Saturday, January 31, 2015

My TBR List Review ~ January ~ Half-Blood ~ Jennifer L. Armentrout

MTBRL

My To-Be Read List is a monthly meme hosted by Michelle @Because Reading



***

Half-Blood (Covenant, #1)Half-Blood
Covenant #1
Release Date: October 18, 2011
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Mythology
Source: Purchased on Nook
Rating: 4 Bookworms
Goodreads

SynopsisThe Hematoi descend from the unions of gods and mortals, and the children of two Hematoi pure bloods have godlike powers. Children of Hematoi and mortals -- well, not so much. Half-bloods only have two options: become trained Sentinels who hunt and kill daimons or become servants in the homes of the pures. Seventeen-year-old Alexandria would rather risk her life fighting than waste it scrubbing toilets, but she may end up slumming it anyway. There are several rules that students at the Covenant must follow. Alex has problems with them all, but especially rule #1: Relationships between pures and halfs are forbidden. Unfortunately, she's crushing hard on the totally hot pure-blood Aiden. But falling for Aiden isn't her biggest problem--staying alive long enough to graduate the Covenant and become a Sentinel is. If she fails in her duty, she faces a future worse than death or slavery: being turned into a daimon, and being hunted by Aiden. And that would kind of suck.




I adored Half-Blood - but I'm really torn...
I can't decide if I'm going to be Team Aiden or Team Seth!! ;)

Okay, seriously though, I'm so happy I finally dove into this series. I can't believe I waited so long. I know I'm one of the few who haven't read it - but better late than never. I don't want to repeat all you've said or read about Half-Blood, so I'm just going to tell you why I adored it.


  • JLA did an excellent job of taking Greek mythology and making it her own. The concept of the Pures and the Halfs was unique. I really liked how she set up this world.
  • I was riveted needing to know where all the clues about Alex were going to go.
  • The sexual tension between Alex and Aiden was palpable. This is something JLA does well.
  • The tension and snarky banter between Alex and Seth was fun and it was a nice break from the serious tone of the book.
  • Alex is a great heroine - I liked her more and more as the story moved along. She didn't always make smart decisions, which amp'ed up the angst, but I understood her logic (?). She's very much "foolishly brave", as Aiden describes her. She's also very strong, emotionally. She's endured very difficult things in her short life and persevered. 
  • I liked the friendship between Alex and Caleb, the antagonism between Alex and Lea, and the familial struggle between Alex and her step-father Lucien, as well as her uncle, Marcus.
  • I felt JLA did an excellent job of realistically portraying a teenage girl facing many difficult events and decisions. 
  • Aiden         Oh, you want more? I liked how supportive of Alex he is - both professionally and emotionally. He was there when Alex needed him. And I'm impressed with his selfless decision regarding her. I'm sure it won't stick, but it's the thought, right??
  • Seth - yeah, he was kinda arrogant when he came on to the scene. Alex couldn't figure him out but she had some ideas once certain revelations were made and I tended to agree with her. And then, after certain other events, he shows a different side of himself and I see a lot of potential in him.
  • JLA set up the rest of the series nicely with the ending. I can't wait to get on into the rest of the series.
I'll get back to y'all on Team Aiden or Team Seth. ;)



#COYER Review ~ Daimon ~ Jennifer L. Armentrout

Daimon (Covenant, #0.5)Daimon
Covenant Series #0.5
Release Date:
Genre:

Source:
Rating:

Synopsis
"Love in my world usually ended up with someone hearing 'I smite thee!' as she was cursed to be some lame flower for the rest of her life." For three years, Alexandria has lived among mortals--pretending to be like them and trying to forget the duty she'd been trained to fulfill as a child of a mortal and a demigod. At seventeen, she's pretty much accepted that she's a freak by mortal standards... and that she'll never be prepared for that duty. According to her mother, that's a good thing. But as every descendant of the gods knows, Fate has a way of rearing her ugly head. A horrifying attack forces Alex to flee Miami and try to find her way tack to the very place her mother had warned her she should never return-the Covenant. Every step that brings her closer to safety is one more step toward death... because she's being hunted by the very creatures she'd once trained to kill. The daimons have found her.




Daimon was a nice introduction to Alex and her life outside the Covenant. We find out she's living in the mortal world, how things have been for her and background information on the world she left. We also get the details of the events that lead her back to the Covenant in Half-Blood.

FYI, I'm writing this review after having finished Half-Blood. While I enjoyed the extra details Daimon added to Alex's story, it isn't absolutely necessary to read it. However, it will really whet your appetite for the story - as it did for me. And it was nice to know a little more about things - the finer details - when reading Half-Blood. I immediately dove into Half-Blood upon finishing Daimon.



Challenges Update ~ #2015HW, #ShelfLove, #COYER, LGBT Challenge, Mythology Challenge ~ January

Where did January go? Are y'all wondering the same thing? We're already one month in to 2015! I did pretty well with my challenges this month. Here is the update:



2015HWLogo


I'd slated to read Bully by Penelope Douglas and Endure by Carrie Jones this month. I only succeeded in reading Bully. That puts me at 50%, which in my book is an "F".  :(

Since I set my goal at Level 3, I get a free pass...which sadly I'm using in the first month! I will have to use one of my extra credits to make it up. (I have 2 of those)

I'm going to attempt to read Endure tomorrow...I'll update here if I get it finished.


***UPDATE 1/31/15 @ 5:21 MDT***

Just like in college...I finished my Reading Assigment. Endure was a fabulous ending to the Need Series. And I get to keep my Pass and Extra Credit for this challenge!! YAY!!!



Show Your Shelves Some Love: No Book Buying Challenge


I've shown my shelves some love - my digital shelves anyway. ;) I've read 13 books so far! You can click here to check out the books and their reviews on Goodreads. 

As part of this challenge, I budgeted $10/month for books. I'll have a budget post in Feburary so y'all can see how I'm working my system. ;) But I've spent $3 of my $10 so far in January. But per my system, I may or may not pick up some books tomorrow.

Also, I  created ways in which I could earn books. For every 3 books I read from my shelves, I earn a book. For every week that I exercise 5 days, I earn a book. And for every 5000 words I write on my book, I earn a book. So:


13 Books = 4 Books Earned
2 Weeks of 5 days of Exercise = 2 Books Earned

As for writing, I've barely written 3000 words the entire month! That's been a total fail! But I WILL do better in February!




Winter 2014-2015 COYER Sign Ups


So far, I've read 20 books for COYER. I haven't posted all my reviews yet, so I better get busy! I'm proud of the number of books I've cleaned off my ereaders, though. :)





LGBTChallenge2015

I haven't read any of the books I'd slated for the LGBT Challenge. I'll work on this in February.





I've read Daimon and Half-Blood - which fulfill the requirements for this challenge. Half-Blood was the only one on my list, but since Daimon was a prequel, I *had* to read it too. :) So that's one of my list and an extra one to boot!


Not too bad, eh? Hopefully, I can do even better in February!

Friday, January 30, 2015

New Release Review ~ Three, Two, One ~ JA Huss


Three, Two, One (321) - (A Dark Erotic Suspense)
Three, Two, One
by JA Huss
Release Date: January 28, 2015
Genre: Dark Romantic Suspense, Erotic Romance
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the author in exchange for an honest review. I also purchased my own copy.
Rating: 5 Bookworms
Goodreads ~ Amazon

Synopsis

ONE GIRL
Battered, barefoot, and huddled under a bookstore awning in the pouring rain, Blue only knows one thing. After fifteen months of captivity, finally...she is free.

TWO FRIENDS
Self-made millionaires JD and Ark are not out to save anyone when they stumble upon a wet and shivering girl one early Sunday morning. But when you sell sex for a living and salvation rings your bell...you answer the call.

THREE SOULMATES
After years of searching, love lifts the veil of darkness, and three people--with three very big secrets--find themselves bound together in a relationship that defies the odds.

Or does it?

Love. Lust. Sex.

This trinity might be perfection...but not everything should come in 3's.

Warning: This is a standalone non-traditional M/F/M romance with a non-traditional ending.




**Please note: This is erotica and as such is not suitable for those under 17**

Y'all know I'm a huge fan of JA Huss. I've been worrying that I'm running out of ways to fangirl over the greatness of her storytelling abilities. I mean, the lady is incredibly talented...but I've said that before.

And then she goes and writes Three, Two, One - and I find I can fangirl just fine. It's quintessential Huss and yet it's something totally new. There's suspense - Huss is really a master at devising twists and turns, taking you on a ride where you're never certain what's going on. Three, Two, One definitely delivers on that front. It also has an element of social awareness on a very relevant issue. It's a tale of making mistakes and getting second chances, finding your soulmates in the least expected places at the least convenient time. It's about getting lost in the pull of money, sex, and revenge. And then there's the romance. Huss' steamy scenes only get better as she becomes more seasoned at writing them. Three, Two, One is H.O.T. Like, steaming up my glasses hot...blushing in the middle school parking lot hot. Unexpected and yet incredibly well-written HOT. Yeah. The sex is between two guys and one girl and does involve some kink - so be aware of that if it's not your thing. But it was all beautifully and lovingly done.

All these elements combined for a fantastic story. You'll notice I didn't say much about the actual story. That's because it needs to be experienced. Huss said this is non-traditional and I suppose it is. And I loved every provocative moment of it. In fact, I think this may be my favorite of her books - and that's saying something. Huss has blown me away...again...and in a bigger way than ever before.



2015 Bookish Resolutions Challenge Update ~ One Month Down

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.

***

If y'all will recall, I decided to participate in the Bookish Resolutions Challenge since I'm attempting to show my shelves some love, read mythology-themed books (that are already on my shelves), complete a reading list assignment, and clean off my ereader. My resolutions are:

  • Improve my Netgalley Rating (my current rating is...so embarrassingly low...I know I have to include it here so y'all can see my improvement but...please don't laugh...  15.2%)
  • Listen to one audio book per quarter.
  • Write more discussion posts and/or create some fun features for my blog.



I made progress on 2 of my 3 resolutions. Yay!

As for my Netgalley rating resolutions, I made some progress. I improved my rating to 16%. I know it's not much...yet. But I'm happy that it's moving in the right direction. :)

I haven't yet listened to an audio book. But I still have 2 more months to accomplish this goal for the first quarter. And I picked up a few audio books to choose from. (using my credits so it didn't affect my book buying ban challenge ;)

In my quest to do more discussion posts or create new features for my blog, I introduced a new feature this month...Travel by the Book. In this feature, I share vacations spots I've visited that were inspired by books. This will be a monthly feature and I'm really excited about it!


I'm happy with how I've done this month. I'm behind on things right now (like commenting) because I've had to work more than I anticipated this month, but at least I can see that I've succeeded at working on my resolutions. :)

#FitReaders ~ Week 4 Check In

FitReaders2015

The #FitReaders Challenge is hosted by Felicia the Geeky Blogger and That's What I'm Talking About. For all the details on this challenge, click on the button above.

***

This week has been challenging for me as far as exercising since I've worked more than usual. I am still doing well with my eating goals.

Monday ~ I worked. I did get 6188 steps - 2 miles.

Tuesday ~ I did my yoga class plus an hour of cardio. I got in 9080 steps or 3.4 miles. 

Wednesday ~ I did an hour of Zumba and then 30 minutes on the elliptical and 30 minutes on the treadmill. I set a personal best of 12772 steps - 5 miles!! That was 1752 points.

Thursday ~ I worked. But I did get to 84% of my goal. 8340 steps or 2.7 miles.

Friday ~ I'm working today but I'm hoping I'll get at least 70% of my goal...around 7000 steps.


I'm feeling proud of myself for working at the exercising. Hopefully soon, it will start to show in how my pants fit! ;)

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Cover Reveal ~ Eire's Devil King ~ Sandi Layne



cool TWCS 

logo



PRESENTS
. . .

A Cover

Reveal
for


Éire's Devil King

Book 3 of Éire's Viking

Trilogy

by Sandi Layne

EDK-Hi-

Res-Cover

Release Date:

April 2 , 2015





~~SUMMARY~~

A man of ability and ambition, Tuirgeis Erlingrson has nurtured the  desire to carve a place of leadership for himself on the Green Island, Éire, that he has raided  multiple times. After the death of his wife in Nordweg, he takes his surviving son to Éire. Having connections with his adopted brother, Cowan, and Agnarr, his former countryman, Tuirgeis feels he has the support he needs to make his claims strong.

Agnarr is torn. His promise to Aislinn to remain with her on Éire is still in force, and he resists Tuirgeis’s requests to join the conquering forces from Nordweg. He desires above all things to maintain a safe home for his wife and children in Dal Fíatach. Charis encourages Cowan to do the same, though this makes for tense moments between them.
EDK-3D-Open-Book-2

After initial disastrous attempts to achieve his ambition, Tuirgeis comes to learn that there is more to claiming a kingship than merely overpowering the locals. Tuirgeis finds himself at odds with the very people he had hoped would reinforce him. In addition, he wants to establish his father-line. He has one son; he wants another to be born of Éire. Will the woman of his choice accept and support him?

At length, Agnarr and Aislinn—though she is heavy with child—sail with Cowan and Charis to join Tuirgeis as he battles over one final summer to attain the High Kingship of the island.

Tuirgeis knows he doesn’t have long to make his claims; the Danes are coming in greater numbers than before. As he wins men of Éire to his cause, he has to maintain the relationships he has already fostered with Agnarr and Cowan. Charis finds that her Otherworldly gifts are needed by a man she considers her enemy.



~~EXCERPT~~



It was dark in the langhús, save for the glowing of the coals banked in the fire ring. Agnarr enjoyed his wife’s responsiveness to him, and when they made love, he never forgot to thank his new God for letting her live through the births of the children their bodies made together. Before the sun crept under the door and through the shutters over the new windows, they were smiling and silent and relishing the moments—he knew there would only bemoments—before the children stirred in the bench-bed they shared.

Later, as their son and daughter began shifting restlessly prior to awakening, Agnarr sat up and blew out a breath. “Wife.”

“Yes, husband?” She joined him, finding his hand with hers in the shadowy enclosure of their private area.

EDK-3D-Paperback-1“We need to be ready. You need to be ready. You and the children.”

She sighed and shifted on the blankets so that she was looking directly at him. As was her habit, she continued to touch him with her fingers as she spoke. “I can fight. And you gave Dow a real knife at the Christ Mass.”

Discomfort tightened his stomach as he shook his head. “You need to be able to escape, just in case.” He knew far too well what would happen if someone found his attractive wife. Someone whom he didn’t know. Someone who would find her dark hair appealing and the tatú on her cheek mysterious and alluring. Someone who would want to take her as their leman, as he had once taken Charis.

Someone who might take his son as a slave.

Jaw tightening in anger, he shook his head again. Hard. “You know what can happen to you.” Her eyes were on his face, and he met their steady gaze. “And the children. You need to be able to get away. We should find a way to make you safe.”





~~ABOUT THE AUTHOR~~

95366-sandi

Award winning author of short Celtic fiction, Sandi Layne is the creator of the Éire's Viking Trilogy, as well as works of contemporary Christian romance.

She began by self-publishing her novels in 2000, garnering a loyal group of readers whom she continues to appreciate to this day.

Married for more than twenty years to a fantastic man, she has two sons, no pets, and a plethora of imaginary friends. Her interests range from ancient civilizations to science fiction. With degrees in English and Ministry, she also claims Theology’s crimson Masters collar which she has been known to don on rare occasions.

If you drive by her window before dawn, it is likely she’ll have a light on for you. Or at the very least, she’ll be alert on twitter. She invites you to visit her online space at http://sandyquill.com.



~~CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR~~




~~OTHER TITLES IN THE SERIES~~



Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Blog Tour Review & Giveaway ~ Acting Brave ~ Helena Newbury


Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Helena Newbury's Acting Brave. I have all the details for the book, my review, and a giveaway for y'all!


***


Acting Brave by Helena Newbury
(Fenbrook Academy #3)
Publication date: January 2015
Genres: New Adult, Romance

Synopsis:

She’s spent her whole life acting. But is she good enough to make him believe she doesn’t love him?
Three years ago, a terrified girl named Emma fled a world of crime and abuse in Chicago and bought a one-way ticket to New York. She reinvented herself as an actress, enrolled at the prestigious Fenbrook Academy and buried her pain beneath a vivacious new persona. Her new name was Jasmine.
Now she has to pull off the performance of her career.
Landing her dream part in a police show, she finds herself falling for her co-star, Ryan, a real-life cop. If she lets him get too close, he’ll awaken memories she doesn’t want to face and uncover secrets that could endanger them both. But how can she keep a guy at arm’s length when she has to kiss him on camera?
The last place Ryan imagined himself was on a TV show. Blaming himself for the death of his partner, he’s on a downward spiral of rage and guilt. The show is his last chance…but how can he keep it professional when his co-star is a woman he’s crazy about?
As their on-screen and off-screen relationships merge, things go from hot to blistering. But when Jasmine’s old life catches up with her, will a cop be the one person she can’t be around…or the only person who can save her?





Acting Brave was amazing. It had everything -- action, suspense, a little angst, romance, and friendship. It also packed in all the emotion I was looking for...and then some. I'd always wondered what Jasmine's story was. And it wasn't an easy one. Not only do we get to know all that made Jasmine who she is -- and it's some terrifying stuff -- but we also get to know Ryan better. We met Ryan in In Harmony. He's a big, hunky cop, who upon meeting Jasmine for the first time (at the scene of a mugging) thinks she's a hooker.

Jasmine is an actress...the bubbly, vivacious one of the Fenbrook girls. But she's hiding from a lot of darkness. Ryan is the one person who seems to see through her facade and the closer they get, the closer the real Jasmine gets to the surface.

Ryan is battling a demon of his own. Having never had the courage to ask Jasmine out, he finds himself in the position to interact with her daily as they are both given roles in a TV pilot for a police drama. There's a story here - but you'll have to read the book to get it. :)

Newbury said Acting Brave was "more difficult and more affecting" to write than its predecessors. It's my favorite in the series. It's obvious she poured her heart and soul into this one. She did a phenomenal job of conveying how difficult the fight was that Jasmine was experiencing -- battling to maintain the shields around her, the life she'd created, and keeping her past buried for fear of what its discovery would mean for her and her friends. I also liked her description of Jasmine's feelings that her friends were drifting away -- that Karen in particular, no longer needed her, and why her perspective was such.

Since Acting Brave is told in dual POV, we also get well acquainted with Ryan. He's gone through a recent tragedy and how he's dealt with it has gotten him into a bit of trouble. Despite this, he's just such an open, honest guy who can't believe his luck in that a girl like Jasmine would give him a second look. They're good for one another though. They've always had chemistry but their romance gets to simmer, and I loved that they took the time to get to know one another. It made it all more special.

This is the last of the series. *sniff* But another thing that made Acting Brave such a standout was how Newbury exhibited why all these girls are such good friends. They all really had each others' backs and when they needed each other, they all -- even their guys -- pulled together.

It sounds like Acting Brave was all rainbows and unicorns, doesn't it? It was far from that. It has a dark, gritty side. But friendship and love prevailed, and I adored this final chapter in the Fenbrook Academy series. I look forward to seeing what Newbury does next.







a Rafflecopter giveaway





I’m a New Adult Romance author who loves writing about what happens when love and dreams collide with the real world. I wrote my first novel, Dance for Me, in daily chunks in a very busy, very noisy coffee shop, which meant I had to order a black Americano every hour, on the hour, to keep my seat and wound up wired on caffeine most days. I hit the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists in summer 2013. Unlike my characters, I can’t dance.