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Friday, August 19, 2016

REVIEW: Tyler's Undoing by L.P.Dover

This first in Dover's Gloves Off series.  Tyler Rushing is one of the UFC's top heavyweight fighters.  Sexy and with memorable ring prowess, he's ready to claim the fame he deserves.  Tyler's never had a problem getting the women he's wanted, until Kacey Andrews.  When she walks through the door of his gym, Tyler is instantly enamored but there's just one glitch, Kacey doesn't want anything to do with him.

Kacey weathers the storm of someone far older. Estranged from her mother and brother, she also cares for her dying grandmother. Roped into visiting a local gym, Kacey is intrigued by and attracted to Tyler but fights these feelings, especially since her brother Kyle is his greatest foe. The real question is whether this secret will undo their relationship or bring about even more complications.

Not a bad first in the series but the writing and story were just 'ok' for me.  The plot and character development are pretty predictable. Tyler can be charming but also a hot headed, testosterone laden jerk.  Kacey is mature in a lot of ways but all too naive and the victim in others. Kyle is the stereotypical evil rival but he might have redemption potential in a future book.

The audiobook was so-so.  I'd probably read others in the series but I'm not in a big hurry.

Final rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Follow the author on Twitter: @LPDover

#romance #UFC #MMA #realisticfiction #audiobook #glovesoff

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

REVIEW: Never Never by Colleen Hoover & Tarryn Fisher

Authors Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher team up for an intriguing three part series in Never Never.  In part one, readers meet Charlie and Silas, best friends since infancy and in love since they were 14.  All that changes when they become literal strangers, each suffering paralyzing memory gaps. They work to piece the puzzle together, learning that this has happened before and desperate to find clues before it happens again.

I adored this first part.  The characters are interesting and the mystery sets the tone for readers wanting to continue and discover what is causing the memory lapse.  This isn't a conventional story by any means and I like that both Charlie and Silas learn that they aren't too happy with where their lives are going at the moment. It would be a powerful wake up call if we all got a second chance to evaluate our lives from a truly anonymous POV.

The best part of this is the cliffhanger ending!

In part two, their memories have reset again and only Silas has a clue as to who he is after luckily stumbling upon notes he and Charlie have left for their amnesiac selves. With Charlie missing, Silas is determined to find her.

Meanwhile, Charlie wakes up and is held captive in a strange place with no idea who she is nor who the handsome boy haunting her drug induced dreams might be.  Her survivals instincts kick in as she dares to escape.

I enjoyed this one as well but wished for a bit more detail. Charlie being held hostage intrigued me but there was a lack of progression to the overall story. I wanted more focus and clarity. However, I did think that Silas shines in this second part.  He's headstrong and determined but also starting to grow as he learns more about his past and how he might change his future.

Silas might have found Charlie but their mission isn't over. Together again, they pool their resources to discover what might be causing the memory lapses.  An eye opening visit with Charlie's incarcerated father sheds some light on recent happenings as does a new development with Silas' memories. Having discovered what they hope is the key toward ending the cycle, Silas and Charlie spend time together and wait for the clock to strike that fateful hour.

In general, I loved the concept of Never Never but I was let down at the end.  Why?  There wasn't much attention to detail or follow through with some of the storytelling and narrative potential. I wanted more 'meat' to the story and if some major happenings aren't relevant to the end game, then don't include them.

Overall, it is an enjoyable read but with some flaws. I did like the ending and would read more about these characters if it was published.

Final rating (overall): 4 out of 5 stars

Follow the authors on Twitter:  @colleenhoover @Tarryn_Fisher

#nevernever #colleenhoover #tarrynfisher #romance #mystery #amnesia

Saturday, August 6, 2016

REVIEW: It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

Growing up in a small town in Maine, Lily Bloom's life wasn't always easy.  Her father might have been the mayor, but he also spent years emotionally and physically abusing her mother.  Lily great up with terror and hate in her heart.  One bright spot yet filled with melancholy was Atlas, a homeless boy from school with whom she grows particularly close. And yet, even their relationship ends with heartbreak but Lily just can't quite forget him.

Skip forward nine years, Lily lives in Boston and works in marketing but it isn't her passion.  One night following the funeral of her father, she meet Ryle Kincaid, a dashing neurosurgeon. Each hurting, they share several naked truths but part ways.  However, fate intervenes, bringing the two together again. Lily thinks that life just might be too good to be true...and it is.

Much happens in a short period of time.  Lily begins a relationship with Ryle, only to have Atlas pop back into her life.  She's ready to move on; however, jealousy and other behaviors begin to paint a dangerous picture of Ryle.  Soon Lily becomes the type of woman she swore never to be--lying about abuse and convincing herself to stay because each time Ryle swears it will never happen again.

This is the type of book that left me with conflicting emotions.  I spent most of the book shouting aloud and furious with the characters.  In its favor, that means that I was highly engaged with with lives of these characters.  On the flip side, Ryle is a douche. I hate him with a fiery passion but he has a few redeeming moments but needs to seriously own up to his issues AND continue intensive therapy.

Lily's characterization is very realistic of someone who has grown up in an abusive household, promising that she won't follow the same path, only to find herself in the same situation. During these moments of indecision I was very frustrated. However, there is redemption and an emotional maturity once she has the "it ends with us" epiphany.  I liked the ending and that Lily and Atlas seemed to finally come full circle in each of their lives so that they can really have a shot at forever.

Overall, It Ends With Us isn't my favorite Hoover novel to date.  That award still goes to Hopeless; however, this is still an engaging new adult 'romance' with an important message.

Final rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Follow the author on Twitter:  @colleenhoover

#ItEndsWithUs #allthefeels #fightdomesticabuse

Friday, August 5, 2016

REVIEW: Unraveled by Jennifer Estep

*Thanks to Netgalley and Pocket Books for an ARC in exchange for a fair review*

Expected publication: August 30, 2016

Reader favorite Gin Blanco is back for this 15th installment of the Elemental Assassin series.  Following the end of Bitter Bite, Gin learns that there is still a greater power, The Circle, calling the shots in Ashland and that prior to her death, Gin's mother was a member. 

Determined to learn the truth, The Spider in on the hunt for answers. Conveniently, her foster brother Finnegan Lane finds himself the new owner of Bullet Pointe, an Old West theme park willed to him by his murderous witch of a mother, Deidre Shaw. 

What starts as a weekend getaway and some cheesy fun, soon turns dangerous with far too many shady coincidences plus appearances by a known Circle member and a few wily assassins. It is a good thing our favorite Spider knows to bring plenty of knives to a gunfight.

Unraveled is another exciting romp in the series.  Fans are in store for an intriguing plot, much beloved characters, humor, great villains and plenty of adventure.  Gin remains one of my favorite urban fantasy heroines --the assassin with a heart of gold (well, mostly --lol). I love her skill, humor, and humanity when it counts but also her ruthlessness when those she loves are threatened. One true gem in this story is her attire during the one epic showdown.  I don't think anything could beat the Spider being all stealthy dressed as a corseted saloon girl. PRICELESS!

I wish there'd been a bit more Owen, but overall this was a great read.  I can't wait for the next revelations in Snared as Gin prepared to face another foe--especially one who ordered the murder of her family.

Final rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Follow the author on Twitter: @Jennifer_Estep

#elementalassassin #Unraveled #urbanfantasy #stabstabstab #darkhumor #assassins #mystery #netgalley

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

REVIEW: Where the Wild Things Bite by Molly Harper

This is the latest Half-Moon Hollow entry by Harper. Readers will laugh and delighted by this new book.  Supernatural rare book specialist Anna Winthorp is all set to deliver her precious cargo to fan fave Jane Jamison in Half-Moon Hollow, Kentucky.  Too bad her plane is highjacked by the pilot who plans to snatch the prized book for his employers, a group of shapeshifters clamoring to have their mitts on the rare and valuable text.

Stranded in the wilderness with hot vampire, Finn, Anna's only goal is to survive and look at unappetizing to this stranger as possible. Determined to find civilization and find Jane, Anna hopes to remain as unscathed as possible both as Finn's snack or fighting her growing feelings toward his charms.

Fan of Harper won't be disappointed. The story is great, building on new characters with plenty of dimension plus bringing back beloved book friends for some new adventures.  The dialogue is stellar and snarky. I love her flawed, quirky heroines that discover a sense of self and independence plus a little hot romance along the way. Finn is dashing and adorable in his con-man ways.

Where the Wild Things Bite is another audiobook treat from Amanda Ronconi.  Amazing performance that will have listeners engaged, laughing and begging for more!

Final rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Follow the author on Twitter: @mollyharperauth

#WhereTheWildThingsBite #mollyharper #amandaronconi #halfmoonhollow #paranormalromance #humor #vampires