Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Blogger Business

Before I dive into the latest book I am reading. (Jennifer Ryan's 'The Return of Brody McBride'... so excited!) I feel I need to put some thoughts to the blog.

We all know what has been going on with ONE particular author and ONE particular blogger that has rocked the blogger/author world as we know it. If you do not, here is the link: CLICK HERE for the Article that started it all. Kristyn and I are incredibly new to the blogger world, having only been here since March 2014. The one thing we are not new to is the book world. Both are alumni of Borders Books and readers since we were young. This situation has brought a few things to my mind. So, per Catherine fashion - let the listing begin.

1) Pen names.

    • Nome de plume, literary double or pseudonyms - whatever you call them, they are not a new invention. Theo LeSieg who wrote some of our favorite children's books? Yep - that is Theodore Seuss Geisel. Dr. Seuss. (LeSieg is Geisel backwards) Anne Rice, Mark Twain, Stephen King and the list goes on of those authors who do not use the names stamped on their birth certificates to write under. As a reader, I don't think twice about it. Unless it is a truly interesting name. People change their names daily; and the reasons are all different: marriage, divorce, gender change, spelling change or just a need/desire to go by a different name. So, I ask - why is this a hot topic if a blogger chooses to WRITE (which is what we as bloggers are doing) under a pen name? A few questions that came to mind when thinking about this were: 
      • Does it lessen the validity of our review/support if we do not use our parent given names?
      • Does it lessen the quality of a novel if an author chooses to not use their parent given name?
Kristyn and I use our real names. I am not sure we ever had a discussion about it. I will be as honest as I can be with you now, it would have been a long conversation had we decided to venture out on this blog after this situation came into light. The use of a pen name was a huge part of this situation because the author felt as if she was being "catfished" by the reviewer.

2) Catfishing
I will admit, I loved the show on MTV. I do not belittle people who have found companionship via the Internet. In today's technology filled society, even when you are out and about they have apps that will let you know that there are single, available people in certain areas. I have many friends who I met online, and their friendship is not valued any less than those I have met in face to face situations. I do think people bypass taking precautions against the dangers you can encounter in face to face dating. Would you give a person who you are having dinner with for the first time ALL your personal information? Why would you allow a person via the Internet to have access to that information? Now, to the situation at hand - I do not believe this was a catfish situation at all. The bloggers intent was not to meet this author under false pretenses. It seemed to be the author's desire to meet the blogger. If this is going to be classified as "catfishing" - then I know a store up the road full of Catfish, it's called Barnes and Noble. I will also advise you to stay away from Amazon, that place it full of them. And not the ones that we batter and deep fry here down south. If you read the author's own account, she is the one who assumed a false identity when contacting the blogger to obtain personal information. Who is really the catfish in this situation? 

3) The Blogger Blackout
As a blogger, I support a person's right to give a one-star As a blogger, I support a person's right to write a review that is 100% true to their opinions and thoughts. As a blogger, I support a person's right to blackout in support of this cause. As a blogger, I also support your right to continue to blog. We will continue to blog. We have recently read a TON of great goods: Some were ARCS, some we one-clicked by a recommendation of some blogs we follow, and some were recommendations from the many book friends we have that we are eager to put the words to the blog and share! 

As a person, I do not agree with bashing one another. We are blessed beyond belief to have not had this type of situation occur and I hope that we never have to face that level of negativity. Think to what pushed you to start blogging. That one author who you just loved. That indie author whose debut novel needed to hit Oprah's desk and you were gonna help. I think back to what I was told by numerous grade school teachers: "Don't let one bad apple spoil the bunch." As a person, I do not condone stalking either. 

4) Stalking 
I think the biggest part of this story that is being overlooked is the stalking aspect. Stalking is a serious CRIME. CLICK HERE FOR A LIST OF SCARY STATISTICS Fact: It is a CRIME in all 50 states, and yet the level of stalking that occurred in this article is being viewed as light. An author received a 1 star. Let me tell you about a classy (and funny) way to handle your poor reviews, if you are choosing to read them. There was this challenge going around for author's to read their own bad reviews on video. Rachel Van Dyken had be laughing because she would agree on some things. I wish I could find the video now, but if you Youtube it, you will find authors challenged each other to do this. In fact, Rachel tried to turn it into a drinking game with her husband. 

I think this author crossed more than one line in this situation, and it is scary to think about all the books she has sold in light of this situation. For this reason, I understand the use of pen names. If I choose to do all the things this author is admitting to doing in order to confront this blogger, I would have a restraining order (at the very least) against me. Bottom Line: Stalking is a crime, and not to be taken lightly as it seems to be in this situation by some media outlets. 

5) My Parting Thoughts
If you did not notice, I did not once name the author involved. This was with full intent. Her book has shot up to #65 on an Amazon best-selling category list. If the book is well written, they kudos to the author - but, this jump in sales was due to the publicity her actions have given the book. Her actions were that of a person who needs help and possibly a chat with the local police department. If this was a man acting this way towards a woman, the handling of this situation would be different. The year is 2014. When will we realize that regardless of gender, situations like these should not be taken lightly. While the other end of this story is the huge possibility that this was a publicity stunt. If it was, the stunt was successful. A few weeks ago, would you have been able to tell me what this author wrote? I don't think many would. Today, within the book world at least, this is now a household name. I have decided NOT to perpetuate her name any more today. Instead, I will leave you with some authors you should check out: 

The list could go on and on!!! Sophie Jordan, Tina Klinesmith, Jeffe Kennedy, Lizbeth Selvig, Candis Terry, Dakota Cassidy, MaryJanice Davidson, Kris Calvert, Darynda Jones... 
You get it? There will always be that person who takes it TOO far. And then there will be these, who fangirl over you reviews like you do over their books. There will be that person who meets you at a convention and acts like they've known you forever. For the bloggers participating, I cannot wait for your return! Your reviews will be missed! We love and support each and every one of y'all! And for the author who caused the noise, and for those who will, without fail, cause more noise in the future, these are my parting words to you: 

Happy Reading Y'all! 

Burn For Me (A Hidden Legacy Novel)

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

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

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

***We received this book in exchange for an honest review***

Piercing thoughts about Adam?
Catherine: Adam. "Rich. Adam Pierce was rolling in money. This morning when I saw him on TV he was wearing a designer jacket and posing against a bike that looked like something out of a science fiction movie and probably cost a lot more than my car." Evil? Sure! Crazy? Yep! Still, I was in lust. Haha. His cocky self had me thinking the story would turn down a different street. I know, I know - he is the villain. But, I'll be damned if Andrews doesn't write an amazingly sexy bad guy. And then you have your heroine who is contracted to bring this hunk in UNHARMED. She may not physically harm him, but his ego is in for a bruising with this feisty lady. 
"You bought me a T-shirt?" He raised one eyebrow. 
Every nerve in my body was shivering with tension. Steady. "You keep forgetting to put one on, so I thought I'd bring you one. Since we're having a serious discussion."
He leaned forward, his beautiful face framed by soft hair. "Do you find my chest distracting?
"Yes. Every time I see that panther with horns, it makes me laugh."
If I could ask the authors ONE question about Adam, it would be - If he were to write Nevada a sonnet to get to fall in love (for the benefit of touching her!) what would it sound like. 

Kristyn: When I first started this book, I knew nothing of it except that it was the amazing Ilona andrews. I didn't read the description or anything. So at first I thought maybe this will be the love interest. At first, I could see it. He was cocky, funny, charming, and sexy. He was also very damaged.

"Love is control. People say they love you when they want to run your life. They wedge and pound you into a shape they find comfortable, and when you try to escape, they hog-tie you with guilt.My family figured it out years ago.  We've been marrying and breeding for profit for over a century.  No love involved."

I honestly felt for him.  He clearly grew up in a place where he was not loved, and did not know what love was. At first I kind of hoped Nevada was going to be the one to show him.. The more I read, the crazier he became and the less I liked him.   

 “I opened a writing app and began typing what I knew about Pierce.
Vain. Terminal fear of T-shirts or any other garment that would cover his pectorals.
Deadly. Doesn't hesitate to kill. Holding him at gunpoint would result in me being barbecued. Whee.
Likes burning things. Now here's an understatement. Good information to have, but not useful for finding him.
Antigovernment. Neither here nor there.
Hmm. So far my best plan would be to build a mountain of gasoline cans and explosives, stick a Property of US Government sign on it, and throw a T-shirt over Pierce's head when he showed up to explode it. Yes, this would totally work.”


Mad about Rogan?
Catherine: I bet any woman with a pulse, to not fall hard for the badass that is Mad Rogan. The tension could be cut with a knife. And the relationship that formed between him and Nevada was nothing short of comical. Rogan is a Prime with top notch powers partners with Nevada for the greater good of bringing Adam in. Dangerous, no regard for human life are just a few things that Nevada associates with Rogan, and yet she finds herself seeking his help. (And dreaming about him in less than professional situations!) 
 “He glanced at me, his eyes dark. "Would you rather talk about your dream?"
"Considering that I was featured in it, I think I deserve to know the particulars. Were my clothes missing because we were in bed? Was I touching you?" He glanced at me. His voice could've melted the clothes off my body. "Were you touching me?”
He doesn't hide his attraction to Nevada and that is the most entertaining thing since it obviously makes her so damn uncomfortable. 
"So the best way to fight you is to strip naked and attack?"
His eyes flashed with a wicked light. "Yes. You should try it and see what happens."
He almost has a robotic feel to his approach to situations that are emotion filled. He approaches relationships and problems so logically it is humorous. 
"We should have sex."
I must have misheard. "I'm sorry, what?"

Kristyn: I have come to the conclusion that I love narcissistic, controlling, sexy, but kind of funny men. I am very picky about my book boyfriends.  I dont just call anyone that.  I can actually count on one hand the guys in books that I love and I LOVE Mad Rogan!  I agree completely with what Catherine says.  Throughout this book, I kept finding myself begging for Nevada to just give in already!  
 “He would have sex the way other men made war.”
Nevada though has issues.  She really doesn't like or trust primes at all.  I'm not sure what gives her this deep rooted prejudice but she turns him down over and over believing that primes are entirely selfish, power hungry, greedy people.  She believes that if she were to give in and maybe actually start to fall for him, it will lead to heart break later.  Because in her eyes, she would just be a fling, something non permanent because there is no way a prime would ever stay with someone like her, and that he would one day leave her to marry someone with a lot more power to ensure the future of his next generation is maybe even more powerful than Rogan himself.  But, I think the whole not falling for Rogan may be impossible for her, no matter how much she tries.  I love their witty banter the most. I love their witty banter and I love that fact that she was terrified of him at first, she still did things like this...

“You seem to be under the impression that I work for you and you can give me orders. Let me fix that." I hung up.”

The more they work together, the more I love seeing them work together.

 “One school of thought says that the best way to handle an issue like this is exposure therapy," Mad Rogan said. "For example, if you're terrified of snakes, repeated handling of them will cure it."
Aha. "I'm not handling your snake.

What kind of magic would you want? 
Catherine: I am really not sure. I know that I would NOT want to be a truthseeker. While it has it's benefits, I don't want to be able to always know what is the truth. Fire? HELL NO. I would burn myself. But, the ability to throw stuff would be AWESOME! 

Kristyn: I honestly do not know. It seems like the kind of powers Rogan has is scary.  He can lose himself in them and not know who is around him and capable of hurting anyoneDefinitely not fire and being a truth seeker is scary.

Penny for your thoughts on Nevada?
Catherine: Nevada is such a complex character. She fights all emotion and hides her talents. She holds all this responsibility for her family that it breaks my heart. While she is incredibly close to her family, she shelters so much from everyone. Rogan somehow breaks the walls. She shows such bravery (laced with LOTS of sass and snark) while dealing with Rogan - she just had so many layers. 
"Sure, let me get right on that." Hey, my voice still worked. "Should I bring my own chains this time? Or do you have bigger plans, and is this some sort of freaky murder foreplay"-why did the word foreplay just come out of my mouth - "and I'll end up cut up into small pieces inside some freezer at the end? I can just spray myself with mace and shoot myself in the head now and save you the trouble."
"Are you done?" he asked.
"Just getting started." I was so brave over the phone. 

Kristyn:  Nevada is a strong willed person who is trying and struggling to keep her family afloat.  Since her father passed away, she became the "man" of the family, so to speak.  Everything she does is for them.  She is incredibly strong emotionally to be able to handle the things that come her way.  She's closed off and doesn't seem to have a personal life at all.  No friends and no love interests.  Everything is for the greater good of the family.  Both her mom and grandmother were decorated soldiers, so its no wonder Nevada turned out such a strong woman. 

Favorite supporting character?
Catherine: Hands down - Nevada's Grandma. Epic character. And her need for pictures of the hotties in her granddaughter's life tells me that she and I would be BEST FRIENDS. 

Kristyn:  I LOVE her grandma.  She is hilarious but at the same time, a very incredibly wise woman. 
I also really liked Leon.   
 “You're Mad Rogan!" Leon burst out.
"Yes," Mad Rogan said, his voice calm.
"And you can break cities?"
"And you have all this money and magic?"
Where was Leon going with this?
My cousin blinked. "And you look . . . like that?"
Mad Rogan nodded. "Yes."
Leon's dark eyes went wide. He looked at Mad Rogan, then glanced back at himself. At fifteen, Leon weighed barely a hundred pounds. His arms and legs were like chopsticks.
"There is no justice in the world!" Leon announced.”

Lines you won't likely soon forget?
Catherine: I am just going with ONE. 
"Fine," he said. "You had no idea it could be this good. Nobody in your past was ever that good and you know that nobody in your future will ever be this good. You've had a taste and you want more. You want sex. Dirty, naked, hot sex. It's floating through your head as we speak. You think you can imagine what it would be like. Trust me, you have no idea. I haven't even started. So run from it, think it over, pretend it didn't happen, it doesn't matter. I'll allow it for now. The more you fight, the more irresistible it will become, until one day I'll motion with my hand and you'll come running."

Kristyn:  I second that!! that line was EPIC!!

Final thoughts?
Catherine: This was SO much more than a romance. I loved all the details about this world. The history behind the Houses was so intriguing. I loved learning all about Primes and the different jobs that were tied to each type of magic. Nevada's family was so much fun to get to know. I am incredibly eager for the next book in this series. The mystery and the chase held my attention for the entire book. The tension caused me to keep the fan on. Kristyn told me that Rogan was Book Boyfriend worthy - and she wasn't wrong. That  man will show up in my dreams for months to come. I am sure of it! 

Kristyn:  This book was beyond amazing!  It gave me a book hangover for three weeks!  I loved the characters, I loved Mad Rogan especially.  It wasn't just the character that I loved.  It was the world.  Only Ilona Andrews can create these worlds that you just fall in.  So imaginative and real.   Once you fall in, You want to stay there for ever.

Now let's show the authors some PRIME sized love: 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Sinful Rewards #4

Four years ago, Bee Carter left her tiny hometown, escaping her tormentors. She concealed her tarnished reputation under a good-girl persona, hiding her history from Nicolas, her strong and silent billionaire; Hawke, her tattooed bad-boy biker; and Cyndi, her man-crazy best friend.
Today, she's returning home … and she's not alone. Some of her deepest, darkest secrets will be revealed. Trust will be tested. Clothing and inhibitions will be discarded. Bee and her hometown will never be the same.
When her past and her present collide, will any of Bee's relationships survive?

There are a few things you need to know about me: 
1) I have been #TeamJellyBeanBillionaire for the last THREE books. (This means #TeamNicolas for those who don't know) 
2) Something serious changed in me while reading this installment, and I went from #TeamNicolas to #TeamConfused to #TeamHawkeBUTIhopeNicolasFindsHisHEAJustNotWithBee. :) 
3) This book has made me contemplate 1)Kidnapping to get answers 2) Somehow stopping the production of Nutella to get answers 3)Sleep away this month until I get answers.

On to the review. 
Cynthia welcomes you back to the windy city of Chicago. Bee is still unemployed and getting ready for her trip to Happydale. While she may dread having to lie to her Mom about her employment status, she is looking forward to her dinner date with her handsome billionaire. She has a proposition from her friend, Lona, that she is sure she will turn down so she lets the meeting wait until after her shift at the Diner. Concern also fills her about what her Billionaire will think about the hot and heavy action that occurred between her and Hawke. 
This review is going to be handled a little differently. I am going to break it up by characters. My mind went in 12 different directions with each character in this installment. 
Lona: Lona might just be my new favorite character. So many judgements passed on her by her choice of occupation. I have been intrigued by her interest in Bee from the beginning. Many questions are brought up in this book. 1) Nicolas runs extensive background checks on his tenants, you have to wonder why an uptight business man like him would allow (yes, he is a control freak) her to reside in his building.  2)Then you have Hawke's knowledge of Lona. What does he think about Bee taking a "job" from her? Bee can't disclose the details, what will he think? 3) The friendship blossoming between Bee & Lona will affect Bee - but how? 
Cyndi: Cyndi's dreams came true in the last installment. I am eager to see Angel's reaction. (Yeah, I need a "IN YOUR FACE!" moment... Angel just makes me cringe) While Cyndi isn't physically in this installment, she is always around: 1) Bowl of Jelly Beans on the counter. 2) Her messy room with the door left open for Bee's sake. 3) A text message that contains FOUR words that made both Bee and I giggle.
Cyndi texts me. Her message consists of four words - I'm in Hollywood, beyotch. I laugh. Only my vivacious, insanely wealthy friend would fly across the country on a whim.
Nicolas: The man has everything at his fingertips, except time. A 4 A.M. arrival for his "Dinner Date" with Bee shows just how time consuming his business life is. From the beginning, I have loved his control and his small gestures of love. The ice cream...Swoon worthy. Rides to work...Be still my heart. I have been on Nicolas' side throughout the previous 3 books, I just can't get over the inability to make time for Bee. I get it. He is a busy guy. Heck, Bee gets it. She knows what she is signing up for. I just... I need her to be a priority. She needs that. Over the moon love. And then... the man goes and does what he does at the end of the book! ... My Un-Still Heart is experiencing a SWOON overload. 
"What?" I feign disbelief. "You've never had Heavenly Hash ice cream? No wonder you're an asshole. You've lived a deprived life."

My control-freak billionaire is trying to peer into the condo. I swing the door open. "Peepholes only work one way," I tease.
"I thought you might require retinal indentification." Nicolas smiles, his white teeth flashing in his tanned face, and I inhale sharply. He's so damn handsome..."

Hawke: Arrogant. Pushy. Hot as hell. Hawke hasn't been my favorite player in the game this far. I have been sure to share my distaste in his place in Bee's life. He made it his personal mission to sway my vote in this installment. A few Hawke related thoughts: 1) I might have a busboy thing now. 2) His interruption skills are EPIC. 3) "Passion isn't tidy." 4) What they share is real. No forced images, she lets go of her fears and faces them, not alone... with a biker whose real name she doesn't know. But she holds his most valuable possession close to her heart.
"The luscious slice of beefcake is Hawke." Smothering my laughter, I pour hot water into cups and set tea bags on the saucers. "I'm afraid we have only one of him."

Boyfriend: He didn't have to answer his phone. 

Boyfriend: I take YOU seriously. 

Bee: Bee. Bee. Bee. I feel for you. Everything you THINK you want and need vs. Braving the open road on the back of a bike with the wind in your hair and your Past in the future. When it comes to Bee, I think Lona, Cyndi, Nicolas and Hawke all play important roles in Bee finding out who she really is. Cyndi represents what Bee doesn't quite understand yet: You don't need to BE wealthy and all the things she desires to BE a part of that world. Cyndi loves her friend just the way she is. Lona offers her the idea that your past doesn't have to define your future. Hawke offers a brave outlook and the knowledge that life can be worse, as well as stopping to see the smaller details in a big picture. Nicolas offers a challenge and passion on a different level than Hawke. He represents her idea of perfection. As she sees that perfection comes with flaws, hopefully she will realize that perfection is unobtainable, and she will focus on her true happiness. Either way - she gets a HOTTIE!
I find my phone and text Hawke. "I'm going to kick your ass."

"I'm falling asleep," I share. "Will I see you tomorrow?"
"You'll see me every tomorrow," Hawke vows, telling me exactly what I want to hear. 

My favorite LINE from the the book! 
Overall Thoughts
Cynthia now holds the title of the Queen of Cliffhangers. I was left saying some choice curse words that then followed a loving message to Cynthia about how much I love her and this series. We might have gone off on a Blaine related tangent... Blaine is from the Seen Trilogy (also by Cynthia!) And he makes a quick cameo, and trust and believe I will fangirl HARD when his happens. One final thing to fangirl over before I leave you to begin the countdown to Sinful Rewards 5, is the Dedication. Holy Hell - the blog was mentioned in the Dedication. I squealed like 80's baby over some NKOTB tickets! 

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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Beautiful Oblivion: Them Maddox Boys

Before I dive into Beautiful Oblivion, I am going to back up a little to where it all began. Beautiful Disaster is Jamie McGuire's first dive into the world of a Maddox. You meet Travis "Maddog" Maddox and watch his world do a complete 180 with the girl we have all grown to know and love as "Pidge." Disaster was through Abby's eyes, and when you open up Walking Disaster to find you get to live it through the eyes of Maddog himself - uh, SWOON! Tied up with wedding bells and an epilogue to tease even the best of us - she gives you Beautiful Wedding. Travis is one of those broken but beautiful guys that crept their way into your heart and is there to stay.

We weren't blogging yet, when I read these, but here are my Goodreads reviews:

We had the immense pleasure of meeting Jamie at RT and she was as sweet as you could ever imagine. Kris & I walked away with Property of Travis Maddox shirts, which I wear proudly and often. (Latest was while reading Beautiful Obilivion.

Taking place during the same timeline as Travis and Abby's story, Beautiful Oblivion is intense in its own right, and will (at times!) make you forget all about the brooding Travis Maddox when his big brother, Trenton takes a seat at Cami's table. The stigma attached to being one of those Maddox boys is funny. 
Trenton picked up one of the shot glasses and touched it to his lips, tilting his head back. He slammed it on the table and winked. "Don't worry, babe. I'll take care of it." He stood up an walked away. 
I didn't realize until my mouth was hanging open until my eyes met Raegan's and it snapped shut. 
"Did he just drink your shot? Did that really just happen?"
"Who does that?" I said, turning to see where he went. He'd already disappeared into the crowd. 
"A Maddox boy."
This initial encounter basically guaranteed a signed, sealed and delivered good time with this new pairing. Trent set his sights on Cami. Cami's heart belonged to T.J. Or did it? Trent doesn't take no for an answer, and he plays dirty when it comes to Cami. When he showed up at her door for dinner, after she said "No," with Olive - I literally laughed out loud. Who says "No" to an adorable FIFE year old who is dying to go to Chicken Joe's? Not Cami. And so an awkward, albeit comfortable friendship forms with snarky texts, unwelcome visits and some football talk. 
"I was just thinking now was as good a time as any to acknowledge that you're perfect and it wouldn't suck if you fell madly in love with me anytime soon."
"I have a boyfriend," I reminded him. 
He waved me away. "Speed bump."
My entire body tensed. "What the hell are you doing in here? This is the girls' bathroom, Stalker Texas Ranger."
"Did you just insinuate I'm comparable to Chuck Norris? Because I'll take it." 
As Cami continues to attempt to make her long distance relationship with T.J. work, her friendship blossoms with Trent. Working together at Skin Deep, making friends with his friends, constant visits at the bar she works at - Cami finds herself"...in trouble. Big, disastrous, Maddox trouble." 
When Travis comes to Cami all out of sorts, he reveals Abby. My heart went bananas. It was incredible to see tidbits of their story from an outsiders POV. Cami tells it to Travis straight like no one else will. In a drunken stupor, in between rants about Abby and plans to buy her a puppy - Travis mentions her friendship with Trent and how Trent may have mentioned her. "I've never tried with you, either. My brother has always been in love with you."
Trent, tired of waiting, kisses her. Boyfriend? Not a problem in his eyes. 
"You messed everything up, Trent. It's ... it's too weird, now."
"That's stupid. Everything is the same," he said. "The only difference is that now you know I'm a damn good kissed."
I couldn't help but smile. 
"I won't surprise attack your face. I just want to see you," he said. 
A trip to California, a few fights with some creative wording and tactics, Trent and Cami are trying out this thing between them. While Cami ensures Trent he will walk away from her, the chemistry between them is dynamite. Cami is my favorite in this book. She has so much sass, and being the product of a house full of brothers, the mouth on her is epic. She reminds me of the fights I have when it comes to her reasoning and demands. 
"And the first thing you say to me the day after being a royal shit bag will not be an invitation to dump you on your stupid, drunken ass." I yelled the last three words, enunciating every syllable. I threw the grapes, and he caught them against his stomach. "You will apologize, and then you will be super fucking nice to me for the rest of the day and buy me doughnuts!" 

Trent and Cami's story was beautiful. Full of disaster, chaos, hidden stories, friendship, family and a whole lot of tattoos. Cami may never believe Travis or Trent when they tell stories of how he has always loved her, but he will have a lifetime to show her all the love he feels. 
This is SOOO a Maddox boy! 
"Because I've been in love with you since grade school, Chamomile. And everyone knew it. Everyone."
"I'm still not sure I believe that."
"You wore ponytails every day for years. They were perfect." 

Now let's show Jamie McGuire some Maddox-worthy LOVE! 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Leanring the Ropes

Rule #1—Don't lose focus...

Barrel racer Alicia Kanani has had a long road to the top – and she's not quite there yet. Finances have always been tight, and in the glitz and glam world of professional rodeo, that means that second best is probably the best she can hope for. With the National Finals coming up, she's certainly not looking for a pair of cowboys to distract her.

Rule #2—Don't gamble what you can't live without…

Playboy Chris Thomas is sure Alicia's the perfect woman for his level-headed team roping partner, David Greenly. It seems like a match, until Chris realizes he wants Alicia for himself. The stakes have been raised; David and Chris are supposed to be a team, and this time, they're on opposite sides.

Can Alicia rope this playboy's heart, or will they find themselves too tangled up to let true love in?


T.J. Kline became a quick favorite of mine in RomanceLand after I read the first two books in her Rodeo series. We are welcomed back to this wonderful world of rodeo with 3 familiar names. You met Alicia in Rodeo Queen (book 1) when she was crowned Princess. You get to see her perform for a brief moment in The Cowboy and the Angel (book 2) When I learned this book was Alicia's - I was over the moon. Alicia is kind, hard working and one of the most deserving people. Her obvious crush on Sydney's playboy brother, Chris is where I was sure we were going. And have no  fear, Chris will make your heart go pitter patter in this page turning third installment, but T.J. goes and throws a wrench into the rodeo.  

Alicia and Chris haven't seen each other in a couple of years since their last run-in at his sister's wedding. Her eyes did a quick survey of him, realizing the past couple of years had been very good to him. Chris has other intentions when he sees his old friend, Alicia: Set her up with his stick in the mud roping partner, David. Watching Chris and his jealously as it blossoms while watching his partner and longtime friend date is an eye opening look into the incredibly human side of this cowboy. Now there was nothing he could do but cowboy up and ignore this jealously until it faded again. 

Friends to lovers is one of my favorite reads due to the friendly and comfortable banter that comes with knowing someone for a long time. That, and you find  yourself looking for glimpses of the early on feelings. It is like a mystery of WHEN did he/she finally know? Alicia's comfort with Chris's ways and her reactions to them are some of my favorite lines in this book. 

"Really, Chris? I can buy?" she feigned excitement, rolling her eyes skyward. "Such a gentleman." She covered her heart with both hands before fanning her face. "Be still my heart."

Alicia laughed quietly and shook her head and Chris felt the relief course through him. At least he'd made her laugh. "You never change, do you?"
He shrugged. "Why mess with perfection?"

I felt for Chris because his intentions were placed in the right spot. He loves Alicia, always has, and wants her happiness. He didn't think he could give her everything she deserved. The way Alicia affected him though was something he couldn't control. (Or handle!) "You've got to realize what you to do a guy when you look at him that way, with those big brown eyes, and bite your lip?" 

This is an overwhelming wonderfully detailed and full story. You find a love triangle worthy of a punch or two, family shame, friendships that stand even the hardest test - a woman, dreams falling apart, dreams coming true, buckle bunnies and a cocky cowboy or two drinking beers. Oh man, and the grand fixture gesture at the end - HELLO to the ultimate swoon in this book. But, you don't get to that moment without some stubborn moments and a few misunderstandings. That's the fun part of a romance book after all, right?
"Damn, if you aren't the most stubborn woman I've ever met. If I tell you to walk, will you still do the opposite and get in the truck?" She fought the grin she knew he was trying to worm out of her. 
When Chris is explaining all of his shortcomings, I laughed out loud when David and Derek felt inspired to join in with their contributions: "Don't forget self-indulgent." ..."And reckless." Even after the grand gesture, Ali lacks the confidence in her ability to keep him from getting bored, and his reply made my heart melt. 
He smiled against her lips. "Oh, Ali. It's always been you. Every other woman has been me trying to find my way back to you. I once told you I could only be with a woman who could outride and out rope me. Honey, you're the only woman who's ever done that," he teased. 

Before I let you go to give TINA some LOVE, let me remind you that the best way to keep your favorite authors writing is to give reviews! Goodreads, Amazon, B&N and everywhere else! 

This is how I see Alicia telling Delilah how she feels
Now let's give Tina some LOVE! 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Kristyn's TBR blog!

How do I manage my TBR?

Well, I used to be very dependent on goodreads. I did everything on goodreads. At least once a month I would go through and see what authors had new books coming out and add them. Now, I actually preorder everything I want to read. I have books on preorder all the way up to the middle of next year. I will add something on goodreads if I want to try it and know I will forget it. 

 This is my goodreads TBR number. I have about 20 books on my shelves that I haven't read yet that I don't think is on my goodreads. I don't think some of my preorders are on their as well. 

Is my TBR ebook or print. 
I love hardbacks. I will buy a book in both formats a lot of times. If i cant afford both, I will buy the hardback before i buy the ebook. I don't like paperbacks so I will buy those in just ebook. 

How do I determine what to read next?
A lot of times ill just randomly pick something and start reading. I at any given time will have 4 or 5 books that I am currently reading on goodreads. I always have an audio book for when I clean, an ebook that i read on my phone and a physical copy that I cant afford the ebook for. Any other book is probably one I started and just wasn't in the mood for. Ill pick it up, start on it and just not be in the mood, so ill leave it on my reading and eventually move it back to my TBR list. I also get in the mood to read a certain genre and Ill stick with that for a while.

 A book that's been on my TBR list the longest.
Nightfall (Dark Age Dawning #1) by Ellen Conner.  I added this on my Goodreads on March 17th 2011. If anyone has read this, let me know if I should finally give it a try!

A book I recently added to my TBR

The Jewel by Amy Ewing. I added this because it was one of those if you loved this book then you will love this one. The article I read said if you loved the selection series you will like this. I think I might actually read this next!

A book on my TBR strictly because of its beautiful cover.
I dont think I have ever judged a book by its cover. Except for some reason unattractive guys on the cover make me not want to read it.  I could have said The Jewel again but The prophet by Amanda Stevens is pretty and seeing it made me remember how much i loved this series and how i still need to read this one.

A book on my TBR that I never plan on reading.
I probably have a ton that I will never read but I plan on reading them all... eventually. but honestly I will never read 50 shades freed. I actually had it marked as read when I only read two chapters. I just didn't like the series enough to finish.

An unpublished book on my TBR that I am excited for.
There is so many! Lair of Dreams by Libba Brey is one, the next Throne of Glass book by Sarah J Maas is another. So many more but of course the one I want and need the most is the next Karen Marie Moning!! I am so so so (enter a thousand so's here) excited! I am going to do a whole reread starting in December and read ALL of her books. Even the highlander ones. I have to restrain myself cause I want to start now.

A book on my TBR that basically everyone has read except me.
I could again say 50 shades freed but I am going to go with the Divergent series.  I read the first one but that is it. And honestly I liked the movie better.

A book on my TBR that everyone recommends to me
Everyone being Catherine. Anything by Codi Gary and Robyn Peterman. And I swear I will! I have met both of these wonderful ladies and I think they are awesome but I have never read their books!! I will Catherine, I promise! 

A book on my TBR that I am dying to read
Can I say Karen Marie Moning again? ok, Ill go with a published book that I just haven't gotten around to. My memory is bad. I don't know if its cause I read so much I get everything all mixed up or because I read so fast. who knows but if I don't read a series for a while, I have to reread. I am currently rereading Ilona Andrews Kate Daniels series. I cant wait to get caught up so I can read Magic Breaks!

The number of books on my TBR.
I really dont know how to add this up. Im just gonna stick with my goodreads and say 385. But if I added in my preorders and the books on my bookcase that I haven't read yet Id say about 450.  I am also a big rereader. If i havent read a series in a while, when the new book comes out, I will reread them all. There are so many that I am planning to reread. I haven't read the new Merry Gentry book by Laurel K Hamilton so I am rereading those very slowly, The Kate Daniels series I am rereading right now. So So many so I would have to add another 100 or more just out of all my reread books. So who knows!


Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Night Belongs to Fireman

When fireman Fred Breen rescues a bachelorette party after a construction crane collapses onto their limo, the media labels him the "Bachelor Hero." But all Fred can think about is the petite brunette with the sexy mane of dark curls who bolted away from him faster than a wildfire after he carried her to safety. And when he discovers she's none other than Rachel Kessler, the daughter of a tech billionaire, the girl whose kidnapping riveted the nation, he intends to learn every intimate detail about this intriguing woman who sets his pulse on fire.

Rachel can't deny the lean-muscled firefighter is smokin' hot. But after having one too many drinks at the bar where she first meets him, Rachel knows she's made a fool of herself. Yet when he rescues her from the limo, she feels safe for the first time since she was held for ransom as a child. Then her overprotective father insists Fred be her bodyguard—and his close presence kindles a burning desire that only he can extinguish.

Welcome back to San Gabriel. Before we go any deeper into the book, I think I should tell you a few important things about me. 
  1. I hated series until I befriended my fellow blogger, Kristyn. I love closure, and series don't often offer that. A few incredible series later I am an addict. 
    1. (a) I binge read when it comes to series. If I fall for the 1st book, I cannot wrap my head around another series, another world or whatnot until I have it all. 
  2. I found Jennifer Bernard from parties at first. She was the author who always had hotties in fire gear. She also happens to be an Avon author, and I am an #AvonAddict (whoop! whoop!) Lastly, I needed to know what all the hype was about. 
  3. I read the first one less than a month ago, and I was dying for this one to come out! Woke up on the 30th, bought it and dove right in. (I was sad to learn this is the last full length novel from Station 1. 
  4. I am a quote junkie! I love them, if  you haven't figured yet from previous blog postings. 
Fred, aka Stud, has been one of my favorite supporting characters from the beginning when he correctly guessed the amount of words Kirk said to the cute waitress, or when he dance on a bar sporting just a helmet and an undergarment that read "Light My Fire," and I loved the touching moment he and Vadar shared at Vadar's wedding when he was told once the girls realized how big of a hero he was in his heart - they would be falling over themselves to meet him. 

When I first found out this was his story, I was ecstatic. Watching him come out of his shell with each book, you just knew he was going to be an epic leading character. Within the first chapter, Jennifer reveals layers of him that you never could have guessed. After a little celebration, Stud and Mulligan walk into a freak crane accident that causes them to both switch gears to their rescue ways. Enter Rachel. In a smushed limo. As a trained Urban Rescue Search and Rescue member, Fred knew just what to do. He had to keep Rachel talking and remaining calm. 
Of all things, she let out a burst of laughter. Slightly hysterical laughter, he noticed, as if she were clinging desperately to her control. "You're Fred the Fireman?"
"Yes." Though he wasn't sure why that was so funny. 
"Do you know Thomas the Tank?"
Oh. Now he saw what had set her off. "I'm familiar with his work, yes."
After a long, and successful rescue, the beautiful and funny woman runs away from the crowd. Not before Channel 6 and the insane Ella Joy get the story of a lifetime. Stud suddenly becomes the Bachelor Hero of San Gabriel. While he avoided the media, Rachel was answering to her overprotective father. (And trying to Google what sexy fireman like as thank yous!) 
"I'll be careful, Dad. I promise. I mean, I already live like a nun. but I'll try to kick it up a notch to saint."
Fred and Rachel have this spark that neither will deny, but there is something keeping them from getting things going. Not in the physical sense, because Rachel leaves him so hot he finds himself muttering nonsense like "Lamp chops," he chanted under his breath. "Cod liver oil. Creamed spinach. Bugs in my cereal milk." just so he doesn't embarrass himself with his obvious attraction to her when the doorbell rang. 

I love getting to catch up with my favorites from the previous books. Vadar being one of them. And now that he is Captain Brown it is a blast to see him adjust to that role while keeping his goofy side. 
Fred groaned. "She's trying to pressure me. But I'm not giving in. If I ever seem like I might give her an interview, I want you to tie me to this hose tower and stuff a rag in my mouth."
"Kinky," said Vadar approvingly. "Didn't know you had it in you."
Fred has always been a favorite of his fellow firefighters at Station 1, just never got the attention the others did. This causes his brothers and sisters to protect with a fierceness that is heart warming. Rachel's past is slowly revealed and Fred just doesn't think he is enough for a woman so perfect. Rachel deserved the best, someone who could both protect her and give her the world. Maybe a combination of Rambo and... Prince William. And Bill Gates, for good measure. It's thoughts like this, getting his sister to Ninja-sit while he was away, kittens and his humor that makes him the most well-rounded male lead. (In my opinion) 

The humor amongst the firefighters will continue to be my favorite thing in this series. It is strong friendships like these that everyone needs. While everyone (Rachel included) headed to Double D's house to pack, Jennifer wrote my favorite line. 
"She'll be satisfied," said Fred smugly. "It's a bedroom, isn't it? And they call me Stud, don't they?"
I almost died when reading Stud say this to Double D about Mrs. Double D. And then, I had to quickly read on to make sure he didn't get a broken nose from the smart-mouthed comments he loves. Will I tell you anymore about the ups and downs in this story? Nope! It was a doozy though. Want another list? I can give you some teasers! 
  • There are bumper cars and bowling. 
  • Talk about Thor and throwing apartments.
  • A kidnapping or two, and a villian named after a leafy green. 
  • A wedding
  • A Fred Breen fan club with buttons! (Jennifer, you need to make these! I want one!) 
  • A wonderful ending tying everyone back together again dishing about the life of loving a firefighter. 
Seriously, though. Jennifer ended it so perfectly. I loved the final thing Fred did for Rachel. He wanted her to know what she was getting into. And those women... too funny! I loved getting to see Katie, Cherie, Lara and Melissa chat away with Rachel watching in awe. (Even getting to hear about Nita, Maribel and Sabina was a blast!) 
I feel a little empty knowing I am just about done with Station 1. I thought I was done, until someone told me that there is a novella coming out for Christmas. (Yes! Santa really does listen!) I enjoyed this series from start to finish, and there wasn't one book I didn't absolutely love 110%. Even though, the evil Ella Joy reared her ugly head all over the place - I still would give this series a FIVE! Jennifer offers you so much more than a good old fashioned love story with this series. You get unbreakable friendships, dreams being made and broken, real life issues being brought to life and so much more. A reader can't find themselves bored when you dive into the crazy world of San Gabriel's famous Station 1 and all it's former bachelor's! Before I leave you with all the ways you can go show Jennifer some love (besides buying these amazing books!) I want to share one last quote, another one of my favorite parts of Rachel and Stud's HEA.
"I've never shown up for dinner at a half-naked man's house  before."
"At least I had pants on."
"Yes, that was extremely disappointing," she said gravely, making him laugh. 

Now that I got that out of the way, this half-naked man wants you to go show Jennifer some love!