Sunday, February 23, 2014

Review: Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh @NaliniSingh

Title: Slave to Sensation

Author: Nalini Singh

Series: Psy-Changeling #1

Publication date: September 5th, 2006

ISBN: 9780425212868

Synopsis (according to Goodreads):
THE HOT NEW NAME IN PARANORMAL ROMANCE.

Nalini Singh dives into a world torn apart by a powerful race with phenomenal powers of the mind-and none of the heart.

In a world that denies emotions, where the ruling Psy punish any sign of desire, Sascha Duncan must conceal the feelings that brand her as flawed. To reveal them would be to sentence herself to the horror of "rehabilitation" - the complete psychic erasure of everything she ever was...

Both human and animal, Lucas Hunter is a changeling hungry for the very sensations the Psy disdain. After centuries of uneasy coexistence, these two races are now on the verge of war over the brutal murders of several changeling women. Lucas is determined to find the Psy killer who butchered his packmate, and Sascha is his ticket into their closely guarded society. But he soon discovers that this ice-cold Psy is very capable of passion - and that the animal in him is fascinated by her. Caught between their conflicting worlds, Lucas and Sascha must remain bound to their identities - or sacrifice everything for a taste of darkest temptation...

Review:
I bought this book from my local used bookstore for Books, Food, Friends (B.F.F.s) Book Club.

When our book club was trying to decide what book to read next, Nalini Singh's name came up quite a bit. It seems that almost everyone in the group had read something by her and had fallen in love with the worlds she has created. It was an obvious no-brainer from that point forth. I was curious how a race of non-feeling robotic psychics could ever find any sort of common ground with shifters, or changelings as this world calls them. How could one forge a loving relationship with an inability to feel. I was anxious to see how this all played out.

Sascha Duncan is flawed. She's different and that difference is something that must be hidden every moment of her lives. Thoroughly skilled at shielding her defects, Sascha continues her daily routine working for the Duncan family. It is she who is chosen to work closely with the leopard changelings in a business venture to create changeling houses to be sold for an obscene profit. Sascha only has one problem and it comes in the form of the devastatingly handsome, Lucas Hunter.

Lucas has goals. He is not only determined to work efficiently in his business with the Duncan corporation, but also to weasel his way into finding out who the Psy murderer is who has been taking changeling women and murdering them heartlessly. Lucas knows that the only way to find out who is behind the gruesome murders is to get in bed with the enemy... possibly even literally. Lucas sees Sascha as an opportunity to find a killer at large and exact revenge. But there is also some sort of draw his animal side cannot ignore. Sascha makes the black panther beneath his skin purr and growl for more, but he can't understand why. What is it about this supposed robot of a woman that makes him feel more than ever before.

While Sascha battles her overwhelming attraction to Lucas, he nurtures it. Both are risking their hearts and lives as they try to understand the differences in their races and the love that is starting to bloom between two unlikely lovers.

I now fully understand why so many people are in love with Nalini Singh's writing. She is eloquent with her wording, her romance flows, and the obstacles put before her protagonists are believable. Sascha completely pulled at my heartstrings. She so desperately wanted to belong... to anyone really. She was always told she was a disappointment and an outsider. To watch her finally find a home with the help of Lucas made my stomach flip-flop in joy. Everyone feels like an outsider at times and finally finding a place that simply fits who you are is monumental. It is fascinating that the author took such a prevalent social dynamic and twisted it to fit a paranormal world.

Slave to Sensation is the extravagant introduction to a world where cold calculation and passionate loyalty coexist and come together in hot sex appeal and everlasting love.

Available at:
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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Review: Jase by M.J. Fields

Title: Jase

Author: M.J. Fields

Series: Men of Steel #1

Publication date: July 13th, 2013

ISBN: 9781301118137

Synopsis (according to Goodreads):
I sat in my room at our family’s tattoo parlor, Forever Steel staring at the phone. I hadn’t stopped looking at the picture of this crazy, quirky, insanely beautiful blonde haired blue eyed siren that invaded the Jersey Shore a month ago.

Carly Smythe was not my type at all. She was a twenty year old student at Stanford University in California, smart as hell, and funny. The shit kicker was she was so awkwardly unaware of what any man with pulse could see, and that was that she was a damn heartbreaker with a body that made me hard the very first time I saw her.

She made me crazy, she snuck out to see me, and then avoided any sexual advances I made on her, until I finally kissed her, and I didn’t wait for an invitation either: I took those pouty little lips and made them mine.

Carly was also an avid reader of those books, you know “Mommy Porn.” So my game had to be stepped up. Who the hell am I kidding? She could see through my game immediately, and it didn’t have the same effect it did on every other girl I hooked up with. And she didn’t go running for the hills, either. I fell hard… and fast.

Abe (her cousin) knew all the shit that had gone down in my life for the past five and a half years and in order to make this work, which I wanted it to... I needed to set the record straight, put it all on the line, give her the 411, and let her decide if after everything, she still wanted to give it up to a guy like me. A tattooed, pierced, f-up, with a past that was sure to send any girl into a tail spin. She was not any girl, she was... different.

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

What immediately drew me to this book was the cover. The bright blue text with a sexy tattooed man on the front. I had just fallen into a book hangover from the Marked Men series written by Jay Crownover and was looking for another new adult series that was remoniscent of the books that had stolen my heart. I figured I would give Jase a try. That coupled with the fact that I got to experience a new author for the first time. Always a bonus in my book.

Jase opens with Carly, a nineteen-year-old college student who is visiting her father over summer break in New Jersey. While bumming around town with her cousin, Abe, she gets dragged to a couple beach parties. There she meets a dimpled sex god of a man, Jase. Despite her better judgment Carly starts hanging out with Jase. As she gets to know more and more about him she starts to develop feelings for him without even realizing it at first. It is only after Jase gets wind that Carly is turning their fun "fake dates" into possibly more in her mind, that he tries to sever ties. Not long after that, he realizes what a stupid mistake that is and runs back to Carly. Carly tries to resist, knowing that she is going back to college and her mother soon. She knows having a long distance relationship of any kind with a playboy like Jase Steel is nothing but a pipe dream. Irregardless, she can't seem to keep distance between her and the illustrious Jase.

So starts a whirlwind romance that features a damaged boy just looking to no longer be deemed the loser of Jersey shore and a naive girl who has no clue what love and heartache is until she is beaten over the head with it.

This book was kind of all over the place. The writing was almost immature at times (what with the use of "who-who" in the place of other, more well used terms for female genitalia), but after completing the book, I realized was just Fields's way of emphasizing the innocence of Carly. It was a little hard to get through the first little bit of the book BECAUSE Carly was almost child-like in a lot of her mannerisms. It made the sexual tension a bit uncomfortable.

This is not to say that there were not redeeming qualities of the book. I did like the switching perspectives. Often stories are a bit one-sided, especially when written in first person narrative. Both characters where pretty introverted about certain situations so it was nice to gain a little insight each way. Unfortunately, that is probably the only thing I liked about the book sad as it is to say.

Really this book was just not my cup of tea. I can see where the author was going with certain aspects of her writing, but I just couldn't find any sort of connection with the characters. I didn't feel drawn into the story and when that happens it makes reading become more of a chore. I really wanted to like the book but sadly it was a swing and a miss for me personally.

Available at:
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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Review: Hard As It Gets by Laura Kaye @laurakayeauthor

Title: Hard As It Gets

Author: Laura Kaye

Series: Hard Ink #1

Publication date: November 26th, 2013

ISBN: 9780062267887

Synopsis (according to Goodreads):
Tall, dark and lethal...

Trouble just walked into Nicholas Rixey's tattoo parlor. Becca Merritt is warm, sexy wholesome--pure temptation to a very jade Nick. He's left his military life behind to become co-owner of Hard Ink Tattoo, but Becca is his ex-commander's daughter. Loyalty won't let him turn her away. Lust has plenty to do with it too.

With her brother presumed kidnapped, Becca needs Nick. She just wasn't expecting to want him so much. As their investigation turns into all-out war with an organized crime ring, only Nick can protest her. And only Becca can heal the scars no one else sees.

Desire is the easy part. Love is as hard as it gets. Good thing Nick is always up for a challenge...

Review:
I purchased the book on a whim from Barnes & Noble as I was on my way to the checkout. I had heard a few good things about the book, but was curious to branch out of the paranormal genre and start reading a bit more romantic suspense or contemporary. This fit both of those genres and featured one of my favorite subject matters. Tattooed men. I hadn't sat down to read the book until I was presented with an opportunity to read the second book in the series for a book blitz. Of course, I had to read the first one before the second. It was not time ill spent.

Nick was still reeling from his less than stellar dismissal from the military and the loss of some of his military brothers in an ambush in Afghanistan. He also has not let go of the anger and betrayal that his commanding officer had unleashed on him and his team. So when the ghost from his past's daughter comes to his place of business at Hard Ink Tattoo, Nick's immediate reaction is to send her away. And he does so, but he can't shake the draw he felt for the blonde haired, blue eyed beauty nor could he shake the gut reaction that helping her could ultimately change his life for the better.

Becca did not know why her missing brother's last message had told her to seek out Nick Rixey, her father's second in command, but a part of her was glad. Nick was a whole lot of yummy man and despite his no nonsense persona, she could see that he was a war-hardened hero capable of finding and returning her brother to her safely. Reluctantly, Nick comes around to helping her and so starts a very confusing hunt for her computer savvy hacker brother.

Along the way, the couple learns that Becca's brother, Charlie's, disappearance may have something to do with the situation with their father that ruined Nick and his surviving teammate's lives. Now, not only is it vital to find Charlie for Becca's sake but also to find out what Charlie may know about possibly clearing Nick and his teammates' names. Add to that a budding romance between the spawn of the man Nick hates with every fiber of his being and the the wounded soldier Becca only knows as someone her father trusted and you have the makings for a world of mystery, intrigue, and hot, hot romance.

Hard As It Gets was even more "suspensey" than I first thought it would be. I normally gravitate towards fluff pieces in contemporary that features only a very minute dramatic situation and absolutely zero conspiracy theories. This one was not that. This was more action-packed than I would have imagined or liked, but surprisingly, it worked for me. I loved Nick and Becca and their connection to each other. I liked the fact the book featured not only tattooed men but MILITARY men. Be still my heart. To my overwhelming amazement, I actually liked the cliffhanger the book left off on. I usually LOATHE cliffhangers.

To sum it up, Hard As It Gets is a thrilling ride of hot men, thought provoking mystery, predominant intrigue, and sexy romance all rolled into a 358-page work of art worthy of Hard Ink Tattoo.

Available at:
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Thursday, February 6, 2014

Blog Tour Review: Be With Me by J. Lynn @TLCBookTours @JLArmentrout



Title: Be With Me

Author: J. Lynn

Series: Wait For You #2

Publication date: February 4th, 2014

ISBN: 9780062294784

Synopsis (according to Goodreads):
Teresa Hamilton is having a rough year—she’s in love with her big brother’s best friend, but he hasn’t spoken to her since they shared a truly amazing, mind-blowing, change-your-life kiss. She got out of a terrible relationship. And now an injury is threatening to end her dance career for good. It’s time for Plan B – college. And maybe a chance to convince Jase that what they have together is real.

Jase Winstead has a huge secret that he’s not telling anyone. Especially not his best friend’s incredibly beautiful sister. Even though he and Teresa shared the hottest kiss of his life, he knows that his responsibilities must take priority. He certainly doesn’t have time for a relationship. But it doesn’t help that all he can think about kissing the one girl who could ruin everything for him.

As they’re thrown together more and more, Jase and Tess can’t keep denying their feelings for each other. But a familiar danger looms and tragedy strikes. As the campus recovers, the star-crossed couple must decide what they’re willing to risk to be together, and what they’re willing to lose if they’re not...

Review:

I received an ARC of this book from the publishers for participation in a blog tour and in exchange for an honest review.

I read Wait For You, the first installment in this series, and fell in love with the characters. I am not ashamed to admit that most of the reason I wanted to read this book was to see what happened to Cam and Avery from the first book. I hadn't really known much about Jase and Teresa from the first book, so I was just so-so about reading about them. I was hoping I would come to like them as much as I did the first set of characters.

Teresa has suffered an injury to her knee that has forced her into a break from professional dancing. Struggling to find something to do with her time and keep her mind active, she decides to return to college. But not just any college. The college her brother and his sinfully sexy best friend, Jase, attends. She has had a crush on Jase for years and after a surprising kiss a year ago she is hoping for a chance to explore that avenue. But Jase seems put off by the fact that she is Cam's sister, so she must continue to nurse her crush in silence. That all changes when the more time they spend together, the more apparent their attraction for each other shows through. Teresa knows that Jase has some sort of baggage but isn't sure what it is or how she can possibly get beyond his built-up walls to possibly find love with him.

Teresa is still dealing with the aftermath of surviving an abusive relationship. She has come through it relatively unscathed. She doesn't blame herself for her ex's vicious behavior, but she does feel a monumental amount of guilt for her situation dragging her brother into the middle and almost ruining his life. As she starts to notice telling signs of her roommate suffering the same type of relationship she had with her ex, Teresa struggles with her decision to speak up or stay silent. With the sociopathic air that surrounds her roommate's boyfriend, speaking up may just get Teresa into an even tougher situation that ever before.

I have a major book author crush on J. Lynn (aka Jennifer L. Armentrout). I love everything she writes. I read Wait For You and absolutely adored it. I was anxious to see what happened next. This book, while not as astonishingly breathtaking as the first one was just as well written and engaging. I loved Teresa's character. She was so incredibly strong and went through so much that I couldn't even imagine having to deal with. She was the type of woman I would admire in reality and found myself almost worshipping with every page turn.

Jase on the other hand, was a bit too hot and cold for me. I know that if he was just gung-ho for their relationship from start to finish it wouldn't make the book heartbreaking (as all New Adult books seem to be), but his constant "you deserve better" and "you don't want to be involved with me and all my baggage" stuff was a bit annoying. I just wanted to shake him and tell him to stop wussing out. It was a vast difference from Cam and Avery where Cam was the one determined to see the relationship through and Avery was the one running away at every turn.

All in all, I did enjoy Be With Me. I think it was a fundamental next step in the cast for the sequel. I have to wonder who the next book will feature. Ollie, maybe?


Available at:
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Rest of the Tour
February 4th: In Bed with Books
February 5th: Nightly Reading
February 10th: Oh! Paper Pages
February 11th: Books à la Mode
February 12th: Snowdrop Dreams of Books
February 13th: Schmexy Girl Book Blog
February 17th: Why Girls Are Weird
February 18th: Mom in Love with Fiction
February 19th: Tina's Book Reviews
February 20th: Luxury Reading
February 24th: Cupcake's Book Cupboard
February 26th: Dear Brighton
February 27th: Book Marks the Spot
February 28th: Melody & Words

About the Author:
#1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author J. Lynn lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. When she's not hard at work writing, she spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell terrier, Loki.










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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Blog Tour with Reviews: The New World Series (The End and The Long Road) by G. Michael Hopf @TLCBookTours @gmichaelhopf




Title: The End

Author: G. Michael Hopf

Series: New World #1

Publication date: January 7th, 2014

ISBN: 9780142181492

Synopsis (according to Goodreads):
What would you do to survive?

Young Gordon Van Zandt valued duty and loyalty to country above all, so after 9/11, he dropped out of college and joined the Marine Corps. This idealism vanished one fateful day in a war-torn city in Iraq. Ten years later, he is still struggling with the ghosts of his past when a new reality is thrust upon him and his family: North America, Europe and the Far East have all suffered a devastating Super-EMP attack, which causes catastrophic damage to the nation's power grid and essential infrastructures. Everything from cell phones to cars to computers cease to function, putting society at a standstill.

With civilization in chaos, Gordon must fight for the limited and fast dwindling resources. He knows survival requires action and cooperation with his neighbors, but as the days wear on, so does all sense of civility within his community--and so he must make some of the most difficult decisions of his life in order to ensure his family's safety.

Review:
I originally signed up for this tour because I was approached about it and I had not read any dystopian books in a while. I need a break from the vampires, werewolves, and romance just to clear my head of all the love triangles and debauchery that often happens in stories of romance. I needed something exciting and that would keep me on the edge of my seat. This book and it's sequel definitely sounded like they fit the bill.

Gordon is a born soldier. He was the best of the best when it came to defending his country and fighting for his government. That was until he gunned down what appeared to be an unarmed Iraqi in the heat of war and was plastered all over the media for being a bloodthirsty tool of a ruthless government. Afterwards, Gordon lost his faith with his government and left the military. Ten years later, he lives a happy life with his wife, Samantha, and two children, Haley and Hunter. He had zero worries. Until the United States started suffering attacks from an unknown assailant which resulted in a Super-EMP being detonated over the country.

Gordon must now put all his long forgotten military training to use. The world with no electrical capability (including those that are used to produce food and drinkable water) has turned into an apocalypse only heard about in stories. Gordon rallies his neighbors and attempts to establish a harmonious community to get through the devastation. But eventually, lack of resources starts to plague even his small gated neighborhood.

Human morality and the customary code of conduct instilled in every living person is tested. It has become a world of kill or be killed. Starvation, gang violence, radiation sickness, and even small diseases and wounds left untreated threaten the lives of all. Gordon's main priority is to care for his family to the best of his ability. And he is set to kill anyone who risks the success of that mission.

I did not expect to enjoy this book as much as I did. I am not a fan of politics. I normally just feel they are a means to debate people about things that can't be changed anyway. But I actually found myself not only intrigued by the decline of civility in the United States populace, but also the scrambling to save and perserve the government after a catastrophe of such epic proportions. It is interesting to see politicians struggle with who to help in the new world and who to leave out to dry. Then you add in the desperation of one man to keep his family safe, the determination of Gordon's younger brother, Sebastian, to find his older brother, and the rebellion of a decorated colonel against his government... you have the makings of a truly astounding work of realistic and believable fiction. Hopf outdid himself in this first novel and I hope that his streak of good fortune continues in the sequel, The Long Road.

If you are looking for a post-apocalyptic read where safety and peace are unrecognizable terms, then The End is definitely for you.

Available at:
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Title: The Long Road

Author: G. Michael Hopf

Series: New World #2

Publication date: January 7th, 2014

ISBN: 9780142181508

Synopsis (according to Goodreads):
The End was just the beginning of the new world….

Only six weeks have passed since a super-EMP attack devastated the United States, but already, life has changed dramatically. Most of America has become a wasteland filled with starving bands of people, mobs and gangs. Millions are dead and millions more are suffering, with no end in sight.

For Gordon, Samantha, Sebastian, Cruz and Barone, the turmoil and chaos they dealt with in the early weeks after the attack will seem trivial in comparison to the collapse of society that plays out before their eyes. Uncertainty abounds as they all travel different paths in search of a safe place to call home. The only thing that is definite is that The Long Road will take its toll on all of them.

Review:
Of course, I had to read the sequel! Why would I simply read the first book and not continue on in a series that marks one of the best dystopian worlds I have ever found myself entrenched in. When asked whether I wanted to read the first book, second, or both, I naturally went for all I could get (and that was even before I knew I was going to adore them). After reading The End, I couldn't wait to find out what happened to Gordon and the rest of the motley crew of characters.

In The Long Road, Gordon, his family, and a caravan of his best and brightest neighbors are on the way to Idaho where they hope to find safety and a place to start over. Gordon's family owns property out that way and he figures that's as good a place as any to begin forming his own community. What Gordon didn't count on was that danger would lurk around every corner. He and his group have not even made it out of California before they are plagued by violence and devastation. 

Whereas before Gordon's instincts worked in his favor, now they threaten to be his downfall. His desperation to always have enough resources for his people drives him to investigate a military base outside of Barstow, California. This mistake in judgment and the determination of his eight-year-old son to help his father, leads them both to be captures by a religious zealot and his psychotic followers. Now Gordon can only hope to find a way to escape with his son and find his way back to his wife, daughter, and group. 

Meanwhile, the government is collapsing and Colonel Barone has set himself up to be it's new leader with the help of his Marine followers. Little does he know but the current government AND a drug cartel leader both have their eyes set on running the ruined country. 

Sebastian has sought out his brother's neighborhood but found only death. Others and even, almost, his own when his helicopter crashes. He is rescued by a Mormon community headed by bishop Sorenson and his very attractive daughter. Sebastian is torn between continuing his search for his older brother and staying with the Mormon's to be the leader they so desperately need.

Gordon, Sebastian, Colonel Barone, and others all have a lot to accomplish and a long road ahead of them in all their goals.

This book was vastly different from the first book. The first book set the stage for the new world and this one was more into a concise story line of events and character development. I was more emotionally drawn to the characters than I was in the first one. I felt their plights. I was teetering on the edge of my seat most of the time, reading as fast as I could so I could know what happened to some of the fictional people I had come to admire or love. Avoiding spoilers, I absolutely sobbed my eyes out at some points in the book. My heart broke, my stomach turned, and rage coursed through my veins the likes of which I have ever experienced in all the books I have read. In short, this book rocked my world.

Hopf's New World series continues to make me appreciative of the things I have and the world of luxuries our country has. A Long Road will make it's readers who have children clutch them tight and never want to let go.

Available at:
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Rest of the Tour
January 7th: Bookish Outsider
January 8th: She Treads Softly
January 8th: The Prepared Ninja
January 10th: Bound by Words
January 13th: Prepared Housewives
January 14th: Florida Hillbilly
January 15th: Book Nerd
January 21st: Total Fan Girl
January 22nd: Sara's Organized Chaos
January 28th: Read. Write. Repeat.
January 29th: A Dream Within a Dream
February 3rd: Reading Reality
February 10th: The Weekend Prepper
February 12th: The Bookworm

About the Author:
G. Michael Hopf is the best-selling author of 'The End - A Post Apocalyptic Novel' and its sequel, 'The Long Road'. He spent two decades living a life of adventure before he settled down and became a novelist full time. He is a former U.S. Marine combat veteran and bodyguard. He lives with his family in San Diego, CA>





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