What Are You Reading? (273)

Posted February 12, 2016 by Rowena in Features | 2 Comments

WAYR-New

Rowena: It’s been a slow reading week for me. With basketball and everything, there was just wasn’t a lot of time left over to read. I just finished reading Hunting Ground by Patricia Briggs and I really enjoyed it. It’s a lot different from what I normally read so it was a refreshing change. I’m looking forward to reading more from this world.

I have some review books to read but I think I’m going to start Angel’s Blood by Nalini Singh for my 5 Books Everyone Should Read Challenge book of the month.

What are you reading this week? Any new favorites or books that drove you crazy? Share!

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Guest Review: Starflight by Melissa Landers

Posted February 12, 2016 by Whitley B in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Starflight by Melissa LandersReviewer: Whitley
Starflight by Melissa Landers
Series: Starflight #1
on February 2nd 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy & Magic
Pages: 309
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars

Life in the outer realm is a lawless, dirty, hard existence, and Solara Brooks is hungry for it. Just out of the orphanage, she needs a fresh start in a place where nobody cares about the engine grease beneath her fingernails or the felony tattoos across her knuckles. She’s so desperate to reach the realm that she’s willing to indenture herself to Doran Spaulding, the rich and popular quarterback who made her life miserable all through high school, in exchange for passage aboard the spaceliner Zenith.

When a twist of fate lands them instead on the Banshee, a vessel of dubious repute, Doran learns he’s been framed on Earth for conspiracy. As he pursues a set of mysterious coordinates rumored to hold the key to clearing his name, he and Solara must get past their enmity to work together and evade those out for their arrest. Life on the Banshee may be tumultuous, but as Solara and Doran are forced to question everything they once believed about their world—and each other—the ship becomes home, and the eccentric crew family. But what Solara and Doran discover on the mysterious Planet X has the power to not only alter their lives, but the existence of everyone in the universe…

This was quite a fun book, and I did enjoy the storyline and even the romance.  But I feel like every side character was phoned in, and the science fiction setting was not used to its full potential.  Plus, the final climax wrapped up a subplot instead of the main plot and apparently thought I wouldn’t notice.

First off, I did really enjoy the two main characters.  Solara is a tough, gifted mechanic who’s determined to make a new life for herself.  Doran is an entitled rich kid who desperately needs to be taken down a few pegs (and then that actually happens).  Both of them have some good nuance to their personalities, and I especially liked Doran freaking out about Solara’s criminal past (it’s over the top, but supposed to be and makes sense).  As the novel goes on, they complement each other well and their growing affection is … well, would have been sweet if Doran hadn’t laid on the jerkitude quite so strong at the start.

The setting felt very much like the series Firefly, with a quirky crew on a ramshackle, beat-up ship off to the outer edges of space to do slightly nefarious things.  Which, great! I love that shtick. It’s just…it was Firefly.  And that’s it.  Anything that wasn’t covered by that show was basically the same as modern day.  There were so many little details exactly the same as our time period that it just weirded me out a little.  (For instance, senior portraits. Not sure why that stands out in particular to me, but it does.)  I didn’t feel like this book added anything new to the genre, because it was just a vague veneer of sci-fi pasted on top of a contemporary base.  The side characters felt the same way.  They were quirky, they were kind of fun, but they were thin and nothing we haven’t seen before.

The plotline of the book was quick and action packed and interesting.  I was not fond of the “Solara accidentally married a pirate” bit, mostly because it was so awkwardly shoehorned in there.  (Also, the gross patriarchy required to make it work.)  But everything else worked.  It was a rollickin’ fun adventure.  Again, until the end, when this big major plot came to a head…and a subplot got wrapped up instead.  Now, it’s a series, so leaving things open ended is fine.  Except in the last chapter everyone acted like the whole “Doran was framed” thing got settled.  It…didn’t.  It got more information, but it certainly didn’t get even a fraction of settled.

Rating: 3 out of 5

three-stars

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Review: Before I Fall by Jessica Scott

Posted February 11, 2016 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Before I Fall by Jessica ScottReviewer: Rowena
Before I Fall by Jessica Scott
Published by Jessica Scott on March 3rd 2015
Genres: Romance, Contemporary, New Adult
Pages: 300
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

I thought I could do this. I thought I could leave the war behind.

I was wrong. I can’t do this. I can’t go to class and pretend like everything is normal. That I’m normal. I’m not. I’ve lost everything that matters to me. But I made a promise.

And if I’m going to keep that promise, I have to focus. I have to pretend that I belong on this southern campus that drips with old money.

And I have to pass stats. That’s where Beth comes in.

I’m terrified she’ll see through me. That the careful lies and easy smile won’t be enough to convince her that everything is fine.

That she’ll see how broken I really am.

But there’s something about her that draws me closer. A sadness in her eyes that am powerless to resist. I should walk away. Protect her from the broken, darkness in me.

Before we both fall into something neither of us can control...

Stay focused. Get a job. Save her father’s life.

Beth Lamont knows far too much about the harsh realities of life her gilded classmates have only read about in class. She’ll do whatever it takes to take care of her father, even if that means tutoring a guy like Noah - a guy who represents everything she hates about the war, soldiers and what the Army has done to her family.

Noah Warren doesn’t know how to be a student. All he knows is war. But he’s going to college now to fulfill a promise and he doesn’t break his promises. Except he doesn’t count on his tutor being drop dead gorgeous and distracting as hell. One look at Beth threatens to unravel the careful lies Noah has constructed around him.

A simple arrangement turns into something neither of them can deny. And a war that neither of them can forget could destroy them both.

It’s been a while since I read anything by Jessica Scott but I knew that I was going to like this one because she hasn’t ever let me down before..and I did. I really enjoyed this one.

This is the first book in the Falling series and the series follows three ex-Marines (I think Eli is an ex-Marine) try to make a life for themselves outside of the Marines. Learning how to live as civilians after being so used to living in the midst of war for so long.

First up, we have Noah Warren. Noah is enrolled in college and is trying to get his degree and make something of his life, to honor his Marine brothers that have fallen. In order to do that, he’s got to take and pass Statistics so his professor puts him into contact with Beth Lamont who is going to tutor him. He’s got a lot of things that he’s trying to deal with, the loss and pain from the war that he’s trying to cope with and he’s got a bit of a problem with pills. His PTSD is keeping him up at night so he takes pills to keep the monsters at bay but those pills are messing with his head and his life. He wasn’t expecting the chemistry with Beth and he certainly wasn’t expecting the amount of feelings for her that crept up. Her life is already filled to the brim with a soldier’s addiction to pills and staying healthy, she doesn’t need his baggage…but tell that to their hearts.

Beth has about all she can handle right now in her life but when her professor assigns her a tutoring project, she has no choice but to accept. She doesn’t have room in her life for the mess that comes with having feelings for Noah. Her father keeps her busy and the VA is trying their hardest to drive her insane but the more she gets to know Noah, the more she likes and when he offers her a shoulder to help carry her burden, she can’t help but lean on it.

Jessica Scott delivered another realistic romance with characters that wrapped me right up in their story. Noah’s story felt genuine and his issues were real. I wanted to hug him close at the same time that I wanted to shake some sense into him but Scott’s delivery of Noah’s mentality felt organic and I loved that Noah wasn’t perfect. That he had a lot of shit that he was shoveling day in and day out, trying to survive each passing day. It was very easy to connect with him and his battle, even if you’re not going through it yourself. I could totally see why Beth fell for him…even when it wasn’t smart for her to be with him, Noah was a great but troubled guy. He was worth a second look.

Beth’s story was interesting because you could feel the bitterness threatening to overtake her every single day and then to find out about Noah’s issues? It would have brought down the strongest of people to battle the same battle with two different people but Beth, she just kept getting right back up and fighting the good fight. There were times when I was overwhelmed with the amount of stress that Beth was under but my admiration for her was real. She was strong and she was hard working but she was also caring and loving. On top of the way that she was with both her father and Noah, she was a great friend to Abby.

Overall, this was a great introduction into a series that I really want to dig into. I loved the romance, the conflict, the characters…It was real, it was raw and a little gritty and I want more. I had some issues with the way that Noah’s issues were brought to light (the way he handled them, not the way that they were written or anything like that) and the way that Beth handled certain things but aside from that, I would definitely recommend this book.

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars

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Guest Review: No Crayons on the Front Line by Kallysten

Posted February 11, 2016 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: No Crayons on the Front Line by KallystenReviewer: Tracy
No Crayons on the Front Line by Kallysten
Published by Self-Published on February 14th 2016
Genres: Romance, Fantasy
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars

When Samuel gets his class of elementary students to write letters to soldiers fighting on the demon invasion front line, the children coax him into doing the same. Lieutenant Williams soon answers his letter, and it’s only the beginning of a long exchange of thoughts, anecdotes and feelings. This long-distance relationship is bound to change when they meet in person… Will they each be true to what they showed through their words?

An epistolary novella

Samuel is an elementary school teacher and encourages his students every year to write to soldiers who are fighting in the war against the demons. This particular year his students encouraged him to write one as well and it landed in the hands of Lt. Angel Williams. Lt. Williams writes back and that begins a lovely conversation that soon becomes friendship. When Angel finally tells Samuel in a roundabout way that she is actually a she things get tense as Angel believes that Samuel has ulterior motives. Samuel manages to calm Angel down and while they remain friends for a while they are soon in a deep relationship unlike either have had before.

The story is told strictly through letters sent back and forth and even though Samuel and Angel meet a couple of times during the course of the story we are only privy to letters sent before or after the fact. The couple gives each other strength and hope for their future of both their world and their lives together. It was a very sweet story and if you like epistolary novels then I think you’ll like this one. Angel and Samuel are both intelligent and well-read and that comes through in their letter writing. I loved reading about their lives and the relationship that grows between them.

I have only read one other book set in The Demons Age series and that was Anterograde which was an m/m story and really great. This is part of that series but definitely can be read as a stand-alone novella.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

three-half-stars

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Review: The Charlotte Chronicles by Jen Frederick

Posted February 10, 2016 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: The Charlotte Chronicles by Jen FrederickReviewer: Rowena
The Charlotte Chronicles by Jen Frederick
Series: Jackson Boys #1
Published by Jen Frederick on December 11th 2014
Genres: Romance, Contemporary
Pages: 350
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

Charlotte and Nathan were supposed to be forever. They grew up together. Their families were intertwined. Charlotte was Nathan's first love. Nathan was Charlotte's first everything.

Until they weren't.

How do you hold on to the person you know in your heart you are supposed to be with when everything and everyone in the universe is telling you it's over?

How many times does a heart break?

When is enough…..enough?

How long is forever?

What a treat this book turned out to be.

This book follows Nathan Jackson and Charlotte Randolph on their long ass love story. Nathan and Charlotte grew up together. Their parents are best friends (fans of the Woodlands series will love this little tid bit. Noah and Grace from Undeclared are Nate’s parents and Bo and AM from Unspoken are Charlotte’s parents) and Noah’s younger brother Nick is Charlotte’s best friend but Noah…Noah’s always been Charlotte’s protector. A job that he took seriously. Normal kids are sheltered from the world by their parents but not Charlotte. Charlotte is sheltered from everything by the Jackson boys. Her life has revolved around the Jackson boys and she doesn’t know a life without them in it.

While Nick was the brother she never had, Nate was completely different. Her heart has always belonged to the older Jackson brother. She’s never had brotherly feelings for Nathan and she knows that they belong together.

It took Nathan a little longer to come around where Charlotte was concerned but once his feelings become known, the devotion that Nathan has for Charlotte is on one hand beautiful but on the other hand, it’s really heart breaking. The devotion isn’t one way either. Charlotte was just as faithful to Nathan as he was to her but there was a whole lot of drama that came between them.

High school mean girls and then there was time and distance, you name it, it came between Charlotte and Nathan. Mostly, it was Nathan though. He was what came between the two of them and while I understood where he was coming from, while my heart broke for him and everything that he went through, at the same time I wanted to strangle his ol’ stubborn ass.

The angst was pretty high in this one and I’m chalking that up to the way that Frederick wrote this story (it was released as a serial, chapter after chapter through her newsletter and on her author blog) but while there were times aplenty that I thought my eyes were going to roll all the way to China, I couldn’t stop reading this one. I was completely wrapped up in Nate and Charlotte’s world. It helped that the characters were old favorites of mine from the Woodlands series but I enjoyed Charlie’s friend Lainey and Reese and then Nate’s Navy SEAL buddies.

My heart broke multiple times while reading this book but the end more than made up for all that madness for me. I enjoyed all of the drama and the shenanigans. I enjoyed seeing Bo and AM, Noah and Grace again and I loved the parents they all grew up to be. sigh This book has made me anxious to continue Lainey’s List (Nate’s brother Nick’s story) that Frederick is releasing as a serial the same way that this story was released.

Overall, this was a great story. It was entertaining and it was emotionally draining but oh so worth the read.

Reading Order:

The Charlotte Chronicles
Lainey’s List

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars

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When Black Women Fall Blog Tour: Maybe…Love: Love in Translation by Kim Golden

Posted February 10, 2016 by Rowena in Promotions | 0 Comments

Maybe Love
Maybe Baby by Kim Golden
Book 1 of the Maybe series
Published on March 22, 2014 by Echo Books

Imagine finding out you could never have a baby with the man you love…

Expat American Laney Halliwell finds out the hard way when Niklas tells her he had a vasectomy before they met and isn’t interested in reversing it. Why should he? They’ve got his kids from his first marriage and an enviable life in Stockholm.

What if you fell in love in the most unexpected way…?

But Laney wants more. So when a friend suggests she look into an alternative sperm bank in Copenhagen to find a potential father for her baby, things don’t go exactly as planned. Especially when Laney meets Mads and finds herself falling in love.

Buy Links

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | KOBO
WBWF
When I first wrote about Laney in Maybe Baby, I had no idea that she would demand more stories. I never intended for Maybe Baby to become a series. I only knew I wanted to tell the story of a black woman from the States who–like me–happened to live in Scandinavia and who happened to fall in love. But, unlike me, Laney wasn’t in love with the man she was with. Laney wanted something more. She thought she wanted a baby. What she really wanted was to find the person who was meant to complete her. And this journey is the story I tell in Maybe Baby. How she meets and falls in love with Mads, who is also searching and feeling just as lost as Laney.

Over the course of three books (Maybe Baby, Maybe Tonight and Maybe Forever), I’ve charted their love story. Not everyone appreciates it. Some people are put off by the infidelity angle and it prevents them from seeing what is the heart of the story: two people searching for and finding love, just maybe not in the best of ways. Infidelity ends up figuring into a lot of my writing. Not because I condone it. It’s more that I am interested in what makes people cheat. And how they deal with the consequences of it.

Once I’d finished tweaking Maybe Baby, I received advice that it would be easier to sell if Laney were white or if I changed the setting from Scandinavia to somewhere more palatable for American tastes like Paris or London or even New York. But that wasn’t what I wanted. And really, when I began writing Maybe Baby, I wrote it more for me than anyone else. I didn’t want to read another story set in New York or London or Paris. I wanted to write about looking for love in Scandinavia–especially since I live here and know Stockholm, Sweden and Copenhagen, Denmark much better than I do Paris or New York. Someone even suggested I change Laney to a white woman because–“you’ll sell more books that way.” But I didn’t want to tell a random white woman’s story. And Laney came to me as a black woman, not a white woman. I wanted to tell her story—the story of a black woman living in Europe and trying to find that someone who would make her feel like she’d come home.

So…I won’t change the sort of characters I write about just to please people who don’t want to read about black women falling in love. And I won’t change the settings just because some people have no clue where Scandinavia is or think that the only thing capable of being set there is a murder mystery. I found love in Scandinavia…I found my guy who made me feel like I’d come home. And I think there are more love stories to come that have a connection with my Nordic home…a few more stories about Laney, her feisty cousin Eddy…maybe even Laney’s daughters once they’re old enough. And I think I’ll keep writing about black women in love.

At the end of the day…it’s what we all want—love.

If you’d like to read love stories outside of your comfort zones, check out the selection of books, including Maybe Baby, on the When Black Women Fall promo tour at http://whenblackwomenfall.com!

Giveaway

Check out the When Black Women Fall website to enter to win prizes that value up to $150.

About the Author

KimGolden

Kim Golden was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 1995, she left the US and moved to Sweden for love with a capital L. When she isn’t writing fiction, she writes copy about perfume for a Swedish cosmetics firm.

She writes stories for people who know that love comes in every color.

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

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