Monthly Review

Thursday, August 31, 2017

A quick recap of all the happenings around my blog for the month.

Popular Posts:

(all links take you to my blog review post)

# of reviews: 18

Average Rating: 3.38

How I'm Doing On My Reading Challenges:
(you can always click here to view current challenge updates)

Goodreads Challenge:  134 out of 200 books
Beat the Backlist:    30 out of 50 books
New Release Challenge:   92 out of 125 books

I read 18 books this past month.  Not too bad.  I fell a little behind for a while.  I couldn't get motivated and have been doing a lot of projects around the house this month.  BUT I did read 7 Backlist books this past month.  I'm keeping up with both my Goodreads and New Release Challenges pretty well too.

What You Can Expect In September:

Earlier this month I posted a "What should I read in September?" survey and the votes are in!!  I am posting my September reading list tomorrow with the results of the survey.  I'm still determined to knock more books off of my backlist so I have 9 backlist titles scheduled for September.  We'll see how that!  Cross your fingers for me!  Next month is going to be a mixture of Young Adult and Romance reviews.  I also already have 3 Top Ten Tuesday (book lists) posts scheduled and 3 Waiting on Wednesday posts scheduled.  I'm hoping that scheduling them in advance will help give me some time for not only reading, but also to visit other blogs.  I'm not sure how next month is going to go because my little one is starting preschool, so I'm not sure how much that is going to disrupt my schedule.  We'll see how it goes!

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What would you like to see more/less of on my blog?  
How was your July?

Review: Fierce & Fabulous by Elizabeth Varlet

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Title: Fierce & Fabulous
Author: Elizabeth Varlet
Series: Sassy Boyz, #1
Genre: MM Romance
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication date: June 27th 2016

 Fitch Donovan never thought a lap dance could change his life, but from the moment the gorgeous dancer's lips touch his, his world comes screeching to a halt. No matter how hard he tries, he can't shake the desire that rocks him to his core. He's longed for this passion all his life—he just never dreamed he'd find it with another man.

Sharing a soul-shaking kiss with a straight boy is the kind of drama Ansel Becke just doesn't need. Spotlights aren't made for two and Ansel prefers to keep things on a one-night-only basis. So when Fitch shows up asking for an encore, Ansel knows he should send his gorgeous ass packing.

Though Ansel tries to pretend that what's between him and Fitch is far from fabulous, there's something about the big, burly contractor that makes Ansel's world sparkle in a way no amount of glitter ever could. And Fitch will do whatever it takes to convince Ansel that when the thing you need most in the world falls right into your lap, you'd be a fool to let it go.

This is another series that I read completely out of order (oops!).  I read book #2, Dark & Dazzling (Z & Connelly's story), before I ended up picking this one up.  The books in this series are standalone reads so you can read them out of order and be okay.  The way the author gives the secondary characters  their own personalities and characteristics makes you want to read them all though.  I also have an ARC of the third book in the series waiting on my Kindle for me.  I can't wait to read Tam's story next!

The story starts with Fitch out celebrating his sister's birthday in a gay club.  He's feeling very uncomfortable but puts up with it because he would do anything to make his sister happy.  Including accepting a lap dance from the gorgeous blonde woman (he thinks) that he saw dancing on the stage earlier.  To his surprise, his fascination with him only intensifies after learning that the dancer is a man.  Ansel is used to being confused for a woman.  Because of his feminine features, long hair, and makeup it happens fairly often.  What he wasn't prepared for was Fitch's determination to get to know him and see where things go.  He's always down for a good time, but nothing serious.  It isn't long until they both start wanting more.  Fitch becomes completely captivated by Ansel and can't stop thinking about him.  Ansel is very attracted to Fitch but because of his past thinks he's too damaged for anyone to love him.

I was surprised at how much I liked Fitch.  Normally when we get a man that starts to question his sexuality, he does a lot of frustrating things that make me dislike him, but Fitch was not that guy.  He is a little thrown by his initial attraction to Ansel, but he handles it well.  He was so understanding and sweet with Ansel.  And probably far more forgiving than I would have been in certain circumstances. lol!  I loved that he didn't want to change Ansel at all.  He accepted him just the way he was.

“No, the real you is a magnetic, funny man who is interesting and beautiful, full of confidence and strength. Never, ever dull your shine, Angel, not for me, not for anyone. You make the world a brighter place.”

I loved Ansel but I also wanted to grab him and shake him every time he did something stupid, which was a little too often.  He has an issue with alcohol abuse, but I'm glad that when he finally accepted it, he took steps to better himself.  My heart hurt for him when we learned the extent of his mother's abuse.  I really hate that woman.  She's pure evil, and also the reason why Ansel doesn't want to let anyone get close to him and why he feels like he doesn't deserve to be happy.  I loved that even though he had a very rough upbringing, he remained true to himself.  He loved his lipstick, long hair, and heels so he continued to wear them.

This one was very insta lust-y (is that a word?? it is now!). Sometimes I can handle insta lust/love sometimes and I can't at all, I don't know why. In this case, it really worked for me.  I think it comes down to whether or not I feel that connection between the two MCs. This one definitely had it.  These two were really hot together.  There was a good amount of steamy scenes, but not an overwhelming amount.  I loved their dirty talk. 

This part is kind of spoiler-y but I feel as if I have to mention it because it's normally a big "no" for me in romances.  I was angry with Ansel for the "incident". But I also don't think he was near secure enough in his  new relationship with Fitch to handle his demons in any way other than what he was used to. Sex and booze. Doesn't mean I liked it, or that it was okay. But I did feel like it was a turning point for Ansel. 

I also have to admit that I thought Fitch's parents came around a little too fast when he came out to them.  When he first told them they be upset and almost angry, but them they call and invite him and his boyfriend over for dinner??  While it was nice, it seemed a little too fast to me.

I ended up enjoying this one more than the second one in the series, even though I had the issue that I talked about with Ansel's incident.  Whenever any sort of cheating happens in a romance it always takes a lot away for me.  I ended up removing a full star for that, but not more, just to be fair.  I really did love these two together.  It makes me smile even more when I remember little moments in book 2 with them having sweet moments.  lol!  I'm really excited to learn more about Tam in book 3!

Find It Here:


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

I was tagged by Sophie from Books Like Wolves to fill out the TMI (Too Much Information) Tag.  These things are always so much fun so I'm really excited to fill in all my answers.  I think Tags are such a great way to get to know the person behind the blog.  Hopefully, I don't disappoint you too much with my answers tho.  I'm kind of a hermit so I may not be too interesting. haha!!

Here we goooo!!!!

1: What are you wearing?
I'm still in my PJs. lol!  Part of the joy of being a stay at home mom is that I don't have to chance out of my PJs if I don't want to.  I rock my fuzzy socks all day. haha

2: Ever been in love?
Yes.  I've been married to an amazing man for over 7 years now, together for 9 years.  He's my best friend

3: Ever had a terrible breakup?
Ohhhh yes... lol

4: How tall are you?
I'm pretty tall for a girl, I guess. I'm 5'8", but 5'9" if I stand up straight...which doesn't usually happen.  I have to worst posture. lol!

5: How much do you weigh?
around 120lbs.  I'm a string bean. lol

6: Any tattoos?
Yep.  I have a clover on my wrist, stars on my hips, and a moon and star on my right shoulder blade.  I want more but they are so expensive.

7: Any piercings?
Yes.  I have my ears pierced.  I recently got my daith pierced because it is supposed to help with migraines.  I am surprised and happy to say that it seems to help.  I went from around 15 migraines a month to about 2-3!  Not too bad.  I used to have my belly button pierced but I took it out when I got pregnant with my daughter
(daith piercing)

8: OTP?
Ohhh good question!!  Elizabeth Bennett & Mr. Darcy, of course!! (Pride & Prejudice)
but I also love:
Ron and Hermione (Harry Potter)
Tara & Willow (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

9: Favorite show?
I've really been enjoying American Horror Story and The Blacklist lately.

10: Favorite bands?
Lately? Led Zeppelin(always!), Twenty One Pilots, Royal Blood, The Struts, Incubus

11: Something you miss?
Spontaneous napping. lol!  Whenever you have a 4 year old you don't get to nap as much as you want to.

12: Favorite song?
Oh man, so sooo many!  Too many to name

13: How old are you?
32 years old.  My birthday is October 29th

14: Zodiac sign?

Strengths: Resourceful, brave, passionate, stubborn, a true friend
Weaknesses: Distrusting, jealous, secretive, violent
Scorpio likes: Truth, facts, being right, longtime friends, teasing, a grand passion
Scorpio dislikes: Dishonesty, revealing secrets, passive people

15: Quality you look for in a partner?
Sense of humor.  I love to laugh.  Trustworthiness

16: Favorite Quote?

"Not all those who wander are lost" - J.R.R Tolkien

"Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light" - Albus Dumbledore

"And though she be but little; she is fierce" - Shakespeare

"If you can dream it, you can do it" - Walt Disney

"Be the change you wish to see in the world" - Gandhi

17: Favorite actor?
Female:  Scarlett Johansson, Angelina Jolie, Sandra Bullock
Male: Robert Downey Jr., Bruce Willis, Ryan Reynolds, Paul Rudd, Evan Peters

18: Favorite color?

19: Loud music or soft?
Usually loud.  Sometimes when I'm working on a painting I will listen to softer music tho

20: Where do you go when you’re sad?
The shower.  I don't know why but it's always kind of been my "happy place".  If I'm stressed or upset I take a hot shower to clear my head.

21: How long does it take you to shower?
Strange that this was the very next question. lol!  15-20minutes.

22: How long does it take you to get ready in the morning?
10-15 minutes.  Unless I have to get the kiddo ready too...then closer to 45 minutes to an hour. lol!

23: Ever been in a physical fight?
Yes.  I have an older brother and mostly boy cousins.  I had to learn. lol

24: Turn on?
Sense of humor

25: Turn off?

26: The reason I joined YouTube?
I actually haven't started my own youtube channel...mostly because I'm SUPER awkward. haha!  I love watching other people's videos tho

27: Fears?
Losing someone I love

28: Last thing that made you cry?
Yelling at my daughter.  She was being SO bad because she was overtired and just wouldn't listen to anything I said so I lost my patience and yelled at her and put her in time out.  I went into the bedroom and cried because I made her cry and I was so stressed out.  Mom-ing is hard guys!! haha

29: Last time you said you loved someone?
Just a little bit a ago to my husband and our daughter

30: Meaning behind your YouTube Name?
Well, I don't have Youtube yet, but I named my blog Happily Ever Chapter because I love a great happy ending.  It puts me in such a great mood when I'm done reading it.

31: Last book you read?

32: The book you’re currently reading?

33: Last show you watched?
Castlevania on Netflix.  It was sooo good.  Now I'm impatiently waiting for Season 2

34: Last person you talked to?
In person: My kiddo  On the phone: My mom

35: The relationship between you and the person you last texted?
My hubby

36: Favorite food?
Spaghetti, Strawberries, Chocolate, General Tso's Chicken w/ rice

37: Place you want to visit?
Everywhere!  St. Lucia, Europe, Hawaii, Colorado mountains, California redwoods

38: Last place you were?
Last place I traveled to?? Ocean City, MD

39: Do you have a crush?
My husband, of course! lol
movie star crushes: Matt Bomer, Tom Hiddleston(Loki), Jason Statham, Evan Peters

40: Last time you kissed someone?
about an hour ago.  My hubby.

41: Last time you were insulted?
Hmm  couple months ago??  Family member that has alcohol issues

42: Favorite flavor of sweet?
(^my favorite!!)

43: What instruments do you play?
None, unfortunately.  My husband tried teaching me guitar but I lost interest.  Maybe one day I will pick it back up.  I would also love to learn to play piano

44: Favorite piece of jewelry?
My wedding ring.  Technically the engagement ring, not the actual wedding band.

45: Last sport you played?
Soccer with my kiddo.  Kind of.  We just kicked the ball back and forth. lol

46: Last song you sang?
Oooo this is embarrassing. haha!!  Shape of You by Ed Sheeran.  hahaha!!  Why does it have to be so catchy?!

47: Favorite cheesy chat up line?
I was always too shy to "chat up" anyone. haha!  And pick up lines are so cheesy!

48: Have you ever used it?
haha no, not really.  I jokingly use them on my husband sometimes.

49: Last time you hung out with anyone?
Besides my husband and daughter?  A few days ago I went out for lunch with my mom

50: Who should answer these questions next?
Anyone and everyone! lol!  It was pretty fun

Review: Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park

Monday, August 28, 2017

Title: Flat-Out Love
Author: Jessica Park
Series: Flat-Out Love, #1
Genre: Young Adult, MF Romance
Publisher: Skyscape
Publication Date: September 11th 2012

 It's not what you know - or when you see - that matters. It's about a journey.

Something is seriously off in the Watkins home. And Julie Seagle, college freshman, small-town Ohio transplant, and the newest resident of this Boston house, is determined to get to the bottom of it. When Julie's off-campus housing falls through, her mother's old college roommate, Erin Watkins, invites her to move in. The parents, Erin and Roger, are welcoming, but emotionally distant and academically driven to eccentric extremes. The middle child, Matt, is an MIT tech geek with a sweet side ... and the social skills of a spool of USB cable. The youngest, Celeste, is a frighteningly bright but freakishly fastidious 13-year-old who hauls around a life-sized cardboard cutout of her oldest brother almost everywhere she goes.

And there's that oldest brother, Finn: funny, gorgeous, smart, sensitive, almost emotionally available. Geographically? Definitely unavailable. That's because Finn is traveling the world and surfacing only for random Facebook chats, e-mails, and status updates. Before long, through late-night exchanges of disembodied text, he begins to stir something tender and silly and maybe even a little bit sexy in Julie's suddenly lonesome soul.

To Julie, the emotionally scrambled members of the Watkins family add up to something that ... well ... doesn't quite add up. Not until she forces a buried secret to the surface, eliciting a dramatic confrontation that threatens to tear the fragile Watkins family apart, does she get her answer.

Flat-Out Love comes complete with emails, Facebook status updates, and instant messages.

Why did I wait so long to read this book?!  I absolutely loved it, and I'm having trouble articulating why, so this review may be all over the place.  I apologize in advance! lol.  I'd categorize the genre as a  YA/adult college, chick lit.  It was really well written.  It had me laughing out loud at times, and also had my eyes welling up more than once.

Julie thought she had everything figured out when she headed off to college, but she quickly finds out how wrong she was.  When she arrives, she learns that the apartment that she had rented through Craigslist was a scam, and she now has no where to stay.  Fortunately, Julie's mother is able to contact an old college friend who happens to live in the area, and they agree to let Julie stay at their home.  The Watkins seem to be a nice but weird family with many secrets.  The strangest thing of all is Celeste , the youngest member of this family.  She carries around a life-sized cardboard photo of her oldest brother, Finn, because he is always traveling different places around the world and she misses him.  She calls the cardboard cut-out "Flat Finn".  There is also Matt, Celeste's  hot yet nerdy older brother.  He has taken on the role of Celeste's caretaker because his parents aren't very involved.

Julie is staying in Finn's old bedroom, so she decides to add him on Facebook and explain the situation so he doesn't wonder who the girl living in his house with his family is.  They begin chatting pretty regularly and Julie starts to develop and crush on him which later turns into feelings.

While she is staying with the Watkins' family, she starts to care for them all and want to help them.  Celeste is struggling in school because she is socially awkward and it's beginning to effect her educational opportunities.  Julie makes it her mission to help her get rid of "Flat Finn" and start making new friends.  She also wants her to start dressing and acting her age, because she dresses way too young for 13 years old.  I don't want to give too much else away about the plot because I think that would ruin it.

The characters in this book have so much personality and felt so real. I love that you get to experience the story from not only their daily interactions but also through Facebook statuses, emails, and private messages. I'm a big sucker for romances that involve "love letters", whether it be text message, social media, or physical letters.  I love it!  It really helps to immerse you in the story and connect with the characters. You can garner so much from someone's Facebook status about their personality that just doesn't feel the same if you were told it. Most chapters start with each characters' Facebook statuses and I felt like it helped you learn so much about them in a really cute and adorable way.

Matt was my favorite character of the whole book.  I loved his personality. He was funny and really witty.  Matt was also very caring and fiercely protective of his little sister.  He was always looking after everyone in the house. Celeste was very quirky, but sweet, and very perceptive. Finn was the flirty and charismatic one.  I love how understanding Julie was with Celeste's eccentricities.  Julie and Matt’s growing friendship was amusing and I loved the witty banter they shared. The back and forth between them showed such a camaraderie and like mindedness.

Even though I figured out the main twists early on, I still really enjoyed watching it unfold and feeling the emotions as they felt them. It was heartbreaking when the big secrets came out, but the ending felt really hopeful in a lot of ways. I do have to admit that the ending (romance-wise) was a little awkward and rushed but it didn't bother me enough to take off even a half star.  I'm definitely going to need to pick this one up for my physical shelves now, since I only had an ecopy.  I can see myself wanting to read this one again and again.

Find It Here:

Stacking the Shelves & Sunday Post

Saturday, August 26, 2017

I am linking up again this weekend with Tynga at Tynga's Reviews for Stacking the Shelves and Kimberly at Caffeinated Book Reviewer for Sunday Post to share all of the books I picked up lately, share my posts for the past week, and also share what's coming up soon! 

For Review:

Freebies from Amazon:


Kindle Unlimited:

Life Lately:
This has been kind of a crazy week again.  We had a going away party for my husband's friend, who is going to Germany.  Our bank account got hacked somehow and now the account is frozen until we get a new card in the mail.  Aaaand of course we hadn't gotten to go grocery shopping yet, and carry no cash.  So that stinks.  I'm not sure how much we are even going to be able to get back.  It's really scary and frustrating.  On a happy note, we had a "Family Fun Day" at our daughter's PreK and she had a really great time.  I think that helped relieved some of her nerves when it comes to school.  

As you can see from my books above, I failed at my "book freeze" this week. lol!  I didn't go completely crazy but I probably shouldn't have even gotten these ones. lol.  I'm going to use the excuse that my husband brought me to a book store (before the account hacking problem) so I couldn't say no! Also, EVERYONE told me I needed to pick up Amy & Roger's Epic Detour when I shared my "10 Books Involving Road Trips" post.  So TECHNICALLY, you all can share the blame, right?! haha!  Just kidding!  This was all me.  I need all of the books!!

I've actually already read Scorpio Hates Virgo, and Crashed is one that I've been wanting to read to finish out the series.  They had a "second look" request and I swooped in and snatched it up. lol!  It will feel good to check another full series off my list when I read that one.

I've been dealing with some stress migraines throughout the week so I've been really behind with visiting blogs.  I'm going to try to catch up soon.  I promise!!

Recently on my blog:
The Turner series by Cat Sebastian - Series Review
Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller - Review
Waiting on Wednesday
Trust with a Chaser by Annabeth Albert - Review
#Blur by Cambria Hebert - Mini Review

Coming up next on my blog:
Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park - Review
TMI Book Tag
Fierce & Fabulous by Elizabeth Varlet - Review
Monthly Review
September TBR List

Follow Me Here:

What have you read lately?

Mini Review: #Blur by Cambria Hebert

Friday, August 25, 2017

Title: #Blur
Author: Cambria Hebert
Series: GearShark, #4
Genre: MM Romance
Publication Date: January 10th 2017
Find It Here: Goodreads

There’s a new kid in town, and he’s hell on wheels.
From what we’ve heard, it may be because 
he knows exactly what hell’s like.
You may know his brother, 
the NRR hotshot 
(and former GearShark cover model) 
It’s only natural a driver with 
his background and family connections 
has sped his racecar 
into the newest, hottest division.
But that’s not all.
Arrow may be following in big bro’s tread marks, 
but he doesn’t plan to stay there.
He’s swerving onto the road less traveled… 
and a lot more controversial.
he’s opening up about his private struggles with sexuality 
to tell a story that’s gone unheard until now.
One thing’s for sure; Arrow may have a painful past, 
but his foot is heavy on the accelerator. 
With speed like this, he’s bound to leave everything behind 
nothing but a #blur.

DNF @ 18

This one was probably the biggest disappointment of the year for me so far.  I loved the first two books in this series, and we met this character in those books.  I was really looking forward to learning his story.  A trigger warning would have been appreciated for this book. Everything up until this point in the story was absolutely disgusting, but I had to call it quits after a brutal on page rape scene involving the main character. No, thank you! 

His dad also wants him to be straight so bad that he forces him to not only go to a strip club, but pays a woman to sleep with him and has a video camera set up so he can watch it on his tablet in the other room to make sure it happens?!?!?! Then when he can't follow through on sleeping with the girl, his father disowns him, and he leaves only to get beat up and raped by a so-called homophobe in an alley. Nope.  Not for me. Sorry, not sorry.

Review: Trust with a Chaser by Annabeth Albert

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Title: Trust with a Chaser
Author: Annabeth Albert
Series: Rainbow Cove, #1
Genre: MM Romance
Publication Date: August 1st 2017

 One hot cop. One bar owner out for redemption. One smoking-hot summer fling destined to leave scorch marks…

Mason Hanks has returned to Rainbow Cove, Oregon with one goal in mind: turn the struggling coastal community into a thriving LGBTQ tourism destination. Step one is transforming an old bar and grill into a gay-friendly eatery. Step two? Don’t piss off Nash Flint, the very hot, very stern chief of police who’s not so sure he’s on board with Mason’s big plans. 

Nash Flint just wants to keep his community safe and enjoy the occasional burger in peace. He’s not big on change nor is he a fan of Mason’s troublemaking family, especially his rowdy older brothers. But Mason slowly wins him over with fantastic cooking and the sort of friendship Nash has been starving for.

When their unlikely friendship takes a turn for the sexy, both men try to steer clear of trouble. Nash believes he’s too set in his ways for Mason, and Mason worries that his family’s reputation will ruin any future with Nash. Burning up the sheets in secret is a surefire way to crash and burn, and discovery forces a heart-wrenching decision—is love worth the risk of losing everything?

Annabeth Albert is one of my "auto-buy" authors when it comes to MM romances.  Some of them have pretty pretty hit or miss but I just can't seem to stay away from her books.  I loved more of them than I haven't liked.  I was really excited to see that she had started a new series and scooped it up on Kindle Unlimited as soon as I could.  My favorite series from her so far is the #gaymers series.  What can I say, I love the nerdy romances.  I also really love opposite attract stories and that is what Trust with a Chaser is.  We have the (not so) straight-laced cop and a man who's family has been on the wrong side of the law one too many times.  This one also has a bit of an age gap.  That's not normally my thing, but I do seem to be reading a lot of those lately.

I absolutely LOVED Mason.  He worked so hard to overcome his family's reputation while still having a heart of gold.  He was family oriented, even when they took advantage of his help far too often.  He had a caring heart for everyone around him, even when they hurt him.  I really enjoyed grumpy and stoic Nash too.  His hot and cold behavior made me a little crazy at times, but I guess it was understandable since he was worried about being outed.  I just hated seeing it hurt my little cinnamon roll, Mason. haha!

Although this story does have an age gap (Mason is 27, and Nash is "close to 40"), it didn't ever seem like something that was a problem. Mason was very mature and hard-working. Nash jokes frequently about his "old" age but it never comes off as a HUGE obstacle that they have to overcome.  They talk about it but neither is that overly worried about it.

There is a bit of a slow burn, but not too much, I would say a just right amount of waiting. Nash and Mason  have crazy chemistry together, so it isn't too long until Nash gives in. There is a lot of back and forth on Nash's part, because he is closeted, but I liked how it played out in the end. They had a good amount of steamy scenes together and I loved every second of it. lol!  I liked that they both agreed to keep it as just a casual thing at first, but we see those vulnerable romantic moments sneak their way in gradually.  It wasn't an all of a sudden they have feelings kind of thing.  I liked that they also got to know each other and had sweet moments  with just them together too.

I liked the way things were with them at the end of the story but I still feel like I want a little bit more.  Maybe a fun little holiday novella or something??  I don't want to give too much away in the way that the story ends (even though it IS pretty predictable) but I just wanted to see how things were going to end up with Lilac.  I also would have like to see a little more of how they interacted around town together as a couple.  We are told about some people not being too accepting but most were and I think that would have been a good addition to the story.

Albert has a wonderful way of drawing you into the setting and getting to know the secondary character as well.  She introduces secondary characters in a way that makes you really like them but also makes you want to know more about them, which sets up the series nicely to give each one their own book. I can't wait to know more about Logan, Adam, and Mason's city friend Brock.  I'm also really curious about Mason's reclusive best friend, Curtis.  I will definitely be picking up the other books in this series whenever I can get my hands on them.

Find It Here:

Waiting on Wednesday

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme where we have the opportunity to let others know about books that we are eagerly waiting for.

Hosted by Breaking the Spine

Title: Love, Life, and the List
Author: Kasie West
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: HarperTeen
Find It On Goodreads

Releases On: March 27th 2018!

Seventeen-year-old Abby Turner’s summer isn’t going the way she’d planned. She has a not-so-secret but definitely unrequited crush on her best friend, Cooper. She hasn’t been able to manage her mother’s growing issues with anxiety. And now she’s been rejected from an art show because her work “has no heart.” So when she gets another opportunity to show her paintings Abby isn’t going to take any chances.

Which is where the list comes in.

Abby gives herself one month to do ten things, ranging from face a fear (#3) to learn a stranger’s story (#5) to fall in love (#8). She knows that if she can complete the list she’ll become the kind of artist she’s always dreamed of being. But as the deadline approaches, Abby realizes that getting through the list isn’t as straightforward as it seems… and that maybe—just maybe—she can’t change her art if she isn’t first willing to change herself.

Why I'm Waiting:  It's a possible friend to lovers romance with an artist as the main character?!  Yes, please!  I always love finding books with artsy MCs.  This sounds like one I would absolutely love.  And it's Kasie West!! lol

What books are you excited about?

Review: Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Title: Mask of Shadows
Author: Linsey Miller
Series: Untitled #1
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: August 29th 2017

 Sallot Leon is a thief, and a good one at that. But gender fluid Sal wants nothing more than to escape the drudgery of life as a highway robber and get closer to the upper-class and the nobles who destroyed their home. 

When Sal Leon steals a poster announcing open auditions for the Left Hand, a powerful collection of the Queen's personal assassins named for the rings she wears -- Ruby, Emerald, Amethyst, and Opal -- their world changes. They know it's a chance for a new life.

Except the audition is a fight to the death filled with clever circus acrobats, lethal apothecaries, and vicious ex-soldiers. A childhood as a common criminal hardly prepared Sal for the trials. But Sal must survive to put their real reason for auditioning into play: revenge.

Mask of Shadows is Linsey Miller's debut young adult fantasy novel about a gender fluid character named Sal.  Sal is a thief that is still haunted by the 'shadows' of their past. During one of their robberies, Sal finds a flyer advertising an audition to be part of the Queen's Left Hand, if you can prove your worth. The Queen's Left Hand is a group of assassins that get their names from the rings that the Queen wears. Since the death of the assassin known as Opal,  the remaining members are Emerald, Ruby, and Amethyst.  Sal sees this opportunity as a way to seek revenge against the people responsible for the loss of their people, and a chance for a new life.

I had a love/hate relationship with the idea that the characters in the competition were referred to by numbers and had to wear masks with their numbers on the face.  I thought that it really added to the mystery and excitement of the story.  On the other hand, I also thought it made it a little harder to get to know the other characters since this was told from Sal's point of view.  There were a couple of the competitors that had a little more personality than others, but some of them we knew nothing about so it didn't feel like a huge deal when we lost that character.

This is something that people either loved or hated about this one, it seems, so I feel like I need to mention it: the way the author handled the "gender fluidity".  Honestly, I liked the way it was done.  When Sal dressed as a female, she was called "she." When he dressed like a male, he was called "he". Sal said that is how "they" wanted to be addressed. Sal was just who Sal was.  It wasn't a huge deal in the story and no one even questioned it.  This wasn't a story about bigotry.  The main focus of this story was the competition and Sal's revenge.

I have to admit that at times I felt a little lost.  I had trouble keeping up with all the political drama, different characters, and historical events.  A lot of  Sal's history revolves around the shadows and I wanted a little more history about all of it.  I honestly expected a lot more talk of magic and other fantasy elements.  At other times in the story I thought a lot of information was dumped on us all at once and it was hard to remember who exactly certain people were.  This could just be me though!

Mask of Shadows had some great action-packed moments and a little bit of romance sprinkled in as well.  This one ends with a lot of things up in the air and set up well for a second book.  While I didn't absolutely love this one and it had a few issues, I did still enjoy parts of it.  I'm still undecided on if I will be picking up the second book when it's released.

* I received an ARC of this title via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own. *

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Series Review: The Turner series by Cat Sebastian

Monday, August 21, 2017

I should probably start by saying that I read this books completely out of order.  lol!  I actually received an ARC of book #3, The Ruin of a Rake, for review and enjoyed it so much that I decided to go back and read the previous two books.  The books in this series can be read as standalones, but we see recurring characters/couples from previous books in the later ones.  I really enjoyed this series a lot, which really surprised me.  I was avoiding historical romances for a while but I feel like I'm slowly getting hooked on them again. lol

The Soldier's Scoundrel by Cat Sebastian - Book #1

Synopsis: A scoundrel who lives in the shadows

Jack Turner grew up in the darkness of London's slums, born into a life of crime and willing to do anything to keep his belly full and his siblings safe. Now he uses the tricks and schemes of the underworld to help those who need the kind of assistance only a scoundrel can provide. His distrust of the nobility runs deep and his services do not extend to the gorgeous high-born soldier who personifies everything Jack will never be.

A soldier untarnished by vice 

After the chaos of war, Oliver Rivington craves the safe predictability of a gentleman's life-one that doesn't include sparring with a ne'er-do-well who flouts the law at every turn. But Jack tempts Oliver like no other man has before. Soon his yearning for the unapologetic criminal is only matched by Jack's pleasure in watching his genteel polish crumble every time they're together.

Two men only meant for each other

Review: The Soldier's Scoundrel was a little mix of everything.  There was an enemies-to-lovers vibe at the beginning, followed by a few mysteries that needed to be solved, but mostly it was about two men who are just about complete opposites getting to know one another. There was a lot of attraction from the start, but the romance was slow-burn and grew stronger with time.  I did wish the author upped from the heat factor in their sex scenes a little more and added a bit more affectionate moments between the two of them.  I did think this story had a few slow moments in the plot line and felt a little longer than it needed to be, but ultimately I really enjoyed it.

The Lawrence Browne Affair by Cat Sebastian - Book #2

Synopsis: An earl hiding from his future . . . 

Lawrence Browne, the Earl of Radnor, is mad. At least, that’s what he and most of the village believes. A brilliant scientist, he hides himself away in his family’s crumbling estate, unwilling to venture into the outside world. When an annoyingly handsome man arrives at Penkellis, claiming to be Lawrence’s new secretary, his carefully planned world is turned upside down.

A swindler haunted by his past . . . 

Georgie Turner has made his life pretending to be anyone but himself. A swindler and con man, he can slip into an identity faster than he can change clothes. But when his long-dead conscience resurrects and a dangerous associate is out for blood, Georgie escapes to the wilds of Cornwall. Pretending to be a secretary should be easy, but he doesn’t expect that the only madness he finds is the one he has for the gorgeous earl.

Can they find forever in the wreckage of their lives? 

Challenging each other at every turn, the two men soon give into the desire that threatens to overwhelm them. But with one man convinced he is at the very brink of madness and the other hiding his real identity, only true love can make this an affair to remember.

Review:  This was was definitely a slow burn kind of romance.  I loved the banter between Georgie and Lawrence, and the initial prickliness of Lawrence which morphed into something softer. The writing was on point and the secondary characters were well fleshed out and relatable, but I thought the story took a while to get moving. It was a really slow start, and some of the character's hot and cold behavior really frustrated me.  There aren't many steamy scenes, but I did love that this book had a lot more affectionate moments between the two of them compared to the couple in the first book.

The Ruin of A Rake by Cat Sebastian - Book #3

Synopsis: Rogue. Libertine. Rake. Lord Courtenay has been called many things and has never much cared. But after the publication of a salacious novel supposedly based on his exploits, he finds himself shunned from society. Unable to see his nephew, he is willing to do anything to improve his reputation, even if that means spending time with the most proper man in London.

Julian Medlock has spent years becoming the epitome of correct behavior. As far as he cares, if Courtenay finds himself in hot water, it’s his own fault for behaving so badly—and being so blasted irresistible. But when Julian’s sister asks him to rehabilitate Courtenay’s image, Julian is forced to spend time with the man he loathes—and lusts after—most.

As Courtenay begins to yearn for a love he fears he doesn’t deserve, Julian starts to understand how desire can drive a man to abandon all sense of propriety. But he has secrets he’s determined to keep, because if the truth came out, it would ruin everyone he loves. Together, they must decide what they’re willing to risk for love.

Review: This was actually the first book I ever read by Cat Sebastian and it made me want to go back and read the first two books when I finished.  I really enjoyed this rake vs. wallflower trope because it was a little different than you would expect. In this one, the wallflower is the more "hard-hearted" man and the rake is the more emotional of the two. I thought that was a fun twist on the usual. This was also a bit of a hate to love kind of romance too. Courtenay didn't like Julian because he's so uptight and acts as if he is better than everyone. Julian didn't like Courtenay for the sole reason that he was attracted to him, I think. lol!

Have you read this series?
Do you enjoy historical romances?

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