Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Review: One with You

Title: One with You
Author: Sylvia Day
Publishing Date: 2016
Genre: Contemporary
Rating: C+
Sensuality: Hot
Book Disclosure: I purchased this book at the RT Convention 2016.

Note***  If you haven't read the other books in this series, DO NOT start with this one!!!

One with You is the 5th book in Sylvia Day's Crossfire series.  It is the final installment of the sweeping saga between Gideon and Eva.  I originally thought this series would be a trilogy.  Imagine my surprise after the reading the third book and everything was not wrapped up!  Gideon and Eva's relationship can best be described as intense.  Everything about them is amped up to the maximum levels.  In this book, we finally see them learn how to deal with that intensity without wrecking themselves emotionally.  After their marriage, they have some damage to control as they inform their families and the public.  Plus, how will their marriage survive when they are unable to give in to the other in regard to certain issues?

I am on the fence with this one.  I really am.  It is very hard for me to give this book a rating.  On the one hand I enjoyed seeing Eva and Gideon work through their issues and learn to compromise without loosing a piece of themselves.  I liked that they became a team to face adversity when the world threw it at them.  There are some very tender moments between Eva and Gideon.  There is enough change and maturity in them to see that they are willing to do what's necessary to make their marriage work.  I can believe in their happy ever after.

On the other hand, there were a few problems I had with the book.  I felt like there were a few plot lines that were not wrapped up by the end of the book, and it was a long book, almost 500 pages.  I felt that the whole issue with Gideon and his mother was left open ended, as was the storyline with his childhood therapist.  Then due to spoilers I won't go into details but something very tragic happens to one of Eva's family close to the end of the story.  What!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?  This was just crazy to me and there is so much happening with that, but it is totally swept under the rug.  Ugh! I can't really say more than this, but if you want to vent, just comment or email me. 

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Interview: Sophia Henry, author of Unsportsmanlike Conduct


Hello everyone!  I wanted to take a moment to introduce you to my good friend and author, Sophia Henry.  I have invited her to my blog today to share with you a little bit about her recently published romance book Unsportsmanlike Conduct, which is the 4th book in her Pilots Hockey series. 
I would classify Sophia’s books as New Adult.  I’ve read the first two books in her Pilots Hockey series and enjoyed them.  They are not overly hockey-centric.  The characters are young and the stories focus on their growth and development as they emerge into adulthood.  Henry’s books are written in first person usually from the heroine’s point of view, but in Unsportsmanlike Conduct she also writes from the Hero’s point of view.  Her books lean towards sweet, not steamy romance.
As a side note, can I just say that the book covers for this series are seriously yummy!
Finally, we are getting Pasha’s book and I for one am so excited.  Since the first book Delayed Penalty, I have been looking forward to this!!  Finally, Pasha gets his story!

Sophia, tell us about Unsportsmanlike Conduct!  What inspired you to write this story?

The song “I Lived” by One Republic and Bryan Warnecke, the teen with cystic fibrosis (CF) who is featured in the video for the song. The first time I heard “I Lived” I fell in love with the lyrics and the message behind it. Then I saw the video. Around that same the time, I’d been thinking about how I could write a diverse heroine—in my own way. Bryan inspired me to write a strong heroine with CF who has the courage and drive to live life to the fullest.

Yes, about your characters, tell us a little more about Kristen and Pasha!

Kristen Katsaros is an upbeat, fun-loving, free-spirit with cystic fibrosis.  She has just graduated from college and works as an event coordinator for Motor City Bar Management, a company that owns a group of bars in Detroit.  Pavel (Pasha) Gribov is a hot Russian hockey player hiding a painful past behind his cocky demeanor.   They meet when Kristen runs into Pasha on the running track on a cruise. *Literally* run into each other when Kristen turns quickly to avoid the guy her parents are trying to set her up with.  Together they’re snarky, sweet, sexy and fun. :)

What was the biggest challenge in writing Unsportsmanlike Conduct?

The hardest part was writing a heroine with cystic fibrosis and doing her justice. All the people fighting for their lives every day deserve a kick a$$ representation of how strong and amazing they are, so I didn’t want to get it wrong. It was very important to me to show how Kristen LIVES. I don’t have CF, so I don’t know what living with it is like. I did a lot (A LOT) of research and I spoke with people who have it. I wanted to write a strong, normal, amazing person who has to work hard to stay healthy.

Can you give us a little sneak peak of Pasha and Kristen from the book?

Yes!  This is one of my favorite scenes because it’s so unexpected—for the readers and the characters! :) While Kristen and Pasha are dancing, they share details about their individual backgrounds, which gives them common ground and allows for them to get closer in a very subtle way. Here’s a snippet:

As I put weight on my back foot, rocking away from one particular creepy dude, someone caught my hand and tugged me forward into his hard chest. What kind of guy had the audacity to grab me when I obviously hadn’t been giving off those vibes?

To brace myself, I pressed my palms against a soft black button-down shirt. Pasha stood in front of me with an adorably arrogant smirk on his face. Instead of speaking, he held his arms up in a formal dance position. I took his hands and he immediately led me in a succession of smooth salsa steps.

It wasn’t intricate choreography that only two dancers who had practiced together would know, just a series of basic Latin dance steps. He led and I followed. But nobody else on the dance floor knew that. To them it probably looked like a scripted routine straight out of a musical.

And damn! Pasha could move.

~ From UNSPORTSMANLIKE CONDUCT by Sophia Henry

This is awesome!!  If I wasn’t chomping at the bit to rush out and get the book before, I sure am now.  Thank you so much for stopping by Sophia!!  Where can readers go to find your book, Unsportsmanlike Conduct?

My books can be found at Amazon, iBooks, BN, Kobo, Google Play, and BAM When someone buys a Sophia Henry book, they are automatically supporting a charity. I donate the first $500 of the royalties from each book before I take a penny for myself. I’m proud to say that my generous readers have already allowed me to make the donations for the first three books. I also plan on doing a yearly contribution based on book sales each year.

The charity I selected for Unsportsmanlike Conduct is the CysticFibrosis Foundation. To learn more about the organizations I chose for each book, please visit my website.

***Thank you so much for having me on your blog! I truly appreciate it! ~ Sophia xx***

Monday, November 14, 2016

Movie Review: Dr. Strange

My daughter and I went to go see the latest Marvel movie, Dr. Strange this weekend.  Before I get into the review, I want to share with you a funny conversation at the concession stand.  I ordered a drink and popcorn and I could upgrade to a souvenir cup for $0.50 more.  No brainer, sure.  Let's do it.  But then the attendant drops a bomb on me.  Do I want the Dr. Strange cup or the Star Wars Rogue One cup?  Annabelle and I both immediately and turned to look at the other not having a clue which to choose.  Tough choice, right?!?!  We ended up with the Dr. Strange cup because we were informed that they would probably still have the Rogue One cup around for a while.  I'm thinking we will get it next time.

Before they showed the movie, of course we were inundated with previews.  Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 trailer played.  OMG!!  Looks awesome.  There was a clip of baby Groot, not the tiny baby Groot from the end of the first movie, more like adolescent Groot.  Incredibly cute, though!  It comes out next summer and we can't wait.  If you can't tell, my family and I love the Marvel universe.

So onto Dr. Strange... If you aren't familiar with the storyline, Dr. Stephen Strange, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, is a cocky neurosurgeon.  The best really.  But tragedy strikes and he is in a bad accident which injures him so severely that he can no longer perform operations.  He goes in search of a cure where he finds himself immersed in a world of sorcery.

My daughter loves Benedict Cumberbatch (OMG, I love this name.  It's so fun to say!!)  She has watched him in Sherlock and other entertainments - says he has a very soothing voice.  I haven't ever seen him in anything.  At first, you don't really like Dr. Strange.  He is pretty much an arrogant jerk face.  But eventually he hits rock bottom and realizes he has to change.  He is sort of thrown into this world of sorcery and magic.  His way of dealing with the bad guys becomes comedic because he is not a fighter, but much more cerebral.  It makes for very unusual and entertaining fight scenes.   

I wondered if the movie was able to live up to her expectations.  When I asked her if she liked the movie, her response was, " I bloody loved it!"  Her favorite thing about the move was the Cloak of Levitation.  It reminded us of the rug in Aladdin.  For me, the Cloak stole the show, but Annabelle said she wished there would have been more with the Cloak in the movie.  Either way, we both loved the Cloak. 

Final verdict: Another great addition to the Marvel Universe.  Highly enjoyable!

NOTE**  Stay all the way until the very end of the credits.  There are two extra scenes, one in the middle of the credits and one all the way at the end.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Review: Falling for Gracie

Title: Falling for Gracie
Author: Susan Mallery
Publishing Date: 2005
Genre: Contemporary
Rating: A
Sensuality: Warm
Book Disclosure: I received this book at the RT Convention 2016.

Falling for Gracie is the second book in the Los Lobos series.  (Come to find out I own the first of the series and hadn't read it.  Ugh!  I hate it when I read books out of order!)  But it didn't really matter too much.  It's just that the characters from the first book are in the second, but the romance is definitely stand alone.  Gracie Landon, a successful cake maker, comes back home after 14 years for her sisters wedding.  When she was a young girl she had this massive crush on the neighborhood bad boy, Riley Whitefield.  She made such a mess of things that her mother sent her a way to live with her Aunt and Uncle.  Gracie has done a lot of growing up since then, however fate keeps throwing her and Riley together again.

I chose to read Falling for Gracie because I wanted something light-hearted and fun to read to take my mind of off things going on in my real life.  I am happy to say that I couldn't have chosen a better book!  Falling for Gracie was just what the doctor ordered!!  It was funny and sweet.  Gracie is such a genuinely nice person and goes out of her way to help her ungrateful sisters.  As Gracie tries to help her sisters it often puts her at a disadvantage and causes her lots of problems.  The thing is, Gracie is really strong.  Even when life beats her down, she doesn't stay down for long. 

It doesn't take Riley long to notice all the wonderful attributes Gracie has.  He is drawn to her positivity and determination and begins to become a better person because of her.  I love that.  He stands up for her when her own family won't.  I adore the ending and how Riley expresses his love for Gracie.  Heart-melting!!  I loved this one!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Review - The Devil You Know

Title: The Devil You Know
Author: Jo Goodman
Publishing Date: 2016
Genre: Contemporary
Rating: B
Sensuality: Warm
Book Disclosure: I purchased this as an ebook.

The Devil You Know is the second book in Jo Goodman's McKenna Brothers series.  Goodman is an auto buy for me and I will read pretty much anything she writes.  She has been sticking to westerns for the last few years now, but I really love her regency set books too.  I feel like not to many westerns are published these days.

This story features the older brother Israel McKenna, who is a bit of a trouble maker.  The story begins with Israel unconscious, badly beaten and left for dead.  He is found by a young girl, Annalea Pancake.  She goes back to her ranch to get help and they bring Israel back where they nurse him to good health.  Israel doesn't remember much about the attack.  He knows that he isn't exactly an upstanding citizen and he seems to be running from his past.  He decides to stay on at the Pancake ranch and make a change for the better.  He finds himself falling for Willa Pancake, Annalea's older sister and manager of the ranch. 

The Devil You Know is another solid story by Jo Goodman.  I found Israel to be more of a Beta hero.  He tends to stand back and let Willa run the show.  He only takes a stand when it really matters to him.  He is protective of Willa, and he knows he might be a danger to her.  For that reason, he tries to distance himself from her, but he can't make himself stay back for too long.  The book keeps you turning the pages to find out more about Israel's past as he slowly begins to remember.  Willa has a secret too, that I did not see coming.  I must be losing my touch!  And to top it off there are a couple of secondary characters such as Annalea and Happy that suck you into the story, as well.  This is another good addition by Jo Goodman.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Out of My Reading Slump... Maybe

Yay!!! Thanks to Tiffany Snow's Power Play, I am finally out of my reading slump. It was not looking good for a while there.  I have been struggling the last couple of months to even be interested enough in the books I'm reading to pick them up.  On average, I can usually finish a book in 3 to 4 days depending on how busy I am and my interest level in the book. 

My slump started about maybe the end of August.  I was reading Untamed by Sara Humphreys.  This is a paranormal romance, the first in a shape shifter series.  I hate to say this, but I was bored to tears with this book.  I made it about halfway through before giving up on the book after a week of trying to read it.  Meanwhile, I was listening to Unmasking Kelsey, by Kay Hooper on a road trip. 







The next book I read was Rogue with a Brogue by Suzanne Enoch.  I also found this book boring and I have read Enoch before and enjoyed her.  It took me about a week to get through this one too.  Was it me?  Why are all these books falling flat? 








I decided that I had to go to one of my tried and true authors to pull me out of this slump, so I went for the latest Kelley Armstrong, Betrayals.  Yes!  The latest installment of Armstrong's Cainesville novel was great.  I read it in a few days.  More of Olivia, Gabriel and Ricky and finally Gabriel is realizing his feelings for Olivia!!!





But then I had to read Dirty Blonde by Lisa Scottoline. Ugh!!! This book was terrible. It had major plot problems. Only one person in book club liked it.  And just like that bam. My book slump was back. 










I made a mistake of trying a new author.  I read Hold Your Breath by Katie Ruggle.  It wasn't bad, but it wasn't great either.  It took me about a week to get through it.  I liked the lead characters but the mystery part was ridiculous.



Then I tried Power Play by Tiffany Snow. Whoot whoot!!  I loved this book.  I just powered through it in a day and a half.  Bam!  There is a love triangle between the heroine Sage and her executive boss and a detective.  I know so many people hate the love triangle plot, but I am such a sucker for them.  Sage cracked me up with all her antics and sass.  I was highly entertained.  My only heartbreak is that the book ended on a cliffhanger, so I will be forced to rush out and get the second book!  Oh those brilliant marketers!!

I really don't know if my slump is over, but I sure do hope so!!  What do you do in a reading slump and any recommendations for books to keep me out of it?

Monday, October 3, 2016

Review: Unmasking Kelsey

Title: Unmasking Kelsey
Author: Kay Hooper
Publishing Date: 1988, rereleased 2012
Genre: Contemporary
Rating: D
Sensuality: Warm
Book Disclosure: I was making a long car trip and I needed an audio book for the trip.  This was about the only thing that was available for immediate check out.

I really only listened to this because I was desperate.  I have read Kay Hooper before and I have liked her books, but I had a feeling that this would seem very out dated to me since it was originally published in 1988 and then rereleased in 2012.  Here is the new cover, but the one I have posted below is the original cover.  They send quite different messages don't they?!?!  You can imagine how someone would feel if they picked up the new book cover, only to find its not quite a suspense, but a category romance.

On to the review... Unmasking Kelsey is the 6th book in Hagen series.  This series is about a team of operatives for some special unit that solves crimes that other government agencies can't touch.  The mastermind behind the special unit is Hagen and he is a bit of an unintentional matchmaker.  All his operatives have ended up in love and then leave his team.  One of remaining few is Kelsey.  He is sent to the town of Pinnacle to investigate a manufacturing company called Metatron.  Something shady seems to be going on and his investigation leads him to the stunningly, beautiful Elizabeth.  Elizabeth has been raising her sisters on her own since her parents death and seems to be in over her head.  Kelsey can't resist coming to her rescue.

Mainly, its just that the book is really outdated and is an extremely old school romance cliché.  The beautiful, helpless woman needs rescuing by the emotionally, distant operative.  Of course, once he sets eyes on her, he can't help but be taken in by her beauty and everything he has ever known changes in the blink of an eye.  The book was just very silly to me.  The plot had lots of holes and was overly ridiculous.  At the end, the heroine puts herself in danger on purpose, which sets me on edge.  Also, the narrator of this book did a southern accent because the book takes place in South Carolina, and let me tell you, not good.  For some characters it was like nails on a chalkboard when she did their voices.  Steer clear people, steer clear!!