• Splintered - AG HowardSplintered
  • A Matter of Fate - Heather Lyons
  •  inescapable - amy a bartol
  •  graceling - kristin cashore
  •  someone to love - addison moore
  •  breaking beautiful - jennifer shaw wolf
  •  the perfect game - j sterling
  •  the edge of never - ja redmerski
  •  independence - shelly crane

Thursday, December 26, 2013

{Review} A Risk Worth Taking by Heather Hildenbrand & Merry Bloody Christmas Excerpt

A Risk Worth Taking
by Heather Hildenbrand
Publisher: Accendo Press
Source: Purchased
Available as of October 22, 2013
Amazon | Barnes & Noble
When 22-year-old Summer Stafford’s parents split halfway through her senior year at college, Summer’s world is rocked. Everything she thought she knew—heck, everything she thought she wanted for her own life—feels like a lie. The truth is love is a risk. And the true kind, the kind that lasts, might even be a fairy tale.

Reeling from the divorce, Summer derails her own future by breaking up with her parent-approved boyfriend and giving up her lifelong plans for a big-city career. She moves back home, business degree in hand. Dad needs her to fill the gaps her mother left behind; Summer needs to find who she is outside of the cookie-cutter life that failed so miserably for her parents.

Ford O’Neal’s future involves one person: himself. He doesn’t have a permanent address and he definitely doesn’t commit. To a place or a person. Raised by hippies, he plans just far enough ahead to secure his next stop, this one landing him at a work-study program at Heritage Plantation where he can grow his own herbal and medicinal creations.

Summer is gorgeous and smart and fun to be with, the perfect way to pass five months. It won’t be love—Ford’s got too many things to accomplish, too many places to go, before he settles down. Yet Summer pulls him in, challenging him to rethink his own philosophy.

When Ford’s five months are up, each of them must decide if love is really worth the risk.

Overall Rating

Some of you may know how much I love Heather Hildenbrand... and her writing. If you don't, I suggest you go check out every post with her name in it. A Risk Worth Taking is her first new adult contemporary novel.

When first cracking open this story Summer is a college graduate who heads home because her mother abandoned her father and, because of this, is pissed off, recently single, and not living the life she anticipated. Ford, on the other hand, just arrived at Heritage Plantation and is only planning on a short stay. A few months changes everything.

What I loved most about this story is that the characters stuck with me. I purchased this book the day it released on Amazon back in October and started reading it. While I didn't get to finish it in one or even two sittings I did (finally!) finish it on December 14th. When it takes me more than a month to read a book, I normally forget characters names, their stories, and how they got to where they are. This was not the case with A Risk Worth Taking. Summer and Ford were so memorable, that when I did get a chance to finish the story I read a single paragraph and was able to recall everything that had transpired in the earlier pages. I also liked that this story didn't solely focus on the budding relationship between Summer and Ford. Both of them had problems of their own that they worked through on the side. 

There isn't one negative thing I could say about this story. Some people may not like that one or two pivotal scenes don't show how they end, but I liked that because it added to the mystery of what happened. Those scenes were later described through either Summer or Ford's eyes in flashbacks. 

Overall, this book was a fantastic first new adult novel for an author who usually writes young adult paranormal books. If you enjoy reading NA or Heather's other stories, you should most definitely pick this book up.

From Dirty Blood
my review
     I nodded, still reeling from the kiss and the weight of his eyes, and let him pull me toward the door. “So there’s going to be others at this meeting? Like other Werewolves?”
     “Yes, some.” He raised his eyebrow in a challenge. “I thought you said you weren’t scared.”
     “I’m not. I just—what if some of them aren’t happy with me about Liliana?”
     “Tara, no one’s mad at you. They all understand it wasn’t your fault. You had no choice. Besides, we’re pretty sure Liliana was a double agent.”
     “Like I have any idea what that means,” I mumbled.
     “You don’t have to do this, you know. Get involved, I mean. We’ll still protect you.”
     His tone was gentle and meant to be reassuring but I bristled at what he was suggesting. “So, just stay home and hide out while somebody out there takes a shot at everyone I care about? Let a pack of strangers
fight my battles for me?”
     “That’s not what I meant.”
     “I said I wouldn’t freak out again, and I meant it. I’m going to do whatever it takes to find this guy and stop him from hurting people.”
     He nodded, something unreadable in his eyes. “Okay, then.”
     I stopped short, throwing a glance at my closet. “Can I have a minute to change?”
     “I’ll be downstairs.”
     I listened to the sound of his footsteps on the stairs, already feeling bad for snapping at him. I hated my temper, and I hated when it got the better of me even more. But he’d started it, with suggesting I stick my head in the sand. That just wasn’t me.
     When I was sure he wasn’t going to pop his head back in, I took the plunger pieces out of my backpack and stuffed them into my back jeans pockets. Like before, I pulled my shirt down to hide them. Then I pulled on my boots, grabbed my sweatshirt, and headed downstairs. Wes was waiting for me at the door.
     “I’m going to pull the car around. Wait here,” he said.
     I nodded, and he slipped around the side of the house. I turned the key in the lock on the front door and then dropped my keys into my bag. As I did, a familiar tingly feeling hit me, and crawled along my skin, underneath my jacket. My head came up, and I scanned my yard, looking for the source.
     Just like earlier, I saw no one, but I wasn’t going to let it go so easily this time. I flattened myself against the house and crept to the corner, but when I peeked around, it was empty. The quiet purr of an engine broke the silence, and I saw the Aston Martin coming down the street, sleek and silver. The tingly feeling abruptly disappeared.
     I hurried down to the curb.
     Wes pulled to a stop, and I climbed in, grateful that he’d already been blasting the heat. I held my hands up to the vents as he pulled away.
     “When you picked me up just now, did you feel anything?” I asked, as we curved through the neighborhood.
     He glanced over, sharply. “No—did you?”
     “I don’t know. I think so …”
     Wes slammed his foot on the brake, and the car jerked to a stop. I felt myself slam forward, and then the seat belt caught and held me in place. Wes swerved the car onto the shoulder, and a spray of gravel flew up behind us as we came to a halt. “What did you feel?”
     “The same feeling I got at the pool hall. A Werewolf.”
     Wes responded by flooring the gas and jerking the wheel hard to the left. We spun around in a U-turn and sped back through my neighborhood. A second later the car lurched to another stop. Wes threw his door open and then he was out of the car, striding quickly across my front lawn, scanning the yard as he went.
     I reluctantly followed, carefully aware of my body’s nerve endings but there was no trace of tingles this time. I waited on the lawn while Wes did a circle of the house. When he walked back over to me, the disapproval was plain on his face.
     “You should have told me right away,” he said.
     “It was already gone by the time you pulled up,” I said defensively. “Besides, I figured I was just being paranoid, like the other day.”
     His eyes immediately narrowed, making me regret the admission.
     “What do you mean ‘like the other day’?”
     “I got the same feeling in the mall parking lot on Friday night.” I shrugged like it was no big deal. “It went away, though, and I didn’t see anything suspicious so I figured it was nothing, maybe an aftershock of my encounter with Liliana or something.”
     A muscle in his jaw flexed. “Hunters don’t have aftershocks.”
     He squeezed his eyes shut and ran a hand over his face. “Next time, tell me immediately, okay?”
     “Okay,” I agreed.
     “You do realize that someone is possibly trying to kill you, right?”
     “Yes,” I said, my voice icy. I crossed my arms in front of me.
     “You’re impossible,” he said, throwing his arms up.
     “And you’re overprotective.”
     Wes looked down at me like he was about to launch into another lecture. Instead, he shook his head and got back in the car. And just like that, the feeling of connection that had lingered since our kiss evaporated.

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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

{Review} Fifty Shades Trilogy by E.L. James

by E.L. James
Pages: 385
Read: December 2013
Amazon - Box Set
When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms.

Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success—his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family—Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey’s secrets and explores her own dark desires.

Erotic, amusing, and deeply moving, the Fifty Shades Trilogy is a tale that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever.

Pages: 532
Daunted by the singular tastes and dark secrets of the beautiful, tormented young entrepreneur Christian Grey, Anastasia Steele has broken off their relationship to start a new career with a Seattle publishing house.

But desire for Christian still dominates her every waking thought, and when he proposes a new arrangement, Anastasia cannot resist. They rekindle their searing sensual affair, and Anastasia learns more about the harrowing past of her damaged, driven and demanding Fifty Shades.

While Christian wrestles with his inner demons, Anastasia must confront the anger and envy of the women who came before her, and make the most important decision of her life.

Fifty Shades Freed
Pages: 579
When unworldly student Anastasia Steele first encountered the driven and dazzling young entrepreneur Christian Grey it sparked a sensual affair that changed both of their lives irrevocably. Shocked, intrigued, and, ultimately, repelled by Christian’s singular erotic tastes, Ana demands a deeper commitment. Determined to keep her, Christian agrees.

Now, Ana and Christian have it all—love, passion, intimacy, wealth, and a world of possibilities for their future. But Ana knows that loving her Fifty Shades will not be easy, and that being together will pose challenges that neither of them would anticipate. Ana must somehow learn to share Christian’s opulent lifestyle without sacrificing her own identity. And Christian must overcome his compulsion to control as he wrestles with the demons of a tormented past.

Just when it seems that their strength together will eclipse any obstacle, misfortune, malice, and fate conspire to make Ana’s deepest fears turn to reality.

Overall Rating
 photo 3star_zpsb37dc4d2.png

For the longest time I said I would never read this trilogy. However, I read a sample of the first book a few months ago and decided to give it a try. I attempted to find a copy I could borrow from friends because I refused to spend $30 on fan fiction of Twilight, but that didn't happen. So, last week I broke down and bought the Kindle box set when it was on sale for $8.

Unlike Bella in Twilight, Ana had a little bit of a personality. She had her own thoughts and didn't rely on Christian Grey for her happiness; however, she did find most of it with him. Like Bella, her thoughts revolved around Grey, usually the kink associated with him. Christian on the other hand was very domineering and overbearing. He has a f*cked up past and issues he needs to work through.

There were a number of things I enjoyed about this trilogy. I loved Ana's inner thought bubble. Her inner 'goddess' was adorable especially when she was hiding or pouting. The conversations between Ana and Mr. Grey were amusing and was the only thing that really kept me reading. I loved that I occasionally found myself blushing or looking forward to getting back to the book. 

I could give a laundry list of things I didn't like about this series, but I'll only list a few worth mentioning. First, the writing itself is elementary and devoid of varying sentence structure and, at times, proper paragraphs. I never felt that I was a stickler for proper, varied sentences/paragraphs, but this just ate at me while reading because it was the same thing over and over. Next, the words chosen in some instances lacked sense. For example, when Ana went to meet Mr. Grey's parents sans underwear the word choice changed from saying 'underwear' to 'culotte.' If you look up the definition, culotte means "women's flared trousers cut to look like a skirt" which is not at all underwear. Needless to say, the higher level diction didn't match the poor writing. Beyond the writing capabilities the author was clearly lacking, I often got annoyed with Ana and Grey. They solved most of their problems with one thing, which is never a good foundation for a relationship of any sort. After a while I got bored reading. It was always problem, frustration, sex, sex, good for a day, problem, frustration, sex, sex, good for a day, ect. 

Overall, this trilogy wasn't as horrible as I thought it would be, but it wasn't that fantastic either. At times I looked forward to reading it, other times I dreaded having to have a dictionary next to me to figure out what exactly the author was getting at. Is it worth reading? Sure. Would I buy it at full price? No. Wait for a sale or borrow the books.

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