Carrie

Carrie by Stephen King

3.5 stars

This book made me appreciate my mother. 

First off, I want to reiterate that a 3 stars from me does not equate to a negative review. It means I liked/enjoyed the book, but did not really like it or love it. So please, don’t tell me sorry it didn’t work out. Thank you.

Carrie is Stephen’s King first novel, the novel that started the legend. I’ve read other novels by King, but wanted to start at the beginning and make my way from there, that way I have a list to follow. I’ve seen the original movie starring Sissy Spacek, so I pretty much knew what would happen. I think knowing everything, it was easier for me to look at this book from the outside and gain more insight than I would have.

This book is about the teenage girl of a religious fanatic, opening on the day when Carrie gets her first period, and knowing nothing about menstruation she thinks she’s dying. Instead of helping, the girls in her gym class ridicule and traumatize her. Later, one of the girls sees her wrong doing, and attempts to make amends and be kind to Carrie. But a prank from other classmates is looming, and has dire consequences.

There are so many themes present in this book, but what stood out to me was “no good deed goes unpunished”. If Sue Snell hadn’t tried to help Carrie, none of those horrible things would have happened. The cruelty of mankind was another, from a crazy mother, to spiteful fellow students, we saw the dark side of humanity and that to me was terrifying. You can’t help but feel so bad for Carrie the entire book. So many what if’s? And that’s what makes King an amazing writer, he makes the reader think beyond what’s between the pages.

The writing style and I didn’t click very well, by that I mean the random plug ins of studies and books about what happened, instead of letting the story flow. It was almost like he was analyzing what he was writing as the story went on. On top of that, the insertions of parenthesis as thoughts messed with the flow of the novel. Also, I feel like people kept slapping each other left and right the entire book. What’s up with that??

It’s easy to see why this is a classic, to me it wasn’t terrifying or scary. Mostly what I got out of it was the sad story of a girl who was never loved properly, and how the cruelty of others ruined her life.

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The Bride

The Bride by S Doyle

4 stars! 

First off I have to say, when my friend Geri recommended this series to me I thought that woman was crazy. A novella series about a 16 year old bride? Everything in it’s marketing, from the cover to the description sounded like a taboo sex novel along the lines of Alexa Riley (not that there’s anything wrong with Alexa Riley and books like theirs, it just ain’t my thing). Honestly, I think the marketing for this book is all wrong, but that’s just me. I never would have picked this up without a recommendation.

But I took a chance anyway, because well, TRUST and all that fun stuff. And I am so glad I did! To clarify, this is NOT a taboo sex driven novel, but really a story of a young girl who has lost everything, and the family friend who did what it took to keep her from going into foster care and to remain in her family home until she turned 18 in a little over a year.

I gotta say, I loved Ellie. The author did a good thing and didn’t have her acting her age, like an annoying teenager as younger heroines are so often portrayed. Ellie was dealt the hard hands in life early on, and we see how that makes her transition into early adulthood and no longer being that carefree teen. Jake was a bit harder to read, I definitely want to get to know him better in the other books. He takes care of Ellie, he loves her as a sister. But the progression of that into something more is a bit of a mystery to me.

I cannot wait to read the other books, this is a poignant story about dealing with loss and the evolution of love. KU readers rejoice, it appears this series is currently on KU!

Illuminae

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

4.5 stars! 

“You have me. Until every last star in the galaxy dies.

You have me.” 

An unconventionally told story that was just so amazing!!! Illuminae is a book that has been sitting on my shelves since it came out, one I kept meaning to read but never made the time. I loved it! But I am still a bit glad I waited because I was able to run to my nearest Barnes and Noble and purchased the second book ASAP!

Told via chats, IM’s, security logs, reports and more, this is the story of two teens Kady and Ezra, who on the day they break up their colony gets invaded. Thrown together and trying to survive, when escaping their planet they end up on two different space ships. Everything seems fine, until the original attackers begin to pursue the fleeing three ships.

On top of that, Kady and Ezra begin to suspect something is wrong due to strange happenings on both of their ships. A race against time begins as Kady and Ezra attempt to save the remaining survivors on the ships from a looming larger threat.

“She is catalyst.
She is chaos.
I can see why he loves her.” 

As I kind of mentioned before, the formatting of this book is everything. You would think a story told in chats and reports would be dry and dull, but that was just not the case. Twenty pages in and I was already laughing so hard and knew I would love this book. Ezra I fell in love with purely on his personality, he brought so many light moments that the book needed without him being a goof.

Being a science fiction novel, this can easily by read by people who don’t love the genre. Yes, it takes place in space and on spaceships, but it felt more contemporary than I would have expected. So if you are on the fence because of the genre, I would recommend overlooking that and trying it anyways.

There’s more I really want to discuss, but cannot do so without SPOILERS, and as you all should know by now, I don’t give away or discuss spoilers. But I will say there was one big unexpected twist that to be completely honest, I really should have seen coming. It was a good one though. And there were aspects of the book that reminded me of Firefly (the show), but more specifically something in it, not as a whole.

Anyways, this is one of the few teen books I’ve read and LOVED in a while. I think everyone should give this book a chance, and I will for sure being reading more from these two authors in the future.

“You deserve every star in the galaxy laid out at your feet and a thousand diamonds in your hair. You deserve someone who’ll run with you as far and as fast as you want to. Holding your hand, not holding you back.” 

Into the Fire

Into the Fire by Jeaniene Frost

3.5-4 stars 

“It appears you’re right — I simply can’t go an entire day without murdering someone.” 

Gosh I wanted to love this book so bad, the first three books in the series were amazing, and while this one was enjoyable…. I merely liked it instead of loved it. I remember getting a newsletter about Frost’s family, I felt so much for this author. Her mom dying then repeated issues with her dad’s health, that’s more than anyone should have to take in. Knowing this, as a true fan would do, I understood and knew she needed to take her time to write this book and I think the wait was worth it. (FYI, this is all mentioned in an introduction of the book as well).

I had to reread the entire series before picking up this final book, as I had picked it up and by page 3 I was terribly lost. Hence an epic reread of some of the best PNR there is. No author has the voice that Frost has. So much witty humor and so much emotion packed into her books. There’s a reason I’ll read anything she publishes.

This fourth novel involves Vlad and Leila working to destroy the link between her and a powerful necromancer. Their bodies and lives are tied together, so if one of them dies, the other does too. But finding the necromancer proves to be more difficult than anticipated.

My favorite part of this book was the crossover of the character Ian. That man no doubt was the best part, bringing endless comic relief and making me laugh my ass off out loud in public. I swear this man needs his own spin off-ASAP!

The flawed aspect of this book is it’s almost information overload and focuses more on action than the romance and relationship between Leila and Vlad. I can understand why fans were let down by this book.

The Night Prince series is one you must read! Look past the god awful covers and you’ll discover one of your favorite romance couples!

Blood Guard

Blood Guard by Megan Erickson

3.5 stars 

I’m really only familiar with Megan Erickson’s co written cyber love series, this was my first book by her as a solo writer. I enjoyed it, but I am not eager to read the rest of the series.

Blood Guard is about a young woman named Tendra who discovers she’s meant to be a king vampire’s bride because of her bloodline. Her blood guard Athan, brother of the king, retrieves her from her normal life and tries to whisk her off to safety, but a rival vampire clan seeks to kill Tendra.

We got ourselves a breakdown review folks! What I liked and didn’t like about this book:

Liked:
-Tendra as a heroine, she was kick ass and was able to handle almost everything thrown her way. She processed things in her own way and was able to survive when most women in her situation wouldn’t be able to handle much of what was going on.

-Worldbuilding: Megan Erickson accomplished the difficult task of creating a believable urban fantasy setting with a hidden world of vampires and other creatures. She stuck to the basics but also made it distinctly her own.

-Brex: I am allergic to cats and I still wanted Brex by my side. Honestly after being tossed around in a duffel bag in this book, he reminded me of the Hurricane Harvey angry cat.

Didn’t like:

-The big one people. I didn’t care for the romance. I wasn’t sold on Tendra and Athan’s love. I don’t feel it was developed well and that it was rushed. It felt like the majority of the book they were just surviving and then BOOM sexy times. And that’s where the book kind of lost me because I wasn’t really rooting for the main couple (at least not at appropriate fangirl levels) so I began to not really care about the story. So the last 25-30% of the book was meh for me.

Anyways, this is a sexy and steamy vampire romance readers will love! While it wasn’t my favorite, I can appreciate that this book is better than a lot of PNR romance out there.

ARC provided by the publisher via netgalley. All/any quotes in this review came from an advance unedited copy and may be subject to change in the final product. 

Play On Tour and Review!

PLAY ON

 

Cover Design By Hang Le

Synopsis:

Nora O’Brien chased a dream from Indiana to Scotland, so sure it was the right thing to do. Three years later she was left in her adopted country with nothing to her name but guilt and regret.

Until Aidan Lennox entered her life.

Older, worldlier, a music producer and composer, the sexy Scot should never have made sense for Nora. But somehow in each other they found the light they were looking for, the laughter and the passion—the strength to play on despite their past losses.

But when life dealt Aidan another unlucky hand, instead of reaching for her he disappeared. The agonizing loss of him inspired something within Nora. It fired her spirit— the anger and hurt pushing her forward to take control and reach for her dreams.

Finally pursuing a career on stage while she put herself through college, everything is how Nora wants it. She’s avoiding heartbreak and concentrating on her goals.

Sounds easy but it’s not. Because Aidan is back. And for some reason he hates Nora.

He’s determined to be at war with her.

And she has absolutely no idea why.

 

Excerpt:

Despite Seonaid’s warning that I couldn’t keep my feelings bottled up, I tried very hard to convince myself that I was okay with how things had played out with Aidan. That I needed to be okay so I could go on living my life in perfect contentment. While he gallivanted around the theater with his beautiful women and horse-assery.

Finding my Zen, however, was proving more difficult than I’d thought. I was a bundle of confused feelings. At war with myself.

So it wasn’t any wonder I reacted the exact opposite of how I’d hoped when Aidan finally confronted me in private.

Having to meet up with another student to work on an assignment we had for a tutorial, I hadn’t seen any point in heading home to Sighthill only to have to return to Tollcross for rehearsal. I’d grabbed a salad from a shop on Potterrow, and walked to the theater. I was ninety minutes early so no one was there. Thankfully, Quentin was usually at the theater during the day so the doors were open. When I got inside the auditorium, however, it was pitch black.

“Quentin?” I called out. “Are you here?”

My voice echoed.

Nothing.

“Anyone?”

But the silence told me I was alone. I wondered if Quentin had accidentally left the theater unlocked. I’d need to let him know.

Switching on the stage lights to make me not feel like I was about to become part of a horror movie, I found my way into an empty dressing room.

Eating my salad, I worked on a paper, waiting for the minutes to tick by.

A noise far off in the distance made me still like a rabbit caught in headlights. I cocked my head, listening, and sure enough, footsteps approached. Blood rushed in my ears as my pulse raced. I then cursed myself for being freaked out when it was obviously a cast member who was—I glanced at my watch—an hour early.

I waited, and the dressing room door I had left slightly ajar squeaked open.

My breath caught at the sight of Aidan filling the doorway.

He crossed his arms and his ankles and leaned against the jamb, staring at me dispassionately.

All I could do was stare back, my emotions whirling in a mess of feelings, like a tornado, with no thought to what it was sucking up into its wind funnel. “What are you doing here?” I finally said, my voice hoarse.

“I was sitting in the coffee shop across the way and I saw you come in.”

“You followed me?”

“I argued with myself about it for a while. But aye.”

Adrenaline coursed through me and made my hands shake. I curled them into fists and hoped I looked back at him with as much boredom as he was bestowing upon me. “Why?”

“Curiosity.” He shrugged.

“Curiosity?”

“Were you always such a heartless robot and I was just too fucking blind to see it?”

I flinched, knowing this was the moment I should tell him that Laine had lied to me. But I couldn’t get the words out. I wanted to and I didn’t want to.

So fear of him hating me and fear of him loving me left me in some kind of exasperated, frustrated no-man’s land. I shot to my feet. “If you came here to use me as your emotional punching bag, you can leave,” I hissed.

His eyes flashed and he pushed off the jamb, coming into the room. For the first time, I hated that I had to tip my head back to look up at him. “Not before I tell you what I really think of you, Nora, instead of hiding it behind the subterfuge of giving a fuck what happens with this play.”

“Aidan—”

“You are the biggest coward I’ve ever met in my life. You’re weak and emotionally defunct. What’s worse is how fucking manipulative you are—”

“Aidan—”

“I’ve never met anyone who had me so fucking fooled!” His chest heaved as his cool fled in the wake of his rage. “You lied and strung me along, fled when the going got tough, not once but goddamn twice, and I’m the idiot who let you do that to me.”

“Aidan—”

“But rest assured, Nora, you are the last woman who is ever going to make a fool out of me. I see you now. Who you really are. A fucked-up, selfish, self-involved, immature little—”

Whatever horrible thing he was going to call me next, I swallowed it in my kiss. Unable to bear his contempt any longer, but not knowing how to make it stop, I went with my gut.

And my gut told him to grab his T-shirt in my fists and use it to haul him down to my mouth.

What a mistake.

Because I remembered him now.

I remembered how beautiful he felt.

So when his hands gripped my forearms and tried to pry me off, I let him, only to slide my arms around his neck and cling on tighter, kissing him in desperation.

He grunted and grabbed my arms again and just as I feared he would shove me away, he broke. Aidan jerked me closer, his mouth opening under mine, his tongue searching for my tongue.

Quite abruptly, he was in charge.

 

Review:

Samantha Young is a go to author for me, she writes the best romance there is! Play on is a second chance romance, with a little bit of hate to love mixed in. Starting in the past then making its way into the present, we get to know Nora and Aiden from when they meet and what led to their present dilemmas.

The beginning started a little bit slow for me but then the pacing got faster as I read more. Play On is a heartbreaking and intense story with characters that have crazy off the chart chemistry with each other. You need to one click this book right now!

 

OUT NOW in digital and paperback edition!

 

Connect with Samantha Young online:

Website: http://authorsamanthayoung.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authorsamanthayoung

Twitter: @AuthorSamYoung

Instagram: @AuthorSamanthaYoung

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/samyoungauthor

 

 

Temporary

Temporary by Sarina Bowen and Sarah Mayberry

4 stars! 

“He wasn’t looking to strike up a thing with a cash-strapped temp who acted as guardian to her teen sister, and I was not looking to have a fling with a playboy ladies’ man I found way, way too likeable.” 

Grace is raising her teen sister and needs a good job, which is why her new temp gig at a renowned company means she has to do amazing work. Given the task of handling the assests of a deceased family member of the company, Grace is expected to itemized and get the value of a giant art and wine collection.

Callan is the nephew of the deceased, and he encounters Grace in his uncle’s apartment. An agreement is made that Callan will work with Grace but not interfere or hinder her progress. But Callan has an alterior motive, he believes his uncle has a new and updated will, which could potentially end up with Grace losing her position.

The attraction between Callan and Grace is obvious, they both feel it. But Grace needs this job, and she cannot risk losing it all for a hunky Australian.

“Don’t get used to it. This is only temporary.” 

I always know when I read a Sarina Bowen book, I’m going to get something good! I’ve never read Sarah Mayberry before, she’s a new to me author. But I honestly couldn’t tell which author wrote what, so bravo to this writing duo! That’s the mark of an amazing writing team, I cannot wait to read more from these two.

I loved this story, it was so simple and yet it worked really well. Two people working together in close quarters doesn’t mean things will always be easy, but it does lead to some serious sexual tension. This was a really refreshing read, and it pulled me out of a book slump where I had quit 3 books before it! That’s how well done this book is.

Filled with steam, longing, and a little bit of angst, this is the book you need to read to keep you warmed up inside this fall!

“I will not get naked with Callan Walker during business hours. I will not get naked with Callan Walker during business hours. 

ARC provided by the authors. All quotes in this review came from an advance unedited copy and may be subject to change in the final product. 

Secrets of a Summer Night

Secrets of a Summer Night by Lisa Kleypas

4 stars! 

“Having regrets is the only sign that you’ve done anything interesting with your life.” 

The first book in the Wallflower series, Secrets of a Summer Night is about Annabelle, a beautiful woman searching for a husband, but her family’s financial troubles prevent this. No man wants to marry a woman with no dowry, but Annabelle must marry soon to prevent her family from being put out on the streets.

Annabelle’s only luck seems to be with Simon Hunt, a man not of the nobility, but one who mad a great deal of money is business. He’s unrefined, blunt and even worse, he does not want Annabelle for his wife but as his mistress.

Befriending three other wallflowers at a ball, they make a pact to help get every single one of them married, and first up is Annabelle as this is her last season to find a husband. They concoct a plan, and hopefully they’re mischievous ways will work!

“I spent most of my youth hauling sides of beef and pork to my father’s shop. Carrying you is far more enjoyable.”

“How sweet,” Annabelle mumbled sickly, her eyes closed. “Every woman dreams of being told that she’s preferable to a dead cow.” 

Historical romance is not my go to genre, but it’s so fun to dabble in from time to time. Lisa Kleypas is an author I really click with because I don’t end up rolling my eyes at the language or actions of the characters. She does her research really well, and is able to make a smooth transition into whatever time period she places her books in.

I also normally don’t like Cinderella stories, and the rags to riches trope. But I loved Annabelle as a character, she was strong but had morals and pride. Her relationship with Hunt was a hate to love kind of story where over time the two get to know each other and fall in love, rather than love at first sight and it worked for me.

Beautifully written, I cannot wait to read the rest of the Wallflower books (disclaimer I’ve read Devil in Winter and Again the Magic, but I still really want to read the other two books). This book was exactly what I needed to read at exactly the right time.

“I’m coming to believe that there are two kinds of people… those who choose to be masters of their own fate and those who wait in chairs while other dance. I would rather be one of the former than the latter.” 

Axios

Axios by Jaclyn Osborn

5 stars! 

“Our lives may take us to unexpected places and it might alter many a things, but I will forever be yours.” 

I’ve been needing an epic romance, and who knew I’d get it from an author I’d never read or heard of before? High five to Arabella for the spot on book recommendation. Axios is the story of two Spartan soldiers (Eryx and Axios), who from a very young age they were trained to kill, always knowing they would live their lives fighting wars.

Eryx is loyal to the Spartan lifestyle because of the sins of his father, while Axios has a harder time adjusting. From childhood to adulthood the two are inseparable, best friends and then lovers, finding comfort in each other’s arms. In a land where feelings are viewed as weak, the two develop a strong relationship. But as war approaches, fear infiltrates them, for one cannot live without the other

“Know what I see? I see someone who is kind and who stops to see the beauty of the world. Someone who likes to watch the birds fly in the sky, wondering where they go… wondering what it’s like to soar amongst the clouds. I see an intelligent mind who ponders what makes the sky blue and where the sun goes at night. But mostly… I see my truest companion.” 

I really loved this book, I felt it was exactly the epic romance I needed to break me out of my book funk. Seriously, this is going under one of the best books of 2017! This book reminds me a lot of The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, in fact I think super fans of that book may have a hard time with this one because they are so similar. But this was filled with romance, longing, and angst and was just completely perfect for me.

I loved both of the main characters, Axios is a gentle soul thrown into a harsh world. The only thing that gets him through it is Eryx and his desire to be strong for him. Through harsh conditioning Axios becomes harder, but still has the soft and kind soul beneath. Eryx on the outside doesn’t show his emotions as much, we really only see them when he’s with Axios. But he loves Axios with all his heart and will do anything for him, even when it goes against what he truly believes in.

This book is a historical romance and I think the author did really well. There was never really a moment where I was reading and thought “that would never happen” and I was amazed by this. She stayed true to the story and the setting and backdrop only accentuated the love story and made it that much better.

If you’re a fan of epic romance this is the book for you! It flowed across my mind so smoothly and gave me so many feels. I’m going to be dreaming of this couple, I just know it!

PS: sorry to all the friends I’ll be badgering to read the book. It’s a condition of my friendship 😛

“I will kill any man and turn the whole world to ash for you, my warrior. I fear neither battle nor death, but I fear the day you are not by my side. Never question where my heart lies, because it is forever yours. In this life and the next.” 

The Time in Between

The Time in Between by Kristen Ashley

4.75 stars! 

“Promise, Cady. Stick with me, no matter what.” 

Kristen Ashley is BACK! This book is just like her old ones, full of magic and romance that digs its way into your heart!

The Time in Between is the story of Cady and Coert, two people who were in love eighteen years before, but lies and bad circumstances came between them and broke them apart. Now, years later, Cady’s husband has died, and he stipulated when he died that Cady had to move to Maine in order to reconnect with two men in her life, her brother, and Coert. Once there she buys a lighthouse and renovates it, biding her time to approach Coert, who is the local sheriff. Except Coert is angry and wants nothing to do with her.

“With him right there, nothing else mattered, nothing else even existed. This was simply where I was supposed to be. No matter what.” 

I have to admit, I was a bit nervous going into this one, mostly because some of the newer releases by Kristen Ashley just really weren’t my thing. BUT this is the Magdalene series, and I adored the first two books in this series, so I went in with an open mind. And what I got was a beautiful second chance romance story that by the end, brought that little bit of sappy mist to my eyes.

Second chance romance is sort of my Achilles heel of subgenres, I just love the idea of two people who lost their way get another chance to make things right between them. Cady and Coert have a lot of issues that bled over from their past, and while it was a rocky start when the two of them reunited, it got smoother as time went by. In fact, once they made up their minds, they did the adult thing and didn’t bring the past into their current relationship to haunt them. They moved on, and moved to something special.

My one small criticism and why I cannot give this a full 5 stars, is this book is SO LONG. Like I was reading it for four days! It took me four days to read the first Game of Thrones novel and that thing is enormous!!! I wish it had been a tad bit shorter because sometimes when reading it, it felt like I was tackling a mountain! But don’t let the length avert you from this gem, by the end I had happy tears in my eyes and was declaring my love for this magnificent book.

This story will stay with you a long time, and you will fall in love with Cady and Coert!

“Love you.”
“Love you most.” 

ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review