Sunday, October 28, 2012

Review - Bared to You by Sylvia Day

Update: Just finished my 2nd reading of this book last night to prepare me for the sequel. All I can say is that I loved it even more the 2nd time around. Now, on to Reflected in You!

An engrossing book, it was a similar read to Fifty Shades in that I couldn't put it down. The author is probably a Fifty Shades and Twilight fan as there were many similar lines/phrases utilized (and I'm not stating that as if it's a bad thing). The book ended a bit abruptly which was a little disappointing because I wanted more, more, more! I would have also liked more "story" leading up to the relationship between the main characters, as it sort of jumped right in. Both main characters were very intense but likeable and I LOVED Eva's roommate, Carey. Overall, I would definitely recommend this book. I'm eagerly looking forward to the next book in the series.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Review - On Dublin Street by Samantha Young

Just when I think I can’t possibly find a book to at least equal or possibly surpass one that I previously read, along comes another that does just that.  For lack of a better word to truly express how I felt after reading this amazing story, I’m going to use a “saying” I’ve never used before but have seen frequently in book reviews…SQUEEEEEEEE!!!

I honestly can’t believe that the author is only 26 years old because in addition to her mature writing style, the emotions she managed to invoke are ones that you would think only a person who has had the benefit of more life experiences would be able to elicit.  Then again, some people have experienced more life (good &/or bad) at a younger age than others or just have a special gift for storytelling.  Samantha Young seems to possess that gift.
On Dublin Street is a heartfelt tale of grief & despair, numbness & fear, healing & love.  Jocelyn was depicted as a self-sufficient, independent but highly guarded woman who remained emotionally detached to the world around her in order to avoid re-experiencing the grief she suffered in her past.  She was in emotional lock-down & refused to let anyone in
“Was I shy? No. Not shy. Just, usually blissfully indifferent. I liked it that way. It was safer.”

“I'm not that hard to get to know, really." He flashed me a quick smile. "But you... I think you've made an art form out of deflection and self-possession.”

“Have you ever cheated on someone?"
Whoa. Where did that come from?
Was this an interview to date her brother?
Staring her straight in the eye so she would know I was being deadly serious, I replied more honestly than ever, trusting Ellie not to push me too much on the subject, "I never get close enough to anyone for that to be an issue.”

Enter Braden. Whoa, Braden!

“Why the hell did he have to be the human version of a sexually charged nuclear weapon?”

Yep, that’s the perfect description of Braden. The hot, sexy, controlling businessman who was used to getting what he wanted. He was determined to knock down those walls Jocelyn so securely built around herself but also had his own past with which to deal.  Braden very much reminded me of Christian Grey minus the BDSM aspect.

“After last night, there’s no denying the promise of what’s between us. I’m not backing off, so rather than coming up with a new defense – which I’m sure I’d find highly entertaining – just give in, babe. You know you’re going too eventually.”

Oh, Braden, how can anyone resist you?! So, we travel along with Jocelyn as she tries to fight off Braden and deny her attraction to him, unsuccessfully, I might add.

“Braden’s hand tightened around mine, his pale eyes darkened, and I knew…he wanted me too. “Fine,” he muttered, a dangerous quality entering his expression as he leaned down, his words puffing against my mouth he was so close. “I can do this. If you can pretend, I can pretend.”

“I hated that he was right. Our attraction was nuclear. I had never known anything like it. It made Braden Carmichael extremely dangerous to me. And I had to dissemble. I shot him a careless smile. “I’m not pretending.”

I eyed him suspiciously. "Braden..."
"Just friends." His gaze dropped to my mouth and darkened. "I told you. I can pretend if you can pretend."
"I'm not pretending." Was that my voice that sounded all hot and breathy?
Braden just smirked at me like he didn't believe me. "You know you're really putting pressure on my acting skills."
"Acting skills?"
"Pretending Jocelyn." He took another step forward, his eyes narrowed with intent. "I've never been very good at it." 
Oh my God, he was going to kiss me. I was standing in his office in crappy jeans with crappy hair and he was going to kiss me.

And then she finally agrees to an arrangement of sorts which she believes will be mutually beneficial.
“Good thing I’m not proposing a relationship.” It was safe to say I was completely confused. “Well, what are you proposing?” “Just sex.”  What? “What?” “You and me. Just sex. Whenever we want. No strings attached.”

Little does she realize that Braden has other ideas about their so called arrangement and this was only the beginning of their journey together.   Because I don’t want to add any further spoilers & pretty much the whole book was highlighted with my favorite quotes, I’ll stop gushing right here & let you decide on your own whether or not you want to read this steamy, hot, sexy, fabulous, amazing (did I mention how much I LOVED this?) 5+-star book!  There are some stories that teach us valuable life lessons no matter what our age even if they are of the fiction genre. This was most certainly one of those books.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Review - The Vincent Boys by Abbie Glines

This was a great filler book, if you know what I mean. Having just come off reading one of those books where I constantly obsess over the characters, I needed something simple to read and this was just perfect.  It was one of those light, fluffy, young adult romances just sweet enough for me to enjoy but not continually obsess over.  I was able to put it down so I could go about my day but was eager enough to pick it back up again when I had reading time.

The Vincent Boys seemed a modern day take on Romeo and Juliet with a bit of a Southern twist.  Small town bad boy falls in love with preacher’s seemingly perfect daughter but preacher’s daughter is dating perfect, well-bred football player who just happens to be bad boy’s cousin.  The three characters involved in this love triangle were all best friends once upon a time having known each other since they were little children.  But their friendship changed when Ashton began dating Sawyer and Beau was left standing on the sidelines.

Oh to be 17 again!  NOT!  I found Ashton to be somewhat of a martyr, albeit a sweet martyr. But I had to forgive her.  She was young, in love, and stuck in what seemed like a no win situation.  I mean, if I knew then what I know now, things would have been a lot different back then.  But that’s part of growing up, learning, and maturing.

There were a few good lessons to be learned in this story, although I’m not sure teens or young adults would see it as clearly as us mid-lifers do.  Overall, it was a cute, enjoyable read with some swoon worthy moments that took me on a stroll down memory lane back to my teenage years.  However, a book like this reminds me that those teenage years can stay there, back in the past where they belong.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Review - Love Unrehearsed by Tina Reber

I love Tina Reber.  I don’t know her but I love her.  And if we were friends our conversations would go something like this:  “Did you see his picture on the cover of yada yada magazine?  Wasn’t he smokin’ hot?  Wanna go to the midnight premiere?  How many times do you think you’re gonna see it?”  And so on and so on and so on...  See, if I were to venture a guess, Tina & I are in lust with the very same delicious actor boy with the beautiful hands & long fingers!  And if that weren’t enough to have in common, she loves to write fiction loosely based on him & I love to read it!  I think we also love to read the same kinds of books.  Tina, can we be friends?  We’d have so much to talk (swoon, gush) about!

To say I loved this much-anticipated sequel to Love Unscripted is not nearly good enough.  Words will not do justice!  I don’t think I could have possibly enjoyed it any more than I did.  Except of course, if Ryan & Taryn were real people & I was Taryn!  Then, yeah, I could have definitely enjoyed it quite a bit more!  This book made my insides all tingly.  It was chock full of the steamy lusciousness surrounding their growing relationship.  It’s like Tina wrote Love Unscripted, read a certain yummy trilogy (which shall remain nameless), then wrote Love Unrehearsed & turned it up about 10 notches or more!  And that makes her a buddy in my book! 

Love Unrehearsed was like Love Unscripted on steroids.  I mean, it was that good!  Ask my bus stop ladies about how I flipped out over this book.  I’m sure they would be glad to tell.  One friend (and you know who you are) wrote on my FB wall asking where I was.  She went to the gym, ran some errands, came home and still didn’t see my car in my driveway.  I was still at the gym on the treadmill reading my Kindle for I don’t know how long.  I was so wrapped up in Ryan and Taryn’s world that I lost complete track of time.  She commented that I needed to put down the Kindle & step away.  Nuh uh! No way! Not happening!

LU2 picks up pretty much where LU1 left off.  The relationship between mega movie star Ryan and small town pub owner Taryn continues to heat up as the couple adjust to life on the road as well as Ryan’s fandom and lack of privacy.  In LU2, we get a glimpse of a more possessive, controlling, dominant Ryan, the alpha male movie star Ryan.  His confidence is growing, both in his relationship with Taryn as well as with his acting career.  

“Believe me, woman, I’m far from drunk. I’m going to take my good ol’ time with you,” he whispered, his lips brushing my ear. “Use the sheets to tie your little smart ass to the bed. Punish you for doubting me.”

Is it getting hot in here, or what? Of course, there’s more to this conversation but you’ll just have to read it for yourself.

I love the Ryan that has no qualms about telling Taryn exactly how it is.

“Where’s your purse?” he growled, shoving things around to look for it.
“What do you want it for?” I moved my coat to get it.
“Because now you’ve pissed me off.” He grabbed the small bag from my hand and yanked on the zipper. Then he slipped my credit card out and examined it.
“This,” he said, holding it up, “is mine now. It doesn’t exist.” He looked at the other card, which was our joint card, and shoved it back in its slot.
“Wait, stop-“
He grabbed his wallet out of his jeans pocket and confiscated my card. “I don’t give a shit if you need it to put gas in your f*cking car; you use our card from now.”
He was being ridiculous. I held out my hand. “Come on. Just give it back.”
He shoved his wallet back in his pocket and glared at me. “Do you want to wear that ring?”
“What?” I looked at my hand.
Do you want to be my wife, yes or no?”
Now he was scaring me. “Of course I want to be your wife, but th-“
“No buts. It’s a yes-or-no question, Taryn.”
I squared my shoulders. “Yes.”
“Yes, what”
Gah. “Yes, I want to be your wife.”
“Good, Then get over your shit. Got me?”
“Ryan, you know I-“
“Got me?” He yelled louder. “I’m not playing this game anymore, Tar. All this bullshit provides for one hell of a lifestyle so deal with it. I provide. I take care of what’s mine. And if you even so much as breathe on my wallet to get your card so help me God I will tie your ass up, lock you in a f*cking room, and play Guns N’ Roses on endless loop.”
I gasped. Now he was fighting dirty. “You wouldn’t…”
“Oh no? Try me.”
“You can’t take my cr-“
“Oh no? ‘Welcome to the jungle, baby.’ Over and over again. That what you want?”
I rubbed a fingertip over my cracked lip, cringing. “No.”

Um, yes sir, I’ll use your credit card from now on!

Taryn grows into letting Ryan protect her and keep her safe, and she does the same for him.  She’s his safe haven, away from the crazy spotlight. He’s her home and family now.  They learn to work through many of their issues by communicating with each other. Their charming back and forth banter is full of affection and so much fun to read.  That grin was plastered on my face once again.

Ryan still has his down fall moments though.  Lucky for him Taryn is there to pick him back up again.  Their love for each other is still filled with insecurities but it’s strong and unconditional. I love Taryn, the strong, independent woman who refuses to let Ryan give up on himself.  She’s a fighter through and through.

“Fight with me,” I breathed on his lips, which seemed to refuse me passion. “Please, baby. I can’t do this without you. I need you. I need you.”

His jaw tensed as the pain he’d been holding in so tightly finally cracked. A soft sob slid up his throat. “I’m so tired, Taryn,” he croaked, his voice stuttering from trying to keep it in check. But the hurt had nowhere else to go except out. “So tired.
All I do is bring us pain.”

A tear slid down his cheek. And then another. I knew it was killing him to show me this much weakness but it all needed to be purged, excised from his system like a soul-sucking demon. Seeing him cry was my undoing. He’d finally succumbed to the pressure and that made me mad.

“No you do not! You are the love of my life and my best friend! No matter what life throws at us, we take the good with the bad, Ryan-the good with the bad. We roll with it because that’s how we roll”

As you can see, just like in LU1, this book has its silly grin moments, tear-filled moments, feel-good moments, FIRE-HOT moments, and perfectly swoony moments.  Throw in a little ex-boyfriend action (no, I don’t mean that kind of action), a shocking secret from Taryn’s past, guest appearances by Ian & Zac, & you have the makings of a remarkable story!

Oh, that Ryan really knows how to romance his woman!  He is sheer PERFECTION! I miss him already and crave so much more!  I feel a re-read coming on sometime in the future.  Tina, you are the bomb! Thank you for sharing Ryan and Taryn’s story with us.  Another awesome 5+ star book!

Review - Love Unscripted by Tina Reber

First there was Edward & I thought, oh my Lord, hot, sexy vampire, yes please!  Then there was Christian & I was thud, dead, completely & irrevocably obsessed!  Gideon utterly wore me out with his overwhelming intensity! Gabriel arrived & he possessed all of my senses. Then there were the two Jacks.  I will never be able to choose between those two. They are forever etched onto my heart like a tattoo.  Jake was the bad boy rock God who swept me off my feet with his passionate soul.  And now, now along comes Ryan, Hollywood heart throb & mega movie star hunk whose humble, sweet, down to earth adorableness has me swooning, gushing, & grinning over & over again.
 Ryan is the sexy, much sought-after, turned mega-movie star overnight with female fans galore.  Taryn is an intelligent, no-nonsense pub owner with a small circle of close friends who had never seen any of Ryan’s movies.  When their paths unexpectedly cross, the sparks begin to fly & so begins their love story full of romance, insecurities, heartache, growth & acceptance.
Love Unscripted is one of those feel-good books.  You know what I’m talking about? I must have had one of those silly, I’m so happy, ridiculous grins plastered on my face while reading more than half of this book because it was just that sweet & fun to read. It made my insides happy. It didn’t matter if I was sitting on my couch, walking on the treadmill, or lying in bed, whenever or wherever I read this book, I was happy, smiling, & feeling oh-so-good!
But even though it was one of those beautiful, feel-good love story’s, there were still quite a few angsty bumps in the road along the way.  I cried more than a few real tears, albeit both sad & happy tears. But watching Ryan & Taryn’s relationship develop & flourish from the beginnings of friendship to lovers was enchanting.  Ryan was just so swooooonnnnnyyyy & very, very patient! He & Taryn were perfect together; it was impossible not to fall deeply in love with both of them.
To sum up, Love Unscripted is a sweet, fun, engrossing read.  Ryan is more than book boyfriend worthy & is now the new addition to my ever-growing book boyfriend list.  Lucky for me, I can have more Ryan immediately.  I’m not done with him yet!  I’m off to begin Love Unrehearsed!  And away I go!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Review - Seducing Cinderella by Gina L. Maxwell

This hot & steamy fairy-tale included a predictable, romantic plot but was a cute, quick read with just a tiny bit of angst thrown in for good measure. For me it was the perfect follow-up to an intense, emotional read that set me on edge. I needed a book to help calm my frazzled nerves & this one did the trick.  It was easy to put down so I could make dinner for the family but still want to pick back up again to finish the story.

Lucie, a physical therapist, was a character that the younger me could easily relate to & identify with. Reid, a MMA fighter, spoke all the right words & had all the right moves. Lucie agrees to allow Reid to teach her the art of "Seduction 101" in order to help her win the attention of her colleague & Dr. friend while she provides him with non-stop physical therapy to help him win back his belt after an injury. Together they were the epitome of the "opposites attract" theory. One thing leads to another & well, you can guess the rest. If you enjoy steamy scenes & need something light & quick to read, give it a try.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Review - Reflected in You by Sylvia Day

After originally giving four stars to Bared to You, I decided to change it to five stars after much thought. Why? I had to put aside the negative thoughts & feelings I associated with what I considered the crudeness & vulgarity of the book & instead focus on my emotional connection to the characters & their story. I'm not a fan of crude or vulgar use of language (go ahead, call me a prude if you must, but be assured I do love my smut anyway!) & I was not yet in love with Gideon but more along the lines of "in like" with this powerful, demanding, & controlling man.

That being said, if I could I would give 10 stars to Reflected in You. I'm now no doubt about it fully & whole-heartedly in love with Gideon aka "Dark & Dangerous."  Yes, the relationship between Gideon & Eva is full of gut-wrenching emotion, a rawness that fills you to your bones, & enough emotional upheaval & co-dependency that makes you ask, is this really worth it? Well, yes, it was more than worth it because Sylvia Day's writing had the ability to have me experience their train wreck of a romance as if it were happening to me. And that is what distinguishes a phenomenal writer from an okay writer in my book. The writing in this story was superb (" the passion of his tortured soul cut into me like the sharpest blade." "The beach was beautiful in a moody, untamed way that reminded me a lot of the man whose hand I held."), the dialogue nearly poetic ("I'm obsessed with you, angel. Addicted to you. You're everything I've ever wanted or needed, everything I've ever dreamed of. You're everything. I live & breathe you. For you."), & the storyline just as addicting as Gideon & Eva's overwhelming desire & need for each other ("I loved him insanely, needed him like I needed to breathe...").  There were moments when my heart physically hurt for Eva, yet I was so very proud of the strength that she didn't even know she had ("I had to keep moving forward, even if I was heading in a direction I couldn't bear to go.").  There were moments when I had to keep reminding myself to trust Gideon, just trust that he was doing the right thing ("I just...It has to be this way.").  And mind you, it wasn't easy!  I had as many doubts as Eva did at times but I kept telling myself that he wouldn't dare derail me or Eva.  And Eva's relationship with her father was so very tender & sweet, I was actually jealous!

The storyline picks up the following day after Bared to You ends so we miss out on nothing. There is no time lapse. Gideon is still as crude & demanding as ever ("Okay. Fine. Have it your way." "You're learning, angel," he said with a smile.") but his desire & raw need for Eva ("I'd kill for you, give up everything I own for you...but I won't give you up.") as well as his possessive drive to keep her safe contributes to his irresistible hotness factor. The plot is chock-full of hot & intense, steamy romance, maddening separations, controlling possessiveness, jealous rages, & secrets galore ("Our relationship was swiftly becoming a minefield of words left unsaid & secrets not shared.") with bouts of humor interspersed to lighten up the tension for a brief moment in time ("Watching you drive makes me want you," I told him, noting how his easy grip on the wheel tightened. "Christ." He glanced at me. "You have a transportation fetish.").

Gideon & Eva are both severely damaged, each dealing with a history of sexual abuse that they try so hard to overcome in order to make their relationship work. It's no easy task & trust is a critical issue for them both. You will be put through the wringer many times over while rooting for them as you journey along on their treacherous path. The ending was super satisfying although I am longing for more Gideon & Eva as I eagerly await the release of the third book in this trilogy. Is it December yet?

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Mighty Storm Playlist

For those times when I'm missing Jake & Tru, I don my headphones, turn on the iPod & listen to the following:
  1. I Wanna Be Adored-The Stone Roses
  2. Wicked Game-Chris Isaak
  3. Sweet Dreams-Beyonce
  4.  Hurt-Johnny Cash
  5. Mr. Brightside-The Killers
  6. Don't Speak-No Doubt
  7. Hallelujah-Jeff Buckley
  8. Time After Time-Cindy Lauper
  9.  Hurt-Nine Inch Nails
  10.  Eternal Flame-The Bangles
  11. You Make Loving Fun-Fleetwood Mac
  12. Scream-Usher
A few songs are still missing but will be added shortly:
  1. Satisfaction-The Rolling Stones
  2. Lilac Wine-Jeff Buckley
  3. LA Woman-The Doors
  4. What Would Happen-Meredith Brooks
  5. A Day to Remember-You Had Me at Hello
  6. Rolling in the Deep-Linkin Park

More Jake? Yes Please!

If you're anything like me & wanted to just devour all of Jake in The Mighty Storm by Samantha Towle, you're in luck.  The best news ever was announced today!  TMS2 was supposed to be released in March 2013, but Samantha Towle announced on her blog today that she has changed the release date tentatively to 12/21/12.  How cool is that?  Happy Holidays to me (& you of course, too)!!!  And thank you so much to Samantha Towle for bring us more Jake & Tru!!!