Review: Darkness Brutal by Rachel A. Marks

Darkness Brutal
(The Dark Cycle #1)
by Rachel A. Marks
Publisher: Skyscape
Publication Date: July 1, 2015
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Rating:

Aidan O’Linn’s childhood ended the night he saw a demon kill his mother and mark his sister, Ava, with Darkness. Since then, every three years the demons have returned to try to claim her. Living in the gritty, forgotten corners of Los Angeles, Aidan has managed to protect his sister, but he knows that even his powers to fight demons and speak dead languages won’t keep her safe for much longer.

In desperation, Aidan seeks out the help of Sid, the enigmatic leader of a group of teens who run LA Paranormal, an Internet reality show that fights demons and ghosts. In their company, Aidan believes he’s finally found a haven for Ava. But when he meets Kara, a broken girl who can spin a hypnotic web of passionate energy, he awakens powers he didn’t know he had―and unleashes a new era of war between the forces of Light and the forces of Darkness.

With the fate of humanity in his hands, can Aidan keep the Darkness at bay and accept his brilliant, terrifying destiny?

 

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Review: Every Dog Has His Day by Jenn McKinlay

Every Dog Has His Day
(Bluff Point #3)
by Jenn McKinlay
Publisher: Berkley Romance
Publication Date: Jan. 2, 2018
Genre: Romance
Rating:

A stray kitten and a rambunctious poodle bring together a small-town bachelor and a single mother in the latest romance set in Bluff Point, Maine.

Bluff Point brewery owner Zachary Caine wants nothing to do with commitment. His wild bachelor lifestyle suits him perfectly—until a foster kitten named Chaos makes him a reluctant hero. Now he’s BFFs with the kitten’s two little girls and finds himself falling for their gorgeous mother, who couldn’t think less of him.

Divorced mother Jessie Connelly wants nothing to do with men like Zach. He’s sexy and charismatic and bad news, just like her ex. But her girls adore him, and he’s doing a good job filling in for their deadbeat dad. Then a snowstorm brings out the best in both neighbors, who, it turns out, have more in common than their mutual attraction…

So when Jessie’s past threatens her and her girls, Zach is determined to do whatever it takes to protect them—and live happily ever after with this family he has made his own.

 

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Some of my favorite holiday movies

‘Tis the season to be running around getting last-minute stuff done before the holidays. While Christmas is my absolute favorite holiday, I am not a fan of all the stress that goes along with it. It doesn’t help that all my friends and family are three time zones away from me. So, I have to purchase and order stuff way in advance so that I can wrap it and ship it out in time. Craziness I tell you. However, while the weeks may be non-stop between various errands and last-minute post office runs, I always make sure to veg out on the weekend and watch some of my favorite holiday movies. Ironically enough, this book blogger does not read holiday books… and I’m sure there are a ton of holiday romances out there. I just like my movies. Plus, if I’m being honest with your guys, I’ve been trying to read the same book for almost two weeks now. 🙁 Not because it’s bad or anything, I just don’t have time to sit down and read. So, movies are definitely my thing.

 

While I don’t read holiday stories, I do feel like I still get bookworm points for watching the Harry Potter saga every year. We always start watching the movies around Halloween time, and then slowly watch a movie every weekend up until Christmas. I’m not overly sure when it started but it’s been a thing of ours for the last handful of years. All I know is that it’s the perfect holiday series to watch because they incorporate the holidays into the films. So, while it’s not a movie that revolves solely around Christmas, it does have mention the holidays, and they open presents… so that has to count for something, right?

 

 

We also watch Elf every year. I mean, how could you not? It’s a story about a human baby who crawls into Santa’s bag of presents while Santa is putting presents under the tree. He travels all the way to the North Pole (where they realize that there’s a stowaway on board) and is raised by the elves. When he’s an adult, he decides he wants to meet his real father and makes the journey to NYC to find his dad. Let’s just say that things don’t go quite as planned. To me, there’s no better holiday story out there. It’s funny, endearing, and it never fails to put me into the holiday spirit. Plus, The Mister loves everything Will Ferrel is in, so this is an absolute must for us every year.

 

 

Another must for us is Four Christmases. While The Mister is a huge Will Ferrel fan, I seem to love any movie Vince Vaughn is in. Then you add Reese Witherspoon into the mix and you have a really great duo. If you don’t know about the story, it’s essentially about this couple who instead of going home for the holidays, they make up this crazy lie about volunteering in some third world country when they really go on an exotic vacation. However, due to bad weather, all flights are cancelled and they are strong armed into going to see their families for the holidays. Both of their parents are divorced… and their families are a bit dysfunctional and crazy, which makes for some hilarious moments. The Mister and I have even used their code-word “Mistletoe” when we are out and about, and one of us has had enough and is ready to get out of there without outwardly saying so.

 

 

And last but certainly not least, one of my all time favorites is White Christmas. I used to watch this movie with my parents when it would play on the TV every year around the holidays. So, when I got married and moved away, I made sure I had the movie on DVD so that I could watch it every year like I did growing up. It’s just a classic. The story revolves around two old Army pals (who are now big entertainers) who come across their old commanding officer (who runs a snow lodge) while on break for the holidays. The only problem is… there’s no snow. Needless to say, there are no visitors staying at the snow lodge when there’s no snow. With money being tight and the future looking grim for their old commanding officer, they decide to put on a Broadway show at the lodge to attract people to visit. There are a couple of surprises thrown in there for him and let’s just say it’s kind of emotional. I cry my eyes out every time they line up in their old uniforms and sing “The Old Man”. Gah. It guts me every time… but they are happy tears. If you’ve seen the movie, you know what I’m talking about.

 

 

Oh wait! I forgot to mention our actual Christmas day tradition! So, a couple years ago, when The Force Awakens came out, a couple of friends of ours asked us if we wanted to see the movie with them on Christmas morning. The Mister and I had nothing going on and hadn’t seen the movie yet so we decided to go. I’ve honestly never been out and about on Christmas before. Usually I stay inside, play with my new gifts, stuff my face with food, and watch movies. So, it was a whole new experience going out to eat and going to see a movie on Christmas day. The following year, we were just hanging out around the house when The Mister randomly tells me he wanted to see the new Star Wars movie. He really liked going on Christmas day the past year and wanted to do it again. It was fun, but our friends weren’t able to come out with us, so we just wound up going to see the movie and then coming straight home. Since The Mister has declared this our new Christmas thing, I got together with our friends and we looked for a fancy movie theater, the one with recliner seating, and was able to find one that still had seats available on Christmas day. Seriously, who knew Christmas was the day to see Star Wars? We are clearly not the only ones who have made a tradition out of this. Anyway, it’s a relatively new tradition here, and one that is reliant on Disney cranking out a Star Wars movie every year right before the holidays. But as long as they keep on the same schedule, we will have a fun Christmas day tradition. 🙂

 

Anyway, those are our Christmas movie traditions. There are so many holiday movies out there though. What are some of your favorite holiday movies to watch this time of year?

 

 

 

Review: Red Handed by Shelly Bell

Red Handed
(Benediction #2)
by Shelly Bell
Publisher: Avon Red Impulse
Publication date: April 14, 2015
Genre: Erotica
Rating:

An exhibitionist who’s waited her whole life to be seen …

After her stepmother is abducted, Danielle Walker has no choice but to follow the kidnapper’s cryptic instructions. Under the guise of a sex slave trainee, she must infiltrate Cole DeMarco’s BDSM club and find evidence of his offshore bank account … or she’ll never see her stepmother alive again. But Master Cole is no stranger, and despite the dark past they share, Danielle cannot resist his magnetic pull.

The voyeur who’s always been watching …

As Danielle begins uncovering Cole’s secrets, the artistic voyeur arouses her deepest desires, and she surrenders to a fiery passion she never expected. But with time running out to save her stepmother, Danielle and Cole will face off against an evil growing more ruthless by the day … and discover a twisted web of lies, betrayal, and murder that neither saw coming.

 

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Review: Menagerie by Rachel Vincent

Menagerie
(Menagerie #1)
by Rachel Vincent
Publisher: MIRA
Publication date: Sept. 29, 2015
Genre: Fantasy
Rating:

When Delilah Marlow visits a famous traveling carnival, Metzger’s Menagerie, she is an ordinary woman in a not-quite-ordinary world. But under the macabre circus black-top, she discovers a fierce, sharp-clawed creature lurking just beneath her human veneer. Captured and put on exhibition, Delilah in her black swan burlesque costume is stripped of her worldly possessions, including her own name, as she’s forced to “perform” in town after town.

But there is breathtaking beauty behind the seamy and grotesque reality of the carnival. Gallagher, her handler, is as kind as he is cryptic and strong. The other “attractions”—mermaids, minotaurs, gryphons and kelpies—are strange, yes, but they share a bond forged by the brutal realities of captivity. And as Delilah struggles for her freedom, and for her fellow menagerie, she’ll discover a strength and a purpose she never knew existed.

 

 

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Sneak Peek Wednesday: The Last Wolf by Maria Vale

The Last Wolf
(The Legend of All Wolves #1)
by Maria Vale
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication date: Feb. 6, 2018
Gere: Paranormal Romance

For three days out of thirty, when the moon is full and her law is iron, the Great North Pack must be wild.

If she returns to her Pack, the stranger will die.
But if she stays…

Silver Nilsdottir is at the bottom of her Pack’s social order, with little chance for a decent mate and a better life. Until the day a stranger stumbles into their territory, wounded and beaten, and Silver decides to risk everything on Tiberius Leveraux. But Tiberius isn’t all he seems, and in the fragile balance of the Pack and wild, he may tip the destiny of all wolves…

 

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Review: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Six of Crows
(Six of Crows #1)
by Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Publication date: Sept. 29, 2015
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Rating:

Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker has been offered wealth beyond his wildest dreams. But to claim it, he’ll have to pull off a seemingly impossible heist:

Break into the notorious Ice Court
(a military stronghold that has never been breached)

Retrieve a hostage
(who could unleash magical havoc on the world)

Survive long enough to collect his reward
(and spend it)

Kaz needs a crew desperate enough to take on this suicide mission and dangerous enough to get the job done – and he knows exactly who: six of the deadliest outcasts the city has to offer. Together, they just might be unstoppable – if they don’t kill each other first.

 

 

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Review: Roomies by Christina Lauren

Roomies
by Christina Lauren
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: Dec. 5, 2017
Genre: Romance
Rating:

Marriages of convenience are so…inconvenient.

Rescued by Calvin McLoughlin from a would-be subway attacker, Holland Bakker pays the brilliant musician back by pulling some of her errand-girl strings and getting him an audition with a big-time musical director. When the tryout goes better than even Holland could have imagined, Calvin is set for a great entry into Broadway—until he admits his student visa has expired and he’s in the country illegally.

Holland impulsively offers to wed the Irishman to keep him in New York, her growing infatuation a secret only to him. As their relationship evolves from awkward roommates to besotted lovers, Calvin becomes the darling of Broadway. In the middle of the theatrics and the acting-not-acting, what will it take for Holland and Calvin to realise that they both stopped pretending a long time ago?

 

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Sneak Peek Wednesday: Murder on the Lake of Fire by Mikel J. Wilson

Murder on the Lake of Fire
(Mourning Dove Mysteries #1)
by Mikel J. Wilson
Publisher: Acorn Publishing
Publication date: Dec. 1, 2017
Genre: LGBTQ+, Mystery, Romance

At twenty-three and with a notorious case under his belt, Emory Rome has already garnered fame as a talented special agent for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. His career is leapfrogging over his colleagues, but the jumping stops when he’s assigned a case he fought to avoid – an eerie murder in the Smoky Mountain hometown he had abandoned. The mysterious death of a teen ice-skater once destined for the pros is soon followed by an apparent case of spontaneous human combustion. In a small town bursting with friends and foes, Rome’s own secrets lie just beneath the surface. The rush to find the murderer before he strikes again pits him against artful private investigator Jeff Woodard. The PI is handsome, smart and seductive, and he just might be the killer Rome is seeking.

 

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Review: Blind Attraction by Eden Summers

Blind Attraction
(Reckless Beat #1)
by Eden Summers
Publisher: Self-published
Publication date: Jan. 9, 2014
Genre: Romance
Rating:

He can seduce with a single glance.

Peering down at a sea of fans, rock star, Mitchell Davies can’t deny the innocent beauty of a woman in the front row. He’ll stop at nothing to get to know her. When a public altercation leaves her weak and defenseless, he takes the opportunity to be her savior.

She’s been sheltered from the world.

Alana Shelton wants to spread her wings and experience life away from her restrictive upbringing. But she isn’t prepared for a gorgeous stranger to sweep her off her feet while at her most vulnerable.

Attraction will bring them together, but their pasts will try to tear them apart.

He wants to teach her how to trust, but she’ll show him how to love. In a glamorous world of rock-and-roll, only time will tell if they’re up for the challenge.

 

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