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review 2014-07-23 20:08
Darkness Falls: Reveler Series 1 - 'Erin Kellison'




I've always been an unapologetic Inception fan and so when I read the blurb for this book, there was no way that I could pass on it. And I was not disappointed at all, not only did it bring all my Inception feels to the fore but it also had me drowning in its own feels as this book had its own style, despite there being similarities within the dream world and concept.


Darkness Falls is a paranormal romance that is set in what seems like a contemporary future. Reve, the french word for "dream," is a pop culture phenomenon thats taking the world by storm, with so many people signing up to enter a shared dream space where they can indulge in their fantasy lives. One such person is the ever reluctant and sensible Jordan Lane, who, accompanying her sister Maisie into the dreamworld, is marked by a Chimera agent by the name of Malcolm Rook. When it becomes obvious that Jordan has an uncanny ability for the dream world, she becomes the target of an unknown, shady organisation. Thus begins Jordan and Rook's fight for survival, but they quickly come to realise that Rook's demons may be a far greater danger.


I quite enjoyed this book. I found myself relating to Jordan in that I've always been the sensible sister, always shouldering the responsibility so that my younger sister could be absolutely carefree, so I definitely felt a connection pretty much from the get go. What made me absolutely love her was how she grew into her wicked powers and how absolutely fierce she was when it comes to protecting the ones that she cares for. This is a woman who is more than capable of rescuing herself and it just makes my heart thump wildly in admiration. Rook, for me was a good character, though he didn't stand out as much as Jordan did. I did, however, appreciate how protective and possessive he was of Jordan and how he drew strength from her to face his own demons.

How did a man catch up with his own nightmare? He had the answer now: when his woman was fighting it every step of the way.

Right on, bro. Right on.


Also, what really worked for me was Joshua. I don't know about you guys but evil/scary kids have the power to scare the hell out of me. And when I say scare, I mean whimper pathetically while hiding under my bed covers. So when I read about Joshua and his freaky appearances, I freaked out appropriately and cheered Jordan on.


So why not five stars? Even though I really enjoyed this book, there were several aspects that stopped me from being head over heels in love with it. The first is the length of the book. I understand its a novella, but I feel this book could have been so much more if it was longer. Its such a rich concept that 115 pages couldn't possibly be enough to fully explore not just the dreamworld but the characters as well. Which leads me to my next point that everything unfolded rather quickly, often times too quickly. For Jordan and Rook, whilst I had no problem with the instant attraction between them, I would have loved it if the author could have built their relationship up more. I found myself wishing for some witty banter or for some training sessions that would somehow turn steamy. For the story itself, I wish the fight scenes could have been prolonged for us to get a better grip on Jordan's powers, to learn her limits and possibly see it begin to evolve. The only other issue I had was the writing style. I know everyone has their own unique style but I found Erin's a bit so-so for me. At times it was brilliant and well suited for the story at hand, at other times I found it sometimes awkward, often making scenes disjointed somewhat.


Overall though, I quite enjoyed this book. Definitely need to check out the second book in this series!

Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/1002351238
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review 2014-07-21 10:34
Heart of Fire - Linda Howard




If you have never read a Linda Howard book in your life, then Heart of Fire would be an awesome book to introduce you to her. Being a huge fan of hers, I can't help but be a little biased when it comes to her works, but ultimately, I think this is a sure winner for fans of contemporary romances who adore strong women, sexy and unabashed heroes and a little suspense to keep those pages turning.


Jillian Sherwood is a woman with nothing to lose. All her life, she has had to work under the label given to her late father, a "crackpot" scholar who's flights of whimsy had eventually claimed his life. His standing within the archaeology community had made it so that others do not take her seriously, despite being fairly successful within her own right. Angered at the way opportunities are being withheld from her, Jillian peruses through her father's work, determined to clear his name and to kickstart her dwindling career. It is here that she discovers her father's findings on a lost Amazon city based around the myth of "the heart of The Empress," a myth that draws the interest of her deadbeat brother and his associate. They enlist the help of a river guide, Ben Lewis, and as their team travels towards the lost city, Jillian comes to realise that clearing her father's name may be too high a price for her to pay.


I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed this book. All the characters worked for me. Jillian is a strong and feisty female, smart and savvy and not your typical heroine in the sense that she is trim, small-breasted and entirely capable, which is a refreshing change. Ben is your loveable rascal, simple with his wants and pleasures, and generally good guy. The connection between them is instantaneous, and the progression of their relationship is sexy and slow, so that when they both start dropping the L-word, you have no doubts about the sincerity of their words. And the banter, my goodness, the banter is amazing. Case in point:

He looked suspiciously at her purse.

"No, it isn't in there," she said and smiled at him. "And I'm not buying your act. You found it when you searched my room, so you know I have a pistol, you know what kind it is, and you know where it is."

He smiled back at her, not denying the charge. Of course he had searched her room while he'd had the chance. "You have nice underwear."

"I'm glad you enjoyed it. Did you try it on?"

Nah. Just rubbed my face against it."

What also worked was the overall simplicity of the story. There aren't any plot twists that you wouldn't see coming; its all pretty straightforward. The imagery is great, and I could certainly envision every aspect of their journey. I also enjoyed the sense of empowerment this book gave to women. What with Jillian being perfectly capable of taking care of herself, much to the chagrin of Ben's overprotective and possessive instincts, the feature of female warriors, and strangely enough, Teresa, with her uncomplicated sexuality and the fact that Ben praises it rather than demeans her for it.


Would I recommend it? Yes, a thousand times yes. If you're a hopeless romantic like me with a streak for adventure, then you would absolutely love this book!

Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/985870347
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review 2014-07-16 07:35
Deviant - Callie Hart


At only 175 pages, Deviant is a very quick, hot and action filled read. It follows the story of Sloane Romera's desperate search for her missing sister Alexis. She is willing to do anything to find her, including giving up her v-card to an intense stranger for information that can potentially lead her to Alexis' whereabouts. But the lead falls through and Sloane's left reeling from the betrayal. Until she meets with the stranger, better known as Zeth, at the hospital where she currently works at two years later. Things are still intense and heated between them and it doesn't take long before their relationship explodes.


I enjoyed this novella for the most part. I think it could have easily been longer so the cliffhanger had me squinting at my computer screen in frustration. There are a lot of trigger potentials so a massive warning to anyone who may not be able to stomach a darker read. There were quite a few spelling mistakes and such but they were very minor and overall did not affect the overall story. Also, the two mcs are definitely likeable. Sloane was a better stand out character than Zeth in my eyes, she was just so incredibly BAMF to me and it was easier to connect with her, even despite it being a novella.


Why not five stars? The lack of five stars was really a personal issue. I had no idea how dark this book was (well, dark in the sense that I generally read books about rainbows and sunshine and candy) so when the sex scenes came and it was like:


Me being the weiner that I am was like:


I'm sure those who have a stronger stomach than my puny one will have no problem handling this read.


Looking forward to continuing the story.

Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/995693041
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review 2014-07-14 06:07
Fixed on You - Laurelin Paige




I was so nervous starting this book because I wasn't too inspired after reading the blurb, envisioning drunken dials and psychotic creepings, but I was pleasantly surprised by this little gem that I'm so glad that I decided to give it a shot.


Fixed on You starts off with that typical cliche proposal of I need to hire you as my fake!girlfriend so we can do fake things together and convince people that our fakeness is so real. Not to mention the added cringe-worthy drama of the heroine, Alayna Withers, being somewhat involved with another co-worker who she has tagged as her safe, happy ever after option but having a major lady boner for the new owner of the club where she works at, Hudson Pierce. But what evolves is a heart wrenching story of two broken people trying to break free from the tethers of their destructive pasts and learning to trust one another, despite all that stands in their way.


What really worked for me in this book was Alayna's character. I enjoyed the fact that she was open with her dealings with Hudson. If she was hurt and needed to clear the air, she opened her mouth and said so. If she felt like her unhealthy behaviours were starting to rear its ugly head, she was proactive about it and put up boundaries, went to her group sessions, worked through her techniques and coping mechanisms. If someone was a total bitch to her, she bitched right back at them and put them in their place. But what really got to me about her was the emotional pull that ambushed me. The bitter shame she feels when she realises she's relapsed into dangerous behaviours, the hurt she feels when her dismal familial support network falls apart, the emotional turmoil that she undergoes when her analytical mind obsesses over things Hudson said. The struggle was real, and I was overwhelmed with the connection I felt towards Alayna's character as a reader.


I did understand him. More than I had ever thought possible. What it felt like to be a certain way and to loathe myself for it. How difficult it was to change and learn to accept the parts of me that were fundamentally never going to change. And what it did to me to believe I was incapable of falling in love the way normal people do.


Hudson was also a character that really worked for me. I'd seen a few reviews that labelled him as an asshole, but for me, it didn't quite ring true. Yes, he may have been an asshole in the past, but I think many forget that one of the ongoing themes within the book is struggling to progress from where you were and not falling back into that black hole. Hudson has trouble coming to terms with his feelings, which is perfectly understandable considering his background, but his actions throughout the book isn't that of an intentional asshole, rather, someone trying to learn the ropes of having to be mindful of another's thoughts and feelings.


Other things that really worked for me were the sweet moments between Alayna and Hudson. There are some really awesome quotes in this book that had me drowning in feels:


He almost smiled, but squeezed his eyes shut as if trying to reign in his emotions. When he opened them again, they were pleading. "Alayna, don't quit. Don't quit me."



So, why not five stars? For me, the beginning was a little slow and it almost seemed like a typical run of the mill book until Paige changes the game and allows for readers to really get to know and connect with the two mcs. Not to mention the ever lulzworthy quote from the beginning of the book (before Alayna begins her journey of growth):


I glanced down at the black slinky pants that were so tight they gave me camel toe.


Lol. Camel toes and moose knuckles are definitely not my thing. So glad Hudson talks her into changing her wardrobe.


Overall, a surprisingly good read. Definitely continuing on with this series.

Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/994366091
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review 2014-07-12 04:36
A Beautiful Lie - Tara Sivec


I downloaded this freebie on Amazon and saw that it was recommended by someone that I'm currently following and thought, why not? The blurb looked promising and the beginning went well for me with lots of angsty feels and unspoken longing, all ingredients for a great read. Though the book started to lose some of its spark after its halfway mark, leaving me frustrated and at odds with what I should rate it.


A Beautiful Lie is the story of three best friends, Parker, Garrett and Milo, who've known each other for eight years. Parker and Garrett has always been each other's all but some things in Parker's past causes her to shy away from those strong feelings and pick Milo as a partner as she feels he would be the "safer" option. But all is not what it seems when the tragic death of Milo send the other two on a mission to his last known location to find some answers. What ensues is the beginning of the end game relationship, major plot twists that I dare say you wouldn't have seen coming, and heartbreak for the lives destroyed.

The Good:

*ANABELLE PARKER. Let me tell you about this BAMF Anabelle Parker. If you're like me, and you're sick of seeing women depicted as weak and dependant, always waiting around for a man to come and save them, then you're gonna love the hell outta Anabelle Parker. 

"You have a mouth on you, Miss Parker. A lady shouldn't behave the way you do," he replied.

"Its a good thing for me I'm not a  lady," Parker said with a smile as she kicked her foot out in front of her, slamming it right between...[his]...legs."

I can't delve into too much without spoiling her character but suffice to say that she has the brains, the attitude and a whole lot of bad in her, which makes her one feisty character.

* The plot twists. There were some I saw coming and some I didn't and towards the end when all the action finally unfolds, I get bombarded with all these answers to questions that plagued me in the beginning. And then some.

* I got a sense of female empowerment in this book that I was really pleased with. Not only is Parker such a strong and resilient character, I found that some of the secondary characters portrayed were also strong, even if it was in a more subtle way than Parker. Margarita and Catalina's friend especially, knowing the dangers that they faced (and I felt so horribly for Margarita, that poor woman) and still doing their part to help.

The Bad:


Unfortunately for me, there ended up being more bad than good in this book.

* My ultimate disappointment was in the hero of the story, Garrett McCarthy. He starts off as a great character for me (even if it was a bit cliche), and I couldn't help but simultaneously sympathise and admire a guy who stood and watched his best friend with the girl of his dreams for a period of eight years. I can only imagine how crazy it would have made me standing on the sidelines and longing for something I couldn't want.

What annoyed me about his character though is how much I thought he didn't behave as a navy seal on a secret operation to gather intel. Now granted, what I know about espionage and the likes are all things I've watched in movies or read in books, but I thought it wouldn't have been too much to ask of them to do a bug sweep every time they entered their villa, knowing the power held by the man they were after. Not to mention there never seemed to be an air of preparedness or an ability to reign in his emotions and work out the problems like you would think a man of his station would. Instead, he seems to have knee-jerk reactions to anything and everything and then blunder his way along.
But even more than this, what annoyed me the most was how bloody emotional he would get at any damn thing that didn't go his way. He spent most of his time bitching at Parker when he was in imminent danger of having his feelings hurt, going into a hulk rage over Parker getting hurt because he'd do some stupid crap and then telling her how much he loved her and baby this and baby that, or ignoring people trying to talk some sense into his stupid ass. His team mate summarised him perfectly for me:

"What's wrong?" Garrett asked.

"You have got to be the dumbest fuck in the entire world," Brady muttered...

Honestly, I just couldn't with that guy by the end of the book. If he wasn't inherent to Parker's happiness, I'm not even sure I would have wanted a HEA for him.

* I found parts of the book to be somewhat repetitive, causing it to drag on. It overemphasised the miscommunication between the two when it came to conveying their feelings for each other. I didn't mind the first few times but it seemed the point had to be beaten to death before it could be let go.

* I didn't really like about this book was the flashbacks and how they were utilised throughout. I thought there could have been a better job with working the flashbacks so that they could have flowed more seamlessly within the story, as it was, it seemed like it was all disjointed, and read as very awkward passages, which really had me struggling to continue reading.

* There were also minor mistakes like spelling errors and such but they weren't so bad that they would distract too much from reading.

Overall I would give it 3 to 3.5 stars. While there were some really great parts to the book, I found a lot of it frustrating, even with its great plot twists. Just didn't quite hit the mark for me.

Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/990052779
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