Happy Birthday to Me Indeed!

Hello everyone! Sorry I’ve been MIA for the last week or so, but birthday celebrations, work time madness, and apartment redesign means I’ve had less time than usual to sit down with my Kindle.

cake

And speaking of Kindle!!!! A couple of months ago I asked you all for some input regarding what kind of new e-reader I should consider to replace my 2nd generation Kindle. I’m happy to announce that after weighing all my options and reviewing your suggestions, I finally came to a decision. Exactly eight years to the day after receiving my first ever Kindle for my birthday, I was thrilled to open my second one for my b-day last week: Kindle Paperwhite baby!!

img-5060.jpg

Look how pretty!! I’d like to introduce you all to the new extension of me. You guys, this thing is tiny and freakin’ amazing. It should be called Kindle Paper-lightweight if you know what I mean. Look at it compared to my last one!

IMG-5061

Seriously, this thing is life changing, merely in the fact my purse will no longer feel like it weighs 20 pounds. I can’t tell you how many times in the last week I’ve picked up my purse on the way out the door to work and had a mini panic attack thinking I’ve forgotten something important from my bag.

heavy purse

In the brief amount of time I’ve had to play with my new baby I’ve quickly discovered some key differences from my previous brick of a Kindle, aside from the weightlessness of it. First, the fact a light is built into the actual Kindle, rather than having to rely on an external case or light source is an A++ bonus feature. It’s also so incredibly nice you can adjust the light based on your preferences. My former light came in two settings, off and bright as f*ck. This one has a delightful spectrum.

IMG-5062

Second, I think the biggest adjustment I’ll have to make is in regards to turning the page. Not gonna lie, I kind of miss the fact that I could turn the page using buttons on either side of my last Kindle, and with this new one you have to be sure to hit the right side of the screen. It kind of makes reading whilst brushing my teeth a tad more difficult, but I have a feeling with time it will become second nature. And yes, I realize that is about as first world of a problem as you can possibly have.

FullSizeRender

Lastly, this Kindle is FAST! And I LOOOVE it!! No longer do I have to go make a cup of tea and wait forever just to load some new books into a collection. Instantaneous satisfaction. I also love that with the case you simply have to close it to put it to sleep, and then open it to wake it back up. Simplicity. Well, now that I have a beautiful new device to indulge my reading addiction, I should be back to finishing books and writing reviews in no time. Stay tuned!

typing

Advertisements

A Call for Historical Romances!

Hear ye, hear ye! This is a desperate plea to all my historical romance readers and writers out there. I am in serious need of your assistance!

hear ye

I have approximately 788 unread books on my TBR list. Excessive. Disgusting. I know. And yet, believe it or not I am asking all of you out there to send me more. Why, you ask? Because of those 788 tomes silently waiting in my Kindle for selection, only a meager 18 of them are categorized as historical romance. The fact that I have over twice as many sports romances as historical romances fills me with a particular kind of dread and sadness.

nocrying.gif

I have always been a fan of historical reads, whether it be romance, fiction, non-fiction, or essays on archaeological digs in Egypt. History is my jam. As a matter of fact, the first novel to ever get me fascinated with the romance genre was a historical read set in Russia during the start of WWII. Sadly, as the years wore on, Goodreads lists multiplied, and review requests came in, the contemporary world took hold. Now I see a definite hole in my blog posts of historical reads, and I mean to change it!

tenor

So send me your suggestions! What are some of your favorite historical romances? Some of my ultimate favs include The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simmons, Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, and the entire Amelia Peabody series by Elizabeth Peters. I’d be happy with Highlanders, swashbucklers, Regency era lords and ladies, soldiers preparing or returning from war, time travelers and explorers. I will say of the minimal number of historical reads I do have on my Kindle, and those which I’ve posted recently, there’s a decent number of westerns featuring cowboys or frontiersmen. I’m pretty much set with those!

outlander

And to any romance writers out there with a historical work on your hands, I’d be happy to read a copy for review. Be sure to check out my “Review Policy” tab above for some notes to keep in mind, and how to submit your work for consideration. Looking forward to seeing what some of your favorites are, and what you recommend I check out for myself!

excited.jpg

The Ultimate Betrayal!!

My dear readers, I hate to admit it, but I am considering committing one of the most terrible atrocities of all time. After 8 years of loyal service, and perhaps the most meaningful relationship of my adult life, I am debating the purchase of a new Kindle.

details2-003

Now, why is this such a betrayal you might ask? Simple. This is the only Kindle I’ve every owned, and I’ve come to view it as something I could never live without. Hands down one of the first things I’d need with me if I were to be deserted on an island. More importantly, technically it is in working order. I can read through a book just fine, the battery still holds a decent charge, the screen is in ship shape (for the most part), and it just has a few minor scuffs on its edges from being dropped an indeterminate number of times.

blogs_kindle_2056305c

I can also still load new books and divide them into my fabulously organized categories. But this is where the problem arises. It…takes…forever to do so. Several minutes will have passed by the time my Kindle manages to sync with my new purchases, and the lag time in moving a book to a new category has reached a point of hilarity. I find myself having to open the Kindle app on my phone to read a bit just to pass the time. Also, every once in a while it freezes up and I have to hold the power button to “off” for a good five minutes to force it to restart.

kindle

Therefore, I think the time to purchase a newer version may have finally arrived. And this is where a new dilemma comes to the forefront, and one that I’m asking for all of your help in solving. Which one should I buy as a replacement? I currently own the 2nd generation Kindle, and while I always thought it was light and convenient to carry around, I’ve discovered that compared to some of the more recent generations it’s basically a brick weighing down my purse. Considering I literally carry my Kindle with me every day, something lightweight is extremely important. Although, I won’t lie it’s also kind of nice to be able to turn my purse into a battering ram when necessary.

06-handbag_low

In addition, seeing as I read almost 150 books last year, a version that doesn’t strain the eyes is also paramount. I don’t want anything that looks like a computer screen. While a Kindle will never feel like a real book, it needs to look like one as much as possible. So, do you all have any suggestions? Honestly, I’d prefer to stick to a Kindle rather than another brand, but if you have a compelling reason to consider something else, feel free to put forward any recommendations in the comment section!

kindleevofinal

Headed to the Beach!

Well ladies and gents it’s that time of year once again where I need to get the hell out of dodge, and head to the sun and surf of the beach. Not gonna lie, I am in absolute desperate need of a vacation! I’m headed to Florida for a whole week, and I couldn’t be more excited.

anna-maria-island

It’s simply been too long since I’ve had a proper beach holiday, and by God I’m planning on enjoying every second of it. My Kindle is loaded, my audiobooks queued up, and my work email is ready to be ignored. Oh, I also plan on consuming more seafood and delectable desserts than any human probably should in a given week.

IMG_5879

But don’t worry, I didn’t forget about all of you! I have some reviews all lined up and ready to post in my absence. Enjoy!

pier-at-anna-maria

Tank by Erin Bevan 

Who knew a man built like a tank could have such a soft and loving personality?

What’s it About? 

tank

Tyler Wilde moves to Black Widow, Texas, to join the Blue Guardians, a local biker club that helps abused women and children. He’s intent on starting his life over, but a small piece of his past collides with his present when he runs into the local waitress, Annie Carter. Annie’s the girl of his boyhood dreams, and Tyler can’t wait to get reacquainted with her. Only problem is, Annie’s engaged. But what has Tyler more troubled than the diamond on her finger is the bruise that graces her arm. To make matters worse, Annie’s abuser and intended husband is also the town’s Chief of Police. Tyler is determined to offer Annie a safe haven, but she refuses his help until her life is hanging by a thread.

First Impressions

This is a phenomenal read that takes a close and haunting look at surviving abuse, and how troubled pasts can sometimes mold people into loving and caring adults. Now, normally I’m not a huge fan of biker romances. They usually deal with ultra possessive male leads, and biker groups with questionable morals. This romance presents the complete opposite on both accounts. In Tyler “Tank” Wilde we see a tough man of muscle on the outside, but when it comes to the woman of his dreams he’s adorably shy and unbelievably caring. As for the biker group he’s trying to join, they help save and look after abused women and children. How can you not help but fall in love with these characters?

biker

Survivors and Superheros

Tank and Annie are both survivors of abuse. Tank experienced it as a child at the hands of his father. This has since influenced him to want to try and save others from ever having to suffer what he went through as a child. He’s literally a real-life, modern-day superhero. And he is set on saving Annie.

batman

Annie is being abused by her fiancé, and before Tank comes into her life she sees no escape. Eventually Annie reaches her breaking point, and realizes she must either leave now, or risk dying at the hands of an abusive monster. She turns to Tank for help, and before long they start to realize they have deep feelings for each other which will come to the surface sooner rather than later.

Rebound or Real Love? 

At first, I wondered if Tank and Annie’s inevitable romance would come off as some kind of rebound for Annie, as though she’s just falling for her savior out of a sense of duty. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. They have a deep connection which actually extends back to when they were children. Both had secret crushes on the other during one summer they lived next to each other, and they both see this twist of fate which brought them together again as a way to finally explore their feelings. This time, they won’t let the opportunity pass them by.

remove clothing

Male Point of View

While we do see parts of the story alternating between both Tank and Annie’s points of view, I felt like this was really Tank’s story. And oh my goodness was it incredible. I’ve always found it’s pretty hit or miss for me when it comes to a male-dominated point of view, but this telling was quite superb. He’s a noble character in every sense of the word, and you really see how much he cares for Annie as a person. One of my favorite quotes of the novel was, “She was his. Not by possession, but through desire.” And that’s what I loved so much about Tank. For him, Annie is his everything, yet he never treats her like an object. His love for her is pure an passionate.

neck touch

Growth of a Character

Another aspect of the novel I truly appreciated was in the growth of Annie’s character. At the start of the novel, we see her stuck in an abusive relationship with apparently no way or will to get out. However, once her fiancé draws a gun on her she realizes she has to run or die. She runs to Tank, and we see how she has some initial inherent and deep-rooted fears of setting him off, as though he’ll treat her like her fiancé did. This is particularly evident during their first morning together, where she’s seemingly terrified at the possibility of sitting in Tank’s spot at the kitchen counter.

emotionally-abused

However, as the two spend more time together Annie starts to come out of her shell, and turns back into the woman she once was. She realizes that she doesn’t want to hide away anymore, living in constant fear of her fiancé. Annie chooses to stand up and start living life again. Through Tank she is able to start out on that path, yet in the end she is able to choose happiness for herself, without being solely reliant on Tank for guidance. He provided her with a place to turn to in order to escape this abusive scenario, but she was the one who ultimately made the decision to leave. She was never a damsel in distress who couldn’t take care of herself. I found that to be truly admirable.

The Portrait of a Villain

Now, a proper review of this novel would not be complete without exploring our villain, Annie’s fiancé, Duke. It is here where I feel the author specifically excelled at painting the horrifying portrait of an abuser. It was truly eerie to see how Duke was able to use his charm to not only sway Annie into his clutches in the first place, but then also woo the townsfolk to such a degree that Annie felt nobody would believe her if she revealed his abusive nature.

upset.jpg

On top of this, it was frightening to see how Duke was actually far from stupid. He was shockingly methodical in the various traps he set to discover Annie’s location after she ran away from him. Like a hunter seeking his prey. We also see part of the story from his point of view, and it’s disturbing how he tries to justify his abuse of Annie to himself. An unbelievably realistic view at abusive relationships.

*A copy of this book was provided for an honest review*

Series: Black and Blue, book 1. I’ll be continuing with this series, for sure.

Should you read it? A beautifully heartfelt read that draws you in right from the beginning. It takes a look at the complexities of abuse, and how it’s possible to achieve happiness after surviving a difficult past. While both Annie and Tank wish they never would have had to endure such atrocities, they also realize that while they can’t change their pasts, it shaped who they are today. All they can do is try to live their lives to the fullest, and look forward to a future together.

Smut Level: It’s amusing how often these two are interrupted from exploring their physical desires. They don’t take things to the next level until a bit later in the book, but I appreciated this as it didn’t make their relationship seem too forced or rushed.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $0.99 Kindle Price. Self-Published. 279 Pages.

A Taming Season by Claire Gem

This stunning romance takes place at a calming lakeside summer town in upstate New York. Bright sunshine, cool breezes off the lake, and a gorgeous man with a sexy, deep baritone. Sounds like my kind of place.

What’s it About?

taming season

Manhattan domestic violence counselor Zoe Anderson is going on the most important vacation of her life. Before she can move on, help other women, Zoe needs to heal herself. Her Cinderella life shattered three years ago one fateful night, leaving her a young widow, scarred inside and out. In an attempt to reclaim her life, bury her demons, and save her job, Zoe sets out for picturesque Lake George to claim the treasured family cottage she recently inherited. The place where she found happiness—before. Reboot, restore to an earlier time. What she finds is a rundown shack.

The neighboring resort mogul, Jason Rolland, whisks in to her rescue, insisting Zoe stay at his upscale Lakeview Lodge. The wealthy, handsome, star of his own radio show, Jason’s Lair, he’s a terminal bachelor. But Jason figures he might use the gifts God gave him to convince the sexy redheaded stranger to give up the crumbling eye-sore next door. A challenge he’s definitely up for. He’s been trying to buy the cabin—and demolish it—for years: the last reminder of his own tragic, childhood memories.

Zoe can’t deny her attraction to the tall, dark-haired Jason with his pool-water blue eyes. Definitely fling material—if she can just get past those flashbacks from the night everything changed. And the knowledge that when it comes to happy-ever-after, you usually don’t get a second chance. Hardly possible with the Tiger of Jason’s Lair. What Jason doesn’t figure on is Zoe’s charms melting his emotional armor. But with his reputation, can he ever win her heart? Can a tiger really change his stripes? Or will their pasts come back to bite them both?

First Impressions

Good God I can’t tell you how many times this novel reminded me that I am in desperate need of my own solo, lakeside, mountainous vacation. I also wouldn’t mind some accompaniment from the gorgeous Jason either! Despite the serene backdrop, this novel isn’t exactly a calming read with no drama. Zoe is looking for a place where she can unwind and perhaps remember a time before her life was turned upside-down. But when she arrives in Lake George to discover the cottage she inherited is in a shambles, and the sexy real-estate mogul next door wants to demolish the eye-sore, her relaxing getaway just got a lot more complicated. Throw in some steamy sex with said real-estate mogul, and well, you’ve got yourself a complicated little romance.

beautiful-couple-dock-girl-and-boy-Favim.com-1703442

An Admirable Lead

The first thing that draws you into this novel is Zoe. She might appear broken, what with a jagged scar running down her face, not to mention her frequent panic attacks. That being said, you can’t deny her strength. She’s not willing to give up, and will try any crazy scheme to try and get her life back on track, even if it means engaging in a summer fling with no feelings involved. Something completely out of character for her, but she won’t shy away from a challenge.

DSC_0388

Personally I maybe would have liked if Zoe really got into fixing up her family cottage. It could have been an intense form of therapy! Her lazy days of sunbathing and romance novel reading were probably more realistic in what she needed (not to mention something I would have done myself!), but it did kind of drag the story at times. Especially as Jason did business in Albany four days of the week. In a way, they had a summer fling reserved for weekends.

A Fling, or Something More?

bfdf9c28932273993472922fb68699f3.jpg

The second thing which totally mesmerized me in this novel was the development of Zoe and Jason’s relationship, as the two had such differing views on what this fling meant. For Zoe, that’s all she wants. A fling. Something purely physical. Upon meeting Jason it’s the first time since her husband’s death that her lady bits have started to pay attention, but she’s not ready for anything serious. She needs to focus on healing herself first. Jason seems like the perfect ladies man playboy to fulfill her needs.

On the surface, Jason is just that, the ladies man always up for a good time. However, he’s starting to tire of that lifestyle. He starts to wonder if perhaps he wants something more. When Zoe comes along, she is the first woman who’s ever made him consider possibly pursuing a serious relationship. He decides to give it his all. But what will happen when Zoe thinks Jason’s attentions are all part of his game, or when their conflicting opinions of what this really means comes to the forefront?

Look to the Seasons

Something else I found rather interesting about this novel was the apparent symbolism of the seasons, and how they correspond to Zoe and Jason’s relationship. As summer progresses, their relationship definitely starts to heat up, but as summer comes to a close we all just know the story is building for something to go wrong.

n-1

Don’t even get me started on fall and winter. Cheese and monkeys it’s downright depressing as our leads break off communication due to a typical romance novel misunderstanding, and Zoe returns to New York. It’s a dark and dreary part of the story, and you can’t help but wonder if perhaps the New Year can bring our lovebirds back together, or if their summer fling will remain a distant memory.

*A copy of this novel was provided for an honest review*

Series: Love at Lake George, book 1. I’d be interested to see what might come next. A tale involving Jason’s sister would intrigue me.

Should you read it? I was loving the summer fling moments. The winter depression kind of got me down, especially as those close to Jason never relayed to Zoe how completely lost he was without her. Or even stressed the fact that his interactions with her were different than those with his former flames. Definitely an intriguing tale though about taking a chance on love.

Smut Level: Sexy lingerie, romantic tumbles in the shadows of the lawn, and one very eager playboy.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $2.99 Kindle Price. Erato Publishing. 340 Pages

Saranac_Lake_-_Lake_Flower

 

Beautiful by Christina Lauren

Going on a wine tour road trip with good friends, and a hottie tottie to roll around in the sheets with all night long? Yeah, um, where exactly do I sign up for one of those?

What’s it About?

beautiful

After walking in on her boyfriend shagging another girl in their place, Pippa Bay Cox ditches London for the States to go on a drunken road trip with Ruby Miller and some of her Beautiful friends.

Scaling the career ladder is the default way to deal with heartbreak—and to just deal—for Jensen Bergstrom. Absolutely buried by his drive and workload, he rarely takes time for himself. But when his sister Hanna convinces him to join the gang on a two-week wine tour, he has a rare moment of cutting loose. Of course, it’s only once he’s committed that he realizes the strange girl he met briefly on the plane is coming along, too. She might be too much for him…or he might realize his life has become too small and needs her to make it bigger, crazier.

With this circle of friends there’s always something going on: from Chloe and Sara’s unexpected personality swaps to Will’s new domestic side to Bennett’s text message barrage and George’s own happily-ever-after. In short, their adventures in love, friendship, and hilarity are nothing short of Beautiful.

First Impressions

At first, the idea of playing fifth wheel to a bunch of couples going on a romantic wine tour seems like it would kind of suck. Especially considering there’s only one other single person going along, and our main female lead sort of made a huge fool of herself in front of him on an eight hour plane ride across the ocean by getting drunk and lamenting over a recent breakup. However, Jensen is a handsome muscled man in desperate need of a vacation, and Pippa is more than willing to help him relax. During the day anyway. At night? They engage in some intense workout sessions.

naoc-4tc0o9x

Opposites Attract

Pippa and Jensen are total opposites. She’s colorful, carefree and not afraid to speak her mind. Jensen is a straight-laced, button-up workaholic, and he really needs someone like Pippa to help him open up. We’re all familiar with the phrase “opposites attract”, and in this novel it’s definitely true in the physical sense. And although Pippa helps Jensen relax during their two week road trip, I’m not sure that was long enough for Jensen to have a real impact on Pippa. In addition, Jensen sort of reverts to his old ways once the trip is over. I’d like to think they’ll be forever, but in the same vein their time together was so short, and they were both sort of acting as rebounds for the other. Sure, it’s fiction, but I can’t say I’m totally convinced it would last.

holdinghands-720x481

Friends, Old and New

I must say I absolutely loved Pippa’s live and let live attitude. Jealous of it really! The bravery to make a fool of yourself in front of others, sing terrible karaoke at the top of one’s lungs, yet still be able to brush it off and move on? Inspirational! You can tell Jensen has trouble at first dealing with someone like her, but after a while it comes to be something he loves most about her.

karaoke

Although I can’t say this couple was my favorite ever in the Beautiful Bastard series, I can’t begin to describe my utter delight at the fact that we get to see all of the couples from the previous novels come together for this final book. Add in the beauty that each one gets their own happily ever after epilogue, including George, and I’m practically bouncing with glee. That being said, considering this is also the last novel in the Beautiful series, and I’m on the verge of tears here! I might just have to start re-reading this series from the start!

Series: Beautiful Bastard, book 5.

Should you read it? An unbelievably sexy series. Not my fav book in the series, or my fav couple for that matter, but it’s a good read overall. It’s about taking chances, doing things outside your comfort zone, yet still remaining true to who you are.

Smut Level: Considering all that this series is, I was kind of hoping for more in terms of smut. I sort of feel like Jensen has a secret naughty side to him, but unfortunately we don’t really get to see it all come out to play.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $7.99 Kindle Price. Gallery Books. 416 Pages.

bbastardseries