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April 11th, 2014

Review 237: The Darkest Hour (KGI #1)

6634409 The Darkest Hour (KGI #1)
Author: Maya Banks
Page Count: 304 pages
Publisher: Berkley (September 7, 2010)
Received From: Purchased

Whats it About According to GoodReads:

The Kelly Group International (KGI): A super elite, top secret, family-run business.

Qualifications: High intelligence, rock hard body, military background.

Mission: Hostage/kidnap victim recovery. Intelligence gathering. Handling jobs the US government can’t…

It’s been one year since ex-Navy SEAL Ethan Kelly last saw his wife Rachel alive. Overwhelmed by grief and guilt over his failures as a husband, Ethan shuts himself off from everything and everyone.

His brothers have tried to bring Ethan into the KGI fold, tried to break through the barriers he’s built around himself, but Ethan refuses to respond… until he receives anonymous information claiming Rachel is alive.

To save her, Ethan will have to dodge bullets, cross a jungle, and risk falling captive to a deadly drug cartel that threatens his own demise. And even if he succeeds, he’ll have to force Rachel to recover memories she can’t and doesn’t want to relive—the minute by minute terror of her darkest hour—for their love, and their lives, may depend on it.

What I Thought: Not going to lie I read this series way out of order. I won After the Storm (the 8th book in this series) in a contest, and read it right away without even thinking about trying to read the series in order. So of course when I picked up the The Darkest Hour, I already kind of knew how the series worked and knew a little bit of Ethan and Rachel’s story.

That being said, I had a real hard time connecting with both Ethan and Rachel. I understand that Rachel had been drugged and had lost most of her memory, but her ‘recovery’ just seemed to tie everything up too neatly for me. There didn’t seem to be any lingering doubts – which I’m sorry if I had found out that my husband had failed me in the ways that Ethan had failed her – I wouldn’t have been able to forgive him as easily as she did.

Which is weird because I know in later books it’s remarked how sometimes Rachel would  withdraw into herself and seemingly have flashbacks and such. I just wish that angle had been explored more in depth because it could have really fleshed Rachel out a whole lot more, and it would’ve been nice to see Ethan have to deal with the PTSD part of her trauma a bit more than what he already did in this book.

I also felt like Banks pushed so much info on this HUGE family into the first book in the series that it really overshadowed the main story of Ethan and Rachel.

Do I Recommend: Yup. Delicious military men who will stop at nothing to save the love of their life? Sign me up! I’m pretty sure this series is going to be one of my go to beach reads this year!

April 9th, 2014

Review 236: The Divorce Papers

18142403The Divorce Papers
Author: Susan Rieger
Page Count: 480 pages
Publisher: Crown (March 18, 2014)
Received From: Publisher for Review

Whats it About According to GoodReads:

Twenty-nine-year-old Sophie Diehl is happy toiling away as a criminal law associate at an old line New England firm where she very much appreciates that most of her clients are behind bars. Everyone at Traynor, Hand knows she abhors face-to-face contact, but one weekend, with all the big partners away, Sophie must handle the intake interview for the daughter of the firm’s most important client. After eighteen years of marriage, Mayflower descendant Mia Meiklejohn Durkheim has just been served divorce papers in a humiliating scene at the popular local restaurant, Golightly’s. She is locked and loaded to fight her eminent and ambitious husband, Dr. Daniel Durkheim, Chief of the Department of Pediatric Oncology, for custody of their ten-year-old daughter Jane—and she also burns to take him down a peg. Sophie warns Mia that she’s never handled a divorce case before, but Mia can’t be put off. As she so disarmingly puts it: It’s her first divorce, too.

What I Thought: At first I was bored to tears with The Divorce Papers, while I found Sophie and Mia to be entertaining and really endearing, the overwhelming slam of legal paperwork that was included with the story really drug it out for me. There was just so much of it that about 200 pages into the story I just started to skip over it. I didn’t understand it and it was quite a struggle to read through.

Once I started doing that I really got into the story. I like how Sophie goes from not knowing what she’s doing with the divorce proceedings to just knocking it out of the park. And some of the messages between Sophie and Mia were really cute.

One thing that I’m not sure on is was Sophie romantically interested in her boss, even though he was married? Or just what was their relationship, because she talked about him a lot in her emails to her BFF – also something I started skimming towards the end because they were long and tended to ramble on and didn’t feel like they had anything to do with the story. Also what was the point of Fiona – I was hoping she was going to become some big either enemy (like possibly going to be the Doctors new divorce attorney) or that she was going to become a good friend and help show Sophie the ropes. Instead she just kind of fizzled out.

Do I Recommend: I do. Once you get past the legal pages (or just skim past them like I did) the story is quite endearing and fast paced even at over 400 pages!

And now thanks to the publisher I have one copy to give away. Just fill out the rafflecopter below! The only 2 rules: U.S residents only and no P.O boxes — Sorry!

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April 8th, 2014

Teaser Tuesday: The Divorce Papers

<div>
<div>TEASER TUESDAYS is a weekly event, hosted by <a href=”http://shouldbereading.wordpress.com/”>MizB of Should Be Reading</a>, where you ‘tease’ others with a little bit from the book you’re currently reading, making them want to read it, too!</div>
<div>How to participate:</div>
</div>
<ul>
<li>Grab your current book and open to a random page</li>
<li>Share two ‘teaser’ sentences from somewhere on that page</li>
<li>Make sure what you share is NOT a spoiler</li>
<li>Include the title, author and page number so that others can read the book if they like the ‘teaser’</li>
<li>Head on over to <a href=”http://shouldbereading.wordpress.com/”>Should Be Reading </a>and leave a comment on the Teaser Tuesday post there</li>
</ul>
<div>This weeks teasers:</div>
<blockquote>Recently divorced women buy new beds; recently divorced men buy big screen TVs. You tell me what it means.</blockquote>
<p style=”text-align: center;”>Found on page 208 of <em>The Divorce Papers</em> by Susan Rieger</p>

March 21st, 2014

Review 235: Between (The Between #1)

15808380Between (The Between #1)
Author: Kerry Shafer
Page Count: 304 pages
Publisher: Ace (January 29, 2013)
**Trigger Warning: This book talks about self harm/suicide attempts/sexual assault**

Whats it About According to GoodReads:
Vivian Maylor can’t sleep. Maybe it’s because she just broke up with her boyfriend and moved to a new town, or it could be the stress of her new job at the hospital. But perhaps it’s because her dreams have started to bleed through into her waking hours.

All of her life Vivian has rejected her mother’s insane ramblings about Dreamworlds for concrete science and fact, until an emergency room patient ranting about dragons spontaneously combusts before her eyes–forcing Viv to consider the idea that her visions of mythical beasts might be real.

And when a chance encounter leads her to a man she knows only from her dreams, Vivian finds herself falling into a world that seems strange and familiar all at once–a world where the line between dream and reality is hard to determine, and hard to control…

What I Thought: Off the bat I was really intrigued by Between. A heroine who didn’t sleep much and had a mother who was less than sane – someone I could relate too. It was once we got into all the fantasy stuff where things got really weird. Once again I feel like noting that

**Trigger Warning: This book talks about self harm/suicide attempts/sexual assault**
Because once we start learning more about Vivian’s mother we learn that she had constantly tried to kill herself to go back to the “dreamworlds” she kept talking about. I mean it got to the point where Vivian would hide the knives from her mother so that she wouldn’t harm herself.

It’s not until this mysterious strange older gentleman passes away that Vivian realizes that the dreamworlds her mom had been talking about were real.

Okay so while I wish somewhere there would have been a notice that this book was going to deal with a mother who was suicidal. I really do wish there would have been a better note on the whole sexual assault thing. Sometimes yes, there are parts where the hero “grabs the girl and kisses her” and while those squick me out as well. Between legit had a scene where Vivian was being pressured into servicing another character (who at one time had been her boyfriend) just to get him to let her go. That made me feel really uncomfortable and there were several more times where he (or his dream world persona) would grab her and force himself on her even after she told him no. That is not okay and honestly left a bitter taste in my mouth.

The world building was a mess. I had a hard time of keeping track of who was what in real world and who was what in the dream world and who was what in the between world.

The only two things I really liked about Between overall were the mentions of Schrödinger’s cat and how it easily slips between the realms, and the penguin spirit animal that Vivian had.

Do I Recommend: Sadly I do not recommend Between. While the premise is intriguing the story falls flat and is far too confusing for me.

March 19th, 2014

Review 234: A Most Scandalous Proposal (A Most Series #1)

15778746A Most Scandalous Proposal
Author: Ashlyn Macnamara
Page Count: 352 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books (February 26, 2013)

What’s it About According to GoodReads:
After watching her beloved sister Sophia pine over the ton’s Golden Boy for years, Miss Julia St. Claire has foresworn love and put herself firmly on the shelf. Unfortunately, her social-climbing mother and debt-ridden father have other ideas, and jump at the chance to marry Julia off to the newly-named Earl of Clivesden…the man of Sophia’s dreams.

Since resigning his Cavalry commission, Benedict Revelstoke has spent his time in London avoiding the marriage mart. But when he discovers that the Earl of Clivesden has set Julia in his sights, Benedict tries to protect his childhood best friend from the man’s advances—only to discover more than friendship driving his desire to defend her. He surprises them both with the force of his feelings, but when she refuses him and her father announces her betrothal, he fears he’s lost her forever—until Julia approaches him with a shocking scheme that will ruin her for all respectable society…

…and lead them into an exquisite world of forbidden pleasures.

What I Thought:  A Most Scandalous Proposal melds two love stories into one, which is unusual and while it shouldn’t have worked it some how did. I feel like if you would have separated Sophia’s love story from Julia’s neither story would have stood on it’s own.

The one complaint I have is that it was super hard to keep all the male characters straight. What with one of the main male characters being newly named an Earl and all that. The parents were also horrible but at the same time I feel like that’s just a standard thing in books where you have the headstrong daughter and then you have the rake and the one who just isn’t good enough for my daughter.

Outside of those issues though, the story presented in A Most Scandalous Proposal is one that honestly kept me entertained as a reader. There were very few times I put the book down once I had picked it up.

Do I Recommend: I do. In her romance debut Macnamara managed to create interesting characters and do something that is out of the norm in a genre that at times can be a little stale. I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

February 20th, 2014

Review 233: Once in a Lifetime

once in a lifetimeOnce in a Lifetime
Author: Jill Shalvis
Page Count: 352 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (February 18, 2014)
Received From: Publisher for blog tour

Whats it About According to GoodReads:

SOMETIMES WRONG IS OH-SO-RIGHT

After a wrenching loss, Ben McDaniels tried to escape his grief by working in dangerous, war-torn places like Africa and the Middle East. Now he’s back in his hometown and face-to-face with Aubrey Wellington, the hot-as-hell woman who is trouble with a capital T. Family and friends insist she’s not the one to ease his pain, but Aubrey sparks an intense desire that gives Ben hope for the future.
Determined to right the wrongs of her past, Aubrey is working hard to make amends. But by far, the toughest challenge to her plan is sexy, brooding Ben …even though he has absolutely no idea what she’s done…
Can this unlikely couple defy the odds and win over the little town of Lucky Harbor?

What I Thought: Out of all the Lucky Harbor books I’ve read, I think that Once in a Lifetime is in my top 3 favorites. I connected with both Ben and Aubrey right away, to the point where there were parts during the story where I was crying. Both characters had been through so much, and in the end it was that connection I feel that brought them together.

Aubrey having to always be the perfect daughter, could never really let her guard down enough to show her true emotions. Watching her go through the steps to not only repair her past, but to also learn to forgive herself was really heartbreaking. I think I cried more during Aubrey’s sections of the books then I did during Ben’s – even though on the traumatic scale Ben for sure has her beat.

One thing I really didn’t care for is how through out the whole book it’s hinted at how Aubrey wronged Ben, and I was waiting to hear that she had done something truly awful – however once it was revealed how she had wronged him I was a little disappointed. Although thinking about it now, I see how it was such a big thing for her and for him. I also really wish that Ben would’ve found out the truth about his wife and forgiven himself a little bit more. Yet, once again if I think about it I can see how it would be hard to believe the worst about someone who was no longer there to stick up for their self, also how hard it would be to forgive yourself when you’ve been carrying this burden around with you for so long.

I also wish that it wouldn’t have tied up as neatly as it did with Kendra and Pink. I would’ve liked to see Ben and Aubry later adopt them. But hey there’s always a chance for a sequel!
Do I Recommend: I do. This story was super interesting, and while you know the pair is gonna get the happy ever after – the path that they had to go through to get there really made for a great story. Plus Ben is a super awesome hero – like seriously he made my heartstrings tug a little bit. Also, Lucky Harbor as a whole is a wonderful setting for these books. I eagerly await each book that comes out in this series.

Once-in-a-Lifetime-Blog-TourApparently I scheduled this post for 2015 so I’m sorry for the late posting! This post should’ve been posted yesterday.

As a part of this blog tour I’m able to link to the main giveaway hosted by Grand Central Publishing -fill out the Rafflecopter below and have a chance at being the grand prize winner and win EVERY Lucky Harbor book written by Jill Shalvis, or be one of 5 people who win a copy of Once in a Lifetime!

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February 18th, 2014

Blog Tour & Book Excerpt: Once in a Lifetime

Once-in-a-Lifetime-Blog-Tour

As a part of the Once in a Lifetime blog tour, I’m able to offer you guys an excerpt from Once in a Lifetime which comes out today!

The excerpt I picked is what immediately drew me into Ben and Aubry’s story. It gives just enough mystery to Ben’s character, without giving away everything he’s been through right off the bat. I really hope you enjoy it.

Also I hope you’ll come back tomorrow and check out my review of Once in a Lifetime. If you do you’ll also be able to fill out the Rafflecopter and have a chance at being the grand prize winner and win EVERY Lucky Harbor book written by Jill Shalvis, or be one of 5 people who win a copy of Once in a Lifetime!

A few snowflakes floated lazily out of the low, dense clouds. One block over, the Pacific Ocean carved into the harbor, which was lined by three-story high, rugged bluffs teeming with the untouched forestland that was the Olympic Mountains. Around him, the oak-lined streets were strung with white lights, shining brightly through the morning gloom. Peaceful. Still.

A month ago, he’d been in South America, elbows deep in a project rebuilding a water system for the war-torn land. Before that, he’d been in Haiti. And before that, Africa. And before that … Indonesia? Hell, it might have been another planet for all he remembered. It was all rolling together.

He went to places after disaster hit, whether man or nature made, and he saw people at their very worst moments. Sometimes he changed lives, sometimes he improved them, but at some point over the past five years, he’d become numb to it. So much so that when he’d gone to check out a new jobsite at the wrong place, only to have the right place blown to bits by a suicide bomber just before he got there, he’d finally realized something.

He didn’t always have to be the guy on the front line. He could design and plan water systems for devastated countries from anywhere. Hell, he could become a consultant instead. Five years of wading knee deep in crap, both figuratively and literally, was enough for anyone. He didn’t want to be in the right hellhole next time.

So he’d come home, with no idea what was next.

February 12th, 2014

Review 232: Once Tempted (Silver Creek #1)

Once Tempted Laura MooreOnce Tempted (Silver Creek #1)
Author: Laura Moore
Page Count: 400 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books (March 26, 2013)

Whats it About According to GoodReads:

Oldest son Ward Knowles feels the sprawling California ranch in his blood. And now that the family business has expanded to include a popular resort, he’s working harder than ever. Silver Creek is his legacy and his life, which is fine for the ruggedly sexy ladies’ man and committed bachelor. Love and trust don’t come easily for Ward since he lost his heart to a gold digger—until he meets a shy, unpretentious beauty whose sweet grace is about to turn his jaded heart into a hungry one.

Tess Casari has found sanctuary at Silver Creek, working as an assistant to Ward’s mother, Adele. Grateful for her busy new life running the ranch’s spa and resort, Tess can escape the heartbreak, humiliation, and secret shame of her failed marriage. The last thing she needs is temptation—especially from a man who reminds her so much of the husband who shattered her faith in love. But passion and destiny are about to change the rules for two people who have stopped believing in the healing power of love.

What I Thought: First I would like to point out that I really did like reading Once Tempted. The story was engaging and just interesting enough that I wanted to keep reading. And I really liked Ward’s family dynamic and I am interested in reading more about the rest of the family.

That being said I could not for the life of me stand Tess. In the first few pages of Once Tempted, she is painted as someone who has had a pretty rough life. Honestly, I thought maybe it would mean then that she would at least have some sort of working plan or something. Nope. Not at all. She ends up in Silver Creek based on where her finger landed in weird game of Pin Point Where I Will Go.  Whatever, that’s fine. However for the next 200 pages or so we are reminded that Tess is a kicked puppy. Over, and over, and over again.

By the time I got to the meaty point of the story, I was ready for Tess to bite back and prove that she wasn’t some kicked puppy (with a great taste in shoes) but sadly she let me down. Instead she just kind of folded in on herself and let the big bad get away with being well … big and bad.

Of course we do get the Happy Ever After between Tess and Ward. I would be interested in seeing more of Tess (and I probably will as I read the other Silver Creek books) because I’m interested in seeing if she ever loses that kicked puppy aura that she seems to emit.

Do I Recommend: I do. My dislike for the heroine aside, Once Tempted was a solid read. Plus, Ward and his brothers sound super hot. I can’t wait to see the rest of Ward’s siblings fall in love as well!

February 10th, 2014

Diana Guest Review: Dirty Rocker Boys

17570753Dirty Rocker Boys
Author: Bobbie Brown
Page Count: 272 pages
Publisher: Gallery Books (November 26, 2013)

Whats it About According to GoodReads:
SHE’S MY CHERRY PIE. Tastes so good, make a grown man cry.

Who could forget the sexy “Cherry Pie” girl from hair metal band Warrant’s infamous music video? Bobbie Brown became a bona fide vixen for her playful role as the object of lead singer Jani Lane’s desires. With her windblown peroxide mane, seductive scarlet lips, and flirtatious curves, she epitomized every man’s fantasy. But the wide-eyed Louisiana beauty queen’s own dreams of making it big in Los Angeles were about to be derailed by her rock-and-roll lifestyle. . . .

Ever wonder what it ’s like to f*** a rock star?

After her tumultuous marriage to Jani imploded, and her engagement to fast-living Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee ended in a drug haze—followed by his marriage days later to Pamela Anderson—Bobbie decided it was time Hollywood’s hottest bachelors got a taste of their own medicine. Step one: get high. Step two: get even.

In a captivating, completely uncensored confessional, Bobbie explicitly recounts her encounters with some of the most famous men in Hollywood: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kevin Costner, Mark McGrath, Dave Navarro, Sebastian Bach, Ashley Hamilton, Rob Pilatus of Milli Vanilli, Matthew and Gunnar Nelson, Orgy’s Jay Gordon, and many more. Who’s got the most titanic dick in Tinseltown? Whose bedroom did Bobbie (literally) set on fire? No man was off limits as the fun-loving bombshell spiraled into excess, anger, and addiction.

Bobbie survived the party—barely—and her riveting, cautionary comeback tale is filled with the wildest stories of sex, drugs, and rock and roll ever told.

What I Thought: I first heard about Dirty Rocker Boys on a satellite radio station where Bobbie Brown was hosting a rock show. I went home and bought it right away, thinking it was going to be a light-hearted book full of gossip about certain rock stars that I too have fantasized about at different times.

This book starts off with a bang, literally, and paints a not so sweet picture of the Bobbie Brown that I admired growing up. She comes off as not only a bit immature, but also a little more conceited, at times, than I had imagined her to be.

Most people have heard rumors of how rock stars behave, but her stories show a much deeper insight into what it’s like to date someone famous or even someone trying to make it big while also trying to figure out who you are and how to achieve your own success.

What you get with this book is a look at her life growing up in a smaller town before she took off to Hollywood, her rise to the top and decent into the seductive world of addiction along with her self-destructive behavior in the hopes of getting revenge on the men who had hurt her.

Do I Recommend: Is the best book I’ve ever read, no. Bobbie at times sounds very juvenile like a heartbroken teenager scribbling furiously in her diary. However, she’s also very honest about who she was and the things that she’s done no matter how unflattering it may be. I would recommend this book, but be prepared to learn some very disturbing things about musicians and actors you may know and love.

February 7th, 2014

Review 231: Dark Witch (The Cousins O’Dwyer Trilogy #1)

Dark Witch - Nora RobertsDark Witch (The Cousins O’Dwyer Trilogy #1)
Author: Nora Roberts
Page Count: 368 pages
Publisher: Berkley Trade (October 29, 2013)
Received From: Purchased

What It’s About According to GoodReads:

With indifferent parents, Iona Sheehan grew up craving devotion and acceptance. From her maternal grandmother, she learned where to find both: a land of lush forests, dazzling lakes, and centuries-old legends.

Ireland.

County Mayo, to be exact. Where her ancestors’ blood and magic have flowed through generations—and where her destiny awaits.

Iona arrives in Ireland with nothing but her Nan’s directions, an unfailingly optimistic attitude, and an innate talent with horses. Not far from the luxurious castle where she is spending a week, she finds her cousins, Branna and Connor O’Dwyer. And since family is family, they invite her into their home and their lives.

When Iona lands a job at the local stables, she meets the owner, Boyle McGrath. Cowboy, pirate, wild tribal horsemen, he’s three of her biggest fantasy weaknesses all in one big, bold package.

Iona realizes that here she can make a home for herself—and live her life as she wants, even if that means falling head over heels for Boyle. But nothing is as it seems. An ancient evil has wound its way around Iona’s family tree and must be defeated. Family and friends will fight with each other and for each other to keep the promise of hope—and love—alive…

What I Thought: Typically, Nora Roberts is an auto buy for me. So when I saw that she had a new book out, naturally I bought it.Now usually before I read a book I don’t look at other reviews or anything about said book. Sure I’ll look at the rating on GoodReads and such, but I don’t read reviews.

That being said, this time I did look at some of the reviews before I bought it. There were so many 1 star reviews that I was curious. A lot of other reviewers were comparing The Cousins O’Dwyer series to the Three Sisters Island series, and I was a little disappointed. Never the less, I pushed on and read the book.

To me I could see the similarities between the two series, but they weren’t exact copies of one another at all. I felt that Dark Witch started off with a bang, literally. While I was more interested in the history of Sorcha and the Dark Witch, I really liked reading about  Iona and her life in Ireland.

The action parts of Dark Witch were described really well, and I LOVED reading about Iona as she came into her powers and learned how to use them.

However, I do have to say that the story did start to feel flat to me, after hearing time and time again how Iona’s parents ignored her, or neglected her. I would have liked to see some kind of evidence to that fact. The reader also constantly hears how great Iona’s grandma is, but we only get to meet the grandmother once, and then there’s sporadic mentions of her sprinkled throughout the story.

Do I Recommend: I do. Everyone knows that Roberts has a formula for her series. Three friends meet (usually one of them is new to the area) and just so happens to coincide with three other friends being there and them needing to solve something that only the six of them can solve together. Throw in some sexual tension, a splash of heartbreak, and a guy who “doesn’t normally act this way” and you’ve got a Nora Roberts book that’s a hit.  Dark Witch is no different, while the story wasn’t exactly original, I felt that it was a solid read.