Friday, July 31, 2015

Review: In Her Defense by Julianna Keyes

In Her Defense by Julianna Keyes
Book Two of the Time Served series
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication Date: September 7, 2015
Rating: 4 stars
Source: eARC from NetGalley

***Warning: this is an adult book, and for the eyes of mature readers***

Summary (from Goodreads):

Caitlin Dufresne has never loved anyone as much as she loves winning. A ruthless fifth-year associate at an elite Chicago law firm, she’s on the fast track to partner...until a stupid, serious error enrages her bosses. Caitlin’s continued refusal to share work—or credit—lands her a forced two-week vacation. She needs to regroup and learn to be part of a team, not just the star.

When she meets Eli Grant, head of the firm’s IT department, Caitlin knows the overgrown frat boy isn’t her type. But too much alcohol and a very public game of Truth or Dare turn into a dirty, breathless one-night stand. Which turns into a (mostly naked) two-week fling. Which turns into something that makes Caitlin incredibly nervous, despite the great sex.

Eli shows her the many upsides to sleeping in, and for the first time ever, Caitlin has more than the law waiting for her at home. But when she returns to the office and the relentless demands of a high-profile case, Caitlin must decide if winning this one is worth losing Eli forever.

What I Liked:

Back in February, I read and LOVED Time Served, book one of this series. It's one of my few five-star-rated novels for 2015 so far, and one of my favorites. Rachel and Dean's story was agonizing and heartbreaking and lovely. Caitlin Dufresne was a very important character in the story, and to be honest, I HATED her. So when I saw that Julianna Keyes had written a companion novel to Time Served in Caitlin's point-of-view, I was, well, wary. Still, I really enjoyed Time Served, so I put aside my doubts, and jumped at the chance to read this one early. No regrets!

Caitlin Dufresne is Chicago's most successful lawyer, in her early thirties, and one of the most attractive. She works all the time, late into the night, early in the morning. When her bosses stiff-arm her into taking a mandatory vacation, Caitlin is furious. She has no interests outside of work. When the IT guy of the firm, Eli Grant, stumbles on her in a bar the evening of her forced mandatory vacation, sparks fly, and Caitlin and Eli find themselves very attracted to each other. Steamy weeks follow, and Caitlin is slowly finding out that she doesn't have to be made of only work work work. She finds that she can't walk away from Eli, and will soon have to decide what is worth more of the effort - Eli, or her work.

Caitlin is so different from Rachel (the protagonist of Time Served). Rachel does not make any cameo appearances in this book. In Time Served, we find Caitlin to be a cold. heartless, cruel woman who seems to be sleeping with everyone in the firm. She made me so angry in that book. But as I've gotten into her head, I can understand her so much better. She wasn't sleeping with everyone to get power or promotions, she dated men, they broke up, like any relationship. Caitlin is cold and heartless, but she isn't made of stone. While she appears to be a marble sort of perfect, she isn't.

I found that I actually really liked her. She is a fighter, a dedicated worker, and she never gives up, even when she isn't familiar with something or doesn't like it. Her attraction to Eli is instant and surprising, and she doesn't want to stop seeing him after that one time, despite the fact that he isn't her usual type. I like that Caitlin is honest and straightforward, and goes after what she wants.

I really, really like Eli, especially in the beginning. He is also honest and straightforward, and goes after what he wants. He knows Caitlin's reputation, yet he stills want to get to know her, in more than one way. He pushes their relationship to new levels, and helps Caitlin feel comfortable with many things she wasn't previously comfortable with doing. Towards the end, there is a lot of miscommunication between Caitlin and Eli, and I wanted shake them both, especially Eli. But he is such a good guy, and a hawt one, at that. Overgrown frat boy? I know the type. I wouldn't mind one, to be honest.

The chemistry between Eli and Caitlin is off the charts. Talk about steamy, right from when they meet each other. It's instant attraction, which leads to more. There are so many steamy scenes in this book, much like in Time Served. But unlike in Time Served, Caitlin and Eli didn't know each intimately previously (or at all), and have no history. I almost liked this more, because the romantic and sexual experiences between Eli and Caitlin were completely new. No history clogging their relationship. This book is so, so steamy, guys. This series, in general. Time Served and In Her Defense are both very sexy romance novels, that deliver on the sexy, and the romance.

And of course, their relationship is very tested and tried. It's physical at first, but then the pair start to care about each other. There are some minor jealousy moments on both sides, and some miscommunication. One assumes one thing, the other assumes another. But their relationship seemed like an authentic growing relationship, and I liked how developed it was.

This book goes through Caitlin's development of character very thoroughly. Caitlin doesn't know who she is if she isn't working. But the forced vacation allows her to explore areas of her life that she has not spent enough time exploring. She starts going to her niece's softball games. She goes to baseball games with Eli, and actually becomes a pretty big fan of baseball. She helps Eli remodel properties that he owns, which she doesn't love, but she likes doing it with and for him. Caitlin discovers a life outside of work, and a life with Eli.

The climax of the story surrounds Caitlin and Eli's relationship, as well as a case that Caitlin has been working on. While I found the case interesting, I was more interested in how Eli and Caitlin would resolve their relationship issues. The ending is very bittersweet up until the last few pages. I kind of like how the author dragged things out a bit, because it felt very real. The ending itself is very sweet and a good one! No need to worry about that. Keyes always delivers a happily ever after that will satisfy readers!

What I Did Not Like:

Nothing specifically that I didn't like! The author did an amazing job with this novel.

Would I Recommend It:

I would so very much recommend this novel! It's the companion to Time Served, but I personally recommend that you read Time Served before reading this one. Then you can hate Caitlin as much as I did at first, and then love her in this book. Seriously, I didn't think the author could do it well, but she really convinced me to love Caitlin in this book, despite loathing her in Time Served. This is a really great contemporary romance novel that is not cute and fluffy, but dirty and steamy and moving.


4 stars. More like 4.5 stars, if the world would let me rate books in half stars. This novel was an excellent companion novel, and such a fulfilling adult contemporary romance! If I want my romance fix, I know Keyes is the right author to look up! I am definitely excited to read more from her in the future, related to this series or not!

Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!

Time Served is only $2.99 at the moment! Don't miss out!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Review: Led Astray by Kelley Armstrong

Led Astray by Kelley Armstrong
Publisher: Tachyon Publications
Publication Date: September 15, 2015
Rating: 4 stars
Source: eARC from NetGalley

Summary (from Goodreads):

Two brand new tales anchor this wide-ranging collection from one of urban fantasy's most successful authors. Here is the first time that best-selling fantasy, YA, and crime author Kelley Armstrong has had her stories collected from Otherworld and beyond. With her signature twists and turns, Armstrong gives a fresh spin on city-dwelling vampires, werewolves, and zombies, while also traveling further afield, to a post-apocalyptic fortress, a superstitious village, a supernatural brothel, and even to feudal Japan.

With tales that range from humorous to heart-stopping, these are the stories that showcase Kelley Armstrong at her versatile best.

- Rakshashi (standalone)
- Kat (Darkest Powers universe, non-series narrator)
- A Haunted House of Her Own (standalone)
- Learning Curve (Otherworld universe, Zoe)
- The Screams of Dragons (Cainsville universe, non-series narrator)
- The Kitsune’s Nine Tales (Age of Legends universe, non-series narrator)
- Last Stand (standalone)
- Bamboozled (Otherworld universe, non-series narrator)
- Branded (Otherworld universe, non-series narrator)
- The List (Otherworld universe, Zoe)
- Young Bloods (Otherworld universe, non-series narrator)
- The Door (standalone, original to this collection)
- Dead Flowers by a Roadside (standalone)
- Suffer the Children (standalone)
- The Collector (standalone)
- Gabriel’s Gargoyles (Cainsville universe, Gabriel)
- Harbinger (standalone)
- V Plates (Otherworld universe, Nick)
- Life Sentence (Otherworld universe, non-series narrator)
- Plan B (standalone)
- The Hunt (Cainsville universe, non-series narrator)
- Dead to Me (standalone)
- Devil May Care (Cainsville universe, Patrick, original to this collection)

What I Liked:

I don't think I've ever reviewed an anthology! I've certainly read a few, but not reviewed one (that I remember). I don't read anthologies often - the stories inside are too short for my taste, and I never feel satisfied. With this anthology, I was really only interested in the Age of Legends story, The Kitsune’s Nine Tales. While that one was probably my favorite of all of the short stories, I enjoyed this anthology as a whole.

There are so many stories in this anthology, and I won't bother summarizes each one, or even commenting on each one. We'd be here all day! I'll highlight some of my favorites - The Kitsune’s Nine Tales, The Door, and Devil May Care

The Kitsune’s Nine Tales is the only story I really wanted to read in this anthology, when I first heard that this anthology would be a thing! I've read Armstrong's Darkest Powers series, and the Age of Legends series. I wasn't a huge fan of the Darkest Powers series, but I LOVE the Age of Legends series. The rest of Armstrong's books are unfamiliar to me, though I know how popular her books are (as well as she herself!). 

The Kitsune’s Nine Tales is the story of Alvar Kitsune and how he escaped death in the Forest. This story is very short, yet very dense. There are short cameos from Gavril, his son, but call that this story takes place over ten years ago, so Gavril is but a boy. This story seems like it is going in one direction, regardless of whether or not you've read the Age of Legends books, but Armstrong finds ways to surprise a reader. This story was certainly interesting, and a bit surprising!

The Door is the next story that I really liked. It is an original short story, not related to any of Armstrong's published novels. It is the story of a young girl whose father brings her books and toys, and when her sisters are born, brings them books and toys. The girl is not supposed to go near a certain door. When her father dies, and then her mother, the girl opens the door. She must make a decision, if she wants to keep opening it, or not. This story sounds really simplistic, with little conflict, but the story itself is so intriguing! What's beyond the door? What didn't her parents want her to see? What do their deaths have to do with the door? This was a strange short story, and I'm not entirely sure I understand it, but that is the beauty of short stories!

The last short story I want to highlight is Devil May Care. This story is a background sort of story relating to the Cainsville series. I've not read this series. This story is about how Gabriel's father and mother met, how Gabriel came to be. It is a strange story, because the Patrick and Seanna do not know each other until one they meet. Their interactions are very strange. Gabriel is conceived, but the parents do not want anything to do with each other. Nevertheless, I am very intrigued. The world of Cainsville seems to be one of fae, foretelling, fulfillment. This story was brilliant for several reasons, but importantly so because I am hooked and want to read the Cainsville series now!

Overall, the stories in this anthology were engaging, entertaining, interesting, and definitely helpful if you've read the full-length novels of the series that the short story corresponds to. And the short stories that stand alone are mesmerizing and strange, definitely worth reading! All of the stories are rather short, which I (for the most part) enjoyed!

What I Did Not Like:

I don't know if there was anything specific I didn't like? It's possible that I might have enjoyed some short stories more, had I read the full-length novels associated. But that's my problem, not the author's, and it's not a negative towards the book! Just a note, in case you're in the same boat as me!

Would I Recommend It:

If you're a Kelley Armstrong fan, or even if you've only read one or two books by her, check out this anthology! I'm not usually one for anthologies, but this one was quite interesting, and very easy to read, as the stories were short and engaging. Armstrong is a talented urban fantasy writer, that is proven over and over!


4 stars. One of the few anthologies I've read, and I've enjoyed it! Might I recommend the Age of Legends series to everyone? High fantasy YA, simply amazing! The short story in this anthology for that series is very eye-opening! Definitely check out some of Armstrong's books if you get the chance.

Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!

Swoon Thursday (#131): Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman

Swoon Thursday is a hot meme hosted by the fabulous ladies at YA Bound!

- From the book you’re currently reading, or one you just finished, tell us what made you SWOON. What got your heart pounding, your skin tingling, and your stomach fluttering

- Try to make the swoon excerpt 140 characters (or less), if you are going to tweet about it. Use the hashtag #YABOUND when tweeting

This week, my swoon is from Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman!

I grab him at the neck and pull him nearer. His mouth is warm and soft when it meets mine, his jaw rough 'gainst my skin. He leans into the kiss, arms gathering me up, and I swear a part of my head drifts right outta my body. I don't got a clue what I'm doing, but he seems to, so I let him lead. I let him lead like we're still dancing, and I follow blind, praying I ain't awful while trying to keep my knees strong, 'cus I wouldn't be shocked if they bucked and broke right there. Jesse Colton tastes like spice and tobacco and sweet mountain air, like salt and sweat from our travels. He feels like home and smells like mountains and I can't get enough. My one hand grips him tighter at the neck. The other curls into the front of his shirt.

- ARC, pages 272-273

This book took me by surprise! I'm delighted that I loved it :D

Release Day Blitz Week and Giveaway: Every Last Breath by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Welcome to the release day blitz week celebration for Every Last Breath by Jennifer L. Armentrout! I'm a huge fan of JLA, and while I have not read Stone Cold Touch, I intend on binge-reading that one and Every Last Breath as soon as my preorder arrives! Check this novel and see how this series wraps up!

Every Last Breath by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Book Three of the Dark Elements series
Publisher: Harlequin TEEN
Publication Date: July 28, 2015

Official Summary:

Some loves will last ‘til your dying breath

Every choice has consequences—but seventeen-year-old Layla faces tougher choices than most. Light or darkness. Wickedly sexy demon prince Roth, or Zayne, the gorgeous, protective Warden she never thought could be hers. Hardest of all, Layla has to decide which side of herself to trust.

Layla has a new problem, too. A Lilin—the deadliest of demons—has been unleashed, wreaking havoc on those around her…including her best friend. To keep Sam from a fate much, much worse than death, Layla must strike a deal with the enemy while saving her city—and her race—from destruction.

Torn between two worlds and two different boys, Layla has no certainties, least of all survival, especially when an old bargain comes back to haunt them all. But sometimes, when secrets are everywhere and the truth seems unknowable, you have to listen to your heart, pick a side—and then fight like hell…

Bitter Sweet Love:

White Hot Kiss

Stone Cold Touch:

About the Author:

# 1 New York Times and # 1 International Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing, she spends her time reading, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki.

Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV. Her young adult romantic suspense novel DON’T LOOK BACK was a 2014 nominated Best in Young Adult Fiction by YALSA.

She also writes Adult and New Adult contemporary and paranormal romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.

The Trailer:

The Excerpt:

“Oh my God!” This time my hand connected with his arm. “You’re going to be in so much trouble, Roth! So much trouble.”

He shrugged a shoulder. “Defended myself.”

“Defended myself.” I mimicked him, bopping my head back and forth. “You can’t just go around killing Alphas, Roth!”

“You killed those angels?” Stacey asked, so I guessed she did remember them.

He sent her an innocent grin. “Well, I didn’t, but…”

“Roth!” I shouted, backing away before I started choking the ever-loving life out of him. “This is not a joke. You—”

He was damn fast when he wanted to be. One second he was several feet away from me and the next he was there, clasping the sides of my face. He lowered his head so he was eye level with me. “There are rules, Shortie.”


“Rules that even the Alphas have to abide by. They cannot attack me without physical provocation. If they do, they tick the Boss off, and then the Boss retaliates in a way that makes what the Lilin could do look like child’s play. I’m not just some random demon. I’m the Crown Prince. They took a swing at me, and I defended myself. End of story.”

But he had provoked them—maybe not physically, but he wasn’t an innocent bystander in this. As the shock ebbed, there was a different kind of bitter pill to swallow. What if Roth had gotten his rules wrong? What if more Alphas were even now on the way to avenge their brethren?

“I’m going to be okay.” His eyes held mine as he stepped closer, lining his booted feet up with mine. “Nothing is going to happen to me. I promise.”

“You can’t make that promise,” I whispered, searching his gaze intently. “None of us can.”

His hands slid back and he curled his fingers in my loose hair. “I can.”
Those two words were like throwing down a gauntlet to the whole universe. I lowered my gaze as he dragged my hair back, tucking both sides behind my ears. It was then, as he slowly withdrew his hands, that I remembered we were not alone.

I jerked back and my gaze collided with Zayne’s. For a moment, I let myself really see Zayne. I hadn’t almost killed him. I had almost done something much, much worse than that. When a Warden lost their soul, they turned into a horrific creature. I knew that for a fact, because I’d seen what had happened to a Warden after their soul had been taken from them. I’d almost done that to Zayne, and he was still here, standing by my side.

A hole opened up in my chest as I saw the keen wariness in his stare. My stomach twisted something awful and I opened my mouth, but I didn’t know what to say. My heart and head were suddenly tearing in two very different directions. Fortunately, I didn’t get the chance to say anything.

“I leave you alone for a few hours, and you let Thumper fry and eat an Alpha.”

Yelping, I spun around as Stacey screamed. Cayman stood in the center of the destroyed living room. He’d come out of nowhere. Poof. There. He wore dark trousers and a white dress shirt he appeared to have gotten bored with when it came to buttoning it up, and his blond hair was loose around his angular face. When it came to the demon pecking order, Roth had once explained that as an Infernal Ruler, Cayman was middle management. He was kind of like the demon-of-all-trades, and I had a feeling he was more than just a…um, coworker of Roth’s. Whether Roth claimed it or not, they were friends.

“That was quick,” Roth commented, folding his arms across his chest.

Cayman shrugged. “It’s a sign of the times, man. It’ll probably be on some Alpha’s Facebook wall within the hour.”

Alphas had Facebook accounts?

The Giveaway:

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Review: Masquerade by Joanna Taylor

Masquerade by Joanna Taylor
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group UK
Publication Date: August 4, 2015
Rating: 3 stars
Source: eARC from NetGalley

***Warning: this is an adult book, and for the eyes of mature readers***

Summary (from Goodreads):

A street-girl and a lord? London is poised for scandal ... Bestselling author Joanna Taylor delivers captivating historical romance.

Can a street-girl fool Regency London? 

Lizzy Ward never meant to end up working the streets of Piccadilly. So when a mysterious lord pursues her, it seems her fortunes are changing. 

But Lord Hays wants feisty Lizzy for more than a night. He needs her to masquerade as his companion. 

So can a street-girl navigate the fashion and faux pas of London society? And will Lizzy’s wild heart be too much temptation for Lord Hays?

What I Liked:

This book was so cute! Cute is probably the best way to describe it. I knew it wasn't going to be the bodice-ripping types, like we get from Avon (imprint of HarperCollins). This is a UK-published book, so it's also not too well-known here in the States. Still, I saw it on NetGalley, asked my LB UK contact about it, and certainly enjoyed the book!

Lizzy is a former girl for hire at Mrs. Wilkes house. She hated working in this whorehouse, and ran away with two other girls. Now free, she is very poor, and simply looking to secure the protection of a wealthy lord, so that she won't have to search for opportunities from different men. When a chance with the Lord Hayes comes up, Lizzy does not hesitate. She'll please him in whatever way he wants for fifty guineas. A week of masquerading as his lady companion? No problem! Street girl and former girl at Mrs. Wilkes meets high society London in this fun and startlingly deep historical romance novel.

One of the things that surprised me and delighted me was the protagonist - Lizzy is a former girl at the well-known whorehouse of Mrs. Wilkes. She was ruined by a gentleman, who then took her to Mrs. Wilkes house, where she would do her duty and sleep with the men paying for a girl. It's rare that you read a historical romance novel featuring a prostitute, girl for hire, whore, whatever you want to call her. But the thing is, Lizzy OWNS her profession. She is in total control, and doesn't feel sorry for herself, or heartbroken. She is shameless, and will do what she needs to in order to pay bills and debts. Lizzy has no fear or shame, and is good at the freelance type of work she's doing, now that she is free of Mrs. Wilkes.

Nevertheless, Lizzy shows an outward and inner strength of character that is uncommon in historical romance novels. She is already so different from highborn ladies, as she was a country girl before she was ruined, and now she is a street girl. She takes Lord Hays' offer to be his companion for a week, and learns much about society during this time. But fancy dresses and jewels won't make her forget her former life, who she is.

I really like Edward. He is a thoughtful, careful, kind man. He is out to save his family's fortune, to make trade deals and buy a ship to trade guns. He hires Lizzy to be his companion (for good reason), but soon he grows to care about her. She is brash and brazen and outspoken, no matter that he is paying her. She attends to his needs but never worries about her own. She takes care of him, yet he takes care of her. The two of them are a great pair, as he is rational and calm, and she is wild and boisterous. 

The setting is very authentic! Very historical, in terms of location, time period, treatment of women and women's rights, class differences, societal norms. There are so many historical aspects that Taylor captured very well!

As the story goes on, more is revealed about Lizzy and her past, as well as more about Edward's life. The week passes, and Lizzy and Edward have decisions to make. Their relationship grows beautifully, and they have grown to care for each other a lot. The ending of the story was unexpected, but quite satisfying. I don't think I could have seen that ending exactly as it is, but I couldn't have it any other way.

What I Did Not Like:

This book didn't get nearly into the chemistry side of the romance as I'd hoped. I am well aware that this is an Alyssa problem and really has not much to do with what the author wrote, but I was totally expecting more from the romance. Don't get me wrong, Edward and Lizzy are intimate pretty often. It's just not explicitly told, which bothers me. As a historical romance junkie, I love steamy scenes between the couple. It's all part of the allure of an ADULT historical romance novel, no? This book didn't have that allure. While I still very much enjoyed the book, I expected something else.

This book was really lighthearted, but also to the point where it seemed like there was a layer or two missing. Everything was on the surface, laid out in front of you. One thing after the other, like a string of episodes on a sitcom. I'm not sure if I'm making sense, but it felt a little underdeveloped.

I expected a little more resolution from Lizzy's friend Kitty. It seemed like the debt collector in the beginning of the book would come back into the plot at some point, maybe the climax. That plot device was not employed, which was kind of sad, because I expected that. It would have made sense to bring that back into the plot. I think?

Would I Recommend It:

This is a really "clean" historical romance novel, if that makes sense. It's also pretty lighthearted, on-the-surface kind of story. Not much depth, and again, not much steamy stuff explicitly written out. So, if you're new to the historical romance game, and want something light to start out with, I'd recommend this one! But if you're like me, a die-hard historical romance novel fan, this probably isn't the best selection for you.


3.5 stars -> rounded down to 3 stars. But really, it should be 3.5 stars. I liked this novel! I'm glad I had the chance to read it. I'll be interested in more of Taylor's historical romance novels in the future.

Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!

Waiting on Wednesday (#135): Their Fractured Light by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week, I'm featuring:

Their Fractured Light by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Book Three of the Starbound series
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date: December 1, 2015

Summary (from Goodreads):

A year ago, Flynn Cormac and Jubilee Chase made the now infamous Avon Broadcast, calling on the galaxy to witness for their planet, and protect them from destruction. Some say Flynn’s a madman, others whisper about conspiracies. Nobody knows the truth. A year before that, Tarver Merendsen and Lilac LaRoux were rescued from a terrible shipwreck—now, they live a public life in front of the cameras, and a secret life away from the world’s gaze.

Now, in the center of the universe on the planet of Corinth, all four are about to collide with two new players, who will bring the fight against LaRoux Industries to a head. Gideon Marchant is an eighteen-year-old computer hacker—a whiz kid and an urban warrior. He’ll climb, abseil and worm his way past the best security measures to pull off onsite hacks that others don’t dare touch.

Sofia Quinn has a killer smile, and by the time you’re done noticing it, she’s got you offering up your wallet, your car, and anything else she desires. She holds LaRoux Industries responsible for the mysterious death of her father and is out for revenge at any cost.

When a LaRoux Industries security breach interrupts Gideon and Sofia’s separate attempts to infiltrate their headquarters, they’re forced to work together to escape. Each of them has their own reason for wanting to take down LaRoux Industries, and neither trusts the other. But working together might be the best chance they have to expose the secrets LRI is so desperate to hide.

Gorgeous cover! I can't wait to see how this series wraps up :)

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Blog Tour Review: The Seven Lady Godivas by Dr. Seuss (In Celebration of the Publication of What Pet Should I Get?)

Welcome to the blog tour for Dr. Seuss's newest novel, What Pet Should I Get? :) I am beyond excited to be sharing one of Dr. Seuss's oldest novels - and his first adult one, at that! Enjoy!

The Seven Lady Godivas by Dr. Seuss
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: 1939 (Re-Issued in 1987)
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Copy sent by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads):

The book recounts in prose the tale of not one, but seven Godiva sisters, none of whom ever wear clothing. The explanation for their nakedness, even when walking in snow, is that "they were simply themselves and chose not to disguise it." The story opens with the sisters' father, Lord Godiva, deciding to leave for the Battle of Hastings on horseback. This upsets the sisters, as horses are wild and untamed animals. Sure enough, before Lord Godiva even manages to leave the castle walls, he is flung from his horse and killed. As a tribute to their father's fate, the Godiva sisters agree to never marry—despite the fact that each is courting one of seven brothers named Peeping—until they can warn their countrymen of the dangers of horses. The book then follows the sisters as they set out on individual quests for "horse truths", which turn out to be well-known sayings involving horses.

What I Liked:

This book was hilarious. And adorable. It is Dr. Seuss's first adult novel, which is why I chose it for the blog tour for review. It's unique to all of his other books, which are generally for children. This book could definitely be read by a younger audience, but I see why it's an adult novel. Check out the cover, for starters!

The story follows the seven naked Godiva sisters, daughters of Lord Godiva, Earl of Coventry. The seven Peeping Brothers and the seven Godiva sisters are in love (each a pair), but when a horse throws the Earl and the Earl dies, the sisters make an oath: each of them must find a "Horse Truth" or they can never act on their love and get married. The Horse Truth must be something that warns others about the mysterious nature of horses - because in 1066, not much was known about horses specifically! Will the ladies find these "horse truths", and true love?

Like I said, this book was hilarious. In classic Dr. Seuss style, the story is both simple and complex, with a deeper meaning than what is on the page. The sisters are naked (think about why - this is open to interpretation, and it's also a legend!), and they swear off marrying until they can do some good for the world. The seven sisters stick to their oath - either they find a Horse Truth, or they don't get married.

I love how Dr. Seuss took an old legend, with Lady Godiva and Peeping Tom. Don't know what I'm talking about? Check out the Wikipedia page on Lady Godiva. Legend has it that she rode around on a horse naked, taking a stand against the high taxes that her husband imposed on the people. She sided with the people, and rode on the horse naked to oppose her husband's policies. A man named Tom was punished for watching her ride naked (either blind or dead). Interesting, no?

Dr. Seuss takes this legend and spins it differently - Peeping is the family name for seven brothers - Tom is one of them. Instead of one Lady Godiva, there are seven, who are always naked. When a horse kills their father, they swear to learn more about horses before they can ever get married. It is quite an intriguing story! And historical fiction, at that! I love medieval historical fiction.

And it's a funny one, despite the grim nature. Trust me, Dr. Seuss gets dark. Horses are dangerous... someone should have told the Godiva sisters and their father that. Thus, it is very adult. But it is funny, heartwarming, and ends well!

What I Did Not Like:

Nothing for here! I enjoyed the book, and would love to give it to my baby cousins when they get older. It is a classic!

Would I Recommend It:

I would recommend this one to any Dr. Seuss fan! It's one of his oldest novels, and his first adult novel (not many adult ones), and it's probably among my favorites of Dr. Seuss! 


4 stars. I'm sad to see that this one is pretty much out of print! It is such a great novel. Check out the prices for copies of this book - it's practically rare! I urge anyone who likes Dr. Seuss's books to read it though - his adult books are just as fun as his children books!

Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!

About the Author:

Theodor “Seuss” Geisel is one of the most beloved children’s book authors of all time. His long list of awards includes Caldecott Honors for McElligot’s Pool, If I Ran the Zoo, and Bartholomew and the Oobleck, the Pulitzer Prize, and eight honorary doctorates. Works based on his original stories have won three Oscars, three Emmys, three Grammys and a Peabody. Geisel wrote and illustrated 45 books during his lifetime, and his books have sold more than 650 million copies worldwide. Though Theodor Geisel died on September 24, 1991, Dr. Seuss lives on, inspiring generations of children of all ages to explore the joys of reading. For more information about Dr. Seuss and his works, visit

About What Pet Should I Get?:

In the Fall of 2013, an original manuscript with accompanying sketches by Dr. Seuss, aka Ted Geisel, was discovered in the La Jolla, California home of the late beloved children’s author. That complete manuscript was for the picture book, WHAT PET SHOULD I GET?, and will be published by Random House Children’s Books on July 28, 2015. It is the first original new Dr. Seuss book since the publication of the last book of Dr. Seuss’s career, Oh, the Places You’ll Go! in 1990. WHAT PET SHOULD I GET? captures the excitement of a classic childhood moment—choosing a pet—and features the brother and sister characters that Dr. Seuss drew in One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Blog Tour Excerpt and Giveaway: All the Ways to Ruin a Rogue by Sophie Jordan

Hi friends! Happy Monday! Welcome to the blog tour for All the Ways to Ruin a Rogue by Sophie Jordan, book two of The Debutante Files series. Check out this book, publishing tomorrow, and enter the fabulous giveaway!

All the Ways to Ruin a Rogue by Sophie Jordan
Book Two of The Debutante Files
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: July 28, 2015

***Warning: this is an adult book, and for the eyes of mature readers***

Official Summary:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Sophie Jordan continues her new series, The Debutante Files, featuring debutantes on the hunt for Mr. Right.

First friends, then enemies...

Lady Aurelia hasn’t always hated Max, Viscount Camden, her brother’s best friend. In fact, as a besotted girl, she thrived under his kind attention—sure that he was the most noble and handsome man in the land. Until her young heart discovered what manner of rogue he really was. Now, though she enjoys nothing more than getting on his last nerve, she can’t deny Max drives her to distraction—even if she tries to pretend otherwise.

Now something more...

Max cannot recall a time when Aurelia did not vex him. If she was not his friend’s sister, he would stay far away from the infuriating vixen. Unfortunately, they are always thrown together. At parties and family gatherings…she is always there. Mocking him, tossing punch in his face, driving him mad ... until one night, she goes too far and he retaliates in the only way he can: with a kiss that changes everything.

About the Author:

Sophie Jordan grew up in the Texas hill country where she wove fantasies of dragons, warriors, and princesses. A former high school English teacher, she’s the New York Times, USA Today and international bestselling author of more than twenty novels. She now lives in Houston with her family. When she’s not writing, she spends her time overloading on caffeine (lattes preferred), talking plotlines with anyone who will listen (including her kids), and cramming her DVR with anything that has a happily ever after. You can visit her online at

Read my reviews:

The Excerpt:

Max knew it was Aurelia the instant she sat down at the table. Or rather, the moment she plopped into the chair across from him. The black gown she wore was so indecently tight she wasn’t capable of sinking into her seat with any standard of grace. Her ridiculous disguise could not hide her from him.

He stilled, his entire body going rigid. The dress. Her. At this table. None of it was right or proper. Familiar ice chugged through his veins at the unexpected sight of her here of all places. The most illicit of clubs. Young ladies of privilege weren’t supposed to know places like this even existed, much less step across the threshold. He shouldn’t be surprised. Aurelia had never fit Society’s vaunted criteria for young womanhood.

The laughter and buzz of conversation faded to a dull growl around him as his gaze tunneled through copious cigar smoke to peer at Aurelia. He tracked her every curve, missing nothing. Not the absurd wig of golden hair piled atop her head. Not the olive-hued skin. Nor the whiskey-warm eyes.

His body reacted instantly. How could it not? He was a man in possession of healthy appetites, and however much he did not care for the chit, she was thoroughly beddable in that scandalous dress. He’d known she was voluptuous, but he had no idea she had been hiding a courtesan’s body beneath her clothes these many years. And that was what every man in this room thought as they devoured the sight of her. That she was a whore for the taking. A quick glance around confirmed that.

The backside he had glimpsed before she sat down was well-rounded with generous cheeks that would fill a man’s hands. He eyed the narrow waist that pooled into flaring hips. His mouth dried. Her body was made for sex. No quick and gentle mating that ladies with delicate sensibilities engaged in under the cover of darkness. She would take everything a man could give and revel in it. All he could give. Rough and fast. Base and primal. She wasn’t a fragile piece of crystal that would break beneath a hard shag.

He leaned back in his seat as though needing to insert additional space between them. His hand slid beneath the table to adjust his cock were it had grown achingly hard. He huffed out a breath, furious that she should make him feel this way. He did not like her. He’d sooner take a viper into his bed than this chit that had caused him such grief.

No one called him Cockless Camden anymore. At least not to his face, but it took years to put an end to that. Even now he knew the slur was still whispered behind his back. People thought it. The repercussions of that caricature followed him still. Every time he got naked with a woman, he read the surprise in her eyes. The relief.

“Gentlemen,” she greeted, her gaze fixing on him. The taunting light in the brown depths made his skin tighten with familiar battle-readiness. “Room for one more?”

“Always room for so beautiful a lady,” the man to Max’s left replied as he shuffled cards.

What the bloody hell was she doing here? He stared hard at her, letting his gaze convey his outrage.

She smiled prettily, her plump lips curving beneath her scarlet domino. The domino was a joke. As was the wig. Anyone who was more than a passing acquaintance with Aurelia would recognize her. Which only made her ten kinds of a fool for even stepping foot in Sodom. Even right now her cousin, Declan, was upstairs.

“Thank you.” She treated each man at the table to her smile. “What is the wager, gentlemen?”

Everything in him clenched hard. He wanted to wrench her up from the table, drag her from the club and stuff her into a carriage for home. Only that would call more attention than necessary. Not that she didn’t deserve a little public shaming, God knew, he had suffered enough of that over the years. Thanks to her. Pummeling anyone who dared call him Cockless Camden to his face and shagging half the women in the country had gone a long way in proving his virility and dismissing the moniker.

But if Aurelia’s presence here went public it would ruin her. He couldn’t do that to Will or Declan. Instead, he traced the rim of his glass as he stared at her, hoping she grasped the full extent of his fury. Hoping she was afraid.

“We play for high stakes.” He raked her with his eyes. “Too high for you, I am certain.”

He knew the dig would wound. He knew because he knew of her brother’s dwindling funds. Her pin money could not be very prodigious.

She sniffed and pulled back her shoulders. An action that only pushed out those magnificent breasts. Everything in him twisted tight as the edge of an areola, dusky-dark where it met her olive-hued skin, came into view. Reaching for his glass he downed it and signaled for another one.

And he wasn’t the only one getting an eyeful. Every man at the table was looking, salivating at the sight of her flesh. Scowling, he took in each of their hungry stares before returning his gaze to her.

“High stakes don’t frighten me,” she announced.

“They should,” he growled and then added beneath his breath. “Daft girl.”

She heard him. Or read his lips. The hands that rest on the top of the table curled into fists. “What’s amiss? Afraid you will lose?”

“One night upstairs,” the man to his left blurted, boldly tossing down the gauntlet. “Winner claims one night with you in an upstairs chamber,” he clarified as though his meaning wasn’t evident. The bastard then winked at Aurelia.

Max arched an eyebrow, waiting for her to flee. Now she would surely see. Now she would understand that she had gotten in over her head. He watched, waiting for her to come to her senses and excuse herself.

Her brown eyes locked on his as she asked, “And if I win?”

He slid his hands beneath the table and gripped his thighs, his fingers digging deep as he leaned forward. Mad chit. She was not doing this. He shook his head once at her. Hard.

“Whatever you want. Name your prize,” one of the other men offered, leering at her chest as he did.

Her gaze roamed over each man at the table, assessing. Four in all, counting him. She thought she could best all of them? She was playing with fire and she knew it.

“I’ll have…” Aurelia paused, her gaze resting on him again, considering. “Your clothes.”

The man beside him choked. “Our clothes?”

She nodded, smiling pertly.

“You’ll have each of us strip down to our bare arse right here?” another demanded.

“You cannot think to win. You will lose,” Max hissed, letting that sink in her fool head. She would lose and be at the mercy of one of them. In that moment, he did not think she would prefer to be subject to him. Not as furious as he was.

She shrugged one shoulder. It looked as smooth as marble, and he imagined touching it, stroking the flesh and discovering if it was as soft as it appeared. One of the men at this table could very well win that privilege if he let her do this. Daft female. He should just walk away. Let one of them have her. It would serve her right, playing with fire.

And yet she was Will’s sister. He couldn’t leave her to these wolves.

“I’m in,” he announced, hating to utter the words even as he had no choice. He would take the wager and he would win and save her from this mess.

He admitted there would be some satisfaction in beating her. She thought she could win. For no other reason would she have agreed to these terms. He would relish besting her.

The other men quickly chimed in their own accord.

“Let us begin then, gentlemen.” Still wearing that insufferable smile, she nodded for the game to commence with a magnanimous wave of her hand.

The cards were dealt quickly and efficiently. He watched everyone’s faces closely as they played, reading for the slightest reaction.

He trained his features into a mask of impassivity. No expression. Even when the first two men tossed down their cards in defeat. Rising, they stripped off their clothes with grumbles.

A crowd gathered, jeering at their pale, naked bodies on display. Aurelia dipped her gaze to her cards, but not before he read the amusement glimmering there. She was enjoying herself. Bloody fool. She hadn’t an inkling of the predicament she was in.

“Having a good time?” he bit out.

“Adequate,” she retorted, treating him to a chilly smile.

Shaking his head, he tightened his focus on the cards he held, placing one on the table and drawing a new one with nary a change in expression. There were just three of them left now, Aurelia, himself, and the man to his left.

The stranger knew what he was about. Not so surprising, since the wager had been his idea. He was confident and hard to read. Max’s gut churned uneasily, suspecting that he and Aurelia had perhaps been lulled into a swindle by a sharp. He glanced down at his hand, hoping for her sake that it was enough.

He watched the stranger draw fresh cards and then lift his gaze to Aurelia. “Well, my love? What have you?”

She toyed with the edges of her cards, bending them slightly as she was not supposed to do. Not that any man at this table would correct her. No, she was by far too mesmerizing in her shocking gown, her breasts on full display.

Max’s fingers clenched around his cards, the knuckles whitening. “Be quick about it. We haven’t all night.”

Her gaze shot to him. “I’m sorry. Am I keeping you from more diverting sport?”

“You’ll be free to go about your diversions soon enough,” the stranger smoothly inserted, locking gazes with Max. “Once the lady and I adjourn to one of Mrs. Bancroft’s chambers upstairs.”

“Awfully confident, aren’t you?” he asked, the silky edge to his voice deceptively calm.

The stranger smiled widely, revealing yellowed, furry teeth. “Our friend here is impatient, Madame. Shall we put him out of his misery and let him face his defeat?”

“After you,” Aurelia insisted.

“Why not?” Furry Teeth shrugged. “Let us be done with it then. And on to more pleasant pursuits.”

Apprehension finally flickered within her eyes. The emotion was visible for just a moment through the eyeholes of her scarlet domino. Now she feared she might have overstepped, did she? When it might be too late. Fool. Did she expect him to save her? Blast her, he should leave her to hang herself. Let the brute take her upstairs.

Furry Teeth fanned his cards out before him with flourish. Applause erupted around them. Max stifled a curse and flung his cards down on the table. He’d lost.

Furry Teeth chuckled and wagged a finger at Max. “You, my friend, best undress yourself whilst I take this little morsel upstairs and collect my winnings.” Rising, he extended a hand toward Aurelia. “Come, sweetings. A wager is a wager, after all.”

Aurelia lifted her bowed head just as Max started to rise. Not to undress himself but to stop that filth from touching her. Wretched girl or not, he would not let this vermin take her. He could not. His friendship with her kin demanded he protect her. Even if that meant reneging on a bet.

“Do you not wish to see my cards?” She queried softly.

All eyes turned to the table as she spread her cards in an arc. Surprised gasps rippled all around them.

She’d won.

Furry Teeth let out an oath.

She leaned back in her chair in the manner of a victorious queen and leveled her gaze on him. “A wager is a wager,” she echoed. “I believe I’ll collect my winnings now.”

Furry Teeth began stripping off his clothes in angry movements, revealing his pale skinny limbs. Entirely naked, he quickly sank back down in his chair and sat there sulking much like the other two men who had already shed their clothes.

Aurelia lifted an eyebrow at him. “Well, my lord? Do you not honor your bets?”

“Honor?” He chuckled low and deep, the sound raw and prickly in his throat. “That is not a word I expect you to understand.”

Her smile turned brittle. “Are you delaying on purpose? The hour grows late, my lord.”

He shoved to his feet, sending his chair skidding backward. He yanked off his jacket and vest, his eyes never leaving her face. Reaching behind his neck, he pulled his shirt over his head and tossed it aside on one smooth move.

A woman nearby made a hissing sound of approval.

The corner of his mouth kicked up in acknowledgement. He knew he was well-formed. He spent a goodly amount of time riding, fencing, swimming, fighting. He was not ashamed. That said, he did not appreciate being forced to undress so that he could be ogled and made a spectacle of. Again. The first time had been at her hand, too.

Anger, hot as molten rock, poured through him. It was in his every movement. The crowd fell silent around him as he removed one boot, then the next. His hands went to the front of his trousers and hesitated.

She watched him, her throat working as she swallowed.

“Is this what you want?” he demanded.

The color rode high in her face, crowding the edges of her domino. She was getting more than she bargained for. She realized that now.

He leaned across the table, flattening his palms on the baize surface and bringing his face inches from her. “This is what you’ve been so curious about? Is it not?”

Her breath escaped in a sharp hitch. “You flatter yourself.”

“You set the stake, not I. Shall I satisfy your curiosity at last?” His voice dropped to a whisper. “Now you can infuse some reality to your artwork. That will be a refreshing bit of change.”

Her nostrils flared. Her words escaped in a low hiss for his ears alone, “There is truth in my drawings.”

Her words struck him like steel striking flint. He laughed once, hard and unforgiving. “You’re about to witness the truth. Pay close heed. So next time, I expect you to get it right.”

“I’ve drawn you once. No need to repeat the task.”

He tsked. “Come now. I fascinate you as a subject. You know it. I know it.”

“Rubbish,” she spat, her gaze sparking fire through the eyeholes of her domino.

“Shall I prove it?” Shoving back off the table, he dropped his hands to the front of his trousers. Tearing loose the buttons, he shoved them down and stood naked before the room. Unlike the other men, he did not sink into his chair. He let the room have a look. He let her drink her fill.

Her mouth popped wide in a little o. Those eyes of hers traveled over him, missing nothing. She looked everywhere. Especially there.

Those big brown eyes of grew larger yet. She looked for so long and so intently that he stirred. He knew he should have felt a stab of embarrassment as he grew before her eyes. Or perhaps not. This was Sodom where all manner of illicit activity happened before all manner of audience, after all. Nothing was too shameful. Nothing private.

His response to her irked him. The stroke of her gaze shouldn’t make him randy as a green lad. Any other female, fine. Only not her.

“Gor,” a woman clucked from the crowd. “I wouldn’t mind a ride on that.”
Fire lit Aurelia’s cheeks.

She had failed. She might have won the wager, but he was the victor. She had planned to embarrass him and failed. Satisfied, he sank down in his chair.
The crowd dissipated around them. The men hastily redressed and retreated, but he remained where he was, naked in the chair, holding her gaze for long moment.
“Not so cockless. Am I?” he queried lightly.

“You’ve proven that well enough,” she replied evenly, the color in her face becoming less red and more pink.

“Do well to remember it in your spinster bed,” he flung out. “Or perhaps someday you will wed and have but a puny rod to take between your thighs. You’ll think of me often then, will you not?”

“You’re vile.” She surged to her feet and started past him, but he grabbed her wrist, squeezing the delicate bones in his grip. She looked down at him, her brown eyes luminescent within her mask.

He rolled his thumb against the inside of her wrist, feeling her pulse flutter there as wild as a moth’s wings. “Don’t ever come here again.”

“You do not command me.”
“But that is what you need. A strict hand to lead you.” His gaze raked her. 

“Look at you. Look where you are.” He waved a hand about them.

“I command myself.”

“Do you? Very well then,” he sneered, flinging her from him as though he could not stand the feel of her a moment longer. “Next time I’ll let any manner of man take you upstairs and claim your virtue. If, in fact, you’re still in possession of it—“

His words hit the mark. A stricken look crossed her face before disappearing and giving way to a cheery smile. “You forget yourself, Camden. You did not rescue me. It is you who lost the wager to me.”

Still wearing that bright smile, she turned away, her hips moving in a way he had never noticed before, swaying as she took small, tight steps in her black gown. A gown that he suddenly envisioned wadded up in a ball at the foot of his bed. That would be one way to command her, he thought, watching hungrily as she disappeared through the crowd of Mrs. Bancroft’s sitting room. Indeed, he could command her in his bed. Beneath him. If he didn’t find her so detestable, that would be the perfect place for her.

The Giveaway: