Thursday, December 14, 2017

Play (Stage Dive, #2) & Lead (Stage Dive, #3) by Kylie Scott



Mal Ericson, drummer for the world famous rock band Stage Dive, needs to clean up his image fast—at least for a little while. Having a good girl on his arm should do the job just fine. Mal doesn't plan on this temporary fix becoming permanent, but he didn't count on finding the one right girl.

Anne Rollins never thought she'd ever meet the rock god who plastered her teenage bedroom walls—especially not under these circumstances. Anne has money problems. Big ones. But being paid to play the pretend girlfriend to a wild life-of-the-party drummer couldn't end well. No matter how hot he is. Or could it? Goodreads
“We’ve broken my bed,” I said, stating the obvious.
“In battle, sacrifices must be made, pumpkin.” 
This was another book that had thousands of quotes to choose from! Mal is hysterical, and Anne doesn't take any shit from him. “The first male to pee on me, however, would pay with his balls.”

I think I might have enjoyed Play even more than Lick, if that's possible. Mal and Anne have their problems, but they also have their individual demons to deal with. It was lovely watching the two of them learn to depend on each other, and finally connect emotionally. There was no judgment between them, just love and acceptance. 

Also, Mal is a riot to read about! I really enjoyed his character in Lick, even though his appearances were brief. It was great to hear his story and learn more about him.



As the lead singer of Stage Dive, Jimmy is used to getting whatever he wants, whenever he wants it, whether it's booze, drugs, or women. However, when a PR disaster serves as a wake-up call about his life and lands him in rehab, he finds himself with Lena, a new assistant to keep him out of trouble.

Lena's not willing to take any crap from the sexy rocker and is determined to keep their relationship completely professional, despite their sizzling chemistry. But when Jimmy pushes her too far and Lena leaves, he realizes that he may just have lost the best thing that ever happened to him. Goodreads

“Even with the head start, he was gaining fast. Given he liked jogging and I liked pie, this was to be expected.” 
The first two books made me really dislike Jimmy, so I was excited to see how he would be portrayed in Lead.

I don't know if I liked it more than Play, but it was another delicious read! I love how all of their stories are intertwined, so we still see familiar characters from the previous books. There's also no confusion, and Scott sets up their stories beautifully. I already have an idea what the last one will be about!

Lena was an awesome female character, and I love that she admitted to having feelings for Jimmy in the beginning. Both she and Jimmy were aware of her feelings, but they tried to make them go away instead of acting on them. It was sweet and heartbreaking at the same time. It was also an interesting spin for their story, and very different from the previous two books.

You learn a lot about Jimmy's childhood and the many obstacles he's had to overcome. Not all of his problems went away just because he became famous. If anything, they only made some of them worse. He's learning to deal with his addictions, and Lena plays a large role in that.

I am absolutely in love with this series and cannot wait to read the final book! 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Where I Found You (Sea, #1) by Heidi R. Kling

After her mother's plane went missing over the Indian Ocean, seventeen-year-old Sienna Jones gave up everything she loved about living in California. No more surfing. No more swimming. No more ocean, period. Playing it safe, hiding from the world, is the best call.

Until her dad throws down the challenge of a lifetime: spend the summer with his humanitarian team in Indonesia, working with orphans who lost everything in a massive tsunami.

The day they arrive, Sienna meets a mysterious boy named Deni, whose dark, intense eyes make her heart race. Their stolen nights force her to open up and live in a way she thought she couldn't anymore. When she’s with Deni, she remembers the girl she used to be… and starts to feel like the woman he sees in her.

A woman he wants for his own.

Gulp.

But when Deni’s past comes looking for him, Sienna’s faced with losing another person she loves. She can’t do it. Not again.

Fortunately, this time, she has a plan. Goodreads
"I wanted to tell him that you can meet someone and they can change your life forever, even if you have only known them for a short while, that when you leave, you’re a different person than before you met them…"
I received an e-arc from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Also, the quote I used may have changed or been altered in some way, I am just quoting from what I received.

I wish the book had been longer! I feel like a lot happens in too few pages. I would have enjoyed seeing more of the orphanage, or pesantren, and spent more time with the children there. The art and group therapy were interesting, and I would have liked for it to have been expanded on. It was eye-opening listening to them recall their memories of the tsunami, and seeing how far they had come after such a traumatic experience.

It's a sweet story with a whirlwind romance. I wouldn't really call what they had an insta-love, it was more like an insta-attraction. I like that Sienna wasn't afraid to act on her feelings, and that she trusted herself and Deni. Their feelings did grow rapidly, but don't all new relationships start off that way? They were both in a unique situation, and they never forgot that their time together was temporary. They wanted to enjoy what they had and live in the moment.

Deni is still a mystery to me. His entire life before Sienna and the tsunami is still unknown, and something else I wanted to know more about. I also felt like the information about her friends at home, Bev and Spider, was limited. I had hoped to learn a little more about them, too.

Oh, and Bapak? Deni made a lot of serious accusations against him that were never investigated. I feel like someone should have either verified his claims, or at least looked into them. I really love the story and the concept for this book, I just wish there had been more

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Hunter (Hunter, #1) by Mercedes Lackey

They came after the Diseray. Some were terrors ripped from our collective imaginations, remnants of every mythology across the world. And some were like nothing anyone had ever dreamed up, even in their worst nightmares.

Monsters.

Long ago, the barriers between our world and the Otherworld were ripped open, and it’s taken centuries to bring back civilization in the wake of the catastrophe. Now, the luckiest Cits live in enclosed communities, behind walls that keep them safe from the hideous creatures fighting to break through. Others are not so lucky.

To Joyeaux Charmand, who has been a Hunter in her tight-knit mountain community since she was a child, every Cit without magic deserves her protection from dangerous Othersiders. Then she is called to Apex City, where the best Hunters are kept to protect the most important people.

Joy soon realizes that the city’s powerful leaders care more about luring Cits into a false sense of security than protecting them. More and more monsters are getting through the barriers, and the close calls are becoming too frequent to ignore. Yet the Cits have no sense of how much danger they’re in—to them, Joy and her corps of fellow Hunters are just action stars they watch on TV.

When an act of sabotage against Joy takes an unbearable toll, she uncovers a terrifying conspiracy in the city. There is something much worse than the usual monsters infiltrating Apex. And it may be too late to stop them… Goodreads
“If you don’t look after your fellow man, if you think that what you want is always more important than what anyone else wants or needs, you’re not human, and that’s that.”
There were other quotes I really liked from this book, but since it was an audiobook I couldn't dog-ear the pages. I can usually find quotes on Goodreads, but there were only three. I really want a physical copy of this book, so I might be able to add more eventually.

Short version: I cannot stop thinking about this book! Joyeaux and her story have stayed with me for days. I was deeply saddened when I went to downloaded the next audiobook and there were none available. I've placed a hold, but that could take up to three weeks. 

I love the world Mercedes Lackey has created. There is so much amazing detail and world-building. She manages to tie in different mythologies and religious practices, magic and the otherworld. If you're not a huge fan of lengthy descriptions, you might say this book has a lot of "info-dumping," but I enjoyed it immensely. I was captivated by the story and was enthralled with the depictions of the creatures and scenery. The author paints a beautiful picture that easily played out in my head.

I have my theories about this book and Joy's multiple problems. I'm curious to find out if I'm right! *highlight to view spoiler» I think there are Hunter's working with the Folk and letting in more and more monsters. The one she ran into on the train said he wanted her to work for him, and that there were others. People, too. I want to know if the Folk are going to end up playing a larger role and helping Joyeaux in some way. 

I do wish we had been able to see what her life had been like on the mountain with the monks. She tells us all about it, but I would have really liked to experience that with her and not as a memory. It would have been an interesting perspective to see.

Now, I wait...

Edit 12-10-17: Elite became available at my library yesterday! It wasn't available when I wrote this post, and I am so very happy I do not have to wait three weeks for it. 

Friday, December 8, 2017

All-New Wolverine #25-27


Yes! If you need a new comic to read, please grab this one! Laura (the all-new wolverine) made an appearance in my Hawkeye comic (Kate Bishop), and I really liked her character. I know it's not guaranteed that the cameo character and the actual comic will be the same, but it at least piqued my interest enough to make me go back and get the legacy issue and the two that came after it (so now I'm up-to-date). It did not disappoint! I actually took all of J's comics away until he read these three so we could talk about them, haha. He enjoyed them, too! Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers) even made an appearance.

The Orphans of X story arc just started. They are people that have lost something to mutants, so obviously their goal in life is to destroy Laura and her "family". There's a magical sword, Old Wolverine is mentioned, and the living/leftover Wolverines appear to be their only targets. I don't know why they are going after the mutants that can regenerate and are nearly impossible to kill, but I'm sure it will be interesting. Oh, and let me just say that all Wolverines have a tragic, horrible beginning.

I think this is the first comic to make me feel afraid for the characters. It's a little more gruesome than the others I'm reading. They are Wolverines, so they heal and everything, but it's still awful to see.

Also, Daken's abs have abs. I know comics exaggerate a little, but I'm not complaining. 😁

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The Fill-in Boyfriend by Kasie West


When Gia Montgomery's boyfriend, Bradley, dumps her in the parking lot of her high school prom, she has to think fast. After all, she'd been telling her friends about him for months now. This was supposed to be the night she proved he existed. So when she sees a cute guy waiting to pick up his sister, she enlists his help. The task is simple: be her fill-in boyfriend—two hours, zero commitment, a few white lies. After that, she can win back the real Bradley.

The problem is that days after prom, it's not the real Bradley she's thinking about, but the stand-in. The one whose name she doesn't even know. But tracking him down doesn't mean they're done faking a relationship. Gia owes him a favor and his sister intends to see that he collects: his ex-girlfriend's graduation party—three hours, zero commitment, a few white lies.

Just when Gia begins to wonder if she could turn her fake boyfriend into a real one, Bradley comes waltzing back into her life, exposing her lie, and threatening to destroy her friendships and her new-found relationship. Goodreads


“We rarely find a depth by looking inside of ourselves for it. Depth is found in what we can learn from the people and things around us. Everyone, everything, has a story, Gia. When you learn those stories, you learn experiences that fill you up, that expand your understanding. You add layers to your soul.”

After the first few minutes, I thought this book was going to be as empty as Gia's head. Her personality left a lot to be desired, and she was so vain. Again, this is a story that could have been avoided entirely if people just told the truth.

I liked that the main conflict was with Gia and her friends. Boys played a role, obviously, but it was minor compared to her friend and family issues. I enjoyed seeing how those played out, and I commend Gia on her patience. She didn't like conflict, and she showed a lot of restraint when people were clearly using her or lying to make her look bad.

The ending was not wrapped neatly and tied with a bow. There were loose ends and things left unsaid, uncertain and unknown. I will say that Gia made progress with her personality. She didn't seem as shallow, and appeared to really be making an effort. 

I didn't love or hate this book. It was a fluffy, light read that didn't require a lot of thinking or feeling on my part.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1) by Ilona Andrews

Nevada Baylor is faced with the most challenging case of her detective career—a suicide mission to bring in a suspect in a volatile case. Nevada isn’t sure she has the chops. Her quarry is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, who can set anyone and anything on fire.

Then she’s kidnapped by Connor “Mad” Rogan—a darkly tempting billionaire with equally devastating powers. Torn between wanting to run or surrender to their overwhelming attraction, Nevada must join forces with Rogan to stay alive.

Rogan’s after the same target, so he needs Nevada. But she’s getting under his skin, making him care about someone other than himself for a change. And, as Rogan has learned, love can be as perilous as death, especially in the magic world. Goodreads


“One school of thought says that the best way to handle an issue like this is exposure therapy," Mad Rogan said. "For example, if you're terrified of snakes, repeated handling of them will cure it."

Aha. "I'm not handling your snake.”

This entire review could easily just be quotes from the book. I had so many favorites! Like, “If you’re really hard up, I can introduce you to my grandmother. She’s a fan.” Adam blinked. “She doesn’t typically sleep with pretty young things, but she would make an exception in your case. You might even learn a trick or two."

There are many others, but I'll let you read the book and discover them for yourselves--definitely worth it! I always mark the pages that have meaningful moments, or quotes that I want to go back to, and this would have been filled with bookmarks and post-it notes if it hadn't been an audiobook.

I will say this about Nevada... the girl has way too much self-control. Seriously. If I was being *highlight to view spoiler» magically touched in a very good way, I would seriously consider letting the world burn. 

But that didn't happen. Nevada is sensible and likes to be in control. She's proud of what she has accomplished, and she wants to remain as independent as possible. I can respect that. I will also admit that she has actual, decent reasons for not immediately having sexy times, but I still wish she had acted on more of her impulses and desires.

While I may have wanted more romantic scenes, this book wasn't lacking in action or humor. I smiled and laughed the entire time. It could have been just a small quip from Nevada, or Rogan asking an intentionally devious question--I loved it all!

I've been promised less self-control in book two, so my fingers are crossed!

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Stacking the Shelves #2

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews. This meme is for sharing all the books you’ve added to your shelves throughout the week.

The family and I have been ridiculously sick since Thanksgiving. I'll spare you the gory details. 😰 I'm just lucky my husband was off and able to watch the kiddos (who were also sick). In sickness and in health, right? I still feel miserable. I wasn't able to eat for over 48 hours. I couldn't even keep water down. WATER. Anyways... 

Amazon:

The Winter King by C.L. Wilson
The Sea King by C.L. Wilson
King by T.M. Frazier


Library Basement (BookCellar):

 
On the Hunt by Gena Showalter, Shannon K. Butcher, Jessica Andersen, Deidre Knight
Immortally Ever After by Angie Fox
A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro


#TBTBSanta ( @eli2squared )

Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong
Seven Black Diamonds by Melissa Marr
Uprooted by Naomi Novik


NetGalley:


Where I Found You by Heidi R. Kling

I'm so excited about my #TBTBSanta books! Thank you Eli! I'm so happy you included one of your favorites, too. I love the synopsis!

I was really surprised when I received a random copy of Where I Found You on NetGalley! 💕 I added it to my Wish List and just got incredibly lucky! Whoo!