Releases and Recommendations: Sideswiped by Lia Riley

It’s Tuesday! The wonderful day that books are released to the world!

Today, I’m anticipating the release of Sideswiped by Lia Riley, which will be released on Tuesday, October 7, 2014.

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It was only meant to last the summer . . .

Talia Stolfi has seen more than her share of loss in her twenty-one years. But then fate brought her Bran Lockhart, and her dark world was suddenly and spectacularly illuminated. So if being with Bran means leaving her colorless NorCal life for rugged and wild Australia, then that’s what she’ll do. But as much as Talia longs to give herself over completely to a new beginning, the fears of her past are still lurking in the shadows.

Bran Lockhart knows that living without the beautiful girl who stole his heart will be torment, so he’ll take whatever time with her he can. But even though she has packed up her life in California and is back in his arms for the time being, she can’t stay forever. And the remaining time they have together is ticking by way too fast. Though fate seems determined to tear them apart, they won’t give up without a fight—because while time may have limits, their love is infinite . . .

I really enjoyed the first book from the Off the Map series, Upside Down. My review will be out soon, but it’s safe to say that I was awestruck by how good this story was. I’m looking forward to reading more from Lia Riley.

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Fire of Stars and Dragons by Melissa Petreshock

I was really disappointed in Fire of Stars and Dragons by Melessa Petreshock. I wanted to like it SO BAD.

18685332Following the death of her uncle, twenty-one-year-old CAITRIONA HAYDEN finds herself in the midst of a trio of quintessential alpha male suitors in 22nd century sovereign America where human females should be seen and not heard.

Theo Pendragon claims her as his ward, ordained to guard her through to a long-awaited destiny unbeknownst to Cait, but finds more than he expected when passion ignites within the dragon for the first time. Always drawn to the pursuit of knowledge rather than the heat of desire, powerful demigod Dante cannot deny everything his future holds in Caitriona. America’s monarch, ancient vampire Corrin, has no interest in the frivolity of love, yet marrying Cait could be the answer to his continued survival.

Soon, Cait goes from studying for college exams to choosing a husband knowing the consequences are eternal, the love undying, and the bond timeless.

The premise of this book is so intriguing that despite trying to DNF it multiple times while reading, I had to keep reading to see what happens. Why did I want to DNF it? Let me explain.

First, the main character doesn’t know who she is, or the reader doesn’t. I get that she’s supposed to be an independent spitfire that doesn’t need a man/marriage to control her, but inconsistently, she immediately agrees to choose one of the three eligible bachelors (a dragon, a vampire and a demi-god) for whom to marry. Uh, what? I thought she didn’t WANT to get married?

Second, the choose-a-groom-in-seven-days plot was never fleshed out, never completed. There was no structure. I get that she falls for one guy in particular and chooses him quite early (too early in my opinion) but it made a very confusing love square.

Speaking of confusion, this book is told in first person from multiple points of view. The voice of each character was impossible to decipher so at any given time, I had no idea who was talking and whose inner dialogue I was reading. It was very frustrating at times. I kept having to flip back to see whose name was on the chapter title.

Plus, this book started off confusing, like I was dropped in the middle of a book, never able to gather my bearings, which brings me to my next point. The world building and scene setting was lacking in this book. At any given point, I had no idea where these characters were or why certain things were happening. I get they were in a futuristic United States but there was no background and justifying of motives. I wanted to know why the world was the way it was, why she was attacked in the beginning (which is never answered btw) and why in the heck all of these powerful men were falling over themselves for her (never find this out either).

Because I didn’t like the main character, I had no sympathy for her plight. I enjoyed the male lead characters but it was all so confusing and unsatisfying. I believe this book will have a sequel but I wanted this book to end so much that I doubt I’ll read the next one.

STARS: 2 out of 5

Best Kind of Broken by Chelsea Fine

Best Kind of Broken by Chelsea Fine is a gripping story about love and tragedy that delivers an entire spectrum of emotions. Get ready for tons of feels.

18360175Pixie and Levi haven’t spoken in nearly a year when they find themselves working―and living―at the same inn in the middle of nowhere. Once upon a time, they were childhood friends. But that was before everything went to hell. And now things are… awkward. All they want to do is avoid each other, and their past, for as long as possible. But now that they’re forced to share a bathroom, and therefore a shower, keeping their distance from one another becomes less difficult than keeping their hands off each other. Welcome to the hallway of awkward tension and sexual frustration, folks. Get comfy. It’s going to be a long summer.

This book made me feel so many different emotions. The first – laughter. I cracked up when the main female character, Pixie, talks about the “sexy” vegetables in an effort to divert her attention from the delicious and damaged Levi. This story had me literally laughing out loud because the internal dialogue for each character was extremely entertaining. However, the dialogue also got extremely serious, which brings me to the next emotion: sadness and fear.

From the very beginning, I was insanely curious about what happened that tore these two (who seemed perfect for each other) apart. I love the way that the story slowly unfolds as the reader puts together the pieces of the puzzle: who Levi is to Pixie, why her name is Pixie, and of course, what caused her scar. I found this unraveling of juicy details especially thrilling.

This story was also extremely passionate, which means tension – beautiful, messy, sexual tension. I could feel it pouring out of the pages and I was rooting for both Levi and Pixie to give in to their secret desires. The dialogue between them was electric, whether they were fighting or baring their souls to each other, I couldn’t get enough.

As a New Adult, this book was right on the money. It was compelling and beautiful, realistic and raw. I felt connected to the characters and their story. Reading their journey, from damaged to healing, was a moving experience that left me satisfied with the book’s ending. I’m anticipating more from this cast of characters, the next book in the Finding Fate series, Perfect Kind of Trouble, came out June 17, 2014. It follows a couple of secondary characters and I’m excited to see what’s next for this series.

STARS: 5 out of 5

Hale Maree by Misty Provencher

I’ve had my eye on Hale Maree by Misty Provencher since it was making it’s rounds in the blogosphere, especially because the title is so clever. When I saw Misty at the UtopYA conference, I knew I had to pick up a copy. (She even signed it for me! yay!)

16094462Hale Simmons dreams of climbing out of her impoverished life, going to college, and getting herself a titanium crash helmet, so she can eventually bust through the Plexiglas ceiling of her crappy life. But for now, she’s just a 18-year-old girl with a flimsy hope, barely getting by with her alcoholic father, Jerry.
But for Hale, ‘crappy’ suddenly takes a nosedive, when Jerry becomes the sole witness to a horrible accident. It is an event which means to effect everyone, especially Hale, who wasn’t even involved.
While the depth of the accident has just begun to unfold, Otto Maree, a prominent business man and old family friend, stands to lose everything because of it. Otto is desperate for Hale’s father to stay quiet about what occurred the night the two men met for a drink. Out of mutual moments of desperation, the two fathers forge a deal. Jerry is desperate to gain financial stability for both himself and Hale, and Otto Maree is more than willing to pay to keep his secret just that.
But deals like this need to be made of the strongest vows and bound with the most faithful of loyalties. Otto proposes a marriage between Hale and his playboy-son, Oscar, in order to assure that the secret remains ‘in the family’. The mystery surrounding the accident continues to grow and Hale struggles against her own mysterious feelings that begin to develop for Oscar, who turns out to less of a playboy, but just as fiercely loyal and dedicated as his father.
As the pressure around her continues to escalate, Hale realizes that she’s got to decide if this arranged marriage is really just a big mistake or an amazing twist of fate that has been waiting around for this particular accident to happen.

The first thing I will say is this book is a bit outlandish — It’s based on the idea that a girl is forced into marriage due to a secret that her father and her betrothed’s father keep. Now keep in mind, Hale Maree is an adult contemporary romance, not a fantasy/historical romance novel; hence, the outlandishness where a girl would be forced into marriage so quickly in the 21sth century. BUT, despite the unbelievablity factor, I devoured this book and it left me with a grin on my face by the end.

I finished this book in a day. I couldn’t put it down because I wanted to see what Hale would do. She’s trapped in this crazy situation where she WANTS to get away (and tries to a few times. YOU GO GIRL!), but Oscar is a beautiful man, inside and out, making it harder for Hale to say no as time goes by. I loved this quality in Oscar; he is so unexpectedly kind but also surprisingly sensual. Hale’s situation is so sad with her drunken father and living in poverty so when a rich, handsome guy is trying to sweep her off her feet, I couldn’t help but swoon, even if it was incredibly cliché and fosters negative female character stereotypes. This novel was a bit fast-paced; I wish it could have explored their love a bit more but this book was definitely all about Hale and Oscar’s interactions. I LOVED their conversations. There are a few “dramatic” things that bring the story to a close, but I was more concerned about Hale and Oscar’s love story.

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a feel-good, fluffy romance, where everything doesn’t have to make sense because it’s all about the characters. The steamy scenes left me wanting more and I even caught some “Alpha Male-ness” in Oscar’s character. Overall, it was lovely entertainment.

STARS: 4 out of 5

Releases and Recommendations: The Witch With No Name by Kim Harrison

It’s Tuesday! The wonderful day that books are released to the world.

Today, I am eagerly awaiting the release of The Witch With No Name by Kim Harrison, which comes out TODAY, Sept. 9, 2014.

20426917At long last… The final book in the New York Times bestselling Hollows series by Kim Harrison!

Rachel Morgan’s come a long way from the clutzy runner of Dead Witch Walking. She’s faced vampires and werewolves, banshees, witches, and soul-eating demons. She’s crossed worlds, channeled gods, and accepted her place as a day-walking demon. She’s lost friends and lovers and family, and an old enemy has become something much more.

But power demands responsibility, and world-changers must always pay a price. That time is now.

To save Ivy’s soul and the rest of the living vampires, to keep the demonic ever after and our own world from destruction, Rachel Morgan will risk everything.

I can NOT believe it. This is the LAST book in the Hollows Series by Kim Harrison. I think I want to cry. As much as I want to get my hands on this book, I don’t want it to end. It’s like saying goodbye to Harry Potter! It’s too much to take! It’s been ten whole years of Rachel Morgan and demon hunting and pixies and vampires AND I MISS KISTEN SO MUCH IT HURTS! As sad as I am, I understand because every story has a beginning and end, and some authors drag their stories on too long, where the plotlines wane and readers lose interest. However, NOT with this series! I’m really looking forward to seeing how Harrison concludes this amazingly addictive story. If you haven’t started it, you should. It’s the epitome of Urban Fantasy with everything you’d ever expect and more.

Releases and Recommendations: The Shadows by J.R. Ward

It’s Tuesday! The wonderful day that books are released to the world! Today, I’m anticipating the release of The Shadows by J.R. Ward, which comes out Tuesday, April 7, 2015.

21849362Two brothers bound by more than blood fight to change a brutal destiny in the heart-wrenching new novel of the Black Dagger Brotherhood by #1 New York Times bestselling author J. R. Ward.

Trez “Latimer” doesn’t really exist. And not just because the identity was created so that a Shadow could function in the underbelly of the human world. Sold by his parents to the Queen of the S’Hsibe as a child, Trez escaped the Territory and has been a pimp and an enforcer in Caldwell, NY for years- all the while on the run from a destiny of sexual servitude. He’s never had anyone he could totally rely on… except for his brother, iAm.

iAm’s sole goal has always been to keep his brother from self-destructing- and he knows he’s failed. It’s not until the Chosen Serena enters Trez’s life that the male begins to turn things around… but by then it’s too late. The pledge to mate the Queen’s daughter comes due and there is nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, and no negotiating.

Trapped between his heart and a fate he never volunteered for, Trez must decide whether to endanger himself and others- or forever leave behind the female he’s in love with. But then an unimaginable tragedy strikes and changes everything. Staring out over an emotional abyss, Trez must find a reason to go on or risk losing himself and his soul forever. And iAm, in the name of brotherly love, is faced with making the ultimate sacrifice…

I’m a HUGE fan of the Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J.R. Ward. I am completely biased when it comes to reviews because I know I will read the next one, no matter what. This is the thirteenth book in the series and it follows the shadow brothers, Trez and iAm. They had a lot of facetime in the previous book, The King. I’m interested to see how this one plays out. I’m always in the mood for Ward’s gritty tone and delving into the world of the Black Dagger Brotherhood.