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Welcome, come right in, enjoy!

If you like a good love story, if you love to travel the world, if you love discussing new things to watch and read well then settle in. This is the place I intend to bring all of my thoughts and feelings on what shows and movies I’m watching, the books I’m reading, and the places I’m visiting these days. I plan on reviewing books, movies, tv shows, and maybe writing about exploring the world from time to time. I hope you might like to enjoy coming along for the ride!

 

books · Review · Uncategorized

Heartland by Sarina Bowen

Heartland (True North, #7)

3.5 stars ***

An emotional friends to lovers romance full of risky secrets and late-night lessons in seduction.

Dylan is my best friend, and the only person in my life who understands me. He doesn’t mind my social awkwardness or my weird history. The only glitch? He doesn’t know that I’ve been hopelessly, desperately in love with him since the first day we picked apples together in his family’s orchard.
But I know better than to confess.
Now that we’re both in college together, I’m seeing a new side of him. College Dylan drinks and has a lot of sex. None of it with me.
Until the night I foolishly ask him to tutor me in more than algebra…and he actually says yes.
But the cool morning light shows me how badly I’ve endangered our friendship. And I don’t know if anything will be the same again.

I was so excited to get an e-arc copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

The True North series is one of my favorites! There is so much family, comfort, nature, and good food. And Sarina Bowen has really woven in several layers of emotional conflict in all of her characters. Chastity and Dylan were never the two kind of characters, where I couldn’t wait to get to their book. And this is a college set romance, which does take a different sort of style than the previous books in the series. I thought Dylan and Chastity had a cute relationship as friends, and I think Sarina did a really effortless job of writing that transition into something more adult and sexy! After their intimate scenes I no longer thought of them as CUTE! That being said both Chastity and Dylan kind of fell flat to me as characters unfortunately. There were times where I loved Dylan’s sweet nature towards her, but more often than not his stream of consciousness was shallow and immature. Which for a twenty year old white male college student, may be realistic, but unfortunately not endearing in a romance. Chastity felt like a less interesting rewrite of the character of Zach from earlier books. The conflict of her past as an escaped cult member was written in very much the same way his was. I really wish there had been something a little more interesting to her character arc that had made it distinct. Although I maybe didn’t LOVE them as stand alone characters, their chemistry was undeniable and there were more than a few times their interactions put a smile on my face.

Overall this is one of my lesser favorites of the True North series, though of course it had it’s moments. I just think this romance lacked a certain amount of depth and maturity I loved from early romances between other characters, which makes sense as they ARE younger and it is college set. Maybe the sub-genre just wasn’t suited to me.

That being said I still adore the series, and can not wait to read any future books that come out! Sarina Bowen always finds a way to have me craving something when I read her books, only this time it was caramels!

books · Review · Uncategorized

Corrupt by Penelope Douglas

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****
4 stars

First things first: this book is dark as hell. TWs for basically everything–sexual assault, drug use, underage drinking, gun use, crime, violence, rape, mental health, and I think maybe attempted suicide (though I can’t remember if this actually is a thing).

I walked into this dark romance, I’ll admit, pretty skeptical. I’ve tried reading some MC romances in which the characters, most often the heroes, are just god awful people with no redeeming qualities or souls to even save them. But Penelope Douglas knows how to write a twisted scenario in which her characters are still human beings, only deeply flawed. Which was kind of the whole point of this first novel, and the romance between Michael and Erika (I’m not gonna say Rika, because although I liked the book that is such an awkward nickname to me.) Michael and Erika are drawn to each other because of their likenesses. They both have a lean towards the darker, more dangerous, things in life. They only gain true reward, from real risk. Oh and they’ve basically always had a thing for each other.

This book was dramatic, and wild, and freaking fun to read. Penelope Douglas takes her stories and her characters to the edge, and I truly never know where she will stop–which is fascinating to follow.

Corrupt was probably my first real introduction the dark romance sub-genre and I feel really excited to explore it more, and also read the rest of this series

books · Review · Uncategorized

The Obsession by Nora Roberts

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****
4 stars

“She stood in the deep, dark woods, breath shallow and cold prickling over her skin despite the hot, heavy air. She took a step back, then two, as the urge to run fell over her.”

Naomi Bowes lost her innocence the night she followed her father into the woods. In freeing the girl trapped in the root cellar, Naomi revealed the horrible extent of her father’s crimes and made him infamous. No matter how close she gets to happiness, she can’t outrun the sins of Thomas David Bowes.

Now a successful photographer living under the name Naomi Carson, she has found a place that calls to her, a rambling old house in need of repair, thousands of miles away from everything she’s ever known. Naomi wants to embrace the solitude, but the kindly residents of Sunrise Cove keep forcing her to open up—especially the determined Xander Keaton.

Naomi can feel her defenses failing, and knows that the connection her new life offers is something she’s always secretly craved. But the sins of her father can become an obsession, and, as she’s learned time and again, her past is never more than a nightmare away.

Nora Roberts has this amazing way off making thrillers a complete comfort read. Some of my favorite aspects of this book were the moments that focused on the house, and ways in which Naomi was building a life for herself in (). The mystery was long, drawn, and detailed–but I found the final confrontation slightly rushed. The first pages of this book were so atmospheric, eerie, and disturbing–I wanted an equal feeling for the climax of the novel and I found myself a little disappointed. I did figure out, around the right time the reader should if they will, who the killer was and why they were motivated to commit crimes tied so closely to Naomi and her family’s heinous past. The romance was sweet and realistic, and I happened to like that Xander was just a GOOD guy, although there were times when he said just the wrong thing to the heroine. Some examples: “are you stupid?” (more than once, unfortunately) and “just simmer down” (when the heroine found out she was tied to several murders dating back ten years). The rushed ending and sometimes off-putting male dialogue are why I knocked it down a star. But all in all, much like always with Nora’s stories, I loved the mystery, the setting, and the heroine. I’m excited to comfort read more of her romantic suspense novels.

books · Review · Uncategorized

American King by Sierra Simone

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Fuck it! I’m giving this one 5 stars *****

This series was absolutely cuckoo bananas! But still I love the intensity with which Sierra Simone crafts a love story, she holds nothing back and it makes her characters and their relationships so interesting and moving. It makes her books wild and impossible to tame in the best way. I adore her fearlessness.

This series only got more insane and melodramatic in this final book, but by this point it stops being unbelievable and starts being fantastical. It’s so well written you get swept up in every deliciously outlandish moment. The angst, the lust, the yearning all build to a crescendo with twists and turns that only a Sierra Simone story can provide.

I can’t wait to read every tangled web of broken hearts and joyous happy endings (at least in the last book!) that Sierra Simone writes from here on out.

books · Review · Uncategorized

Getting Played by Emma Chase

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2.5 stars **

This was a fairly predictable one night stand, accidental pregnancy romance. I kind of really hated the pieces of the book that focused or highlighted the heroines career as an “influencer” because they terribly CRINGEY and unrealistically mundane.

That being said I do really think the audiobooks are well made and incredibly easy to listen too (even though the male narrator sounds like Linda Belcher when he does female voices, proven to turn you off in any steamy scene, and crack you up in any serious moment).

Maybe the tropes and characters just weren’t my favorite in this one.

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House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

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5 stars ***** (I’d give more if I could)

Holy hell.

This book was rich, and atmospheric. It was more than just a book, it was a story, and a world. There were times when I couldn’t helped but be pulled away from the reality of my life and into the pages much like a young girl can get pulled into a dance, or a dream.

It was wild and poetic, dark and fantastical, melancholy and romantic. By far my favorite YA stand alone fantasy all year, and maybe my favorite in a long long time. Annaleigh and her sisters were smart, and whimsical, and emotive, and strong. They were also flippant and at times shallow. They were endearing yet flawed, as I’m sure many real life young girls are, and in so many ways this led me as a reader to care for them deeply as if they were my own sisters.

I grieved with them, I fell in love while they fell in love, and little pieces of me broke away when they were hurt.

I really can’t believe this was Erin A. Craig’s debut novel because it was so well crafted, and eloquently written. I can not wait to see what eerie tales she weaves next.

books · Review · Uncategorized

Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews

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2.75 stars ***

Was expecting to really get immersed in this one because it’s fairly beloved by the romance community, but I just couldn’t get into the characters. Something about Nevada and Rogan’s emotional reactions to their situation seemed fairly surface and slapdash to me, in a way that made it almost impossible for me to connect with or care about them as characters.

The world was interesting, and the magic system seemed almost limitless and I’m still unsure whether this is a positive or negative for me. While I liked how outside of the box the types of magical beings were, some of it almost seemed less undeveloped. Ilona Andrews went from including the smallest details of how a persons magic functioned, and then went to not even explaining how spells drawing interacted with intuitive magic.

The villain of the story also danced back in forth in my opinion. He was quippy and Mason-esque in the beginning, driven by chaos, anger, and the need to be released from boredom. But he somehow devolved into a spoiled brat by the end, which is just not that scary, they’re everywhere. Spoiled rich pretty boys. Which may have been the point, I’m still not sure.

Essentially I am all over the fence with this one. I plan on continuing the series because I have hopes for llona Andrews (that and I bulk bought every book in the series, oops) and I really want the series to get better. I really hope I love the next one, and find a character in this series to truly care about.

books · Review · Uncategorized

Wicked and The Wallflower by Sarah MacLean

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5 stars *****

Sarah MacLean just know how to write a well layered and gorgeously complex love story. She really has a way of crafting these unique and lyrically stunning bonds between her hero and heroine. The links to mythology she included in this book made me wistful and incredibly emotional. And what’s more her books always bring a complex whirl of highs and lows that keep you intensely reading, from joy to angst, poetic romanticism to melodramatic revenge.

This first book in her most recent series did everything to hook me, she set up a sweet and elusive second book hero. She introduced a completely juicy and tangled romantic history that has me begging for the third book.

But most importantly I was so invested in the happiness of Devil and Felicity. I enjoyed how endearing I found BOTH of Sarah’s main characters, it made their HEA all the more rewarding.

Probably my favorite historical of 2019 (even if it was published in 2018)!

books · Review · Uncategorized

Lover Unbound & Lover Enshrined Reviews

I’m back on that Black Dagger Brotherhood grind! I feel more immersed in the series after completing these two books then ever before, and I am honestly just so excited to keep reading and let J.R. Ward take me away.

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Lover Unbound (The Black Dagger Brotherhood #5) by J.R. Ward
5 stars

Vishous has been my favorite brother since the beginning of the series–tough, smart, funny. I loved learning more about where he came from, the origins of his power, as well as the surprise of who his parents were. His and Doctor Janes love story was very different from any of the brothers romances before, and I found their connection to balance out the best and worst in each other. There were times when I was shocked, times when my heart broke, and times when I couldn’t help from smiling. I feel like this is the first book where J.R. Ward really starts stepping up her plotting game, building and intertwining plot points for the larger story and future books.

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Lover Enshrined (The Black Dagger Brotherhood #6) by J.R. Ward
5 stars

I love you forever didn’t always need to be spoken to be understood. 

So many people who love this series don’t particularly favor this book, I almost always hear it is often people’s least favorite. So I was a little surprised to find how moved I was by Phury’s story. His book is truly about addiction, depression, and the broken feeling of wanting to save someone and knowing you can’t. It was about a shattered family, and the delicate bond between siblings that can so easily become a tangled mess through life’s traumas.

J.R. Ward has used this book and the last to really set up a larger picture for the series, and I really think her writing just keeps getting better as the series progresses. She made some big moves in the major plot, as well as side plots, and the web of relationships in this world is so intricate. I’m beginning to understand why this series is so beloved!

books · Review

March Reading Wrap Up

 

countessThe Countess Conspiracy by Courtney Milan
4 stars

Trigger Warnings for miscarriage.

The third book in Courtney Milan’s Brother’s Sinister series features Violet and Sebastian, life long friends who have been fooling London society by posing Violet’s scientific research as Sebastian’s in order for it to be seen as “respectable.” I loved Violet and Sebastian in previous books and had been so looking forward to their story. Violet is so smart and Sebastian so eccentric, but underneath their exterior’s or two richly troubled people. They have such a dynamic, layered romance. Their love is a very soulful and patient one that tore at my heart strings, and as always Milan wrote it in a divine and elegant prose that I adored.

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Meet Your Baker by Ellie Alexander
4 stars

I love this cozy series! It’s got Shakespeare, baked goods, and a smart a lovable protagonist in Juliet. The setting of Ashland, Oregon is so quirky and inviting—I love that it is a real place you can add on to your must travel to list! The mystery itself kept me guessing and I loved immersing myself into the story! I can’t wait to get my hands on the rest of the books in this delectable series.

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Dark Needs at Nights Edge by Kresley Cole
5 stars

Finally, a book in this series I loved whole heartedly! While I can say for sure I have found all of the books in Immortals After Dark entertaining, I had yet to read a book that gripped me emotionally and had me fully invested in the characters. This was that book! I loved Neomi, especially. A French ghost ballet dancer from the roaring 1920s, she was so romantic and headstrong. I adored her! The story in itself was also fascinating and there were some true turns I did not expect. I really loved this one!

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Almost Perfect by Susan Mallery
3 stars

I decided after seeing my library had the entire Fool’s Gold series by Susan Mallery in ebook format to dive back into this series. I love a small town romance in the spring time, and these books are so easy to eat up. The hero in this book, Ethan, was kind of a dumb a-hole, but I love the community of heroines in the town and the general comfy-ness of the series to keep reading.

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Sister of the Bride by Susan Mallery
2 stars

A less then artfully written novella, unfortunately. Insta-love, surface characters with no human depth. I’m just gonna pretend I never read this one.

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Dark Desires After Dusk by Kresley Cole
3.5 stars

Cadeon, the mercenary demon, and Holly, the halfling math professor fall in love. I liked Holly a lot, Cadeon was a touch forgettable for me. But this book prefaced and hinted at the upcoming story about seductress/sorceress Sabine, and her mortal enemy demon king Rhdystrom. I can already tell the follow up novel is going to be so juicy!

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Finding Perfect by Susan Mallery
3 stars

This book was about Pia, the Fool’s Gold city event planner, who was bequeathed her best friends frozen embryos after she died. The premise itself was interesting and heartfelt and I liked practical Pia. The romance was tepid, but the happy ending was heart warming enough for the 3 stars.

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Only Mine by Susan Mallery
2.5 stars

Is it bad that I can barely remember this book at all? Dakota for some reason works on a random reality dating show that pops up in Fool’s Gold. Finn, Zach, Jack? Some guy shows up to get his brothers off the show, it doesn’t work and then he sticks around to do nothing about it for a few months. The show is cancelled, everyone goes home. And then I guess they fall in love? Another book ending in pregnancy…wondering if this is going to be the ongoing ending for this series…

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The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker
4 stars

This book was set in the Alaskan wild and I really liked that! It dropped a high maintenance heroine in a less then high maintenance abiding place. The hero was a little brutish towards her at times, but I thought they played well off of each other. The real shining portion of this story had to do with Calla re-bonding with her estranged father as they both learn to come to terms with his terminal illness. I thought the ending was well done, and it had some very touching moments.

March was a great reading month for me, and I can’t wait to dive into more spring reads as the weather heats up. Did you read any good books in March?