Monday, March 30, 2015

Review ~ Spend the Night Episode 2 ~ Elizabeth Lee

Spend the Night II (The Hotel Collection, #2)Spend the Night Episode 2
The Hotel Collection 
Release Date: February 3, 2015
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.
Rating: 3.5 Bookworms
Goodreads

Synopsis
This is the second episode of the Spend the Night serial.

Someone's playing a deadly game...

Two men vying for your attention--seems like every girl's dream come true. For Hannah Wellesley, the dream has become a nightmare. As she continues to navigate her feelings to determine which man she truly belongs with--the first love who's become her current business rival or the enticing new chef who's testing her sexual limits at every turn--a new set of problems presents itself. One that includes a breach in hotel security that has her fearing for her own safety and the reputation of the Wellesley-Crawford.

Soon she finds herself playing a dangerous game of cat and mouse that might just cost her everything she's worked for--and maybe even her life.



If you missed me review of Spend the Night Episode 1, you can read it here.

***

And the mystery continues...

Lee kept me in the dark in this second installment. The story continues to be told in dual POV between Hannah and 'Him'. Here we see how Hannah has slipped from being driven and organized to being consumed by the confusion she feels over Trent and Carter as well as the fear over whoever is stalking her. Through the POV of 'Him' we get little clues as to who might be Hannah's stalker, but I readily admit that I vacillated between thinking 'it's him"... "no, it's him". And honestly, I can't figure it out.

I love a story that keeps me guessing and Spend the Night delivers on that point. I do wish I knew each character a bit better but with the guys, I'm sure that's intentional. The background we get on Hannah makes her more relatable but I do think that what we've seen of her in this installment doesn't reconcile with how she was originally described. Of course, all she's had thrown at her recently is probably enough to knock any career-minded women off her game.

The mystery and suspense are the real draw. And I'm anxious to put the puzzle together.




2015 Bookish Resolutions Update ~ Where Did March Go?

Bookish Resolution Challenge


Laura @Trips Down Imagination Lane and Michelle @Because Reading are the lovely hosts of this challenge. You can click the button above for all the details.

***

My 2015 Bookish Resolutions are:

  • Improve my Netgalley Rating (started at 15.2%)
  • Listen to one audio book per quarter.
  • Write more discussion posts and/or create some fun features for my blog.

***


I made solid progress on 1 of my resolutions this month...and semi-progress on 1. 

Where did March go? Seriously?!? I don't know why this month got away from me, but it certainly did. And my lack of progress is proof! Again, I didn't get any books from Netgalley read this month, so I remain at 16%. I reiterate that I *must* do better so I can get my rating up! I am planning to participate in Kimba's Clean Sweep Challenge in May (Caffeinated Book Reviewer), so I hope to make HUGE progress then.

I'm still listening to the same audio book - Never Seduce a Scot by Maya Banks. Since, for right now, I only listen while doing household chores, I'm not making much progress. Yes, that does mean I don't do a lot of cleaning! *haha* I will try to add in listening when I'm cooking or folding laundry...we'll see.

As for discussion posts/fun features, I continued posting my monthly Travel by the Book post as well as my Beyond the Books posts. I also came up with a discussion post idea so be watching for that in April. 


Overall, I'm pretty happy with my progress - although it could be better. We'll see if I can make even more progress on all 3 resolutions next month. How are y'all doing towards goals you set for this year?

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Bought, Borrowed, & Bagged ~ #60


Bought, Borrowed, & Bagged is a weekly meme, hosted by TalkSupe, where I share with you the books I have bought, borrowed, or bagged (gifted or won) plus a recap of the previous week's reviews, upcoming reviews, and any other bookishness I want to share. :)


***

We've been on Spring Break this week - well, the kids have been - and it's been a great week! We've hiked and skiied (we went from 50 degrees and sunny one day to 20 and snowing the next!) and relaxed. They don't go back to school until Tuesday of next week, so we have a few more days to enjoy! I hope y'all have had a wonderful week as well!! :)


I only one-clicked 2 freebies this week. And I can't do any finger pointing...unless I blame Naomi (@Nomi's Paranormal Palace) for bringing Mary Ting's series to my attention. ;) 


Here's what was added to my ereader library this week:


BOUGHT
*Freebies*
From Gods (Descendant Prophecies, #1)Dead Radiance (Valkyrie, #1)





Bagged
Getting Lucky Number SevenEverything (Songbird, #3)

Image result for amazon gift card

I received Getting Lucky Number Seven and Everything for review.  I'm really excited to read Cindi Madsen for the first time. One of my favorite 'retired' bloggers loved Madsen's books. I'm anxious to read Everything as I've enjoyed the two previous books in the Songbird series. 
I won a $5 GC from Trisha Wolfe! Thanks!!



Last Week's Reviews

Upcoming Reviews
All Night Long by Madelynne Ellis
Bite Me by CC Wood
Spend the Night Volumes 2 & 3 by Elizabeth Lee

Saturday, March 28, 2015

My TBR List Review ~ Rush ~ Nyrae Dawn


Rush
Rush
Release Date: May 6, 2014
Genre: New Adult, M/M Romance
Source: I purchased a paperback from Nyrae @The Emerald City Author Event last June
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms
Goodreads

SynopsisFor the love of the game.

Brandon Chase has always defined himself by one thing: football. Tough and athletic, he is a great college player who enjoys the hard hits and the sweaty grind of the gridiron. But when Brandon is injured, only one person can help him get back on track-a forbidden love he's desperately tried to put behind him.

Alec Andrews has never quite forgiven Brandon for walking away when their friendship turned into something more. But he can't deny help to one of his closest friends. As the two spend the long, hot summer working together, their old attraction comes flooding back.

Now as Alec thinks about coming out to his conservative family and Brandon considers revealing he's a gay football player, the two men must be strong to fight for a love that could be the greatest rush of their lives.


"Love always wins"

To all y'all who voted for Rush, thanks for making me ugly cry! ;) Seriously though, this was a roller coaster ride of emotions. And an incredible story.

I don't want to get on a soapbox so I'll just say this one thing -- we all should be allowed to love whoever we love without fear of repercussions, without fear of losing our families -- just WITHOUT.FEAR. Okay, rant over.

Alec and Brandon first meet the summer they are 14 and 15. At first, their friendship is mostly based on football. But the next summer, their friendship evolves into something more. Even though they fear there's something wrong with them. Even though they fear it's wrong. Even though they fear losing everything. Eventually, Brandon walks away from what's between them because he can't lose the only thing he believes he's good at -- football. Following an injury that could have killed him, Brandon goes back to Virginia -- back to Alex -- to try to become the guy who deserves Alec.

Witnessing these guys work their way back to one another was beautiful and inspiring...when they were alone. Seeing them have to hide their feelings for one another from everyone was heartbreaking. Wrestling with the decision to come out -- at least to their parents, was tough to see. I couldn't imagine being so fearful that your parents would be disappointed or might even disown you for being who you are. I wasn't particularly impressed with either guys' parents but one set made me proud while the other made me cringe. And on top of struggling with the decision to come out to their families, they also fought over Brandon's unwillingness to out himself to his team.

Dawn did a phenomenal job of portraying a couple facing all the difficulties of navigating accepting their sexual orientation and all the issues that come along with it. And, in my opinion, she did it realistically. I liked the parallels Dawn drew in Brandon's feelings of being trapped by football and being trapped by his sexuality. It made me sad that Alec thought he could marry a girl and pretend to be normalBrandon and Alec were both very brave, even though they didn't believe it of themselves. Rush is a love story and it shouldn't matter that the MCs are both male. This couple goes through experiences any other couple does, and more. I'm thrilled to have traveled alongside them as they fought for the right to love who they loved and to live without fear.



Friday, March 27, 2015

Blog Tour, Excerpt, & Giveaway ~ Darkness Calling ~ Laurie Olerich



DARKNESS CALLING (Primani #5)
by Laurie Olerich
Dark Urban Fantasy Romance
Published on March 5th, 2015

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Finally freed from a century in purgatory, former-wild child Aisling just wants to raise her son and live as a normal human again. Her taste of freedom is cut short the moment her past comes to claim her. There’s one reason she was exiled, and his name is Cain. With him, there was only darkness, and the angels help her, she liked it that way. Now he’s back, and his commands are simple. Stay away from Sean or else. But when he threatens to take her son, she turns to the one man who can save them both. Sean.
Sean is sick and tired of his baby mama’s hateful attitude. Her mood swings give him whiplash, and he’s seriously thinking of strangling her. But when a brutal old enemy shows up to destroy everyone Sean loves, he discovers Aisling is hiding more than her feelings for him.
Joining forces to protect their son, Sean and Aisling set out on a journey that leads them from the city streets of Manhattan to the elegant hotels of Vienna to the final terrifying showdown in the bowels of Rome.

SPECIAL OFFER:
The first book in the series, Primani, is currently FREE!

EXCERPT
“Do it,” he whispered, eyes snapping open, mouth curled on one side. “Go on. Pull the trigger.”

His voice sent shivers racing across her skin, her heart pounding in her chest. Her hand shook. The muzzle tapped his skin once, twice, and a third time.

Yes. Do it. Just squeeze the trigger, and be done with it. Give him the justice he deserves. He used her. He betrayed her. He was a demon. Her plan was solid; her entrance professional. She was a killer. She was a professional. She made one mistake.

She looked into his eyes. 

His eyes gleamed with that eerie golden light, drawing her in, stripping her bare. He breathed easily even as her heart galloped in her chest and sweat ran from her palms. In one swift motion, he caught her gun hand. With eyes never leaving her face, he got to his feet. Grinding her knuckles together, he pushed the gun downward until her arm was wrenched behind her back. Nudging her thigh with his, he walked her backwards until he crowded her against the wall. The steel of the pistol bit deep into the small of her back, but she’d rip her arm off before crying out. He had taken too much already.

He was so close she felt the heat of his skin, the hum of his power, and the bulge of his erection. He smiled at the exact moment she realized he was hard for her. The voice in her head screamed in terror even as liquid pooled between her legs.

“You should’ve pulled the trigger,” he murmured as his mouth caught hers.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Laurie Olerich is the author of the urban fantasy romance series Primani. She loves to create guilty pleasures full of exciting locations, roller coaster action, strong, quirky heroines, and steaming hot heroes who’ll raise the temperature in any room you’re in! Paranormal romance? Check! Urban fantasy? Check! Romantic suspense? Check! Her Primani series combines the best of the three. When not plotting, writing, or fantasizing about her next hero, she’s planning parties, traveling the world, and spending lazy nights with her son, her Dal pals, and friends. Laurie spent most of her life in the Northeastern United States and in Germany. She now lives in San Antonio, Texas, with her son and Dalmatian duo, Domino and Rambo. Before throwing caution to the wind and diving into a writing career, Laurie dedicated 20 years to a career spent around men with guns and cool toys...this explains her obsession with both!


INTERNATIONAL GIVEAWAY
One lucky winner is going to take home:
Swag bag
E-copies of Call the Lightning, Stone Angels and Broken Souls by Laurie Olerich


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Thirsty Thursday & Hungry Hearts ~ #1

Thirsty Thursday and Hungry Hearts - (un)Conventional Bookviews


Thirsty Thursday & Hungry Hearts is an original weekly meme hosted by Lexxie @Unconventional Bookviews. This meme is the place to share quotes about food and/or drinks we've read about...those we'd love to give a try and those that make us turn our noses up. :) If you want to participate, make sure you share the title of the book your quote is from AND don't forget to link up on Lexxie's blog.

***

My quote is from Bitten by a Hellcat by Felicity Heaton. In the Eternal Mates series, there is a bar called Underworld, which specializes in serving the supernatural set. Of course, there'd be a special drink for the supes. Although I'm pretty adventurous about trying new drinks, this is one I think I'd better stay away from. :)


His pale gaze dropped to the drink she had evidently bought for him.

A shot of Hellfire.

Heck, she was trying to kill him.

Hellfire was a vicious drink brewed by the non-humans, designed to overcome their constitutions and get them drunk.

The female hellcat slid onto the stool beside him, picked up her own shot glass filled to the brim with the black liquid and raised it.

Her wicked smile made it clear that she was testing him. She knew he was mortal and she wanted to see what he would do and whether he could survive downing the potent shot of alcohol. He was up for that challenge. He took a deep breath to steel himself, grabbed his shot glass and lifted it, saluting her.

Owen raised it to his lips.

"Wait." Her light melodic voice stopped him dead and he stared at her, the glass close to his lips, the fumes coming off the liquid singeing his nose.

She flagged the bartender again, her smile turning even more wicked.

When the only female and human bartender working for the club stopped on the other side of the bar, his little hellcat fluttered her eyelashes and dropped a huge hammer on his male pride.

"Can we get a glass of water for when he chokes?"


.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Travel by the Book ~ Cold Mountain/Asheville


Welcome to Travel by the Book. I mentioned on a Bought, Borrowed, & Bagged post one time that many, many of my vacations with Hubs have been inspired by a book. Hubs is kind enough to indulge me and take me to said places. So I got the idea to share those books and vacations with y'all. This will be a monthly feature and I hope y'all enjoy it!



***The Book***


Cold Mountain
Cold Mountain is another book I read while in the moms group book club. If you enjoy historical fiction, and the Civil War era in particular, I highly recommend it. The movie is also good. ;) I have no idea what originally drew me to Cold Mountain but it's a beautifully rendered and haunting novel of a woman trying to survive on her own in the South during the Civil War, and a man fighting his way back to her. I felt Frazier did an incredible job of conveying the struggles that Southern families faced while their sons were off fighting, what war as a Southern soldier was like, and how demoralized soldiers and their families ended up feeling about the war itself.




***The Travel***

As we drove into the Blue Ridge Mountains, I had this overwhelming feeling of peace. To this day, I can't explain what it was about this area of North Carolina but when we entered it, I felt at home. It sounds silly but I actually teared up. I honestly don't know if the Cold Mountain we saw was the Cold Mountain described in the book, but even if it wasn't, the trip was well worth it. I really enjoyed the music, the people, the atmosphere, and the hiking of Asheville. One of the reasons I wanted to travel there after reading the book was the beauty of the location. But I also liked the feeling of community that seems so prevalent in the South. (I felt that growing up in Texas as well) I did feel as though the people in Asheville are tight-knit. The music was amazing and I was able to watch as this group of people shared their love of the music and dancing. And I loved the scenery so much, I lobbied to move there. I got my mountain home in the Rocky Mountains instead. :)



We had a fantastic BBQ dinner at the Fiddlin' Pig! Not only was the food great, but we were entertained by a local bluegrass band. And there was even square dancing! How many of you had to learn square dancing in elementary school? Is that a southern thing? 



While in the area, we drove the Blue Ridge Highway, stopped in at the visitor center, and we did some hiking. FYI, the weather tends to be stormy in July/August in North Carolina. :)



Here we are atop Mount Pisgah. This is the mountain we had to climb in order to see Cold Mountain, which is behind us. Yep, we couldn't actually get to Cold Mountain without backpacking to it. But we knew that going in. The hiking was through a gorgeous forest.



This is Cold Mountain. Obviously, it was a stormy afternoon. Those are clouds making it so foggy-looking.



My hubs made me include this picture. On our way down from Mount Pisgah, the heavens opened. We were so soaked I had to wring my bra out! I was hoping it would drip dry. Luckily I'd brought multiple bras because it was so humid, it wasn't drying any time soon. :)



I believe I've mentioned that my hubs is always happy to take me where I want to go...particularly if there is hiking and beer involved. Well, hiking was covered. And here we are at Asheville Brewing Company. I had to get a shot of the wall painted with Where the Wild Things Are. And just so you know, he's really not a two-fisted drinker...he's holding my beer while I take the picture. :)


Have any of you been to Asheville? Or read Cold Mountain? I recommend both the travel and the book! ;)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Review ~ Coda ~ CD Reiss


Coda cover.jpgCoda
The Songs of Submission Series #9
Release Date: March 18, 2015
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Erotic Romance
Source: Purchased on B&N
Rating: 5 Bookworms

Blurb
Did you want a pat little ending about Jonathan and I riding off into the sunset? Did you want flowers and stars? Man, I wish it was all soft filters and violins. I wish we could fight about who cleaned the bathroom or who was cooking dinner. But I knew I was never destined for simple contentment.

I almost committed murder for him. I almost tore us apart to save him. How do you get back on the horse after that? Because, I promise you, nothing is the same. Nothing.

I’ve earned our happily ever after. Now I have to survive it.




To have this extra installment in Monica and Jonathan's story is a gift. Their story couldn't end with sunshine and rainbows - their story was never those things. But through all the anxiety, the tragedy, the triumphs and celebrations, 'the end' is exactly the end for them.

I liked getting this glimpse into life for Monica and Jonathan following the events in ____. What they each experienced, both individually and as a couple leaves me speechless. Even though they love each other enough to move mountains for the other, they're each living with fear, worry, and anxiety of what they stand to lose. They are each so much more cognizant of that now. Because of the fear, they're each holding back to a certain degree. What I enjoyed most was watching as they realized this and each took the necessary steps to ease and soothe those fears so that they committed and submitted completely to one another.

Coda wrecked me and then filled me with hope...much like Jonathan does with Monica -- destroying her, then soothing her, loving her. I don't think I realized until just now how similar the experiences were. Monica and Jonathan's story has been real, raw, complicated, and beautiful. I've loved being along with them on their journey. And I'm worn out, sated, and blissful over their end.