Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Review: Dream Animals: A Bedtime Journey by Emily Winfield Martin

Dream Animals: A Bedtime Journey by Emily Winfield Martin

Published October 22nd 2013 by Random House Books for Young Readers
Hardcover, 32 pages
Genre: Children's Picture Books


Summary from Goodreads

Ideal for bed time reading, this book will appeal to parents and children who love Grandfather Twilight and On the Night That You Were Born. Author, illustrator, and creator of The Black Apple Etsy shop, Emily Martin convinces children to close their eyes and discover who their dream animal might be—and what dream it might take them to. With a perfect nighttime rhyme and gorgeous illustrations, this book is irresistible.
I bought this book on the whim for my little boy and was very pleasantly surprised. In it's basic it is a lovely bedtime story, great for that bed time reading. The premise is, when the children go to sleep, what will their dream animal be and what kind of a dream will it carry them too. Love the rhyming of the storytelling, the writing is lovely and the illustrations are simply beautiful. I really enjoyed it myself and will be adding this book to our night time collections reading. So glad I discovered Martin and her creative storytelling. I will be adding more of her delightful books to my collection soon! Maybe even gifting one to my niece for her birthday :)

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Review: Soulbound (Darkest London #6) by Kristen Callihan

Soulbound (Darkest London #6) by Kristen Callihan

Published Published February 24th 2015 by Forever (first published February 24th 2014)
Paperback, 366 pages
Series: Darkest London
Genre: Paranormal Romance

Heat Rating: Steamy


Summary from Goodreads
Once two souls are joined...

When Adam's soul mate rejected him, there was more at stake than his heart. After seven hundred years of searching, his true match would have ended the curse that keeps his spirit in chains. But beautiful, stubborn Eliza May fled—and now Adam is doomed to an eternity of anguish, his only hope for salvation gone...

Their hearts will beat together forever...

No matter how devilishly irresistible Adam was, Eliza couldn't stand the thought of relinquishing her freedom forever. So she escaped. But she soon discovers she is being hunted—by someone far more dangerous. The only man who can help is the one man she vowed never to see again. Now Adam's kindness is an unexpected refuge, and Eliza finds that some vows are made to be broken..
My first go at the Darkest London series and I have enjoyed it so much that I cannot believe I have missed out on the earlier books.

Adam has been cursed and the only one who can ended is his soul mate. After spending hundreds of years searching and waiting, he finally finds her, only to have her reject him. Eliza May has managed to flee Adam the king of GIM's, with the help of a few unlikely characters. After being chain and treated ungracefully by the King of GIM's it's no wonder she grew to hate the man, until she finds him chained and broken in Mab's house. Unable to watch him in such a horrible soul crushing situation, Eliza decides to try to rescue Adam. Now they are on the run, not only are they being chased by the dangerously obsessed Mab, but also a very dangerous man who wants her all to himself. With Adam's powers dampened by the chains, the two of them would need to find help from people who may or may not still be loyal to Adam.

Great story. I love how it takes Historical Fiction and Paranormal Romance and turns out a very interesting read. I liked the time period and the two elements work well together, which also happen to be two of my favorite things.

Adam was, well... He grew on me let's just put it at that. The way he treated Eliza at first was infuriating, which made me understand why Eliza ran. It also paved a great road for conflict and why Eliza did not accept him as her soul mate at first. At the same time his actions were also a bit understandable. Because of his curse, people are attracted to him, but Adam does not feel any sort of emotion towards them so he has lived a very lonely life for a hundred of years. In a way, he doesn't really know how to act towards a woman he is suddenly in love with.

Eliza was a fierce female lead, I liked her well enough. I enjoyed the slow building relationship between the two and glad that the author did not rush it and make it feel like insta-love, especially because these two are supposed to be soul mates.

Filled with action, excitement, paranormal and secrets, Soulbound was a very entertaining read. I enjoyed the story line, I liked learning about Eliza's secret and the extra story with Sin that branched out and paved the way for the next book. Soulbound had some very original and creative elements that remind me again and again why I love Paranormal Romance.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Review: Dark Alchemy by Laura Bickle

Dark Alchemy by Laura Bickle

Expected publication: April 28th 2015 by Harper Voyager Impulse
Paperback, 384 pages
Series: Stand-alone
Genre: Urban Fantasy

Heat Rating: Kissing


Summary from Goodreads

Geologist Petra Dee arrives in Wyoming looking for clues to her father's disappearance years before. What she finds instead is Temperance, a dying Western town with a gold rush past and a meth-infested present. But under the town's dust and quiet, an old power is shifting. When bodies start turning up - desiccated and twisted skeletons that Petra can't scientifically explain - her investigations land her in the middle of a covert war between the town's most powerful interests. Petra's father wasn't the only one searching for the alchemical secrets of Temperance, and those still looking are now ready to kill. Armed with nothing but shaky alliances, a pair of antique guns, and a relic she doesn't understand, the only thing Petra knows for sure is that she and her coyote sidekick are going to have to move fast, or die next.

I was always the curious one standing on the outside looking in when it came to Laura Bickle books. I have never read her other series, but have read so many wonderful reviews on it from friends that I have wished for more time in order to read them. When Dark Alchemy was bought to my attention, I decided to finally jump on Bickle's bandwagon and after I was done with it, it left me wanting even more.

Petra Dee is a geologist who arrives in Wymoning looking for any clues in her father's disappearance years before, when she finds herself in Temperance an old Western town with a gold rush past and a possibly meth-infestation. What Petra is about to find out that there is something more underneath the dusty quiet town, especially when bodies start showing up and she finds herself in a middle of something more than she was willing to bargain for.

Great story, rather dark and creepy and I found myself enjoying and hooked from the very first chapter. Petra's character was flawed. She wasn't like most Urban Fantasy lead females that I have been used to and I liked that, it made her seem more human, which is exactly what she was in the book.

The storyline and the concept were both original and fascinating. I found myself immersed in a world that was even more darker and compelling when read in the middle of the night. I liked the stories take on alchemy and how certain people used to obtain certain stages of power, which in turn wasn't always for the good of everyone.

The supporting cast of characters were just as equally interesting. I liked Maria and Frankie, but they left me wanting a little more. I thought Frankie's story was interesting, even if it was talked about briefly in the book.

The idea of the Hanged Man was also part of the creepy factor but I  found myself liking Gabe and wanting to know more about him. If you are looking for romance, this book is not for you. The romance in it was subtle and don't ask for happy endings, which left it refreshing in a way.

The book did leave some holes for me.

I don't think I completely understood what happened to Petra's father?
I did not get why Petra was called the Green Lion. I don't think this was covered well.
I wanted to know more about Maria and Frankie. In the end their stuff kind of got faded out.
I wanted to know more about Gabe's story especially after Petra found that old picture of him.
What happened to Cal in the end kind of felt almost like a cliffhanger.

I think this is a stand-alone. If it is, it feels a little bit full of holes. If there are more coming, I hope stuff will be a little bit more explained.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Quick Note + Review: The Trouble with Being Wicked (The Naughty Girls #1) by Emma Locke

 Phew it's been a long last couple of weeks. So sorry for the absence as some of you might have noticed, outside of dealing with a cold and a life changing event things have slowed down a bit for me in the reading and blogging world. I miss it so much, but until I can get into a routine around here that works and allows me to get more reading in, my activity will be a bit sluggish. I am working hard on remedying that, if I can find any time for myself.

On that note, why doesn't kindle make a voice activated reader yet for us breastfeeding mommy's that need more then two hands if we want anything done?

Now onto my throwback ARC for this week.

The Trouble with Being Wicked (The Naughty Girls #1) by Emma Locke

Published  December 18th 2012 by Intrepid Reads (first published December 9th 2012)
Paperback, 334 pages
Series: The Naughty Girls
Genre: Historical Romance
Heat Rating: Steamy to Sizzling


Summary from Goodreads
When Celeste Gray arrives in the sleepy village of Brixcombe-on-the-Bay, she thinks she's one step closer to leaving her notorious past behind. She even suspects the deliciously handsome--if somewhat stuffy--viscount next door is developing a tendre for her. That is, until the day Ashlin Lancester learns she's not the unassuming spinster she's pretending to be.

After a decade of proving he is nothing like his profligate father, Ash is horrified to have given his heart to a Cyprian. He launches a campaign to prove his attraction is nothing more than a sordid reaction he can't control. But he soon learns that unlike his father, he can't find comfort in the arms of just any woman. He needs Celeste. When he takes her as his mistress, he's still not satisfied, and the many late nights in her arms only make him want more...
When Celeste Gray arrives in Brixcombe to take care of a friend who is about to go into confinement and have a baby, she plans on leaving her old past behind. A notorious courtesan, Celeste hopes the country life will keep her past where it needs to stay, in the past. Until she meets Ashlin Lancester and his wonderful sisters and suddenly her past might just come biting her back.

Interesting enough read, I did enjoy it. I liked Celeste for her tenacity and boldness. I had a hard time with Ashlin once he found out about Celeste profession and the fact that he goes out of his way to hire the woman he has feelings for to have as his mistress just because he cannot come to terms with his feelings and figures that is the only way due to her profession. He does grow on me over time by the end of the book.

The chemistry between the two was palatable, it was there and that's all that matters. The storyline flowed well enough with some slow snags here and there, but overall I did enjoy the book.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Review: Hero by Samantha Young

Hero by Samantha Young

Published February 3rd 2015 by NAL
Paperback, 416 pages
Series: Stand-Alone?
Genre:  Contemporary Romance

Heat Rating: Erotic


Recommanded for age 18 and older due to strong adult content and language.

Summary from Goodreads

The emotional and unforgettable new romance from the New York Times bestselling author of the On Dublin Street series.

Alexa Holland’s father was her hero—until her shocking discovery that she and her mother weren't his only family. Ever since, Alexa has worked to turn her life in a different direction and forge her own identity outside of his terrible secrets. But when she meets a man who’s as damaged by her father’s mistakes as she is, Alexa must help him.

Caine Carraway wants nothing to do with Alexa’s efforts at redemption, but it’s not so easy to push her away. Determined to make her hate him, he brings her to the edge of her patience and waits for her to walk away. But his actions only draw them together and, despite the odds, they begin an intense and explosive affair.

Only Caine knows he can never be the white knight that Alexa has always longed for. And when they're on the precipice of danger, he finds he’ll do anything to protect either one of them from being hurt again…
Yay it's another Samantha Young book! The moment I saw her name, I knew I had to get my itchy fingers on it. It didn't help that most of my blogger friends had already read it and enjoyed it very much! Despite being slightly disappointed with the last On Dublin Street book, I still love Young's writing and took the leap into her new book Hero.

I am so glad that I did. Alexa and Caine were amazing. The chemistry was explosive. The bickering and interaction between these two characters had me hooked and involved until the end. Once I sunk my teeth into this book it was hard to let go. I found myself devouring pages after pages, until I was disappointed that it ended.

Alexa has a rough life. Her father was her hero until she discovered a shocking secret and that she and her mother are not his only family. When Alexa runs into Caine, who was affected badly by her father's secret and terrible past, she and Caine come off on a rocky start once he learns who she really is. Because of him Alexa loses her job, so Caine hires her in turn of hoping to make her hate him.

The hate turns into lust when the two find themselves drawn to each other and thus begins their hot and explosive affair.

I loved Caine, he was rough around the edges. He was a bit dark with attitude issues and mood swings. I have not read a lot of billionaire books, so this wasn't something that I was sick off. Behind all that rough wall that Caine puts up due to his own little secret, he is a really sweet person. He has a big heart and does charity work as long as his name is kept secret, and is really warm and loving towards his elderly neighbor that he sees as a grandmother figure. Thought his actions toward poor Alexa were a bit cruel and at times unjustified, I loved that Alexa was able to bounce back against his antics and stand her ground. She was determined, resilient, and had a great smart ass attitude. She really didn't want to give up on Caine no matter how hard he tried to push her away.

And the ending... I didn't see all that coming, but a bit of a twist of danger at the end was kind of fun and welcoming.

I admit. I didn't realize this was an erotic romance when I started the book, but that's okay because despite all the sex that I ended up skimming through most of, the story line was actually really good and engaging. I had a lot of fun with this one. Young can create a world of engaging characters that just leave you feeling a lot in the end and she has definitely achieved that with this book.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Review: Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner

Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner 

Published February 3rd 2015 by NAL Trade
Paperback, 416 pages
Series: Stand-Alone
Genre: Historical Fiction


Summary from Goodreads

She stood at a crossroads, half-aware that her choice would send her down a path from which there could be no turning back. But instead of two choices, she saw only one—because it was all she really wanted to see…

Current day, Oxford, England. Young American scholar Kendra Van Zant, eager to pursue her vision of a perfect life, interviews Isabel McFarland just when the elderly woman is ready to give up secrets about the war that she has kept for decades...beginning with who she really is. What Kendra receives from Isabel is both a gift and a burden--one that will test her convictions and her heart.

1940s, England. As Hitler wages an unprecedented war against London’s civilian population, one million children are evacuated to foster homes in the rural countryside. But even as fifteen-year-old Emmy Downtree and her much younger sister Julia find refuge in a charming Cotswold cottage, Emmy’s burning ambition to return to the city and apprentice with a fashion designer pits her against Julia’s profound need for her sister’s presence. Acting at cross purposes just as the Luftwaffe rains down its terrible destruction, the sisters are cruelly separated, and their lives are transformed…
The moment I saw that Susan Meissner wrote another book, I knew I had to have it. Last time I read one of her books I fell completely in love with her elegant writing and storytelling and found myself falling in love all over again. She is one of many authors that keep my interest with historical fiction alive and why I keep coming back to this genre over and over again.

The story mostly follows a 15-year-old girl Emmy Downtree, her story told by Isabel McFarland when a young scholar comes to interview the elderly woman in hopes of learning some secrets about the war. Emmy has big dreams, and all she really wants is to find love and acceptance from her mother, for her to be proud of Emmy. She loves to draw wedding dresses, so when she get's a job at a wedding dress shop, it feels like a dream come true. When her boss informs her that she knows a man who is willing to look at Emmy's brides and could offer her an apprenticeship, Emmy can't believe her luck. Luck, that unfortunately soon starts to run out. When the war escalates, Emmy's mother signs both of Emmy and her half-sister Julia to evacuate London and find refuge in the country side. What happens next changes both of the girl's life forever...

Such an emotional, riveting tale about love, lose, hope and perseverance. I found myself glued to page after page, immersed in the fantastic storytelling by Meissner. Emmy was just a young girl who thought she was doing the right thing, who just wanted to make her dream come true. In turn she watched her entire world crumble into pieces when the blitz hit and she found herself losing everything that has ever been important to her. I don't want to dig into the story as much as I want to talk about it more with a fear of revealing a little too much. I did find myself irritated by Emmy's reckless behavior, I found it selfish and one-sided, but I understood that she was just a young girl who was looking to make her mother proud. In hopes that Emmy would never feel like she had ruined her mother's life, she wanted to show her that she could do something good with hers.

I found myself in tears by the end of the book. Everything that left me with questions midway through did get answered at the end of the book. Luckily there was closure, or else I am not sure how I would have done without it. I wanted to know what became of Emmy and how she coped with the hand that was dealt to her. How she managed to get through with losing so much in so little time. Her tenacity and ambition to make things right were inspiring, so was the fact that she had a hard time giving up. The 15-year-old girl had to grow up fast during the blitz and become a strong and independent woman.
I could have just hugged this book after reading it. Enjoyed it immensely,  glad I gave it a shot and hope to see more from Susan Meissner soon.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Review: Always Loving You (Danvers #6) by Sydney Landon

Always Loving You (Danvers #6) by Sydney Landon

Published February 3rd 2015 by Signet
Paperback, 304 pages
Series: Danvers
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Heat Rating: Steamy to somewhat sizzling


Recommended for 18 years old or older for adult content and language

Summary from Goodreads

Ava Stone has spent her entire life looking over her shoulder—waiting for the past to catch up with her....

After surviving a horrific attack as a teenager, Ava has never been able to truly overcome her fears. The incident was covered up by her family so she wouldn’t have to deal with it publicly—yet only one person understands what she had to endure in private: her brother’s best friend, MacKinley Powers, who found her the night of the attack. But even he doesn’t know everything—and she’s afraid to open up to him.

Mac has loved Ava for most of his life—and being in close contact with her every day as head of security for Danvers International isn’t helping. In fact, it makes him realize the painful truth: He has to walk away to keep his sanity. But when Ava is forced to rely on the only man who has never let her down, can Mac break through the protective walls she’s needed for so long?
Ever sit down to start a review, and end up being stuck unsure where to even begin? That's how I feel trying to put my feelings into words about Always Loving You. Let me start by saying I have never read anything by Sydney Landon before, so this was me dipping my toes into her writing. The result? I am not really sure how to still completely feel about it. I did enjoy Landon's writing, she did know how to keep my attention and the dirty humor was surprisingly very amusing in this book. There was just one tiny problem...

I couldn't stand Ava Stone as the heroine.

I found her absolutely frustration, and annoying. Her actions seemed a little out there and sometimes a bit childish. I can't say I had a hard time plowing through the book, but it almost felt like being unable to look away from a massive train wreck that was about to happen and that was what Ava felt like to me - a massive train wreck. In a way, she was. The story began with giving us a bit of a background on Ava and the fact that she survived an absolutely horrific attack as a teen and the fact that her grandfather was quick to cover the incident up without bringing any justice to it. So Ava in a way never recovered from the event, and has a hard time letting the only male that she has been in love with forever into her life.

I did like Mac, the man who was in love with Ava for most of his life. He has been patient for a lot of it, but there is only so much rejection a man can take and when Ava showed no interest in giving them a shot, Mac decided to move on.

Of course the moment Mac moves on, Ava can't handle it and ends up deciding that she must take her man back with a chain of really dumb behavior on her part which in some aspects have been downright dangerous. So get this, to catch the man's attention, Ava pulls a series of really bad stuns in front of him to get him riled up and hope he comes back to her. She puts herself in dangerous situations that are out of character for her, and poor Mac almost loses his mind trying to understand what is going on. Then she wonders why he rejected her when she finally confesses her feelings that he doesn't believe her at first. These two has some series communication issues through the book, it was starting to feel overwhelming at times.

And seriously, what the hell was up with Ava using Mac's best friend to make him jealous? How messed up is this?

I did find some parts of the book funny. When Ava's friend goes into labor, there is a really funny scene with that I found myself enjoying.

I also felt odd how easy it looked when Ava and Mac slept together. I was expecting a bit more resistance I guess on her part, being a victim of a terrible attack that she never really had a chance to get over. There was some hiccup afterward but not much struggle with her emotions during.

Overall, I don't know. I liked Landon's writing, it still kept me hooked but I am not sure if it was entirely in a good way. Like I said, it was like watching a disaster waiting to happen. In this case that disaster was Ava Stone, a very frustrating heroine that left me a bit annoyed by her childish actions.

I gave this book a 3 star instead of 2 1/2 because I did like Mac, I did find some of it quiet funny, I did like the writing and despite disliking Ava very much I still breezed through the book. So in a way, the author did her job in bringing out many emotions out of me through this book even if not all of them had been positive.