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June 18th, 2014

Review 276: The Marriage Pact (The Brides of Bliss County #1)

18528420 The Marriage Pact (The Brides of Bliss County #1)
Author: Linda Lael Miller
Page Count: 384 pages
Publisher: Harlequin HQN (May 27, 2014)
Received from: Netgalley for review

What Its About According to GoodReads:

Ten years ago, Hadleigh Stevens was eighteen and this close to saying “I do,” when Tripp Galloway interrupted her walk down the aisle. Now that she’s recovered from her youthful mistake and Tripp’s interference, Hadleigh and her single friends form a marriage pact. She doesn’t expect Tripp to meddle with her new plan to find Mr. Right—or to discover that she’s more attracted to him than ever! 

Divorced and eager to reconnect with his cowboy roots, Tripp returns to Bliss County to save his ailing father’s ranch. He’s not looking for another wife—certainly not his best friend’s little sister. But he’s never been able to forget Hadleigh. And this time, if she ends up in his arms, he won’t be walking away!

What I Thought: In the beginning it was very slow going, to the point where I almost put it down. But because I have read other books by Linda Lael Miller, I kept pushing forward. After finishing the book, I have to say I’m some what glad I did.

Hadleigh was a heroine that had anything but an easy life, so it really didn’t shock me that she was getting ready to marry someone as soon as she turned 18.  I was however, shocked that someone actually did say something when the minister asked if anyone objected! (Seriously, is that even a thing that is done? I’ve never been to a wedding where someone would object!)

Enter Tripp Galloway. Ruggedly handsome, Tripp Galloway. The kind of guy most girls dream about, Tripp Galloway.  Yeah, he’s THAT good. I don’t know what part I liked most about Tripp. He came home after his marriage failed, and he found out his dad was sick. He also came back because he just missed home. You can take the cowboy out of the country, but you can’t take the cowboy out of the country.

While I think some of the fights that Tripp and Hadleigh had were just a little over the top,  I really liked that their story was a linear one. One that you could actually see happening in real life. Their falling in love wasn’t something that just blindsided anyone. Hadleigh had been in love with Tripp since she was a young girl, and if Tripp was being honest with himself he’s felt the same way about her.

However, there is more to The Marriage Pact – than just Tripp and Hadleigh’s romance. The Marriage Pact is also a pact made by Hadleigh and her two best friends. That no matter what they would keep looking for love and support one another until each of them were happily married. Which I think is super cute and really kind of a cool thing.

Do I Recommend: You should really say I do! to The Marriage Pact It’s a cute story, that although started out a little slow will definitely melt your heart just a little bit.

June 9th, 2014

Review 275: Her Only Desire

Her Only Desire -Delilah DevlinHer Only Desire
Author: Delilah Devlin
Page Count: 320 pages
Publisher: Forever Yours (May 6, 2014)
Received From: Netgalley

What’s it About According to GoodReads:
The moment Tilly Floret sees the sleek Bentley driving down Main Street, she knows trouble has arrived in her sleepy little town. A mysterious job posting keeps appearing at the diner where she works, and she can’t resist applying. No matter that the entire town of Bayou Vert is whispering about the wealthy, powerful man behind it all and his scandalous return home. The moment his ice-blue eyes meet hers, he ignites an all-consuming desire she never imagined possible, one she can’t deny.

Ex-navy SEAL Boone Benoit never thought he’d set foot in Louisiana again. As soon as Tilly starts her new job in his pleasure club, he senses a kindred soul. One who has carefully guarded secrets of her own-and a simmering hunger for the taboo rites of mastery and submission. The only difference is she doesn’t yet know it. Now as Boone tutors Tilly in the tantalizing world of leather and lace, she will shed her every inhibition and surrender to him, body and soul.

What I Thought: Break out the ice cold lemonade. Things are getting hot and steamy down in the bayou. Seriously, Her Only Desire started off rather tame and ramped up quickly.

It starts out with the same old song and dance. Girl is poor, from the wrong side of the tracks and her momma works at the house of the rich boy. Boy ends up in trouble for committing a crime and he leaves town, no longer the towns golden boy. But that is quickly where the similarities end.

Her Only Desire is a sexy mystery. You read that right, it’s a sexy mystery. The who-done-it plot does take a back seat to the lovin’ however, I do have to say that the sexy times are well thought out and don’t interrupt the flow of the story or seem out of place at all.

Do I Recommend: Yup! Because while Her Only Desire is the first book in a series, it works well as a stand alone. I’m very interested in seeing what else Delilah Devlin will write. I’m also eagerly awaiting the next book in this series!

June 5th, 2014

Review 274: Three Rules

Three Rules - Marie Drake Three Rules
Author: Marie Drake
Page Count: 259 pages
Publisher: Red Bird Digitial (April 2014)
Received From: Author

** WARNING: This book does contain sexual assault and could be potentially triggering to some! **

What It’s About According to GoodReads:

“I have learned three rules in my life: 1.) The most dangerous people in the world are not always strangers. 2.) The scariest things imaginable are not those that can kill you, but those you can live through. And probably the most prominent: 3.) The most horrible possibility is not what could happen to you, but what you could become – I became a killer.” ~Hope Wellman 

Hope Wellman has a childhood full of horrific memories, a bone chilling recurring nightmare, and a persistent paranoid sense of being followed that she would rather keep repressed. 
Is evil reaching from beyond the grave to capture the tattered remnants of her soul once and for all, is it only a machination of her disturbed mind, or is there something happening more sinister than even she can imagine? 

Attending the funeral of her abuser is the first step in putting her life back together. She struggles with the fact she never told anyone what happened to her, and that the grave they are mourning over is empty. She’d find it a lot easier to move on and believe in the future if he were in the box, ready to be covered with dirt. She fears the last thread of her sanity has snapped when she sees Lucas everywhere she turns, and can’t escape a recurring nightmare. Is her tormentor alive, or is she imagining it? Is her dream triggered by past fears or is it a prediction of the future? 

What I Thought: As someone who has been sexually assaulted when I was first approached by Marie Drake to read her book, I hesitated. Did I want to read something that could potentially trigger me? Did I want to read something that I would probably hate because it would bring up negative emotions in me?  After talking with the Marie Drake a little bit more I realized that I was interested in reading Three Rules, she had assured me that she took great care to not be triggery, and to make sure that Hope Wellman’s journey was one that was handled with care.

I’m pleased to say that she was right. The topic of rape is one that is very fragile. And if not handled properly can cause a lot of issues. I’m pleased to say that Three Rules didn’t seem to have any of the issues I was afraid of.

Hope was a full woman, and while she had her moments where she doubted herself and her actions, as a reader I did none of those things. I felt that Hope was a strong woman, and while there were times I wanted to slap her and tell her to stop burying her head in the sand, I also feel that in her place I would have done the same thing.

Three Rules is full of twists and turns, and at the end of the book you’re stuck staring at that last page blinking in disbelief that the wild ride is over. Throughout the story we get to watch Hope learn that she can trust herself and her instincts. And that in the end, nothing is really as hopeless as it seems.

Do I Recommend: I do. The subject nature is a bit dicey, so only read Three Rules if you are comfortable approaching sensitive topics.

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.