when I started my account on GoodReads I read a fantastic Anthology that introduced me to new favorite authors. It was then that I read more by Donna, short novellas as well as a VERY entertaining full novel - "I Do.. or Die" which I remember made me literally roll on the floor laughing. So even though it's "been a while" I had great expectations from this novel. I was really waiting for the release and bought it the day it was out (actually in the middle of an electricity break at work.. always productive!) and then I opened the book and started reading and nothing made sense.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Fallin' in Love (Seasons of Love #2) by Donna Cummings

This novella is separated into two parts, the first being "Fallin' in Love" and the second being a holiday bonus called "'Tis the Season" also of Mia and Luke. 

The novellas show the progression of Mia and Luke relationship and the fun they are having with one another as well as with "Hellboy" the dog - trying to decide were his home is where Sondra and her husband lives (Mia's friends) or with Luke and Mia (When she is around). 

Summer Lovin' (Seasons of Love #1) by Donna Cummings

This is a short sweet summer fling with a hint for more. Mia and Luke meet when Mia is babysitting her friend Sondra's dog for two weeks. They are both instantly attracted to one another yet in the beginning they see things differently, Mia not wanting to have a short fling, not being "the type" for those, and Luke wanting two weeks off his life in general, having a good time with someone sexy and fun. With the attraction they have for one another it doesn't take long for both to have their own change of heart. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Make It Last (Bowler University #3) [Cam Ruiz & Tate Ellison] by Megan Erickson

The final installment in The Bowler University series was very sweet yet felt a bit lacking somehow.. I wanted it to be more, there was a lot going on in the background with both Cam and Tate's families but it "faded to black" mostly, not really dealing with anything that is going on with them. Also the ending felt more of a "Happy For Now" than a true "Happily Ever After". I'm usually one that is satisfied with the couple being together "against the odds", it's not a must for me to have them married or with kids or something like that. I just want to really know that the struggle is behind them. In this one it didn't feel this way, especially with what they have to deal with in the near future (not saying what not to spoiler..) 

Friday, June 5, 2015

Mate (Halloween Howl) by Cecilia Ryan

Sweet, extremely short scene between Logan and Richard. Logan acting up his Halloween costume - a wolf. It was sweet and sexy and even though it was short and had a sex scene in it, I could actually feel the connection / real relationship between the too. 

Make It Right (Bowler University #2) [Max Payton & Lea Travers] by Megan Erickson

This was a beautiful love story. Loved both MC. While we didn't get a really good impression of Max in the previous installment, in this one, getting his POV we understand what he is going through and how hard it is for him to be who he wants to be when he is discouraged by his family, or rather expected to be / do something he doesn't want. He is truly a tender heart guy, SO sweet yet all his life people expected him to be strong, show no weakness and be "the man". Lea isn't impressed with that, she is warmed by who she sees he can be when no one is looking, when he tends to a stray cat or bakes him home made biscuits. 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Make it Count (Bowler University #1) [Kat Caruso & Alec Stone] by Megan Erickson

This book started AMAZING. I was hooked from the first page and just didn't want to put it down. I loved both MC from the start - Kat Caruso is feisty and fun but she is also so humanly fragile with her insecurities. Alec Stone on the other hand was just so damn sweet! He is a geek, the kind that studies and excels but there is much more to him than just being a brainiac. Firstly he is genuinely a nice person (so is Kat!) he cares about his friends, he cares for Kat when he sees how much she struggles. I loved the fact that though they come from a different background it wasn't something that took center stage or was actually barely mentioned in comparison to one another. 

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

June 2015 Goals

Summer is officially HERE! I'm not even sure what I think about it. Long days, swimming at the pool, wearing short colorful cloths sound VERY appealing! Smoldering heat and chocking humidity, though? not so much ;)

May (Goals / Recap) was a month that felt as though it's going to stay forever yet somehow moved too quick for me to even realize it's done and over. Had a lot of busy weekends, and not enough time to read! I was supposed to get answers for my M.A. application but as it seems I'm still waiting for the one application I truly want. This month though I mostly have to start looking for a new apartment which I'll be sharing with one of my best friends :) 

Make It Right (Bowler University, #2)   ★ ★ ★ ★ 
Make It Last (Bowler University, #3)   ★ ★ ★ ★
Heard a lot of great things about this series so I'm eager to try it out! There are SO many college New Adult series out there at the moment! Most filled with sexy athletes! I wish it was like that when I was in college ;) In my country and surely in the small college I went to we didn't have any real sports teams. I truly feel I was missing out! 

Summer Lovin' (Seasons of Love, #1)   ★ ★ ★ ★
Fallin' in Love (Seasons of Love, #2)    ★ ★ ★
Bad Ex Karma     ★ ★ 
Back when I started my account on GoodReads and was just getting to know the virtual world of books I was recommended an anthology called "Strangers on a Train" that brought into my life 5 great authors. I've read most of those author's work since then and now FINALLY Donna has a new full length Contemporary Romance novel out. I was actually looking for the second installment to "I Do.. or Die" but, well, if "Bad Ex Karma" is going to be as LOL/ROFL pleasure as that one was I have NO complaints. The other two I have on my list are both short novellas. I've read the first one eons ago so I'll start with a re-visit of it before I continue to the second one.

I feel like it's been a while since I read Contemporary Romance. I either read MM Romance or New Adult nowadays and I'm not even sure why. I had this series for quite a while on my to-read-list but as with a lot of books it got shoved to the back somewhere. I didn't even remember who recommended it to me and when as I was organizing my reading for this month. I have a feeling I have to go through a lot of books in my list, reminding myself what it was about them that drew me in. I think back then I just REALLY wanted a good series with Firefighters. Well, I still do! :)
Mate   ★ ★ ★ ★ 
Merger   ★ ★ ★ ★ 
The Sartorialist   ★ ★ ★ ★ 
Last month I was able to add another short novella by Cecilia and was reminded just how MUCH I wanted to read all her novellas. She has two more besides these three. "Winding Road" is longer so I don't think I'll be able to manage it this month (scheduled for next month) and "Easy Sinking" seems to be discontinued, I've been looking EVERYWHERE for it, but it's simply unavailable.. :(

So that's it for this month. I really hope I'll manage it all. I truly feel as though I DIDN'T over plan this month. We'll see, won't we? :)

Happy summer reading everyone! 

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

Monday, June 1, 2015

May 2015 Recap

When I think about this month, and I think about all the things I was up to, including two dogs shows and a lot of in between activities it's not wonder I read less than usual. I mean, even when I actually had the time I found myself too exhausted to read. It might also be the heat, the humidity with the longer days.. I really don't know. What I DO know is I had 1000 (!) more pages planned for my May Reading that I had to put aside for whenever in the who knows future.. 

So here is what I did accomplish: 

Total Read - 12 ebooks (+1 DNF) / 2800 pages (~90 pages a day)

Last month I've said that I think that around 100 pages a day seems a reasonable amount so I can "forgive" myself for just reading 90 per day this month. But anyhow I always have more planned because I'm "greedy" and also because I know myself and I do have a few DNFs most months.. This month I only had one though I can't say I had any "real disappointments" just a few "so and so" reads - I'll mention them specifically bellow. 

★  ★  ★  ★  ★ - Cheers and Shouts for the Favorites -  ★  ★  ★  ★  ★

I gotta say, Amy Lane blew me away with these two MM Romance novels. Both "Clear Water" and "Sidecar" were excellent reads which left me with a HUNGER for more books by her. I already added quite a lot to my reading list but since she wrote so much I mainly tried to add her stand alone novels and novellas with only a few short series. It's a shame that it will take me a few months to actually get to them since as you know I'm quite the order junky which means I have the following months already planned..

What I loved so much about both novels is the humanity of the character and how easy it was to relate to them, to really feel them - this is the only thread connecting these two and is exactly why I simply HAVE to read more by Amy and enjoy more of her beautifully build characters and sweet developing romance. 

As "Faith, Love & Devotion" by Tere Michaels left such an impression on me, I had to try out more by her! Originally I planned on reading two Anthologies but when I found out about the two closing novels in the series I decided to postpone the Anthologies for a different time and was left only with "The Heir Apparent" a very sweet novella. Though from reading the synopsis this one doesn't sound that special, and some of the twists were a bit predictable it's SUCH a beautiful read! I love both MC, their struggle to being together, to even perceive each other as MORE, more than just childhood friends, more than lovers (in just the sexual sense), the inner struggle to admit to themselves how much they truly mean for each other, THAT is what made this novella so tender and heart warming. 

I still have those two Anthologies by Tere, I hope I'll be able to add them sometime in the near future. She has two more novels besides the ones mentioned here, but since they are not in genres I usually enjoy I'm still considering if to add them or not. 

After a bit of a "fail" in the Paranormal category this month (mentioned bellow) I was a bit reluctant to try the Paranormal MM Romance "The Dream Alchemist" By Joanna Chambers. I knew it HAS to be different, as day from night from the YA Fantasy series I just read so when I was totally hooked I was so HAPPY! This is the state I love to be, especially over the weekend, with a book I have no desire to put away until I'm finished. Joanna did a wonderful job of world building not overwhelming and explained at a perfect pace. The romance between the MC was a JOY to read, reminding me of how I enjoyed the slow buildup in the previous series I've read by her (though this one's time frame was MUCH shorter). 

"Five Dates" By Amy Jo Cousins is a short sweet free MM Romance novella. This is my first read by Amy. I wanted to try her books but didn't have any place to schedule more books! so I "cheated" and added this short novella ;) I hope I'll find the time to read more by her because this one totally felt like the aperitif.  

My last read this month have been utterly perfect. 5 Stars is really an "under rating" for "A Symphony of Echos" a short MM Romance novella by Cecilia Ryan. It's THE most tender love story you'll ever read. It's a truly beautiful love story between two men that are so very different when you look at them "physically" - the age differences, life experience and general self assurance, yet love is love and when you see them together, the ease they find in one another is so tender and heart warming.. ~sign~ there are no words. READ IT! and I'll be adding most of her other short novellas for June's reads. 

▲  ▲ On the Fence ▼  ▼
As I wrote above, I don't have real disappointments this month but I have a few misgiving I wanted to share. 

My first read this month was "Two of Hearts" - Christina Lee's first Contemporary Romance novel. I was absolutely obsessed with her "Between Breaths" series so I was positive I'm going to utterly fall in love with both Dakota and Shane so imagine my disappointment when I couldn't get Dakota and I really disliked Shane. It's all me, it's not the book or really the characters I just get a MAJOR turn off from bossy guys (which most women extremely enjoy and secretly long for). So while the story itself, the suspense part, was very good, and while I could get what kept the MC from one each other in the past, I couldn't understood their behavior in the present. It has a lot to do with them keeping a lot of the cards to themselves and MOSTLY for me disliking the way Shane treated Dakota. So while I think a lot of women would ADORE this novel, I wasn't that impressed with the romance side of it. As I wrote in my review, it won't discourage me from reading more by Christina. She is still on my immediate-pre-order-list!  

In the beginning of May I found out the last installment in Tere Michael's "Faith, Love & Devotion" series is out! and with it I found out I totally missed the previous installment (released with the 4th installment together, both being short novellas). While I extremely enjoyed the first 3 novels in the series, I gotta say I wasn't very impressed with "Cherish & Blessed" (the bundle of installments #4+#5). I don't think it was very necessary in general and thought the focus was a bit off which was more pronounced in "Truth & Tenderness" (the last installment) which had too much going on - too many characters on the front stage, featuring both Evan & Matt as well as Jim & Griffin but also their coupled friends. So while I really enjoyed getting more from both couples I was a bit disappointed with the general plot around them. 

Last but not least "Daughter of Smoke & Bone" series by Laini Taylor. I don't have anything "bad" to say about this series, it's an EXCELLENT Young Adult Fantasy series. The world building and the character were really good, my only problem is again, like with the first novel in this list, is quite personal - I feel as though I don't have the patience for Fantasy anymore. I want my novels more "to the point" and with Fantasy being a lot about the journey I find myself a bit lost in all the details and the slow progress of the plot (not to mention the romance). So while the first one was a 5 stars read, the next ones' rating started deteriorating (with my patience) the last one being a DNF :( I can't and won't "blame" anyone but myself on this one. It's an excellent Fantasy series, yet it isn't for me.

As you can see, with all of these, it's not that I was truly disappointed, I mostly enjoyed the read I just wanted MORE or a bit DIFFERENT then what I got. 

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

That's it for my monthly Recap. It felt a bit different for me, I had a some REALLY excellent reads (in the beginning and ending of this month) with just okay reads to pad the middle of the month. Glad I got to check out more by authors I enjoyed before and got myself a new obsession to follow - Amy Lane's novels. 

Later! :)

A Symphony of Echoes by Cecilia Ryan

This short novella was utterly beautiful. One of THE best tender romance novels I've EVER read. I have to say, from the first page, it was a 5 star rating for me. Even though the general story seems not only cliche but "wrong" - a professor falling for his student? 

But hold your horses here! It's not what you think! It's everything else! It's a love story between a man that is hungry to love and a younger man who doesn't even know what a warm and loving gesture is. Both main characters were so beautifully portrayed, though we only get Eric's POV (the professor). Arthur is very insecure about himself, surely about his sexuality and what he actually wants from Eric, but as Eric only wants to give what Arthur is willing to get the progression of their relationship is heart warming, tender and just, perfect!