Publisher: Self-Published

Guest Review: Working On It by Cass Alexander

Posted March 24, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Working On It by Cass AlexanderReviewer: Tracy
Working On It by Cass Alexander
Series: The Persimmon series #1
Published by Self-Published
Publication Date: September 23rd, 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
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four-stars

Rebecca—The self-reigning queen of four-letter words is in trouble. She’s got it bad for the hottest guy at Persimmon College. Unfortunately, Mr. Sexy Man has a girlfriend. Too bad it doesn’t stop Rebecca from wanting him.

Evan makes his desire for Rebecca pretty obvious. Her inexperience and fear of getting hurt hold her back. Oh, and that running list of character flaws she has doesn’t help. But she’s working on it.

Evan—Rebecca Banks makes flinging insults an art form. She’s short, blonde, and the sexiest thing he’s ever laid eyes on.

Rebecca is everything Rachel—Evan’s girlfriend—isn’t. Breaking up with Rachel will be difficult. Letting go of Rebecca? Impossible. To Evan, Rebecca is f-ing perfect. She doesn’t need to work on a damned thing. Now he just needs to get her to stop running away from him.

Rebecca is a serious student but a girl who like to have fun as well.  She’s got more guy friends than girl friends and spends a lot of time at the Tau frat house across the street.  She thinks that Evan Michaels (part of Tau) is totally hot but she’s heard some pretty bad things about him over the years and tells herself to stay away.  She doesn’t, however, and is soon involved with him right after he ends things with his long-time girlfriend, Rachel.

Evan can’t get enough of Rebecca.  He loves that she’s happy almost all of the time and she makes him laugh constantly.  He especially loves the friendly insults she throws around and her potty mouth.  She’s gorgeous as well and he can’t get enough of her.  She’s nothing like his ex, Rachel, and he loves that about her.  Unfortunately Rachel’s name keeps coming up and Rebecca’s insecurities about their relationship get the best of her.

I grabbed this one off of Kindle Unlimited not quite knowing what to expect.  I’m happy to say that it totally surprised and delighted me in the end.  What I thought was going to be an angst-filled New Adult story was actually a cute romance that made me laugh out loud more than once – I loved that.

Rebecca is the kind of girl I always wanted to be when I was in college.  Relaxed and fun, lots of friends (with both guys and girls), and a good student.  I think I was one of those things – I won’t say which one. 😊  Rebecca grew up in a home where there was a ton of humor flying around and the family that actually loved and cared for one another a great deal.  There were no unrealistic expectations and you could tell how well she was loved by them in the confident way she held herself and the way she acted.  I really liked her character a lot.  I loved how she talked to herself and would go over things she wanted to work on – it just made me laugh.

“I tend to judge people inside my head, something my parents encourage me to work on since I suck at hiding my emotions on my face.  I’ll work on it later.”

Later in the book…

“I also lack a filter.  But I’m working on it. Sort of.”

I thought she was really great for Evan, she just doubted herself when it came to him.  It was a bit out of character but I could see that his experience with women intimidated her.

Evan took just a bit of time for me to get to like him.  At first I wasn’t quite sure what to make of him because it seemed like he was a player (even though he’d been with Rachel for a couple of years) and that he’d broken up with Rachel just to get with Rebecca.  When things played out we got the whole story and I understood him much better.  He also, at some points, felt like a stalker when it came to Rebecca, but that was explained eventually as well.  In the end I liked him a lot and felt that him and Rebecca were perfect for each other.

The story was hilarious at times and I loved laughing.  The story had a great mix of love, angst, laughter and sex and it just worked for me.  If you’re looking for a fun contemporary new adult romance you should pick this one up.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars

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Review: Stolen Magic by Marina Finlayson

Posted February 23, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Stolen Magic by Marina FinlaysonReviewer: Holly
Stolen Magic (Shadows of the Immortals #1) by Marina Finlayson
Series: Shadows of the Immortals #1
Published by Self-Published
Publication Date: October 18th 2016
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 262
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three-stars

Lexi Jardine may be a thief, but she’s not stupid. When a crooked fireshaper wants her to steal a ring from the boss of his order, she knows it’s a one-way ticket to sleeping with the fishes. Her answer is to drop off the face of the earth.
Safely hidden in a quiet seaside town, she just needs to keep her head down and pretend to be a regular human. Since her only magical ability is the power to control animals, that should be easy, right?
Then a new fireshaper shows up in town. He’s hot as hell but oddly hostile. With his suspicious eyes watching her every move, her safe haven starts feeling more like a trap. When her best friend disappears, Lexi knows the time for hiding is over. The fireshapers might be more powerful, but Lexi’s not one to abandon a friend. It will take everything she’s got to save them both from the flames.

The world is broken up into Shifters (who change shape), Shapers (who control the elements) and Humans. Lexi is a little more than human, but not a Shaper or Shifter. She and her best friend, cat shifter Syl, have been hiding in a sleepy seaside town for the last several months to escape a Fire Shaper who wants them to steal a powerful magical artifact from the leader of the Red Adept, the ruling Shapers council. When another Fire Shaper, Jake Steele, shows up unexpectedly in town, Lexi knows she should keep running, especially after he takes notice of her and starts asking some pointed questions. She’s happy for the first time in years, though, so she talks herself into staying. As things heat up, Lexi finds herself getting in over her head – spending more time with Jake, meeting Vampires and getting wrapped up in a nefarious plot to steel magic from Shapers and Gods everywhere, In the end she and Jake will have to decide if they trust each other enough to work together.

This was a fun read. It wasn’t perfect – Lexi was almost too-perfect, aside from making questionable decisions (though her best friend often talked her down before she did anything truly stupid), but I enjoyed the premise. The world-building is shallow, but I was interested in finding out what was going on. Finlayson didn’t reinvent the wheel, but the mythology was fun to get back into. The action was good and I liked the budding romance between Lexi and Jake. This isn’t a deep read, but I was entertained.

Until it ended on a cliffhanger. Then I was just frustrated. The conflict was cleared up, but there were a lot of unanswered questions about the heroine and the overall story arc. I really wish this had been labeled as a cliffhanger. It wasn’t labeled as “Part 1”, either, but rather as “Book 1.” That seems rather disingenuous when this read as the first part of a full story.

I immediately bought Book 2, Murdered Gods, but it, too, ended on a cliffhanger (and felt even shorter and less complete than this one did). Book 3 isn’t out yet. I doubt I’ll be continuing the series.

3 out of 5

three-stars

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Guest Review: Bluebeard’s Curse by Regine Abel

Posted February 13, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Bluebeard’s Curse by Regine AbelReviewer: Tracy
Bluebeard's Curse by Regine Abel
Series: Dark Tales #1
Published by Self-Published
Publication Date: February 15th 2017
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 82
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three-half-stars

King Eric Thorsen, also known as Bluebeard, is once more widowed. Like all the others before her, his late wife succumbed to the lure of the curse that plagues him and threatens the realm. Willing maidens gather at the castle in the hope of becoming the next Queen. However, that title comes with a steep price: the King’s new bride must first resist temptation for one year and one day, or die trying.

Eric is tired of getting married.  He’s at a ball and he has to pick a new bride – his 28th bride to be exact.  All of his previous brides have died as he is cursed.  The bride must outlast the curse for 1 year and then it will be broken but so far the longest one has lasted only 6 months.  When Eric sees Astrid he’s intrigued.  She’s not his normal type but he can’t take his eyes off of her.  He thinks that maybe because she’s not like the others she can break the curse.

The pair marry and Astrid seems to be doing well but soon the temptation starts to get to her.  Eric has done the worst thing possible and fallen in love with Astrid.  Knowing she will probably die tears him apart but he hopes she can beat the curse.  Unfortunately, other people get involved and after that breaking the curse may become impossible.

Bluebeard’s Curse was a good story.  It was definitely different from your average romance and had a bit of a twist that was unexpected.  I wasn’t quite sure what the time period was or where it was set – seemed like an old Viking story but I wasn’t sure.  Despite that the added paranormal twist/curse was a wonderful aspect to the story.

Eric and Astrid were pretty great characters although since the book was so short it really focused on the “now” and didn’t get too much into their pasts.  We knew why Astrid had gone to the ball to be picked for the bride and eventually we learned of why Eric was cursed but that was about as deep into the past as we got.  Their relationship was the main focus it was definitely erotic as Regine Abel wrote some pretty wicked sex scenes.

Overall I liked the book a lot.  If you’re looking for a short fantasy/paranormal read that doesn’t involved vampires or werewolves then this would be a good one to pick up.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

three-half-stars

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DNF Review: Malsum Pass by Kimberly Forrest

Posted January 31, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

DNF Review: Malsum Pass by Kimberly ForrestReviewer: Holly
Malsum Pass by Kimberly Forrest
Published by Self-Published
Publication Date: December 11th 2016
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 230
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dnf

After locating some letters her mother had kept hidden from her all her life, Tara Mason journeys to the small town of Malsum Pass, Vermont to find the family she never knew she had and to discover just why her mother had kept this place such a secret.

The town seems idyllic despite the townspeople’s odd habit of staring and… sniffing? And her new neighbor Riley Cooper looks like he could have been conjured from one of Tara’s fantasies, but there is definitely more going on here than meets the eye. Tara is determined to uncover all of the secrets, even if it reveals things she never knew about herself.

I was in the mood for a paranormal so I picked Malsum Pass up after Tracy reviewed it here, even though she didn’t love it. I should have paid better attention to her review, because I couldn’t even finish it.

The premise was good and I liked the heroine, her family and the town of Malsum Pass. Growing up, Tara’s mother refused to talk about her past, so it wasn’t until she died suddenly that Tara finds some letters from her grandfather and decides to seek him out. He’s overjoyed to see her, and so is her biological father and half-brothers. There’s just one catch…they’re werewolves. That aspect of the story was great. I felt like she accepted things a little too easily, considering she had no idea anything paranormal existed before visiting, but I was able to set that aside.

What I couldn’t get past was how big of a d-bag the hero was. He was condescending and rude, made decisions for the heroine without consulting her and basically treated her like an idiot or a small child. He only called her “sweetheart” (in the most condescending way ever), sometimes 4 times per page. I did a search and he called her “sweetheart” 112 throughout the book…and it’s only 230 pages.

I made it until about the 80% mark and I just couldn’t continue. I was waiting for one major event to happen and once Tracy told me I was waiting in vain, I was done.

DNF

dnf

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Guest Review: The Game by Angie West

Posted January 30, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: The Game by Angie WestReviewer: Tracy
The Game by Angie West
Published by Self-Published
Publication Date: October 7th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Paranormal, Thrillers
Pages: 60
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four-stars

Do you want to play a game?

Lei Guthrie and her best friend, Iris, have a tradition. Every Friday night after work they play a game, preferably vintage, the weirder the better. So when Lei finds a romance novel trivia game rumored to be cursed, she couldn’t be happier. Until she and Iris become trapped in the game. The rules are simple. Make it through three romance novel scenes gone horribly wrong and retrieve a silver key from each. Oh yeah, and stay alive.

Lei Guthrie is having a horrible day.  She did save an old lady from getting hit by a bus but then the old lady told her she was psychic and that Lei was going to die if she didn’t prevent it.  Ooookay.  Weird.  Since Lei had thrown down her shopping bags when she saved the old lady, all of her purchases – a game and wine included, had been ruined.  She stops by her local thrift store and finds a game that says it’s a romance trivia game.  The owner of the thrift shop tells her it’s supposedly cursed but that only intrigues her more.

Lei and her best friend Iris put the game out and are a bit confused that this romance trivia game would have  a game board that looks like a graveyard but they’re not put off.  The minute they start to play, however, strange things start to happen and soon they find themselves in the game.  Lei’s house has disappeared and a guy calling himself the crypt keeper is explaining that they have to go into 3 different doors – find a key, give it to him and return back out the door in order to return to reality.  The problem is that it might be easy to find the key but getting back out the door isn’t easy at all.  Also, if they die in the game, they die for real.

When I read the blurb for this novella I was more than curious as to what was going to happen to Lei and her friend Iris.  No, it’s not a romance, but since it had a romance trivia game involved I couldn’t pass it up and I’m really glad I didn’t.  The story is well written and completely compelling – I was sucked in from the first page.

Now when the book says romance trivia it’s more like acting out scenes in a book and of course this is the absolute darkest side of romance you can get.  Lei and Iris had their work cut out for them, that’s for sure.  The end of the book left us hanging just a bit as to what happened but only enough to make me sit and think about the possible outcomes.  Though a darker story it was a totally enjoyable. Don’t judge this book by its horrid cover – it’s worth reading.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars

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