Monday, April 30, 2018

Review: Beauty and the Barbarian by Amy Jarecki

Beauty and the Barbarian by Amy Jarecki
Book Three of the Highland Force series
Publisher: Rapture Books
Publication Date: May 28, 2014
Rating: 5 stars
Source: Purchased Kindle copy

Summary (from Goodreads):

Born with the mark of the devil, Merrin has been hidden on the islet of Eilean Fladda for near twenty years. When the body of a Highlander washes ashore, the innocent lass presumes him dead. Brushing the hair from the rugged warrior’s face, her fingers connect with warm flesh. Warm.

Ian MacLeod wakes to a woman so radiant, he believes her an angel. But when the lass recoils from him, he fears she knows of his evil deeds. While he heals, Ian is stunned when he exposes her witch’s mark, yet he’s spellbound by Merrin’s allure. He’d do anything to erase his haunting past and earn her love.

But there’s a henchman after Ian’s head, and when that man learns the Highlander is still alive, the couple is forced to flee Merrin’s sheltered world. Fighting for survival, destiny demands they each face their demons, but doing so may forever ruin them both.

What I Liked:

Here I go with another backlist read! This book was recently recommended to me by a dear blogging pal, Renee (Addicted to Romance), who is the queen of romance reading and knows just about everything there is to know about romance novels. I had asked her for romance recommendations involving the healer maiden/knight trope, and she delivered! She listed four or five different titles - this being one of them. I recognized Jarecki's name from her books with Forever Romance, but I'd not read anything by her. This book is $3.99 on Amazon (the Kindle version) and it came recommended by a friend, so I decided to give it a chance. I'm glad I did!

Ian MacLeod, second son of Laird Calum MacLeod and Lady Anne, didn't intend to get shot in the back and wash up on the shores of Fladda. He spirited away his uncle's young wife, after discovering that his uncle beat her. Janet is safe with her kinsmen, but Ian is injured, and at large. It is luck that he washes up on the shores of the home of a healer and his daughter. Merrin and her father live in an isolated cottage, because many fear that Merrin is a witch (due to an unusual birthmark on her neck). Niall (Merrin's father) is a skilled healer, and Merrin is quite good as well. They take in Ian without knowing who he is, though they suspect he is a well-bred Highlander. Unfortunately for all three of them, Ian's uncle won't stop hunting Ian until he knows that Ian is dead. Ian, Merrin, and Niall are forced to flee for their lives. Merrin has never known life outside Fladda, but now she must give up everything to stay alive.

I would first like to take a moment to appreciate the cover and all of the fineness that is Ian MacLeod (well, his model, anyway). I loooove how the model doesn't have facial hair, because that's so true to the character - Ian hates facial hair! It's hilarious. I'm not usually a fan of completely clean-shaven looks, but I think it's fantastic that the cover has that small part of the character represented. So much smoothness on that cover!

Ian the man is such a wonderful hero. He is clearly very selfless and brave, having given no thought but to rescue a woman who is being abused, even if the woman is his uncle's wife. He protects Merrin and Niall with all his strength, which isn't much, given his musket gunshot wound. Ian is loyal, upstanding, chivalrous, and caring - everything a knight should be. He's a good man with a good heart - not to mention charming and swoon-worthy as well. I swooned a lot!

Merrin is timid at first, given her sheltered lifestyle. She has lived in isolation and fear, expecting everyone to want to kill her because of her birthmark. But Merrin is sweet and kind and gentle, with all the qualities of a good healer. She is soft where Ian is hard, kind where he is fierce, caring where he is stubborn. She develops her will as the journey goes on. Her selflessness shines throughout the story, even among those that want her dead.

As a couple, Ian and Merrin are both smoldering and sweet. They have amazing chemistry from the start, and they also get along well. Jarecki builds the chemistry slow at first, and then it's an inferno. I liked this progression! Things get heated between Ian and Merrin, and there are a number of sexy times in this book. Jarecki knows how to cook up good tension and chemistry.

And of course I was really satisfied with the healer/knight trope. Merrin is a gentle maiden and a good healer, and Ian is an alpha knight who isn't an alpha-hole, but is brawny, cunning, skilled, and also charming. They are foils, and they balance well. The trope was executed perfectly!

The story is exciting from start to finish! The kind of exciting that has you biting your nails and sitting at the edge of your seat. Ian, Merrin, and Niall are fleeing for their lives for most of the book, with almost nowhere to go. There is a desperate undertone to the book - will they make it? Will Ian turn himself over in order to save Merrin and Niall? Will Ian's brother grant them sanctuary? There were many pieces in play, and nothing was guaranteed.

The ending was a very good one, with a nice happily-ever-after. I loved reading Ian and Merrin's journey, and was happy that they finally got to sit and rest, at bare minimum. The story is lovely and the HEA is fitting. Though I wouldn't mind an epilogue or check-in of some sort!

What I Did Not Like:

The only complaint I had (and it's a minor one) is the amount of crying in this book. Gosh, Merrin cried a lot! Now, it's not like she cried in every scene - that would have been crazy. I'd say a character could cry made two or three times in the book, and that's not too much. But Merrin cried maybe four or five times? I think it's her personality/character - she gets sad or frustrated and that's her immediate reaction. But I wanted to shake her a little! Get a grip, lady! It wasn't so bad though. Some of the crying was death-related (but then some of it was like, jealousy-related.).

Would I Recommend It:

I loved this Highlander romance, and I would definitely loved the gentle healer/tough knight trope. That trope is one of my "guilty" pleasures, and it worked well in this story. I've not read anything else in this series or by this author, but I highly recommend this book. It's the third book in the series but all of the books are companion novels. I imagine the first two books will feature characters I've seen in books one and two. Perhaps I will give those two a shot as well!


5 stars. I loved this book so much! I am already planning to reread it. I've been in a bit of a reading slump, and I picked this one up on a whim. I'm glad I did because I really enjoyed it. I will definitely return to this series, but for now, I will hunt down some of Renee's other recommendations that feature a gentle healer and an alpha knight!

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

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Review: Unbreakable by Elizabeth Norris

Unbreakable by Elizabeth Norris
Book Two of the Unraveling series
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: April 23, 2013
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Purchased copy

Summary (from Goodreads):

Four months after Ben disappeared through the portal to his home universe, Janelle believes she’ll never see him again. Her world is still devastated, but life is finally starting to resume some kind of normalcy. Until Interverse Agent Taylor Barclay shows up. Somebody from an alternate universe is running a human trafficking ring, kidnapping people and selling them on different Earths—and Ben is the prime suspect. Now his family has been imprisoned and will be executed if Ben doesn’t turn himself over within five days.

And when Janelle learns that someone she cares about—someone from her own world—has become one of the missing, she knows that she has to help Barclay, regardless of the danger. Now Janelle has five days to track down the real culprit. Five days to locate the missing people before they’re lost forever. Five days to reunite with the boy who stole her heart. But as the clues begin to add up, Janelle realizes that she’s in way over her head—and that she may not have known Ben as well as she thought. Can she uncover the truth before everyone she cares about is killed?

What I Liked:

I read Unraveling six years ago, but somehow I never followed up and reading this book. I love that this series is a duology, because there's less waiting and less commitment involved. At this point though, it has been years, but I probably forgot about this book in the year of waiting after Unraveling published. In any case, I'm sorry I waited so long to read this book because I was missing out, after having read Unraveling! Unbreakable was even more thrilling and engaging than Unraveling. I almost wish there was a third book!

Warning: there will be spoilers for Unraveling (but not Unbreakable).

The end of Unraveling was quite shocking, as it was somewhat cliffhanger-y. Unbreakable begins four months later, and in those four months, Janelle hasn't seen Ben. He hasn't returned to her universe. Her universe is in shambles, but the pieces are coming together... until Barclay shows up, and explains why he's back: he needs Janelle to come with him to find Ben. Why? Because Ben is possibly a wanted man, and Janelle is the key to finding him. Ben's brother is kidnapped and imprisoned and if Ben isn't found, his family will be executed. But it's not just Ben's family that has been kidnapped - someone that Janelle knows in her universe has disappeared. Tensions are high and time is running out to save Ben, or let his family die.

I usually don't like it when the sequel involves a long separation between the couple, but it actually seemed to work for me, in this novel. I was pretty sure Ben was not behind the human trafficking operation, but at the same time, what if he was? What if he's a villain and not a hero? The separation was good, because Janelle had to decide just how far she was willing to go for Ben. And we got to see just how far Ben would go for Janelle. 

That being said, the romance is present but the two characters don't share a ton of page space, until about three-quarters of the way into the book. Which worked, given the structure of the story. The romance has some longing and pain and sadness, but it becomes stronger as the story progresses. Ben and Janelle needed the distance to clearly see how important the other was to them. There were a few swoons, a few sweet scenes.

Janelle is even more bada** and fierce in this book. She is by no means an invincible, fearless warrior - she gets scared, vulnerable, and insecure - but she is mentally tough and physically tough too. This book presents all kinds of difficult situations for her, but she labors on. She does so much for all the people in her life, and I wanted to see her get a happy ending.

Same with Ben - he was selfless to the very end. The author will make you question his values and his decisions. But Ben is still selfless and brave, no matter what is in his path. He and Janelle are always putting everyone else first, and each other, and I really wanted him to get a happy ending too.

You'll have to read the book to find out about Ben's suspected involvement with the human trafficking between universes, and how all of that went down. It's a complicated web and politics play a role in this book, towards the end especially. It all comes together in the end.

The ending has a lot going on (as does the book in general), and everything happens at a rapid pace, though not to the point where things go confusing. The author had a good balance with the pacing throughout the book, and I actually enjoyed the faster pace at the climax. You really have to digest everything to understand the magnitude of the actions. Norris executed the climax and ending very well!

Yes, there is a HEA. That's all I'm going to say! It's a lovely HEA. You should check out the series!

What I Did Not Like:

I mean of course I wanted more swoons! But I get that the romance was set up with Ben and Janelle being separated for most of the novel. But still. More kisses is always a good thing.

Would I Recommend It:

I highly recommend the entire series (it's a duology, so the commitment is low). I love sci-fi novels and thrillers, and this sci-fi thriller had me hooked from page one of Unraveling. The first book had a few spots that were slower or had some info-dumping, but once we get past the initial setup of the world-building and the big reveal (Ben is from an parallel universe), the series zips by. I liked the fast pace, and I adored the characters (Ben = swoon! Janelle = bada**!). 


4 stars. I would love to read more by this author! This series is perfect as is, but something new by Norris would be awesome. I hope she publishes something soon. This backlist reread/read has been fun and I plan to do it more often with other "older" books on my TBR.

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

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Stacking the Shelves (#279)

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, April 22nd to Saturday, April 28th?

(all links to Goodreads are provided!)

In the mail:

Nothing this week!

From Edelweiss:

The Deepest Roots  An Earl Like You (The Wagers of Sin, #2)

I downloaded these two, thanks to HarperCollins's latest ebook dump on Edelweiss! I'm excited about both of them.

From Amazon:

Okami (Flame in the Mist, #1.25)

I love this series. I don't care if this short story is like 5 pages long. More Ōkami is always a good thing!

Reviews from this week:

(Click on the covers to go to my reviews!)

Favorite Instagram post from this week:

A post shared by Alyssa (@theeaterofbooks) on

This week zipped by! I can't believe May is upon on. I feel like the year just started but four months have already gone by. HOW?! Is this what being an adult feels like? 😖😖

Friday, April 27, 2018

Review: Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris

Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris
Book One of the Unraveling series
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: April 24, 2012
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Purchased copy

Summary (from Goodreads):

Sixteen-year-old Janelle Tenner is used to having a lot of responsibility. She balances working as a lifeguard in San Diego with an intense academic schedule. Janelle's mother is bipolar, and her dad is a workaholic FBI agent, which means Janelle also has to look out for her younger brother, Jared.

And that was before she died... and is brought back to life by Ben Michaels, a mysterious, alluring loner from her high school. When she discovers a strange clock that seems to be counting down to the earth's destruction, Janelle learns she has twenty-four days to figure out how to stop the clock and save the planet.

What I Liked:

I actually read this book back in 2012, after its publication, but it has been so long, and I never wrote a review of the book. In fact, I didn't remember much from my initial read years ago, other than the fact that I really enjoyed the story. I found book one and book two from BookOutlet, at a super cheap price, and so I couldn't not buy them. It was a great decision, because rereading this book was a blast, and I loved book two as well. I'll post a review of book two on another day.

This debut novel is incredibly unique, right from the start. Chapter one features Janelle Tenner getting hit by a truck - yup, you read that correctly. Somehow she survives, with little to no injury, and she remembers waking up looking into the eyes of a boy. That boy is Ben Michaels, a loner student in the same grade at the high school. Janelle never really paid much attention to him, until now, when she's pretty sure he brought her back to life. Her revival isn't the only strange thing going on. The end of the world is coming, and it's more complicated than you'd think.

This book was so dynamite, from the first page to the last. There was so much action, tension, and intrigue throughout the story. I don't remember ever being bored, in my first read years ago, or my recent read. This is a sci-fi thriller novel, and the "thriller" part was really, really good.

The sci-fi part was extremely cool. This story deals with parallel universes, which I'm not always a fan of (in fiction), but I thought the concept was really fascinating in this book. There is a lot of science-y topics and explanations in this book, but you don't have to be a science-y person to understand what's going on. I liked all of the physics that backed up the parallel universes. I liked seeing physical theory behind everything.

Janelle is a warrior woman, to me. She's sixteen and so tough - and she has to be, whether she likes it or not. But she has a natural air of strength, and she is mentally tough too. Janelle is very intelligent and she's good at piecing things together. Heroines like Janelle make me happy! I could relate to her and I really liked her.

This book is written exclusively from Janelle's first-person POV, but that doesn't mean that the secondary characters weren't equally as important. Ben Michaels is a catalyst for so many things; he's a unique individual with a lot of secrets, for a high school loner. He's also the sole love interest, and he's pretty swoony (even if he's a strange loner kid). Other secondary characters include Janelle's best friend Alex, and Ben's best friend Elijah. Best friends are important in this story! I always love seeing positive friendships.

The romance is a cute, slow-burn type. There are a few swoons, not as many as I'd like, but it's a slow-burn romance that takes a lot of time to build, so less swoons made sense. Ben and Janelle have great chemistry and are a great couple. Both of them are very astute and brave, and they become very devoted to each other by the end of the book.

I am not going to give away much in terms of the plot, because things get twisted pretty quickly! As you can imagine, with a novel involving parallel universes. I will say that the ending is a huge cliffhanger, and I don't usually care for cliffhangers, but it helped to have book two right next to me so I could make sure everything was okay. Cliffhangers are the worst! But a great hook into book two.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. There was nonstop action, smart teenagers, sweet romance, and an end-of-the-world plot that was surprisingly unique and intriguing. I loved the sci-fi, the thriller, the concept, and I will be moving on to book two very shortly.

What I Did Not Like:

More swoons! Ben and Janelle have such good chemistry. And I already mentioned the cliffhanger.

Would I Recommend It:

If you like thrillers, this is one for you! I know science fiction isn't always for everything, but hey, the science isn't too confusing in this book. I'm saying this as an engineer but six years ago I wasn't an engineer and I thought the science wasn't too in-depth to confuse someone, but "there" enough to be interesting and supportive of the world-building. Anyway, this backlist title is one I'd highly recommend - it hasn't aged at all!


4 stars. I remember loving this way back when, and I'm so glad I still love the book years later. I hadn't read Unbreakable so that will be a first-time read. I'm excited! I'm sure book two will be even more exciting and thrilling, with even high stakes. Bring it on!

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

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Swoon Thursday (#274): Unbreakable by Elizabeth Norris

- 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 Unbreakable by Elizabeth Norris!

He pulls me to him and whispers, "Are you okay?" His breath is warm on my cheek.

I tilt my face to his, look up past the dark curls and long eyelashes, into those bottomless eyes. I almost tell him the truth - that I haven't been okay since he left. But I can't bring myself to speak.

Instead, I look at his lips and raise up on my toes so they're only a millimeter from mine, then I lift my eyes to his.

His lips part. Under my hand his chest rises and falls faster than it should, and his heart pulses through his whole body and reverberates into me. 

One of his hands slides behind my back, the other he lays over my fingers, and we stand there suspended in time, in the dark, with only the warmth of our bodies, and the sounds of our breaths.

"I'm sorry," Ben says, and then his lips are on mine.

They're soft, and he tastes minty, and the familiarity of it just feels so right. I kiss him back with everything I am, opening my lips, touching his tongue, remembering every inch of his mouth.

- Paperback, pages 357-358

Last week I shared a swoon from Unraveling (book one), so I thought it was fitting that I share a swoon from book two today. I still need to review both of these, but I really enjoyed them!

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday (#278): The Reckoning of Noah Shaw by Michelle Hodkin

"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:

The Reckoning of Noah Shaw by Michelle Hodkin
Book Two of the Shaw Confessions series
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: November 13, 2018

Summary (from Goodreads):

Noah Shaw doesn’t think he needs his father’s inheritance.
He does.

Noah believes there’s something off about the suicides in his visions.
There is.

Noah is convinced that he still knows the real Mara Dyer.
He does not. 

Everyone thought the nightmare had ended with Mara Dyer’s memoirs, but it was only the beginning. As old skeletons are laid bare, alliances will be tested, hearts will be broken, and no one will be left unscarred. 

I can't wait to read this! By then I should have read The Becoming of Noah Shaw... I've been reading/rereading the previous trilogy (and remembering how much I adored Noah - squee!). Don't you love the covers of these new books? 😍

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Release Day Blitz: Blood Type by K.A. Linde

Happy Tuesday, book lovers! Today is the release day of many novels, including Blood Type by K.A. Linde. I adored this book and can't wait for the sequel - publishing later this year. Check out this addicting vampire romance novel!

About the Book:

Blood Type by K.A. Linde
Book One of the Blood Type series
Publisher: Loveswept
Publication Date: April 24, 2018

Summary (from Goodreads):

A startling new vision of paranormal romance: When a human ventures into the world of vampires—a decadent milieu of blood-bonds and betrayal—she discovers that not all is what it seems.

For Reyna Carpenter, giving up her body isn’t a choice. It’s survival.

In a civilization laid waste by poverty and desperation, Reyna accepts a high-paying position with the wealthy and hungry vampire elite. Her new job is as the live-in blood escort for the intimidating, demanding, and devilishly handsome Beckham Anderson. He’s everything she expected from a vampire, except for one thing—he won’t feed off her.

Reyna soon discovers that behind Beckham’s brooding, wicked façade lies a unique and complex man. And that, in a dark and divided world, she is more valuable than she ever would have believed.

For with each passing night, Reyna can’t shake the sensation that it’s Beckham who’s afraid of her.

Note: Reyna and Beckham’s story continues in Blood Match.

About the Author:

K.A. Linde is the USA Today bestselling author of more than fifteen novels including the Avoiding series and the Record series. She has a Masters degree in political science from the University of Georgia, was the head campaign worker for the 2012 presidential campaign at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and served as the head coach of the Duke University dance team. She loves reading fantasy novels, geeking out over Star Wars, binge-watching Supernatural, and dancing in her spare time.

She currently lives in Lubbock, Texas, with her husband and two super adorable puppies.

The Excerpt:

That was the moment Beckham appeared in the doorway like a storm cloud.

Reyna straightened in her seat at the expression on his face. He walked across the room like a tightly coiled spring ready to explode.

“Ah Beckham, there you are,” Harrington said.

“Excuse me, William. I need to speak with Reyna. Alone.”

She hastened out of her seat and followed him around the corner. He tugged her straight through the kitchens, out the back door, down a corridor, and into a dead end. Then her back was slammed against the brick wall. His fist connected with the wall behind her, and she felt the wall shudder. Debris floated onto her shoulders.

“You left,” he growled.

“I . . .”

“No.” He pressed his finger to her lips roughly. She stopped breathing and just stared up into his eyes as dark as night. Her body trembled under the feral stare. “You left without me.”

The silence was weighted. All she could do was sit with their bodies nearly touching. His finger on her mouth. Her mind wandering to hellacious places.
“You are my subject. Can you imagine what it was like when I found you missing? When you turned up with three of my kind?” She shook her head minutely. He bared his teeth to her, and she shrank back. “These are meant to drink your blood. To drink you dry until there is nothing left of your body but a dry corpse. We are killers. We don’t hesitate. Just because we’re wearing suits and seem more like you . . . does not mean we are like you. We are not like you. They especially are not like you. The only way you get to the top of Visage is to be fucking ruthless, Reyna. Do you understand?”

“You’re . . . scaring me,” she whispered.


Monday, April 23, 2018

Review: On His Watch by Katie Ruggle

On His Watch by Katie Ruggle
Book 0.5 of the Search & Rescue series
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: January 5, 2016
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Kindle copy bought from Amazon

Summary (from Goodreads):

In the remote Rocky Mountains, lives depend on the Search & Rescue brotherhood. But in a place this far off the map, trust is hard to come by and secrets can be murder...

Ice rescue diver Derek Warner never meant to be a hero. But when two little girls go missing, he's the first in line to bring them home-even if that means scouring the wilderness with the woman he once loved and lost, Artemis Rey.

Artemis has never stopped wanting Derek. Now, racing to find the girls before it's too late, minutes turn to hours. Night falls. Old flames rekindle. And a danger grows in the darkest wilderness that may be more than even the Search and Rescue brotherhood can hope to face...

What I Liked:

I picked up this novella on a whim, not only because it was free, but also because I've always wanted to try some of Katie Ruggle's books. I've heard great things about all of her series, and I tend to enjoy romantic suspense but always want to read more. I think I'm going to start this series! This novella was a perfect step into the series, and I'm ready for more.

Note that I'm completely new to the series, I haven't read anything else and I don't know anything about any of the characters. So Derek and Artemis are the first hero/heroine pairing that I'm aware of, but I see the "next" pairing based off this novella. Which is cool!

Derek is an ice rescue diver, and one of the best at the job. He's fearless and he has good instincts - which is exactly what is needed, when a young boy falls into the ice, during a school field trip. To make matters worse, two young girls go missing in the nearby forest. He'll have to search the forest with the students' teacher, none other than a childhood friend and ex-girlfriend, Artemis Rey. Derek never wanted to break up with Artemis, but after a life-changing event occurred when they were in their teens, he did what needed to be done. Years later, it's clear that neither of them got over the other, and both of them still have feelings for each other. What better way to figure things out than during a search and rescue mission?

This is a novella so it was a short, compact story, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. It's nothing short of romantic suspense, with both the romance aspect, and the suspense aspect. I wasn't expecting a ton of "suspense", but Ruggle did a great job with bringing that into the story. There is an arsonist in town, and this plot is hinted at in this novella, but perhaps more fully explored in the first full-length novel of the series. This was really well-written!

I adored Derek, with his easy charm and goofy, carefree nature. He seems like a big lovable guy with lethal charm and a killer smile, but he is also very brave, smart, and he never hesitates to act first. He's a good guy - heck, even his reasons for breaking up with Artemis are good. He has a noble, selfless soul, and that makes him really good at his job.

Artemis is also another selfless soul; she's a kind schoolteacher who would do anything for her students. Years ago, Derek broke up with her, and it took some time to move on. Years later, she realizes that she never got over him, and she never wants to get over him. They're a great match, with her gentle kindness, and his goofy charm.

The romance is cute! I usually don't go for second-chance romances because of all the angst and hurt that is usually associated with them. But this one did not have as much of all that! I mean, it was there in the past, but not in the novella itself. And also, Derek and Artemis talk about things while they're searching and rescuing, and the open communication does a lot of good. I love seeing open communication in romance novels - usually a lot of drama could be avoided if the hero/heroine just talked about things.

There was a side of steamy too! While this novella was short (as expected), there were one or two steamy scenes between Derek and Artemis. Their chemistry is undeniable, even after years.

There is a happy ending for Derek and Artemis, and a happy ending for the missing children! But like I said, there is the "suspense" side of things that is hinted at throughout the novella, that will most likely be the focus of the first full-length of the series. Which probably features Callum and Lou. I'm excited! I have that book and hope to read it soon.

What I Did Not Like:

Nothing specific comes to mind! My foray into the series is going well so far. 

Would I Recommend It:

If you like romantic suspense, I hear Katie Ruggle's books are a good place to start! Hence what I'm doing. I'm not an expect in romantic suspense but I know other romance bloggers who are, and I trust their opinions.


4 stars. I liked this novella - it serves a good purpose in introducing readers to the series - and I'm interested in reading more by this author, whether in this series (preferably, at this point) or one of her other series. Search & Rescue is really cool, just saying!

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

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Science in Fiction (#39): Earth Day Edition (+ Giveaway!)

Welcome to this month's Science in Fiction feature! Science in Fiction is a meme I created to showcase the wonderful aspects of science in Young Adult fiction novels. For more information and previous feature, check out the "Science in Fiction" tag!

This month, I'm not featuring a specific book - I'm featuring Earth Day!

Today (April 22nd) is Earth Day. Earth Day was started in 1970, and it's April 22nd every year. It just so happens to fall on a Sunday this year, which is perfect for this month's Science in Fiction post.

This year's Earth Day has a special focus - ending plastic pollution by 2020. Plastic pollution is something I've talked about before, featuring different YA books. Last month, I featured Pacifica by Kristen Simmons, and I talked about trash islands in the ocean. Like the Great Garbage Patch:

And Roatan, Honduras.

Photographer Caroline Power said that a plastic waste island that she recently documented was "tiny compared to the ones in

Did you know that there is an estimated 150 million metric tons of plastic in our oceans today? 300 million tons of plastic is produced every year. And think about this - it takes roughly 20 years for a plastic bag to decompose. It takes about 450 years for a plastic bottle (the kind you buy in cases at the grocery store) to decompose. So if I throw a disposable plastic bottle in the Chesapeake Bay right now, it'll decompose in the year 2468. And what it decomposes to (little tiny filaments of plastic) isn't great either. 

Check out this graphic from Ocean Conservancy:

Plastic Ocean
Source: Ocean Conservancy

People can say what they want about global climate change (is it real? is it a hoax made up by scientists to get more funding?), though you all know my stance on global climate change. But you can't deny the incredible pollution that is going on, in the oceans, in other bodies of water, in wastelands, underground. 

This Earth Day, we should pledge to make small changes in our lives that will have a lasting impact on our planet. Here are some things that you can do:

- Use reusable bags in the grocery and other stores. Use whatever reusable bags you want! They don't need to be ones that you buy at that store. Heck, I walk into Giant (our local grocery) with cloth bags that are from Giant, but also free cloth bags from other grocery stores.

- Use reusable bottles. Stop buying cases of water bottled in plastic. Think about where those bottles end up. Are you placing them for recycling? Are you throwing them in trash?

- Give up bottled drinks altogether. I'd argue that glass bottles are better to use/buy, but in general, bottled drinks are a good thing to stop consuming. It would be incredibly difficult for the average person (myself included). 

- STOP USING PLASTIC STRAWS. Plastic straws are terrible! Use reusable ones or just drink from the cup.

- Choose cardboard over plastic. Cardboard is usually easier to recycle than plastic bags and bottles are not.

- Stop using products with microbeads. Like hand soaps, example. We've all seen hand soaps with tiny little beads in them. Those beads do not break down and usually have a component of plastic in them.

- Stop chewing gum. Did you know that gum is made of plastic? Yeah. And then you spit that out, and a bird might get stuck in it. 

There are sooooo many other things that you can do, but these tend to be the easiest ones. If demand for certain products go down, then the companies producing them will have to limit supply. Which is fantastic! If we all did a few of the things on the list, we might see a huge difference, in the long run.

And now, the giveaway!

Win the above prize pack, plus some other books that will be a surprise! Open internationally, ends on May 11th. I'll try to announce the winner on my next Science in Fiction post. Giveaway rules apply. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Stacking the Shelves (#278)

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, April 15th to Saturday, April 21st?

(all links to Goodreads are provided!)

In the mail:

Thank you, Harper! I think I'm most excited about A Thousand Beginnings and Endings. It's an anthology of stories based on Asian legends, written by Asian authors. I'm a fan!

Reviews from this week:

(Click on the cover to go to my review!)

Favorite Instagram post from this week:

A post shared by Alyssa (@theeaterofbooks) on

I just need to rant for a moment - I want it to be summer! Forget this 900th winter we're having! Why am I still wearing my winter coat?! I want to have that dry-cleaned and stored in my closet until October. Goodness, is that too much to ask for?! In 10 days it will be MAY! *forever bitter about the 7-month-long winter we're having*

Friday, April 20, 2018

My Favorite YA Books That Need A Sequel

Hey friends! Today is another day in which I didn't feel like writing/posting a review, but did feel like posting something... so I'm doing another favorites post! You can check out my favorite YA books with hate-to-love romance HERE, favorite books with the word "shadow" in the title HERE, favorite adult books (alphabet style) HERE, favorite Jane-Austen-Inspired YA books HERE, favorite YA foreign editions posts HERE, favorite YA books (alphabet style) HERE, favorite YA books with one-word titles HERE, favorite swoons from YA books HERE.

Here are some of my favorite YA books that really need a sequel! 

All Our Yesterdays  Brightly Woven  Two-Way Street
Transparent (Transparent, #1)  Where the Stars Still Shine  Silver Eve (Guardians of Tarnec, #2)

Don't you hate it when you finish a book and you're like OMG that was amazing, but where's the rest?! Sometimes we need more!