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…

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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.. 

A Promise of Fire (Kingmaker Chronicles, #1)

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This book was a little confusing to begin with. But by the end of the first chapter, I was fully emerged in the book. 


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Author: Amanda Bouchet
Published: August 2, 2016
Pages: 441

Stars: 3 out of 5

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Synopsis:
Catalia “Cat” Fisa lives disguised as a soothsayer in a traveling circus. She is perfectly content avoiding the danger and destiny the Gods-and her homicidal mother-have saddled her with. That is, until Griffin, an ambitious warlord from the magic-deprived south, fixes her with his steely gaze and upsets her illusion of safety forever.

Griffin knows Cat is the Kingmaker, the woman who divines the truth through lies. He wants her as a powerful weapon for his newly conquered realm-until he realizes he wants her for much more than her magic. Cat fights him at every turn, but Griffin’s fairness, loyalty, and smoldering advances make him increasingly hard to resist and leave her wondering if life really does have to be short, and lived alone.

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Review:
The book opens to a world full of gods, magic, and strength. In this world you are either born with magic – magoi, or you aren’t – Hoi Polloi. And not all magic is given equally. For example our heroine, Cat, her powers are as complex as they get. Although she looks harmless, she is as deadly as they come. Not only can she tell when others lie, she can also absorb their powers and use it against them. But as awesome as that sounds, her magic did nothing to save her from her family and the demands of her realm. Forced into hiding and disguised as a member of the circus, Cat is constantly looking over her shoulder. 

That is until Griffin, a warlord and second in command, comes into her life. He’s strong, handsome, and everything Cat doesn’t need right now. But as the story progresses, Cat discovers she isn’t entirely resistant to the warlords charm. The chemistry between Griffin and Cat is intense, even though Cat denies it every step of the way. The banter between them is fun and helps keep the plot moving. 

Cats can sometimes be immature, especially when it comes to her inner thoughts. For example she is in her twenties but says things like ‘yuck’ when kissed. Her inner thoughts are also constantly in turmoil with her actions.  I understand Cat is inexperienced but some of her immaturity in regards to Griffin was a little irritating. 

This is one of those books that is both frustrating and captivating. Frustrating with how much Cat denies her feelings and connection towards Griffin. Even when it’s obvious Griffen was sent to her, she still pushes away. But captivating in how the author provides the right amount of information/details to keep you wondering what will happen next. 

Overall, this book was a fun read. There is so much mystery left at the end of this book that I’m looking forward to reading the second. But at the same time, it felt like the book just ended. Here I was reading, I turn the page and that was that – The end. It’s weird how there wasn’t any closure or warning the book was closing to an end.

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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.. 

The Hunt (Devil’s Isle, #3)

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This series keeps getting better! The Hunt is book three in the Devil’s Isle series and probably the best one so far. This book dragged so many emotions out of me. I love how the Chloe Neill was able to connect intense emotions with her readers. LOVED IT!!


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Author: Chloe Neill
Published: September 26th, 2017
Pages: 311

Stars: 4 out of 5

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Other books in this Series:
The Veil (Devil’s Isle, #1)
The Sight (Devil’s Isle, #2)

Synopsis:
When bounty hunter Liam Quinn discovered that Claire Connolly was a Sensitive and infected with magic, he should have turned her in to be locked up in the prison district known as Devil’s Isle. Instead, he helped her learn to control her power and introduced her to an underground group of Paranormals and humans who know the truth about the war and those who fought it.

Now the weight of Liam’s own secrets has forced him into hiding. When a government agent is killed and Claire discovers that Liam is the prime suspect, she races to find him before the government can. But she’ll discover proving his innocence is no simple matter. Their enemies are drawing closer, and time is running out….

Review:
Claire is a strong woman with conflicting feels about Liam. But when Liam needs her help, she doesn’t think twice about going after him.

When Claire goes looking for Liam, I expected a happy reunion. Maybe hugs, Liam’s famous half smile, something that resembled the affection the two of them once shared. The build up of seeing Liam again had my stomach doing somersaults. And the reality is devastating. Instead of affection, Claire is met with a solid flat wall. Putting myself in Claire’s place, I would be so hurt but also royally mad. It doesn’t help how utterly attractive Liam is and somehow is even more otherworldly masculine and sexy.

The question of Clair’s mother rises early in this book. Again I put myself in her position and wonder, would I want to know the truth of my mother – The possibility she could have been this evil entity? Or the tale her father strung of her early death before the war? Either way, Claire gets forced into the reality every person must eventually face. That moment when your parents fall from the enormously high pedestal you’ve held them at because they aren’t perfect. And in Claire’s case, they are more than flawed. They are this cold, evil stranger. 

Liam’s power is pretty cool. It takes a while before figuring out why he didn’t want to tell Clair about it. And it’s actually kind of sweet. I think I would have done a similar thing. Maybe with a little more communication though. 

I love the chemistry between Liam and Claire. The similarities between Liam and Clair’s father don’t go unnoticed and I wonder if there are any underlining ‘daddy’ issues Claire is compensating for. 

The story ends with the battle between time and Claire’s mother. Claire has shown an enormous amount of strength, clarity, and willingness to make the hard choice and follow through with it in this book. This book has so much love in it. Even though in the beginning it’s difficult to see, trust me it’s there. And it comes in so many forms and from the people you least expect. I’ll admit reading this book, my emotions ran high. But isn’t that the best gift an author can give!

The ending of this book – and I don’t mean the last few chapters, I mean the very end – of this book was ok. I’m somewhere between thinking ok, maybe that would work to yeah that was kind of an easy out. Either way, that was what we are left with and I’m hands down excited for the next book. 

I wish I could say more, dive into every detail of this book. But let’s be honest, that’s not what you want. I’m trying very hard not to give away too much but my hope is I gave you enough to entice you to read more. Although this isn’t my favorite series from this author, I still wholeheartedly enjoyed this book. 

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…

Wild Hunger (Heirs of Chicagoland, #1)

As of today, there are 102 days before this book is released. And I know, it’s not fair but I promise the wait is well worth it! You are going to love this series!

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I was surprised, albeit happily surprised, with how often Ethan and Merits characters showed up in this book. It was a little weird having Ethan and Merit be side characters, being able to hear their words without their thoughts. I almost felt left out, like I was missing something. But I guess that’s how it is with all spinoffs. It’s a good thing I loved Elisa’s character! Otherwise, I think it would be difficult to stick with the series.


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Author: Chloe Neill
Published: August 14, 2018
Pages: 352

Stars: 5 out of 5

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Series: Heirs of Chicagoland

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Synopsis:
As the only vampire child ever born, some believed Elisa Sullivan had all the luck. But the magic that helped bring her into the world left her with a dark secret. Shifter Connor Keene, the only son of North American Central Pack Apex Gabriel Keene, is the only one she trusts with it. But she’s a vampire and the daughter of a Master and a Sentinel, and he’s prince of the Pack and its future king.

When the assassination of a diplomat brings old feuds to the fore again, Elisa and Connor must choose between love and family, between honor and obligation, before Chicago disappears forever.


Review:
First off, do not go into this book expecting a miniature Merit. Although Elisa has aspects of her parents, she is no Merit. She is more and so different. And as a side note, I love the parents Ethan and Merit turned out to be.

“My smart and kind and beautiful girl. He (Ethan) liked to say that, had been saying that for years, and had always put ‘beautiful’ last. Whether it was true or not, he’d tell me it was the least important of the three. “You are smart,” he’d say. “You should be kind. And if you are, you’ll always be beautiful.” 

I love this quote because it says so much about their character and values. And again, it shows what kind of parents Ethan and Merit are. I do wish Elisa would have felt like she could have told them her secret. I can’t imagine the weight of having to carry that around with you, not being able to talk to anyone about it.

The prologue was really fun to read. Chloe Neill did a great job at capturing the innocents of a child and the love/hate relationship between two young kids. If you haven’t read Chicagoland Vampire series, then I don’t think you would fully be able to picture the scene described here. Neill doesn’t go into too much description with the characters. For example, you don’t really get the sense of just how big/dominating Gabriel and Ethan presence would be, especially to two young kids. I do love how Elisa refers to Connor as ‘Connor Stupid Keene’.

Elisa’s character is complex. She is 23 and although she is a vampire, she continues to age. Elisa is heroic but at times can become reckless. And although she thinks she has discovered herself in Paris, she still has no idea who she is in Chicago. But no matter where she is, she is unbelievably brave.  Knowing she has to do something, even if it means hurting the ones she loves most because it’s to save the innocent, doesn’t hurt any less. I love the innocence of Elisa’s character. Although She is able to step up to a fight, she is still affected by the loss of death.

The phrase ‘I’m an immortal’ has come from Elisa throughout the entire book. I’m not sure why it sticks out to me, but it does. I can’t help but wonder how and if this might come into play later.

Connor is just as gorgeous as he is cocky. The naked scene was far too short and such a tease. God I loved it!! I love the dominant side of him and I like how he’s honest with Elisa. Even when it’s hard, he tells her not what she wants but what she needs to hear. I like Connor’s take on Elisa’s ‘monster’. I don’t think I would have looked at it that way, but it makes sense.

Connor and Elisa have a very complicated relationship. On the one hand there’s old childhood resentment, then there is their life’s dream – for Elisa it’s being anonymous, earning her way. For Connor it’s being leader of the pack. – and finally, it’s the connection between them, discovering who they have grown to be. But even as the sparks fly between them, the rules are clear and choices will eventually have to be made.

The banter between Connor and Elisa is fantastic but there is definitely a love/hate, are we friends or more, kind of thing going on here.  Some of the scenes between Connor and Elisa are not only intense but they are seductive! Who would have thought having someone grab your hand to prevent you from turning could be so sensual?!?! Chloe Neill does such an amazing job with building sexual tension between the two characters!! She is such a gifted writer and Wild Hunger is no exception.

The side characters are fun to read. I love LuLu’s hidden hobby of running. Finally, a girl that speaks my heart! I love the little details Chloe Neill adds into her books. They make her characters, no matter how minor, seem more real and relatable. Even the side characters are written in such a  personal way, it’s easy to connect with them.

The plot is fun, exciting, and similar to Chicagoland Vampires series yet much more. Elisa has been away from Chicago, developing control, and is returning to support the houses in hosting peace talks amongst the other supernaturals in the world. And as you can imagine, those talks don’t exactly go as expected. One of the things I found interesting is how Cadogan house struck a deal with the mayor to not get involved in supernatural crimes. And part of me gets it – when supernaturals get involved, the city tends to get destroyed. But another part of me recognizes the injustice that is put upon a single race. I can’t help but make a comparison with today’s world and how we look, respond, and treat those of different races.  I’m not sure if that was Neill’s intention or not and it wasn’t like it was an overwhelming theme. Just something I noticed.

Okay, I promise I won’t say more about the plot and characters, don’t want to give too much away 🙂

The end of the book is fantastic! I’m surprised with how much Connor and Elisa’s relationship changes. Connor is going to have his hands full with her! And that darn prophecy! Ah, I love it. This is a book you will want to read. I’ve had it on pre-order from the very beginning and even though I was given an advanced copy, I can’t wait for the book to come. This will be a book I will read again and a new series I am looking forward to starting.


I would love to hear your thoughts about the review and if you are planning on reading this book. Until next time, Happy Reading 🙂