Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Review ~ A Man Called Ove ~ Fredrik Backman

A Man Called Ove
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
Release Date: July 15, 2014
Genre: Adult, Literary Fiction
Source: Purchased paperback
Rating: 5 Bookworms
Challenges: #ShelfLove
Goodreads

Synopsis
A grumpy yet loveable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door.

Meet Ove. He's a curmudgeon, the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him the bitter neighbor from hell, but must Ove be bitter just because he doesn't walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?

Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove's mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents' association to their very foundations.


James and I recently discussed whether movies like Grumpy Old Men and The Bucket List get funnier to us with age. We didn't come to a consensus but we do find grumpy old men funny. So I couldn't wait to dive into A Man Called Ove with its description of a man so curmudgeonly that most people avoid him. And while it certainly did have its moments of laugh out loud hilarity, Ove brought so much more to the table.

We first meet Ove at an Apple store where he's trying to buy a computer...a process that is much more difficult for a 59 year old man than you'd think it would be but he just doesn't seem to speak the language. From there we get well acquainted with Ove - his childhood tragedies and triumphs, his systems and beliefs, his love of Saab, and, eventually, of a woman named Sonja.

I'm not gonna lie...I love Ove...HARD. They don't make men like him anymore and although I'm not sure I'd want to live with him, that's still a crying shame. Ove made me think on things - what's important in this life, how I approach life, how I perceive death, what it means to love...and what the type of car you drive says about you.

A Man Called Ove is gripping, poignant, full of humor and sadness. The characters are all engaging and the story is masterfully told even if the prose is simple. Ove is a man I felt I knew at times, and identified with at others. I alternately found myself laughing and sobbing throughout. But Ove is not a character I'll forget anytime soon nor will I forget his lessons on life.

I'd also like to point out that this book was originally written in Swedish. That it's so moving says a lot for its translator. 


Tuesday, January 16, 2018

#COYER Review & #Giveaway ~ Mr. & Mrs. ~ JA Huss

Mr. & Mrs. (Mister, #6)
Mr. & Mrs. by JA Huss
Misters #6
Release Date: October 31, 2017
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: Purchased on Kindle
Rating: 4 Bookworms
Challenges: #COYER, #TravelingtotheTerminus
Goodreads ~ Amazon

Synopsis
Mr. Perfect, Mr. Romantic, Mr. Coporate, Mr. Mysterious, and Mr. Match found what they were looking for and now it's time to seal the deal. Five Aston hasn't quite found his happily ever after yet...not quite. But he will. And he's about to host the party of the century for all his family and friends.

If you loved Happily Ever After, you can't miss this one either. It's the delicious cherry on the top of the most perfect dessert and all your favorite characters will be back for one...final...swoon-worthy story.



It was such a treat to get to spend time with the Misters and their Missuses - all together at one time, in one place. And no one was in any real danger if you didn't count the pigs...or the kittens...or the stallion...or those island kids! LOL Seriously though, Mr. & Mrs. was a lot of fun.

It's been almost a year since the Misters dealt with all that Mister business and now they're all getting down to the business of living. Of course, they want to really start things with a wedding. And if one Mister is going to do it, they all will. Getting to see what everyone is up to now was a pleasure. I mean, each of the couples came together under strenuous times so it was nice to see them just be "normal" - worrying about being couples and/or parents, etc. I was also a joy to see the camaraderie between them all - the family they've created outside of family, how they are all there for one another. And then there were the surprises. Naturally, Huss had to throw a few twists in and for these particular ones, I'll always be grateful.

Mr. & Mrs. was the pretty, sparkly bow tying up an already fantastic series.






For those of you who haven't yet started the Misters series, I have a signed paperback copy of Mr. Perfect up for grabs. Just obey the Rafflecopter below. 
Sorry! Due to shipping costs, this giveaway is for U.S only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Saturday, January 13, 2018

My TBR List ~ January ~ 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?!?

***

In 2018, I'm once again working at catching up on series and y'all get to decide which series I'm going to read each month! :D

And the Winner (by a nose) is:

Steal the Day (Thieves, #2)Steal the Day
Thieves #2

Synopsis
When a member of her crew is dragged to Hell by a demon, Zoey plans the most dangerous heist of her career. With her team at her side, Zoey intends to sneak onto the Hell plane and steal Sarah back.

The job seems impossible until a new client makes them an offer too good to refuse. If she can find an ancient artifact called The Revelation, she can use it to locate an angel who holds Sarah's redemption in his hands.

Surrounded by warring angels and demons, the greatest threat may come from one of her own. Torn between her Fae lover and the vampire who has always held her heart, Zoey finds that she and Dev are trapped in Daniel's web of secrets and it may be Zoey who has to pay the ultimate price.



Thanks so much for voting, y'all. It was a close one this month. One vote decided the winner. Check back on January 27th to see my review. :)

Friday, January 12, 2018

New Release Review ~ Angel of Shadow ~ D.H. Nevins #2018NewRelease

Angel of Shadow (Wormwood #2)Angel of Shadow by D.H. Nevins
Wormwood #2
Release Date: January 13, 2018
Genre: Adult, Dystopian, Romance
Source: I received an eARC from the author. This did not affect my rating and my review is provided voluntarily.
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms
Challenges: #2018NewRelease
Goodreads

Synopsis
D.H. Nevins hurtles you into a world of half-angels, demons and tormented love in this driving, dystopian sequel to Wormwood.

Half-angels, known as Nephilim, have all but destroyed the surface of the Earth. Yet for Kali Michaels, her life is now much more complicated than simply surviving. Grappling with her own powerful identity, she worries her connection to the world of Shadows could destroy those around her.
And what if she hurts Tiamat Wormwood, the Nephilim outcast who has given everything to save her?
Tiamat and Kali know hey have no future - not when outside forces and Kali's own power push both the humans and the Nephilim to the brink of extinction.
As she fights to stop the inevitable, she is led to question who her real enemies are, and whether the ultimate threat may actually be herself.



To say I'd been anxiously awaiting the release of Angel of Shadow is an understatement. Wormwood made much an impression I couldn't wait to see what Kali and Tiamat did next. But wait I did. And fortunately, Angel of Shadow was worth the wait!

Highlights
  • Characters
    Of course, Kali and Tiamat are the central characters of the story but Nevins also further developed characters we'd previously met as well as weaving in some new ones. All the characters, particularly a demon named Richard, added complexity to the story overall as well as creating tension, suspense, and providing comic relief. I'm a fan of character growth and watching Kali in particular grow, change, and mature was a pleasure.
  • Action/Suspense/Gritty Setting
    Angel of Shadow didn't skimp on action or suspense. Now that the Nephilim are split and no one is quite certain what the new missions is, I waited and watched with bated breath to see what was going to happen. Also a revelation concerning Kali had me biting my nails as the repercussions slowly revealed themselves. And of course Richard had to keep stirring things up for all involved.
    Nevins adeptly paints a post-apocalyptic landscape. I could almost taste the dust and ask, feel the crunch of dirt and small pebbles being walked on, feel the oppressive darkness of the caves. And the battle scenes had me gasping for air.
  • Thought-provoking Elements
    Nevins had Kali, Tiamat, and other dealing with accepting new roles as well as accepting themselves when new characteristics/traits were realized. It was interesting and exciting to witness characters learning to deal when things went against long-held beliefs, when they reached deep and found inner strength they didn't realize was there, and try to understand that genetics don't make a person, it's the choices the person makes and the actions the take that make them who they are. Kali and Tiamat are also exploring love - what it means to love and to be loved.
And all this was delivered in Nevins' beautiful prose.

The future is uncertain for Kali, Tiamat, and their friends. Whatever comes, they'll face it together. I'm eager to see where things go from here.


Wednesday, January 10, 2018

#COYER Review ~ Shine ~ Dannika Dark #ShelfLove #TravelingtotheTerminus


Shine (Mageri, #5)Shine by Dannika Dark
Mageri Series #5
Release Date: December 20, 2013
Genre: Adult, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Source: Purchased paperback
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms
Challenges: #COYER, #ShelfLove, #TravelingtotheTerminus
Goodreads

Synopsis
In the short span of a year, Silver has gone from becoming a Mage to discovering the truth about her unique genetics. Logan Cross went from her mortal enemy to her immortal lover, but a threat is fast approaching like an inevitable storm. Attacks are underway against the Mageri and one man is behind it - an elusive foe who is an unstoppable force. Nero is not Silver's only concern as someone close to her is arrested for treason. In the midst of chaos, Silver discovers she cannot protect everyone from the wrath of fate, including her own Ghuardian.

Justus finally opens his heart, but an unexpected turn of events could darken his soul forever. Secrets are revealed that will leave you reeling from one twist after the next. Would you sacrifice everything for love?

Destiny has set sail and once she alters her course, no one's life will ever be the same in this explosive conclusion to the Mageri Series.




I'm not sure I could have imagined a better ending for this series than Shine. Dark did an excellent job of driving us to where she wanted us, tying up some loose ends, but also leaving things in a way where we can dream up the direction certain things and certain characters go from here. And it was ALL worth the ride.

As I've said in most, if not all, my reviews for this series, I admire how Dark takes on certain relevant topics and explores them as they apply to the world of Breed. Things came to a head in Shine as an enemy of Silver pitted Breed against one another using said topics. The way things went down might not have been as exciting if not for the circumstances under which they happened and the revelations brought forth. However, it all combined for quite a bit of nail-biting and explosive excitement.

The way in which Dark wrapped up things for Silver and Logan, Adam, Justus and Page, Simon, Christian, and even Novis was very satisfying as well. That she was able to develop such a large cast of characters so well is a feat considering they are all different Breed and therefore it wasn't their Breed that brought them all together but their humanity. Dark had several themes running throughout the seires - humanity, doing the right thing, selflessness, fate, sacrifice - and one of the most gratifying elements of the series has been watching Silver mature and seeing how she and those close and important to her were affected by her and her beliefs...they all impacted each others' lives for the better.

I'm happy and a little sad to have finished the series. I know I have a novella and a companion novel yet to read and I will do that soon. I'm also very eager to start the Crossbreed series which is set in this same world. It'll be interesting to see where Dark takes things from here.

If you haven't met Silver and her friends, I highly recommend you do and SOON! :)

Monday, January 8, 2018

Review ~ Gravity ~ Dannika Dark #ShelfLove #TravelingtotheTerminus


Gravity (Mageri, #4)Gravity by Dannika Dark
Mageri Series #4
Release Date: June 12, 2013
Genre: Adult, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Source: Purchased paperback
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms
Challenges: #ShelfLove, #TravelingtotheTerminus
Goodreads

Synopsis
When a choice is made, it will forever alter the course of our destiny. It cannot be undone, for fate is a river changing direction and carving away the bed of our hearts like everlasting fractures.

A turbulent past has left Silver a broken woman, but she is learning to trust again through Logan Cross, a Chitah who has convinced her that a dangerous man can change. Their bond will be put to the ultimate test when an old nemesis reappears and flips her world upside down. Will Logan be able to tame the animal within, or will he succumb to his impulsive nature?

The ongoing investigation into Breed experiments unveils a shocking secret about Silver's past. Standing at a fork in the road, Silver is forced to make a decision. Each comes with a consequence, and there is no turning back.

"My eyes may not know all of you, but my heart does. I loved you before I was born, and I will love you long after I pass from this earth."

Gravity contains romance, passion, twists, and nail-biting drama.




Hooboy! This is getting interesting!

First, I want to reiterate how much I admire Dark for taking on topics like equality for women and racism and bigotry, using the context of the Breed. It's well done and an added complexity to the story.

In Gravity - which is an excellent title considering how this installment explores the gravity of decision making where the characters are concerned - we see Silver blossoming into her new life and as a person of note. There are revelations made about who and what she is and she makes tough decisions - decisions that enable her to protect the ones she loves though they'll never know about it. Gravity also allows us to become better acquainted with Justus. He's an honorable man, which was demonstrated when he took Silver in as his Learner. But we get to see a completely different side of him here - a more tender side. And it was incredible.

Gravity trades in some of the white-knuckle action for gut-wrenching emotion. I was shredded over some of the things that happened here. Logan, though, he ensured my love and loyalty towards him despite one thing he did. He proved his worthiness - well he and Silver proved their worthiness of each other.

As with all the books in this series, the supporting cast is stellar and invaluable. Spending time with them all is a treat. And although I hate to see the series end, I'm also anxious to see how everything shakes out.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

My TBR List ~ January ~ 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?!?


***

In 2018, I'm once again working at catching up on series and y'all get to decide which series I'm going to read each month! :D

PLEASE NOTE: I didn't get my survey done before SurveyMonkey went down for maintenance and they're down today and I'm traveling home from Texas anyway. So, please, please, pretty please, let me know your vote in the comments. Just this once. =) Thanks so much and I'm sorry for the inconvenience. 


Your Choices Are:

Beautifully Done (Beautifully Awake, #2)
Beautifully Done
Beautifully Awake #2

Synopsis
Diagnosis: Borrowed time
Treatment: Trust
Prognosis: Beautifully Done

Asher Craig drives fast, flies high, and screws hard. But make no mistake, he's a gentleman.

He learned way too young that we're all on borrowed time. Fair or unfair, you only get one ride. He vows to live for the moment because it's the only time he owns. The past is beyond his control and the future may not exist. With his only loyalties being his family, he thrives for that edge where plunging over is always in the realm of possibility.

When a beautiful familiar face tilts his axis, he re-examines everything and realizes that second chances are overrated and a lifetime of first are irreplaceable. In the end, it's not her medical degree but his trust that needs to prove that the ride together is worth it ... until it's Beautifully Done.



Once Bitten, Twice Shy (Bitten, #2)Once Bitten, Twice Shy
Bitten #2

Synopsis

I used to think my life was boring. I resigned myself to the rut I was stuck in. Then my entire existence was turned upside down.

In the last six months, I've learned things that would get me committed to an asylum if I repeated them. First, I was kidnapped by vampires. Yes, vampires. Sounds crazy, right? My best friend, Donna, became one of the fanged after that little adventure and hooked up with a hot, Scottish vampire named Conner. They're even planning a wedding.

Secondly, I learned not all vampires are evil. In fact, some of them are downright sexy.

Alexander Dimitriades has it all. He's tall, dark, and handsome and manages to give me tingles in all the right places and also make me laugh. Unfortunately, to be with him, I would have to give up my humanity and I like being human. Then, there's the fact that the whole drinking blood thing gives me the heebie jeebies.

To make matters worse, there are plans in motion to change the place vampires hold in the human world. And I'm caught in the middle, between the vampire I'm falling in love with and a group that wants to create a vampire dictatorship, with humans as slaves.

Now, all I want is my calm, normal life back. As my friend, Ricki, likes to say, "Be careful what you wish for because it might come and bite you on the ass." I hate it when she's right.

*This work contains BDSM elements/themes, spanking, bondage, anal play, and a bossy, persistent Greek vampire.




Steal the Day (Thieves, #2)Steal the Day
Thieves #2

Synopsis
When a member of her crew is dragged to Hell by a demon, ZOey plans the most dangerous heist of her career. With her team at her side, Zoey intends to sneak onto the Hell plane and steal Sarah back.

The job seems impossible until a new client makes them an offer too good to refuse. If she can find an ancient artifact called The Revelation, she can use it to locate an angel who holds Sarah's redemption in his hands.

Surrounded by warring angels and demons, the greatest threat may come from one of her own. Torn between her Fae lover and the vampire who has always held her heart, Zoey finds that she and Dev are trapped in Daniel's web of secrets and it may be Zoey who has to pay the ultimate price.



Okay, now vote! And thanks! :D

And in case you missed it above, I didn't get my survey done before Survey Monkey went down for maintenance. If you could please let me know your vote in the comments this one time, I'd be mighty grateful!

Friday, January 5, 2018

#COYER Review ~ Caged ~ Amber Lynn Natusch

Caged (Caged, #1)Caged by Amber Lynn Natusch
Caged #1
Release Date: December 15, 2011
Genre: Adult, Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Source: Freebie on Nook
Rating: 3.5 Bookworms
Challenges: #COYER, #ShelfLove
Goodreads

Synopsis
"I stood in the middle of the room, unmoving - I barely breathed. My life had just become surreal, impossible, and one enormous lie. I needed to go, to run somewhere, anywhere to beat back the reality that was rapidly closing in around me. The image of him was burned into my retina, flashing over and over again like a warning. He was trapped somewhere between human and decidedly not, and I realized that was my new reality. I was too."

After the death of her parents, Ruby awakens from a lifetime of shadows and finds herself alone, thrust into a world of lies, deceit, betrayal and the supernatural.

As her quest for truth continues to come up short, she realizes that maybe some questions really are best left unanswered.

When her true identity is finally unveiled, she is forced to choose between two of the mysterious men who continually seem to crop up in her life.

She chooses poorly.

Now abandoned, Ruby must learn to call on the darkness within to survive, or spend a hellish eternity imprisoned because of it.




Caged came as a recommendation from Lorna @RabidReads so it came as no surprise that I was immediately captivated. The prologue teased me just enough to have my curiosity piqued. There were some freaky things that Ruby endured and she was equally as in the dark, so to speak, as to what was going on as I was.

The story picks up ~9 months after the prologue and Ruby is settling into her life "after". I enjoyed getting to know her - seeing her creativity and her love for dance as well as the way she's embracing her newfound, if undesired, freedom juxtaposed with the images of her childhood. Natusch did well developing Ruby's character in this way, showing us how she'd been and how recent events had affected her and were shaping who she was becoming. This was the first time she was really able to figure out who she is, define herself, etc. She has a fun sense of humor and is intelligent.

Sean is this enigmatic character who keeps showing up when Ruby most needs him. I didn't feel like I got to know him well enough to have a real connection with him - which might be purposeful - but for whatever reason, I felt he always had Ruby's best interests at heart. Eric, on the other hand, always felt slimy to me. I didn't get that acquainted with him either but I still felt like he showed his true colors and they didn't color him trustworthy.

Without being spoilery, I'll just say that Natusch developed an intriguing mythology of her own and despite this being the introduction to the series, it wasn't an info dump in world building. However, we really only know the bones right now so I'm anxious to learn more.

My issues with Caged were in the details about Ruby. I understand why she was the way she was but I felt that at times she was too trusting and she behaved immaturely. She also had an interesting fascination with fashion considering where she was 9 months ago. One other tiny complaint is that Sean was so enigmatic. I felt some things he said were confusing - so Ruby was also understandably confused by him.

Overall though, Caged held my interest and has my curiosity piqued enough that I'm looking forward to continuing the series, seeing how Ruby continues to mature and learn more about this all-new world she's found herself in.