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Friday, September 16, 2016

Read All the Things - Reading Recap!!! Vol 1

I am woefully behind on my reviews since my new job is keeping me more than busy.  While I haven't been officially posting reviews, I have been reading a lot.  This post is my attempt at catching up, so here we go!!!

Confess, one of Colleen Hoover's I'd been dying to read but never had. Auburn Reed thought she had her life mapped out until her first love tragically dies of cancer.  Skip forward a few years and nothing has worked out as she'd planned; however, she has a goal in mind so that her life gets back on track.  What she doesn't plan for is walking in a Dallas art studio, immediately getting a job and falling for artistic hottie, Owen Gentry. He has some major secrets and he fears the outcome once Auburn learns to truth.  That said, Auburn has some confessions of her own.

What I liked about this book is the whole notion of confessions and how they frame the narrative, both from the main characters confession to each other as well as other character confessions and how Owen's own artwork reflects this theme.  Readers are in for a treat with the additional artistic element of this book.  Don't miss out on nabbing a print copy vs. the audio so that you see the glorious pictures.

Final rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Fallon, a former child star, scarred in a horrible fire, meets aspiring writer, Ben on November 9, just as he swoops in and saves her from yet another uncomfortable outing with her father. She's scheduled a cross-country move for the following day in hopes to rekindle her acting career.  There's an immediate attraction which leads the two to spend her last day in LA together.  Before long, Ben decides to use Fallon and their meeting for the creative inspiration to his novel.  They decide that they'll each meet up on November 9th.

Over time and tribulations, their relationship grows until Fallon begins to suspect that Ben has been less than truthful.  What matters is if they can move past these hurdles to build something long lasting and truthful or if lies will drive them apart.

I enjoyed this one as well but not as much as Confess.  I found myself wanting to shake Fallon and maybe smack her a bit during some of the narrative, the same with Ben; however, that is the mark of good character depictions since I was obviously invested.  I was rather surprised by the twist and enjoyed the ending. What I continue to adore about CoHo is her unique writing perspectives often not explored by other authors.  Also, I loved the character tie-in to Ugly Love, so wasn't expecting that!

Final rating: 4 out of 4 stars

The Marriage Merger is the 4th in the Married to a Billionaire series.  Julietta is a top executive running her successful family business.  She's watcher her family find their true loves, but that doesn't seem to be in the cards for her until she meets Sawyer Wells, the devastatingly handsome and sexy man who lures her out of hiding with an irresistible offer: an exclusive partnership with his international chain of boutique hotels. Julietta will find that she can't pass up the business offer nor that chance as real seduction. Perhaps what neither expected was for each to be the 'one.'

This is a fun and sexy contemporary romance.  There is a little paranormal flair since a spell is supposed to have led Julietta to her ideal man. Engaging characters and good pacing were enough to keep me interested and entertained.

Final rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Julie & Julia is the inspiration for the film released several years ago.  Blogger Julie Powell, faced with a bit of a life crisis endeavored to tackled the classic recipes of Julia Child and blog about these adventures and missteps.  What came out of the process was more than culinary prowess but also an exploration of self awareness, food, friends and family.

I enjoyed the audiobook also narrated by Powell.  This is a great memoir and is very funny.  I'd recommend this to anyone who enjoyed the film as well as readers of Bloggess, Jenny Lawson. There is a similarity in tone and humor.

Final rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Forever With You is the 5th in Armentrout's With You series.  This is Stephanie and Nick's chance at love.  Having just moved to town, Stephanie is instantly attracted to Nick. After their initial hook up, both are eager to try to be friends even if it is uncharted territory. An unexpected secret binds them together, giving them each what they didn't know they wanted until tragedy takes it all away.

Fans of the series won't be disappointed.  Good characters and plot if at times a tad predictable. Definitely good sexy angst.  Highlights include a glimpse into the next book and characters plus cameos from series favs.

Final rating:  4 out of 5 stars

Book 9 of The League explores the story of Dagger. While he might use this name now, others remember him as Tiziran Jullien Eton Anatole the villain we love to hate. Since his banishment, life has been hard but things look up when he meets Tavali Admiral Ushara Altaan, especially when he saves her only son from a kidnapping.

However, in typical Kenyon fashion there aren't any kittens or rainbows until Dagger/Jullien shares his troubled past, finds acceptance in the arms of the woman he loves and comes full circle with his host of inner and outer demons. By the end, he's taken out his enemies, made up with his twin brother Nyk and ready to live life to the fullest and take out the League.

Born of Legend is what I expected but it was way too long, drawn out and was in dire need of an editor.  Much could have been summarized and reworked so that the finished product was far less than 736 pages.  I'll keep on with the series but this wasn't particularly special. I will continue to hold out for Nero's book.

Final rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Betsy the Vampire Queen is back in Undead and Unforgiven.  She's still in charge of Hell and quite frankly having a helluva time figuring things out. Good thing she has her friends and husband to help her out.  Too bad that her father and half sister (aka The Antichrist) have outed vampires to the whole world and now everyone is out to get Betsy. Now our favorite shoe obsessed vampire has to navigate the challenge of being the face of the vampire nation.

Not my favorite book of the series but still fun.  Truthfully, I'm ready for the series to wrap up; I think it is time.  At this point, I look forward to the secondary characters more than Betsy herself.

Final rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Trouble in High Heels follows recent law graduate Brandi Michaels. Having moved to be closer to her fiance, she learns he's been cheating and has eloped with his now pregnant girlfriend to Vegas. Brandi does what any self respecting woman would do, she pawns the ring, goes on a shopping spree, hits the spa and finds a sexy man to distract her.

However, her weekend fling turns out to be her new client, molten hot Count Roberto Bartolini and also suspected jewel thief.  With a mystery afoot and someone aiming to take out Brandi, she'll have to figure out who to trust, solve the case and take another chance on love.

I found this by accident when looking for audiobooks narrated by Amanda Ronconi. It was an enjoyable romantic suspense.

Final rating: 3 out of 5 stars

I chose Down the Rabbit Hole for curiousity and my yearly challenge of reading a book by a celebrity.  I was pleasantly surprised by the book and thought the audio read by Holly Madison was well done.  I always take memoirs with a grain of salt but I tend to believe Madison's account of the Bunny Mansion and the time she served as Girlfield #1 to Hugh Hefner.  Despite the glamorous portrayals on television, there was a dark side to the tale.

I admire Madison's truthfulness and ability to share her experience, especially the dark times as well as what she learned about the industry and herself along the way.

Final rating: 4 out of 5 stars

The yearly reading list also calls for a political memoir and another book about politics in a particular country.  Both not my cup 'o tea, so I improvised.  These two Stephen Colbert entries are unique and hilarious satires.  Definitely check out the audio for these, they are well done and highly entertaining.

Final rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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