Friday, May 29, 2015

Travel by the Book ~ Seattle

Welcome to Travel by the Book. I know for most of us, reading is an escape. One of the things I love about reading it getting to travel. And I'm sure I'm not the only reader who has wished to take a trip inspired by a place I read about in a book. I've been fortunate in that my Hubs is kind enough to indulge me and take me to said places. This is where I share those vacations that were inspired by a book.

***The Book***

Succubus Blues (Georgina Kincaid, #1)
Y'all know Twilight was a game changer for me. It lead me to Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy...which, in turn, lead me to Mead's Georgina Kincaid series. What? I had to read something while I waited for Rose & Dimitri's next adventure! ;) And honestly, Georgina's story kept me more than entertained. I met one of my all-time favorite book boyfriends in this series...Seth Mortenson. There's an outstanding cast of characters, both angelic and devilish. ;) And who could resist reading about a succubus who hates her "job" but actually enjoys her job at the Emerald City Bookstore. Reading about Georgina's antics in and around Seattle made me dream of this humid, lush city that has quite a bit of history and entertainment to offer.

***The Travel***

Before I share photos from our trip, I wanted to say a few other things about Seattle. One, I went to TWO different bookstores hoping to find the one that inspired Mead's Emerald City Bookstore. I went to one in the Queen Anne district of the city. It was a small, quaint bookshop but not the one Emerald City was modeled after, even if Emerald City is supposedly in Queen Anne. We also went to Elliott Bay Bookstore. It was incredible! Three stories set of books looking out on Elliott Bay...I loved it! Sadly, I didn't take photos of either of these bookstores while I was there. :( TWO, I've been back to Seattle twice more since our first visit because I love the city. But when we went with our kids, and walked over to where Elliott Bay Bookstore had been, we were told it had moved. *sigh*

Here's Pike Place Fish Market...where they really do throw fish!

Puget Sound is behind me here...there are so many great places to walk to and by. And many, many fish places. Too bad I can't eat seafood!

Of course, we can't visit a city famous for it's brew pubs without visiting one!

We couldn't believe the hills...I read about them, but seeing is believing! Everything slopes down to the ocean.

Here I am in front of the original Starbucks Coffeehouse. It was founded in a good year...1971. We're the same age! ;) Oh, and the entertainment being offered out front was fantastic!

My hubs took this photo of me without my knowledge. He'd gone to get us lunch. I, of course, was taking advantage of the opportunity to read in the park. It'd be something if I could remember what I was reading...but I can't. *ha* This is in and around Pioneer Square...a location where Georgina meets Jerome (her demon boss who looks exactly like John Cusack) and Carter, Jerome's wayward angel friend, at a bar quite often. :)

It was a fabulous trip! (even if our luggage took a detour) We didn't even get rained on. And like I said, I fell in love with Seattle and we've been back! There are other books I've since read that are set in Seattle, so it's been so much fun traveling there and seeing the city from the page come to life in person!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Review ~ Paradise City ~ CJ Duggan

Paradise City (Paradise, #1)Paradise City
Paradise #1
Release Date: April 28, 2015
Genre: YA/NA Contemporary Romance
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
Rating: 4 Bookworms

There's bound to be trouble in Paradise...

When her parents decide a change will be good for her, seventeen-year-old Lexie Atkinson never expected they'd send her all the way to Paradise City. Coming from a predictable life of home schooling on a rural Australian property, she's sure that Paradise will be amazing. But when she's thrust into a public school without a friendly face in sight, and forced to share a room with her insipid, hateful cousin Amanda, Lexie's not so sure.

Hanging out with the self-proclaimed beach bums of the city, sneaking out, late night parties and parking with boys are all things Lexie's never experienced, but all that's about to change. It's new, terrifying...and exciting. But when she meets Luke Ballantine, exciting doesn't even come close to describing her new life. Trouble with a capital T, Luke is impulsive, charming and answers to no one. The resident bad-boy leader of the group, he's sexier than any boy Lexie has ever known.

Amidst the stolen moments of knowing looks and heated touches, Lexie can't help but wonder if Luke is going to be good for her...or very, very bad?

I'm a big fan of Duggan's Summer series so I jumped at the chance to read a new series from her. While Paradise City started out a bit slowly for me, I ended up delighted with this new set of characters and my introduction to their life in Paradise.

As a home-schooled girl from a tiny town, Lexie was a bit sheltered. But she always dreamed of living her cousin's life - a life of sun, ocean, and boys - in Paradise. So she's thrilled when she learns her good grades earned her a spot to complete her education in a public school. And bonus - she'll be living with her cousin, whom she was once very close to. Unfortunately, Lexie learns Paradise isn't all she dreamed it would be.

Lexie made me laugh. Her life in Paradise was a comedy of errors. This "good girl" was constantly getting into trouble - usually completely innocently. Her cousin has become a "mean girl" and doesn't have much to do with Lexie. However, Lexie does attract the attention of the "it" boy - a gorgeous surfer, Luke Ballantine. Several misunderstandings and Lexie tripping up, more than once, seem to have the odds stacked up against them though. 

Duggan has created another fun cast of characters that I'm completely invested in and wrapped a compelling story around them. I'm dying to know what's going to happen next between Lexie and Ballantine following yet another blunder by innocent one. And I'm anxious for answers about certain members of her family as well. I don't want to wish my summer away, but I'm looking forward to August. ;)

That's What HE Said #27 & Thirsty Thursday & Hungry Hearts #6

That's What He Said is a weekly meme hosted by the lovely ladies @Chapter Break. Here's the deal: every Thursday, post a line from your book boyfriend to his heroine. Keep in mind, these are direct quotes from dialog in the books. The quote doesn't have to be romantic - just something our hunky hero said to his lucky lady. Be sure to link up over at Chapter Break as well.

My pick this week for That's What He Said is from:

Paradise City by CJ Duggan


"Avoiding you?" He laughed. "Crazy uncle aside, Lex, I'm still crazy about you."

Ballantine isn't a man of many words, so I thought it was sweet when, after one of many misunderstandings, he made sure Lexie knew how he felt.


Thirsty Thursday and Hungry Hearts - (un)Conventional Bookviews

"I had to sip the bubbly excess off the top so it wouldn't dribble over the edge. Which didn't help in the slightest because I didn't see the upsweep of a set of menus hit me, dumping raspberry lemonade all down my white top.

Oh catty girls! I can't say as I've ever ended up with raspberry lemonade on my because I made a girl mad...thank goodness! But Lexie...well, you'll just have to read Paradise City to see why she ended up a pink, sticky mess. ;)

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Review ~ Silver Shadows ~ Richelle Mead

Silver Shadows (Bloodlines, #5)Silver Shadows
Bloodlines #5
Release Date: July 29, 2014
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Source: Purchased Hardcover
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms

Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets--and human lives.

In The Fiery Heart, Sydney risked everything to follow her gut, walking a dangerous line to keep her feelings hidden from the Alchemists.

Now in the aftermath of an event that ripped their world apart, Sydney and Adrian struggle to pick up the pieces and find their way back to each other. But first, they have to survive.

For Sydney, trapped and surrounded by adversaries, life becomes a daily struggle to hold on to her identity and the memories of those she loves. Meanwhile, Adrian clings to hope in the face of those who tell him Sydney is a lost cause, but the battle proves daunting as old demons and new temptations begin to seize hold of him...

Their worst fears now a chilling reality, Sydney and Adrian face their darkest hour in this heart-pounding fifth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where all bets are off.

Silver Shadows was an intense read. With Sydney suffering at the hands of the Alchemists and Adrian suffering at the hands of Spirit, I spent much of the book on edge. There is so much going on and so many unanswered questions. Why do the Alchemists have to be so bigoted in their beliefs? What's going going on in Adrian's head? Is there a conspiracy between certain factions?

I spent the first half of Silver Shadows on pins and needles wondering how Sydney was going to survive her situation. The Alchemists are rather ruthless in their methods and Sydney broke a cardinal rule. But she is nothing if not resourceful. I shouldn't have been surprised by her logic and cunning. I also spent half the book wanting to punch Adrian in the throat. I've been enchanted by him from the beginning but his behavior was over-the-top selfish and made me steaming mad.

Then, naturally, Adrian redeems himself in a grand way. *sigh* Oh, there's still much intrigue afoot and he and Sydney are far from being out of danger, but at least I was back to wanting to hug him rather than throttle him.

It was exciting to have Marcus back in the mix and I also enjoyed seeing Lissa, Rose, and Dimitri - although it was far too short a time. I have a feeling they'll play a greater role in the final installment as things come to a head and everything is illuminated.

One thing I really enjoyed was how Mead pulled in elements from previous installments - things that seemed innocuous or that made me wonder why they'd been included. These elements were made relevant and useful.

I'm anxious to see how it's all going to play out - to have all my questions answered and to see the final image as the last brush strokes are laid. Mead certainly knows how to create excitement and suspense. It's a good thing I have The Ruby Circle lined up. ;)

Monday, May 25, 2015

Review ~ With Visions of Red ~ Trisha Wolfe

With Visions of RedWith Visions of Red
Broken Bonds #1
Release Date: May 7, 2015
Genre: Adult, Romantic Suspense, Erotic Romance
Source: Purchased on Kindle from Amazon
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms

Criminal profiler Sadie Bonds knows blood. Her affair with the gruesome, dark world of killers began long before she started applying her analytical skills to investigate gory crime scenes. She gets inside the killers' heads, breaks them down, relates to them on an arcane level. She prefers it this way--because it's safer to ally herself with the villain than the victim. At least, that's how she's coped ever since she was abducted and tortured as a teen.

She will never be a victim again.

Now, she's honed her skills in order to bring justice to these ritualistic offenders. Working alongside her colleagues, armed with sharp wit and a SIG, Sadie always catches her sadist. Until one ruthless serial killer gets inside Sadie's head, turning the tables. He knows her secrets. Her obsessions. The darkest, most deviant part of her soul.

When she meets Colton Reed, dangerous stakes are raised as he threatens to unravel her control and reveal her darkest fantasies. The sexy-as-sin bondage rigger at an exclusive BDSM club pushes her boundaries, forcing her to acknowledge that side of herself she fears. Plunged into a realm of torture and suffering, pain and pleasure, Sadie balances on the razor-sharp edge of two intersecting worlds threatening to swallow her.

Passion and lust ignite. Dark and light battle. This explosive first installment of the Broken Bonds series sets the exhilarating pace for a cat and mouse game where no one knows who's really pulling the strings.

I knew Trisha Wolfe could do dark and gritty - but she took it to a whole new level in With Visions of Red.

I think I'd compare With Visions of Red to Silence of the Lambs - if Hannibal Lector had been into medieval torture and killing rather than cannibalism and Agent Starling had spent time in captivity and subjected to kink.

Sadie Bonds is a criminal profiler, a profession she has a personal connection with. Her latest case - that of a possible serial killer - is pushing her buttons. And that's how she find herself face-to-face with Colton Reed.

Colton is rather enigmatic. He works in a BDSM club as shibari expert. He has set his sights on Sadie. As he gets her to open up, they forge a tenuous bond. A bond that is tested by Sadie's latest case.

Wolfe deftly set the stage with vivid and graphic descriptions of crime scenes and details of a police procedural. Then she weaves in these compelling characters with dark pasts. The profiler element fascinated me. Getting into a killer's head, having the scenes tied to medieval history...well, it was quite a combination. The personal ties between Sadie and the crimes as well as the mysterious nature of Colton had me gripping my kindle and flipping through the pages. To say I'm eager for the next installment would be an understatement. I'm almost quivering in excitement, and maybe a little apprehension, over what comes next for Sadie, the UNSUB, and Colton.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Bought, Borrowed, & Bagged #66 ~ RT Style

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. :)


Phew! My week was spent furiously trying to catch up on all the things I got behind on while I was giggling/fangirling/partying at RT! ;) I'm still not caught up, y'all. But I'll get there. 

How was y'all's week?? 

Here's my RT haul!! I'm not going to expend the energy to name every single book. Just know that I brought home ~135 books. I even gave a few to Berls to use as COYER prizes. I still ended up with a few duplicates but that's okay. I've thought of the perfect use for them...Giveaways here! You'll start seeing those next month. ;)


Giggling/Fangirling/Partying Pics

Mum-making at Avon's A Texas Homecoming Craft-Along...Cora Carmack is an expert. But Denise, Lexxie, and Berls had a good time creating. Denise took home the prize!

Long live the Alamo! Our team did quite well playing Saddle Up & Draw: Pictionary...Texas Style!

Lexxie and I had dinner with JA Huss!!

I got to meet Shelly Bell...and she knew who I was!! :)
Lexxie and I hung out in the bar (a lot!) and we got to meet CC Wood!

Sylvia Day is such a neat person!
Denise and I got to meet Tara Lain - one of Lexxie's favorite authors. I'm looking forward to reading my new book from her. :)

Michelle Mankin with her surf board. 
I got to meet Amber L. Johnson - and she knew me! *squee*
And I was so excited to see Rachel Vincent, too!

Lunch at The Meddling Moth with Michelle Mankin, Lisa, Denise, and a fabulous group of girls from Colorado!

Lexxie and I all decked out in our finest to party!

Berls, Denise, Lexxie, and I waiting for the Giant Book Fair to!

Things I Learned About or From My Blogging Friends

Lexxie has a song for...everything!!

Berls has something wonky in her body that fritzes out electronics!

Oh gosh y'all, we had such an amazing time!! It was beyond words exciting to get to meet Lexxie and Berls in person, as well as Felicia the Geeky Blogger and Melanie Simmons, who adds books to be tbr over at Rabid Reads. We all laughed and fangirled and drank, and laughed some more. I really hope to get together with all these lovely ladies again SOON!

Last Two Weeks' Reviews

Upcoming Reviews
With Visions of Red by Trisha Wolfe
Paradise City by CJ Duggan
Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead

Saturday, May 23, 2015

#ShelfLove ~ Why I Deserve *This* Book

This month, the discussion topic is a doozy for me. Y'all know I've in no way stopped acquiring books. Between freebies and using a small amount of my monthly book budget, I've added just a few books to my digital shelves. And now, I have to convince y'all that I deserve the books I've recently acquired?!? Well, here goes nothing... bwahahahaha

As y'all know, I was at RT last week. I brought home over 130 books! And y'all know I deserved each and every one of them! ;) Why, you ask? Well, I just couldn't pass up free books by authors that I Colleen Hoover, Rachel Vincent, Jennifer L. Armentrout, and Brenda Novak, to name a few. And then there were books by authors I've always wanted to read, such as Jennifer Probst, Kahlen Aymes, and Rachel Hawthorne...I couldn't miss out on getting those! And then there are those authors I discovered while at RT, like Molly O'Keefe, Kris Calvert, and BJ Daniels. I couldn't hurt their feelings by passing up their books, right? I mean, I might have found a new favorite author and I wouldn't know it if I didn't pick up their book. So really, I deserved this book...and that book...oh, and this book, too. ;)

Seriously though, nothing...and I do mean nothing, makes me want to get serious about that no book buying ban than looking at all these books against the backdrop of my overstuffed bookshelves. My issue now...which should I read first?!?

Friday, May 22, 2015

Reasons You'll Love Rook & Ronin ~ TGIF! Spotlight & #Giveaway

If y'all have followed me for any length of time, you know I adore JA Huss. And if you haven't followed me for that long, well I'm about to give you some reasons to start reading her! ;) Not the least of which is that I'm giving away a signed copy of Tragic

A little backstory...back in late 2012, I started conversing with JA via her blog, New Adult Addiction. We liked several of the same books and she was fun to talk to. So when she told me she was having a blog tour of her own and asked if I'd participate, I said "Sure!" Now, the books I'd be reading were not what I typically read, so I was a little out of my comfort zone. However, I ended up hosting an entire week of fangirling over JA Huss and Junco! 

Fast forward a few months (in 2013), and she was releasing the first book in her Rook & Ronin series, Tragic. Well, I loved it, too! I thought I would share a few reasons why YOU should read this series, as well. So here goes...

  • A Strong Heroine (you'll always get one with JA)
"I was broken, beaten, and scared of pretty much everything. And then it hit me. If I wanted to change my life then I'd have to do it myself. Because no one was coming to protect me, or save me, or heal me. There was just me." -Rook, Tragic 

"...a door, still closed and leading to every opportunity imaginable and requiring a leap of faith that the risk is worth it. You are my doorway to endless possibilities and I'm ready to take that risk." -Rook, Panic

  • A Hot Hero (or Three!)
"Rook, no one gives a shit what I wear. They want me naked and if I'm not naked, then I'm just there to make you look good until we do get naked." -Ronin, Tragic

"Ronin challenges Rook to want a future - one with him. He challenges her to believe in herself, to believe in love and to believe she deserves it. Ford challenges Rook to stretch herself, to push past her boundaries, to reach and fulfill her potential. And Spencer, he provides Rook with the comfort and security of a big brother." -From my review of Panic

  • Lots of Swoon
"I could describe what you look like, but that's not what I see. You are so much more than a body inside a dress Rook. You fit me." -Ronin, Tragic

"Miss Corvus, I am so far beyond in love with you, I can barely function. I want to marry you. Like yesterday. But I know that's not gonna happen just yet, so I just want you to know, I can wait. I will wait." -Ronin, Panic 

"Well it's not really a mystery. It was the day I met you, that's when. You've changed me, Rook. You make me weak, you make me stumble, you make me fall, and even though I know you'll pick me up if I ask you to, it's not enough. I want you to make me stronger, just like I made you. I want it all or I want nothing. And since I can't have it all, I'll take nothing." -Ford, Panic

"But I'm desperate for more from her. I'm desperate for something more permanent. And I do understand that it's totally selfish of me to expect her to give up her dream to make me happy, so that's something I'd never ask her to do. But it eats away at me. Her lack of permanence. It's like she's fleeting, like she's a moment. Something that comes and goes. I want marriage, I want kids, I want everything I never had as a child, and I want it desperately. But I want her more. I will wait, that was not a lie. I'll wait forever if I have to." -Ronin, Panic 

  • A Sprinkle of Humor
"So, tell me, Ford--is that a family name? Or did your parents just like trucks?" -Rook, Manic

"How did I get here? We're Three's Company. Spencer is airhead Chrissy, Ford is intellectual Janet, and I'm pretending to be gay so I don't notice that you two are roommate eye-candy." -Rook, Panic

  • Loads of Steamy
I am desperate to get him inside me, but he's slow now. "I might not be able to make many guarantees in this world, Rook," he says as his hand travels down and traces the crease between my legs. "But I will say with one hundred percent certainty that you will come tonight." Rook & Ronin, Panic

  • A Little Mystery

"And it might be sitting in non-traceable off-shore bank accounts. Because we might've stolen all his money while we were at it. Serves him right since the only reason he got caught is because he tried to steal yours. Paybacks are always a bitch." 

  • Twists & Turns That Screw with Your Mind
"In Manic, Ms. Huss works some magic...keeping her readers even more involved and interested in Rook and Ronin's story through the reveal of some major revelations. We knew Rook's past was not a pretty one, but we learn even more about the extent to which she suffered. And then there's the shock of the sordid (look Ford, I'm smart, too!) past between Ronin, Spencer, and Ford. And then there was the panic attack inducing, pulse pounding bombshell part of the book. Yeah, I can't tell y'all about that. ;)"  - From my review of Manic

  • Writing That Makes You Think
"I like the contradictions of the story - the juxtaposition of the ugliness of Rook's life with the glamour of modeling. The glamour of modeling against the ugliness behind the scenes. That Rook has come to believe that no one will save her but herself yet the kindness shown to her by Ronin and Elise (and Antoine to an extent) essentially do just that. Rook and Ronin and somewhat contradictory as well - she with nothing, he with everything, but both missing something." -From my review of Tragic

"I enjoyed the culmination of Rook's journey towards forgiveness, love, wholeness. Because even though they're an 'us', this story is more Rook's story than Ronin's. Ronin is the catalyst for Rook's growth and therefore an integral part of Rook's story, but it's Rook's. And as the events of Rook's past are revealed, I admired her all the more." -From my review of Panic

So are you convinced yet? I certainly hope you are! And to tempt you even further, you can enter the giveaway for a signed copy of Tragic! Sorry! This giveaway is U.S. only. If you're International, don't despair! Just let me know in the comments and I'll put y'all into a drawing (using for Tragic in ebook format. 

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