Omens

Omens (Cainsville #1) by Kelley Armstrong

3.5 stars rounded up to 4

“A friend helps you move; a real friend helps you move a body.”

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Olivia Taylor Jones is the only daughter of wealthy department store owners and engaged to a man well on his way into a career with politics. When she discovers that she was adopted, and that her real parents are a notorious serial killer due currently in prison, it sends her life into a tailspin. Completely shedding her old life, Olivia ends up in the small town of Cainsville where she meets her birth mothers appeal lawyer Gabriel. Together they investigate the final murder in order to see if her parents are really innocent.

“A Bad Omen is a warning. A sign to stop and reconsider. Proceed with caution.”

Kelley Armstrong is one of my all time favorite authors. Her Women of the Otherworld series is my all time favorite PNR series and I’ll read anything this woman writes. Omens is a little different from her usual genre. I would classify it as a mystery with paranormal elements and has potential for romance in the next installments of the series. This is not a paranormal romance novel in the strictest sense.

I really enjoyed this book, despite a very slow pacing there was not one moment when I was bored. Normally when books are slower I end up quitting but I was enthralled throughout the entire book. It’s not my favorite book by this author but I can feel that it has set up a lot for future books in the series. This book was like the tip of the iceberg and there is much more to come.

So if you like mysteries with strange elements, this is for you. And I’m crossing my fingers for more romance in the next book.

“The hounds will come to Cainsville and when they do, you’ll wish you made a very different choice today.”

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Ruin & Rule

Ruin & Rule (Pure Corruption MC #1) by Pepper Winters

4 stars!

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Kill is the leader of the Pure Corruption motorcycle club. One night when a small uprising within the ranks occurs, chaos reigns and people are killed. In the middle of it all six girls are present, five of them rounded up to be sold. The sixth one is a ghost from Kill’s past here to haunt his present. The sixth girl woke up with no clue as to who she is, where she is from, what covered her body in burn scars or even her name. But she does know one thing after looking into Kill’s eyes: that he has the answers to all of her questions.

I love the way Pepper Winters writes. From the first page to the last one I could not put this book down. It’s a fast paced journey with tons of angst, and I loved every single minute of it. I’m not normally a huge motorcycle club romance fan, but I trust this author and I am so glad I took the small risk on this book because it paid off huge. With the motorcycle club genre there are touchy subjects but for the most part these things we handled really well. The MC life isn’t all kittens and rainbows, but I was never repulsed or truly horrified at what was happening behind the club walls.

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Kill is on a quest for revenge against those who wronged him and who hurt the one he loved. He is so blinded by his rage that he lets no one into his life, the woman are objects and the club is a way to help him carry out his vengeance. I really can’t say much more, but this is a book that you do not want to miss. In true Pepper Winters talent, I could feel the twists and surprises coming, but when they were revealed they were unexpected and mind-blowing.

So why not a 5 stars? I really really liked this book, but I spent a good amount of time shouting at Kill through my Kindle because I was so damn frustrated with his stubbornness and actions. It isn’t until about 50% into the book when I actually started to likehim. The heroine and her journey was my favorite aspect of this book. I look forward to more of Kill and her in the second book and to see the continuation of their story.

Overall a fast paced, engaging and pleasurable read, I recommend to all of you readers who enjoy a good mystery and enjoy having your brain toyed with by the author.

ARC provided by Grand Central Publishing via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter #3) by JK Rowling

5 Expecto Patronum stars!

I grew up with Harry Potter. Yes, I am that generation. I was a little bit young than 11 when the books were released, and when the final book was published I had just graduated high school. I’m also the same age as Daniel Radcliffe and he’s only older than me by less than a month. I also have a deathly hallows bumper sticker on my car. So, I think it’s safe to say that this series has had a profound effect on me, to the point where I am still a little bit bitter that I never got my Hogwarts acceptance letter.

A couple years ago I reread the first two books in the series and loved them just as much as when I was a kid. So when I got into a horrible reading slump, I saw my dad watching Harry Potter weekend on ABC Family (as he does for every fucking Harry Potter weekend mind you), I said to myself, what the hell. Time for a reread. So hence, Harry Potter 3 reread.

All of us may know the story but I am going to reiterate. In his third year at Hogwarts, Harry Potter learns that a dangerous man named Sirius Black has escaped from the wizard prison Azkaban. Harry then overhears the fact that Black is the reason his parents are dead, as Black sold them out to Voldemort and then killed 13 people in broad daylight.

So in a unique part of the review from me, here are all the amazing parts of this book that I forgot because I’ve been watching the movies instead:

-Peeves the Poltergeist: Holy crap how did I forget about this hilarious menacing spirit? He’s not as present in this book but he has always had a part in the series and I completely forgot he existed! I know they can’t include everything in the movies but I wish Peeves had been included.

-Charlie Weasley: Ron had yet ANOTHER sibling that is only mentioned in the films! This one is the cool brother in Egypt.

-Cho Chang and Cedric Diggory: there are soooooo many mentions of Cho and Cedric in this book! I never really noticed Cedric until the 4th book where he becomes prominent. And this is the book where Harry’s crush on Cho began. Stomach flutters!

-More details on Whomping Willow/Shrieking Shack:This may be a spoiler for those of you who haven’t read it, but the Whomping Willow was actually planted to hide Lupin’s werewolfism as well as the shrieking shack to hide him. I thought this little tidbit was super interesting, along with the details of how Black escaped Azkaban.

And just in general, I love JK Rowling’s ability to tie things together. There’s so much in this book that becomes important later and tiny little details and sharp wit that make me giggle.

So in a small factoid, this book is probably my least favorite of the entire series. It’s good, obviously, but for some reason I like all the other ones better. The movie, well it’s my second to last favorite (just ahead of that godawful Goblet of Fire film which ruined everything but I digress). The movie director added so many unnecessary things that weren’t in the book, and I wish he hadn’t so he could of kept the good stuff! (And I’ve heard a rumor that he didn’t even read the fucking book until JK kept vetoing all of his weird ideas. Look it up!)

If you haven’t read these books, do not tell me!!!!! I will smack you!

Scorched

Scorched (Frigid #2) by Jennifer Armentrout

4.5 stars!

So I am a huge fan of anything Jennifer Armentrout writes. I’ve read all but one of her books, and the lowest I’ve rated her books was a 3 (and that was the Gamble brother’s series which isn’t her best). That’s 20+ books I’ve loved by her so I am not being modest when I say I might be a little biased when it comes to her work, because it just works for me.

Andrea and Tanner do not get along. Most of the time they are trading barbs and insults with each other until the other one gets pissed off and walks away. But when their friends Kyler and Sydney invite them to stay at a cabin in West Virginia for a week in the summer, neither one of them can pass up the opportunity for a getaway. While there it’s obvious that this has been a setup by the happy couple to get Andrea and Tanner alone together, but the most surprising thing is how they end up getting along and enjoying their time together.

But Andrea has issues that stand in the way of anything becoming real between the two of them, and this week will either help her, or cause her to spiral out of control.

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This story focused on an issue we don’t always see in the new adult genre: drinking. I felt the author did an incredible job with writing the issue at hand and I never once felt like it was exaggerated or blown out of proportion. Andrea wasn’t an alcoholic by traditional terms, but she could never have just one drink. And her drinking was very much to cover up internal issues that she didn’t know how to deal with. There were so many moments in this book where tears would start streaming down my face, hearing Andrea’s inner turmoil and her motivations behind her actions. She’s a character I won’t be forgetting anytime soon.

I will say my only criticisms were the first 52% of the book or so was a 3.5 rating for me, but the last half of the book the author really pulled out the emotional punches and yanked up the rating for me. I also wasn’t entirely convinced by the romance between Tanner and Andrea. I saw the attraction, but a part of me thinks Tanner is just too good to be true. Like Andrea made him up to deal with her issues.

So for me this story was about the heroine’s journey to healing herself and I thought that part of it as beautiful. And I loved the small shout out in the beginning to the Lux series. It was cute!

And for more info after you read the book, read JLA’s personal story here:
http://www.jenniferarmentrout.com/bei…

Ride Steady

Ride Steady (Chaos #3) by Kristen Ashley

4 stars!

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Ride Steady is the story of Joker and Carissa. When the two were in high school she was the cheerleader and he was the loner outcast. Little did they know that they both wanted the other one. With his dad haunting him and a past he can’t escape, Joker leaves high school behind and they do not see each other again until seven years later.

Seven years later and Carissa is divorced and has a baby to raise. Her ex-husband is an asshole and making her life hell. When a biker changes her tire on the side of the road, Carissa is beyond grateful for his help. But she doesn’t recognize the biker as the boy she knew in high school. Over time the two become connected as the club brings her into its life and Carissa begins to fall for Joker. But will both of their pasts destroy their future?

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I really enjoyed Joker and Carissa stories. I am the same age as the main characters so it was nice to read a Kristen Ashley novel in a different age group (I love all her age groups just saying I could connect more with the character when they’re in their twenties). I loved Carissa as a heroine, how she worked hard to support herself and her baby, how she ate generic brand foods but bought the best brand foods for her child. A lot of shit was thrown her way but she waded through it and came out strong and happy.

Joker took a little bit for me to like him. I felt sorry for his past but didn’t like how he tried pushing Carissa away at the beginning. But I’ll give it to him, once he committed he was all in and that was admirable. I like how his past with his father didn’t make him a bad man but a good one, he didn’t let that crap come through and he didn’t take it out on Carissa or the club members. And he was amazing with baby Travis.

Overall an enjoyable KA novel, not my favorite one but still a good one. I did notice there weren’t too many descriptions on clothing or furniture which was much appreciated. And the excerpt at the end had me excited for the next book in the series!

ARC kindly provided via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Deviant

Deviant (Blood & Roses #1) by Callie Hart

4 stars!

“You think I’m right out of a horror film, don’t you?”
“Well this is hardly a fairy tale, is it?”

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Why am I only just discovering this series now? I seem to be behind on all of the good dark stories!

Sloane is on a mission to find her sister after her sister was taken off the side of the road. To help find her Sloane had to make deals, and she made a deal to sleep with a stranger. One night with a stranger in that dark and Sloane is changed forever. Little does she know, so is the man she was with.

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If I could say anything about this book it would be this:

No seriously. This book was dang hot! But it wasn’t all just smutty goodness. The base of a great series plot is there with Sloane’s search for her sister and Zeth’s rooting out corruption. So a short review for this one, but I highly recommend and am going to continue on in this series soon 🙂

Submit

Submit (Songs of Submission #3) by CD Reiss

4.5 stars!

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These books just keep getting better and better! I know I’m a bit late to the game with this series, but I am so glad I read them. They don’t fit the mold of a typical bdsm/erotica novel which I appreciate greatly. *Kicks self for not reading CD Reiss sooner*

Jonathan and Monica continue to navigate their relationship and the going has not been easy. A vindictive ex-wife and personal emotional issues stand in the way of them taking their relationship to the next step. Plus tragedy strikes and Monica realizes she may need to lean on Jonathan more than she originally wanted to. Monica also personally struggles with the notion that she is indeed a submissive; it brings on a plethora of fears and thoughts about what it means about herself, and the actions that will result of being dominated.

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I loved reading Monica’s struggle, how she tried to see the difference between being submissive without being debased, a legitimate fear. Losing control is a huge issue for her based on bad past relationships where losing her control meant losing herself. I like how Jonathan stepped up in this book and was present in Monica’s life. A rock for her to lean on, someone to care about her wellbeing.

^^^And hats off to CD Reiss! I went from rating the first book 3 stars to rating the third book 5 stars. That doesn’t happen every day! A very talented author, I love this story she has to tell.

Tease

Tease (Songs of Submission #2) by CD Reiss

4 stars!

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Yay!! This is what I was hoping for in the first book.

Tease picks up just after the two weeks where Jonathan went away to Korea for business. Monica and him continue their sexual relationship but with conditions. Jonathan is still in love with his ex-wife and refuses to love another. Monica wishes to focus on her singing career and refuses to be with anyone who does not support it. By chance the two of them must attend an art exhibit in which both of their exes are showing/selling their art, so the two of them decide to go together.

I really like how the story has progressed so far. Monica and Jonathan seem to have a level of respect for each other that is needed for whatever relationship they have together to work. It’s also been interesting meeting their exes and seeing how those people molded both of them into who they are presently. Kevin seems like a douche and Jessica a bitch, but we will see.

Kulti

Kulti by Mariana Zapata

3.5 Pumpernickel stars!

“You are my best friend, my love, my playmate and my teammate. You’ll have a team with me wherever we are, with whatever we’re playing.”

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At the age of 7 Sal developed a crush on a 19 year old German soccer player that would forever affect her life. Coming from a soccer family, she knew she would play but the superstar Kulti is what inspired her to go pro with the sport. Fast forward 20 years later, and Kulti is no longer Sal’s idol. In fact he injured her brother in another game almost ending her brothers career and her crush ended years ago when Kulti got married, breaking her very young heart. Now Sal plays for the Pipers, a pro women’s soccer team and Kulti has just been named the new assistant coach.

Kulti as a coach is quite frankly, an extremely rude asshole who wants almost nothing to do with the team.

“He could go suck a big dick. And I hoped he gagged on it.”

Sal’s childhood idol doesn’t live up to her expectations and she’s disappointed. It isn’t until Kulti really pisses her off that she lets him have it and cracks his stone cold shell. Over time the two become friends, but hanging out with her older and way hot coach brings unwanted attention to Sal. Is their friendship worth the backlash?

“When one door closes, another one opens. I might just have to do a little breaking and entering to get the right one for me.”

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First off, I loved Sal as the lead of a romance based novel. She wasn’t the typical heroine we read in books, she’s athletic, driven, and is not obsessed with fashion. In fact, her wearing jeans and a real bra and not a sports bra was her idea of dressing up. In both her jobs as a pro soccer player and a landscaper the jobs require clothing that is comfortable and easy to move in. I also loved that she came from a Hispanic background, her father from Mexico and her mother from Argentina. I cannot tell you how refreshing it is to read a romance novel that wasn’t white-washed.

Sal’s family was also pretty amazing, her dad and his actions around Kulti as a star struck fan had me giggling and smiling. I would have liked to know a bit more about the relationship between Sal and her sister. It was mentioned how things were strained, but never really fully explained or resolved, I’m a bit bummed that we didn’t get more development in that aspect.

Also the wit and dry humor was fantastic. It too had me smiling while reading.

“‘That was my first time using a lawn mower.’
I fucking knew it!! I didn’t say that of course, instead I stuck with a very grown up, ‘Oh really?'”

“Just because I’m not attracted to women old enough to remember the last Great War, doesn’t mean my list is made up.”

“Below the image was an italicized caption: ‘If one of these lesbos is his girlfriend, I’m gonna kill myself.'”

I really liked the growth from hatred to friendship, but I had a bit of trouble with the friends to love part of the plot. I may be really oblivious, but other than jealousy I couldn’t really see the attraction grow between the two of them. Sure they ended up being perfect for each other, but I felt like I didn’t see the progression from friends to lovers. By this I mean there was no specific point where I could see the change in relationship. The author still sold it in the end, but it was kind of like something was missing.

Oh and a warning, no steam until the end of the book. I was sitting here the entire book like, “when are they going to bone??” like the weirdo perve I am, and it took a while, but it happened. This book is just more plot and character development focused, romance is almost second to that.

The book was a little longer than I would have liked, honestly the first 10% or so wasn’t very interesting. But the pacing picks up and it got better, I just wish some middle had been skimmed and a little more sexy times or angst were added in instead.

“I’ve been waiting, and I will keep on waiting until the time is right. You are my equal, my partner, my teammate, my best friend. I’ve done so many stupid things that you’ve made me regret-things I hope you will forgive me fore and look beyond-but this, waiting a little longer for the love of my life, I can do.”

Shut Out

Shut Out by Kody Keplinger

3.5 stars

“You can’t control everything. Sometimes you just need to relax and have faith that things will work out. Let go a little and just let life happen.”

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Lissa has a problem. Her boyfriend Randy keeps putting her second to a stupid rivalry between the football players and the soccer players at her high school. Every time they make out in his car it gets egged, he leaves dates early for retaliation attacks and so on. Lissa isn’t the only one fed up, all of the girlfriends for boys on both of the teams are done. So Lissa comes up with a plan: no sex until the rivalry ends.

But with this no sex plan comes consequences and the girls learn which boys they can trust once sex is removed. On top of that Lissa now has to work with Cash, a boy from the soccer team and who she once had a crush on before she got with Randy.

“You amaze me Lissa Daniels. Most girls would cave as soon as I gave them the puppy-dog look with these amazing eyes.”
“Sorry. I like boys. Not dogs. You should’ve dated a different girl if you wanted someone to bend to your will.”

A modern day Lysistrata, I expected to love this book and only ended up liking it. It lacked the emotional punch that usually comes with Keplinger’s books, and Cash as a hero seemed so clueless most of the time that I wanted to punch him. As with all of Kody’s books I was sucked in by the writing and finished this book in a matter of hours, but it wasn’t a big winner for me. Maybe a little winner.

I will say as a person who works in libraries, and I worked my way from the bottom up I got a little nitpicky about Lissa’s job as a shelver in a library while reading. I’ve never known any job title to be a shelver, it’s a page who does that work. And pages almost never ever shelve together, they get their own sections and carts and it’s a solitary job. So the scenes where Cash and Lissa keep getting put together shelving we not realistic for me. And before y’all attack me I know it’s a book it’s not real life, but it took me out of the story and that took away from the believability in the book for me.

“Sometimes it’s hard to predict who will make a person happy. But in the end, that’s what matters.”

I also wanted a bit more from the plot in terms of Lissa’s family relationship, her dad and brother were strong side characters and I felt they were underutilized. And we only scratched the surface of Kelsey and Cash as other side characters. The focus kept being solely on Lissa and Randy and I kid of wish the author had written more.

This review is sounding like a bitch fest. I really did enjoy reading, and I don’t regret reading it, but it’s not something I would readily recommend to other readers.