Review: Hellhole by Gina Damico

hellholeHellhole
By: Gina Damico
Publisher: HMH Books
Release Date: January 6, 2015
Genre: Mature YA
Rating:
PhotobucketPhotobucket

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N

There was a time when geeky, squeaky-clean Max Kilgore would never lie or steal or even think about murder. Then he accidentally unearths a devil, and Max’s choices are no longer his own. The big red guy has a penchant for couch surfing and junk food—and you should never underestimate evil on a sugar high.

With the help of Lore, a former goth girl who knows a thing or two about the dark side, Max is racing against the clock to get rid of the houseguest from hell before time, and all the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos this side of the fiery abyss, run out.

 

1thoughtsMax has a rough life right now. His mom is in desperate need of a heart transplant and thus, Max is the one running the house. It’s just him and his mom so there aren’t a lot of things to deal with except for juggling high school and his job, as well as trying (unsuccessfully) to pay the bills. He’s in over his head, but he will never admit that to his bed-ridden mother. Which is how he ends up with Satan in his house. Max sees this hideous glitter cat figurine at his work and steals it knowing the monstrosity will cheer up his mom. However, what he doesn’t know is that in committing this bad deed, he has opened a portal for a demon to come through. Soon Max finds himself in deep water when the demon starts making demands.

Let me start out by saying that this book is for MATURE young adults. There is a lot of swearing in here. A lot. So keep that in mind if you are going to be gifting this book to someone.

I LOVE Damico’s Croak trilogy. The characters in that were so sarcastically funny but kick-ass at the same time. I ate the series up as quick as I could. So imagine my delight when I saw that she was coming out with another book that revolves around Satan, who is a bit of a slob, coming to earth. My excitement wasn’t fulfilled though and here’s why.

Max is the “hero” of the story… only he isn’t a hero at all. He isn’t someone who stands up for anything. He gives Burg (Satan) rules for living with him and I thought, “Yes! This kid has some balls”… but they were just words. Burg broke his rules time and time again and nothing came of it. Max would just cower and agree to whatever Burg said. Max was also greedy. Instead of getting rid of the problem (Burg) he kept pushing Burg for what he wanted. Now granted he wanted Burg to heal his mother, but everyone knows you don’t make a deal with the devil. Yet, every time Burg changed the rules, Max would bend to his will in the hopes that if he pleased Burg, Burg would heal his mother. I just wish Max had a backbone. He was too wimpy of a main character for me.

Burg stole the show for me. Sure, he was the bad guy but he played it so well. He was enjoying life on the surface and knew that he had a spineless kid for a minion. So he used Max. He basically made Max his bitch. “I want hot pockets! I want a house! I want a hot tub! I want.. I want… I want…!”, and Max made sure that Burg was happy no matter what he asked for. So, if you have someone like that at your beck and call, why not keep asking? Why not push the envelope? Surely, if the kid is in this for his own reasons, he can do better than a tent for a “house”. He can get you a mansion. By “get” I mean “steal”, because Burg cannot accept anything, be it food or material items, unless it’s stolen. So pretty much you just snap your fingers and your little human will steal whatever you want. Yeah… Burg had it made. So, throughout the whole book he was having a blast in Max’s basement eating stolen junk food, watching stolen cable, while ordering Max to get things for him.

Obviously, the moral of the story is to not make a deal with the devil. In the end, Max’s “deal” caused more pain and suffering which didn’t end well for everyone. So, was it really worth it? In all honesty, I’d have been totally on board if the author killed off Max. I was not a fan of his character at all. I don’t even know if he learned anything in the end. I will still continue to read Damico’s work but sadly this one just didn’t do it for me. I am someone who likes strong main characters, I like them to stand up for what they want, take charge if need be, and Max is not that kind of character. He is the polar opposite and that really didn’t work for me.

 

1favequote“Thus far in life, Max had had limited experienced with the opposite gender, but he was almost positive that your hair looks like either a volcano or one of those circular curtains in a hospital room was now one of the things girls likes to hear.”

kRISTIN

Review: Primal Possession by Katie Reus

13457458Primal Possession
(Moon Shifter, #2)
By: Katie Reus
Publisher: Signet Eclipse
Published: Sept. 4, 2012
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Rating:
PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N

To protect her, he will unleash the beast within…

As his pack’s second-in-command, lupine shifter Liam Armstrong gives orders and takes what he wants—until he meets red-headed, blue-eyed December McIntyre. Liam knows the human beauty is his intended mate the moment he sees her, but December is far too strong-willed to accept his protection.

December, whose brother is the town sheriff, has every reason to mistrust shifters after one killed her youngest sibling. But the forceful and handsome Liam has gotten under her skin in a way she hadn’t thought possible, and the desire she feels for him is almost too much to bear.

When a radical hate group targets all humans known to sympathize with paranormal beings, December is attacked in her bookstore. Reluctantly, she turns to the only one who can help her: Liam. And he is going to take her to places within herself she never knew existed.

 

1thoughtsThis is definitely a series that you want to read in order. You see, Liam met December in the last book, which was when he found out that she was his mate. They went on a date, he saved her life and there was a relationship build-up in that book. Not to mention that Kat, who’s another character introduced in the first book, makes an appearance in this book. Well actually it’s more of an appearance, she’s in it quite a bit and I think it’s because her story is next in the series. So, you really need to start from the beginning because Katie builds up these characters in the previous books so that when it’s their turn in the spotlight she can take off running with the story.

Now let’s talk about the characters. December is the sheriff’s sister. Her brother has a hatred for all shifters since one of them not only nearly killed December but actually succeeded in killing their brother who was trying to save her. So his hatred and her weariness towards shifters goes way back. However, December cannot control her feelings for Liam, no matter how many times she tells him that she doesn’t want anything to do with him. It doesn’t help that any time that there’s trouble, he’s always right there rescuing her.

Liam is Connor’s (previous book) brother. He’s seen his brother get his heart broken and then scour the world looking for her. So he knows how hard it can be when you’re mate is resistant. However, he’s not going to give December an inch of room to even doubt him. Even if she doesn’t want him in her life, he will make sure that he protects her at all costs.

These two characters were definitely interesting to read. Not to mention that we had Kat and her possible mate pop up a lot in this book. Kat was always hanging out with December and Liam and so you would see her quite a bit in the book. We also followed the villain in this book which is actually an entire organization of people who’s goal it is is to remove not only shifters but the humans who associate with them as well. So with everything that takes place in this book, you were never bored while reading.

I cannot wait to read the next book in the series.

 

1favequote“Liam sighed. Getting between a male – who also happened to be the enforcer – and his female ranked right up there with the top five dumbest things Liam had ever done.”
 
 
Previous reviews from Moon Shifters
Alpha Instinct

kRISTIN

Review: Split by Swati Avasthi

 photo 6270483_zps107ff2bb.jpgSplit
By: Swati Avasthi
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Published: March 9, 2010
Genre: Contemporary YA
Rating:
PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N

Sixteen-Year-Old Jace Witherspoon arrives at the doorstep of his estranged brother Christian with a re-landscaped face (courtesy of his father’s fist), $3.84, and a secret.

He tries to move on, going for new friends, a new school, and a new job, but all his changes can’t make him forget what he left behind—his mother, who is still trapped with his dad, and his ex-girlfriend, who is keeping his secret.

At least so far.

Worst of all, Jace realizes that if he really wants to move forward, he may first have to do what scares him most: He may have to go back.

 
 
1thoughts
Jace has known nothing but abuse since he was a kid. His father beat both his mother and his brother. Jace was the “favored child” until Jace’s brother up and left, disappearing into the world, leaving Jace to take his place as his father’s punching bag. Only one day after he beats and rapes his mother, Jace fights back, which is when he finds himself beaten into unconsciousness and kicked out of the only home he’s ever known. His only saving grace is an envelope with his brother’s address on it. The same brother that left him and their mom to face that monster they call dad, the brother who has never once reached out to him since leaving. But what other choice does he have when his father’s parting words are, “Return and I’ll kill her.”

Wow! That’s all I can say. It’s been a few hours since I finished reading this and I’m still lost for words. This was one of those books where the content breaks your heart and brings out so many emotions in you. I was sad, appalled, outraged, and just plain old confused by it all. I mean, Jace himself shows the same tenancies as his father, so how can I feel pain for someone like that. But at the same time, he’s been carrying this need to fight back since he was little. He has a set of “fightology” rules that he goes by. Rules that helped him survive the beatings from his father.

Not to mention the confusion over Jace’s brother, Christian, who doesn’t seem pleased to have his brother back. He kind of pushes him away and on one hand you think, “how can you be so cruel?”, but at the same time, he doesn’t want to be taken back to his childhood. He did all he could to escape and become someone else so that their father couldn’t find him. He doesn’t want to be reminded of the mother and brother he left behind or the suffering he still endures from his years in that house.

The whole story is messed up to say the least. I couldn’t imagine growing up in an environment like that. I couldn’t imagine the confusion and heartache over leaving your own mother behind knowing what your father will do. This is a gripping story that deals with a heartbreaking subject. The author did a phenomenal job portraying these characters and bringing their story to life. I will be thinking about this book for a while.
 
 
1favequote“I never realized how much I hated statistics until this moment. How pleasant, how reassuring, how helpful to know that my family is not an anomaly, that all the times my dad has come after us can be reduced to fat black numbers and percentages on a page.”
 
kRISTIN

Excerpt: Love Me Do by H. A. Kay

 photo lmd_zpsde22fa5f.jpgLove Me Do
By: H. A. Kay
Publisher: Self-published
Published: Nov. 25, 2014
Genre: Contemportary Chick-Lit

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N

Zaed, Sophie’s American-born friend, kneels at a party to retrieve a glittering ring from the floor. Before anyone can comment, Natasha, Sophie’s cousin, is shrieking ‘yes, yes, I accept’ to a bewildered Zaed. It’s all a cosmic mistake, but things get out of hand rapidly as Zaed’s father, an old friend of Natasha’s father, bribes Zaed to accept Natasha’s expectations and wed her. But then, Zaed and Sophie fall in love. And the huge, elaborate wedding between Zaed and Natasha, a wedding that will join two powerful families, is next week.You don’t just back out at the altar. Not in Pakistan…

 
 
 

Excerpt

“So, that’s it?” he scrunched his eyes at the horizon. “No romantic folklores? Sanjanpur has no Heer Ranjha to boast?”
I smiled at him for making that reference. I had no idea he knew any of that stuff; the hardcore, Pakistani-only Romeo and Juliet stuff.
“You’ve read about them?” I asked.
He shook his head. “Heard about them.”
“Romantic folklore is quite overrated if you ask me,” I confessed. “I’m a romance buff but I just don’t get the unrequited, undeclared love thing.”
“Huh?” He looked a little surprised. “It’s hard to declare love.”
“And why?” I eyed him curiously. “If you love her, tell her.”
He couldn’t possibly guess I’d read something I shouldn’t have but it was obvious enough whom he meant. He was engaged after all. He didn’t reply instantly. But his lopsided smile and the unintentional roll of the eyes said much. When he saw me staring at him he cleared his throat.
“Well,” he said leaning closer as if to confide. “My greatest fear is she might beat me up.”
No, she wouldn’t. You’re engaged!
Besides, she couldn’t possibly beat him up, even if she tried.
“Yeah, right.” I eyed his athletic frame. “With that body, you’re greatest fear must be being beaten up by women.” Sometimes, I wondered if it would give out a brassy clink if I tapped on his chest…
“Wait.” His eyes flashed. “Did you just compliment my abs?”
“No, I didn’t.” Did I? “I just meant you’re burly.”
“Burly?” He scoffed at the term. “I’m not burly. I’ve got the most absolutely tough and toned and – okay, you gotta see this!”
He untucked his shirt that he wore underneath his cashmere and pulled both the tops up. It wasn’t until I saw his stomach that I realized what he was doing.
Ack!
I grabbed the ends of his shirt and sweater and pulled them down.
“Are you insane?” I shrieked.
“Seeing is believing,” he said, lifting them up again.
“I believe! Please, stop stripping!”
To my surprise, I was laughing. I probably should have panicked more since we were out on the terrace and anyone could’ve walked in on us. If they did, they’d probably see me wedged up against Zaed with my hands virtually tucked in the belt of his pants.
Yeah, not good!
But I just couldn’t help myself. Where did he get these ideas? I mean where?!
“If you just let go!” He tried to speak between his own chuckles. “I won’t –”
“SOPHIA!”
Gasp!
I nearly fainted at the sound of Batool’s voice calling my name. I turned sharply towards the entrance of the terrace but nobody stood there. She must’ve been in the hallway.
“I gotta go. She’s looking for me.”
I tried pulling away but Zaed gripped my hands and held me in place.
“Don’t go,” he leaned in closer and whispered.
Startled, I looked at his face. I’d never heard him use that voice before. There was also something in his presence that I hadn’t felt before. That heat. It surged through my veins, from head to toe, shaking me breathless.
Yes. I didn’t want to go. I just wanted to stand there on that terrace with him.
“Sophia! You there?”
Batool’s call broke my trance and I shushed Zaed before he could even speak.
“Tuck in!” I ordered him and tore away.
“Sophia!” he called when I was almost at the entrance. “You really think I should tell her?”
And just like that, cruelly, I was pulled back to reality. My cousin’s fiancé wanted to know if he should declare his love for her.
“Yes!” I said with a smile that now hurt my face. “Tell her.”
Then, I went inside; leaving him standing alone in the cold, the crumpled corners of his shirt still peeping from under his cashmere.

 
 
 
author

I was in grade 7, and bunking PE when I read Tolkien’s Two Towers from the LOTR trilogy.
I know what you’re thinking. Certified nerd! I remember what I was thinking. Where had this book been all my life?!
I loved it. I can’t recall the scenes I’d read then but I remember how transfixing Tolkien’s Middle Earth was. I instantly wanted to write something like it.
But such dreams are easily forgotten in the wake of building a real career.
I went ahead and enrolled in a business college and did my MBA with tinselly rainbow colors making a tiara out of my nerd cap. It was a good day. And it was a good year at the bank. But the best time was when I landed at an ad agency’s creative department to write jingles and slogans and slaughter both my languages (Urdu and English) in the process. I learned a lot there. I wrote a lot there. And I became apt in the art of killing my own brainchildren a.k.a self-editing.
Then, I got married. Moved to the United States and started a family.
For two years I was a good stay-at-home mom. Then, I thought I could be good at something else too. I couldn’t decide on what exactly till I stumbled upon my old diary – a leftover from my baby and teen years. I read all the poems and stories I’d written therein; ranging from an ode to Mom to a soul searching monologue. I realized I wasn’t bad. If I worked on my talent I could turn it into a skill. And perhaps be able to write like the numerous authors who’d inspired me for years. A lost afternoon in the school library from so long ago made its way into my present and I remembered the perfect Legolas. I remembered the imperfect Quasimodo, the roguish Rhett Butler and the ruthless Rory Frost too.
Suddenly, I wanted to create such characters and write their stories instilled with M. M. Kaye like descriptions and Crichton like research and Grisham like authenticity all tied together with intense moods borrowed from Victoria Holt. Tolkien’s magic dust and King’s dark secrets would just be the cherry and powdered sugar on top.
I enrolled in a writing program immediately and earned my diploma. Next I wrote and edited for a newbie magazine. I wrote two children’s books (5 Kids and 5 Snowmen and Boondon Ka Khel: The Playful Game of the Tiny Water Droplets), and co-authored a trilogy under the title Aoife and Demon.
Now, it’s Love Me Do.
I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it.

Website | Twitter | Facebook

Excerpt: The Girl in Between by Laekan Zea Kemp

 photo 23124500_zpsa17e33eb.jpgThe Girl in Between
(The Girl in Between, #1)
By: Laekan Zea Kemp
Publisher: Self-Published
Published: Sept. 30, 2014
Genre: Paranormal Romance

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N

Bryn Reyes is a real life sleeping beauty. Afflicted with Klein-Levin Syndrome, she suffers episodes of prolonged sleep that steal weeks, and sometimes even months, from her life. But unlike most KLS patients, she doesn’t spend each episode in a catatonic state or wake up with no recollection of the time she’s missed. Instead, Bryn spends half her life in an alternate reality made up of her memories. For Bryn, the past is a place, until one day a boy she’s never met before washes up on the illusory beach of her dreams with no memory of who he is.

But the appearance of this strange boy isn’t the only thing that’s changed. Bryn’s symptoms are worsening, her body weakening as she’s plagued by hallucinations even while awake. Her only hope of finding a cure is to undergo experimental treatment created by a German specialist. But when Dr. Banz reveals that he knows more about her strange symptoms than he originally let on, Bryn learns that the boy in her head might actually be the key to understanding what’s happening to her, and worse, that if she doesn’t find out his identity before it’s too late, they both may not survive.

 
 
 

Excerpt

“Can I show you something?” she asked.

I wasn’t sure if I should follow her or even if I could but I didn’t want her to let go of me. I didn’t want her to disappear again and leave me there alone, still lost. So I nodded.

We swam to the end of the dock and she untied the small rowboat. She climbed in first, reaching for the oars and holding it steady as I sat down across from her. I watched the house recede. My eyes trailed back to the road, still waiting for someone to come down it. They didn’t.

“Where are we going?” I asked.

“Not far.”

I searched the horizon but it was empty. No land. No boats. It felt like we were headed straight for the skyline, about to fall off into nothing. The waves grew choppy and I wanted to take the oars from her but I didn’t know where we were going and for some reason I liked listening to the slow rhythm of her breathing as she fought the waves.

The boat finally grinded to a stop and when I looked over the edge the water was so clear I could see tiny creatures bedding in the sand, their thin shadows eclipsed by the girl as she climbed onto the sandbar.

“I went to the Bahamas once when I was thirteen,” she said. “The water was so blue. I strapped on a snorkel and spent the entire week just walking from sandbar to sandbar, face underwater watching the fish swim by.”

I followed her out of the boat and a school of bright yellow fish cut between us, scales glinting.

“This?” I said.

She smiled and walked around to the other side of the boat. The water was a dark grey, my legs tangled in a mess of rust colored seaweed. I could barely see my feet, their shadows disappearing beneath swirls of mud.

“This is the Gulf of Mexico near Galveston. I tagged along on one of my mom’s work trips. It was just a few weeks after Hurricane Ike.”

I stared at the muddled outline where the two oceans converged—one light, one dark. I waited for them to mix, for that invisible seam to break free but it didn’t.

We waded farther out into the clear water, another school of fish bumping against my calf, bright red coral twisting near my ankles. It was startling.

“I used to come here,” she said. “When I first got sick I would stand here and it wouldn’t feel like purgatory anymore. They’re memories.” She faced the beach. “My memories.” Then she looked at me. “I don’t know why you’re here or if you’re—”

“Real?” I asked.

She nodded and I wasn’t so sure anymore either.

“But you don’t have to be afraid,” she said. “It doesn’t have to feel like purgatory.”

I watched the sunlight reflecting off the ocean and dancing against her skin. Her eyes were lighter in the sun; green churning to a soft sea foam like the waves crashing near our feet. And standing there in that invisible seam between two oceans, two worlds, she was just as startling.

The tide swirled in her gaze and I watched it shimmer there, glinting from a soft grey to jade and then I said, “It doesn’t.”

 
 
 
author

Laekan is a writer and explorer extraordinaire who grew up in the flatlands of West Texas. She graduated from Texas Tech with a BA in Creative Writing and is the author of the multi-cultural New Adult novels The Things They Didn’t Bury, Orphans of Paradise, Breathing Ghosts, and the Young Adult novel The Girl In Between, which is the first in an upcoming paranormal romance series.

Website | Twitter

 
 

Review & Giveaway: Taken by Tuesday by Catherine Bybee

Traditional white dress with a bouquet of flowersTaken by Tuesday
(The Weekday Brides, #5)
By: Catherine Bybee
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Published: Aug. 12, 2014
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Rating:
PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N

Judy Gardner: College graduate Judy stands ready to conquer the world?if she can get a job. Hoping to transition from aspiring architect to famous architect as quickly as possible, the dark-haired beauty moves to LA, staying in the home of her celebrity brother, Michael Wolfe. But it’s hard for Judy to focus on work when the sexy bodyguard she fell for last summer keeps showing up in her life and leaving her breathless.

Rick Evans: With his hard body, green eyes, and easy smile, Rick could have any woman he wants. But the Marine-turned- bodyguard only has eyes for Judy and her spitfire attitude. When a faceless villain attacks Judy, Rick will stop at nothing to protect the woman who opened his heart from the monster hunting her.

 

1thoughtsJudy just got out of college and is interning at a architecture company near her famous brother’s place of residence. She and her friend move into his home while he’s off on location and realize that while living there, she will gain a lot of attention, which she’s managed to fly under the radar from until now. Not only that but one of his security guards, Rick, has stayed behind to ensure the safety of her brother’s house and it’s occupants. Which makes for a lot of sexual tension. However, Judy soon finds herself gaining the attention of a psychopath and needing Rick’s expertise to stay out of harms way.

This story really has two parts to it. You have the first half which is chock-full of sexual tension and Judy’s life as a post college graduate. Then you switch gears and Judy is being threatened and every person you come across in a suspect, even Rick. I liked that this story wasn’t JUST a romance.

The characters were likable and I’m glad the author didn’t play up Rick’s whole, “I’m a military vet, there for I have PTSD and psychological issues that cause me to not want to commit”. Let’s be honest here, that role has been far too over played.  Judy wasn’t a damsel in distress either. She doesn’t want a man in her life because she’s been hurt one too many times. No, she doesn’t want a man because she doesn’t want to settle down and start a family when she’s just starting her career. She wants to settle into her new life, become what she’s always dreamed of being before even thinking of settling down. Plus, when life hands her lemons, this chick squeezes the crap out of the juice right into someone’s eye. She may get knocked down but she doesn’t stay down, and I admired that about her. She wasn’t a victim.

I did read this book out of order. In fact, this is the only book I’ve read from the series and that’s because I was sent an unsolicited copy from the publisher. I put off reading it for a while and I’m sad that I did so because it was a great book. I sat down to read it and didn’t get up until it was finished. The only down side to the whole thing was that I gravitated towards Judy’s friend Meg more than I did Judy. I don’t know why, and I really hope her story is next… but I did. Any time Meg or Judy’s brother, Mike, popped into the picture I perked up. Not sure if they will be an item or it’s just me projecting my wants into the mix but I think they’d make an amazing couple. Just saying…

 

1favequote“I don’t want to be alone. I just don’t want to be the quicksand that keeps everyone from their lives.”

 
 
1giveaway

*Giveaway is US only*

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review: Other by Karen Kincy

6404356Other
(Other, #1)
By: Karen Kincy
Publisher: Flux
Published: July 8, 2010
Genre: YA Fantasy
Rating:
PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N

Seventeen-year-old Gwen hides a dangerous secret: she’s Other. Half-pooka, to be exact, thanks to the father she never met. Most Americans don’t exactly roll out the welcome mat for Others, especially not the small-town folks of Klikamuks, Washington. As if this isn’t bad enough, Gwen’s on the brink of revealing her true identity to her long-time boyfriend, Zack, but she’s scared he’ll lump her with the likes of bloodthirsty vampires and feral werewolves.

When a pack of werewolves chooses the national forest behind Gwen’s home as their new territory, the tensions in Klikamuks escalate–into murder. It soon becomes clear a serial killer is methodically slaying Others. The police turn a blind eye, leaving Gwen to find the killer before the killer finds her. As she hunts for clues, she uncovers more Others living nearby than she ever expected. Like Tavian, a sexy Japanese fox-spirit who rivals Zack and challenges her to embrace her Otherness. Gwen must struggle with her own conflicted identity, learn who she can trust, and–most importantly–stay alive.

 

1thoughtsGwen lives in a world where the public knows that “Others” exist but it’s not something that’s flaunted in her neighborhood. Gwen has always hidden what she is [half-pooka] from everyone, including her boyfriend of over a year. However, someone in her town is targeting Others and killing them. Not wanting to sit by and watch friends and neighbors being killed, she decides to discover who the killer is and have them stopped before they can kill anyone else, including herself.

For those wondering what a pooka is, like I was, a pooka is a shapeshifter originating from Ireland. Her primary form is a black horse. The stories about them were that they stalked travelers, inviting them on wild rides, and then would throw them into bogs or over cliffs, trampling them. I honestly can’t say I’ve ever read a book that had a pooka in it. So I was pretty excited to read some new mythology.

The story itself is a pretty quick read. Since Gwen has taken it upon herself to find the killer, she finds herself in some hairy situations. The one thing that frustrated me though was the fact that the author left so many clues as to who the killer was, yet meanwhile Gwen was off convicting someone else of the crimes. A Nancy Drew, she is not. I mean, from the second she latched onto who she thought the killer was I was thinking to myself, “Wait. What?! No. My goodness. What makes you think it’s them?! Ugh.” She was like a dog with a bone though. Right up until the very end she was still set on who she thought was the killer instead of actually paying attention to what was going on around her. Not to mention that knowing there was a killer out there she would put herself in situations to have her head lobbed off. That REALLY irritated me. Plus she had this huge prejudice against werewolves. You’d think, she of all people would understand that not all the bedtime stories of monsters are true. Ya know, considering she’s supposed to be the mischievous malevolent being based off of folklore.

Aside from my issues with Gwen’s lack of intelligence, I really enjoyed this story. The author didn’t just incorporate your typical vampire and werewolf into the story, she also added water spirits, fae, pookas, kitsune, and leprechauns. There may have been others that I’m forgetting about. Point is, the author sort of took folklore from multiple cultures and mushed them together into one story. Which I found really cool and entertaining.

This is a great YA story that mixes a lot of mythological beings into it. If you are looking for a quick YA fantasy novel, this is it. It’s got mystery, mythical creatures, and a sprinkling of young love. I look forward to reading the next book in the series that focuses on a character that we briefly met in this story. He’s definitely not a nice person, so I look forward to seeing what the author does with his character.

 

1favequote

“He looks sexy in a black army jacket – brass buttons and braids – over a white shirt.
I have to admit, he’s got style. I can only hope it’s not gay style.”

kRISTIN

Review: Bound by Lorelei James

18249282Bound
(Mastered, #1)
By: Lorelei James
Publisher: NAL Trade
Published: Feb. 4, 2014
Genre: Erotica
Rating:
PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N

Former small-town girl Amery Hardwick is living her dream as a graphic designer in Denver, Colorado. She’s focused on building her business, which leaves little time for dating—not that she needs a romantic entanglement to fulfill her. When her friend signs up for a self-defense class as part of her recovery after an attack, Amery joins her for support. That’s where she meets him.

Ronin Black, owner of the dojo, is so drawn to Amery that he takes over her training—in public and in private. The enigmatic Ronin pushes Amery’s boundaries from the start, and with each new tryst, Amery becomes addicted to the pleasure and to him. But when Amery senses Ronin is hiding something, she questions her total trust in him, despite the undeniable thrill of his possession.

 

1thoughtsAvery decides to accompany her friend to a self-defense class as moral support. Only when she gets there she finds out that observers are not allowed and must sign up for the class to be allowed entry into the building. Of course, because she wasn’t preparing to partake in the class, she isn’t dressed adequately enough. With her sudden appearance, lack of appropriate attire and all around disruption to the class she gains the attention of the dojo master, Ronin Black. He’s the dark and mysterious dojo master who always seems to have on a blank mask when he’s dealing with people. That is, except when he’s dealing with Avery.

I was really interested in the whole dojo scene since you don’t get that too often in novels. I liked that the story started off in the dojo and the author incorporated Japanese elements to the story (Ronin is a quarter Japanese). His background story was intriguing with the whole training, monastery, and rope training which led him into bondage. You could really see the connection that led to his lifestyle.

However, Ronin was so tight lipped about anything personal that I didn’t connect with him at all. He was just this guy who popped into the picture who required Avery’s full attention and submission but never really gave anything in return. With the book being in Avery’s POV, we pretty much know her inside and out. We know all her boring thoughts, her non-sense internal babble, and her never-ending fears over Ronin. Some of them I understood and others I just didn’t get. For instance she didn’t feel like she knew him simply because she’d never seen him fight before, other then during their self-defense classes. So when she sees him throw down some fighting moves, she’s taken back by how little she knows of him and fears how much damage he can do to a person. My husband is in the military and I’ve never seen him fight before either, but that doesn’t mean I don’t know him. I felt like there were other things Avery needed to be focusing her attentions on with their crappy relationship, and that wasn’t one of them.

Regardless of my hang ups, I still enjoyed the story. It does end on a cliffhanger which is a bit strange given the size of the book (400 pgs) but whatever. I honestly felt like the story was a little too long and winded to be honest, especially since nothing gets resolved. I still have no idea who Ronin is as a person and Avery still doesn’t think she can trust him. So there was no real meaning to the story other than building up the story for the next book. Will I still read the next one? Sure, I mean I would like to know Ronin more and figure him out. I’m really hoping we see that in the next book and it’s not another cliffhanger.

 

1favequote“Bold is not only an action. Bold is an attitude. Bold is a state of mind. Sometimes the boldest choice is to let go. It takes more courage to trust someone else to give you what you need than it does to just rely on getting it yourself.”

kRISTIN

Ramblings of a Book Sniffer & Giveaway: Juggling Personal Reads with Review Books

ramblings12

I don’t know about you but I have a lot of books on my shelves that have been there for a handful of years now. Pretty much since I bought bookshelves, I’ve had books waiting to be read. With reading review books, ARC’s before they come out, and just plain blogging, my personal reads have fallen into the land of Forgotten. So I decided to take part in Roll Back Week where for the entire week I read older books that had been sitting on my shelf collecting dust. Given the fact that Thanksgiving was this week and it was also the only week I had to spend with the Mr. before he went off for training, I didn’t read as much as I’d hoped. I was shooting for a book a day. What I got was three and a half books… I’m still reading the fourth book.

I know I’m not alone on this though, with so many books coming out and review requests coming in, how do you stay on top of it all? Do you make time to read your personal books or are they like mine, forgotten on the shelf? I’m having a rough time trying to juggle personal and blog reading. There are so many series that I’ve started, like Bloodlines by Richelle Mead, and LOVED but now just buy the books if I remember and put them on the shelf next to the others to read at a later date. You can imagine with doing this my bookshelves are overflowing with books since I’m not actually reading them and instead just saving them up for later. Which is why I’m giving away the four books I read during the Roll Back Week. With doing the challenge I realized that there are good books on my shelf just waiting to be read. Maybe I will try to alternate between reading personal and review books. Maybe I will continue to take a week off every month and just read personal books. I have more than enough on my bookshelves, I don’t even want to think about the hundreds of books on my e-readers. :cringes:

How do you juggle your personal reads and the review books?

1giveaway

 photo 4books_zps7946bf9e.jpg
Hold Me by Betsy Horvath
Hot Property by Carly Phillips
Risking Her Heart by Liz Allison, Wendy Etherington
Jewel of Atlantis by Gena Showalter

Giveaway is US only

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review: Handcuffed in Housewares by Nikki Duncan

17730610Handcuffed in Housewares
(Tulle and Tulips, #3)
By: Nikki Duncan
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Published: Aug. 20 2013
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Rating:
PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N

Some couples just click. Others require a hard hat and a stud finder.Monday mornings have a reputation for sucking, and today is no different for Burton Anderson. One year ago, his “perfect” life full of prestige, money, success and travel crumbled in the glaring light of betrayal.

This morning? This close to making his new construction business a success, a date gone awry has left him handcuffed to a toilet in a housewares store. Naked. And the first customer of the day is coming down his aisle.

Planning and shopping for other couples’ Big Day is about as wild and crazy as buttoned-up Leigh Schyuler gets. Until she gets an eyeful of Hearth and Home’s daily special. He’s definitely a “designer” temptation while she’s “off the rack”.

But there are risks, and then there are risks. Burton isn’t sure he can once again trust his heart to a woman who holds the power to ruin him. And Leigh discovers too late that indulging in a little no-strings sex is tying her dream of Devoted Love into hopeless knots…

 

1thoughtsThis is a cute short story. Leigh is very conservative and isn’t looking for any crazy one night stands, which is exactly what she stumbles upon when she finds a guy naked and handcuffed to a toilet while in a hardware store. She’s kind enough to assist him in his escape but she never dreams that that first encounter will blossom into a romance. After all, she’s done the whole “bad boy” thing and it’s not something she wants to repeat.

This is a short story, so the romance flourishes at a rapid pace. This can be read as a stand alone but I think I would have enjoyed the story even more had I read the previous two books before diving into this one. You see, the previous main characters are in this story a lot. So I think there would have been more of a bond had I read the previous books. Considering after one night with her friends, Burton is envisioning playing poker with her male friends while her and her female friends go out and shop with their children. Like I said, everything moves at a fast pace since it’s a short story and sometimes for me, that’s just hard for me to wrap my head around.

I liked the way the author thought outside the box to bring these two characters together. There really isn’t any conflict in this story which is okay with me. I hate when there is unnecessary drama. This is just a cute short romantic story that involves a toilet and handcuffs. I will definitely be going back to read the previous books in the story and then I will re-read this to see how it all ties together.

 

1favequote“I wish I could have seen you facing down a naked man cuffed to a commode.”

kRISTIN