Friday, July 26, 2013

Twisted Magic (Ink #2) by Holly Hood- Review

Twisted Magic (Ink, #2)Twisted Magic by Holly Hood
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book picks up about a year after the end of Ink. Hope has been at college over the past school year. She has been talking to Slade nightly on the phone during that time, however, she hasn't seen him since the past summer. Hope arrives home to find that her relationship with Slade isn't quite as solid as she hoped it was. There are a lot of complexities, and it feels like there is a lot Slade isn't telling her. She embraces the fact that she is a witch, but definitely does not want to go down the same dark path as others. Enter Audrey- who is another daughter of the witches who head up the coven and saved the life of Slade and his family. Audrey is not pleasant in any way, and obviously wants Slade. Hope hates her and all the dark magic she represents, and is definitely pissed that Audrey is after her boyfriend in addition to boss her around. As she struggles to determine whether she and Slade have anything left in their relationship to salvage (aside from their continually hot physical connection), Hope meets Hutch, who is a very hot stranger who seems to be able to offer her everything she isn't getting from Slade. Hope feels very alone, and has powers now that she doesn't really understand.

I really struggled through this one in terms of deciding what I wanted for Hope and who I thought she should trust. I wavered between thinking that she should trust Slade, and feeling like he needed to open the hell up and stop being so stoic and secretive. I didn't trust Hutch at first, but as time went on he really did seem like a viable alternative for Hope in terms of guidance in her new life and a potential hot romantic interest that would treat her the way she deserves.

It was hard to witness the disconnection Hope was experiencing between herself and nearly everyone else. Her friendship with Karsen was strained, as well as her relationship with her father. The author does a good job of helping the reader feel along with Hope, throughout the story even though there are a lot of uncomfortable and confusing emotions being experienced.

There is a pretty solid level of angst here, and I liked watching Hope step up and speak out when she needed to and not lose herself in situations where she is pressured to do or be something she she doesn't want. I admire her strength as she fights to stay true to herself despite a lot of adversity. There are some pretty intense situations that come about towards the end of this book, and some definite lines drawn in the sand when it comes to some of the towns people and the outsiders. Hope has some danger coming at her from a few different angles now, and I'm really nervous and excited to see what happens in the next book. I'm still struggling with whether I'm team Slade or team Hutch, but I'll reserve judgement until I know more (and hopefully so will Hope). I'm really looking forward to reading the 3rd book in the series!

*A copy of this book was provided in exchange for an honest review

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Lick by Kylie Scott- Review

Lick (Stage Dive, #1)Lick by Kylie Scott
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Whooo!!! This one kept me reading until there was no more left to read. There really should be a warning on books like these so that you don't start reading them on a work night.

Evelyn wakes up on a bathroom floor in a hotel room in LasVegas the morning after her 21st birthday to find that she has married a rock star. A very famous, very hot rock star. She remembers nothing, he is very angry, and things move pretty fast from there.

Evelyn is an honest and hard-working student from Portland who works, goes to school, and is ready to live out the future that her parents have planned for her. She hasn't really dated much, thanks to an awful first sexual experience, and waking up married to a very sexy famous person doesn't make a lot of sense to her.

David Ferris is completely pissed off and hurt that Evelyn remembers nothing of what to him was a very special evening. After returning from Vegas to find the media camped out all over the homes of Evelyn and her parents, itching to catch a glimpse of this person that has managed to snag the elusive David Ferris, Evelyn is escorted to LA by David's security to hide out a bit and get an annulment from David. Things start out a little rough, but after spending some time together, Evelyn realizes that in addition to being ridiculously attracted to David, their getting together actually makes a little bit of sense. They get to know each other as they explore their intense sexual attraction, and decide to make a go of their impulsive marriage.

As you might guess- drama, angst, betrayal, and the like ensue as David and Evelyn move from hiding out in his private home back to reality. They are torn apart and have to struggle to see whether the intense feelings they share can bring them together somehow.

I loved how open and honest Evelyn was. It was nice to see someone saying what they thought and felt regardless of the consequences. Evelyn was very sweet and kind, but she had a backbone and wasn't afraid to stand up for herself or others in need. David obviously had some issues, but also pleasantly surprised me with his openness and attempt to get his life on track and develop the relationship they both deserve. The sex was fantastic, and I was really hoping the whole time that things would work for them.

The story line was a little predictable, but it really doesn't matter. It hooked me fast and didn't let up. The characters felt fresh and I enjoyed all of it. I will definitely read more by this author- and hopefully there will be more in this series.

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Sunday, July 21, 2013

Eyes Wide Open (The Blackstone Affair #3) by Raine Miller- Review

Eyes Wide Open  (The Blackstone Affair, #3)Eyes Wide Open by Raine Miller
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Eyes Wide Open picks up right where All In leaves us. Brynne and Ethan are at his sister's home after a pretty scary encounter at the event they are attending. We're still not sure exactly who is after Brynne, but we definitely see that things are becoming more dnagerous for her. Even though she and Ethan are both in a place where they have opened themselves up to acknowledging the full extent of their feelings to one another, they are thrown a series of challenges that they aren't sure they will be able to overcome.

I don't want to spoil anything, but I will say that I suspected some things in the last book that proved true in this one. Even through the serious challenges and tragedies faced by both characters, we get to see Brynne and Ethan continue to grow and heal individually with regard to their respective issues, and together in their relationship and the challenges they share.

We learn more about what Ethan's past has done to him, and it is nice to see him realizing that he may need to get some outside help to move through his trauma completely. It is great to see Ethan through the eyes of his family and learn who he was before and after he went to war, as well as see him come back to himself through his relationship with Brynne.

Brynne continues to work through her own issues from the past, as well as everything that is thrown at her in the present. She learns to utilize the support of those who care for her and works to be a healthier person in spite of everything.

The chemistry between Brynne and Ethan just seems to get hotter, if that is even possible. I was cheering them on and kept hope that they would find their way through everything thrown in their path and each get to enjoy the relationship they both deserved with one another. This was a very satisfying end to a great trilogy.

*a copy of this book was provided in exchange for an honest review

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Ink by Holly Hood

Ink (Ink, #1)Ink by Holly Hood
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hope is a 17 year old who is displaced after her parents split up and she moves with her father and two of her brothers to California. She leaved behind in Georgia a school, friends, and a life she loved to make sure her alcoholic father isn't alone as they move into a beach house owned by her grandmother. Hope struggles to adjust to what feels like a completely different world. People in this story aren't what they seem, and it is a challenge for Hope to learn who to trust, who to love, and who to run from.

This is a YA paranormal with an amped up steam factor, and a lot of interesting twists. The reader is left wondering who and what to believe and it is exciting to experience everything with Hope. It took me a little while to get into this story, mostly because I suspected that it might be a predictable YA romance at first. I was quickly and pleasantly surprised when this was not the case. There was not a lot of typical anything going on here, and it kept me engaged and reading straight through. The mysterious elements kept me on edge, and I had a lot of opinions about what I wanted Hope to do and who I wanted her to spend time with.

Slade is an interesting character and just keeps getting more intriguing as the story goes on. And hotter. He just keeps getting hotter too. I enjoyed all of the Slade's "family" too. I hope that we get to know them better as the series continues. There were times when I really didn't know if I could trust him, but I always wanted to.

Hope is a strong person who has been taking care of her father and brothers for a long time, and it is nice seeing her start to take care of herself as the story develops. She gives up a lot to make sure her father isn't alone, but really tries to make the best of her new situation despite almost constant challenges. I love her friendship with Karsen and hope we see more of her in future books in the series too.

The "bad" characters in this story are completely infuriating, and I found myself often pleased with the rational and patient way Hope and Slade were responding to some of the awful things they were subjected to.

The story ends leaving some things resolved, and others made more complex. I can't wait to find out where things go from here and spend more time with Hope as she continues to experience life in a way she never could have predicted. I recommend this, and will definitely be continuing on with the series.

*a copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Kindle Summer This is a joint AUTHOR & BLOGGER GIVEAWAY EVENT! Bloggers & Authors have joined together and each chipped in a little money towards a Kindle Fire HD 7".
Kindle Fire HD 7" Giveaway
The winner will have the option of receiving a 7" Kindle Fire HD (US Only)
  Or $199 Amazon.com Gift Card (International)
  Or $199 in Paypal Cash (International)

Sponsoring Bloggers & Authors

  1. I Am A Reader, Not A Writer
  2. Feed Your Reader
  3. New Adult Addiction
  4. Jessabella Reads
  5. The (Mis)Adventures of a Twenty-Somthing Year Old Girl
  6. Books Unhinged by StacyHgg
  7. S.A. Larsen - Writer's Ally
  8. Author Inger Iverson
  9. The Geeky Gamers
  10. annakyss
  11. Everyday Word Magic
  12. Candance's Book Blog
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  14. SMI Book Club
  15. Laurie Here
  16. Feed Your Fiction Addiction
  17. Phantasmic Reads
  18. The Book Bellas
  19. Please Don't Remove MarGreat's Glasses
  20. Author Jennifer Laurens
  21. J.C. Valentine
  22. Holly Hood
  23. Young Adult Novel Reader
  24. Author Heather Bixler
  25. Literary Meanderings
  26. Suspense Author Kim Cresswell
  27. Mother Daughter & Son Book Review
  28. Meredith's Musings
  29. Auggie Talk
  30. Author Camelia Miron Skiba
  31. Author Lena Sledge
  32. LoriTheAuthor
  33. Author Dianne Venetta
  34. Curling Up with A Good Book
  35. MyLadyWeb
  36. Fae Books
  37. Bea's Book Nook
  38. Girls with Books
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  40. Turning Pages
  41. Bookhounds
  42. Karey White
  43. My Devotional Thoughts
  44. Author Talia Jager
  45. Author Helen Smith
  46. Sher A Hart: Written Art
  47. Author MK McClintock
  48. Word to Dreams
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  50. Tasty Book Tours
  51. Readerlicious
  52. Romance Bookworm's Reviews
  Giveaway Details 1 winner will receive their choice of a Kindle Fire 7" HD (US Only), $199 Amazon Gift Card or $199 in Paypal Cash (International). There is a second separate giveaway for bloggers who post this giveaway on their blog. See details in the rafflecopter on how to enter to win the 2nd Kindle Fire. Sponsor a future Kindle Fire Giveaway by signing up HERE. Ends 8/15/13 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the participating authors & bloggers. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.   a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

All In (The Blackstone Affair #2) by Raine Miller

All In (The Blackstone Affair, #2)All In by Raine Miller
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

All In picks up right where Naked leaves off. Brynne has run away from Ethan after finding out he was hired by her father to protect her. We get this book primarily from Ethan's perspective, which was great. I really felt more connected to him as a character after experiencing things from his perspective for a while. I was really glad to see them work their way back to each other and communicate openly about what they both needed.

We get to learn about Brynne's horrific past, and the way Ethan listens to her and then gives her what she needs in response is great. I really enjoyed how both Ethan and Brynne are aware that the other person has some insecurities, and works to alleviate those when possible. They have both been through some trauma, and I like that they deal with their issues in healthy ways. In Brynne's case, she has been through a lot of counseling, and has the support of her father. It sounds like Ethan has mostly relied on the support of a very select other few who have served in the military during war time, and can understand his situation. He does have a thought that some therapy probably wouldn't hurt him, and I hope he chooses that path at some point in the next book. A lot of books in this genre have the hot sex fixing any and all problems that the characters have. While the relationship between Brynne and Ethan definitely makes them both better and provides them with some happiness and support where there wasn't a lot before for either of them- it isn't magic, and that feels real. I adore Ethan's dirty mouth (as does Brynne), and the sex just keeps getting hotter between them.

Some of Brynne's threats become less possible or theoretical and more real as this installment comes to an end. I'm both scared and excited to see how these threats are dealt with as the story continues. I'm also pretty sure I know something else, but I'll wait until the next book to find out for sure before spilling any possible spoiler beans. Another thing I really liked about this is that it pokes fun at other books in the genre in a hilarious way. Kudos to the author for that unexpected laugh! I can't wait to read the next in the series, and would recommend that anyone who enjoyed Naked read this one.

A digital review copy of this book was provided in exchange for an honest review.

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Monday, July 15, 2013

Book launch for Black Moon (Ink 3) by Holly Hood!

Slade saved her life... but none of that matters anymore... Torn between her love for Slade and her own existence, Hope has to fight to keep one while battling to save the other. They say it all falls apart in the end. Walking away isn’t always easy. Hope believed in Slade… But sometimes belief has a horrible way of destroying your life. Can their love survive or will it all just fall apart?

Enter below to win the 3 books in this series, or an Amazon gift card!
 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Link to book on Amazon

I'll soon be posting a review for the first book in the series.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Pulse (Collide #2) by Gail McHugh

Pulse (Collide, #2)Pulse by Gail McHugh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Emily has found her way out of an abusive relationship, and is desperately trying to find her way into a relationship that may have been ruined before it had a chance to start.

Pulse picks up right where Collide leaves off. Emily is attempting to locate Gavin and get him to forgive her and take a chance on a relationship with her, which is what they both seem to want more than anything. I don't want to spoil anything, so I'm going to keep this pretty brief. Gavin and Emily are great- their chemistry is amazing and they have a hot connection. Dillon is a dick and continues right down that path of dickishness. Trevor and Fallon are still going strong and we get to see Trevor struggle to overcome his choices with regard to his friendship with Dillon and how that affected his relationship with Gavin. Definitely a lot of drama in this one, and it is easy to pick this up and read it straight through to the end.

There is a total Dallas (the 80's TV show) moment that made me want to throttle the author, but mostly because it totally had my emotions all over the place. I would also like to give a shout out to the awesome kind of Alpha that Gavin is.  He's a strong male who cares about protecting those he cares about.  The difference between him and a lot of other literary Alphas is that he does this in a way that doesn't cross the line into controlling.  Sometimes he seems a little too perfect, but isn't that why we all read fiction?

 If you've read and enjoyed Collide- there is no reason you shouldn't pick this one up immediately.

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Collide by Gail McHugh

Collide (Collide, #1)Collide by Gail McHugh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Emily Cooper is a recent college grad who moves to New York to be near her boyfriend who supported her through her mother's terminal illness and passing. She comes to realize that her boyfriend Dillon isn't really the person she thought he was, but she feels tied him by guilt and what she believes is love. Emily meets Gavin Blake, who it turns out she should have met earlier. They have an undeniable attraction, but Emily is attempting to stay faithful to her relationship with Dillon even as he proves to be more controlling and abusive by the day. Gavin, on the other hand, appears to be nothing short of perfection. And he wants Emily. Bad.

At the beginning of the book I struggled with the dialogue a little. It felt a little unrealistic to me. That faded fast, and before I knew it, I was enjoying the characters, the story, and everything seemed to flow nicely. I loved the supporting cast of friends: Olivia, Trevor, and Fallon. All of the supporting characters are intertwined in some way. Olivia is Emily's best friend and current and former college roommate. Trevor is Olivia's brother and good friend of Gavin, and friend and co-worker of Dillon. Fallon is a new friend of Emily's and she becomes Trevor's love interest. One really interesting thing about this book is seeing how each of the supporting characters deal with Dillon's abuse of Emily. Olivia hates Dillon and is very clear about her opinion that Emily should get rid of him. Trevor has conflicting feelings because he cares about Emily, but also considers Dillon a friend. His conflicted feelings, and then dealing with the outcomes of his choices is one of the things I liked about this book. It was a little messy, but it felt real.

It is great ti see Emily finally find her way to her own strength, and make her way to decisions she can live with. It is really hard to experience this story with her while she made choices I didn't agree with. We are left with a cliff-hanger ending, but even though there is a lot we don't know, what we do know is encouraging. I can't wait for the next in the series!

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Friday, July 5, 2013

Naked (The Blackstone Affair #1) by Raine Miller

Naked (The Blackstone Affair, #1)Naked by Raine Miller
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Brynne Bennett is an American completing her graduate studies in London. She poses for artistic nude photographs taken by her artist friend as a way to makes some extra money. Ethan Blackstone is a charismatic and successful man who purchases one of her nude portraits, and is quickly drawn to the woman behind the photograph. Their initial meeting is full of sexual chemistry and tension, and they find themselves falling swiftly into a pretty intense relationship.

In the beginning I was a little frustrated by the insta-love situation between Brynne and Ethan. The whole "after a lengthy period of loneliness I meet my hot soul mate and spectacular sex solves all my problems" bit is one that I get a little tired of in other books in this genre. That feeling faded pretty quickly for me as I got a little further into the story. I was also nervous at first that Ethan was going to turn out to be a typical blend of the currently hip Christian Grey/Gideon Cross character. This too was a pleasant surprise, because although Brynne had some of the same thoughts and used some of the same words to describe Ethan as other characters have used to describe the previously mentioned alpha guys, Ethan turned out to have a different flavor and feel to him. He does have that alpha protectiveness, but some of that feels different because of his line of work (he owns a super high-end security company). He also shows a lot of respect for Brynne and her autonomy even through his strong desire to keep her safe and the sometimes extreme measures he takes to do so. He is sexually dominant, but less so outside the bedroom than I expected. I personally found the slightly softer edge to his alpha behavior very attractive.

We the readers know that something is up based on the prologue, but not everything is clear. We also know that both Brynne and Ethan have some dark and traumatic experiences in their respective pasts that make their strong connection to one another something unique for both of them. What we suspect we might know from the prologue presents itself in a pretty dramatic way at the end of this book. The author does a good job of making sure the reader is hooked, and will want to continue on with the story. I know I'll be continuing on to learn more about Brynne and Ethan's pasts and to see if or how they are able to work their way through the chaos and save their budding relationship. The sexy stuff is very sexy, and the mysterious stuff is quite intriguing. I look forward to continuing on with this series.

A digital review copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.

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