Monday, November 30, 2015

Review: Say You're Mine by Diane Alberts

Say You're Mine by Diane Alberts
Book Five of the Shillings Agency series
Publisher: Brazen
Publication Date: December 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):

She's a challenge he can't afford to lose...

Navy SEAL Steven Thomas has only ever been able to count on three things: waking up in the morning, going to sleep sometime during the night, and Lauren Brixton. She's been his best friend since grade school, and what they have is the only relationship he's managed not to ruin.

Until one drunken night puts that all in jeopardy.

Lauren's watched Steven flit from one-night stand to one-night stand, seemingly not interested in something more. So when the long-ignored attraction between the two of them blows up in their faces, she does the only thing she can-she pretends she doesn't want him. But all's fair in love and war, and Steven's not about to lose the only person in his life who matters...

What I Liked:

This book was a really fast read! There wasn't much to it, in terms of action, but this book was character-driven. I loved seeing Lauren and Steven work through their changing relationship. I'm not used to stories that are SO character-driven, but I liked this change of pace!

Steven and Lauren have been best friends since they were in elementary school. 20+ years later, Steven watches as Lauren goes from one awful boyfriend to another, and Lauren watches Steven drink himself to oblivion and go through women as often as he drinks. A Navy SEAL, Steven almost died in combat, and wants to wash away the disastrous mission that lost him his squad. Lauren has been in love with Steven, but she thinks Steven doesn't notice her. One night, things heat up and explode between them, leaving the next day awkward (as one would expect). But Steven isn't ready to go back to "normal" with Lauren - and Lauren isn't ready for Steven to break her heart.

I adore best friend romances, in which a guy and girl have been friends for forever, and perhaps one of them is in love with the other, but the relationship is totally platonic because that one friend is in the friend-zone, and the other friend either a) feels attraction but doesn't say anything, or b) really just does NOT notice the other person (which is usually the clueless male). Steven is semi-clueless in this instance, because while he HAS fantasized about him and Lauren, he knows better than to act on it and ruin this friendship. Lauren, on the other hand, has feelings for Steven, and he's "ruined" men for her. She dates a**holes but all she wants is Steven (which is weird logic).

Lauren is adorable! And such a nurturer. She's kind and smart and selfless, but she's also very playful and embraces her sexuality. Not to say that she is some brazen sex goddess BUT, she isn't afraid to ask for what she wants. Which is how she and Steven end up crossing the friend line. 

Steven (I hate that name, by the way) is the tortured hero. His team of Navy SEALs died while he was only injured in the shoulder. He constantly wants to wash away the pain by drinking heavily and having lots of sex. Unfortunately for him, his two best friends, Holt and Lauren, and his sister, Lydia (who is with Holt) won't let him keep up his downward-spiraling ways. Steven is actually a really good friend and a half-decent guy when he isn't saying how terrible of a person he is. He puts himself down and then hides behind the a**hole act, but it isn't fooling Lauren.

I LOVE seeing the two of them together. They're so comfortable together as friends, and they are really good together sexually. Lauren poked the sleeping bear and something ignited between the two of them. Their chemistry is pretty hot! The steamy scenes were too - there was one scene in a restaurant where Steven's overprotective jealous streak was HILARIOUS to me (although, if I had been in Lauren's place, I probably would have been angry, not amused like I am as a bystander). There is a lot of passion between these two!

But their relationship undergoes a lot of emotional changes as well as physical, and I liked seeming them develop this new layer to their friendship. I love seeing friends become more than friends, beyond friends, and then beyond friends with benefits. Alberts did an excellent job with both the character development and the relationship development. 

The climax - FOR ONCE, I actually really enjoyed "the breakup as a climax" trope. Steven gets upset with Lauren, things blow up, but I actually love the drama that ensued. It was quiet drama between the two, and NO ONE was playing any games. There was no miscommunication. One person said leave, the other left. One person begged forgiveness, the other said no, you told me to leave. No games! No miscommunication. And yet, the ending was VERY satisfying and happy.

This book was fairly short, with little going on in terms of action story, but a really developed story with great depth, in terms of the character arcs. I haven't read any of the other books in this series (there are four previous!), but I am definitely considering reading them now!

What I Did Not Like:

Not enough steamy scenes, and not enough "action" scenes. When I say "action", I mean events, going out, interactions. There is a lot of thinking and talking in this book. Not a terrible thing, especially when the book is so character-driven. But the story definitely could have had another well-written steamy scene (or two or three!).

Would I Recommend It:

I enjoyed the story, so I recommend this one! It's one of the few Brazen novels that I've really enjoyed in the past couple of months (definitely see Once Upon a Power Play by Jennifer Bonds!). I really liked how character-driven this book was (though I think the story could have benefited from another steamy scene!).


4 stars. I'd not read anything by Alberts besides this book, but I am intrigued! Hopefully there will be another book, about Daisy and Mark! *crosses fingers*

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

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Review and Giveaway: The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman

The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman
Book One of The Dark Days Club series
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: January 26, 2016
Rating: 4 stars
Source: ARC sent by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads):

London, April 1812. On the eve of eighteen-year-old Lady Helen Wrexhall’s presentation to the queen, one of her family’s housemaids disappears-and Helen is drawn into the shadows of Regency London. There, she meets Lord Carlston, one of the few who can stop the perpetrators: a cabal of demons infiltrating every level of society. Dare she ask for his help, when his reputation is almost as black as his lingering eyes? And will her intelligence and headstrong curiosity wind up leading them into a death trap?

What I Liked:

Whew! What a read! This book is a doozy - very long, but worth every page. I tucked in for a good read, and I got what I was looking for. I've been waiting for this book for nearly three years (according to Goodreads, anyway). I read Eon and Eona as a young teen (probably around fourteen, fifteen?), so reading The Dark Days Club was really exciting for me (I'm twenty now, random tidbit). Waiting for a new book by Alison Goodman has not been easy!

Lady Helen Wrexhall is about to make her debut at the royal court of George III, in front of the queen. Her aunt and uncle want her to secure a good future, and being presented and recognized by the queen will aid the process - and hopefully ward off the taint of Helen's mother's actions from the past. Lady Catherine was wild and unrestrained, and Helen's uncle is happy that Lady Catherine and her husband died years ago. But Helen is finding that she might be more like her mother than she thought. Her instincts have been getting sharper, and she's has been noticing odd things. It seems that the dangerous and mysterious Lord Carlston is the one who has answers, who knows what she is and what she is seeing. When worlds collide - the glittering world of Regency London, and the shadowy world of demons - Helen's life will never be the same.

You all know how much I love adult historical romance novels. Yup, you know the type - the ones with the shirtless males and ball-gown-clad females on the cover. This book is set during the same time as many of those historical romance novels - Regency London, the 1800s. I LOVE historical romance novels, a lot of which is due to the time period. Historical fiction in general (not just romance) set in the 1800s has always fascinated me. I love that Goodman set this series during the 1800s, and had so much fun doing the research for it! She did a stunning job with the setting, and world-building. 

The 1800s can be so restricting, especially in a YA novel with a female as the protagonist. Goodman really set up the world in an authentic manner; Helen's life must revolve around attending social events, balls, gowns, and securing a future match. Helen's uncle controls every aspect of her life, including her inheritance, until she either marries, or turns twenty-five. Scary thought, right? I didn't like Helen's uncle at all, and I thought her aunt was ridiculous (but she had good intentions). Helen's brother is SUCH a young lord in the 1800s (carefree, privileged, has no idea how lucky he is to have his freedom - freedom a young woman does not have in this time period). Same with his nice friend Selburn - he's nice, but I don't trust me. I did like Helen's friend Millicent, and Helen's maid Darby. Go Darby!

I really liked Helen - she's a different sort of character in YA. She's intelligent and curious and witty, which is not typical of a girl in the 1800s (they're not supposed to be smart - rather, they should be pretty, well-mannered dolls, ready for marriage and children). She IS well-mannered, and I'm sure she's pretty (Goodman never made physical appearance a big deal, which I thought was refreshing!). I like that Helen takes steps to protect herself, and her maid Darby, when she finds out what she is and what she can do. She doesn't immediately jump into the cause, which you see so many girls in YA lit do, when they find out that they're different.

So what IS Lady Helen? It turns out that her mother, Lady Catherine, was a demon hunter, with enhanced senses, instincts, reflexes, and the ability to see demons (with some aids). Helen is born with those abilities, and her powers are slowly awakening. Lord Carlston, an Earl, has recently come back to London - as it would turn out, to hunt demons, but also to seek out Helen.

Lord Carlston is known for supposedly killing his wife. No body was found, so this wasn't proven, but all of London is quite sure that he killed her. The young Earl is cold and seems savage, but it isn't until he shows Helen what SHE is that she understands why he is so. He's a Reclaimer as well, and he wants Helen to join him in taking demons' power to destroy them.

I like Lord Carlston. He's generally very misunderstood (poor guy) and seems like a good man. We don't get to know all of his secrets in this book, but we do get to see a lot of his personality. He protects Lady Helen at every turn, no matter her thoughts on The Dark Days Club (those who hunt the demons). Lady Helen is reluctant to join (which is so reasonable), and it's respectable that Lord Carlston does not push her.

I've seen some people asking if this book is similar to Susan Dennard's debut trilogy, but I personally don't think so. There are no zombies in this book, and I feel like Lady Helen's life is MUCH more rigid and restricted than Eleanor's. Lady Helen is a very high-ranking lady in society, with a hefty inheritance. Her brother is Lord Hayden, another noble, and he is good friends with a Duke, Selburn. Even Lord Carlston is an Earl. I don't really think that this book (and series) is similar to the Something Strange and Deadly series, especially given Lady Helen's reluctance to join the group.

There is a hint of romance, the smallest, barest hint. You can probably guess who the leading pair are. In 1800s London, unmarried eligible girls are often pushed towards the first interested nobleman, in order to secure a good match. Keep that in mind as you read this book. THERE IS NO LOVE TRIANGLE. I adored the beginnings of a romance in this book, and the ending is very favorable. I foresee no love triangle in the future, and I DO foresee the romance that I'm hoping will develop, developing. *swoons*

Spending of the ending... as soon as there is some grand ball or event or dance announced in YA lit, you KNOW something bad is going to happen. In contemporary YA, if there is a homecoming dance, or prom, something bad will go down. I knew the showdown was coming, but I didn't expect it to end as it did. I cannot wait to see what happens in book two! You just KNOW that Selburn is hiding something. And we've barely scratched the surface, in terms of Lord Carlston! I must know more!

Amazing world-building, excellent character arcs and development, unique story, budding romance - I'm hooked! This book doesn't end in a cliffhanger, but suffice it to say, I need the next book!

What I Did Not Like:

This isn't so much a complaint as a warning - this book is LONG. And it reads long. I usually don't mind lengthy books. Give yourself enough time to read it in one sitting (trust me, you'll want to read it in one sitting). It wasn't boring at all, but you really FEEL the 500 pages while you're reading (it didn't read quickly).

Would I Recommend It:

I absolutely loved this book - no surprise there, as I really love adult historical romance novels set in Regency London, and I adored Eon and Eona at a younger age. I had confidence in Goodman and she did not let me done! This is book one of a trilogy, so it isn't the worst idea to wait for all three books to publish. But I knew I would want a new Goodman book in my hands as soon as possible! If you're not much of a historical fiction reader, go slow! I was exposed to all of the customs and rules of Regency London because of all the adult historical romance novels I read.


4.5 stars -> rounded down to 4 stars (I bet if there were kissing in this book, it would have gotten 5 stars. LOL.). This book was very close to 5 stars, believe me. I am quite sure that the next book will not come soon enough!

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

The Giveaway:

Thanks to Penguin, you could win an ARC of The Dark Days Club! USA only, begins today (11/29) and ends on 12/12 at 11:59 PM EST. Courtesy of the publisher. Good luck!

USA residents: want another chance at winning an ARC? Enter the Goodreads giveaway!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Stacking the Shelves (#153)

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews, in which bloggers share the books and swag they've received in the past week!

So, what did I get in the week of Sunday, November 22nd to Saturday, November 28th?

(all links to Goodreads are provided!)

In the mail:

Ahhh! Thank you so much, Tor! This made my week! I didn't know they were mailing ARCs already - so exciting!

I won this from Paula's giveaway on YABC - thank you, Paula!

From NetGalley:

Thank you, Brazen! I've not read any of this author's books, but I am curious about this one.

For all my fellow United States people, I hope you had a great Thanksgiving (and Black Friday)! It's back to school for me (for one more week, and then two weeks of finals!). 

Friday, November 27, 2015

Double Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi and Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi

Happy Black Friday! I hope everyone (who celebrates) had a great Thanksgiving. Today, I'm reviewing my October and November Pili-Pushed novels - Shatter Me and Unravel Me! I never wanted to read this series, but I have all three books and Pili LOVED the series, so I am giving it a shot. So far, so good! To see other Pili-Pushed reviews, check the "Pili-Pushed" tag or my Pili-Pushed Pinterest board!

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Book One of the Shatter Me series
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: November 15, 2011
Rating: 3 stars
Source: Copy given as a gift

Summary (from Goodreads):

Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

What I Liked:

I never had any intention of reading this series. I knew ALL about the love triangle, and I knew I wasn't going anywhere near this series, at least until all three books published. Nearly three years after the final book published, I'm reading the series! And Shatter Me wasn't nearly as bad as I thought - probably because I KNOW what to expect from the romance (accidental spoilers).

Juliette hasn't touched anyone in 264 days. She's been in an insane asylum for that long, after three previous years of lawyers and courts. Her parents packed her away to an insane asylum. Now, after 264 days, Juliette has company. Adam Kent is dumped into her cell... but as it would turn out, he was planted there, and he i with the group that takes Juliette out of the asylum by force. Adam takes Juliette to the supreme commander's son, Warner, who has plans for Juliette and her deadly touch. But Juliette will decide if she wants to be a weapon for the Reestablishment, or a warrior for herself.

I honestly thought I would hate this book. I know all about the love triangle, and how it was so make-or-break for most people. In this book, the primary love interest is Adam. We're introduced to Warner (in a hefty dose) but not quite until the end-ish, and even still, we know that WARNER likes Juliette, but Juliette is still stuck on Adam. 

But I get ahead of myself. Adam is deposited into Juliette's cell at the asylum, and she recognizes him (but doesn't think he recognizes her). She and him went to elementary school together. Years later, there is no school anymore. The Reestablishment has taken over the ravaged world. Adam turns out to be a soldier in Warner's army. Juliette has always been interested in Adam, but seeing him as a soldier breaks her heart. But he's on her side, and wants to help her escape Warner.

I wasn't sold on Adam, honestly. I could see why everyone fell in love with him in this book, because he seems so sweet and kind and worried about Juliette. But I didn't connect with him. He's just as bad as Warner - obsessed with Juliette for YEARS without knowing where she was. Something about Adam really bothered me, even if there was nothing deceptive about him (after Juliette is taken to Warner).

Juliette - ha. She's so dumb. She's so naive and ignorant. I really felt bad for her, and everything that she had been through, and her mental and emotional state has been very damaged (even if it doesn't seem like it). But she's very selfish, very wrapped up in her own problems. Her attitude and personality are laughable, but she's a fairly unique character.

I didn't hate the romance. Maybe it's because I know how the romance turns out? But I didn't fall for Adam like everyone else did. He and Juliette quickly "fall in love" again, after over ten years. They were KIDS when they developed feelings... seems unlikely to me. Everything is about Juliette and Adam, and Warner REALLY seems like a bad guy, but I didn't care for Adam and Juliette.

I thought Warner was a twisted, odd protagonist, definitely a villain. But I know there is more to him and his craziness, and I know that he will become a love interest, and I was excited to see how that would pan out. His side of the love triangle wasn't really present in this book (since Juliette is trying to run from him the whole time), but we know he'll be in the romance in the next book.

So. I didn't like Adam, didn't like Juliette, liked Warner, didn't like Juliette & Adam (romance). But I did like the story! It's a unique dystopia novel, in which the world (in terms of the environment) is completely destroyed, and there really is not much left. Juliette has the power to kill, and she thinks she is the only one. I love the idea of mass armies and the commander's son being such a villain - and soon to be love interest. Warner is CRAZY but I think I'm enjoying this series because of him (mostly). Also I like ridiculing Juliette.

Anyway. I liked this book more than I expected. It wasn't *too* bad!

What I Did Not Like:

I didn't like Juliette - she is naive and ignorant and selfish and kind of dumb. I didn't like how quickly she "fell in love" with a boy she knew in the THIRD GRADE. That seemed so implausible.

I didn't like Adam - he seemed very one-dimensional and I didn't connect with him much. I can see how he is such a great love interest, but as a character, he is so flat. His side of the romance is supposed to be sweet and whatnot, but it seemed cliche and overused and trivial.

So I thought their romance was very cliche and basic. Like your typical YA romance with NO spice.


I liked ridiculing Juliette - she is an airhead! A sadly damaged airhead, but empty-headed nonetheless. It was fun to laugh at her stupidity and selfishness.

Would I Recommend It:

Eh. There will be a love triangle in the series, so I can't say I specifically recommend this book. It's a very cool dystopia novel, but I think the love triangle killed it for some people. NOW THAT ALL THE BOOKS ARE PUBLISHED, do what I'm doing, and binge-read the series!


3.5 stars -> rounded down to 3 stars. Again, I liked this book way more than I expected. I honestly expected to haaaate the book. Maybe because the love triangle hasn't been fully introduced? Maybe because I already know the outcome of the love triangle? In any case, I am quite pleased by how much I liked this book (and it's 3 stars, so that's not particularly high!).

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

Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi
Book Two of the Shatter Me series
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: February 5, 2013
Rating: 4 stars
Source: ARC won from a giveaway

Summary (from Goodreads):


it's almost
time for war.

Juliette has escaped to Omega Point. It is a place for people like her—people with gifts—and it is also the headquarters of the rebel resistance.

She's finally free from The Reestablishment, free from their plan to use her as a weapon, and free to love Adam. But Juliette will never be free from her lethal touch.

Or from Warner, who wants Juliette more than she ever thought possible.

In this exhilarating sequel to Shatter Me, Juliette has to make life-changing decisions between what she wants and what she thinks is right. Decisions that might involve choosing between her heart—and Adam's life.

What I Liked:

OMG GUYS. I cannot BELIEVE how much I enjoyed this book! Seriously, this trilogy has been great so far! Like I said in my review of Shatter Me, it's probably because I already know about the love triangle and the outcome of the love triangle. I'm also binge-reading the series in one week, so I don't have to experience the one-, two-, and three-year agony of waiting for each book to publish.

In this book, Juliette has escaped from Warner and his plans for her. She and Adam are now in Omega Point, a sanctuary for people with abilities (like Juliette). Adam can touch Juliette - but what no one knows is that Warner can touch Juliette (well, Warner knows). As it would turn out, Adam likely has some sort of ability as well. Castle, the leader of Omega Point, wants to conduct experiments to see what kind of ability Adam has. Tempers run high as Juliette and Adam struggle to reconcile their relationship - Juliette is becoming too dangerous for them to be together. Meanwhile, Warner has not stopped hunting for Juliette, but there is a new player in the game - Warner's father, Supreme Commander Anderson. No one will stop looking for Juliette, but no one will expect her to fight back.

Gosh, this book was so crazy! I laughed so hard at Juliette's shenanigans - that girl is so stupid and so selfish, it is SO funny. This is going in the dislikes section too, but it was enjoyable to laugh at her.

I love how Mafi breaks up Adam and Juliette. You knew a breakup was coming - and in this breakup, it's Juliette that must do the breaking up. She's too powerful and too dangerous, and could hurt Adam more than she has already. The two of them push and pull but ultimately, their relationship comes to a stop.

Meanwhile, Juliette is finding that she has been thinking about Warner more than she'd like. She finds that she does understand him, but she isn't like him. We don't really see Warner for most of this book, until about 60% in. Warner is taken captive by Omega Point, and Juliette is the one that is in charge of talking to him, making him talk.

So I thought Juliette was a selfish dumba** - I stand by that. I kind of felt bad for Adam, and I felt more for him than I ever have, but I still didn't really like him. Of the two of them, I felt more bad for Adam because I had so much to deal with.

WARNER. I like Warner. He's psychotic, but he is hilarious. Also he is so posh and well-dressed and gentlemanly in his own weird way. His obsession with Juliette is weird, and he's done some pretty bad things, but I actually like the guy. Maybe that makes me psychotic too. I like him as a protagonist, but ALSO as a love interest.

So, romance. We know that Adam and Juliette are experiencing turbulence. We know that Warner really isn't in this book until less than half of the book to finish. But when he taken to Omega Point, Juliette really starts to feel Warner fever - her attraction to him is off the charts. CHAPTER SIXTY-TWO, folks. Even if you never read the series, read Chapter Sixty-Two. It IS pretty impressive. Unfortunately it ends in a bittersweet way, but the entire chapter is pretty *fans self*.

Obviously I much prefer Warner/Juliette to Adam/Juliette, and this is outside from the fact that I know the outcome. Juliette is soooo attracted to Warner, whereas it's more puppy love and what's familiar to her, where Adam is concerned.

There are soooo many twists in this book, which makes it super interesting! We get to learn more about Warner, which made me like him more. We get to learn one big thing about Warner, and then two big things about Adam. It's kind of twisted, what Mafi throws in there, concerning several people, and I should have seen that coming (I didn't!). 

Overall, I REALLY liked this book. Holy moley, things get going in this book. We learn more about the Reestablishment, and the big showdown is set up for book three. I'll be reading Ignite Me in a few days, which I'm expected to do!

What I Did Not Like:

Hahahaha I hate Juliette. Okay, "hate" is a strong word, but I don't quite like her. It is so funny to watch her make ridiculous mistakes and do selfish things. She really doesn't think things through, over and over. About halfway through the book, she starts acting more noble and selfless, and I approved of that. Still, I don't really like her.

Ehhhh, Adam. Ehhh, Adam & Juliette. I didn't really feel them from the start. Adam is less flat of a character to me (as compared to what I thought of him in Shatter Me), but I don't really care for him. The pair of them together, I never really went for. They seemed to be the familiar pair, the ones that were convenient, the puppy love pair.

Warner & Juliette = PASSION. Just saying. You may not like him, and you may think he's insane, but their romance is fiery.

Obviously there is a love triangle. Obviously I don't like it. But I know who I like, and I know the outcome anyway (no painful waiting yay), so I'm not as bothered by the love triangle. I would be, if I were waiting for each book to publish.

It's weird how everyone is so obsessed with Juliette. Logically, I guess it makes sense (her power IS killing people with touch) but it's still weird. Everyone seems to think she's so hot too, which is plausible, but again, weird.

Would I Recommend It:

I liked this one more than I liked Shatter Me (3 stars), so I'd probably recommend this one. Again, there is a love triangle, and it's a big one (as far as love triangles go). But given that I've been binge-reading the series one after the other, I'm not as crazy with this love triangle (I know the outcome). The dystopia story is really good!


3.5 stars -> rounded up to 4 stars. I can't believe I didn't hate this book. I'm actually surprised, taken aback, almost guilty (because I've been professing my hatred for this series for years, without ever reading the books). Buuuut, it's not so bad so far. I think the trick is to wait until the series is over, and then binge-read. Self-control for the win!

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

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my fellow USA celebrators! This holiday is one of my favorites of the year, because it represents something universal - giving thanks. I'm thankful for so many things, and I hope to never take anything for granted. 

THANK YOU to everyone who has followed my blog, commented, tweeted, shared, viewed, done anything to support my blog.

THANK YOU to authors, publishers, bloggers, reviewers, editors, publicists, etc. Books are a massive part of my life, their impact too large to quantify. I can't imagine my life without so many amazing and powerful stories to read.

THANK YOU to my educators, from Pre-K to university. Not just anyone can do what you do.

THANK YOU to my kind and wonderful friends, both "IRL" and "online" - hopefully I can meet the friends around the country and world in person some day. 2014 and 2015 were rough on my personally, but my friends supported me through everything.

THANK YOU to my family, especially my siblings, for being who they are. You can't choose your family, but sometimes, why would you want to? Families are imperfectly perfect just the way they are.

THANK YOU to my parents, who have always had my back, who love me more than anyone else loves me in this world, my life supports, my guides in the dark.

THANK YOU to my God - I rarely bring religion to my blog, but I can thank no one if not in whom I believe. 

Have a wonderful day, bibliovores! Stay safe, and be kind to one another.

Swoon Thursday (#148): Arrows by Melissa Gorzelanczyk

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 Arrows by Melissa Gorzelanczyk!

I took an immediate step forward and leaned down, firm hands catching her waist.

I kissed her. 

Silenced her.

I wasn't breathing anymore, or worrying, or thinking about anything except her taste.

Her lips soft beneath mine.

The kiss had trapped her hand against my chest, making it easy, so easy, to push me away.

But she didn't.

I felt her hair and she melted toward me, toward me and not away. With a long inhale, I lifted her up with my arm against her back until she was edged against the wall.

- ARC, page 206

Honestly, this book had so many swoony moments, and not in terms of kisses. This book was beautiful and touching and wonderful!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Review: The Rogue Not Taken by Sarah MacLean

The Rogue Not Taken by Sarah MacLean
Book One of the Scandal & Scoundrel series
Publisher: Avon Books
Publication Date: December 29, 2015
Rating: 4 stars
Source: eARC from Edelweiss

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

Summary (from Goodreads):


The youngest of the infamous Talbot sisters scandalized society at the Liverpool Summer Soiree, striking her sister’s notoriously philandering husband and landing him backside-first in a goldfish pond. And we thought Sophie was the quiet one…

When she finds herself the target of very public aristocratic scorn, Sophie Talbot does what she must to escape the city and its judgment—she flees on the back of a carriage, vowing never to return to London…or to society. But the carriage isn’t saving her from ruin. It’s filled with it.


The Marquess of Eversley was espied descending a rose trellis—escaping an irate Earl and his once-future countess. No lady is safe from Eversley’s Engagement Ending Escapades!

Kingscote, the Marquess of Eversley, has never met a woman he couldn’t charm, a quality that results in a reputation far worse than the truth, a furious summons home, and a long, boring trip to the Scottish border. When King discovers stowaway Sophie, however, the trip becomes anything but boring.


He thinks she’s trying to trick him into marriage. She wouldn’t have him if he were the last man on earth. But carriages bring close quarters, dark secrets, and unbearable temptation, and suddenly opposites are altogether too attractive…

What I Liked:

This is my first Sarah MacLean book! I decided to read it as part of the Avon Addicts recommendations (and I received this book for free from the publisher via Edelweiss, this did not affect my opinion, etc.). This year has been a good year of first - I also read my first book by Lisa Kleypas, Richelle Mead, Rachel Vincent, and Rachel Caine!

Sophie is youngest of the Dangerous Daughters, the one who hasn't been embroiled in a scandal... until she pushes her brother-in-law in a fish pond when she catches him with a woman who isn't her sister. So, Sophie does the logical thing - she runs. She buys the livery from a boy waiting on a carriage, and hitches a ride with that carriage. It turns out it's the carriage of the Marquess of Eversley, notorious rake. King (the marquess) is heading to Scotland to meet his dying father. Sophie is trying to head to Mossbend, also near the Scottish border. While King doesn't want to help Sophie, he definitely doesn't want to see her bumble her way to Mossbend - with the money she took from him, no less. He doesn't want to arrived into marriage by ANYONE, especially not a Dangerous Daughter. But the attraction between the pair simmers and boils, and it's not long before Sophie finds out secrets that King holds close, and she wants to be there for him.

The beginning of this book was HILARIOUS. Sophie pushing her brother-in-law into a pond of fish? Priceless. Of course, you can't do that in polite society - especially if the man is a duke. Cheating brother-in-law or not... so Sophie runs away, and runs into the Marquess of Eversley - quite literally. She is convinced that he will take her to as far as Mayfair, but as it would turn out, they're both going towards Scotland. The journey awaits!

I liked Sophie, for the most part. She is very intelligent and supposedly sort of plain? She's not the most appealing of the Dangerous Daughters, and people know it (including her). She's smart and opinionated, the "unfun" boring one. I like how intelligent and kind she is, as well as how she stands up for herself. 

King, the Marquess of Eversley, is quite the dashing rogue. He isn't as roguish as most people would think, but he certainly has a reputation for sneaking out of ladies' bedrooms and getting caught. King is actually one of the noblest rogues I've "met" in historical romance novels. He's also one of the sweetest and most thoughtful, and he has a conscience that really bothers him when he realizes that he can't just leave Lady Sophie to find her own way to Mossbend (even if she did take his carriage wheels and money). 

The two of them don't quite like each other at first - in fact, Sophie can't stand him, and he wants to be rid of her. But she needs him (he doesn't need her), no matter how tough she thinks she is. The two of them masquerading as husband and wife is soooo funny because literally all they do is quarrel and nearly kiss and quarrel some more. Their banter is great!

The chemistry between them is simmery, not necessarily smoking hot, but a slow-burn chemistry that burned for the entire novel. Honestly, I expected more from MacLean, but what do I know, this is my first novel by her. There weren't enough steamy scenes, but I did like the chemistry between King and Sophie. 

King has a lot of secrets and a lot to deal with from his past. His father was not the nicest man, and King's love life seems to have ruined love for him forever. But Sophie gets under his armor and past his walls, and he'll find it in himself to love her like she grows to love him.

Overall, this was a great story, definitely a worthwhile historical romance novel to read. It's my first MacLean book, but I'll definitely be looking for the next book in this series (A Scot in the Dark) and more books by MacLean!

What I Did Not Like:

Two things - this book wasn't hot enough, and the drama in the last couple of scenes were too much. I really thought MacLean's romance novels were hotter? Did I get that wrong? The chemistry is totally there, but there is like, one sex scene. At the very end. Just an fyi.

And then in the last couple of scenes, the drama skyrockets. It's a lot of back-and-forth between Sophie and King. King keeps pushing her away, saying that he can't love her. Sophie pulls him back, but then SHE pushes HIM away. Then they come back together, and he pushes her away again... honestly I was getting whiplash, watching these two push and pull each other. When they finally settled, I was like, FINALLY!

Would I Recommend It:

If you're a MacLean fan, this book does not disappoint. Historical romance fans will love this one! It's a smart and clever and and sweet - there is so much humor and adorable romantic scenes in this book. I loved watching King and Sophie's emotional development and growing relationship. 


3.5 stars -> rounded up to 4 stars. I'll be looking out for Warnick's book! Warnick is supposedly an even greater roguish rake than King - I can't wait to experience that!

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

Waiting on Wednesday (#152): A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

"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:

A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir
Book Two of the An Ember in the Ashes series
Publisher: Razorbill
Publication Date: April 26, 2016

Summary (from Goodreads):

A Torch Against the Night takes readers into the heart of the Empire as Laia and Elias fight their way north to liberate Laia’s brother from the horrors of Kauf Prison. Hunted by Empire soldiers, manipulated by the Commandant, and haunted by their pasts, Laia and Elias must outfox their enemies and confront the treacherousness of their own hearts.

In the city of Serra, Helene Aquilla finds herself bound to the will of the Empire’s twisted new leader, Marcus. When her loyalty is questioned, Helene finds herself taking on a mission to prove herself—a mission that might destroy her, instead.

Okay. You all saw how many promo campaign posts I did for this series. I LOVED An Ember in the Ashes and cannot wait for this (hopefully amazing) sequel!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Blog Tour Review and Giveaway: Compromising Her Position by Samanthe Beck

Welcome to the blog tour for Compromising Her Position by Samanthe Beck! I absolutely adored one of Beck's earlier Brazen novels, Private Practice, and I'm happy to say that I enjoyed this one as well. Stick around for my review, an excerpt, and a giveaway!

Compromising Her Position by Samanthe Beck
Book One of the Compromise Me series
Publisher: Brazen
Publication Date: November 16, 2015
Rating: 4 stars
Source: eARC from NetGalley

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

Official Summary:

He's not who she expected, but he's exactly the man she needs…

When Chelsea Wayne drags Santa into a supply closet for a little office party nookie, she assumes the man in the suit is her on-again/off-again coworker boyfriend. Instead, it’s Rafe St. Sebastian, a man known for his hard-driving ways in business as well as the bedroom—and, kill her now, the brand spanking new owner of Las Ventanas—who grants her naughtiest Christmas wishes.

So much for her reputation, not to mention her career.

Rafe needs to close three acquisitions to prove to his father he’s ready to take the helm of St. Sebastian Enterprises. A hot interlude in a supply closet after deal number two seems like the perfect illicit Christmas bonus. Unfortunately, when that “bonus” becomes the key to the final deal, he finds himself back in bed—so to speak—with Chelsea, and after their steamy tryst, he’s not interested in keeping things professional…

What I Liked:

This book had an... interesting start, which many Brazen novels do. I loved Beck's Private Practice, which was one of the first Brazen novels I'd ever read. I definitely trust Beck's romances, so I had a feeling I would enjoy this one. And I enjoyed it I did!

Chelsea's life is pretty put together - she works her butt off at her job, she has a steady boyfriend who works in the same company, and she loves her job. At the holiday party, she thought Paul (her boyfriend) finally consented to wearing the Santa costume, and she's so pleased, she drags Santa into the supply closet. But Santa is waaay too sexy, doing wicked things to her that she never thought Paul was capable of doing. Minutes after the closet encounter, she finds Santa and Paul in the same room... and finds out that Santa is none other than the new owner of the company she works for. Rafe St. Sebastian isn't going to take no for an answer, and no matter how far Chelsea runs from her previous life with Paul, she can't stay away from Rafe.

The first scene of this book was oh-so-hot. A little weird, because Chelsea doesn't even consider the fact that Santa might not be Paul. She put the Santa suit for Paul to pick up, but she knew he hated the idea of dressing up as Santa. So when she sees Santa, she is ridiculously happy that Paul dressed up - hence her spur-of-the-moment desire to jump him. But it's not him - and she doesn't find out while they're doing naughty things. Except that I'm 100% she knew it wasn't Paul after like, five seconds, because Paul is a boring business suit guy who has no passion or chemistry (sorry, Paul).

Rafe, on the other hand, phew, the man is hawt. He gets jumped by a woman in his newly acquired company, but he isn't going to say no, the way she threw herself at him. He didn't know that she thought he was someone else, not until she said "Bye, Paul" in the closet and left. Oops? Rafe is such an alpha, and a domineering leader one, at that. I personally really liked him, although I'm not sure if I would in real life (he is quite bossy and cocky!). But I seem to like the arrogant types... anyway, he's not a jacka**; he's hilarious and cheeky and a bit mischievous!

I wasn't sure what to think of Chelsea at first. She spontaneously decided to have sex in a closet, without checking to see if the guy was her boyfriend... I was a bit weirded out by this. Then her and Paul have an argument about something totally unrelated, and then Chelsea quits, and she gets a job far away. But she can't seem to avoid Rafe, and vice versa. I like that Chelsea took charge of her life and decided to explore new options - including Rafe. I liked her character development!

The chemistry between the pair is seriously explosive! Beck definitely has the steamy scenes of a sexy romance novel down, that's for sure. Each encounter between Rafe and Chelsea was hot, hot, and hotter. Their relationship slowly developed, although the time frame seems a bit short.

Overall, I found this Brazen novel to be a satisfying read. I've had a lot of ehhh "misses" in the past couple of rounds of Brazen reads (with the exception of one or two), but I really liked this one. If the first scene doesn't bother you by its oddity, then you will LOVE this book!

What I Did Not Like:

Read above (or the synopsis) about the opening scene. It didn't bother me at all (again, subconsciously she HAD to have known it wasn't Paul, and still went through with it). The scene didn't bother me much, but I'd like everyone to be aware that it might bother you!

Otherwise, meh, I don't really have complaints. It's a four-star read but not based on number of dislikes, only because it doesn't quite feel like a five-star read!

Would I Recommend It:

If you're a Brazen reader, definitely try this one (provided that you don't think the first scene would bother you). It didn't bother me (and I'm usually a picky one when it comes to steamy scenes with quirks). It's a reaaallllly hot Brazen read, with a fantastic male protagonist, a female protagonist who experiences good character development, and overall a great story!


4 stars. Samanthe Beck did not let me down! I can't wait to read more by her. This book is great for the holidays, folks!

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

About the Author:

Wine lover, sleep fanatic, and USA Today Bestselling Author of sexy contemporary romance novels, Samanthe Beck lives in Malibu, California, with her long-suffering but extremely adorable husband and their turbo-son, Hud. Throw in a furry ninja named Kitty and Bebe the trash talking Chihuahua and you get the whole, chaotic picture.

When not clinging to sanity by her fingernails or dreaming up fun, fan-your-cheeks sexy ways to get her characters to happily-ever-afters, she searches for the perfect cabernet to pair with Ambien.

“There is nothing personal between us.” 

“I beg to differ. In fact, I’m fairly certain I know your deepest, darkest secret.” 

“I sincerely doubt that.” 

He brought his mouth to her ear. “You knew I wasn’t Paul.” 

“No.” The denial, though immediate, sounded slightly breathless, slightly desperate. 

She had to have at least suspected, at some point. He refused to believe otherwise. “Not at first. But when I had you clinging to the tables, trembling so hard you could barely stand? You knew.” 

“You-you’re delusional. If I’d realized you weren’t Paul, don’t you think I would have stopped you?” 

“No. By the time you realized, you didn’t care.” The crowd around them erupted into a countdown. 

Ten... He cupped her jaw in one hand...
Nine... and slid the other down her back. Then lower. Eight... “You didn’t care about anything except my tongue tracing the path of your thong”—he let his fingers do the honor now—“all the way down until I could taste your sweet, throbbing little—” 

“I thought you were Paul!” Her wide eyes darted to his, pupils huge. 

Five... “Remember how you used your body to beg for more? There’s no f-ing way you’ve ever begged like that for Paul Barrington. No f-ing way. I could have you begging again.” 

Her breathing came in quick, shallow pants. The hands she’d rested lightly on his shoulders tightened, bunching his jacket in a white-knuckled grip. She shook her head. “Not going to happen.” 

Three... He was risking getting his face slapped in the middle of a dance floor on New Year’s Eve, but he didn’t care. For some inexcusable reason, he needed to know she wanted him, not Barrington. 

Two... He spread his palm over the perfect curve of her ass and hauled her against him, so she’d feel just how well he remembered every damn detail of their last meeting. 


“It’s not?” he challenged, and then crushed her lips under his. 

Cheers of “Happy New Year” echoed around them over the strains of “Auld Lang Syne.” A flotilla of black and silver balloons sailed down from the ceiling. Guests laughed, and sang, and jostled them while he kissed her. Sparkly, star- shaped confetti rained over everyone and everything, and he kept right on kissing her. Her arms twined around his neck. Her lips parted. She flattened one hand against the back of his head and held on. When he bent her over his arm and swept his tongue into her soft, yielding mouth, she wrapped her leg around his hip. The heat of her body practically seared his thigh through his tuxedo pants. 

He trapped her lower lip between his teeth and nibbled. There went his no biting promise, but her shuddery moan told him she didn’t mind. 

The song ended. The house lights came up a few notches. He slowly drew her upright, and even more slowly relinquished her mouth. She stared up at him, dazed, her lips plumped from their kiss. 

“You’re a terrible liar, Miss Wayne.” 

Giving her a grin he hoped didn’t reveal how much the move cost him, he walked away.

The Giveaway: