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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
16

Quickie Review: Roped In by Lorelei James

Quickie Review: Roped In by Lorelei James Roped In Author: Lorelei James Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: B+ What I’m Talking About: World champion steer wrestler Sutton Grant was severely injured for the second time. He made a pack with God if he survived, he wouldn’t go back, and now he’s trying to figure out what to do with his life and how to tell his ranching family about his decision. London Gradsky was dumped by her wrangler boyfriend for a Texas beauty queen. Even though he didn’t rock her world, she’s mad and hurt. When Sutton, the man who bought her temperamental horse, Dial, from her parents, shows up and asks for her help training him, London agrees, only if he’ll pretend to be her boyfriend for the summer circuit. Roped In is a fun, sexy novella, which can be read standalone from Ms. James’ Blacktop Cowboys series. Sutton and London share an immediate attraction. They are both are very forward and blunt, speaking openly and honestly about their desires, which makes for a fast-paced story and hot and heavy sex. It’s refreshing although, sometimes the frank discussions felt almost too much. There were only a few misunderstandings between the pair, but nothing that made my eyes roll. Overall, Roped In was an enjoyable love story. My Rating:  B+ Liked It A Lot About the Book: World champion bulldogger Sutton Grant works hard on the road, but his quiet charm has earned the nickname “The Saint” because he’s never been the love ‘em and leave ‘em type with the ladies. When he’s sidelined by an injury, he needs help keeping his horse in competition shape, but he fears trying to sweet-talk premier horse trainer London Gradsky is a losing proposition–because the woman sorta despises him. London is humiliated when her boyfriend dumps her for a rodeo queen. What makes the situation worse? She’s forced to see the lovebirds on the rodeo circuit every weekend. In an attempt to save face, London agrees to assist the notoriously mild, but ruggedly handsome Sutton Grant with his horse training problem on one condition: Sutton has to pretend to be her new boyfriend. But make believe doesn’t last long between the sassy cowgirl and the laid-back bulldogger. When the attraction between them ignites, London learns that sexy Sutton is no Saint when that bedroom door closes; he’s the red-hot lover she’s always dreamed of. The more time they spend together, the more Sutton realizes he wouldn’t mind being roped and...
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Mar
15

Review: Her Fierce Warrior by Paige Tyler

Review: Her Fierce Warrior by Paige Tyler Her Fierce Warrior Author: Paige Tyler Reviewers: Gikany and Una Rating: B- What We’re Talking About: Overall Gikany and Una have liked the X-Ops series, although, the latest offering, Her Fierce Warrior, fell a bit flat for us.  The plight of stopping the evil doctors was gripping, but the romantic storyline between Minka and Angelo was lacking. Over the course of the previous three books, the Department of Covert Operations (DCO) team has been trying to uncover the mole in their organization, find the evil doctors making the hybrids, all while doing their normal jobs.  We liked that this novel touched base with some previous couples, especially Landon and Ivy.  We were utterly gripped by the political machinations of the operatives’ missions and the suspenseful nature of the shadow organization that is creating the hybrids. What didn’t work for us revolved around Minka and Angelo. We enjoyed Angelo’s character when he was first introduced to us as part of Landon’s squad.  As the story unfolded, we discovered that he has some issues related to being in the service and his mother.  We thought these issues were not fully reconciled in the course of the novel.  His feelings were treated almost like an afterthought.  Although the chemistry between Minka and Angelo was steaming, it felt artificial.  Minka grew up in was very conservative Middle Eastern culture and we thought there should have been a larger cultural gap between the two.  Minka vacillated between being conservative and being more westernized.  When you combine this with the trauma she suffered for an extended period at the hands of the evil doctors, we expected her to be a little shyer in the bedroom.  The driving force of mating and such we can understand, but it seemed a little trite that it magically solved all of Minka’s problems.  We thought this made her characterization a bit weak. Even with the few hiccups, and our issue with Minka’s torture being trivialized, we did like Her Fierce Warrior.  The secrets uncovered and plots alluded to near the end of the novel have us eager to read the next book in this series.  If you enjoy a different military drama mixed with paranormal elements, you might want to give the X-Ops series a try. Our Rating:  B- Liked It, but we had a few small issues About the Book: Minka isn’t sure she should trust the sexy Special Forces soldier who found her. Subjected to horrors, on...
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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
11

Re-release Review: Edge of Moonlight by Stephanie Julian

Re-release Review: Edge of Moonlight by Stephanie Julian Edge of Moonlight Author: Stephanie Julian Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: B- What I’m Talking About: The Lucani Lovers is a six-book steamy paranormal romance series that was re-edited and, in some cases, rewritten, and republished in February 2016. Kaine Giliati is an elite solder shifter. After rescuing the human John Simmons, she realized he was her mate, and she longed to be with him. Yet when John saw Kaine shift and he learned the Lucani secrets, he chose to have his memories wiped so he could walk away. Now Kaine misses him even though nothing ever happened between the pair. John and his sister, Evangeline, were kidnapped in the last story, and now his memories of how he escaped are fuzzy, and his dreams are haunted by a beautiful woman. When he sees the woman of his dreams in a bar, he thinks he might be crazy, but takes her home anyhow. Picking up when the previous book left off, Edge of Moonlight continues the story about a mysterious person who has been kidnapping humans with Etruscan blood. The story deepens with the reappearance of Evangeline, who’s slight magical abilities have grown exponentially and out of control. I have been enjoying this story from the beginning, and I was glad to see so much progress on finding out who is behind the kidnappings, as well as the motives. However, I felt the entire story fell flat. The motivation behind the kidnappings was tenuous, and in the end, the perpetrator was equally as weak. John and Kaine’s romance was fiery hot, and filled with passion. While the pair experienced some of the paranormal insta-love, there were complications and bumps in the road. Unfortunately, much of their trouble could have been avoided with any sort of open communication. In the end, I enjoyed reading Edge of Moonlight, but I would have liked a more concrete story around the mysterious kidnapper. Kaine and John’s romance was enjoyable, but I wished they’d been a bit more open with one another. My Rating:  B- Liked It — But I had a few small issues About the Book: Etruscan wolf shifter Kaine Giliati has longed for John Simmons since he willingly agreed to wipe all memory of her from his mind. The pain in her heart is only magnified by terror-the ability to call her wolf appears to have deserted her, as well. For months after he and his sister escaped a crazed kidnapper, John...
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Mar
11

#FitReaders Check-In: March 11, 2016

#FitReaders Check-In: March 11, 2016 Welcome to #FitReaders!! Felicia the Geeky Blogger and I are super excited to be co-hosting this fitness-oriented group for another year! For the the first quarter of 2016 (January – March), Felicia will be hosting the official check-ins. This is my weekly check-in post where I share about my week, and I hope you share about yours as well. If you have a weekly check-in blog post or put your updates on any social media site, please leave a link to your check-in posts in the comment section, below. Important links: The March Virtual 5k and 10k Race Series + 1 mile Fun Run finish line (for after you complete the “race”) #FitReaders information page #FitReaders 101 My Week: This week was more of the same… I found myself indulging in way too much sugar and unable to stop myself. A dozen cookies all at once. Whole bags of sweeten popcorn. Whatever I could get my hands on. Plus I’ve been crazy busy, neglecting my walks and exercise, while trying to keep my head above water. I’m still letting my emotions get the better of me instead of taking charge of my body and self. However, I am thankful to my FitBit friends who put me in the Workweek Hustle, which did motivate me to move Monday – Friday. THANK YOU! My Movement*: Friday: one walk totaling 16 minutes, 8,987 steps/day Saturday: no exercise, 7,848 steps/day Sunday: no exercise, 7,488 steps/day Monday: one walk totaling 48 minutes, 14,078 steps/day Tuesday: three walks totaling 60 minutes, 11,895 steps/day Wednesday: one walk totaling 49 minutes, 11,059 steps/day Thursday: 55 minutes BodyFlow + one walk totaling 15 minutes, 10,600+ steps/day * I track two different goals. The first goal is a timed duration of exercise – moving with the intent to raise my heart rate and get in some cardiovascular work. This is what I’m mean when I say “45 minutes walking.” The second goal is total daily steps. This is from my Fitbit, which measures all steps from 12:00AM – 11:59PM, exercise included. So are you ready to lace up your sneakers? Are you ready to up your commit to fit? Be sure to stop over at Felicia the Geeky Blogger blog to sign up for this...
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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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