The Fourth Wall is one of those books where I read the blurb and think I know what I'm getting into but once I start reading, I have no idea! This...moreWow!
The Fourth Wall is one of those books where I read the blurb and think I know what I'm getting into but once I start reading, I have no idea! This is a good thing! After a while of reading similar books, The Fourth Wall is a welcoming change. If I had to tell someone what it was about, I'd tell them "it's about a young girl cursed or blessed (depending on how you view it) with the gift/curse of lucid dreaming to overcome the death of her mother and her broken family". In a nutshell that's exactly what it is. Though I feel like I'd be leaving out a chunk of what makes this book so unique.
Ms. Naranjo's young adult novel features a YA protagonist but some very mature subject matter with death, mourning and moving on. There are small elements of fantasy in our protagonist Marin's dreams. Although I'm a huge fantasy fan who loves the all out fantastical elements, the way it was used here was a companion to the Marin's inner struggle rather than leading the story. Let me tell you, it fit. The true champion in this tale is the Marin's journey to trusting others and facing the everyday with school, schoolmates and family interactions.
I love the way Ms. Maranjo wrote this story with such detail and emotion that made me feel what the characters felt and I rooted for them to overcome their tragedy. I'm looking forward to seeing wha tother stories she has up her writer sleeve!
Fans of realistic fiction would love to dive into this book especially if they are looking for a YA book that falls in the realistic fiction genre.
Content Warning: Some adult language and adult themes(less)
**spoiler alert** 3.5 - Let me just say I love the idea of this book. I'm glad I was able to hop in on the 'good daughter's' book because I find the g...more**spoiler alert** 3.5 - Let me just say I love the idea of this book. I'm glad I was able to hop in on the 'good daughter's' book because I find the good girl/bad boy trope rather fascinating in romance and I like to see how different authors handle the clashing of two different personalities.
Midnight Play also made good use of some of the other tropes I like to read in romance like enemies to lovers in addition to opposites attract. Then it throws them together in a sports themed world. I've been meaning to read more sports romances and Midnight Play fits the bill. It was a mixed bag for me with a couple of things I really enjoyed and some things that were a bit surprising that I could leave behind.
First of all, what I loved. I loved how Danica was put together. She's a no-nonsense woman with a whip smart career mind that showcases her talent to be the Slayer's team GM. I loved seeing her handle herself and her family during the press conference scenes. Ms. Perry has a talent for witty banter and I have to say this was one of my favorites:
“Question for the general manager.”
Danica sent the reporter a coy grin. He faltered for a moment, backlit by the flashes of cameras, but that fleeting hesitation was all she needed to know she could handle whatever he dished out.
“How satisfied are you with TreShawn Dibbs?” the reporter asked, referring to the kicker Danica had hired in spite of his checkered past and the firestorm of talk about his prior experiences with performance-enhancement substances.
“Since the season opener he’s abided by the terms of his contract with our team and he’s maintained one hundred percent accuracy on all field goals. Who wouldn’t be satisfied with stats like that?” That didn’t stop him from persisting, though. “Even you have to admit it was a risky move to acquire a player suspected of so many transgressions.”
“Dibbs is healthy and giving our franchise the results we want. What would football be without risky moves? You never know what action I’m going to take next. Don’t ruin all the excitement by trying to predict me.”
This earned a wave of laughter, and the reporter blushed as though embarrassed to have even broached the subject.
Loved that. Danica kicks butt verbally and can go toe to toe with anyone (outside of her family) if need be. Inside of her family is another story. She is jelly in front of her parents, her mother a hotsy totsy socialite who always seems put together is quick to turn her into the dutiful daughter who never quite seems to be at the top of her form. She is the straight and arrow one among her more wilder sisters (who each have their own separate books) and naturally she comes unglued when the hero makes his appearance. She also has an ex-husband who still has eyes for her. Speaking of said ex-husband, I didn't mind that we got a glimpse of him still jonesing for Danica. It added an edge of suspense that I had hoped would go somewhere but sadly didn't. One thing it did give was this nice exchange between him and Danica.
Marion shook his head. “I will love you for the rest of my life, Danni. Don’t go thinking that’ll change because we signed some papers last year.”
“But you’re not in love with me. That changed before we signed the papers.” She forced her expression into one that was casual—impassive. “Dredging this all up again is rooting us in a place we shouldn’t be. We’re different now, Marion. You’re music and BET and MTV. I’m sports and ESPN. We’ve got separate lives. Let’s live them.”
Snort. Considering how all over the place music is with both BET and MTV and how sports and ESPN go together like peanut butter and jelly, I like how Ms. Perry uses this to show how all over the place Marion is and how put together Danica is. I kind of wish we could see a bit more of Marion to confirm that analogy which was brilliant.
I like that Danica was a divorced woman who still caved around her parents. No matter how old their children get, some parents have such a strong influence and hold on their children that doesn't stop once a magical number appears when they age. Considering the Blues work together so closely in their professional and mostly social lives, the bond and hold is stronger, so I understand why Danica couldn't quite stand up to her parents (and namely her mother).
I liked this aspect of the book and felt it was stronger when Danica was on her own weathering a balance between both aspects of her lives while fending off a stalkerish husband. If the book continued with this strength while balancing a burgeoning romance with Dex the football player, this would have been a seriously captivating read for me.
Unfortunately, when Dex and Danica got in the vicinity of each other, I felt the book tended to suffer a bit. It's weird I find this happening in a lot of current romance books. Although I don't read much women's fiction, I find that some romance books tend to be stronger when the female character is on her own. Consequently, I felt like I didn't know as much about Dex as I did about Danica. It's understandable because the book revolves around her family's business, but he felt more like a supporting role in her life rather than the hero in the romance book. I did love the glimpses we got into his family connection, but I wanted to know more about him than just knowing he ran between hot and cold with Danica.
Also in this instance, the main characters' attraction felt more to me like lust than love and I would have loved to have seen more tension built up over the course of the book. They didn't get together until about halfway point which I wouldn't mind if the tension was there pulling them together the whole time. Maybe I've been burned by too many IR books focusing on the physical relationship between the main characters but I wanted more substance in their attraction that really focused on a romance-y type of romance rather than how their bodies reacted to each other. A few instances made me side eye the characters particularly when the heat rating shot up in a simple act of a touch or brush against a private part. I would have loved to have seen more romantic reaction, such as their scene when Dex made his appearance at the wedding:
Her plate slipped from her grasp, but her panicked “Oh, crap!” hung in the air as a man caught the dish in one hand and wound a muscled arm around her waist. She was aware of being crushed against a hard male body, of cologne with hints of rum and spice, yet her eyes were on her plate.
“You rescued my cake! I could kiss you.”
Love this! It was very cute and very romantic and swoony for the setup. It made me look for more instances like this.
Midnight Play has descriptions and words that I don't remember reading in the Kimani line prior to this book. I'm not sure if the line is turning up the heat like a Blaze or toeing the line like a Desire but I hope it's not just because Kimani features POC and IR couples. In any event, it's something I will keep a close eye on in future books from Kimani. I wish Harlequin would offer more BWWM IR couples in their other lines (preferably Special Edition, Romance, Superromance and their romantic suspense lines) and not just in one section. IR books have switched to feature more erotic books on one side and very few sweet books on the other so it'd be great to have a place to go where I can find the type of reads I'm looking for. As a Harlequin reader panelist, I'll continue to make note of this to HQN themselves.
I'm glad MP didn't veer into fetish fiction where the different races of the couple was highlighted and a source of confusion and conflict from the heroine's POV. They were played as GM and player with that and the differences in their family backgrounds molding their interest and hesitation toward each other. The one instance race was mentioned was in a wonderfully written description in passing (His tanned skin contrasted with her own sun-kissed brown complexion as he tried to press something into her hand.)
There were a lot more lines and dialogue I highlighted in my Nook book that the author really played well but to include them would make this a book length review in itself. I love love love Ms. Perry's talent for dialogue and description and pretty much almost highlighted most of my ebook copy with great lines. I will say that I hope Ms. Perry revisits the IR genre once more in the future. (less)
This was an okay read. The heroine was kind of annoying and the hero was a bit more tolerable but both were pretty generic for the line. I wish the au...moreThis was an okay read. The heroine was kind of annoying and the hero was a bit more tolerable but both were pretty generic for the line. I wish the author didn't repeat what little background info was given and the constant inner dialogue. Otherwise a pretty light weight easy going read.(less)
I've had Ms. Smith's Spaces New Adult series on my TBR pile which I so need to move up after reading Found By You.
Roxie and Griffin were adorable and...moreI've had Ms. Smith's Spaces New Adult series on my TBR pile which I so need to move up after reading Found By You.
Roxie and Griffin were adorable and I wish their romance side kept up after the first love scene. I loved the scene where he came to watch her play roller derby and invited her to that evening's party. She thought he wasn't interested when he hopped off the bleachers to leave but then returned with a whole group of his friends to support Roxie and her team, complete with a sign re-inviting her to the party. What a guy!
I did like that Ms. Smith included the fact that sponsors essentially bribed players to sway them to play pro on their teams which happens in both basketball and also football from what I've been told by the players in my family. That hit a nice sense of realism that added a layer of tension between Roxie and Griffin when she found out about his past. I didn't blame Roxie for being apprehensive about entering a relationship with him considering how he got around. But his current actions and sweetness swayed me to like him just like Roxie. Missypoo also had some skeletons in her own closet. I was shocked to find out some things she did herself and it kept me reading as it didn't really go with her personality. I was curious to see how the author would mesh her earlier actions (or lack thereof?) with Griffin while exposing herself to strangers. I was glad to see it revisited later but I really wish that aspect of her life wasn't there so as to make her seem hypocritical when she brushes Griffin off for the prostitute incident.
Other than that, my other gripe was the language sprinkled throughout the book, particularly by Griffin. I usually stick with pretty clean reads and I'm glad that the spacing was easy enough to gloss over most of them.
Ms. Smith is a fantastic writer who knows how to pull you into the story with great characterization, a fast paced story and interesting characters. I appreciate her love scenes were more sensual than crude and really brought out the emotion rather than rely on autonomous body parts or x rated language. I'm looking forward to reading more of her work!
This book is for mature audiences only. 18 yrs and up due to language and sexual content.
***I was gifted an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review***
3.5 - This was a wonderful surprise read! Ms. Soule has a way with words and the thing that really popped out to me was her dialogue. Main character S...more3.5 - This was a wonderful surprise read! Ms. Soule has a way with words and the thing that really popped out to me was her dialogue. Main character Sloane Masterson was a nice mix of Veronica Mars and Sarah Bailey (from 1996s The Craft), a snarky teen but not annoying. Instead, I was intrigued by her world loved that she enjoyed many of the same things I did (with a nice shout out to Konrath's pen name) and that she seemed comfortable in her skin. Sometimes YA heroines are over the top YA but Sloane read genuine to me and I loved the way she spoke and presented herself. I love that she was attracted to Hayden but was turned off by his attitude. Often heroines are so swoony over heroes that they ignore the jerky personality so it was nice to see Sloane acknowledge that. I was eager to dive into Ms. Soule's world and as I read on find out revelations with who Hayden and his brother are and who are on their trail, I couldn't help but enjoy putting things together alongside with Sloane. The sci-fi romance aspect was very much welcome and proved why I love SFR in the YA genre. Being a world building info junkie, I'm dying to know more about the alien community.
This is the first in a series so there is a bit of a cliffhanger but the story and dialogue make this a worthwhile read and a very fun ride. By the end, I was eager to read more of Ms. Soule's works. I recommend this for mid to older teens due to some minor language, sexual content and situations.
***I was gifted an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review***(less)
I've been meaning to read Shadows of the Past for some time and I'm glad I finally had a chance to read it. This was such a fresh read. Both Anne and...moreI've been meaning to read Shadows of the Past for some time and I'm glad I finally had a chance to read it. This was such a fresh read. Both Anne and Genevieve's stories are told in a parallel fashion. Genevieve's story leads the mystery as her tale unfolds in the 1400s as a nun in a monastery. Poor Genevieve lived such a hard life losing her loved ones to terrified townsfolk and Anne begins to pick up the pieces when she and her husband Neil (whom she wishes to reconcile with after a recent infidelity) are vacationing. The cover paints this as a more explicit and sexy read than what's between the covers and I was thankful to see that it wasn't. I loved the way the story started seemingly on opposite ends at first but slowly came together to tell a unified story. It was tragic yet engaging tale and I think historical fans will enjoy the medieval scenes that brought the time period to life. This was a nice story to read after a slew of fluffy romances and I'm thankful to read it when I did.
Thank you to Ms. Stefanescu for the read in exchange for an honest review!(less)
Love this book! I thought Moya's closed off personality was justifiable and I had a feeling she was protecting herself. I love that Brandon never gave...moreLove this book! I thought Moya's closed off personality was justifiable and I had a feeling she was protecting herself. I love that Brandon never gave up on her. The secret about his condition kept me reading as well as seeing how he'd break Moya's shell. I thought the tension kept me reading with interest right until the end.
I'm glad this and Victoria H. Smith's book were my first real forays into the New Adult genre. I like the cleaner and more subtle NA reads rather than the over the top ones and after reading this book my expectations are pretty high. Aside from a few language instances, this was a pretty clean read that the whole family can enjoy. Due to the heavy situations, I'd probably suggest this to readers about 15 and up.
This book stayed with me and I was so glad to see the next book continues with Moya and Brandon. I'm dying to read more about them and dive back into their world!(less)
I really enjoyed Missing Lily! Maybe I've been stumbling across way too many explicit reads lately but this was a breath of fresh air because it focus...moreI really enjoyed Missing Lily! Maybe I've been stumbling across way too many explicit reads lately but this was a breath of fresh air because it focused on characters getting to know each other before anything romantic followed and the strength of its characters made the story come to life. I also loved how the story started right in the middle of the action. Lily (real name Princess Lylin) was a strong character in the sense that I got her angst, motivation and she had me rooting for her safety all the way. I hadn't read Just Ella but this book makes me want to search it out and read it if it's written as well as Missing Lily. The romance was nicely paced and right from the beginning when Lily met Rhys, the chemistry was there as he really cared about and respected her. There's a twist that comes later on with Rhys and one of Lily's sisters that I won't reveal here and even though I wanted to see Rhys stand up and fight to have Lily, I can understand the predicament he was in. Poor Lily even had to grow up with such a bratty sister and parents who didn't hide their favoritism between the two sisters (out of a total of seven). It made me root for her even more.
I can't say enough things about the writing. Ms. Larsen penned such an intriguing tale with an array of characters that really stand on their own apart from the other characters. And she tells such a great story that is a 100% clean for all ages and all parts of the family! For anyone who has daughters who love princess stories with a sweet romance on the side, this would be great for them! I know I'll be saving this to share with my future daughter. I look forward to following this series very closely and adding Missing Lily to my read again shelf. I'm happy to add this as on my best of 2014 reading list!(less)
I've had Type N on my shelf for some time and now I'm kicking myself for not reading it sooner because this book was a gem to read! I had a hard time...moreI've had Type N on my shelf for some time and now I'm kicking myself for not reading it sooner because this book was a gem to read! I had a hard time putting it down and was so disappointed every time I had to go do something. That's a great sign for a book making my keeper shelf and this one has earned it! The strength of Remember Me lies in the characters.
I love the way Ms. Onuorah gives each character their own personality which bounces off each other so smoothly. The Tyverson's were such an adorable family! The kids came across precocious yet respectful and never annoying. I enjoyed seeing them come together to help Kristen through her recovery. I also loved how awesome Mark was and how tender, patient and supportive he was of his wife. He reminded me of my own husband and I often found myself reading and stepping into Kristen's situation to empathize with her. Her journey back to her family was one that had me cheering and sometimes I even wondered if she'd get her full memory back. I loved that the story was inspirational and the subject of faith and God fit right into the healing process.
I hesitate to call this a mere romance because it was so much more than a romance story. It's a story about falling in love again, finding out what really matters in life and learning to trust. There were a couple of great side stories the author dealt with regarding Caleb reacting to his mother's return, how it affects his schooling and also another story about the death of Mark's mother and the rift between his father that were dealt with in an engaging manner. The characters all felt like living and breathing human beings and a family I wouldn't mind knowing in real life.
The one criticism I have is the narrative style which was slightly confusing due to the head hopping POV and omniscient perspective. The characters and writing were strong enough to suck me in each time and after a while, I embraced it as a style choice from the author.
I appreciated the fact that the author didn't spend too much time on Kristen's life before she went to Afghanistan. It gave this reader a chance to go on the Tyverson's journey back to what life was like before Kristen left. I was cheering for Kristen and many times wondered where the story may take me. Some readers may find the course of actions predictable but those wanting a comforting, inspiring and uplifting read will devour Rememer Me and find themselves revisiting the Tyverson's journey in the future once again. (less)
Dust Girl wasn't really what I expected when I got it. It started out pretty awesome and it engaged me with its interwoven story and complex character...moreDust Girl wasn't really what I expected when I got it. It started out pretty awesome and it engaged me with its interwoven story and complex characters. Then it went downhill as I kept reading on. Sadly, it was a little more realism than fantasy and I had hoped to see more of the fae realm and world. I would have loved a bit more worldbuilding and less cardboardy type characters. There was a death towards the end of the book that felt forced and a Native American character that felt like he was just tacked on without any care for his character or culture. I did love the 1920s atmosphere, music and the fact that our heroine was bi-racial with her AA father as the King of Seelie Fae. It's a great twist with a diversity of characters we don't get much in this genre. Even though I didn't love Dust Girl, I still plan on continuing the series to see how the story arc and Callie LeRoux's fate turns out.
After reading and loving the Iron Fey series and coming from a fantasy reading background, I may be a bit biased in wanting more speculative elements but readers of historical fiction may enjoy reading Dust Girl.(less)
Carbon Copy combines a little bit of sci-fi (especially good for readers squeamish about dipping into the SF genre, this one's perfect for your start)...moreCarbon Copy combines a little bit of sci-fi (especially good for readers squeamish about dipping into the SF genre, this one's perfect for your start), a little bit of mystery and a lot of twists and turns regarding cloning. On the heels of watching Orphan Black, I was excited to read this and found myself turning the pages to find out who Lilly's twin was, what her story was and the details of her boyfriend Greer's plan with the Create Life company.
Ms. Venters presents a foreboding, chilling atmosphere through the characters while the reader is slowly given pieces to the puzzle regarding the kidnapped babies and the cloning of animals and humans. The villain Tom-Tom freaked me out (given the name because of his stuttering) and the possibilities of how close we are to technology really hit home at how easily it can be abused and manipulated.
This was a fun fast paced read with a little bit of everything for those looking for a bit of intrigue, romance and speculation in their reading. (less)
I'm a sucker for marriage romances and being a Hallmark fan, I love the fake marriage/engagement trope. Couple that with a winter themed sweet romance...moreI'm a sucker for marriage romances and being a Hallmark fan, I love the fake marriage/engagement trope. Couple that with a winter themed sweet romance and I'm hooked!
I liked the way Seth and Layla interacted. Although I felt that Layla was a bit dim at times in not seeing Seth's interest in her, it helped to keep the conflict going and to see them draw closer to each other. Not to mention it added fuel to their cute back and forth banter. I must say my favorite part was when Murphy swooped in to save Layla in the first chapter. The encounter happened at the wedding and Layla was in a tough spot seeing her ex get married (to her snooty, plastic and self centered cousin worthy of any slap-worthy Hallmark villainess), so in order to save face Murphy takes Layla as a fake fiancee to save face. Layla is quick to end the story as she must keep the facade up but when a chance to make a big impact for her career presents herself, she asks Murphy (much to his excitement) to keep the facade up until she can nail the job.
While on the subject of Murphy, I love this character! He was sweet, caring and he would do anything for Layla even if it meant putting his own reputation on the line. Although he's not a stereotypical alpha (thank goodness, we need more sweet betas in romance) he was drawn in such a way that I couldn't help cheering for him to get the girl. I also loved Ms. Hunters description of him being a strong, fit guy with a gentle heart. Swoon!
The inspirational aspects were low key but there. For Christian romance fans, it delivers everything they are looking for in a short fiction format. Don't let the novella length fool you, there's a sweet and satisfying romance story between these pages and if you're a reader like me with a short amount of time on her hands, this one is a perfect sweet story you can finish in between things on your to do list.
I'm looking forward to reading more of the stories in the series! (less)
Deceptive Innocence piqued my curiosity after I read the blurb. It kind of reminded me of the recently canceled Meagan Goode series Deception and I wa...moreDeceptive Innocence piqued my curiosity after I read the blurb. It kind of reminded me of the recently canceled Meagan Goode series Deception and I wanted to see how the author weaved a story of revenge with a developing romance. Well, it's not called an erotic thriller for nothing! The serial format that seems to be prevalent in 'edgier' sexy fiction these days makes it appearance here and although that didn't interest me much, I must say I do love the linked up covers for each installment.
Although I found the premise interesting, I couldn't really get into the book. The revenge aspect was interesting but the coldness of the main character Belle and her 'on the surface sexual chemistry' with revenge target Landers left me wanting more of an emotional connection to make me care for her journey. I felt bad for what happened to her mother and how she was treated but I would have loved to have more complexity to Belle's character rather than "turned on", "angry revenge mode" and "cool, calm cucumber mode" to showcase her character.
Deceptive Innocence may not be my cup of tea but readers looking for more edgier fiction with detailed sex scenes and dark characters will enjoy going on Belle's journey of revenge while battling her desire for her target.(less)
When I saw the cover for Starflower, I had to jump on this book. I loved that it featured what looked like a woman of color (reminding me of the actre...moreWhen I saw the cover for Starflower, I had to jump on this book. I loved that it featured what looked like a woman of color (reminding me of the actress Rosario Dawson) and the beautifully painted style just accentuated the focus of the character. I was a bit worried that this was the fourth in a series but I soon got over that as I dove into the wonderful worldbuilding and lyrical narrative of the story.
Starflower is a fast paced story filled with princess, dragons, bards and a beautiful fantasy setting with various worlds within its own world. Although the story seems like a simple one, it is anything but traditional. On the surface it is a tale of a princess with two suitors interested in her hand (one of which is our hero) and the dragon that kidnaps her. I don't want to give too much away because much of what made this a fun experience for me was going in knowing as little as possible. I will say that this is a great read suitable for both adult and young adult readers alike and for those looking for something a little different with their fantasy (say, a sprinkle of inspirational/Christian fiction) this will certainly be a treat. As mentioned before, I was not aware of Ms. Stengl's previous books in the series and starting with this one didn't make me feel as if I was missing anything. The one thing it may do is make you want to pick up the other books to read the backstory on the characters!
All in all, a fun book that was a pleasure to read. In a book world of increasing violence and sex (which is especially creeping up in modern fantasy fiction), I hope to see more fantasy books like this in the near future that puts the story and characters first and leaves the shock value at the door.