Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead {Review}

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead {Review}Title: Vampire Academy
Author: Richelle Mead
Series: Vampire Academy #1
Publisher: Razorbill on August 16, 2007
Format: Paperback, 332 pages
Source: Gift
4 Stars
The sum up

Snarky, sexy and fun. A promising start to the series.
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A Little Too Hot by Lisa Desrochers {Review + Giveaway}

A Little Too Hot by Lisa Desrochers {Review + Giveaway}

A Little Too Hot by Lisa Desrochers {Review + Giveaway}Title: A Little Too Hot
Author: Lisa Desrochers
Series: A Little Too Far #3
Publisher: William Morrow Impulse on January 21st 2014
Format: eARC, 284 pages
Source: Rockstar Book Tours
5 Stars
The sum up

Steamy, sexy and romantic, this novel has everything I’m looking for in a New Adult romance.

Summary

If you play with fire…

Tossed out of college and cut off by her parents, Samantha West is in pretty dire straits. So when her rocker best friend hooks her up with a job dancing at a gentlemen’s club, who is she to turn it down? Plus, there are rules to dancing at Benny’s: No touching, keep your clothes on at all times, and never get closer than three feet. Unfortunately for Sam, her first private client makes her want to break every single one of them.

Harrison Yates is scorching hot, but he’s got a past that involves being left at the altar not too long ago. Sam is determined to make him forget about his ex, but when she makes her move, it flings her life into a spiral of chaos she never saw coming.

Because Harrison Yates isn’t who he seems to be. And his secret will probably get her killed.

My thoughts

Sam is having a shitty month. She got kicked out of school for skipping classes, her mother kicked her out of the house and she’s no longer welcome at the friend’s house she was staying at. She turns to ex-lover and close friend Jonathan, who lets her crash on his couch and gets her a job as an exotic dancer at a club.

I can’t say a lot about this book without revealing any spoilers, so this will probably be a short review, but I’ll try to hit the highlights.

I loved this book even more than the first one in the series (which I absolutely adored). The characters were wonderful and full of quirks and subtle little personality traits that made them feel real. Sam was bull-headed but also a little broken. She felt like she had almost nobody left she could trust, but she was grateful for Jonathan. She wasn’t crazy about becoming a dancer, but she knew she needed a job to get off of his couch.

I was drawn to the characters and wanted to know what their next step would be, how they would face the consequences of their actions, how they would handle each setback.

Speaking of Jonathan, I loved him to pieces. He was a total horndog, making out with everyone he could, while trying to stay faithful to his girlfriend. He was honest and sweet and you could tell he really cared about the people in his life. Harrison was definitely hiding a lot from Sam, but he was a decent guy who cared. He made mistakes, but he owned them.

The plot was predictable; I knew everything that was coming and wasn’t surprised once. But, the characters and the writing more than made up for that. I read this in one day, and it’s been a long time since I’ve done that. I was drawn to the characters and wanted to know what their next step would be, how they would face the consequences of their actions, how they would handle each setback. And for the love of pete, I needed to keep reading so I would know when they finally did the deed! It took FOREVER. Talk about sexual tension. This book was full of it.

The sexy times were graphic, but not nearly as explicit as other books I’ve read recently. It was actually kind of a nice relief. There’s only so many times I can read different words for genitalia without rolling my eyes.

This book is part of a series, but it can definitely be read as a standalone. The characters from the previous books made an appearance, and we learned how they’re doing. It was nice to get a little update from the previous couples. Of the three books in this series, this one is my favorite, and I highly recommend it. I hope Lisa Desrochers comes out with more New Adult books soon, because she’s been added to my auto-buy author list.

About the author


Lisa Desrochers is the USA Today bestselling author of A LITTLE TOO FAR , courtesy of HarperCollins, and companions, A LITTLE TOO MUCH (Nov 12, 2013), and A LITTLE TOO HOT (Jan 21, 2014). Also in stores is her YA PERSONAL DEMONS trilogy (Macmillan).

She lives in central California with her husband and two very busy daughters. There is never a time that she can be found without a book in her hand, and she adores stories that take her to new places, and then take her by surprise.

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The Academy: Introductions by C.L. Stone {Review}

The Academy: Introductions by C.L. Stone {Review}Title: The Academy: Introductions
Author: C.L. Stone
Series: The Academy #1
Publisher: Arcato Publishing on December 23rd 2012
Format: eBook, 280 pages
Source: Publisher
1 Stars
The sum up

I didn’t like it at all. I couldn’t care less what happens in the future books, nor do I have any desire to learn about the Academy. I’m done with the series.

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Knowing Jack by Rachel Curtis {Review + Giveaway}

Knowing Jack by Rachel Curtis {Review + Giveaway}

Knowing Jack by Rachel Curtis {Review + Giveaway}Title: Knowing Jack
Author: Rachel Curtis
Publisher: Self Published on January 17th 2014
Format: eBook, 165 pages
Source: AToMR Tours
3 Stars

The sum up

Despite my issue with the book, I found this a fun and sexy way to pass the time.

Summary

I am not a slut, although I’ve been called one often enough. Yeah, I spent three months screwing one of my college professors, but I was crazy about the guy. Then he broke up with me.

I am not a bitch, although people like to say I am. I kept our relationship secret. I’m not responsible for telling the university administrators about it, but a lot of students still blame me for getting their favorite professor fired.

I am not a drama queen, although everyone thinks I am now. When I got a few nasty messages, I just deleted them. When I got the threat, I assumed it was someone being stupid. I still think that’s all it was. My parents worry, though, so they hired me a bodyguard. Now Jack follows me around, intimidating everyone who approaches me and looking obnoxiously hot.

This is what I am. I’m Chloe. I’m a twenty-year-old art history major. Kind of shy, although I pretend not to be. Stubborn enough to stay here for my senior year, even though everyone hates me.

And I’m stuck with Jack.

He calls me “Princess,” but I’m not a princess either.

My thoughts

Chloe made a decision she’s still paying for. She doesn’t regret that decision (after all, they were both adults and technically, he wasn’t even her teacher at the time they began seeing each other), but she’s hating the backlash. She’s trying to stay strong and not let it get her down, but really, how much negativity can one person take?

Chloe was an interesting character for me. She was strong, in standing up to the bullies and staying at the school even though everyone hated her, but she was also basically a weakling when it came to Jack. She was on a break from men, but the second she had the chance, she was ready to chuck it all just to have sex with him. Jack was your typical strong and silent type. You knew he had a dark secret he was hiding, but it only made him more attractive.

The point of view switched every once in a while, but it never stayed with Jack very long, maybe a page or two. Just long enough for us to know how much he loved Chloe and wanted her hot bod, but also that he couldn’t be with her because it would disappoint his dad.

Chloe was a bit frustrating in that she wasn’t able to stand up for herself in a lot of ways until Jack and his magic penis somehow taught her to let go and own it. In fact, it was amazing the things his penis could do. It made her fall in love with him (and vice versa), it made her let go of her self-righteous determination to prove something and made him stop trying to please his dad in order to live his own life. It was miraculous, that penis.

So, as you may have noticed, I had a slight problem with the believability in this novel. BUT, other than that, I really enjoyed it. If you can set aside your disbelief in the magic of the sex, it’s kind of a fun story. It’s fast-paced, a little bit mysterious and a whole lot sexy.

About the author

Rachel is a writer, a teacher, a romance reader, and a dog-mom. She loves animals and art and hot men with soft hearts under a tough exterior. She tries to write love stories that feel real, even in unlikely circumstances.

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Salt by Danielle Ellison {Review}

Salt by Danielle Ellison {Review}Title: Salt
Author: Danielle Ellison
Publisher: Entangled Teen on January 7th 2014
Format: eBook, 266 pages pages
Source: Rockstar Book Tours
3 Stars

The sum up

A solid fast paced book that’s perfect if you want fun witchiness, or need a break from the heavier stuff.

Summary

Penelope is a witch, part of a secret society protecting humans from demon attacks. But when she was a child, a demon killed her parents—and stole her magic. Since then, she’s been pretending to be something she’s not, using her sister’s magic to hide her own loss, to prevent being sent away.

When she’s finally given the chance to join the elite demon-hunting force, Penelope thinks that will finally change. With her sister’s help, she can squeeze through the tests and get access to the information she needs to find “her” demon. To take back what was stolen.

Then she meets Carter. He’s cute, smart, and she can borrow his magic, too. He knows her secret—but he also has one of his own.

Suddenly, Penelope’s impossible quest becomes far more complicated. Because Carter’s not telling her everything, and it’s starting to seem like the demons have their own agenda…and they’re far too interested in her.

My thoughts

Penelope is a witch without her own power. Stolen from her when she was young, she still can do magic, but only when her family is nearby to “lend” her their power. All she’s ever wanted is to find the demon who took her magic, perform a ritual and get it back. She’s been training for years to become an Enforcer, mainly so she can use their extensive research library to find the demon. One day when she’s trapped by a demon, Carter shows up and suddenly she can do magic. How is that possible? And how is she going to pass the Enforcer test without her magic?

Penelope was quite a strong character. She’d lost both her parents and her magic, yet she still managed to be positive, kind and even cheerful. She was respectful of her grandparents, which I loved. She knew what she wanted, and she wasn’t about to let anything stand in her way. Even after Carter entered the picture, she was aware of his effect on both her and the future she had planned for herself. She had a snarkiness about her which I appreciated.

Carter was an enigma – we never quite knew what his motivations were. He seemed like a nice enough guy, but he definitely had secrets. Penelope was more willing to look past those than I would have been. Her sister and grandparents were great, always there for her when she needed help.

There was no sex, but there was chemistry, and some snogging. I kind of wondered whether Carter would turn out to be related to Penelope, because, after all, she could only do magic with her family nearby. But unless the next book in the series takes an alarming turn, that doesn’t seem to be an issue.

I enjoyed the world-building in the story. There’s another world alongside ours that has witches and demons. There are demons of every shape and color, and they can take human form as well, though that usually ends up killing the human. The Enforcers are like the special services of witches. They are paired into teams of two and their job is to hunt all the demons out there.

There were a few grammatical errors and one or two things that bothered me. One of the biggest ones was Penelope’s insistence on becoming an Enforcer. She had to pass 2 major magic tests to become one, but she just kind of glossed over the fact that she didn’t have magic. She was planning on having her sister around for the first test, but the second test didn’t seem to make her all that anxious, which I found odd. For someone so conscientious, she didn’t seem to have a plan in place for that.

Those little issues weren’t enough to make me not want to keep reading and overall, I enjoyed the book and I’m looking forward to the next book in the series.

About the author

Danielle Ellison is from a small town in West Virginia. She spent her childhood pretending to fly, talking to imaginary friends, and telling stories. She hasn’t changed much since then. You can still find her pretending to work, talking to imaginary characters, and writing stories.

When she’s not writing, Danielle is probably drinking coffee, fighting her nomadic urges, watching too much TV, or dreaming of the day when she can be British. She is the author of five upcoming novels.

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Unhinged by A.G. Howard {Review}

Unhinged by A.G. Howard {Review}Title: Unhinged
Author: A.G. Howard
Series: Splintered #2
Publisher: Amulet on January 7th 2014
Format: Paperback, 387 pages
Source: Traveling ARC
4 Stars
The sum up

This is a solid follow-up to Splintered. I really enjoyed it, and it left me eager for the next book in the series.

Summary

Alyssa Gardner has been down the rabbit hole and faced the bandersnatch. She saved the life of Jeb, the guy she loves, and escaped the machinations of the disturbingly seductive Morpheus and the vindictive Queen Red. Now all she has to do is graduate high school and make it through prom so she can attend the prestigious art school in London she’s always dreamed of.

That would be easier without her mother, freshly released from an asylum, acting overly protective and suspicious. And it would be much simpler if the mysterious Morpheus didn’t show up for school one day to tempt her with another dangerous quest in the dark, challenging Wonderland—where she (partly) belongs.

As prom and graduation creep closer, Alyssa juggles Morpheus’s unsettling presence in her real world with trying to tell Jeb the truth about a past he’s forgotten. Glimpses of Wonderland start to bleed through her art and into her world in very disturbing ways, and Morpheus warns that Queen Red won’t be far behind.

If Alyssa stays in the human realm, she could endanger Jeb, her parents, and everyone she loves. But if she steps through the rabbit hole again, she’ll face a deadly battle that could cost more than just her head.

My thoughts

Alyssa is glad to be back to her normal life. Her mom is home from the asylum, and even though she’s gone overboard on the mothering thing, Alyssa’s still glad to have her back. She and Jeb are getting along great, and he’s forgotten all about Wonderland and everything that happened there. When Morpheus starts appearing, telling Alyssa she must come back to Wonderland and defeat Queen Red once and for all, it’s annoying at first. But then he gets more insistent, and signs of Queen Red start appearing in the human world.

I liked the growth that Alyssa showed from the previous book, with her mother, Jeb and even Morpheus. She has become stronger and more secure in herself, and what she wants. Jeb was just your average nice guy, but he was ignorant of Wonderland, so it’s hard to hold that against him. He did the best he could with Alyssa, without knowing her whole story. Luckily he had the chance to flex his personality quite a bit in the second half of the story, and I liked seeing that new aspect in him. Morpheus again appeared selfish, but you could see how he really cared for his world. He didn’t want anything to happen to it, or the creatures in it.

There was more romance in this book than the previous one. I struggled to find the chemistry between Jeb and Alyssa, though there was one particular scene near the end that was so fantastic, I might even suggest you read the book just for it. I’ve never been a fan of Morpheus as a romantic interest for Alyssa, but we learned more about him in the book, and some of the reasons behind his motivations. And if you’re a fan of the love triangle, you’ll be pleased with this one.

Howard continues with her gift of making even the craziest scene or setting so realistic, they’re easy to picture. The blood artwork, the spider-like Queen Red, the bony Rabid White, the talking flowers, all of it is rendered so descriptively, it’s amazing. The scary scenes are very scary, and I may have even gasped a time or two.

About the author


A.G. Howard was inspired to write SPLINTERED while working at a school library. Her pastimes are reading, rollerblading, gardening, and family vacations which often include impromptu side trips to 18th century graveyards or condemned schoolhouses to appease her overactive muse.

Her debut YA fantasy, SPLINTERED, a dark Alice in Wonderland spinoff, is now available from Amulet Books. The sequel, UNHINGED, is due to launch January 2014.

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On Dublin Street by Samantha Young {Review}

On Dublin Street by Samantha Young {Review}Title: On Dublin Street
Author: Samantha Young
Series: On Dublin Street #1
Publisher: Penguin Audio on January 24, 2013
Format: Audiobook, 10 hrs and 48 mins
Source: Purchased
3 Stars

Summary

Jocelyn Butler has been hiding from her past for years. But all her secrets are about to be laid bare…

Four years ago, Jocelyn left her tragic past behind in the States and started over in Scotland, burying her grief, ignoring her demons, and forging ahead without attachments. Her solitary life is working well—until she moves into a new apartment on Dublin Street where she meets a man who shakes her carefully guarded world to its core.

Braden Carmichael is used to getting what he wants, and he’s determined to get Jocelyn into his bed. Knowing how skittish she is about entering a relationship, Braden proposes an arrangement that will satisfy their intense attraction without any strings attached.

But after an intrigued Jocelyn accepts, she realizes that Braden won’t be satisfied with just mind-blowing passion. The stubborn Scotsman is intent on truly knowing her… down to the very soul.

My thoughts

Joss (as she prefers to be called) never faced the devastating events of her childhood, and has lived with a wall around her heart ever since. When she moves in with Ellie, that wall begins to crumble. When she meets Ellie’s hot brother Braden, the walls are shattered.

Poor Joss really has had it rough. She lost her entire family in one fell swoop, then not much later lost her best friend. Deciding it was better to not feel anything than to get hurt again, she hadn’t let anyone close in a long time. She had friends, but nobody she would call family. It was not hard to understand why she’d done that, I can’t imagine the pain she must have felt. On the other hand, I recognized that it wasn’t healthy and she needed help. Braden was also damaged, but not nearly as much as Joss. He’d had his heart broken by his ex, and had been content to play the ladies man ever since.

I loved Ellie, she was sweet, but kind of dense when it came to men. She was clearly in love with someone who was clearly in love with her (I’m not spoiling anything, it’s obvious as soon as you meet them), but they were both too stupid to do anything about it. She was an awesome friend to Joss, and really was the first step in getting Joss back to normal. Her subplot, however, was predictable and convenient.

He was what some might call an alpha male, but I would just call a dick.
The sexy scenes were extremely sexy. Lots and lots of hotness. They were very graphic, so if that’s not your thing, this is not your book. While I thought it was sexy, I can’t say it was romantic, but only because of how I felt about Braden. He was what some might call an alpha male, but I would just call a dick. He was cocky, arrogant, possessive and demanding. Luckily, Joss thought those were  endearing qualities and called him “caveman.”  And really, more than once I half expected him to knock her down and drag her around by her hair or lift his leg and pee all on her to mark his territory. That kind of male attitude just doesn’t do it for me. More than once, my jaw dropped and I waited for Joss to tell him where he could stick it. But no, it just turned her on and they had sex again.

While I had my problems with Braden, he did have a few likable qualities. He was quite sweet when he wanted to be, and he was protective of, and very generous with, his sister Ellie. While he was aggressive about it, he also managed to get through to Joss, help her see the way she was living wasn’t healthy for her. He had good intentions, at least.

I was not a fan of the audio version of the book. I liked Paula Costello’s voice, and she did a pretty good job with the accents, but she kept chuckling at inappropriate times. She would kind of say a sentence with laughter in her voice, like she thought Joss would say it. But I didn’t think Joss would laugh in a lot of those instances. It just came across as kind of awkward. Also, I had a hard time telling when Joss was thinking something to herself and when she was speaking out loud. The narrator could have done a better job of delineating which was which.

The sum up

Sexy with a side of sweet, this is perfect if you like your men large and in charge.

About the author

Samantha Young is a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author from Stirlingshire, Scotland. She’s been nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award 2012 for Best Author and Best Romance for her international bestseller ON DUBLIN STREET. ON DUBLIN STREET is Samantha’s first adult contemporary romance and has sold in twenty-five countries.

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Dirty Little Secret by Jennifer Echols {Review}

Dirty Little Secret by Jennifer Echols {Review}Title: Dirty Little Secret
Author: Jennifer Echols
Publisher: William Morrow Impulse on July 16th 2013
Format: eARC, 273 pages pages
Source: Mundie Moms Blog Tours
3 Stars

Summary

Bailey wasn’t always a wild child and the black sheep of her family. She used to play fiddle and tour the music circuit with her sister, Julie, who sang and played guitar. That ended when country music execs swooped in and signed Julie to a solo deal. Never mind that Julie and Bailey were a duet, or that Bailey was their songwriter. The music scouts wanted only Julie, and their parents were content to sit by and let her fulfill her dreams while Bailey’s were hushed away.

Bailey has tried to numb the pain and disappointment over what could have been. And as Julie’s debut album is set to hit the charts, her parents get fed up with Bailey’s antics and ship her off to granddad’s house in Nashville. Playing fiddle in washed-up tribute groups at the mall, Bailey meets Sam, a handsome and oh-so-persuasive guitarist with his own band. He knows Bailey’s fiddle playing is just the thing his band needs to break into the industry. But this life has broken Bailey’s heart once before. She isn’t sure she’s ready to let Sam take her there again…

My thoughts

Bailey and her sister were once a very popular duo, but Bailey is dumped by her parents and sister when a big studio requests Julie as a solo artist. Bailey starts acting out in anger (cutting and dyeing her hair, hanging out with the wrong crowd, taking it a bit too far with the boys…) and winds up barely bruised when her high boyfriend crashes the car in a lake. That’s enough of a wake up call for her parents to send Bailey to live with her grandfather. Of course, she is sent with the instructions to disappear, as having a left-behind sister wouldn’t look well for Julie’s new career.

Man alive, I don’t think I’ve ever disliked a set of parents as much as I did Bailey’s. They were simply awful. The second someone saw a star quality in Julie, they hitched their wagon to her and literally dumped Bailey. The ignored her until they needed her to convince Julie to do something. They took away her online presence and basically told her to shut the hell up. It was awful and I felt so sorry for Bailey. I was amazed at how well adjusted she was, all things considered. She had her issues, as expected, but she also had her head on straight.

Sam, the love interest, was not a very likable character (more on him in a minute). He was a bit of a player, and he was hell-bent on using Bailey for her contacts. On the plus side, at least he wasn’t sneaky about it; he was very upfront about what he wanted from her. His bandmates, Ace and Charlotte, weren’t quite as complex as I would have liked, but at least they weren’t completely flat.

The plot was interesting, and I really enjoyed all the music information. There was a lot of it, including keys, instrument parts, music notes and trivia. Not enough to be boring, but enough so that it was clear Jennifer Echols knew what she was talking about.

I enjoyed the story overall, but I had a problem with the way some of the characters behaved. I thought Sam was sweet at first, but he kind of turned into a pushy, stubborn jerk. And while I appreciated how Bailey stood up to him in the beginning, she kind of rolled over and let him have his way, which irritated the hell out of me. I can point to at least 2 instances in the story where I would have told Sam exactly where he could put his guitar. But it turned out Bailey was much more forgiving than me.

This is my second book by Jennifer Echols, and while I liked it well enough, I wouldn’t consider her an insta-buy author.

The sum up

If you like country music and/or family drama, this is your book.

About the author

Jennifer EcholsJennifer Echols was born in Atlanta and grew up in a small town on a beautiful lake in Alabama—a setting that has inspired many of her books. She has written nine romantic novels for young adults, including the comedy MAJOR CRUSH, which won the National Readers’ Choice Award, and the drama GOING TOO FAR, which was a finalist in the RITA, the National Readers’ Choice Award, and the Book Buyer’s Best, and was nominated by the American Library Association as a Best Book for Young Adults. Simon & Schuster will debut her adult romance novels in 2013, with many more teen novels scheduled for the next few years. She lives in Birmingham with her husband and her son.

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