Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Review: Elect by Rachel Van Dyken

Title: Elect

Author: Rachel Van Dyken

Series: Eagle Elite #2

ISBN: 9781455554218

Synopsis (according to Goodreads):
Would you die for the one you love?
Nixon Abandonato made his choice. And now he has to pay the price. Tracey is the love of his life, but being with him has made her a target of his family's enemies. The only way to keep Trace alive is convince the world she means nothing to him.

Trace Rooks has fallen irrevocably in love with the son of her family's sworn rival, and she knows in her bones nothing can tear them apart. Until Nix suddenly pushes her away and into the arms of his best friend... But Trace isn't ready to give up on a future with Nix--and if he won't fight for them, she will.

In the end, a sacrifice must be made. A life for a life. For what better way to cover a multitude of sins than with the blood of a sinner...

Review:
I received an e-copy of this book from the publishers at NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The first book in this series, Elite, finished on a moderate cliffhanger. By moderate cliffhanger I mean that I was anxious to see what happened next but I didn't feel I would die if I didn't find out as soon as humanly possible. I wanted to see what happened with Nixon and Tracey after all they had done in hopes of being together. I was worried that there was going to be something else that came along and ruined things for them and after reading the synopsis... my fears were realized. Still, I needed to know why on Earth Nixon would push Trace into his best friend, Chase's, arms. So began my excursion into the Eagle Elite world once more.

Nixon was happy with Trace. He still worried that their relationship would raise questions and peak the interests of the enemies he still had. He was afraid that he was going to lose her all over again but this time more permanently. He felt he had to do what was for the best and that was to pretend that Trace and him were not together. Instead, he wanted the world to think that Trace was actually with his best friend, and right hand, Chase. It was not long before Nixon realized this may be a huge mistake. Chase had feelings for Trace and while Nixon wanted to believe that his best friend would never betray him, he knew of Trace's allure. Despite wanting to rip his best friend's head off for laying hands and lips upon his property, Nixon watched with his heart breaking every moment they were together.

Chase struggled between being Nixon's best friend and wanting to be the man that Trace loved wholeheartedly. He didn't want to betray his childhood friend but Trace seemed to be the air he breathed and he didn't want to let her go. Chase fully embraced the mission to pretend to be Trace's boyfriend and hoped that over the course of time that Trace would choose him over Nixon in the end.

This book read a lot like Twlight by Stephanie Meyer. With the best friend hungry for more drooling over the naive heroine and the hero letting his woman go in hopes of saving her from certain doom. Really, it almost felt EXACTLY like Meyer's book. As a person who is not really a fan of Twilight this book was lackluster for me. I found myself rolling my eyes at the whole "leaving her for her own good" and "choose me even though you kinda only love me as a friend" situations. I was kind of disappointed with this sequel.

Also, I really didn't like the changing narrators. I had to constantly flip back to the beginning of the chapters to see who was talking each time. I liked the first book because it stayed as Trace being the narrator. It didn't change every five seconds. Changing narrators seems to be a lot of work for readers, in my opinion. Instead of getting lost in the world we are having to make sure we focus on who's point of view we are witnessing things through. I am all for getting the male perspective in books, but I would have liked to see what Trace was thinking periodically.

I think that Elect has fallen into the tumultuous group of being a disappointing sequel. It happens a lot in series. If the first book didn't end in a cliffhanger, I would advise skipping this book. However, if you are into the whole love triangle that is really reminiscent of Twilight then have at Elect.

Available at:
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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Review: Elite by Rachel Van Dyken @RachVD

Title: Elite

Author: Rachel Van Dyken

Series: Eagle Elite #1

ISBN: 9781455554171

Synopsis (according to Goodreads):
For Tracey Rooks, life with her grandparents on a Wyoming farm has always been simple. But after her grandmother's death, Tracey is all her grandfather has. So when Eagle Elite University announces its annual scholarship lottery, Tracey jumps at the opportunity to secure their future and enters. She isn't expecting much--but then she wins. And life as she knows it will never be the same...

The students at Eagle Elite are unlike any she's ever met... and they refuse to make things easy for her. There's Nixon, gorgeous, irresistible, and leader of a group that everyone fears: The Elect. Their rules are simple. 1. Do not touch The Elect. 2. Do not look at The Elect. 3. Do not speak to The Elect. No matter how hard she tries to stay away, The Elect are always around her and it isn't long until she finds out the reason why they keep their friends close and their enemies even closer. She just didn't realize she was the enemy--until it was too late.

Review:
I received an e-copy of this book from the publishers at NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

As I have said in some reviews, I work at a bookstore. It's actually the best way to learn about new authors outside of being a blogger. I had seen a few Rachel Van Dyken books come through the way and was intrigued. When I realized that I actually had a few of her books for review I was even more determined to give this new author (new to me at least) a gander and see if I liked what I read. This series, The Eagle Elite, was not one I had heard about from her. After reading the synopsis my immediate impression was, 'Ooo, secret society?' I wanted to see if my assumption was correct.

Tracey didn't know what to expect when she started school at Eagle Elite University. She knew she would be surrounded by distinguished, upper-class students and wasn't sure how a farm girl from Wyoming would fit in. Her determination to do right for her grandfather after her grandmother's death was the driving force behind her remaining at the school. The students made her life hell. Especially the students in an elite group called The Elect. Nixon, their leader, seemed to have a personal vendetta against her. She sustained tarnished remarks to her reputation, physical and emotional abuse, and all sorts of torment from her classmates. Nixon, while maintaining a superior air, started making it known that she was protected by him. It was then that Tracey started forming a love-hate relationship with the Student Body President.

Eventually Tracey found out that there was more than meets the eye with the handsome Nixon and his posse. What she finds out makes her question who she is, where she comes from, and why she feels so connected and familiar with Nixon.

I genuinely liked this story. I got a little misty when I saw all the torment that Tracey went through. I was even more teary eyed when I started to see just how much Nixon truly cares about her. Everything he does has a reason behind it and most often it's his misguided way of protecting her. I liked the connection between Nixon and Tracey and found them to be an amazing pair of protagonists. I liked the whole secret society situation that appears to be going on and then eventually finding out it's totally different. I had a hard time truly finding much to dislike about this book, which is amazing for me. I normally find at least SOMETHING I don't like.

I think Elite and the Eagle Elite series would be perfect for someone who likes to be surprised at every turn or someone who likes to watch a couple who don't immediately fall in love at first sight. Tracey and Nixon work at their relationship. It's not handed to them. It makes the story believable and real. We all need a little reality in our fiction or the thrill of getting lost in the author's world isn't as satisfying.

Available at:
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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Review: Before He Was Famous by Becky Wicks @Bex_Wicks

Title: Before He Was Famous

Author: Becky Wicks

Series: Starstruck #1

ISBN: n/a

Synopsis (according to Goodreads):
One guy, one girl. One in the spotlight. One in the shadows.

Falling in love with your best friend isn't always a great idea, especially when he's Noah Lockton--the sexiest, most famous new talent on the planet. When 21-year-old small-town photographer Chloe Campbell is offered the chance of a lifetime--to join her celebrity childhood friend Noah on tour as an exclusive blogger for a New York magazine--she's certain both have put what happened four years ago behind them. but his eyes still burn; his voice is still a jackhammer to her heartstrings; all his songs are about her. Is it possible that that night still haunts them both?

The music industry is a machine, spinning hype and rumors as much as his records. It's not just Noah's girlfriends who've got it in for Chloe (there's no stopping the Twitter-obsessed, cat-loving pop-star Courtney Lentini for starters). Pretty soon, the jealousy and media frenzy surrounding these so-called-friends takes a life-changing turn and it seems making love means making enemies at every turn. When tragedy threatens to pull the final curtain on their relationship, both Chloe and Noah must make a choice. As much as this world leaves them starstruck, is living their dream really worth living without each other?

A story of lifelong friendships, love and hope, set in a world of celebrity, fame and social media gone very, very wrong.

Review:
I received an e-copy of this book from the publishers at NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with books that are based on rock stars and the characters being celebrities in any form. Normally it touches on very hard subjects like drugs, anonymous sex, and the dangers of always being in the public eye. I also have a hard time dealing with books that have characters who cheat and the fact that in most of these rocker books the cheating is explained away due to being a celebrity? Nope. Doesn't excuse it to me. But, I decided to try this one out and see where it went. I had my fingers crossed the whole time that the celebrity male protagonist didn't tick me off too heavily so that it affected my entire viewpoint on the book.

Chloe has a very close relationship with Noah. They talk constantly, she is his muse and she gives him much needed advice whenever he asks for it (and sometimes when he doesn't). Chloe has combated her feelings for Noah for years. Ever since they had a tryst four years ago that she can't seem to get out of her head. However, she has learned to live with watching Noah flit around in his music career with various women on his arm to keep him company. It is only after Chloe breaks up with her boyfriend and moves to New York with Noah after his career takes off that she truly gets to confront those feelings for her best friend. She is assigned a blog to keep up with Noah's day-to-day antics so his fans are kept well informed. Really, she would do just about anything to be able to spend quality time with the boy who means the most to her. But things turn hinky the longer the two are together. Chloe is not just dealing with her evolving feelings for Noah but also worrying about one of his superfans that seem to have decided she needs to die.

Noah also keeps his feelings for his best friend as close to the cuff as he can. He follows her lead on keeping things platonic and imagines no situation that would cause them to ever cross that line... again. Noah is swept up in the fame, doing anything he has to do to keep his name out there. Even if that means dating the crazy new Miley Cyrus on the scene. However, while he deal with the fame and all the issues that come with it, he can't seem to take his eyes off his best friend. Is there even a remote chance that he could win her heart?

This book is a rollercoaster. Everything you think will happen, doesn't. You watch a scenario set itself up and you prepare for the outcome that is most likely and it doesn't happen. It's like getting on a coaster, getting to that steep hill then getting off the ride and going home. I found myself holding my breath a few times and then raising a brow as the rising action in the plot just falls flat. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. I waited to see Noah do someone irredeemable. I waited to see Chloe give up and run away. I waited to see someone get pregnant (hey, things get crazy on the road). I would have thought I'd loathe the sudden halt to action in many spots in the story but I didn't. I was okay with it. I actually found Noah even more likable than Chloe.

Before He Was Famous is a fun read. Check your expectations at the door though, because this book will go places that normal books of it's kind wouldn't.


Available at:
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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Review: Fearsome by S.A. Wolfe @sawolfe_

Title: Fearsome

Author: S.A. Wolfe

Series: Fearsome #1

ISBN: 9780991019786

Synopsis (according to Goodreads):
Fearsome.

Jessica Channing's big city life should be more exciting than sixty-hour work week and popcorn nights with her girlfriends, but it's not. She has worked hard fulfilling her role as a child prodigy and graduating college years before her peers. She's the good girl, the brilliant girl.

Unfortunately, she's also the dateless young woman.

That all changed with one phone call. Jess's rigid, predictable life upends when she must visit a small, obscure town to deal with a relative's death. This isn't just any little speck of a town, tough. Long lost memories come crashing down on Jess's world when two men, the Blackard brothers, seem to lure her in.

Dylan is cover model handsome, and pursues Jess the minute she comes to town. Then there is tall, dark and gorgeous Carson, who hides his own secrets behind his hardened reserve.

For someone who has been governed by her own obsessive behaviors and fears, Jess lets her guard down and jumps at the opportunity to have an affair with a man she actually finds attractive for a change.

There's just one problem. Jess discovers that she can't have a simple romantic fling because true passion does indeed come with some very big strings attached to it. She will have to own up to her own truths about love and face the two extraordinary men; both troubled in their own ways and both determined to have her.

Review:
I received an e-copy of this book from the publishers at NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I have made it my personal mission to get through some of the long awaited books I have gotten for review and have been doing so as of recently. This was one I had requested for review and even requested the rest of the series to read as they came out. It has been waiting patiently for me to devote my attention to it and finally I did. I was interested to see how this love triangle between brothers played out. The plot snagged me from the very beginning.

Jess never knew her aunt and now she never will. She receives a phone call telling her that her aunt had passed away and that she had to come to the small town of Hera in order to have the will read to her and collect what her loving aunt had left her. From the moment Jess steps off the bus she is transported into small town life. She learns that her aunt left her house and all her belongings to Jess after only ever spending one summer with the girl when she was very young. Jess is confused and sets about trying to piece together the long forgotten memories from her time here.

Enter Dylan and Carson who she soon learns also spent that one summer with her and had never forgotten her. Dylan the charismatic golden boy and Carson the brooding mysterious stranger are so different and yet so alike. Dylan pursues Jess as soon as he can attempting to remind her that they had spent a lot of time together the summer she was here and how he had never forgotten her. Jess is taken in by Dylan, but even though she is with him, she can't help but always search for Carson whenever she is in a crowded room.

Eventually, Jess must make a choice between the two men, but the most troubling part of that is that both men carry secrets. Both men have issues and Jess wonders if she is built to love either of them. She must ultimately decide whether to risk her heart at all for either of the two eligible bachelors.

So, I liked a majority of this book. There were some aspects that just struck me as weird. Like the fact that the big 'l-word' (no, not lesbians) is thrown around A LOT. Not by our tight-lipped heroine, but from others around her. Call me old fashioned but I don't believe love can blossom from watching someone from afar or spending one summer together as children. That just seemed to unrealistic to me. Coupled with Jess's wishy-washy (yes, she actually calls herself that at one point... at least she's aware) antics. Her determination to keep one man at arm's length while embracing the other fully despite having stronger feelings for the one she's pushing away. It got to the point where half the book was Jess being all in her head about things. Got to be a bit tedious.

However, the writing in this book is absolutely phenomenal. I picked it up and within the first few paragraphs I was praising the heavens for a less well-known author actually knowing how to be eloquent. I also adored the fact that there were parts in the book where I literally laughed out loud. I cannot say that happens very often. Normally I internalize book funnies, but this made me giggle outwardly and caused many a brow raise from people around me.

This book was good, but there were parts in it I would have liked to have seen different. I would recommend this book to those who who want a little humor to counteract a touchy subject read. This book has issues, but we don't judge because it's also a tad bit brilliant in other ways.


Available at:
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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Review: Ruined by Tracy Wolff

Title: Ruined

Author: Tracy Wolff

Series: Ethan Frost #1

ISBN: 9780804179263

Synopsis (according to Goodreads):
Fans of Fifty Shades of Grey, Bared to You, and Release Me will be hooked on Ruined, an electrifying journey of emotional and sexual discovery that pushes two damaged souls to their breaking point--and beyond.

He's the last man Chloe Girard should love... but the first she ever could.

Ethan Frost is a visionary, a genius, every woman's deepest, darkest fantasy--even mine. And, somehow, I am his.

He stole into my life like a dream. Turned my reality upside down and made my every desire come true--especially those I never knew I had. He demanded everything I had to give and gave me everything of himself in return.

But dreams don't last forever, and ours is no exception. Because my nightmares are darker, and my wounds deeper, than I could ever reveal. And as much as Ethan wants to protect me, the secrets we share will only tear us apart.

Includes a special message from the editor, as well as excerpts from other Loveswept titles.

Review:
I received an e-copy of this book from the publishers at NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I had heard a few things about the way Tracy Wolff writes and the depth of the love stories she creates for her characters so I ended up requesting a bunch of her books when they ran across my NetGalley. Life took over and I never got to them until this moment. I was intrigued by the blurb referring to it as something reminiscent of Fifty Shades of Grey as I had always been looking for something similar to that sort of story. I let the blurb select my book for me in this instance.

Chloe is damaged. She has subscriptions of issues and she has somehow made it work for her life. She had attempted, and succeeded to a degree, to forget her past and focus primarily on her goal to become a lawyer. Becoming a lawyer is hard work and it requires the perfect internship to pad her resume. That brings her to Frost Industries. She enters the workforce intent to keep her head down and do the work she is provided as quickly and efficiently as she can. But fate has other ideas for her. As she goes to lunch her first day she stumbles across the enigmatic CEO, Ethan Frost, while attempting to procure a smoothie. Not knowing who he was she stubbornly refuses to budge on her menu selection. This refusal to bend intrigues Ethan and begins the start of his pursuit of her. Chloe is determined not to let the past repeat itself as she figures it will with any man she becomes involved with. Echoes of the past start with the bullying of her co-workers once they catch wind of Ethan's infatuation with Chloe. It is up to Chloe to keep her distance from the enticing man, even when everything in her screams to pull him closer and never let go.

To an extent, I liked this book. I liked the push and pull of the main characters. I liked that Ethan was not like the playboy image that is depicted of him and he truly gives his all to winning Chloe's heart and affections. I felt for Chloe and the trouble and trauma she had in her past. I really wanted to like the way the two worked together as a couple but something about the two just didn't connect for me. I knew Chloe had issues and I knew that Ethan was willing to overlook them but it seemed every time I turned around there was Chloe attempting to run away from Ethan with extremely long internal dialogs about why she needed to stay away from him but couldn't seem to pull it off. The book, to me, was middle of the road. The thing that was the most upsetting was the fact that there were no real Fifty Shades of Grey portions in the book. I didn't get that vibe.

However, I did like watching Chloe slowly overcome her past so she could attempt to be happy with Ethan. I found her determination to get past it endearing.

All in all, the book was definitely not horrendous but it was not spectacular either. It's worth a read if given the opportunity.

Available at:
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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Review: Full Measure by Rebecca Yarros @RebeccaYarros

Title: Full Measure

Author: Rebecca Yarros

ISBN: 9781622664344

Synopsis (according to Goodreads):
A new adult novel from Entangled's Embrace imprint...

Three knocks can change everything...

"She knew. That's why Mom hadn't opened the door. She knew he was dead."

Twenty years as an army brat and Ember Howard knew, too. The soldiers at the door meant her dad was never coming home. What she didn't know was how she would find the strength to singlehandedly care for her crumbling family when her mom falls apart.

Then Josh Walker enters her life. Hockey star, her new next-door neighbor, and not to mention the most delicious hands that insist on saving her over and over again. He has a way of erasing the pain with a single look, a single touch. As much as she wants to turn off her feelings and endure the heartache on her own, she can't deny their intense attraction.

Until Josh's secret shatters their world. And Ember must decide if he's worth the risk that comes with loving a man who could strip her bare.

Review: 
 I received an e-copy of this book from the publishers at NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I have a healthy respect for the military. I love our men and women in the various armed services and  am incredibly thankful for their dedication to protecting this country I live in. Since it was quickly approaching Veteran's Day I wanted something with a little patriotism in it. Something that would make me remember what the people of the military have done over the year. When I read the synopsis I was immediately dragged in. Having to face the death of a parent who was overseas is something more and more people have had to deal with. So I picked up Rebecca Yarros's book and dove in.

December, "Ember", Howard had what she believed was the perfect life until that fateful day when the military men came to her door to announce her father having passed away. Instead of falling apart as the rest of her family did, Ember picked herself up and did what was best for those around her. She refused to let herself feel the hurt she was drowning under because she needed to be there for her siblings and mother. Throughout the course of the book, we watch Ember struggle. Internalizing all that pain and regret slowly eats away at her. That is, until Josh comes on the scene.

Josh comes in and completely captivates Ember. He is there for her when she needs him most and refuses to back down even when she tries to push him away. He is a well known playboy and Ember doesn't feel she has time to be just another notch on his bedpost. However, for whatever reason, Josh seems more smitten with Ember than she had thought. But even Josh has his secrets. Secrets that could end Ember's recovery and threaten to destroy her all over again.

I was enthralled by this book from page one to the very end. I ugly cried so much it became a public service to make sure I read it in the confines of my bedroom and away from those who had to witness my emotional breakdowns. I felt my heart break for Ember and I also felt anxious to drag Josh closer to her when she pushed him away. I found the characters relateable and absolutely perfect. The subject matter was absolutely devastating and made me even more thankful to the soldiers in reality who devote their lives to the service. Also, despite Ember being completely against military men after her father's death, the book made me long for my own man in blue. The uniform, ladies, the uniform. Delicious.

Available at:
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