Wednesday, May 29, 2013

On Every Street (The Artists Trilogy #.5) by Karina Halle

On Every Street (The Artists Trilogy, #0.5)On Every Street by Karina Halle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow! This really provided a lot more depth to Ellie and really helped me finally connect with her character. After reading Sins & Needles I really felt like I loved the book in spite of Ellie. She did stuff that I hated, and it was hard to connect to her. I feel like I know her a lot better now, and I'm excited to re-read Sins and Needles and see if my new understanding provides a different experience this time around. I was in love with Camden going into this, and he's still my pick now. However, it was really something to experience the steaming hot mess of a dysfunctional relationship that was Javier and Eden. Even knowing that he was a psychopath going in, and knowing how things were going to end- it was still a gut punch when it happened and I really felt it along with Ellie/Eden. A great prequel, and I would highly recommend that anyone who enjoyed Sins and Needles read this while we anxiously await the next installment in the series.

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Monday, May 27, 2013

Tangled by Emma Chase

Tangled (Tangled, #1)Tangled by Emma Chase
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I think I read a little too much hype about this book before reading it myself and that may have set the bar a little too high. I did read right through it though, and really ended up liking pretty much everyone. I think my main problem was that sometimes I felt like I was a little too aware of the author and not immersed enough in the character (specifically Drew) to not even think about someone writing the book.

All in all- I loved Kate, I loved Alexandra, I loved Mackenzie, I loved Drew's friends, and I ended up loving Drew as well. Even though he was pretty much a spoiled brat- he still worked hard, and stood up for the right things at the right time. With a couple of glaring exceptions during his initial "competition" with Kate over work stuff, and the one big lie that bit him in the ass the hardest- he was really pretty straight forward and honest. I'm generally of the mind that I don't care what you do or what your "relationships" look like as long as there isn't deceit involved, and everyone consents. I love his relationship with Mackenzie. I also thought the chemistry between Drew and Kate was great- and just kept getting better.

I think humor is a tricky thing and one of my issues is that I kept hearing how hilarious this book was, and while I did find a lot of parts funny, and even smiled to myself a few times- I never quite got to that laughing out loud point. And I wanted to. I really did. I like a good dose of hilarity with my smut. I've gotten there with some of Alice Clayton's books, and there are parts of Seduction and Snacks that I can just think about long after reading that book and still totally start giggling. I never quite got all the way there in the cracking up department with this one.

Even with all the things I didn't quite love, I still find myself thinking about the characters and the story after I've finished it. That is generally a sign that the author did something right. I would read more in this series, and I'm hoping we get Delores and Matthew's story! I really enjoyed that gal too.

There is a great epilogue on Emma Chase's website from Kate's POV. http://www.emmachase.net

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Saturday, May 25, 2013

Naked by Megan Hart

NakedNaked by Megan Hart
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I always forget how much I like Megan Hart's books until I'm reading one again. She is good at the hot stuff while not skimping on the shitty parts of life and relationships. I always find that pretty refreshing. I'm sure this could be read as a standalone, but I think it was much more interesting reading this after Tempted, and Everything Changes. I think part of what made this interesting was seeing Alex through Olivia's eyes in the context of their relationship after also being introduced to him through Anne's perspective in Tempted, and hearing some of his own voice in Everything Changes. I was waiting to see what he would and wouldn't reveal to Olivia. I think knowing what he went through in Tempted gave a lot more weight and understanding to some of the things he said to Olivia, that someone reading this book first would not quite have had in perspective.

I really enjoyed Olivia. I especially liked seeing her dig her way out of a toxic relationship/friendship that had been weighing her down for a long time, and affecting her negatively to the benefit of the other person. I liked her honesty and her personality in general. I liked that she and Alex could find their way back to each other after arguing or struggling through something.

It is really Alex that kept me reading this series though. I was really cheering him on and hoping that he would find something real and meaningful for himself. I'm not particularly a fan of Jamie (or James), and Anne is an okay character, but I didn't connect with her all the way in Tempted. I completely understand those old friends who you act like a different person with because of a long history and because you were someone different when you were close to them. That said, I thought it was a little ridiculous the way Alex and Jamie were acting when they got together this time. It seemed a little over the top.

We also get to spend a little time with Elle and Dan, and that just made me want to go back and re-read
Dirty- which I loved.

One last thing- I found it odd that the description of this book makes it seem like Olivia knows things that she really doesn't. I think part of the grit of this book is the reader of the series knowing information about Alex's past that Olivia doesn't yet know and we aren't sure how she is going to learn.

I'm glad I read this since it re-connected me with these characters, and introduced me to some new ones. It also re-instated my desire to go back and re-read some of this author's other work. I would read another in this series if the author writes one because I would like to see how Alex and Olivia move forward from here.

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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Stealing Harper (Taking Chances, #2)Stealing Harper by Molly McAdams
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I don't think this book really helped the series any. Somehow I find Chase less likable now than I did after reading Taking Chances. Like when we had to speculate about his feelings and behaviors from Harper's perspective, they somehow seemed less whiny and immature than when we are presented with them from his own head. Chase's constant tormenting of Brandon was just ridiculous as were his repeated allusions that something was going on between himself and Harper before it was just to get a rise out of Brandon. Chase was completely unpleasant, and just because he finally met a woman that he didn't want to treat like shit, I don't think that means he should just "get her". I do actually like the post-hook up Chase- but it is nearly impossible to understand how he and Harper got to that point with how asinine his character behaves and is up until that point. I do end up caring about Chase, and I love his family. The way they take Harper in and provide her with the love and support she has not had in her life previously is very endearing- but even now, I'm still team Brandon.

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Monday, May 20, 2013

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Sweet Thing by Renee Carlino- Review!

Sweet Thing (Sweet Thing, #1)Sweet Thing by Renée Carlino
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoy any book that gets me feeling for and with the characters. I felt a lot with this one. Mia is a 25 year old music prodigy with a business degree from Brown who moves to New York after the death of her father to take over his apartment and the coffee shop he owned that meant a lot to him and many others. Will is a musician who is quickly taken with Mia after they meet on an airplane and discover they are able to relate to each other about all things musical in a pretty strong way. Once they are both in New York they reconnect and Will ends up renting a room from Mia. She decides quickly that she wants to keep Will in her life as long as possible and believes that the only sure way to do that is to keep things on a platonic level. He makes it clear he would like more than friendship from her, and she consistently struggles with her strong attraction to him.

This is a book about figuring out who you really are, and figuring out how to live and grieve and love. This book could have turned hokey on any number of occasions, but it always managed to stay on the side of feeling authentic rather than contrived. It was refreshing to read characters that didn't feel like carbon copies of characters in other books, but with a few minor surface differences. Mia was an easy protagonist to connect and feel with. She goes through a lot and even when I didn't agree with her choices, I was willing to ride things out with her and trust her to grow and do better moving forward. I definitely felt the weight she carried around as she dealt with the loss of her father and also started learning new things about her family.

I was ready to find Will irritating after first being introduced to his character, but I (like Mia) got over that pretty quickly and he grew on me fast. This book has a nice amount of angst, which I always love, and kept me engaged throughout. I'm very glad I read this and will be recommending it to others and looking for other books in the future by this author. 4 strong stars (inching towards 4.5).

Friday, May 17, 2013

Waiting For...

There are some sequels I've pre-ordered- or am just waiting for- that will be out this spring/summer, and that I am eagerly anticipating.  None of these are stand-alone books, they are all either sequels or related novellas from another character's perspective.   I often like to go back and do a re-read or at least some skimming/refreshing of the previous books in a series before reading the next one.  Especially if I've been waiting a while for the next installment to come out.  My memory is fairly shifty, and I read a ton which  leads me to confuse or blend characters and story lines.

Stealing Harper by Molly McAdams
Release date: 5/21/13

This novella is Taking Chances from Chase's perspective.  I'm definitely curious how this one will be done.  Due to the twists and turns in Stealing Harper I'm guessing this one should NOT be read without first reading that.

Jet by Jay Crownover
Release date: 5/28/13

I just re-read Rule to get ready for this one.  I love Rule and Shaw so I'm hoping to spend a little time with them here too even though this is Jet and Ayden's story.

Losing Hope by Colleen Hoover
Release date: 7/9/13

This Hopeless from Holder's perspective.  Colleen Hoover can do no wrong by me.  I love everything she writes and I'm sure this will provide some wonderful perspective in this series.

Faking It by Cora Carmack
Release date: 6/04/13

This is the second in the Losing It series- the first being Losing It.  This is Cade's book and takes place after he moves to Philadelphia (where Garrick and Bliss are as well).

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls 
by David Sedaris

I'm a fan of pretty much anything David Sedaris writes, says, does, etc.  I think he's hilarious and wonderful.  If you are a fan of this author, you should definitely read (or listen to) Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls.  It is a collection of essays in typical Sedaris fashion.  Most are based on his own life, thoughts, experiences, neurosis, family, etc. and then a couple are just straight up satire.  In the case of this book- I would definitely recommend listening to the audiobook if you have that option.  It is narrated by the author himself, and if you have ever seen him read or perform his own work you will know just how much he can enhance something that is already great.  I listened to the audio version of this, and there were a couple times when not only would I laugh out loud, but I would remember something days later and would find myself chuckling at random times.  In a grocery store, public bathroom, generally anywhere that it might be weird for someone to be laughing out loud while they are seemingly unprovoked.  The great thing about his particular brand of humor is often a little edge to it where you feel a little bit ashamed for finding it so funny.  Was I just cracking up about child abuse?  He does a great job of making you feel a part of everything he is describing.  It is easy to get immersed in these essays, and there is a feeling of loss when they are none left to enjoy.  4 strong stars.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Own the Wind (Chaos #1) by Kristen Ashley

This was the first book of Ashley's that I read after she went pro (Grand Central Publishing vs her previously self-published titles).  While this has the same feel as her other books- the main difference I noticed between pro-Ashley and indie-Ashley was the length.  One of the things I loved about her self-published books was that they were super long.  I'm sure that exact thing was someone else's complaint.  I'm sure that editors all over the place addressed that very issue first.  But I miss the crazy length.  I loved spending all that extra time in the lives of her main characters.  That said- this book scratched my KA itch just fine.

One of the things I love about her books is the interconnectedness of her characters between books and even between series.  You will regularly see or hear about characters from other books pop up, and for me that always feels good.  With this book- there were the obvious connections as this was a spin-off series related to the Chaos Motorcycle Club that we learn about throughout the Dream Man series.  Specifically- this book is about Tack's (of Motorcycle Man fame) daughter Tabatha and Shy, who is one of the higher ranking brothers in Chaos MC.

Tabby has been in love with Shy since she was 16 years old.  At that point in time Shy was in his early 20s in addition to Tabby being the daughter of the president of his MC so she was not an appropriate object of his lust at that time. Shy is called upon by the MC (as are other members of the club) to bail Tabby out of trouble she gets into during her late teens and to keep her safe from too much partying and dangerous boys.  When Tabby is 19- Shy bails her out of trouble again and attempts to teach her a lesson to encourage her to get her life on track.  It works in that Tabby stays out of trouble, goes to college and falls in love.  It also prevents Tabby from having anything to do with Shy for several years.  Shortly before Tabby is set to get married, a devastating event occurs that completely changes everything for her.  She and Shy connect again as friends, but as she heals and grows that turns into a whole lot more.

For any Kristen Ashley reader- this whole book will feel very familiar.  Many of her alpha-male characters share a number of qualities that feel sort of like her signature.  There are subtle variations, however, you can expect that like her male leads in previous books- Shy is bossy, stubborn, hot, protective, and perfect in the sack.  Tabby is pretty, sassy, and as the daughter of Tack- well equipped to handle a biker man and the biker lifestyle.  Themes of love, family, sex, and the importance of knowing and being who you are flow throughout the book as they do through many of her books.  You know what though?  I don't care if it's similar or familiar.  I think all of us know exactly what we are getting when we pick up one of her books, and then we are happy once we've gotten it.  She's an author with a signature writing style, and it easily hooks readers and makes a lot of long-term fans.  I'd give this 4 stars.  I'll likely read more in this series as well as her others.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Hi! I read a lot. I really enjoy writing my thoughts and feelings about what I read after I'm finished with a book.  I do this in part because my memory is shifty and I read so many books I start blending stories and characters together.  I also enjoy sharing my opinion as well as discussing thoughts and ideas with other readers.  Here's a link to my Goodreads profile, which is where I do a lot of interacting and book chatting. I'd love to hear your thoughts and opinions on any of the books mentioned here, or take suggestions for what to read next.