Friday, April 21, 2017

Review ~ Shame on You ~ Tara Sivec #BloggerShame #ShelfLove #TakeControlTBR

Shame on You (Fool Me Once, #1)Shame on You by Tara Sivec
Fool Me Once #1
Release Date: February 25, 2014
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: I received an eARC from the publisher via Netgalley. This did not affect my rating and my review is voluntarily provided.
Rating: 3.5 Bookworms
Challenges: #BloggerShame, #ShelfLove, #TakeControlTBR
Goodreads

Synopsis
War veteran Kennedy O'Brien is in the business of sticking it to the man - or at least any man who tries to cross a woman. After she returned home from Afghanistan and caught her husband in bed with the nanny, Kennedy lost her faith in men and started Fool Me Once Investigations with her two best friends. After all, there's no better bounty hunter than a woman scorned.

When Kennedy takes a case to slap cuffs on a bail jumper turned dog-napper, she figures it'll be an easy paycheck. But trouble has a way of finding Kennedy. Enter the last man on the planet she'd willingly choose as a partner: her cheating ex-husband's best friend, Griffin Crawford.

As gorgeous as he is unwelcome, Griffin has always had a thing for Kennedy, and after keeping quiet about her ex's cheating, he'll do anything to earn back her trust. Whether or not she wants to admit it, Kennedy will need help as the case of the Chihuahua thief sprials out of control. Griffin may be just her man - in more ways than one.




Shame on You was a quick, fun read! It provided a nice introduction to the three heroines of this little series, there was action, some steam, and a lot of Sivec's trademark humor! The perfect way to entertain myself while logging my time on the elliptical.

While the series centers around three women who started a PI business after being burned by men, this installment focuses on Kennedy. She's funny, tough - as far from girly-girl as you can get - and unapologetic about it. She's just taken on a case for her dad - who's a bail bondsman - and discovers he set her up with a new partner. One she would never have asked for.

Griffin has his reasons for keeping that secret from Kennedy as well as for going to work for her dad. He just needs Kennedy to listen to him. That's easier said than done. He has to advantage of having known her for a long while, so he knows hot to push her buttons. He'll get through - he's nothing if not determined.

There's not a ton of character development and the plot is a bunch of silliness but it's all completely entertaining. I'm hooked and looking forward to watching as Paige and Lorelei discover not all men are jerks. :)



Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Brandee's Bookish Babble #34 ~ Are We More Forgiving with Favorite Authors?


Welcome to Brandee's Bookish Babble. There are many, many similar posts to this one - but basically I wanted a place to discuss bookish and/or blogging stuff and I needed a title. :) 


***
Before I start, I just want to preface this with the qualification that with this post, I'm referring to indie authors. 

I recently read a book by an author that was recommended by a friend. In fact, it's a favorite author of this friend. While I was reading, I kept finding editing errors. This is just something that I'm particularly sensitive to - I don't even read the newspaper anymore because I can't handle the editing mistakes. Now I know none of us are perfect - I find editing issues in my own writing as well - but finding these mistakes got me to wondering. Are we more forgiving of such things with our favorite authors?

I'm leaning towards YES in my case. Several of my favorite authors are indie and while I know they use an editor - I've even met one's editor - I still find editing errors. But I don't mind too much even if I'm temporarily removed from the flow of the story - because the story is so good! It's compelling and emotional so I'm easily pulled right back in. The book that started my pondering...it was a good story as well but I think that since it was an author I was unfamiliar with I was a little less forgiving. It took me a little longer to re-engage because I don't yet have that trust built with the author. But I could see myself getting there with this one. ;)

Anyway, what about y'all? Are you more forgiving of editing issues when it's a favorite author?

Monday, April 17, 2017

Audio Review ~ Your Captivating Love ~ Layla Hagan #AudioChallenge #ShelfLove #TakeControlTBR

Your Captivating Love (The Bennett Family, #2)Your Captivating Love by Layla Hagen
The Bennett Family #2
Narrated byCarly Robins and Nelson Hobbs
Release Date: August 30, 2016
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: I received a complimentary copy from Tantor Media
Rating: 4 Bookworms
Challenges: #AudioChallenge, #ShelfLove, #TakeControlTBR
Goodreads

Synopsis
Logan Bennett knows his priorities. He's loyal to his family and his company. He has no time for love, and no desire for it - not after a disastrous engagement left him brokenhearted. But when Nadine enters his life, she turns everything upside down. She's sexy, funny, and utterly captivating. She's also more stubborn than anyone he's met...including himself. Nadine Hawthorne is finally pursuing her dream: opening her own clothing shop. After working so hard to get here, she needs to concentrate on her new business, and can't afford distractions - not even if they come in the form of Logan Bennett. He's handsome, charming, and doesn't take no for an answer. Their attraction is sizzling, their connection undeniable. Slowly, Logan wins her over. What starts out as a fling soon spirals into much more than they are prepared for. When a mistake threatens to tear them apart, will they have the strength to hold on to each other?




Your Captivating Love was, well, captivating. Already being familiar with the characters and their world enabled me to fall right into Logan and Nadine's story. Witnessing their fall was delightful.

Logan's an intelligent man - he's CFO of Bennett Enterprises after all. He's also determined, loyal, and a bit of a workaholic. He's been unlucky in love - his fiance breaking things off because he focused more on business than her. So he steers clear of romantic entanglements, not wanting to be hurt again.

Nadine, Ava's best friend, has recently relocated to San Francisco hoping to make her dream of owning a high-end dress shop - featuring original designs by her - a reality. She's creative, smart, and tenacious. She's also vivacious. But she's been hurt as well - and her confidence was shattered causing her to put her dreams on hold...until now. She also had a difficult childhood which left its mark. But when Logan and Nadine meet, their chemistry immediately sparked and all their determination to not get involved kinda went out the window.

I so much enjoyed watching as Logan and Nadine built a strong foundation for their relationship - seeing Logan support Nadine in achieving her dream and seeing Nadine learn to trust that Logan wasn't going to run. It was sweet how they each got under the other's skin, chipping away at those walls they'd built - and even sweeter when they fell.

Spending time with the Bennett clan was also fun. Getting to know them even better - how their dynamics work...well, it's easy to see why they're all so close and I'm eager to spend even more time with them.

I do want to say that the narration made my pleasure at listening more intense. Robins and Hobbs more deftly conveyed the emotions wrought in this story as well as kept the pacing smooth. They easily managed voicing the large cast, too. Even though I didn't dislike the narration in book 1, I was amazed at the difference in the level of my enjoyment with the narration here.




Friday, April 14, 2017

Review ~ Mystery Man ~ Kristen Ashley #BloggerShame, #ShelfLove

Mystery Man (Dream Man, #1)Mystery Man by Kristen Ashley
Dream Man #1
Release Date: July 11, 2011
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: I received a complimentary copy via Netgalley. This did not affect my rating and my review is voluntarily provided.
Rating: 5 Bookworms
Challenges: #BloggerShame, #ShelfLove
Goodreads

Synopsis
Night time is the right time...

Gwendolyn Kidd has met the man of her dreams. He's hot, he's sexy, and what started as a no-names-exchanged night of passion has blossomed into a year and a half-long pleasure fest. Sure, it's a little strange that he only appears in her bed at night, but Gwen is so sure he's the one, she just can't turn him away...

Hawk Delgado knows more about Gwen than she could ever imagine. She's gorgeous, headstrong, and skittish about relationships. But Hawk is facing his own demons, demons that keep him from connecting with anyone. Yet when Gwen is drawn into Denver's lethal underground scene, Hawk's protective nature comes out full force. The problem is, when Gwen gets a dose of Hawk's Alpha attitude in the daylight, she's not so sure he's the one anymore...


After a foray into something a little new from KA (review posting soon) it was nice to return to comfort food KA-style. Mystery Man is the first in the Dream Man series but it's set in the Rock Chick world (meaning Denver) and since I previously read a few of the Chaos books (out of order) I'd met a few of these characters. Getting to know their world though and more about them was a treat! Kinda like coffee (or wine) and chocolate...or chocolate chip cookie dough since that's more Gwen's style. ;) Here are a few of the reasons I enjoyed the indulgence:

  • Gwen. She's a great gal! She's sassy, feisty, fun. She's loyal to her friends and family - still claiming her sister despite her sister being hell on wheels. She's smart and she's tough. But having been hurt in the past she - rightfully so - has some issues with commitment. Gwen's also funny and she lives in her head a lot which I could identify with.
  • Hawk. Have I mentioned KA gives good Alpha? ;) Yeah. Hawk is mysterious, enigmatic, and too dang hot for his own good. He keeps women at arm's length - for good reason - but when Gwen gives him lip for the first time, it's all over for him. Yes, he's a bit domineering but he's... well, he's Hawk.
  • A brilliant secondary cast. From Gwen's family and besties to Hawk's team of commandos and everyone in between, I delighted in meeting more people who I'll enjoy spending my time with. A few I'd met previously because of the reading out of order thing and getting to see Tack pre-Chaos series was awesome! I'm eager to spend more time in this world.
  • A mysterious baddie and lots of suspense. KA typically weaves in a fair amount of suspense in her stories and Gwen and Hawk's story was all the more exciting because of it. It didn't hurt that a few of the Hot Bunch boys (Rock Chick) were needed and therefore made cameos. ;)
  • Female solidarity. This is almost always a main theme in KA stories and it's one I relate to and one I appreciate.
  • An HEA.
KA rocked it with Mystery Man and Wild Man (#2) is already in my queue.




Thursday, April 13, 2017

Thirsty Thursday & Hungry Hearts #61 ~ Mystery Man ~ Kristen Ashley

This scene is kinda long but it's just too dang funny not to share!

***

Elvira was in the kitchen creating what she declared were "boards" except she was creating them on Hawk's big, square, midnight blue plates. She was doing this because she came into the warehouse laden with bags from Crate and Barrel and Fresh and Wild, places, she informed me, she took off work early so she could pay a visit. These bags contained brand-new martini glasses (a set of four, long stemmed, ultra sleek), a martini shaker, a mammoth wedge of brie, a French baton, grapes, applies, assorted olives, gherkins, red onion marmalade, assorted crackers, assorted chocolates and an enormous chunk of pate.
Oh, and she brought the ingredients for cosmopolitans.
She had me at the martini glasses. The rest of it made me declare my undying love for her and I told her she'd officially been accepted into my girl posse.

...

"Well, I see good things but I always saw good things," Tracy declared, hitching her ass up on a stool and learning forward to grab an olive off Elvira's board.
The bread knife Elvira was using clattered to the counter and Tracy bought her hand a quick, sharp slap.
"I'm not done," Elvira declared when Tracy snatched her hand back and held it with her other one, staring at Elvira in shock. "It's about presentation. Don't mess with my presentation."

...

"Hurry, Elvira, if you don't, I'm breaking out the cookie dough," I told her.
"Cookie dough is for heartbreak and sister trouble, why would you break out the cookie dough?" Tracy asked.
"Cookie dough has many functions. It isn't just for heartbreak and sister trouble. It's also for when you're freaking out about your love life," I replied.
"I'll tell you this," Elvira announced, fanning out little slices of French baton on the plate next to fanned-out little slices of apple all surrounding a gleaming, clean bunch of succulent grapes in the middle, "Hawk put me on radar, watched my every move for a year and a half and activated the troops when I caught trouble, there'd be no cookie dough in sight. I'd be on my knees next to the bed prayin' to the good Lord, thankin' him 'cause he heard my words. Then I'd put on my little teddy, the purple one, looks good against my skin, and I'd get in bed and count down the minutes until he got home."

Monday, April 10, 2017

Audio Review ~ Your Irresistible Love ~ Layla Hagen #AudioChallenge #ShelfLove #TakeControlTBR

Your Irresistible LoveYour Irresistible Love by Layla Hagen
The Bennett Family #1
Narrated byAiden Snow and Kasha Kensington
Release Date: August 2, 2016
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: I received a complimentary copy from Tantor Media
Rating: 3.5 Bookworms
Challenges: #AudioChallenge, #ShelfLove, #TakeControlTBR
Goodreads

Synopsis
Sebastian Bennett is a determined man. It's the secret behind the business empire he built from scratch. Under his rule, Bennett Enterprises dominates the jewelry industry. Despite being ruthless in his work, family comes first for Sebastian, and he'd do anything for his parents and eight siblings-even if they drive him crazy sometimes...like when they keep nagging him to get married already. Sebastian doesn't believe in love, until he brings in external marketing consultant Ava to oversee the next collection launch. She's beautiful, funny, and just as stubborn as he is. Not only is he obsessed with her delicious curves, but he also finds himself willing to do anything to make her smile. Ava Lindt has one job to do at Bennett Enterprises: make the next collection launch unforgettable. Daydreaming about the hot CEO is definitely not on her to-do list. Besides, the consultancy she works for has a strict policy-no fraternizing with clients. She won't risk her job. But soon their sizzling chemistry spirals into a deep connection that takes both of them by surprise...



I'm a sucker for a story or series revolving around family so the nine Bennett siblings and their parents had a leg up from the get-go. Getting to meet Sebastian, the oldest Bennett and caretaker/protector of all, and seeing him fall for Ava, the smart, sexy woman who arrives to help with his business marketing was a pleasure.

Both Ava and Sebastian have reasons for not wanting to get involved besides the clause in Ava's consultancy contract forbidding fraternization. Ah, you know what they say about forbidden fruit... The two eventually give in and agree to spend time together while Ava is in town - four months. Being along for the ride as they get to know one another and get closer was nice. Ava is independent and used to taking care of things on her own, never having relied on a man...so Sebastian works his magic trying to convince her she doesn't have to do everything alone. Sebastian is used to women wanting the tangible things his wealth can offer them rather than wanting simply him. Ava sets about proving not all women are like that. With a little meddling and help from the Bennett family, the blossoming romance was fun.

Kasha Kensington and Andrew T. Chandler narrated and while I liked them both just fine, I did think that they weren't always able to convey all the emotion certain scenes required. Kensington's delivery at times made the pacing a bit choppy as well.

Besides the narration, my only complaint is that I would have liked more character growth over the course of the story. But overall, I enjoyed my introduction to the Bennett family and I'm already listening to book 2, Your Captivating Love.



Saturday, April 8, 2017

My TBR List ~ April ~ And the Winner Is...

MyTBRList

My To-Be Read List is a meme hosted by Michelle @Because Reading. I think it's a fabulous idea because it gets y'all in the game and it helps me knock off some of the many, many books on my TBR list. You're more than welcome to join in the fun! I've included the basic rules below but you can click on the graphic above to hop over to Michelle's site where you can find all the details. 

Here's how it works:
On the first Saturday of each month, I will make a post with three books from my TBR List (these books can be already on your ereader or bookshelf OR books you might want to purchase) and add your link on the linky that will be provided on Michelle's post. Y'ALL will help me choose which book I will read next. The following Saturday, I will announce which book won. Then the last Saturday of the month, I'll post my review.

Fun, right?!?


***

Thanks to everyone for voting! I ended up having a tie. *gasp* And it was kinda late to send out a plea for a tie-breaker. So, since I REALLY want to read both the books in the tie vote, I'm gonna read them both. :D


The WINNERS Are:

Changing Tides (Kill Devil Hills, #2)
Changing Tides
Kill Devil Hills #2

Synopsis
ELLIE
For years Ellie Turner's had a crush on the ruggedly handsome, beast of a man, television actor, Nate West. This isn't your average 'fan-girl crush' either, it's borderline obsessive, and totally inconvenient since, other that this one exception, Ellie's always been strictly into girls. But it doesn't matter...because Nate doesn't exist in real life. In real life Ellie has her own issues to worry about, including the death of her brother, the recent suicide attempt of her sister, and then there's always her annoying roommate Rhett to contend with.

NATE
Nate West isn't looking to start a new relationship. He's still heartbroken over the last girl who ripped out his insides, still learning how to manage his new-found fame, and, frankly, not even sure what time-zone he's in. His life is so full of stress, the last thing he wants is more of it.

So when Nate and Ellie meet on an airplane, nothing life changing should have come from it. But "sometimes in life--very rarely, I might add--you meet someone and you know instantly they're going to mean something special to you."




Paradise Road (Paradise #2)Paradise Road
Paradise #2

Synopsis
The Road to Paradise is never easy

After a year on the coast, Lexie Atkinson can't settle back into country life. She's missing the glitzy, gritty nightlife of the big city and the group of misfit friends she'd loved to hate. She knows to move forward she has to go back - back to face the guy who stole her heart.

But when Lexie arrives in Paradise City to work out if her future includes bad-boy surfer, Luke Ballantine, he is nowhere to be found.

With no home, no money and no Luke, Lexie gets a job slinging drinks at the wild Wipe Out Bar. Soon her heartache is eased when broody bar owner, Dean Saville, starts taking an interest and stirs more than just her drinks. But nothing is ever as it seems in Paradise City and when Luke barrels back into town, Lexie has a choice to make. But who will end up with the broken heart: Luke, Dean... or Lexie?


Friday, April 7, 2017

Review ~ The Female of the Species ~ Mindy McGinnis #2017HW #ShelfLove

The Female of the SpeciesThe Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis
Release Date: September 20, 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction
Source: Purchased hardcover
Rating: 5 Bookworms
Challenges: #2017HW, #ShelfLove, #TakeControlTBR
Goodreads

Synopsis
Alex Craft knows how to kill someone. And she doesn't feel bad about it. When her older sister, Anna, was murdered three years ago and the killer walked free, Alex uncaged the language she knows best. The language of violence.

While her crime goes unpunished, Alex knows she can't be trusted among other people, even in her small hometown. She relegates herself to the shadows, a girl who goes unseen in plain sight, unremarkable in the high school hallways.

But Jack Fisher sees her. He's the guy all other guys want to be: the star athlete gunning for valedictorian with the prom queen on his arm. Guilt over the role he played the night Anna's body was discovered hasn't let him forget Alex over the years, and now her green eyes amid a constellation of freckles have his attention. He doesn't want to only see Alex Craft; he wants to know her.

So does Peekay, the preacher's kid, a girl whose identity is entangled with her dad's job, though that does not stop her from knowing the taste of beer or missing the touch of her ex-boyfriend. When Peekay and Alex start working together at the animal shelter, a friendship forms and Alex's protective nature extends to more than just the dogs and cats they care for.

Circumstances bring Alex, Jack, and Peekay together as their senior year unfolds. While partying one night, Alex's darker nature breaks out, setting the teens on a collision course that will change their lives forever.




According to the Kipling Society, The Female of the Species describes the "moral strength and single-mindedness of women throughout history, in familial and political contexts, in contrast to the weakness and vacillation of men."
"I am a wolf that my sister kept in a cage, until her hand was removed. I have been out, curious as I wake up from a lethargic solitude, self-enforced because I know I don't belong here. It's not safe for me to be out but they rattled my cage. First Claire, and then Jack. And now I'm awake, deviating from the paths I created in order to remain stable. I'm out, and awake, and afraid I won't be easily put back in."
This book has quite a lot to say. And it did so very well. The parallels between that first quote and the three MC's...Alex, Peekay, and Jack embody those words.

We have Alex, who has defined herself as "vengeance" and despite believing she feels no guilt, has a very strong moral compass. She sees herself as defending the weak - those who can't protect themselves - whether they be human or cats and dogs. This side of her, while scary, was absolutely fascinating. And although she feels she doesn't belong, a part of her longs for that feeling - something I think she had when her sister was alive. She also got people to look at themselves differently...

Peekay, for example. She's always been called Peekay - preacher's kid - and didn't think anything of it. But Alex asks for and calls her by her given name, Claire. It never occurred to Peekay the statements she made without words by accepting that nickname, much less the reasons behind doing so. She allowed it to influence her identity. She's strong though and finds the depth of her inner strength after befriending Alex. I found it of particular interest that she had thoughts similar to those of Alex, the difference being that Peekay would never act on them.

Then there's Jack - who was inspired to be a better person because of Alex. He'd been curious about her and her thoughts about his character since the night her sister's body was found. And Jack, he's a good guy even if he is a cad. But he waffled in his loyalties and decisions - found it apparently difficult to stay on the right path.

And through all this, the interactions between Alex, Peekay, and Jack - the bonds of friendship forming and love blossoming -McGinnis incorporated social commentary on teen culture: rape culture, sexual objectification, the double standards regarding boy vs girl behavior. And it was brilliant! There were some difficult moments to read - this story is raw and gritty - but I also felt things were realistically portrayed. The Female of the Species is certainly thought-provoking. 

This is my favorite #2017HW read so far!



Thursday, April 6, 2017

New Release Review ~ The Ten-Day Baby Takeover ~ Karen Booth (@karenbbooth) #2017NewRelease

The Ten-Day Baby Takeover (Billionaires and Babies)The Ten-Day Baby Takeover by Karen Booth
Release Date: April 1, 2017
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the author. This does not affect my opinion or rating. I voluntarily provided a review. 
Rating: 4 Bookworms
Challenges: #2017NewRelease
Goodreads

Synopsis
A billionaire's baby deal!

One look into his infant son's trusting blue gaze and Aiden Langford knows his wild, carefree days are over. If only he can get Sarah Daltrey, his son's temporary guardian, to give him daddy lessons... Certainly the soft-hearted entrepreneur will agree to his ten-day proposal to stay as the nanny. Aiden just needs to keep his mind on parenting and off Sarah's seductive curves...

Being in the handsome tycoon's arms puts up Sarah's emotional defenses even as her body begs her to let go. But being a babysitter with benefits isn't on her agenda - especially for a father and son who might steal her heart...




There is nothing sexier than a man with a baby!

Sarah became Oliver's guardian when her best friend died She has been trying to contact Aiden about his having a son but he's been elusive. And honestly, she doesn't mind having Oliver. She adores him. She just needs to take care of her best friend's final requests where Oliver is concerned. So she camps out in LangTel's lobby determined not to leave until she sees Aiden. 

Sarah is a sweetheart. She's smart, caring, and she's determined to make her business a success. A former nanny, Sarah is now launching a successful lingerie business. She has no time or desire for romance not trusting her instincts when it comes to men.

Aiden is busy making LangTel even more successful. He's savvy, handsome, but doesn't date. And he certainly gave no thought to becoming a dad. But when he sees Oliver, he can't deny he's a daddy. But he doesn't know the first thing about babies. So he does what he does best - makes a deal with Sarah. Ten days of baby training in exchange for help with her business. What's the worst that could happen?

This story was heartwarming and fun! I immensely enjoyed watching Aiden and Oliver bond and watching as Aiden opened up to Sarah - something he's never done with anyone. It was also interesting to see Sarah, who was deadset on ever offering her heart to anyone again, slowly put it on offer to Aiden. Oliver though, he'd had her heart from day one.

Oliver was adorable! I could perfectly envision his chubby little legs holding him up while he drooled. I liked Anna's and Jacob's presence in the story as well as seeing Adam and Melanie, and Mother Langford, too. I felt like Aiden's issues with this past were dealt with well and i helped me get a better understanding of him.

Of course, this all takes place over the course of ten days and while it's fast, it felt genuine. The banter between Aiden and Sarah was fun. And I could see the connection between them - a solid friendship foundation - for the romance to build on.

I hope for more from this series as I'd like to see more of the Langford siblings and their spouses in the future.




Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Brandee's Bookish Babble #32 ~ Goodreads & Friends


Welcome to Brandee's Bookish Babble. There are many, many similar posts to this one - but basically I wanted a place to discuss bookish and/or blogging stuff and I needed a title. :) 


***
I have a question for y'all. How do y'all decide whose friendship to accept on Goodreads? Do you accept everyone who sends a friend request? Do you compare books before deciding? I know some of you use the "ask a question" function - do you always accept if the person answers? 

I'm asking because I used to accept anyone who asked. But in the last year or so, I've gotten friend requests from people with weird pseudonyms, people with 5000 friends and 3 books on their shelves, people with whom I only have 2 books in common... essentially a lot of people that I'm not understanding their motivation behind requesting my friendship. So I got to wondering how y'all handle it. I have accepted requests from folks who are authors if they write in a genre I'm interested in. I've accepted if we have books in common on our shelves. It's just that I feel the need to be pickier at this point - I want to understand why the request was sent because if we don't read the same things, are we really going to connect? If not, it's just adding clutter to my feed.

How do y'all feel? Am I being ridiculous? Am I even making sense?!?

Monday, April 3, 2017

Audio Review ~ Shifting Gears ~ Riley Hart #AudioChallenge #ShelfLove

Shifting Gears (Crossroads, #2)Shifting Gears by Riley Hart
Crossroads #2
Narrated by: Sean Crisden
Release Date: May 23, 2016
Genre: Adult, M/M Contemporary Romance
Source: I received a complimentary copy from Tantor Media
Rating: 4 Bookworms
Challenges: #AudioChallenge, #ShelfLove
Goodreads

Synopsis
Rod Nelson is used to being someone's good time, and that's fine with him. Spending his days at his adult toy store, Rods-N-Ends, he never knows who he'll meet. The second Landon Harrison walks in, he has Rod's full attention. It seems as if Landon wants him too, so why won't the man jump in the sack with him already?

Landon never thought he'd return home to the town where memories lurk around every corner. He has to admit, Rod makes the adjustment a lot easier. He keeps Landon laughing. Despite the fierce attraction between them, he's not willing to risk his newfound friendship to get laid.

Neither man wants something serious, but the more they're together, the harder it is to keep their hands to themselves, until eventually they stop trying.

But flings between friends are never simple, and as they attempt to shift gears, diving into their first relationship, they're slammed with setbacks. If they want to truly move forward, before they hit the open road together, they're going to have to let go of a past that could make them crash and burn.




Shifting Gears features Rod, whom I met in Crossroads. He's this kinda quirky guy who works in a sex toy shop when Brice and Nick meet him. Rod now owns his own ship and he's proud of what he does and his ability to put people at ease as well as offer them help with something they might feel uncomfortable with asking for.

Landon meets Rod when he comes into the shop for some product. They have an easy rapport and quickly become friends. They're both attracted to one another but Landon doesn't want to pursue anything and risk messing up their friendship - something he's never had.

These two guys have a lot of baggage. Their childhoods were far from perfect. Neither had an example of a healthy relationship to follow and both feared entering into a relationship, not wanting to hurt or be hurt. Watching as they both learn that they're worthy of love - giving it and receiving it - was a beautiful thing. They had a lot of walls to knock down on their way into each others' hearts but realized it was worth the work.

Brice and Nick were supporting cast members and I enjoyed spending time with them as well as seeing them have Rod and Landon's backs - offering advice and just being good friends. The introduction of a few new characters was well done and I figure one will be featured in a future installment of the series.

Sean Crisden did a fine job narrating, even keeping Brice's and Nick's voices consistent from the first book. I'll definitely continue this series in audio.



Sunday, April 2, 2017

Sunday Post #22 ~ April? Wahhh? And Challenge Updates

Sunday Post

As y'all probably all know, the Sunday Post is hosted by Kimba @Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It's a chance to share my news from the week whether it be book, blog, or just life news. 

***
Wow! March definitely came in like a lion, didn't it? I can't believe it's April. It was a busy month for me because I had my college girl home (for not nearly long enough!), my MIL visiting, James took vacation time to spend with Sky and with Berk & Jax, who were off this past week for Spring Break. I *did* get a lot of listening done but I've gotten behind in reading and blogging. Oh well, it's a new month.

Oh, I did want to mention that I took Berk and Jax to see Beauty and the Beast last week. It was phenomenal, y'all!! I thought the sets, costumes, casting, and special effects were perfect. I particularly liked the emotion conveyed through Beast's facial expressions. Sooo good!!

Last month's list of books that made big impressions - positive or negative - are: Crash into You by Katie McGarry, The Deep End and Mystery Man by Kristen Ashley, and Rises the Night of Colleen Gleason all get the highest (positive) marks. Currently, I'm reading The Ten-Day Baby Takeover by Karen Booth. And in my ears is Your Inescapable Love by Layla Hagen.  


Are y'all as shocked as I am that it's April?!? :) 

***

I have made it through the first 3 months of 2017 without spending a penny on a book! Woohoo! I did acquire a book that was free two boxsets that were free.

Paris Lights (Heart of the City #1)The Love Dangerously Collection: Dangerous Kiss, Dangerous Flirt & Dangerous Tease (Laytons, #1-#3)Beyond Series Novella Bundle (Beyond, #3.5, 4.5, 5.5)





***

2017 Challenges

New Release Challenge 2017 - (un)Conventional Bookviews2017hwlogo.jpgbookishresolution2017Audiobook-Challenge-2017HAuthorLove


#2017HW Report Card for Quarter One
My goal is 1 book a month. I read 3 books in the first quarter so that means I got an A!!!


#2017NewRelease - 14 books
#Audiobook Challenge - 9 book
#authorluv - none yet
#BloggerShame - 8 books
Read All the Books - 2 books
#ShelfLove - 28 books




I started Mini Blog Ahead with 3 posts scheduled. I ended with 20 scheduled posts and 8 drafts. The goal was 15 so I did well! :D



I was certainly ambitious with the Take Control TBR Challenge. Here is a photo of the TBR list I had going in...

And just to let y'all know (so you can laugh) I had added 50 books to my kindle TBR Collection so I'd have a nice selection to choose from. ;) And I read exactly ONE from that collection - Rises the Night. I did listen to all three of the audiobooks. I also read The Female of the Species. But apparently, I'm not good with lining up books to read ahead of time. I *DID* read 12 books for this challenge. It's just that I only read 4 from my pre-scheduled list. Still, that's 12 books less I have on my TBR. That's a win in my book!


Saturday, April 1, 2017

My TBR List ~ April ~ Polling is Open!

MyTBRList

My To-Be Read List is a meme hosted by Michelle @Because Reading. I think it's a fabulous idea because it gets y'all in the game and it helps me knock off some of the many, many books on my TBR list. You're more than welcome to join in the fun! I've included the basic rules below but you can click on the graphic above to hop over to Michelle's site where you can find all the details. 

Here's how it works:
On the first Saturday of each month, I will make a post with three books from my TBR List (these books can be already on your ereader or bookshelf OR books you might want to purchase) and add your link on the linky that will be provided on Michelle's post. Y'ALL will help me choose which book I will read next. The following Saturday, I will announce which book won. Then the last Saturday of the month, I'll post my review.

Fun, right?!?


***

I'm continuing my quest, and working at one of my Bookish Resolutions to catch up on series (since I'm behind in 148 series) I'm once again having y'all decide which series I'm going to work at catching up on this month! :D

FYI, this will be my theme all year. And since I'm letting random.org choose from the list of series I'm behind in, you might see books show up more than once. ;)


Your Choices Are:

Changing Tides (Kill Devil Hills, #2)
Changing Tides
Kill Devil Hills #2

Synopsis
ELLIE
For years Ellie Turner's had a crush on the ruggedly handsome, beast of a man, television actor, Nate West. This isn't your average 'fan-girl crush' either, it's borderline obsessive, and totally inconvenient since, other that this one exception, Ellie's always been strictly into girls. But it doesn't matter...because Nate doesn't exist in real life. In real life Ellie has her own issues to worry about, including the death of her brother, the recent suicide attempt of her sister, and then there's always her annoying roommate Rhett to contend with.

NATE
Nate West isn't looking to start a new relationship. He's still heartbroken over the last girl who ripped out his insides, still learning how to manage his new-found fame, and, frankly, not even sure what time-zone he's in. His life is so full of stress, the last thing he wants is more of it.

So when Nate and Ellie meet on an airplane, nothing life changing should have come from it. But "sometimes in life--very rarely, I might add--you meet someone and you know instantly they're going to mean something special to you."





Paradise Road (Paradise #2)Paradise Road
Paradise #2

Synopsis
The Road to Paradise is never easy

After a year on the coast, Lexie Atkinson can't settle back into country life. She's missing the glitzy, gritty nightlife of the big city and the group of misfit friends she'd loved to hate. She knows to move forward she has to go back - back to face the guy who stole her heart.

But when Lexie arrives in Paradise City to work out if her future includes bad-boy surfer, Luke Ballantine, he is nowhere to be found.

With no home, no money and no Luke, Lexie gets a job slinging drinks at the wild Wipe Out Bar. Soon her heartache is eased when broody bar owner, Dean Saville, starts taking an interest and stirs more than just her drinks. But nothing is ever as it seems in Paradise City and when Luke barrels back into town, Lexie has a choice to make. But who will end up with the broken heart: Luke, Dean... or Lexie?





That Wedding (That Boy, #2)That Wedding
That Boy #2

Synopsis
The gorgeous engagement ring on my finger mimics my happiness. I feel so sparkly, glittery, and full of promise, because I absolutely know he's that boy. The boy I want to marry. My prince. My happily ever after. But then our pastor starts asking lots of questions. His parents say I haven't dealt with my past. I have horrible wedding disaster dreams. I can't find the perfect dress. I have to manipulate him to get my way. An old boyfriend asks me to run away with him. My best friend says I'm going to ruin everything. And forever starts to sound like a really long time. Which totally freaks me out and makes me question everything I know. Should best friends get married? Will my past affect our relationship? Are my horrible dreams a warning? Will I ever find a dress? Could his sexiness be clouding my judgment? Am I going to ruin everything? Or is it just a case of cold feet? And then I have to decide. Am I willing to give up on true love forever, or am I going to listen to my heart and marry him?



Okay, now vote! And thanks! :D


Create your own user feedback survey

Friday, March 31, 2017

Review ~ Bounty ~ Kristen Ashley #COYER #ShelfLove

Bounty (Colorado Mountain, #7)Bounty by Kristen Ashley
Colorado Mountain Series #7
Release Date: April 18, 2016
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: Gifted paperback
Rating: 5 Bookworms
Challenges: #COYER, #ShelfLove, #TravelingtotheTerminus
Goodreads

Synopsis
Justice Lonesome has enjoyed a life of bounty.

Even so, she's inherited the curse of the Lonesome. A poet's soul. Which means she's still searching for something. Searching for peace. Searching for the less...that's more.

And when the foundation of her life is pulled out from under her, grieving, she goes to the mountains to find her oasis. She hits Carnal, Colorado and decides to stay.

Deke Hightower lost everything at the age of two. He lost it again at fifteen. His life has not been about bounty. It's been about learning to live with less, because there's no way to get more.

Deke's also watched all his friends go down to the women wh ogave them what they needed. He wants that for himself. But he knows that search isn't going to be easy because he's a rider. His home is the road. That's the only place he can breathe. And the woman who takes her place at his side has to do it sitting on the back of his bike.

When Deke meets Justice, he knows she's not that woman. She's cute. She's sweet. And she's into him, but she's got it all and Deke knows he won't fit into that. So he holds her at arm's length. Establishes boundaries. And Justice will take it because she wants Deke any way he'll let her have him.

But when Justice finds herself a pawn in a dangerous game, Deke makes a decision.

When he does, he has no idea he's just opened himself up to bounty.




As per usual with anything from KA, I have myriad reasons to love it. Here are a few of the myriad as pertains to Bounty.
  • Deke had certain preconceived notions of what people with money were like and he had solid reasons for these notions but I love how KA gave him Justice and therefore reason to change those preconceived notions...to realize not all people fit under one definition. And then gave him the bounty for being willing to change.
  • I loved that despite the fact Justice had everything and the money to buy what she didn't, she was always looking for the less that was more. That's what she needed - less - and with Deke that's what she found... a less that was so much more.
  • Justice and Deke were truly made for one another. They fit, even if Deke took a little convincing, and i was so completely natural. They were just together, even before they were, and it was easy.
  • KA always but always makes the most important things in life important for her characters: family and friends. With family, it's not always smooth sailing, there are bumps in the road and both Justice and Deke had and were experiencing those bumps. But they both understood loss and that family - even when you might wish they weren't your family - comes first. As for friends - with KA, female solidarity is always a focal point and in Bounty, we got that when the women of Carnal, Gnaw Bone, and Chantalle, rallied around Justice - became her posse and enfolded her into the tribe. And Justice made that easy. But I think the even stronger expression of friendship came with the camaraderie among the mountain men. We've seen them all have each others' backs but this time there was a little something stronger in the dynamics which illustrated just how tight these guys are.
  • Bounty - as a title punches you with what this story is all about. KA typically shares life lessons as a thread in her stories - at least it's one thing I always get out of one of her stories - and Bounty was no different...except it was. I loved that in changing Deke's perceptions, Justice's were altered and it all equaled a shift in perspective. At least in mine...how they looked at life - how I look at life - what it means to be happy. What do we really need to achieve it?
"Best anyone can hope for. Either the contentment of knowin' they're right where they need to be, doin' what they should be doin' among the fold they should be with or takin' a path that, least it could be is interesting, best it's a god-damned kick in the ass." -Deke
"I was grateful for thermostats and a new deck and creamy foam in my walls. I was grateful for Jim-Billy. I was grateful for fate setting my feet on that sidewalk so I could be there for a woman I barely knew, but she was a woman that needed me. I was just grateful that the life I'd been born into already giving me so much, continued to offer me bounty." -Justice
"That's it, Deke. I'm a lucky girl. Blessed. Given so much bounty, it's almost embarrassing how much God likes me. But He must really like me because I have all I have and He also gave me you." -Justice 
  • KA wove in some suspense as well and she gives good suspense. I actually feared she was going to take us somewhere I didn't want to go. I shouldn't have feared but I did.

All these things combined for a deep, powerful, and compelling story with all the complexities in the characters that draw me to KA. Y'all know I love her and she's not let me down yet. Hopefully, if I talk about her enough, y'all will eventually cave - if only to see what all my gushing is about!



Thursday, March 30, 2017

2017 #BookishResolutions Challenge Update ~ March


I'm once again participating in the Bookish Resolutions Challenge. This challenge is hosted by Michelle @Because Reading and Laura @ Trips Down Imagination RoadFor complete details and to sign up, click the graphic above or here



**MY GOALS FOR 2017**

I've been moderately successful with the challenge the past 2 years but I think I've come up with some tweaks so that I'll be even more so in 2017. Mostly I'm making my goals more specific and therefore more quantifiable. :)
  • Blogging Goals
    • Comment back THREE times a week
    • Visit TEN blogs a day
    • Interact with 3 blog Facebook pages a day
    • Link up my challenge posts on the last day of each month (or last day of month quarterly for those updating quarterly)
    • Keep track of my progress on my calendar
  • Reading Goals
    • NO BOOK BUYING without a gift card (that was gifted!)
    • Read TWO Netgalley reads per month
    • Read (at least) TWO books I already own per month
    • Read ONE book from a series I'm behind in per month
    • Listen to TWO review books per month
    • Read books my kids *need* me to read
      • Born to Run (Jax)
      • Death with Interruptions (Jax)
      • Everything is Illuminated (Sky)
      • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Jax)
      • School of Good and Evil (Berk)
      • The Book Thief (Sky)
      • The Lightning Thief (Berk)
    • Keep track of my progress on my calendar and in my book journal
  • Personal Goals
    • Exercise FIVE days a week
    • Keep a food/exercise journal
    • Spend an hour daily writing/editing
    • Clean up my Goodreads Shelves!
    • Spend ONE day a month on a different hobby - paper crafting or knitting
    • Keep track of my progress with writing/editing and crafting on my calendar


***Update***


  • Blogging Goals
    I've done okay with my blogging goals this month. I've kept up with commenting back and that makes me incredibly happy! I have *not* done well with visiting 10 blogs a day but y'all, March has been hard. I had Sky home and my mother-in-law visiting, James was home some, and this week Berk & Jax are home. They're all messing with my schedule. LOL But seriously, y'all know my family comes first so... I'm working at catching up though. If I haven't comment bombed you yet, your time is coming. You've been warned. ;)  I also failed at interacting on Facebook, obviously. I did keep up with linking reviews for challenges as well as keeping track of things in my planner. So I think that means I'm batting .500.
  • Reading Goals
    Woot! THREE MONTHS and I haven't one-clicked a book! I did, of course, add a few *freebies* to my library but I've really been selective, only choosing those books and/or authors I've wanted to read for awhile. I also read (am reading) four more Netgalley reads this month, Dare You To by Katie McGarry, Cupcakes and Ink by Helena Hunting, Ten Reasons to Stay by Sabrina Jeffries, and I'm almost done with Mystery Man by Kristen Ashley. I read a book from a series I am behind in - My TBR read for March, Crash into You by Katie McGarry. I have to say I'm loving using series I'm behind in for my TBR picks. :) I managed to complete four audio review books and am working on a fifth, so I crushed this goal. (It's amazing how much listening you can do while running errands, cleaning, and cooking! ;) I finished Shifting Gears by Riley Hart, and Your Irresistible LoveYour Captivating LoveYour Forever Love, and I'm almost finished with Your Inescapable Love by Layla Hagen - yep, I'm binging on this series.) I started reading Born to Run from Jax's request list. Yay me! And I'm continuing to use my planner to keep track of these goals and it makes it easier to see what I have on tap. Again, overall I ROCKED March reading-wise.
  • Personal Goals
    I'm continuing to do well with some of my personal goals. I've managed to exercise at least 5 days a week and I'm using my fitbit to keep track of food and exercise. That's enormously helpful since it's essentially done for me. I do add in my food during the day to keep track of calories. And I'm rather proud to say I've lost almost 12.4 pounds! I did spend some more time working at cleaning up my Goodreads shelves, but not enough. I did make some strides in writing/editing - setting a goal for myself has helped. Writing does take time away from blogging but if I want to finish my book, things have to be shifted. I also spent some time knitting this month - working on a project that's been getting the best of me but I think I've finally figured it out now. Woohoo!  

So that's my update. How are y'all doing with your challenges?