Tag: Summer Reading Challenge

Summer Reading Challenge Recap

Posted September 19, 2018 by Holly in Discussions | 9 Comments

Casee: I went about this challenge all wrong. Holly explains it perfectly below. Considering the fact that I loved (almost) every book I read in this challenge, I (almost) feel awful for the books that I chose for Holly. I overcame my aversion to first person in the last couple of months and I am so proud of myself, I could pat my own back. I actually have time or two. I was incredibly happy with all the books, but one on my list. Here are the links to my reviews.

The Year We Hid Away by Sarina Bowen
Sustained by Emma Chase
The Deal by Elle Kennedy
Alpha and Omega by Patricia Briggs
Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs
Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews

All but two of these books were in first person. Go me! So my least favorite read was The Year We Hid Away. It was too melodramatic for me. I just didn’t see in it what Holly and Rowena saw. I wish I did because I know that they adored that book. My favorite book is a tie between The Deal by Elle Kennedy and Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews. They were both such amazing books. I don’t usually do comedy in my books, but omg, The Deal was so funny and I loved every word. In Burn for Me, you have such a strong heroine, it’s impossible not to love the book. Overall, this challenge was a huge success on my part because I was introduced to two new authors and a series by Elle Kennedy that I would never have tried because it was first person.

Holly: Our Summer Reading Challenge has come to an end. It seems there was some confusion about how exactly the challenge books should be chosen. While Rowena and I chose books we thought our blogging partners would love, Casee chose books she thought we wouldn’t have read otherwise, whether she thought we’d love them or not. While I didn’t end up loving the books she chose for me, I can’t deny she pushed me to read outside my comfort zone. Below are links to my reviews.

Raphael by D.B. Reynolds
The Bourbon Kings by J.R. Ward
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
The Trouble with Love by Lauren Layne
Satisfaction by Lexi Blake

My favorite read of the challenge was The Kiss Quotient. It was such a sweet, fun, often angsty read. I just fell right into it. My least favorite was probably Satisfaction by Lexi Blake, though I’d give a dishonorable mention to Raphael. The heroines in both books were awful. I couldn’t finish The Bourbon Kings, but I really did enjoy the writing, which isn’t something I ever thought I’d say about JRW.

Rowena: I’ll be honest and let everyone know that I’m surprised that I actually finished this challenge. I was not at all interested in reading several of the books on my list but I’m happy to report that both Casee and Holly chose well for me because I enjoyed every single book that I was assigned to read. Whether they chose books they thought I’d love or books I never would have read if not for this challenge, I’m happy with all the books on my list.

Untamed by Pamela Clare
Beyond the Night by Colleen Gleason (Joss Ware)
Coming Undone by Lauren Dane
In Bed with a Highlander by Maya Banks
Midnight Rainbow by Linda Howard

My favorite read of the challenge made me laugh because I dragged my feet the longest to read this book. I just wasn’t in the mood nor was I even interested in reading a book set in this time period and quite frankly, I forced myself to read this book and I ended up really liking it. That book was Untamed by Pamela Clare. It had a Last of the Mohican feel to it and that’s not something I thought I was interested in reading. Boy was I wrong.

My least favorite read of the challenge goes to Beyond the Night by Colleen Gleason/Joss Ware. I actually enjoyed the book but I enjoyed all of the other books on my list just a smidge more.

Did you participate in any summer reading challenges? How did you do? Have you read any of the books on our challenge? What are your thoughts on them?


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Summer Reading Challenge Review: Beyond the Night by Joss Ware

Posted September 17, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Summer Reading Challenge Review: Beyond the Night by Joss WareReviewer: Rowena
Beyond the Night (The Heroes of New Vegas #1) by Joss Ware, Colleen Gleason
Series: The Heroes of New Vegas #1
Also in this series: Beyond the Night, Embrace the Night , Beyond the Night, Abandon the Night
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: January 12, 2010
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third Person
Genres: Dystopian
Pages: 357
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

A man with no future . . .

When Dr. Elliott Drake wakes from a mysterious fifty-year sleep, the world as he knew it is gone. Cities are now desolate, and civilization is controlled by deadly immortals. Stranger still is Elliott's extraordinary new "gift"--he has the power to heal, but it comes with fatal consequences.

A woman with a past . . .

Jade barely escaped the immortals and is now hell-bent on revenge. She trusts no one . . . until Elliott. His piercing gaze and tempting touch shatter her defenses, but the handsome doctor seems to have dangerous secrets of his own. Is it safe to trust him with her heart?

If they are to survive in this dark new world, Jade and Elliott must work together to fight the forces that take them beyond danger. Beyond desire.

This is the last book on my summer reading challenge and to be honest, I would never have read this book on my own. I do enjoy a nice dystopian romance from time to time (with a lot of time in between) but I don’t know, I just wasn’t ever interested in trying this series out and I’m sorry about that because this was a solid story.

So this story takes place in the future, a future that doesn’t look anything like the world we know. It’s run by creatures called Gangas and they’re like zombies that wear strange looking crystals. When Dr. Elliott Drake and his friends went to Sedona to explore some caves, they didn’t expect to come out of those caves and find the world they knew and loved…gone. It’s been six months and they’re nowhere near close to figuring out how to get back to their world. They’re dealing with each day as they come and doing their best to stay alive.

Elliott was a doctor in his previous life so it’s not a surprise that he took on the role of healer in their little group. What is a surprise is that in this new world, Elliott has healing superpowers. He’s a human MRI machine that can scan people and know what their injuries are. He’s also learning new things about his new abilities, like how he can take someone’s injuries into himself and then transfer them to someone else. It’s kind of freaky but he’s learning and he’s dealing and I really dug this part of the story.

When a group of teenagers needs rescuing from the Gangas, Elliott and his friends help them out but so does a mysterious woman who rides in on a horse and gets herself injured. Elliott helps her and is immediately attracted to her. Her name is Jade and she (along with the teenagers) are from Envy, the place that Elliott and his friends are trying to get to. When they band together to get to Envy, things really start to take off.

There’s a lot going on in this book but I thought Ware did a great job of telling Elliott and Jade’s story without bogging the story down with details. It’s the first book in a series so of course there are a lot of questions and a lot of things don’t make sense but the more I read, the more interested I was in learning what was going on.

Readers are treated to a unique world with a unique set of characters that you will be rooting for. The romance for Elliott and Jade was probably the weakest part of the story because they did a whole lot of inappropriate lusting over each other at the weirdest times but that didn’t stop me from enjoying the book as a whole. There’s a lot to enjoy in this book and that’s saying something from someone who didn’t even want to read this book.

Casee, you did good with this recommendation. I am mighty curious about the other books in this series and I will definitely be reading them.

Grade: 4 out of 5

Heroes of New Vegas

four-stars


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Summer Reading Challenge Review: Satisfaction by Lexi Blake

Posted September 14, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Summer Reading Challenge Review: Satisfaction by Lexi BlakeReviewer: Holly
Satisfaction (Lawless, #2) by Lexi Blake
Series: Lawless #2
Also in this series: Ruthless, Satisfaction, Satisfaction (Lawless #2), Revenge, Revenge
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: January 3, 2017
Format: Print
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
one-half-stars

The sizzling second novel in a sexy new contemporary romance series featuring the Lawless siblings—from New York Times bestselling author Lexi Blake.


Brandon Lawless is a man on a mission: obtain the information that will clear his father’s name. He’s willing to do whatever it takes—even seduce his enemy’s personal assistant, the beautiful and innocent Carly Hendricks. But with her beguiling smile and captivating intelligence, Brandon soon realizes he doesn’t want to deceive Carly, he wants to win her over—both in the boardroom and the bedroom.   Then a twisted crime leaves Carly vulnerable and Brandon finds himself reeling. The stakes of his mission are now life or death—Carly’s life. And Brandon realizes he’s lost his heart to an amazing woman and his plan must succeed, because the stakes are no longer just revenge, but a once in a lifetime love.

Satisfaction is the second book in Lexi Blake’s Lawless series. The series features four siblings who are on a quest to avenge their parents’ death and clear their father’s name.

Twenty years ago their father was accused of murdering their mother, then killing himself after setting fire to the house while the kids were inside it. Drew Lawless, the eldest, was able to get his siblings out, but he couldn’t save his parents. He knows his father didn’t kill himself or their mother, and he’s spent 20 years working to get in a place to prove his father’s innocence, and exact revenge on his four partners, who Drew believes murdered him and set him up. Bran, the youngest brother, got placed into foster care. Unlike his sister, Mia, who was adopted, Bran got shuffled around from place to place. Before Drew could get to him, something tragic happened and a girl lost her life. Bran holds himself responsible and, since then, has played knight-in-shining armor to down on their luck women – mostly strippers.

Drew’s latest focus is Patricia Cain, a formidable executive who runs a home and garden type magazine and cooking show. Drew’s plan is simple – seduce Patricia’s assistant, Carly, so they can get access to her home where her private files are stored. Only Bran has other ideas. After his sister-in-law was used, Bran wants to bring Carly in on their plan instead of pretending to be interested in her. He takes Drew’s place and tells Carly the whole story, hoping she’ll be willing to help.

Carly is stuck working for Patricia. Two years ago her now ex-husband embezzled a million dollars from Patricia’s company. He also set her younger sister up as a patsy. Patricia has been blackmailing Carly ever since. Because Carly isn’t just her personal assistant, she’s also the creative genius behind all of Patricia’s recipes. Carly can’t quit without Patricia having her sister arrested, but she can help the Lawless family get the proof they need to convict her.

Unfortunately, her ex-husband ran up some debt with the mafia before he went to prison, and they’re trying to collect from her. They make a deal – Carly will help Bran get access to Patricia if he’ll help her deal with her current situation. As they try to find proof of Patricia’s culpability and clear his father’s name, while trying to keep Carly safe, they also have to battle their attraction for one another. Carly isn’t interested in another relationship after she got so royally screwed the last time and Bran knows he isn’t worthy of more than a short term affair.

The first couple chapters of the book really pulled me in. Drew had set it up so he and Carly were matched on a dating site and Bran took his place at their first date. He was upfront and honest with her about why he was there, and I really liked how quick he was to bring her into the family fold. Unfortunately, it fell apart shortly after that. The suspense plot was weak, and both Carly and Bran made so many rookie mistakes it was like watching my six-year-old investigate a twenty year old murder. That wasn’t even the worst part, though. It was how immature, insecure and emotionally stunted they both were.

Bran doesn’t feel like he belongs with the family. He isn’t worthy to be a Lawless or have a relationship with his siblings – or anyone else for that matter – because of something that happened to him in one of the foster homes he was in. Despite everyone telling him they love him and want him around, he spends the entire book feeling sorry for himself and like no one wants him.

“He would never do that and you know it.” Because he felt guilty. They all did. Bran had gotten the short end of a shitty stick, and his siblings all felt bad about it. It was why they put up with him.

The.Entire.Effing.Book.

“Don’t worry about it, Bran. It’s going to be okay.” No, it wasn’t. Eventually everyone would get sick of putting up with his shit and he would be on his own again.

He’s either lashing out at everyone, getting into fist fights to “work out his anger” or feeling sad that no one wants him. He’s not 12, y’all. He’s a grown ass, 30-something man.

If that wasn’t bad enough, Carly was just as insecure and whiny. Her go-to was how everyone took advantage of her. Every time Bran looked at her, it was because she was fat and ugly and he was just pretending. Conversely, every time he didn’t look at her (or pay attention to her), it was because she was fat and ugly and he was just pretending.

“Did you think flirting with the fat chick was a public service? Is that how you view it?”

She does things like push him away, the try to kiss him. When he rolls away she throws a massive hissy fit because he doesn’t want her anymore.

“I tried to get you to make love to me and I got hurt when you pretty much jumped away as soon as you could.”

Uh..you kissed him once after you told him to leave you alone. That isn’t exactly trying to get him to make love to you.

“You haven’t touched me in a week. I get it. The physical part isn’t something you want anymore. Maybe you never did.”

She’s an adult, ffs. Yet she keeps jumping to all these conclusions and saying all this stupid shit. I swear I wanted to karate chop her in the throat.

And let’s not even get me started on how she kept thinking about him as a puppy. “Puppy needs some affection.” “Puppy needed to be domesticated.” WTAF?!?! Like he’s not a person?

The suspense plot surrounding the parents was predictable and, as I mentioned above, very poorly handled. They thought they were being sneaky and clever, but trust me. They weren’t. The plot twist at the end came as no surprise to me. I saw it coming from a mile away.

I’m low key curious about Drew and Shelby, a reporter Carly befriended who is also trying to take down Patricia Cain. But I have a feeling their story would frustrate me even more than this one did.

I’ll be honest, if I hadn’t committed to finishing the book for our Summer Reading Challenge, I would have DNF’d it less than halfway through.

1.5 out of 5 (the .5 because I liked some of the secondary characters)

Lawless

one-half-stars


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Summer Reading Challenge Review: In Bed with a Highlander by Maya Banks

Posted September 11, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 4 Comments

Summer Reading Challenge Review: In Bed with a Highlander by Maya BanksReviewer: Rowena
In Bed with a Highlander (McCabe Trilogy, #1) by Maya Banks
Series: McCabe Trilogy #1
Also in this series: In Bed with a Highlander, In Bed with a Highlander, Never Love a Highlander, Seduction of a Highland Lass, Seduction of a Highland Lass (McCabe Trilogy, #2), Never Love a Highlander (McCabe Trilogy, #3)
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: August 30, 2011
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 351
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

Maya Banks' beguiling new trilogy features three unforgettable brothers risking everything to save their clan and their legacy—and to surrender their hearts to love.

Ewan McCabe, the eldest, is a warrior determined to vanquish his enemy. Now, with the time ripe for battle, his men are ready and Ewan is poised to take back what is his—until a blue-eyed, raven-haired temptress is thrust upon him. Mairin may be the salvation of Ewan's clan, but for a man who dreams only of revenge, matters of the heart are strange territory to conquer.

The illegitimate daughter of the king, Mairin possesses prized property that has made her a pawn—and wary of love. Her worst fears are realized when she is rescued from peril only to be forced into marriage by her charismatic and commanding savior, Ewan McCabe. But her attraction to her ruggedly powerful new husband makes her crave his surprisingly tender touch; her body comes alive under his sensual mastery. And as war draws near, Mairin's strength, spirit, and passion challenge Ewan to conquer his demons—and embrace a love that means more than revenge and land.

In Bed with a Highlander is the first book in the McCabe’s Trilogy and it’s also one of Holly’s picks for my Summer Reading Challenge. I’m happy to report that Maya Banks has hooked me with this first book and I cannot wait to read Alaric and Caelen’s books.

Mairin Stuart is a wanted woman but not by the law or anything like that. No. She’s wanted by land and money hungry men who want to claim her and all of the riches she brings to a marriage. When she’s found at the abbey where she was hiding at and then captured, she comes across a young boy who needs her help and protection so she uses her wiles to protect that little boy. After a severe beating, Mairin and her young charge flee for their lives. The young boy, Crispin vows that his father will protect her and all they need to do is get home.

When they’re rescued by Crispin’s uncle and taken home, Mairin realizes that she may not have to marry Laird Cameron but she does have to marry Crispin’s father, Ewan McCabe, in order for him to properly protect her. She has no wish to marry someone she doesn’t know and a little part of her has always wanted someone to want to marry her for her and not what she can bring to their marriage. While living with the McCabe tribe, Mairin tries to make the best of her situation and make a place for herself within the McCabe clan and just when she thinks maybe she’s found her place in the world, she’s summoned before the King to validate her marriage to Ewan.

Ewan has the weight of the clan’s problems on his shoulders and even though he’s made progress on building his clan back up, he’s still struggling to make ends meet, make sure everyone is fed and clothed and the responsibility never ends for him. When his young son goes missing and returns with a woman who protected him from those that meant to harm him, on one hand, he’s grateful but on the other hand, he’s wary because he has no idea who this woman is and what she’s doing with him. She becomes the answers to all of his dreams and nobody is more surprised than he is that he develops feelings for her and he would go to the ends of the earth to keep her safe.

Maya Banks is new to me but she’s won me over because I have already downloaded the rest of this series to my kindle and as soon as I can, I’ll be getting to know Alaric and Caelen a lot better. I can’t wait. Ewan and Mairin were a great couple that reminded me of my favorite couples from old school Julie Garwood books and that’s a plus for me. Who doesn’t love old school Julie Garwood? This was a fun book from beginning to end and the romance was lovely. So good. I definitely recommend.

Grade: 4 out of 5

McCabe Trilogy

four-stars


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Summer Reading Challenge Review: Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs

Posted September 10, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Summer Reading Challenge Review: Cry Wolf by Patricia BriggsReviewer: Casee
Cry Wolf (Alpha & Omega, #1) by Patricia Briggs
Series: Alpha and Omega #1
Also in this series: Hunting Ground (Alpha & Omega, #2), Fair Game (Alpha & Omega, #3), Cry Wolf (Alpha & Omega, #1), Dead Heat (Alpha & Omega, #4), Alpha & Omega (Alpha & Omega, #0.5), Cry Wolf (Alpha & Omega, #1), Hunting Ground (Alpha & Omega, #2), Burn Bright (Alpha & Omega, #5), Burn Bright (Alpha & Omega, #5), Alpha & Omega (Alpha & Omega, #0.5)

Publication Date: August 1, 2008
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 294
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

Anna never knew werewolves existed, until the night she survived a violent attack... and became one herself. After three years at the bottom of the pack, she'd learned to keep her head down and never, ever trust dominant males. Then Charles Cornick, the enforcer—and son—of the leader of the North American werewolves, came into her life.

Charles insists that not only is Anna his mate, but she is also a rare and valued Omega wolf. And it is Anna's inner strength and calming presence that will prove invaluable as she and Charles go on the hunt in search of a rogue werewolf—a creature bound in magic so dark that it could threaten all of the pack.

It is recommended you read the prequel "Alpha & Omega" before reading Cry Wolf.

Patricia Briggs, where have you been all my life? Okay, I take full responsibility for not listening to Holly & Rowena discovering you sooner. I mean, what is wrong with me? You write exactly what I love to read. Intense paranormal romance with really interesting secondary characters as well as a raging bitch thrown in for good measure. What’s not to love about this series? Well there is one thing, but it’s not that big of a deal because this particular situation is fluid. Organic. Every changing.

In Cry Wolf, we pick up right where we left off in Alpha & Omega. The Marrok has brought Charles and Anna home to Montana. Charles is severely injured after being shot in Chicago. He took a bullet to save Anna’s life and uncovered a conspiracy that left one of the Chicago packs in ruins. He also discovered his mate. A brutalized omega wolf, Anna has zero self-confidence, self-esteem, self-anything really. She thinks she’s a waste of the air she breathes. That was my main problem with the book. Anna’s timidity got tiresome. Girl, you’re a kick ass omega werewolf with a bad ass mate. Chin up. Well, chin up she did but it didn’t happen until toward the end of the book.

I actually messaged Holly when I was about halfway through the book and asked her if the whole book was as slow was the first half was. Because it was slow. Lots of world building and people meeting. It wasn’t bad per se, it was just…slow. I loved meeting Asil, Sage, and getting to know Bran (The Marrok & Charles’ father) better. It was so clear that the people of the Marrok’s Montana pack were extremely close. The responsibility of being the Marrok weighed heavily on Bran and Bran leaned heavily on Charles. Charles was his enforcer. When there was a rogue werewolf, Charles would go after the rogue and dispense justice if so needed.

Now there is a rogue in the mountains of Montana. Too close to home for Charles’ comfort. He doesn’t think it’s a fluke that there is a rogue wolf in the Marrok’s backyard. This wouldn’t be the first time that someone made a play for his father’s power. It also wouldn’t be the last. Against his own wishes, his father orders him to take Anna with him. Taking Anna with him is the last thing he wants to do, but he can’t turn down a direct order from his father. What they discover in the mountains is truly something far more evil that Charles expected to find and he’s not sure either he or Anna will make it out alive. However he’s never been more determined to try.

Anna is calmed when she is in Charles presence. She and her wolf. The memory of the rapes and beatings that happened while she was a member of her former pack were hazy. Her wolf protected her by coming to the forefront. Still, Anna knows to keep her eyes down and opinions to herself. That’s until Charles. Something happens when she’s with him. Even when he loses his temper, Anna knows that he would never hurt her. She knows he doesn’t want her help hunting down the rogue, but it immediately apparent that the situation isn’t what it first seemed to be. Not only that, but it’s only Anna that can save Charles and possibly the Marrok’s entire North American pack from the black witch that has come to play.

Oh, my heart broke for Anna. When she realized she had no other place to go? clutching heart I felt for her so hard. This book had all the feels, even if it didn’t have all the action. There was plenty of action about the last 15-20% (Kindle reader here) of the book.

So why haven’t you picked this book up yet?

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Alpha & Omega

four-stars


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