Featured Slider

The Sunday Post #90

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
It's a chance to share news - a post to recap the past week on your blog, 
showcase books and things we have received, and share news about what is
coming up on your blog in the week ahead. You can find the info here:

  • Winter continues to be a fickle thing in my area. This past week warmed up to the 60's and even into the 70's some days. But as of today we're back to the cooler temps. One day this week is not supposed to even get out of the 40's. Warm to some of you but that's a cold day to a Floridian! :). How is it in your area?

  • I'll be parked in front of the TV come this afternoon, something you'll rarely hear me say. Our Jacksonville Jaguars are still in the play-offs! I'm not a huge sports fan but I do enjoy football and our Jaguars have been killing it this season. I'll be cheering them on as they take on the Pittsburgh Steelers today.

  • The Dreaded Reading Slump of 2017 seems to be mostly gone. I'm hesitant to say it's completely over, but I actually feel like reading most days which is quite an improvement! I finished Say You'll Remember Me which I loved (no surprise, it's Katie McGarry) and Wonder (which had me questioning why in the world I hadn't read it before now) and yesterday my library hold on The Cruel Prince was ready so I picked that up. Hoping I love it as much as everyone else seems to!

  • Speaking of McGarry's Say You'll Remember Me, she had a playlist at the end of the book, which is something she does a lot. One of the songs was George Michael's Praying for Time. I absolutely loved seeing that because it's one of my favorites - and it doesn't seem to be as well known as many of his other songs. It's pretty somber and seems sadly relevant these days, as much as it was 28 years ago.

Tuesday, January 9
Top Ten Tuesday:
Book I Meant to Read in 2017

Thursday, January 11
Short Take Reviews:
Leveled by Jay Crownover and Darkness Dawns by Dianne Duvall

Say You'll Remember Me - Katie McGarry
Wonder - R.J. Palacio

 The Cruel Prince - Holly Black

Most of All You - Mia Sheridan

This teapot! 
It makes me want to drink tea all day, every day. 
I love it.

How was your week? Any new books? Any news to share? 
I'd love to hear about it!

Short Take Reviews: M/M Insta-Lust and Paranormal Insta-Love

Leveled (Saints of Denver #0.5) by Jay Crownover
Read: November 2017

Orlando Frederick knows what it is to be leveled by pain. Instead of focusing on his own, he’s made it his mission to help others: sports stars, wounded war vets, survivors of all kinds. But when Dom, a rugged, damaged, sinfully attractive cop, makes his way into Lando’s physical therapy practice, he might be the biggest challenge yet. Lando loved one stubborn man before and barely survived the fallout. He’s not sure he can do it again.

Dominic Voss is a protector. The police badge he wears is not only his job, it’s his identity, so when he’s sidelined because of an injury, the only thing he cares about is getting back on the force. He expects Lando to mend his body, he just doesn’t realize the trainer will also have him working toward a hell of a lot more. As attraction simmers and flares, Dom sees that Lando needs repair of his own...if only the man will let him close enough to mend what's broken.

Having listened to all six of the Marked Men books on audio, I was excited to continue with the Saints of Denver series. I’ve seen Crownover refer to Leveled as the bridge between the two series so there was no way I was going to pass it up.

Dom and Lando could not have been more different – Dom’s rough-edged cop to Lando’s polished exterior – but they couldn’t have been better matched.  There was no insta-love here but the insta-lust was off the charts. I loved that Dom was so open with his feelings for Lando, even in the face of Lando’s hesitancy. Having experienced a great loss, and living with guilt, Lando was understandably gun-shy about opening himself up to a new relationship. And the danger involved in Dom’s job became a major factor in their story. Both guys were totally endearing in their own way and it warmed my heart to watch as they drew closer together.

Even though this clocks in at just 220 pages, the story never felt rushed and their relationship developed in such a natural way. It wasn’t without its bumps along the way, but I loved seeing how these two worked their way through past hurts and current challenges to find their own happy ending.

Darkness Dawns (Immortal Guardians #1) by Dianne Duvall
Read: November 2017

Once, Sarah Bingham’s biggest challenge was making her students pay attention in class. Now, after rescuing a wounded stranger, she’s landed in the middle of a battle between corrupt vampires and powerful immortals who also need blood to survive. Roland Warbrook is the most compelling man Sarah has ever laid hands on. But his desire for her is mingled with a hunger he can barely control…

In his nine centuries of immortal existence, no woman has tempted Roland as much as Sarah. But asking her to love him is impossible—when it means forfeiting the world she’s always known, and the life he would do anything to protect.

Darkness Dawns was recommended to me and I was excited for a good paranormal romance. The aspects I enjoyed were tempered by things that made me roll my eyes (a lot) but overall the scales tipped in its favor.

First, the good. I enjoyed both main characters. Sarah was no damsel in distress and showed real backbone in scary situations (Fighting off attacking vampires? She jumped in the fray. Girl power!).  Roland was a deliciously tortured hero/Immortal Guardian who led a lonely existence. Their meeting, when Sarah saved Roland from an ambush attack, paved the way for plenty of action. A vampire with a vendetta and his many minions were relentless in their attacks and created plenty of drama and adventure. The secondary characters were a truly interesting lot and knowing their stories are told in future books was a bonus.

Now for the not so good. The insta-love was in full-effect. I mean, a couple days pass and they are hard-core ready to pledge their lives to each other. I get the whole going through extreme situations together but still… no. Also, the number of convenient coincidences defied belief and made for all-too-easy resolutions. It was like, seriously? I’m supposed to just go with this, huh? Lastly, and this may seem minor, but the word count devoted to organic this and organic that and the evils of chemically treated food became obnoxious. One, it quickly felt preachy, and two, it seemed pointless and out of place considering the circumstances.

Even with the issues there was enough here for me to enjoy the story overall and I’m sure I’ll continue the series at some point.

3.25/5 STARS

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Meant to Read in 2017

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme 

This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic: 
Books I Meant to Read in 2017
(and totally plan to get to in 2018)

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice & Virtue - Mackenzi Lee
Good Boy - Sarina Bowen
Autoboyography - Christina Lauren
If There's No Tomorrow - Jennifer L. Armentrout
Archer's Voice - Mia Sheridan
Bright Side - Kim Holden
What to Say Next - Julie Buxbaum
Alex, Approximately - Jenn Bennett
The Crown's Fate - Evelyn Skye
Without Merit - Colleen Hoover

Have you read any of these?
What should go straight to the top of my TBR?
What did you not read last year that you totally will this year?

The Sunday Post #89

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
It's a chance to share news - a post to recap the past week on your blog, 
showcase books and things we have received, and share news about what is
coming up on your blog in the week ahead. You can find the info here:

  • Is everyone still in frozen mode or have you thawed out this week? It's been crazy cold here in my part of Florida! A couple days stayed in the 30's and while that may seem like nothing to some of you... that's like end-of-the-world cold to most Floridians. LOL I'm actually loving it while it lasts but believe me when I tell you I'm in the minority.

  • The Husband and I went to see comedian Jim Gaffigan last week and had such a great evening. If you're not familiar with Jim Gaffigan here's one of his classic bits. :)

  • In less fun news, I had a dental appointment on Thursday. A deep cleaning. Because regular cleanings just aren't fun enough. The best part? I get to go back for part two in a couple weeks. Yay!

  • In the mood for a quiz? Click here and find out how long you would last in a YA fantasy novel. As for me? According to Epic Reads, I'd be the first to go. Somehow I am not surprised. :) If you took the quiz, what were your results? Bet you fared better than me!

I Never - Laura Hopper

 What Happened (Audio) - Hillary Rodham Clinton
Say You'll Remember Me - Katie McGarry

Meet Cute - Jennifer Armentrout (Anthology)

Say You'll Remember Me - Katie McGarry

How was your week? Any new books? Any news to share? 
I'd love to hear about it!

Review: I Never by Laura Hopper

I Never by Laura Hopper

Series: N/A

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Release Date: November 7, 2017

Format: eBook

Source: Axis 360

Find it here: GoodReads | Amazon

Janey King’s priorities used to be clear: track, school, friends, and family. But when seventeen-year-old Janey learns that her seemingly happy parents are getting divorced, her world starts to shift. Back at school, Luke Hallstrom, an adorable senior, pursues Janey, and she realizes that she has two new priorities to consider: love and sex.

Inspired by Judy Blume’s classic ForeverI Never features a perfect, delicious, almost-to-good-to-be-true high school relationship . . . and it doesn’t shy away from the details. Destined to be passed from teen to teen, this is a young adult debut that will get readers talking.

With the strong comparisons to Judy Blume's Forever, which I remember well from my own adolescence, I was curious what I Never would bring to the table. Hopper does a credible job in exploring all the firsts that come with first love while neither condoning nor judging.

Janey is a high school junior who is a good student, good athlete, has strong friendships and close relationships with her parents. When her parents announce their separation and a new romance develops with a popular boy at school, everything in Janey's life seems to be shifting. When some of her friends aren't particularly supportive of her new relationship, Janey struggles to find her footing while she navigates unfamiliar territory.

"Just as one part of my life starts to flourish, everything else goes down the toilet. 
First, my mom is clearly worried that her angelic daughter is being corrupted. 
Then Brett gets pissed at me for being secretive. 
And now Sloan tells me I'm a shitty friend. 
Have I really done so much wrong? 
Am I supposed to stay away from Luke to maintain 
the status quo and make other people happy?"

Janey is surprised that falling in love doesn't necessarily make everything fall into place. She's plagued with insecurities - about her body, about her lack of experience, about Luke's interactions with other girls. While first love is heady and thrilling, it also brings its own set of new problems. Hopper did an admirable job of showcasing this and showed Janey wrestling with both the excitement of her new relationship with Luke and all the changes that came with it.

Janey's relationship with her parents was a real highlight. I appreciated the openness between she and her mother in particular and their willingness to talk even when they weren't seeing eye to eye. The mother's need to protect her daughter and Janey's push for privacy and independence felt totally realistic. 

"I've heard parents and teachers refer to the years from puberty to adulthood 
as the formative years. I suppose that means it's a transitional period 
that shapes the kind of adults we turn out to be. 
If that's the case, then we all need to give one another a break. 
We're going to change and grow and make mistakes. 
We're going to reinvent ourselves."

Hopper covered all the highs and lows of teenage first love: butterflies, exhilaration, hormones gone wild, angst and heartbreak. While main characters Janey and Luke sometimes felt a little flat, they were still likable and it was easy to be charmed by the bittersweet nature of first love. 

3.5/5 STARS