Nuts (Hudson Valley, #1)

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I’m not sure what I expected but this wasn’t it. Please take my review with a grain of salt. With over 15,000 reviews on GoodReads and an average star rating of 4 out of 5, my opinion of this book is not the norm. Maybe I’m in a reading slump I just need to try a new genre, I don’t know…


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Author: Alice Clayton
Published: October 20, 2015
Pages: 308

Stars: 1 out of 5

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Synopsis:
Roxie Callahan is a private chef to some of Hollywood’s wealthiest, and nastiest, calorie-counting wives. After a dairy disaster implodes her carefully crafted career in one fell ploop, she finds herself back home in upstate New York, bailing out her hippie mother and running the family diner.

When gorgeous local farmer Leo Maxwell delivers her a lovely bunch of organic walnuts, Roxie wonders if a summer back home isn’t such a bad idea after all. Leo is heavily involved in the sustainable slow food movement, and he likes to take his time. In all things. Roxie is determined to head back to the west coast as soon as summer ends, but will the pull of lazy fireflies and her very own Almanzo Wilder be enough to keep her home for good?

Salty. Spicy. Sweet. Nuts. Go on, grab a handful.

Review:
The book starts off slow and is full of drama. Roxie does a lot of complaining and has an off-putting personality. She obviously has some issues with her mom and is just angry.

I felt like the beginning of this book was all about how hard Roxie’s life was growing up, how terrible her Mother is, and how angry she is because her Mother is different. Not exactly something I want to read. And honestly, the book kind of felt boring.

But the worst for me is that I felt zero sympathy for the character. Instead, I felt as though she was ungrateful, snobby, and slightly abrasive.

I’m sorry but I couldn’t get into the book. Maybe I’ll try this book another time but until then, it goes into the DNF Graveyard…

3

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The Girl of Fire and Thorns (Fire and Thorns, #1)

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This is one of those books where you are kind of frustrated with how clueless the main character is and some of the choices she makes.


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Author: Rae Carson
Published: September 20, 2011
Pages: 423

Stars: 2 out of 5

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Synopsis:
Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.
Elisa is the chosen one.

But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can’t see how she ever will.

Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.

And he’s not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people’s savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.

Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young.

Most of the chosen do.

Review:
Lucero-Elisa (lets just call her Elisa) is only 16. There are times throughout the book where her character acts her age, but there are also times it’s easy to forget she is only 16. Elisa is over weight and an emotional eater. I can’t help with how off-putting Elisa’s character is in regards to food and how my own stomach turned with her eating habits. Maybe this is a nod to the authors ability to create such descriptive character that they are able to pull that strong of an emotion out of me. I don’t know about you but if I can’t connect with the characters on some level, it makes it extremely difficult for me to enjoy the book.    

Everything in the beginning is extremely secretive and I honestly had no idea what was going on. Everyone either treats Elisa with gentle hands and hides the truth from her. Or they try to sabotage her every move. This kind of plot frustrates me to no end. There are too many secrets to keep track of and the author doesn’t give enough information for the plot to make sense. 

King Alejandro de Vega (lets call him Alejandro) is older than Elisa and is king. After he marries Elisa, he does nothing but hide her and ask for her to spy on his court. I can’t help but feel sorry for Elisa. She is queen but he introduces her as a friend who will be staying indefinitely. While she yearns for his affection, Alejandro shows nothing but indifference. That is unless he wants something, then he touches her hand and turns on his boyish smile. Oh and did I mention he has a mistress.. Not cool Alejando, not cool 

But what really sickens me is Alejandro’s attraction for Elisa increases immensely once she loses weight. In fact the underlying message I received from this book is quite appalling. When Elisa is overweight, she is insecure, weak, and very similar to a mouse. But once she loses the weight, her character becomes powerful, respected, and she fits the role of queen. I don’t like the connection to weight and success. 

As the plot continues, Elisa’s life gets turned upside down and she meets Humberto. Humberto is a kind boy who sees true beauty in Elisa, regardless of how much she weighs. It doesn’t take long for Elisa to begin questioning her feelings for Alejandro and becoming closer to Humberto. I don’t want to say much but for how things turned out with Humberto, I can say I did not see that coming. I will admit I’m not heartbroken over the situation. I struggled to see his character going anywhere and to see him as anything other than a young boy.

With that said, there are some characters in this book who aren’t always who they seem to be. The author provides nice plot twists that are difficult to see coming. The plot has a strong religious pull, not at all what I was expecting. In fact, the religious push came close to overpowering the book. 

This is not a series I am interested in continuing. Although, it is refreshing to see an author not afraid to kill off key characters within their book. Ultimately, this book was too religious and I didn’t respect nor really like Elisa’s character. 

The Immortal Heights (The Elemental Trilogy, #3)

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I have really enjoyed this series! For me, it was one of those hidden gems. And I’ll be honest, my review of this book is not an in-depth one.  I started reading the book and next thing I knew, I was at the end and all I wrote were 3 sentences. That’s how captivating this book is!!


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Author: Sherry Thomas
Published: October 15, 2015
Pages: 432

Stars: 5 out of 5

Series:
The Burning Sky (Elemental Trilogy #1)
The Perilous Sea (The Elemental Trilogy, #2)

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Synopsis:
In a pursuit that has spanned continents, Iolanthe, Titus, and their friends have always managed to remain one step ahead of the forces of Atlantis. But now the Bane, the monstrous tyrant who bestrides the entire mage world, has issued his ultimatum: Titus must hand over Iolanthe, or watch as his entire realm is destroyed in a deadly rampage. Running out of time and options, Iolanthe and Titus must act decisively to deliver a final blow to the Bane, ending his reign of terror for good.

However, getting to the Bane means accomplishing the impossible—finding a way to infiltrate his crypt in the deepest recesses of the most ferociously guarded fortress in Atlantis. And everything is only made more difficult when new prophecies come to light, foretelling a doomed effort…

Iolanthe and Titus will put their love and their lives on the line. But will it be enough?

Review:
This book doesn’t miss a beat and picks up exactly where the second one left off. And if you struggle remembering all the details from the previous book, no worries because the author does a fantastic job of reminding you. As normal, the writing style took me a little bit to get used to. But once I did, the book flowed effortlessly.

The heartache Titus and Iolanthe go through is hard to imagine. I wonder how painful it would be to know your loved one will die but not know how to stop it from happening. I’m impressed Thomas followed through and killed some of our most loved characters. Not every author is strong enough to do this. Although when I was reading the book, I was saddened by the loss, I do respect the author for making such a difficult decision. 

 The plot was fantastic, full of romance, black magic, and best yet it was unpredictable. You are going through the book believing one thing to only find out it was something completely different. 

It’s difficult to remember Titus is so young. His character comes off as such a romantic and someone who has experienced a lot in life. As much as his character has grown, Iolanthe as grown that much more. Starting this series as a scared girl, she has transformed into this strong, independent woman.

The ending wasn’t my favorite but overall I found it satisfying. I would recommend this series to anyone who loves Young Adult/Fantasy books.

Breath of Fire (Kingmaker Chronicles, #2)

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I enjoyed this book but it took me a while to finish reading it and there were a lot of things that bothered me. Overall what does this mean? I think this book killed the series for me. So sad..


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Author: Amanda Bouchet
Published: January 3, 2017
Pages: 432

Stars: 2.5 out of 3

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Synopsis:
SHE’S DESTINED TO DESTROY THE WORLD… 
“Cat” Catalia Fisa has been running from her destiny since she could crawl. But now, her newfound loved ones are caught between the shadow of Cat’s tortured past and the threat of her world-shattering future. So what’s a girl to do when she knows it’s her fate to be the harbinger of doom? Everything in her power.

BUT NOT IF SHE CAN HELP IT
Griffin knows Cat is destined to change the world-for the better. As the realms are descending into all-out war, Cat and Griffin must embrace their fate together. Gods willing, they will emerge side-by-side in the heart of their future kingdom…or not at all.

Review:
This story begins full of drama and a roller coaster of emotions. Griffin discovers exactly who Cat is and doesn’t handle the deception well. 

Cat continues to grow in this book and I actually like her more. Griffin’s character kind of rubbed me wrong but I think that has more to do with the plot. Whenever Cat found herself in a dangerous situation with no way out, all it would take is Griffin saying he believed in her, knew she could do it, etc. and she would overcome the obstacle with ease. Where’s the fun in that? Plus, completely not realistic!

The plot flows effortlessly and I felt like I really connected more with the side characters. Which is weird because they aren’t the focus of the book. There was a lot of sex in this book and dare I say it was almost too much. And the amount of support/help the Gods gave Cat was over the top ridiculous. If the gods blatantly favored her this much, then they could have solved all of this without her. 

Overall, I felt like the plot was intriguing but the writing could use some work. The book went in a familiar and predictable pattern. Again, where is the fun or creativity in that? As I mentioned above, this book will be the last I read in the series.. 

Can You Keep a Secret?

Three different covers, one book… Maybe that should have been the first clue that this book wasn’t for me. But once again, my review of this book is a far cry from the norm. Most people actually enjoyed reading this book. I just wasn’t one of them.


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Author: Sophie Kinsella
Published: December 27, 2005
Pages: 374

Stars: 1 out of 5

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Synopsis:
Meet Emma Corrigan, a young woman with a huge heart, an irrepressible spirit, and a few little secrets: Secrets from her boyfriend: I’ve always thought Connor looks a bit like Ken. As in Barbie and Ken. Secrets from her mother: I lost my virginity in the spare bedroom with Danny Nussbaum while Mum and Dad were downstairs watching Ben-Hur. Secrets she wouldn’t share with anyone in the world: I have no idea what NATO stands for. Or even what it is. Until she spills them all to a handsome stranger on a plane. At least, she thought he was a stranger.…Until Emma comes face-to-face with Jack Harper, the company’s elusive CEO, a man who knows every single humiliating detail about her…

Review:
The first chapter had me chuckling with easily relatable situations aligned with humorous view on them. It was a little difficult to follow everything being said based on cultural differences. The book has a ‘Bridget Jones Diary’ kind of flow and feel. Everything from the embarrassment, mishaps, and uncomfortable experiences. Honestly, I couldn’t do it. The book was too much and felt like a scene from Bridget Jones. Where’s the uniqueness in that?

This book was not for me and will forever remain in the DNF Graveyard…

3 

The Billionaire Next Door (Billionaire Bad Boys, #2)

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Whenever I see a book by Jessica Lemmon, I’m not  really sure what kind of book I am going to get. For me, her books are always hit or miss. I have found a couple that I have really enjoyed, but this book was not really one of them. The lead heroine didn’t sit well with me and parts of the book just didn’t do it for me.


billionaire next door

Author: Jessica Lemmon
Published: October 25, 2016
Pages: 384

Stars: 2.5 out of 5

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Other Books in this Series:
The Billionaire Bachelor

Synopsis:
It’s Tag Crane’s job to be the life of the party. Traveling from one exotic locale to another is just part of running the luxurious Crane Hotel empire. But even paradise isn’t perfect. Devising a new business strategy is keeping Tag up at night-and so is the Great Dane barking at all hours in the apartment below his. To muzzle the problem, Tag charges downstairs . . . right into the most beautiful, blond distraction he’s ever seen.

Dog-sitting by day, bartending by night. It’s not exactly the life Rachel Foster dreamed of. But when Tag Crane rushes in, all mountain-man shoulders and obscenely sexy smile, needing her help for the Crane Hotels, it’s a fantasy come true. What’s the harm in a fun no-strings fling? Only a fool would give her heart to a billionaire player like Tag-until suddenly the one man who can’t be caught is the one flirting with forever . . .

Review:
Rachel has gone from successful career woman to bartender all because she put her trust in the wrong person. Her boyfriend of two years steals her promotion right from under her by taking credit for something she worked her butt off for. Now she finds herself lost and house sitting for one of her regulars to earn extra cash by watching his dog. Not exactly where she saw her life heading. Rachel is worried she has lost her independence and the fearless person she used to be. One thing I never understood was why she was so worried to tell her parents about what happened with her ex. Instead of coming clean about the entire mess, she lies and dodges them as though she is a teenager instead of a young adult. Her insecurities made it difficult to love her character and I wish she didn’t come off as so damaged.  

Tag is not at all what you would expect from a successful businessman. For one, he has hair down to his elbow and looks more like a lumberjack, maybe Thor, than someone found in a busy city. But beyond his looks and his unconventional style, Tag is in charge of guest and restaurant services. He runs this side of the business not through spreadsheets and numbers but by following his gut and reading the people around him. 

The moment Tag and Rachel meet, sparks fly. Too bad Rachel fights her attraction to Tag with everything she has. Knowing this, Tad accepts the challenge and tries to get her to give in to her desires. But he doesn’t exactly chase after her. He invites her to dinner/drinks and of course Rachel turns them down. But like I said, he doesn’t chase after her in the traditional sense and try to change her mind. Not at all what I was expecting. Tag and Rachel’s interactions are flirty, fun, and exciting. 

One of the downfalls to this book was the slow pace. The flirtation, buildup, and collision of Rachel and Tag was so much fun to read. But in-between all this, everything dragged!

Not even half way through the book and I am bored to death reading the same thing-  how much of a jerk Rachel’s ex was and how much he hurt her. I’m pretty sure I grasped that concept the first handful times the author brought it up. The other thing that irritated me was how much the characters were in their own heads. For some reason this didn’t work well in this book and I felt like I was constantly struggling to connect with the book. This not only ruined the books flow but again made the book drag some. 

I had high expectations for this book but ultimately I was disappointed with the outcome. I think I would have liked it better if Rachel was a stronger character. Oh well.. 

Priceless (Rylee Adamson, #1)

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This book is full of drama, action, and mixed emotions. For some reason, I felt like sexual tension/situations were a constant theme throughout the book. Each character brings something new. And just when you think things couldn’t get worse, the next chapter does just that. I didn’t love the book but I also didn’t hate it, I guess I’m still unsure about this series. But I’m getting ahead of myself.


Priceless

Author: Shannon Mayer
Published: June 2013
Pages: 269

Stars: 3 out of 5

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Synopsis:
“My name is Rylee and I am a Tracker.” 

When children go missing, and the Humans have no leads, I’m the one they call. I am their last hope in bringing home the lost ones. I salvage what they cannot.

I’m on the FBI’s wanted list.

I have a werewolf for a pet, a Witch of a best friend, and have no need for anyone else in my life.

But when a salvage starts to spin out of control, help comes from a most unexpected direction. One that is dangerously dark, brooding, and doesn’t know a thing about the supernatural.

One whose kisses set me on fire.

Review:
Rylee has a special skill that is unique to her in that she is able to find any missing child. Well, almost any. Having a sister go missing ten years ago and an FBI agent determined to pin the crime on her, Rylee isn’t exactly living an easy life. Rylee is also known as an Immune, meaning psychics are unable to see into her past or future, most magic won’t affect her, poison won’t harm her.. You get the idea. 

Rylee is a strong character with a soft heart. She puts everything she has into her job and is quite the fighter. But she carries a lot of baggage around and is constantly haunted by her past.

Liam, an FBI agent hell bent on seeing Rylee behind bars, has found himself in unmarked territory. After a flirtatious kiss, Liam can’t stop thinking about Rylee. But the thing that doesn’t make a lot of sense is that there is zero evidence pinning Rylee to her sisters death/disappearance. Yet Liam has been stocking – I mean investigating Rylee for 10 years. That’s a long time to investigate something, especially without any evidence. 

 Priceless is an easy read, the pages turn quickly as the heroine fights her way to save the life of a child. Although I felt like the plot could have dug deeper (a lot deeper), the book was an enjoyable read.

 But like I said above, I’m still not sure about the series. The plot was interesting and I think there is a good story in there but this book is weighed down by the lack of editing. Ok, maybe not the lack of editing but the book could have used more help in that department. Another thing that really put me off was all the sexuality in this book. Don’t get me wrong, I am by no means a prude. I enjoy reading romance books and everything that comes with them. But in this case, I felt like everything was forced and pushed in your face while reading. There was nothing subtle or smooth about Rylee and Liam. Besides, their attraction just doesn’t add up.

Overall, the author has a good imagination and unique plot to work with. I wish there weren’t so many inconsistencies or forced scenes. And the authors unrealistic sexual attraction between her characters is off putting. I’m just not sure if I will continue with this series…