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Mar
23

Review + Blog Tour: Trailer Trash by Marie Sexton

Review + Blog Tour: Trailer Trash by Marie Sexton From the author: Hello, everybody! I’m Marie Sexton, and I’m here today to tell you about my New Adult novel, Trailer Trash. Trailer Trash is a sweet coming-of-age story about two high school seniors: Cody, who’s dirt poor and literally lives on the wrong side of the tracks, and Nate, the preppy new kid in town. It’s set in the fictional town of Warren, Wyoming, in the mid-1980s. It’s full of angst and 80s pop culture references, and I promise, it has a happy ending. 🙂 Trailer Trash Author: Marie Sexton Reviewer: B. Rating: A- B.’s Review: Set in the miserable wasteland that is Warren, Wyoming in 1986, Trailer Trash is the “coming-of-age”/ “coming out” story of two young men who somehow manage to find love despite the world around them trying its best to tear them apart. Aside from the inevitable death of the town itself, the entire narrative is filled with stark descriptions of joblessness and poverty, and the frustration and misplaced blame that comes from struggling against the immovable boundaries of the established financial and social order. All of which makes for compelling, but not frivolous, reading. Of the two main characters, Nate was definitely “easier” for me to read about. He’s naïve, affluent (by Warren standards, to be sure), resentful, and lonely. Far from being a bad person, though, he’s just hurt and a little shiny. It takes him a while to accept that “the rules” that applied in Austin, Texas, do not apply in his new home… and he gets just about everything wrong. Still, his desire to hang out with the self-described “pariah” of the school, rather than the popular kids he resembles in clothing labels only, made me like him very early in the story. Cody Lawrence, on the other hand, could never be accused of being shiny. Stripped of any dreams he may have had for himself early and often, he’s already been through too much, seen too much, at the age of seventeen. As the only acknowledged gay student in a small high school full of the most vicious kinds of cliques, he really can’t catch a break. This, combined with his situation at home, makes Cody a genuine outcast. Yet, he has a truly good heart, despite everything, and I adored him. One of the ways in which I think Trailer Trash excels is in the author’s ability to add vivid details to nearly everything. From the pervasive reek...
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Mar
18

Review + Giveaway: Between Ghosts by Garrett Leigh

Review + Giveaway: Between Ghosts by Garrett Leigh Between Ghosts Author: Garrett Leigh Reviewer: B. Rating: A What I’m Talking About: Losing his older brother to a war he’s never agreed with would have been bad enough for Connor Regan to live with, but for that hurt remain adrift with no understanding to anchor it is worse. Going on assignment with a SAS team that’s seen the worst the war has to offer—and to one of the most dangerous regions there is—seems like his best chance for some answers. What he finds will change him forever, and lead him to the first man Connor isn’t sure he can survive without. Sergeant Nathan Thompson isn’t a man with a lot of time on his hands. With one mission beginning almost before the previous one has ended, he can’t seem to find the hours to sleep, much less babysit a civilian reporter who’s managed to be embedded with his team. But, the “hack” gets under his skin faster than Nat ever imagined he would, and keeping Connor safe quickly becomes far more than just an obligation. Ordinarily, the speed with which Connor and Nat become attached would have concerned me. But, Between Ghosts is set in the middle of a never-ending war, and that, justifiably, made a huge difference. That a physical connection could be a balm in the midst of so much destruction, and that the heart might just as quickly follow—especially when time inherently must be counted so differently—I could easily accept. Ms. Leigh depicts the temporary nature of living through war very convincingly, making the relationship that evolves between the two men something worth cherishing, rather than dismissing. I found both Connor and Nat easy to believe in. Neither was very predictable, and accepting that their different personalities might be complimentary wasn’t a problem. At first, there seems to be little more to Nat than the gruff Sergeant whose responsibilities weigh so heavily on him. However, this proves not to be the case. Connor, in contrast, has plenty going on from the start, including his own, personal undertaking, and watching that mission disintegrate as his understanding of the situation increased made me feel as badly for him as I did for the soldiers he accompanied. Connor and Nat aren’t the only characters that stood out in Between Ghosts. It didn’t seem as if there were any negligible characters to me, each being imbued with such individuality and heartfelt connection to one another that I held my...
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Mar
17

Reviews: Sweet Filthy Boy + Sweet Filthy Morning After by Christina Lauren

Reviews: Sweet Filthy Boy + Sweet Filthy Morning After by Christina Lauren Sweet Filthy Boy Sweet Filthy Morning After Author: Christina Lauren Reviewer: Jen Twimom What I’m Talking About: Sweet Filthy Boy (Wild Seasons #1) Having recently listened to and LOVING the audiobook of Wicked Sexy Liar (WSL), the fourth book in Christina Lauren’s NA series about recent UCSD grads, I found myself compelled to get more of these characters and their stories. So I decided to pick up the first book, Sweet Filthy Boy, on my kindle, and I’m so glad that I did. Having started with the fourth book in the series, I was already familiar with main couple featured in Sweet Filthy Boy. However, I didn’t know their history and story, other than a few small details, so no spoilers to ruin the enjoyment of the journey. Mia and Ansel have a whirlwind, lust-driven weekend in Vegas, which leads to her following him to Paris for the summer. But the trip over isn’t romantic in the least (and is in fact, one of the most laughable, horrible situations), and there is a huge strain between the pair once they arrive at Ansel’s home. In fact, the awkwardness is horrifying at times and my heart hurts for the pair. However, the couple learns to share and open up though cos-play and scenes, which leads to some uber sexy moments. Their romance is exquisite: equal parts lust, heartache, and love. While I thought I knew what would be the major bump in the road, I was still surprised when it happened, leading my heart to fall to pieces along with Mia’s. The authors are skilled at sharing deep emotions without telling or preaching. The one thing that threw me a bit and surprised me is that the story was only shared from the first person POV of the book’s heroine, Mia. This is because the few NA titles I’ve read, along with a book in this series (WSL), are shared from the alternating first person POVs of the hero and heroine. I have to admit that after all my harping on why I don’t necessarily care for the alternating first person POVs, I missed it! I wanted to hear from Ansel – I wanted to know he was falling as hard as Mia, I wanted to know why he shares and doesn’t share what he did (although in hindsight, the twist wouldn’t have had as big of an impact if we’d known this!) In the end, I adored Mia and...
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Mar
17

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: Mercy Thompson Series Title: Fire Touched Author: Patricia Briggs Narrator: Lorelei King Audio Speed: 1.25x Series: Mercy Thompson #9 Genre: Urban Fantasy Audiobook Source: purchased With things between the Fae and the rest of the world straining to a dangerous point, Mercy and Adam find themselves defenders of the Tri-Cities after the Pack kills a nasty troll on national TV. Along with defeating the troll, the pair are reunited with their fae friends, Z and Tad, who bring with them a fire-touched human boy who has been locked in the fae realm for centuries. Now Mercy and Adam must find a way to keep those they love and those under their protection safe from the fae threats. BAM! Mercy is back! Fire Touched is another amazing story from the creative mind of Patricia Briggs. Chronologically, the book takes place sometime shortly after and briefly refers to the events of Dead Heat (Alpha and Omega #4), and is tied to the larger story arc of fae discontent that has spanned both the Mercy Thompson and Alpha and Omega series for the past few books. It also ties up some of the short-term and long-standing issues with which the pack and/or Mercy has been dealing. Warning – this book is NOT the place to start your journey with this amazing series! There is so much that I loved and enjoyed about Fire Touched, it’s hard to express exactly what made it so great. I like that Ms. Briggs has brought Mercy and Adam back to solving a mystery that threatens their well-being, while much of the pack drama is laid to rest almost immediately (note: it’s about damn time!). Adam and Mercy’s relationship grew exponentially during the course of the previous book, and their mutual trust is strengthened as a result, making their actions seamless throughout this book. I think I most appreciate how all the parts work together in this one. Each piece of the story supports the larger whole. Nothing is extraneous and superfluous. The storytelling is amazing, especially when shared by Lorelei King. Additionally, the book moves the entire series forward, while creating interesting changes that will significantly impact future stories. But it’s all done in a way that isn’t showy or brash, which is well-suited to Mercy’s persona. It wasn’t until the book was over that I realized how much was put to rest during the events of Fire...
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Mar
15

Review: Quantum Night by Robert J. Sawyer

Review: Quantum Night by Robert J. Sawyer Quantum Night Author: Robert J. Sawyer Reviewer: Nima Rating: B+ What I’m Talking About: Author Robert Sawyer takes us through a really interesting intellectual exercise in Quantum Night. While it is a fictional story with a beginning, middle, and end, I felt more like I was sitting in a college philosophy class playing “what if” with the professor. What if… you could identify psychopaths with the accuracy of fingerprints?  What if… you could change their mental wiring so that they’re 100% “cured?”  What if… you had to trade places with the psychopath to make that happen?  What if… your child did?  What if… you discovered you had committed felonious acts, but didn’t remember them?  Would you turn yourself in?  What if… what if… what if…  This is how the story unfolds itself, answering one question and moving forward by addressing the consequences philosophically until another choice is presented.  Sawyer moves through the work of multiple psychologists and physicists in the process.  Sawyer clearly did his research. Main character Jim Marchuk is a Canadian psychology professor who lives his life by the philosophy of utilitarianism, meaning he makes choices based on maximizing happiness for the greatest number of people, even if it requires sacrifice on his own part.  This alone makes him a controversial character because that utility translates into actions like giving a generous portion of his income to charity, but wanting his wife to get an abortion when they discovered their unborn son has Down syndrome and he would be a drain on too many public and private resources.  He relates to all the other characters that come and go from his life from this same perspective of utility and more than once I found myself arguing with his logic. At times he is sympathetic and at times he’s really not.  Sawyer is great at playing devil’s advocate through his characters. Religion, as one would expect, is lacking from the scientific discussion.  Marchuk describes the majority of humanity as soulless apes with a monkey see, monkey do reflex.  In one particularly arrogant passage, Marchuk says, “The role of God has gone unfilled for too long… it’s high time someone got the part.”  This is an especially troubling remark coming from a man who often puts himself in the position of making choices for others based on his own value system. There is a background romance that is weak at best.  Explicit sex would be out of place, but...
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Mar
10

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Wicked Sexy Liar by Christina Lauren

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Wicked Sexy Liar by Christina Lauren Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook Review: Wicked Sexy Liar Author: Christina Lauren Narrators: Deacon Lee & Olivia Song Audio Speed: 1.25x Series: Wild Seasons #4 Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult Source: Simon & Schuster Audio London loves her carefree life, surfer by day and bartender by night. She knows how to flirt and smile, but never lets anyone close. She understands heartache after spending her college years with her sweetheart, only to find out he’d been cheating on her almost the entire time. She knows Luke is NOT the guy for her, but maybe one night of passionate sex will help scratch a certain itch. Luke is every girl’s fantasy and enjoys sharing himself with most every girl that asks. But when he meets London and takes her home for one night, something inside changes, and he realizes he wants more. Now he has to find a way to prove to London that he’s worth a second or third look. I picked up Wicked Sexy Liar, the fourth title in the Wild Seasons New Adult series, for review without having read or listened to the previous three titles, and it completely worked. Although Luke and London may have shown up in previous books, their story is very much standalone (and honestly doesn’t spoil any of the earlier books either). However, now that I’ve finished this book, I can’t wait to go back and read the other three stories! Luke and London’s romance is probably one of my all-time favorites. They share an instant lust and their sexual chemistry is off the charts. I found it both interesting and a bit of a let down (at first) that the initial two or three sexual experiences where shared solely from Luke’s POV. I liked his explicit attention to details and loved how much the experience of having sex with London moved him; how emotional he was. However, I wanted to know what she was thinking and experiencing. Then when we finally did have a sexy scene from London’s POV, I found it not as satisfactory because she worked at keeping distance between herself and Luke. The authors expertly convey each character’s emotions and moods with each encounter. Watching this couple fall in love was utterly enjoyable. Their path was not easy, yet the tale flowed so perfectly. Luke is amazingly romantic. They way he loves London. The way he romances her and is so worried she doesn’t love...
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Mar
9

Review: Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs

Review: Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs Fire Touched Author: Patricia Briggs Reviewers: Gikany and Una Rating: A+ What We’re Talking About: Ms. Briggs has amazed us again!  Gikany and Una have waited with baited breath for this latest installment in the Mercy Thompson series.  Fire Touched is another dynamic novel in this rich world. The strife between the Fae and the rest of the world has reached a boiling point.  Fire Touched is the pinnacle of this over-arching plot.  After defeating a rampaging troll, Mercy proclaims that the Tri-Cities area is under the packs protection.  This one heartfelt reaction makes the Tri-Cities the epicenter of the ever-increasing political storm between the humans, Fae, werewolves and other paranormal creatures.  Mercy’s proclamation begins a domino effect that will have enormous, and unanticipated, ramifications. There are some wonderful moments in this novel.  Some are positive while others are a little heartbreaking.  We loved how Mercy and Adam did not back down or try to wheedle their way out of what has transpired.  Their relationship is strong and we can see how they will continue to grow together as a team without either of them losing themselves.  In fact, they are one of our favorite literary couples of all time.  After numerous novels, the issues of the pack vs. Mercy are resolved.  We don’t want to spoil it for you, but WOW!  The resolution is so awesome and it was a long time coming – this was one of our favorite moments in the novel. Another favorite moment was Mercy claiming Aiden – not only offering him sanctuary but also claiming him as theirs to protect.   The story surrounding Aiden is heartbreaking.  We enjoyed his characterization and the additional depth of mythology he brings with him.  Underhill is far more than we had ever realized.  Aiden finding sanctuary with the Columbia Basin wolf pack is a catalyst for major changes. Gikany and Una are always easily immersed into Ms. Briggs’ writing.  However, with Fire Touched we were consumed.  There is just something about this novel that kept us glued to the pages – more so than usual.  We loved the ramifications of the character’s actions and how the world is changing.  This novel truly breaks through as one of our favorites of the year!  Although we were heartbroken to say goodbye to a much-adored unique character, we hope there is more to come.  No matter awaits Mercy and the gang in the next novel, we will certainly be...
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Mar
7

Review: Trapped by Alison Aimes

Review: Trapped by Alison Aimes Trapped Author: Alison Aimes Reviewer: Nima Rating: A- What I’m Talking About: I’m going to put this right up front because Alison Aimes’ debut book Trapped actually came with a warning right up front.  I was puzzled by it. It doesn’t read like a trigger warning, instead, sounding more like a promotional blurb.  At the outset there is an unequal power structure between her two main characters and the sex that takes place within it.  That relationship changes over the course of the book, but if there was concern about criticism for it, don’t write it.  Don’t come up with a premise and then apologize for it. If she feels it needs a trigger warning, put it out there simply and don’t dance around it. Here’s the thing though, it would appear that Aimes set out to write an erotic romance set in space, but that’s not what she did.  She actually wrote a very good science fiction novel where, dare I say it, the sex was almost superfluous.  Not in its entirety, some would have been fine here and there to support the romantic elements, rather than use it to create them.  To me, it almost felt out place in what was otherwise a well written book with good world-building and sufficient conflict to support multiple sub-plots.  She probably could have dropped fifty-percent of the sex and expanded the epilogue.  At only 220 pages, there was lots of room for more description, more dialog, more stress, more relief and I would have happily come along for the ride. She successfully creates an alpha-male who comes off sympathetic, even scared, without losing any of his masculinity.  It was nice to have such a prominent character be so un-full of himself.  Convict 673 aka Caine completely lacked the cockiness of most alpha-males prominent in today’s romance literature.  His female counterpart, Cadet Annabella “Bella” West, is intelligent.  She makes choices for her survival, keeps her bargains, shows integrity, and doesn’t apologize for the consequences. She’s was a survivor even before she crashed into Caine’s life so her actions were consistent, even if they seemed extreme to her. I like these two characters and I like them together.  I just wish I had more of them and not just more of them in bed. One criticism was that in having her story thousands of years into the future, Aimes fell short in the cursing department.  She developed a system of travel, government,...
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Mar
2

Review + Excerpt: Dance of Desire by Christopher Rice

Review + Excerpt: Dance of Desire by Christopher Rice We are so excited to bring you the Review & Excerpt Tour for DANCE OF DESIRE by Christopher Rice! DANCE OF DESIRE is the first contemporary romance told with the author’s trademark humor and heart. It also introduces readers to a quirky and beautiful town in the Texas Hill Country called Chapel Springs. It is due to be released on February 23, 2016! Grab your copy of this hot new novella today! Vampbard’s Review: I’ve been binge-reading Christopher Rice books. I’m not quite sure what it is about his voice that draws me in, makes me feel like I’m *right there*. Maybe it’s the first person, present tense storytelling. Doesn’t matter. Anything by Mr. Rice is an auto-buy now. Someone break the news to Mr. VampBard about the Amazon one-clicks. As offering number thirty-six of the 1001 Dark Nights project, Mr. Rice bring us Dance of Desire, his first contemporary romance. I think I really related to Amber. She has a low-life leech for a husband who she never really loved. Not in the way she’s loved Caleb since… forever. Loving someone you’re not supposed to can’t be easy. Especially an adopted sibling. What I really liked about her, however, is the fact that she was a fierce female, and didn’t get all wishy-washy about stuff. She stood her ground, and she looked out for herself. The first half-ish of the title surrounds another of Mr. Rice’s series, Desire Exchange—at least vague references to it. I’ve grown to love how empowered people are by the Desire Exchange service, which is at the core of the other series. Both men and women explore their sexuality in a safe manner. Their inhibitions are, *ahem*, suspended as they open themselves to their deepest desire. Well, Miss Amber had no need for the pricey service—because she already knew her heart’s desire, and it was Caleb. The question here is: What to do about it? If John Q. Public believes someone is your sibling, it’s pretty bad to be seen macking all over them in public. I’m sure, since Caleb was adopted and he shared Amber’s last name, people would go all Flowers in the Attic on them. Ultimately, there was an answer. A way to make everything right—even in the good ol’ state of Texas. Using Mr. Rice’s dry and sarcastic sense of humor (which I seriously LOVE), pretty awkward moments are handles with joviality. “…A guy who looks like you…well, it’s just not normal...
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Mar
1

Review: Midnight Bites by Rachel Caine

Review: Midnight Bites by Rachel Caine Midnight Bites: Stories of the Morganville Vampires Author: Rachel Caine Reviewer: Una Rating: A What I’m Talking About: What a treat for Morganville Vampires series fans!  Midnight Bites: Stories of the Morganville Vampires is a wonderful collection of some previously released and brand new short stories in this rich and vibrant world.  I would wholeheartedly recommend this to all fans of the series but advise caution for newbies.  This collection would be considered spoilerish if you haven’t read the series.  You’d also be a bit lost on the significance and context of some of the stories included. I’m a big fan of this series and was sad when I read the final book, Daylighters.  I have read anything and everything that I could get my hands on in this world, including those stories that Ms. Caine posted for free on the web, as well as getting anthologies from the library so I didn’t miss a novella.  Though this is not a comprehensive collection of all the short stories Ms. Caine has created, it is a wonderfully balanced anthology. I was able to experience the backstory of some of the most colorful and critical characters in the series as well as enjoy a few new adventures.  Included are points of view from our favorite misunderstood vampire, Myrnin and his liege Amelie.  I enjoyed seeing Morganville, along with our heroes, through their eyes.  There is so much more to the vampires than what we previously experienced.  We are also given a glimpse of Myrnin’s past as well as a few stories that are more epilogues in nature.  One of the most compelling stories I found was from Michael and Eve’s point of view when Michael was struggling as a new vampire.  There is just so much to love in this collection including stories that centered on Shane as well as one from Hannah Moses. Ms. Caine in her afterword gave me hope that she is not finished with this world.  In the meantime though, Morganville Vampires fans will certainly want and need to read this short story collection.  You won’t be disappointed, I certainly wasn’t! My Rating:  A, Loved It About the Book: New York Times bestselling author Rachel Caine presents a collection of stories—including six new tales—featuring the little Texas town that’s overrun by the undead.  WELCOME TO MORGANVILLE. YOU’LL NEVER WANT TO LEAVE. By day, Morganville, Texas, is just a typical college town. By night, the vampires emerge and...
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