Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Bad Romeo by Leisa Rayven

The Basics:
Bad Romeo by Leisa Rayven
St. Martin's Griffin
Book One in the Bad Romeo duology
Contemporary Romance (New Adult)
Published December 23, 2014
Source: Received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Amazon Kobo Goodreads

Why I picked up this book:

The *terrible cover* coming from a respectable publisher intrigued me. Seriously. That cover is *awful.* So I had to ask - what's up with that?

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Lady Elinor's Wicked Adventures by Lillian Marek

The Basics:
Lady Elinor's Wicked Adventures by Lillian Marek
Sourcebooks Casablanca
Book One in the Historical Adventures series
Historical Romance
Published November 4, 2014
Source: Received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Amazon Kobo Goodreads

Why I picked up this book:

I like the publisher and enjoy the childhood friends-to-lovers trope.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Her Lone Wolf by Paige Tyler

The Basics:
Her Lone Wolf by Paige Tyler
Sourcebooks Casablanca
Book Two in the X-Ops series
Paranormal Romance
Published November 4, 2014
Source: Received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Amazon Kobo Goodreads

Why I picked up this book:

I was on a werewolf binge.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas fellow readers!

I hope that Santa's good to you and your family!

Reviews to come next week!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Charming the Beast by Cynthia Eden

The Basics:
Charming the Beast by Cynthia Eden
Hocus Pocus Publishing, Inc.
Book Three in the Purgatory series
Romance, Paranormal
Published October 23, 2014
Source: Received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Amazon Kobo

Why I picked up this book:

I was in the mood for some werewolf books.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Blog Tour: Seaside Sunsets by Melissa Foster





After a week of flu induced silence, I'm so thrilled to break it with today's tour stop for Melissa Foster's Seaside Sunsets! If that sounds a bit like deja vu, it's because the last time I had to take a week off, it was because of the flu and then I followed up with a different Melissa Foster tour book! Seaside Sunsets is the third book in the Seaside Dreams series. I knew from Flirting with Love that I could expect good things from Foster, and Seaside Sunsets absolutely satisfied me!

For the rest of the stops on the tour, check out Tasty Book Tours.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Hiatus

The blog is going to be on hiatus through the rest of the week due to illness.

Then Monday I will be hosting a stop on Melissa Foster's Seaside Sunsets tour, which I'm excited about. I have some paranormal romances lined up for the rest of the week, and one historical romance, so it should be a packed week!

Monday, December 15, 2014

A Last Chance Christmas by Vicki Lewis Thompson

The Basics:
A Last Chance Christmas by Vicki Lewis Thompson
Harlequin Blaze
Book 17(!!) in the Sons of Chance series
Contemporary Romance
Amazon Kobo

Why Did I Grab it?

I like Harlequin generally - during my first pregnancy, I consumed their books at a rate of three or four per day. They're usually ideal for a quick afternoon read/pick-me-up!

Friday, December 12, 2014

What a Lady Needs for Christmas by Grace Burrowes

The Basics:
What a Lady Needs for Christmas by Grace Burrowes
Sourcebooks Casablanca
Book Four in the MacGregor series
Historical Romance
Published October 7, 2014
Source: Received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Amazon Kobo

Why I picked up this book:

On a Christmas kick, I also had a lot of faith in the publisher.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Zombies in Love by Nora Fleischer

The Basics:
Zombies in Love by Nora Fleischer
Romance, Horror/Fantasy
Published September 22, 2014
Source: Received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Amazon Goodreads

Why I picked up this book:

I love zombies. Love 'em!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: New to Me Authors


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme from The Broke and the Bookish in which they post a book-related top ten every - you guessed it! - Tuesday.

This week the theme is Top Ten New-to-Me Authors that I read in 2014.

Her Winning Formula by Shannyn Schroeder

The Basics:
Her Winning Formula by Shannyn Schroeder
eKensington Originals
Novella 3 in the Hot & Nerdy series
Contemporary Romance
Published November 24, 2014
Source: Received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Why I picked up this book:

Having reviewed novellas one and two in the series, I wanted to check out the third one.

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Surrogate Husband by Wynter Daniels

The Basics:
The Surrogate Husband by Wynter Daniels
Entangled Lovestruck
contemporary Romance
Published December 8th, 2014
Source: Received from Publisher in exchange for an honest review
Amazon Kobo

Why I picked up this book:

I liked the blurb and contrast between Lucy and Dex. Also the cover made me smile.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Blog Tour: Play Me series by Tracy Wolff



Today I'm hosting a huge tour for Tracy Wolff's Play Me series published by Loveswept. This is a five part serial that tells the story of Aria, a Vegas casino cocktail waitress, and Sebastian, the son of the casino's owner. I've got blurbs for each part in the series, an excerpt, a review and a giveaway! 

For the rest of the stops on the tour, check out Tasty Book Tours.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

COVER REVEAL: The Frenchman by Lesley Young

I love covers. I have a hard time resisting a book with a good cover. A good cover tells me a story right away, gives me a hook, makes me wonder - hey, what's going on with that there? It promises me something - usually about the book's genre, and occasionally about the quality of the book therein.

That makes it extra fun for me to participate in cover reveals! Certainly, it helps pad my wishlist.

Today's cover reveal is for Lesley Young's The Frenchman. This is romance between a woman and a powerful and criminal hero. It also sounds like the beginning of a very promising romance series!


Check out the blurb:


Fleur Smithers rarely veers off the straight and (excruciatingly) narrow. So moving to the seaport town of Toulon to live with her newfound biological mother—an inspector with the French National Police—for one year is a pretty major detour.
Son of France’s crime royalty family and international rugby star, Louis Messette, is devoted to his sport, famille and nothing else. But the saucy American he meets one night changes everything. She sparks a desire in him like no other. Possession takes root. She will do as he commands.
Bit by bit Fleur slips into the Frenchman’s realm of wanton pleasure agreeing to his one condition: that she keep their affair secret. She serves up her heart without reservation in the hub of the glittering Côte d’Azur, and the along the soulful Seine in Paris, unaware of the danger she is in. For her new lover’s “family business” will pit her against her mother, the police woman sworn to bring down the Messettes. And by then, far more than Fleur’s heart will be on the line.
Now for a drum roll please! Here's the gorgeous cover:

Blog Tour: The Duke's Guide to Correct Behavior by Megan Frampton




I'm thrilled to present Megan Frampton's The Duke's Guide to Correct  Behavior. This historical romance really got under my skin with its sensuality and sense of humour. It's the first book in the Dukes Behaving Badly series, and I suspect I'll be be back for the second. This one was released on November 25th by Avon. Check out more information about the book, an excerpt, my review, an author bio and a giveaway below!

For the rest of the stops on the tour, check out Tasty Book Tours.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten Anticipated Books for 2015


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme from The Broke and the Bookish in which they post a book-related top ten every - you guessed it! - Tuesday.

This week the theme is Top Ten Books I'm Looking Forward to in 2015.

Unrestrained by Rhyll Biest

The Basics:
Unrestrained by Rhyll Biest
Escape Publishing
Romance
Published November 8, 2014
Source: Received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Amazon Kobo

Why I picked up this book:

Well the cover was a decent lure, and I liked the sounds of the blurb.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Spotlight Tour: Sinfully Ever After by Jayne Fresina



Today I'm hosting a spotlight tour stop for Jayne Fresina's Sinfully Ever After. This is the second book in the Book Club Belles Society - you can find my review of the first book, Once Upon a Kiss here.

From Sourcebooks Casablanca, Sinfully Ever After follows the practical Rebecca Sherringham as she finds lust and love with Captain Lucius Wainwright, while the Book Club Belles read Austen's Sense and Sensibility.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Blog Tour: Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover by Sarah MacLean

 

Today we're hosting Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover by Sarah MacLean. This historical romance concludes her The Rules of Scoundrels series, and what a conclusion it is! Trust me when I say that you do not want to miss this one! I've got all kinds of goodies today - a review, an excerpt and I'm also hooking you up with Avon's giveaway!

For the rest of the stops on the tour, check out Tasty Book Tours.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Waistcoats & Weaponry by Gail Carriger

The Basics:
Waistcoats & Weaponry by Gail Carriger
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Book Three in the Finishing School series.
Steampunk, YA
Published November 4, 2014
Source: Received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Amazon Kobo Goodreads

Why I picked up this book:

Gail Carriger. Love love love.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A Pair of Reviews: Seducing the Girl Next Door and The Movie Star's Red Hot Holiday Fling

Today I'm reviewing a pair of novellas from Entangled's Indulgence line.

Seducing the Girl Next Door by Inara Scott, from her Bencher family series.
Amazon Kobo

When Jenna Kellington was fourteen, her first high school boyfriend—her first love—moved away. Now a divorced mom, she never expected to see Simon Hastings again...until a business trip to China brings them face-to-face, and their connection explodes beyond her wildest fantasies.

When he was young, Simon swore he would never be like his father, moving from place to place and never settling down. As a billionaire venture capitalist, however, he's every bit the wanderer, never tying himself down. Seeing Jenna again reminds him of who he once was, even as their old spark intensifies into very adult desire. With every touch, every caress, Simon teaches Jenna how to let go. To own her own pleasure.

He wasn't supposed to fall in love. Neither was she...

And second:

The Movie Star's Red Hot Holiday Fling by Christine Glover, from her Sweetbriar Springs series.

Amazon Kobo

One dare and he'll lose his heart...

Determined to qualify for the fire department's grueling physical, former marine Jessie Sullivan never gives up, despite the pins in her leg. The last thing she needs is a tall, incredibly hot action movie star sharing her gym...and who makes her want to trade in her reps for some sexy physical activity. Of the naked kind.

Blake Johnston is more than just a Big Screen Sex Machine, and he's willing to prove it. Especially to a spirited and sexy ex-marine like Jessie. But when a harmless dare leads to sizzling fireworks, Jessie and Blake's workout ends up generating some serious heat between the sheets. And it's more than Jessie could have imagined. Much, much more.

But flings don't last forever. And in two weeks, Jessie will have to say goodbye to her red-hot Christmas fantasy...


Monday, November 24, 2014

Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers

The Basics:
Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers
Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Book Two in the His Fair Assassin Trilogy
Published April 2, 2013
Source: Received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Amazon Kobo Goodreads

Why I picked up this book:

I read Grave Mercy a few years ago and really enjoyed it.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Blog Tour: Flirting With Love by Melissa Foster






After a week of flu induced silence, I'm so thrilled to break it with today's tour stop for Melissa Foster's Flirting with Love! The tenth book in Foster's The Bradens series and the eighteenth in her larger Love in Bloom series, I came to it fresh. Having never read Foster before, I didn't know what to expect. So very glad I signed up to tour this book because man oh man is this one good! I've already picked up the first two books in the series so I can catch up!

For the rest of the stops on the tour, check out Tasty Book Tours.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Where There's a Will by Stacy Gail

The Basics:
Where There's a Will by Stacy Gail
Carina Press
Book Four in the Bitterthorn, Texas series
Romance
Published November 17, 2014
Source: Received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Amazon Kobo Goodreads

Why I picked up this book:

I love Carina Press and the opportunity to review one of their titles was a no-brainer!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Blog Tour: The Shocking Secret of a Guest at the Wedding by Victoria Alexander




Today I'm thrilled to be hosting a tour spot for Victoria Alexander's The Shocking Secret of a Guest at the Wedding. Published by Zebra / Kensington, Shocking Secret was released on November 4th. It's the fourth book in the Millworth Manor series, and upfront, let me say that it confirms my decision to auto-buy Victoria Alexander. She's one of my go-to historical romance authors for very good reason!

For the rest of the stops on the tour, check out Tasty Book Tours.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Blog Tour: Catch Me When I Fall by Vicki Leigh




We're taking a look at the intriguing Catch Me When I Fall by Vicki Leigh and published by Curiosity Quills Press. Released on October 23rd, this YA-paranormal romance merges the creepy and the sweet. 

I'm thrilled to be hosting a spot on the blog tour - check out Curiosity Quills for all the other stops.

Let's take a closer look at the book!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Flu

Hey folks!

I absolutely hate missing a review day, but my house is being fondly referred to as 'the plague house' right now. Between my husband and daughter coming down with pinkeye last week (Thursday/Wednesday), and then my husband getting the flu.... and then yesterday my son (who is not yet 18 months old) also got pinkeye, and I started to get a sore throat which escalated across the day.

Needless to say that I've been unfortunately, crazily busy and am now crashing. I'm committed to some review tour dates tomorrow and Friday, and then another on the 21st, but I suspect the blog will be 'closed' for the early part of next week. Hopefully I can keep up the reading, and drafting of reviews so that once I'm feeling better, I can double-post some of this backlog (it's the thought of editing and formatting that makes my head throb!)

Here's hoping that you and your family stay nice and healthy! 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Someday Maybe by Ophelia London

The Basics:
Someday Maybe by Ophelia London
Entangled: Embrace
Book 2 in the Definitely Maybe series
New Adult, Romance
Published October 20, 2014
Source: Received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Amazon Kobo

Why I picked up this book:

I really liked the first book in the series.

Blurb:

Some guys are impossible to forget.

Rachel Daughtry has a 10-year plan that leaves no room for mistakes. Or not-so-serious boys—including Oliver Wentworth, the freshman boyfriend she's never forgotten. Now she's back in San Francisco with an awesome-slash-scary new job. Unfortunately, The Plan doesn't cover things like meeting her best friend's new “secret” guy...Oliver.

Fortunately, no one knows that Rachel and Oliver were ever together, and endless bikini wax torture couldn't make Rachel hurt her friend. But it's killing Rachel. She's not over him. Not even a little. And as her 10-year-plan crumbles around her, Rachel realizes that maybe—just maybe—Oliver feels the same way.

Now Rachel is on the verge of losing all control. And her best friend. And the love of her life...

My thoughts:

I cannot talk about Someday Maybe without talking about the first book in the series. I loved Definitely, Maybe in Love when I read it last year. I love Pride and Prejudice and I thought London's adaptation was excellent.

Unfortunately for Someday Maybe, I've never read Persuasion, which I gather is Austen's tale of love lost and found again. So it didnt come with that added boost of joy as I compared storylines and anticipated moments and so forth.

So... Rachel and Oliver both seemed like pretty honest characters. Rachel had made some poor decisions and was trapped by them, but she didn't *want* to hurt anyone. She was also conscious of the fact that she'd kind of sucked when it came to handling Oliver and her relationship during freshman year, and that made me like her even more. Making a mistake and realizing you've made it and regretting it are all good character development things in my book.

Oliver was a bit harder to get a fix on, manly because I missed having Oliver's perspective - the back and forth of perspectives by chapter in so many new adult books has really spoiled me! Having to be more clever than our heroine and read into his actions? Geez! Maybe I'm becoming a lazy reader.... Regardless, he seemed like a good guy, and I'd kind of like to spend more time with him in future books in the series, to get to know him better.

One thing I didn't really buy into was the friendship with Meghan - Meghan didn't seem like a particularly great friend to me, and I was surprised by the lack of 'air-clearing' between these two. I'd like to think that such great friends would at least attempt to address things when things felt a little weird, right?

Now, story-wise (clearly secondary to characters for me), there's the present storyline and then flashbacks to tell us the story of Oliver and Rachel *before.* I did find that the flashbacks dragged a little - I didn't care so much exactly how things went down, as long as I had the gist of it. But I do think that overall, these bits were necessary to really develop the relationship between Oliver and Rachel in the present, so do power through them!

Bottom line:

Someday Maybe is a solid contemporary romance. It was a relief to read a new adult without the characteristic uber-angst - sometimes the parade of damaged characters in this genre can be exhausting! 

I can't really speak to it as an adaptation of Persuasion but I can say that overall, I found the book pretty entertaining!

4 stars
For fans of Ophelia London, new adult, contemporary romance, second chance at love stories.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Draw Me In by Regina Cole

The Basics:
Draw Me In by Regina Cole
Flirt
New Adult, Romance
Published November 4, 2014
Source: Received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Amazon Kobo

Why I picked up this book:

Blurb! 


Friday, November 7, 2014

Shadow Heart by Pamela Taeuffer

The Basics:
Shadow Heart by Pamela Taeuffer
Open Heart Press
Book One in the Broken Bottle series
New Adult, Romance
Published February 1, 2014
Source: Received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Amazon Goodreads

Why I picked up this book:

I was intrigued by the blurb, and I liked the image of the stone heart breaking open on the cover.


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Made for You by Lauren Layne

The Basics:
Made for You by Lauren Layne
Forever
Book Two in The Best Mistake series
Contemporary Romance
Source: Received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Published October 28, 2014
Amazon Kobo
Why I picked up this book:
I'm a Lauren Layne fan.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Blog Tour: Zhukov's Dogs by Amanda Cyr


Today I'm spotlighting Amanda Cyr's Zhukov's Dogs, a New Adult, science-fiction tale from Curiosity Quills Press. Released on October 27th, 2014, I absolutely love the gorgeous cover on this book. Let's take a closer look at what's on the pages beyond it...

Monday, November 3, 2014

Blog Tour: Riot by Jamie Begley



If you love a good bad boy, I suspect that my stop on Jamie Begley's Riot Virtual Book Tour is the place for you! Released on October 21st, 2014 through Young Ink Press, this book embraces the bad boy by pairing a teacher with the president of a motorcycle club. I've got lots of material here to tantalize you

For all the stops on Riot's Virtual Book Tour, check out Tasty Book Tours.

Blog Hop: My Worst Nightmare


Today is Vicki Leigh's "My Worst Nightmare" blog hop. Released on October 23rd by Curiosity Quills, Catch Me When I Fall is a YA paranormal romance that I'm very excited to read in the next couple days!

Participants are required to post about their worst nightmare, and what form the clawed, red-eyed creatures (from Catch Me When I Fall) would take if they fed off your fears. You are absolutely welcome to join in now -Follow this link to inlinkz to join up!

At the end of the blog tour, November 14th, Vicki will pick one participant at random, and award them with Catch Me When I Fall Swag Pack, containing a dreamcatcher hand-made by Vicki.

Here's my worst nightmare:

The red-eyed creatures would take the form of people telling me 'no' or getting angry with me. I'm not great with conflict, so being yelled at really makes me freeze up (fortunately not a common occurrence in my life!). But maybe even worse than that, I have a really hard time when people tell me no - when they tell me I can't do something or I shouldn't be doing something, or decline when I ask for something. And truly, I think I'm more afraid of the possibility of it, than that it's actually happened and been awful.  

So, there you have it, my brand of social anxiety manifested as a worst nightmare!  

Come back on the 13th of November when I host a spot on the Catch Me When I Fall blog tour - I'll have an excerpt and a review for you!

About Catch Me When I Fall:

Recruited at his death to be a Protector of the Night, seventeen-year-old Daniel Graham has spent two-hundred years fighting Nightmares and guarding humans from the clawed, red-eyed creatures that feed off people’s fears. Each night, he risks his eternal life, having given up his chance at an afterlife when he chose to become a Protector. That doesn’t stop a burnt-out Daniel from risking daring maneuvers during each battle. He’s become one of the best, but he wants nothing more than to stop.

Then he’s given an assignment to watch over sixteen-year-old Kayla Bartlett, a clinically depressed patient in a psychiatric ward. Nightmares love a human with a tortured past. Yet, when they take a deep interest in her, appearing in unprecedented numbers, the job becomes more dangerous than any Daniel’s ever experienced. He fights ruthlessly to keep the Nightmares from overwhelming his team and Kayla. Soon, Daniel finds himself watching over Kayla during the day, drawn to why she’s different, and what it is about her that attracts the Nightmares. And him.

A vicious attack on Kayla forces Daniel to break the first Law and reveal his identity. Driven by his growing feelings for her, he whisks her away to Rome where others like him can keep her safe. Under their roof, the Protectors discover what Kayla is and why someone who can manipulate Nightmares has her in his sights. But before they can make a move, the Protectors are betrayed and Kayla is kidnapped. Daniel will stop at nothing to save her. Even if it means giving up his immortality.

Find Catch Me When I Fall Online:

About Vicki Leigh:


Adopted at three-days-old by a construction worker and a stay-at-home mom, Vicki Leigh grew up in a small suburb of Akron, Ohio where she learned to read by the age of four and considered being sent to her room for punishment as an opportunity to dive into another book. By the sixth grade, Vicki penned her first, full-length screenplay. If she couldn’t be a writer, Vicki would be a Hunter (think Dean and Sam Winchester) or a Jedi. Her favorite place on earth is Hogwarts (she refuses to believe it doesn’t exist), and her favorite dreams include solving cases alongside Sherlock Holmes.
Vicki is an editor for Month9Books and Curiosity Quills Press, an intern at TriadaUS Literary agency, and is represented by Sarah Negovetich of Corvisiero Literary Agency.

Find Vicki Leigh Online:



Check out these participants:
Victoria Biram at Scribblings of an Aspiring Author | Vicki Keire at Vicki Keire Writes |                     Chelsea at To Each Their Own Reviews | Sarit at Coffee Books & Art                             

The Temp by Emily Benet

The Basics:
The Temp by Emily Benet
HarperImpulse
Romance, Chick Lit
Published Octoober 23, 2014
Source: Received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Amazon

Why I picked up this book:

It sounded light and fluffy and fun!


Friday, October 31, 2014

Book Tour: Embers by Karen Ann Hopkins



I'm so excited to be hosting one of today's stops on Karen Ann Hopkins' Embers Virtual Book Tour. Released October 21st, 2014 Embers kicks off The Wings of War series with a bang!

For all the stops on Embers's Virtual Book Tour, check out Kismet Book Touring.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Penumbra by Keri Arthur

The Basics:
Penumbra by Keri Arthur
Dell
Book 3 in the Spook Squad Series
Urban Fantasy
Re-released October 2014
Source: Received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Why I picked up this book:

I had to see how the trilogy ended!

Blurb:

Agent Sam Ryan is sick of feeling lonely. It?s time to take control and get a life outside of work. But Stephan, her boss, won?t let her go easily. Offered the choice between guarding a clone, or remaining stuck in her office, Sam reluctantly accepts the former, even though she suspects Stephan is using her as bait to draw out the dangerous Sethanon. Gabriel is relieved to discover he?s finally shaken Sam as his partner, until he learns her new assignment is guarding Wetherton. He and Stephan know Wetherton could only have come from Hopeworth, the base involved in DNA experiments for decades, where it is more than likely that Sam was created. But there is a growing likelihood that the military base is also the home of Sethanon himself. Gabriel is determined to protect her, yet all too soon he discovers the connection between he and Sam is far deeper than anyone could ever have imagined.

My thoughts:

Penumbra is an entertaining, quick read that provides a mixed results ending to the trilogy. Why mixed results?  Well, I think some threads are left open, but I'll get to that in a moment.

It seems to me that the entire Spook Squad trilogy was planned at the same time, whether or not it was written that way. I really think that you could read them all in a row (the way that I did, albeit with pausing briefly to write some notes for my reviews) and it would feel almost like a single, larger book - or, you know, a normal-length fantasy novel. 

So, the most important part for my enjoyment - the romance. Sam and Gabriel have been dancing around a hook-up since book one. We know there's some crazy chemistry between these two - so crazy that they feel when the other is injured. This book does provide some answers, and does resolve the "will they, won't they?" question. Was I satisfied? Not entirely, and here's why:

First, the psychic bond made me feel a little uncomfortable. Neither Gabriel nor Sam wants it, it's forced on them, they have no choice but to deal with it, and that makes them both feel penned in, and that's not cool. 

Second, there is an *epic* moment in this book that had me slow down and savour the words. This is the only time when I was reading this series that I wasn't flying through the words, compelled to read as fast as I could to get answers. Unfortunately, I didn't get the huge romantic pay-off that I wanted - so I'm extra glad I savoured this moment when it happened.

Third, there's definitely some willful blindness - as I said, it took Sam and Gabriel a bit longer than necessary to confirm some facts that seemed obvious to me as a reader. While I was willing to acknowledge that Sam was living in denial because she was, quite frankly, overwhelmed by everything that was happening, and she lacked any kind of support system, well, between that and Gabriel's deliberate walls around having a partner/getting close to Sam...  Yeah. I just wanted to shake everyone and say, guys! Let's stop being ostriches and deal with the world!

Sam and Gabriel were still very kickass, and I was pretty engaged in the story itself. The action scenes were fantastic and I liked that Gabriel turned to shifting whenever it was appropriate - this wasn't a power that he forgot (conveniently or not) that he had. 

There were some cool revelations about the nature of this world in Penumbra too, which is awesome since it was the last in the trilogy. I loved that the worldbuilding continued and in ways that I found generally reasonable. That said, the stonewalling from Hopeworth created this space for the book to offer up some crazy powers and creatures without having to be too careful about explaining them. I wanted to spend time in the compound in the present, poking around.

Other than Hopeworth being still a bit of a blank, the other thread that was left dangling for me relates to the man who appeared in Sam's dreams in book two. I won't say anything more, but there were definitely openings for a fourth book. And some digging (okay, I just googled "Keri Arthur spook squad book 4") reveals that in a FAQ on Keri Arthur's website, she (I presume) acknowledges that there was a fourth book planned but because of the time and distance she'd had since writing in this world, the fourth book has been scrapped. I find this really disappointing because there's some material left up in the air, and I'd love to see all the developments at the end of book three pan out through a fourth book.

Bottom line:

Penumbra is a fun, final entry in the Spook Squad trilogy. It answered many of my questions while leaving the door open for a fourth book - a door shut by a FAQ on the author's website. My disappointment about the lack of additional books in the series should be evidence of how entertaining I found books 1-3 (rather than a suggestion that these were not satisfying on their own). I strongly recommend the trilogy - grab all three at once and binge read!

4.5 stars
For fans of urban fantasy, Spook Squad series.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Quick (and a few not so Quick) Romance Reviews

Quickie reviews today - some books that I enjoyed, some that I didn't. A lot of these are outstanding reviews that I wanted to get out there. Some are books I just didn't have much to say about, and a few others are ones that I didn't really enjoy for one reason or another and didn't want to have lingering in my review queue. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Xmas in October: Christmas at Tiffany's by Karen Swan

Presenting: Christmas in October!

Each day this week, I am reviewing a Christmas-themed book, reviewing how well the book embraces the holiday as well as giving my two cents on the book as a whole. Join me in celebrating the holiday a wee bit early and post your holiday book reviews to comments of any of this week's reviews!

The Book:

Basics


Christmas at Tiffany's by Karen Swan
Pan
Romance
Published November 18, 2011
Source: Received via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
Amazon Kobo Goodreads

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Xmas in October: Once Upon a Christmas Kiss by Manda Collins

Presenting: Christmas in October!

Each day this week, I will be reviewing a Christmas-themed book, reviewing how well the book embraces the holiday as well as giving my two cents on the book as a whole. Join me in celebrating the holiday a wee bit early and post your holiday book reviews to comments of any of this week's reviews!

The Book:

Basics


Once Upon a Christmas Kiss by Manda Collins
St Martin's
Book 3.5 in the Wicked Widows series
Historical Romance
Published October 14, 2014
Source: Received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Amazon Goodreads

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Xmas in October: Blame It on the Mistletoe by Nicole Michaels

Presenting: Christmas in October!

Each day this week, I will be reviewing a Christmas-themed book, reviewing how well the book embraces the holiday as well as giving my two cents on the book as a whole. Join me in celebrating the holiday a wee bit early and post your holiday book reviews to comments of any of this week's reviews!

The Book:


Basics


Blame It on the Mistletoe by Nicole Michaels
St Martin's
Contemporary Romance
Published October 14, 2014
Source: Received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Amazon Goodreads

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Trailer Reveal: The Book of Ivy by Amy Engel

Guys, I have to be honest, I've been avoiding requesting for review The Book of Ivy by Amy Engel. Quite frankly, I'm a bit overcommitted on reviews these days, but this book looks like something I could *really* love. So I keep going back and forth with myself on it. Well, the book trailer, which I'm helping reveal this week, is fantastic and completely convinced me that I have to buy this one.



Due to be released from Entangled Publishing on November 11, 2014, The Book of Ivy is a YA tale set in what sounds like a dystopic future. 

Check out the blurb:

After a brutal nuclear war, the United States was left decimated. A small group of survivors eventually banded together, but only after more conflict over which family would govern the new nation. The Westfalls lost. Fifty years later, peace and control are maintained by marrying the daughters of the losing side to the sons of the winning group in a yearly ritual.

This year, it is my turn.

My name is Ivy Westfall, and my mission is simple: to kill the president’s son—my soon-to-be husband—and return the Westfall family to power.

But Bishop Lattimer is either a very skilled actor or he’s not the cruel, heartless boy my family warned me to expect. He might even be the one person in this world who truly understands me. But there is no escape from my fate. I am the only one who can restore the Westfall legacy.


Because Bishop must die. And I must be the one to kill him…