Monday, March 31, 2014

Hope Ignites by Jaci Burton

Logan McCormack likes his isolated life on the ranch, until a movie crew starts filming there. When actress Desiree Jenkins blows into his life, she wrecks it harder than the Oklahoma winds with her brutal honesty and soft touch. Des knows this is a temporary stay, but she loves the open freedom of the land, and for the first time in her life, Des feels like she might have found a place she can call home, with a man she might be falling in love with. But Logan’s heart is tougher than the soil beneath them—can she convince him that they belong together?

In my reading life lately, I've been loving the well written contemporary romance. Even though I didn't absolutely love Jill Shalvis' latest effort, the romance between the leads and the small town setting had me semi-satisfied. This new "Hope" series book by Jaci Burton however I enjoyed from start to finish, as Logan and Des not only turned out to be completely likeable on their own, but were fantastic together too. 

I kind of feel like this book read and as updated Diana Palmer, with Logan as the gruff cynical cowboy and Des as the young - but not too young - heroine. Luckily Logan wasn't an asshole for 90% of the book and Des wasn't the innocent virgin, ignorant of any feelings "down there". Instead we have two people in seemingly very different places in their lives, who happen upon each other and a relationship they never expected. You always know in a romance that the couple are going to find their HEA in the end, so even when Logan was at his most stubborn things had to work out, but instead of any grand emotional gestures without explanation, Des and Logan spent a lot of time talking out their problems. It was incredibly refreshing to have them work through the pasts that had shaped them as people and the issues that made them hesitant to commit. Combined with a fun and unique supporting cast I really loved Hope Ignites and I can't wait for Hope Burns!

Overall Feeling - A

Series - 1) Hope Flames 2) Hope Ignites 3) Hope Burns (Sept 2014)

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Chimes at Midnight by Seanan McGuire

Things are starting to look up for October "Toby" Daye. She's training her squire, doing her job, and has finally allowed herself to grow closer to the local King of Cats. It seems like her life may finally be settling least until dead changelings start appearing in the alleys of San Francisco, killed by an overdose of goblin fruit.

Toby's efforts to take the problem to the Queen of the Mists are met with harsh reprisals, leaving her under sentence of exile from her home and everyone she loves. Now Toby must find a way to reverse the Queens decree, get the goblin fruit off the streets--and, oh, yes, save her own life, since more than a few of her problems have once again followed her home. And then there's the question of the Queen herself, who seems increasingly unlikely to have a valid claim to the throne....

To find the answers, October and her friends will have to travel from the legendary Library of Stars into the hidden depths of the Kingdom of the Mists--and they'll have to do it fast, because time is running out. In faerie, some fates are worse than death.

October Daye is about to find out what they are.


So it may have taken me about a jillion years (aka 7 months) but I finally finished Chimes at Midnight and it was freaking awesome. As usual really, which makes me kick myself for waiting so long to read it. But sadly, when the brain decides its not ready for something horrible to happen to one of its favorite characters, its not ready. Happily somewhere between Tuesday and Wednesday things worked itself out and instead of getting the sleep I kind of desperately need, I finished this.

McGuire writes incredible urban fantasy adventures. Filled with the kind of characters and world building you dream of, and seven books in things are still going strong. Despite the hint of a happy ending between Toby and Tybalt, the world of Faerie isn't done with them, and the royal machinations spill out once again to send our intrepid hero out to save the day. Or at least save a few people and not get herself killed. 

I loved everything about this book honestly, it's one of those reads that manages to be both full of plot and quick to grasp/entertaining, but the relationship between Toby and Tybalt was off the charts. They've finally embraced the feelings they have for each other and spend a lot of the book balancing those with their goals - the things they have to do protect what is meaningful to them or the people who can't protect themselves. Watching (reading) them navigate the tricky waters of respect and understanding of each others needs is beautiful and believable; I think that no matter the people involved, couples meant to last have to be able to communicate and listen to each other. Toby and Tybalt might stumble at times but when pushed to confront their own biases they're able to think through problems and come to a solution that works for everyone.

So, uh, yeah. I loved this book. While it's not really great as a stand alone, it's a wonderful continuation of a series that doesn't appear to be slowing down anytime soon (YAY!).

Overall Feeling - A+

Series - ... 6) Ashes of Honor 7) Chimes at Midnight

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Once In A Lifetime by Jill Shalvis

Sometimes wrong is oh-so-right…

After a wrenching loss, Ben McDaniels tried to escape his grief by working in dangerous, war-torn places like Africa and the Middle East. Now he’s back in his hometown and face-to-face with Aubrey Wellington, the hot-as-hell woman who is trouble with a capital T. Family and friends insist she’s not the one to ease his pain, but Aubrey sparks an intense desire that gives Ben hope for the future.

Determined to right the wrongs of her past, Aubrey is working hard to make amends. But by far, the toughest challenge to her plan is sexy, brooding Ben …even though he has absolutely no idea what she’s done…

Can this unlikely couple defy the odds and win over the little town of Lucky Harbor?


Ok so I don't want get rotten fruit thrown at me or anything, but this book annoyed the crap out of me. Like 100%, I want to kill someone, annoyed me. And honestly, I'd have to lay this whole at Ms. Shalvis's feet since it's because she's such a great writer that I ended up so annoyed.

Aubrey is back in Lucky Harbor trying to find a new place for herself and working to "make amends" for her past. It's a pretty basic premise but what didn't work for me were all the things that Aubrey is trying to make amends for had some pretty extreme extenuating circumstances, not the least of which being that she was in HIGH SCHOOL when they happened. Now I get that some of the way things snowballed from her actions was a little unprecedented, but in each situation it seemed to me that the individual harmed had been a huge asshole first. Almost every instance involved people in positions of authority who used their power to disparage, insult, and pretty much just beat down Aubrey because of things outside her control. How is it then her responsibility to make amends when things spiraled out of control? Or maybe didn't spiral out of control because honestly I can't feel bad for any of these people.

In the end I'm glad that Ben had a pretty big groveling session before the HEA because without it I probably would have been dissatisfied every which way with this book. And none of this is because Ms. Shalvis is a bad writer. It's the exact opposite in fact, because she was so good at her job of getting me to empathize with Aubrey that I couldn't understand why anything she'd done actually deserved atoning for. Go figure.

Overall Feeling - C

Series - ...8) Always On My Mind 9) Once In A Lifetime

*Title won on Twitter*

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

February in Review

Slowly but surely I'm chugging along somehow, despite DC's (and most of the East Coast) UNENDING WINTER I managed to read a few new things. And some more to my TBR pile, lol. I just don't know how people do it - stress just kills my reading drive. All I want to do is curl up with a good book where I know everyone loves each other and the ending will work itself out, lol.So what did I end up actually finishing this month? Let's see....

The Grendel Affair by Lisa Shearin (B)
Seducing His Princess by Olivia Gates (C+)
Dark Wolf by Christine Feehan (B-)
Marked by Kit Rocha, Lauren Dane, & Vivian Arend (A)
Considering Kate by Nora Roberts
"For Now, Forever" by Nora Roberts
The Troubled Texan by Phyliss Miranda (DNF)

My favorite was an easy pick this month because damn if Marked didn't get me - it's so good! 


I want to try something a little different this month and instead of just highlighting what I liked best reading wise, here's what I also liked best BLOG-wise! 

//"Small - Travel, Part Two" - I love Feather Factor's post on travel. She's incredibly knowledgeable and seems to always have the best advice when it comes to making the most of your time.

//"Finished AT-AT Rocker Reveal!" - I will never EVER be this crafty, but how cool is this rocker?! Jen and John did a freaking fantastic job and I love that their little test rider decided to do it in costume :). 

//"slouch" - Atlantic Pacific is a huge source of style inspiration and this is post showcases a look I'm currently trying to cultivate from my closet: sophisticated relaxation. I have no idea if I'll ever pull it off, lol, but I love to dream.

//"Hidden Stripes :: Cropped top & Lace-up pumps" - It's all about the coat for me in this latest post from Wendy's Lookbook.

//"Monday News" - this is the March 3rd news edition from Dear Author but as it contains such gems as "DON’T BE A SEXUAL VAMPIRE OR A FRIGID FRANNY" I don't think it's lost its luster yet. 

//"Let's Talk About Hobbies..." - It's always interesting to me to self reflect when it comes to hobbies. I'm a big reader but outside of that I think I'd have to say my biggest interests hinge on makeup and fashion. Which is a little weird to me when I consider them as hobbies, but I guess if you like what you're doing it can't be that bad? Hmm...

How about you all? Anything particularly cool that you read or saw out there on the internet? Let me know!