Friday, May 19, 2017

April Reads

April Reads
This month was all about finding new to me authors and it was a total success! If you couldn't tell I'm all about escaping into a good series. Standalones just don't appeal to me nearly as much as getting lost in a fictional world time after time again.


Deep Redemption (Hades Hangmen #4) by Tillie Cole
He was born to ascend.

He was destined to lead.
He was never meant to fail.


Prophet Cain lies broken and defeated on the floor of his cell. A cell he has been thrown into by the one person who was supposed to stand by his side until the end. His flesh and blood, his only companion. His beloved twin brother.

Cain has sacrificed everything for his people. He left the safety and security of his life of study to infiltrate the infamous Hades Hangmen. He lived with them, rode with them, and then betrayed them. All in the name of a faith he can now feel slipping away from him. Like everything else he once held dear…

But then his isolation is broken. Another prisoner is brought to the cell next to his. A woman fighting her own demons and fears. A woman who Cain understands needs him, as he needs her.

As the connection between them grows, so does Cain’s resolve. He will right the wrongs he has done. He will atone for the evil acts carried out in his name. He will save the one he loves…

… Even if the battle takes him to the gates of hell itself.





His Princess (The Princess #1) by Alexa Riley
Alena is a princess, and with that comes responsibility. Like marrying the giant caveman King Roman, who looks more like a warrior than a ruler. Everything about him is intense. Especially the way he looks at her. But she's been promised to him, and there's no way out.

Roman took one look and made up his mind. Princess Alena will be his and no one will stop him from taking her. Everything about her belongs to him now, and waiting one week for a wedding isn't going to happen.

This beast of a man might just claim his princess before she has a chance to say "I do."





Inception (The Marked #1) by Bianca Scardoni
Be careful who you trust, for even the Devil was once an Angel.

My name is Jemma Blackburn, and I have a secret. I know vampires are real. I watched one murder my father eight months ago, and even though they tried to convince me it didn’t happen—that I’d lost touch with reality due to the trauma, I know what I saw was real.

Hollow Hills is now the place I call home. It was supposed to be my chance at a normal life. My chance to bury my secret and start over. But everyone around me is keeping their own secrets, whispering lies into my ears like promises, and one of them is about to turn my entire world upside down.

I thought I had it all figured out. I thought I had the answers. I thought I knew who I was. The truth is, I didn’t even know the half of it. There's a reason these vampires are still after me. There's a reason they will always hunt me. Because I'm not human.

I'm the devil they fear and the angel they crave.
Only problem is, I don't know it yet.





Invidious (The Marked #2) by Bianca Scardoni
The steep descent into Hell is always paved with good intentions. 
My name is Jemma Blackburn, and I'm a Slayer. Finding out I wasn't human was only the beginning of my problems. My best-friend, Taylor, is still missing, and so is the Immortal Amulet, and it's my job alone to get them both back. I don't know who I can trust, and I'm still not sure I'm cut out for any of this, but I'm determined to figure it all out, or die trying.

As if that wasn't bad enough, there's a new enemy in town and they've come bearing gifts—an ancient prophesy that is going to blur the very lines between good and evil. And, apparently, my blood is tied to the center of it. I don't have all the answers yet, but I’m getting closer and closer to discovering the truth. The truth about my bloodlines, and about who I really am. 

And, believe me when I say, it's going to change everything.





The end came at me jagged and skewed like puzzle pieces to a game I didn’t know I was playing. There was a distinct method to the madness, every move propagated to force my hand, to lure me out of hiding with the sweet promise of finality. I took solace in knowing that something better waited for me on the other side, something as pure and deep as the ocean itself. 


But there was no end in sight.
No peace to be found.
The end was only the beginning.
 






Darkhouse (Experiment in Terror #1) by Karina Halle
There’s always been something a bit off about Perry Palomino. Though she’s been dealing with a quarter-life crisis and post-college syndrome like any other twenty-something, she’s still not what you would call “ordinary.” For one thing, there’s her past which she likes to pretend never happened, and then there’s the fact that she sees ghosts. 

Luckily for her, that all comes in handy when she stumbles across Dex Foray, an eccentric producer for an upcoming webcast on ghost hunters. Even though the show’s budget is non-existent and Dex himself is a maddening enigma, Perry is instantly drawn into a world that both threatens her life and seduces her with a sense of importance. 

Her uncle’s haunted lighthouse provides the perfect catalyst and backdrop for a horrific mystery that unravels the threads of Perry’s fragile sanity and causes her to fall for a man, who, like the most dangerous of ghosts, may not be all that he seems.





Red Fox (Experiment in Terror #2) by Karina Halle
With Book Two of the Experiment in Terror Series, Perry Palomino and Dex Foray trade in the stormy Oregon coast for the unforgiving deserts of New Mexico. 

In the for­got­ten town of Red Fox, New Mex­ico, a Navajo cou­ple is tor­tured by things unseen and by motives unknown. Wild ani­mals slink through their house in the dark, a bar­rage of stones pound their roof nightly, and muti­lated sheep car­casses are turn­ing up on their prop­erty. Armed with a cam­era and just enough to go on, Perry and Dex travel to the des­o­late locale, hop­ing to film the super­nat­ural occur­rences and add cred­i­bil­ity to their flail­ing web­cast. Only their show has a lot more work­ing against them than just grow­ing pains. Tested by dubi­ous ranch hands, a ghost from Dex’s past, and shapeshift­ing decep­tion, the ama­teur ghost hunters must learn to trust each other in order to fight the most ancient of myths…or die trying.





The Benson (Experiment in Terror #2.5) by Karina Halle
This short story/novella sees amateur Youtube ghost-hunters, Perry Palomino and Dex Foray, investigating the real-life hauntings of Portland's infamous Benson Hotel. It occurs between books #2 (Red Fox) and #3 (Dead Sky Morning) and is the perfect primer for anyone interested in the EIT series.






Dead Sky Morning (Experiment in Terror #3) by Karina Halle
With the Experiment in Terror show finding some success, amateur ghost hunters Perry Palomino and Dex Foray embark on their most terrifying investigation yet. A tiny, fog-shrouded island in the rough strait between British Columbia and Washington State has held a dark secret for decades: It was a former leper colony where over forty souls were left to rot, die and bury each other. Now a functioning campground, Perry and Dex spend an isolated weekend there to investigate potential hauntings but as the duo quickly find out, there is more to fear on D’Arcy Island than just ghosts. The island quickly pits partner against partner, spiraling the pair into madness that serves to destroy their sanity, their relationship and their very lives.





Lying Season (Experiment in Terror #4) by Karina Halle
Amateur ghost-hunter Perry Palomino has battled ghosts, fought off skinwalkers and skirted the fine line between life and death. But can she survive bunking down in Seattle for a week with her partner (and man she secretly loves) Dex and his perfect girlfriend, Jennifer? And can she do so while being tormented by a malicious spirit from Dex's increasingly shady past? With love and life in the balance, Perry must discover the truth among the lies or risk losing everything she's ever cared about."





On Demon Wings (Experiment in Terror #5) by Karina Halle
When the life you wanted has crumbled beneath your fingers, there’s nothing left to do but pick up the pieces and soldier on. You’ve done this before.
But what happens when you no longer feel like yourself anymore? When fires spontaneously start-up around you, when you hear growling coming from underneath your bed, and you no longer recognize your face in the mirror. What happens then?

Ghost-hunter Perry Palomino doesn’t have much time to find out. Now, the evil she used to hunt is a lot closer to home. It’s inside of her, taking over her life bit-by-terrifying bit, and there’s only one person who can help her.

If part of her doesn’t kill him first.




Sunday, April 23, 2017

March Reads

March Reads
So it's almost the end of April and I'm finally posting my March reads... better late than never right? My self-help reads were a hit and a miss, but oh that hit was a good one! Towards the end of the month I got back into my reading groove (thank goodness) and discovered an amazing series that I just zipped right through. I've got a little more fire this month but you'll hear all about that in another week or so ;)

*Clicking on the title of any book will redirect you to its Amazon page, and clicking on the authors name will take you to their Facebook page. 



 In this refreshingly entertaining how-to guide, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author and world-traveling success coach, Jen Sincero, serves up 27 bite-sized chapters full of hilariously inspiring stories, sage advice, easy exercises, and the occasional swear word. If you're ready to make some serious changes around here, You Are a Badass will help you: Identify and change the self-sabotaging beliefs and behaviors that stop you from getting what you want, blast past your fears so you can take big exciting risks, figure out how to make some damn money already, learn to love yourself and others, set big goals and reach them - it will basically show you how to create a life you totally love, and how to create it NOW. 

By the end of You Are a Badass, you'll understand why you are how you are, how to love what you can't change, how to change what you don't love, and how to use The Force to kick some serious ass.

If you're wanting to kick some serious ass in the money department (you wanna?) and start making the kind of dinero you ain't never made before, pre-order the next book in the series that's all about your financial badassery: You Are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth, coming April 2017 from Viking
Books.









At seventeen, Sophia Amoruso decided to forgo continuing education to pursue a life of hitchhiking, dumpster diving, and petty thievery. Now, at twenty-nine, she is the Founder, CEO, and Creative Director of Nasty Gal, a $100+ million e-tailer that draws A-list publicity and rabid fans for its leading-edge fashion and provocative online persona. Her story is extraordinary—and only part of the appeal of #GIRLBOSS.

This aspirational book doesn’t patronize young women the way many business experts do. Amoruso shows readers how to channel their passion and hard work, while keeping their insecurities from getting in the way. She offers straight talk about making your voice heard and doing meaningful work.

She’s proof that you can be a huge success without giving up your spirit of adventure or distinctive style. As she writes, "I have three pieces of advice I want you to remember: Don’t ever grow up. Don’t become a bore. Don’t let The Man get to you. OK? Cool. Then let’s do this.”






It Ain't Me, Babe (Hades Hangmen #1) by Tillie Cole

Sinning never felt so good…
A fortuitous encounter. 
A meeting that should never have happened. 

Many years ago, two children from completely different worlds forged a connection, a fateful connection, an unbreakable bond that would change their lives forever… 

Salome knows only one way to live—under Prophet David’s rule. In the commune she calls home, Salome knows nothing of life beyond her strict faith, nor of life beyond the Fence—the fence that cages her, keeps her trapped in an endless cycle of misery. A life she believes she is destined to always lead, until a horrific event sets her free. 

Fleeing the absolute safety of all she has ever known, Salome is thrust into the world outside, a frightening world full of uncertainty and sin; into the protective arms of a person she believed she would never see again. 

River ‘Styx’ Nash knows one thing for certain in life—he was born and bred to wear a cut. Raised in a turbulent world of sex, Harleys, and drugs, Styx, unexpectedly has the heavy burden of the Hades Hangmen gavel thrust upon him, and all at the ripe old age of twenty-six—much to his rivals’ delight. 

Haunted by a crushing speech impediment, Styx quickly learns to deal with his haters. Powerful fists, an iron jaw and the skillful use of his treasured German blade has earned him a fearsome reputation as a man not to be messed with in the shadowy world of outlaw MC’s. A reputation that successfully keeps most people far, far away. 

Styx has one rule in life—never let anyone get too close. It’s a plan that he has stuck to for years, that is, until a young woman is found injured on his lot… a woman who looks uncannily familiar, a woman who clearly does not belong in his world, yet a woman he feels reluctant to let go…





Heart Recaptured (Hades Hangmen #2) by Tillie Cole
Even salvation can be delivered through the love of the damned…

Beauty can be a curse.

Faith can be a cage.

Only love can set you free.

A few long weeks after being reluctantly ripped from the comforting embrace of her sacred prophet’s religious commune—the only life she has ever known—a terrified Delilah is thrust into a world enveloped by evil and swimming in sin. 

Steadfastly devout in her faith, and retaining the deep belief that her soul is innately tarnished as a branded ‘Cursed woman of Eve’, Delilah is determined to find her way home to her people in The Order and away from the corrupt and damned outlaw motorcycle club—The Hades Hangmen—who hold her at their secluded compound for her protection—a 'protection' she strongly resents. 

Delilah yearns to return home, convinced that only amongst her own people, and under the holy guidance of the Lord’s revealed prophet, can her Satan-spawned soul be truly saved. Conditioned her entire life to believe she is a witch... a life-long temptress… the devil’s whore... Delilah increasingly resents her beautiful face, her shapely body and her sensuous effect on men. But when a man of the motorcycle club—a deeply sinful yet stunningly beautiful man—is charged with her care, Delilah begins to see that this dangerous and moralless sinner from the 'outside' may offer her something she did not know could truly exist: unconditional love.

Kyler ‘Ky’ Willis loves his life: a daily abundance of brotherhood, liquor, the freedom of the open-road and—best of all—his pick of hot women. Raised a biker brat and now VP of the most notorious MC in the States, Ky has no shortage of club sluts warming his bed; a situation he takes full advantage of… until a certain blonde enters his life… a gorgeous pilgrim-blonde he can’t get out of his head… a pilgrim-blonde he and his club recently-rescued from some backward religious cult… and a pilgrim-blonde he’s been ordered to keep the hell away from and his whorish hands off.

When yet another in a lengthy line of drunken blunders forces Ky to reluctantly take charge of the pilgrim-blonde’s care, he realizes that there could be more to this woman than just supermodel looks and a stacked set of tits. He begins to see that she could be the woman who could do the impossible—tame his wild ways and capture his reluctant heart.

But the unyielding bonds of Lilah’s past are strong, her ‘people’ determined and, with a new Prophet in charge and hell bent on revenge, they are mightily reluctant to let her go...





Souls Unfractured (Hades Hangmen #3) by Tillie Cole
"For fractured souls are like magnets.
Drawn to collide into an impossible bliss…"

Labeled a ‘Cursed’ woman of Eve from birth, Maddie has endured nothing but pain and repression at the hands of The Order’s most abusive elder, Moses. Now living with her sister in The Hangmen’s secluded compound, finally, Maddie, is free. Free from the suffocating faith she no longer believes in. Free from endless years of physical and mental torment.

Just… free…

At age twenty-one, the timid and shy Maddie is content to live within the confines of her new home—safe from the outside world, safe from harm and, strangely, protected by the Hangmen’s most volatile member; the heavily pierced and tattooed, Flame. 

Flame. 

The man who ceaselessly watches over her with his midnight dark and searing eyes. The man who protects her with a breath-taking intensity. And the man who stirs something deep within her numbed heart. 

But when circumstances conspire for Flame to need HER help, Maddie bravely risks it all for the broken man who has captivated her fragile soul. 

The Hangmen’s most infamous member, Flame, is ruled by one thing—anger. Plagued by haunting demons from his past, an all-consuming rage, and isolated by an abhorrent hatred of being touched, Flame's days are filled with suffocating darkness, pierced only by a single ray of light—Maddie. The shy, beautiful woman he cannot purge from his thoughts. The woman he has an overwhelming need to possess… 
... the only person who has ever been able to touch him. 

Flame’s mission in life is to protect Maddie, to keep her safe. Until a trigger from his troubled past sends him spiraling into madness, trapping him in the deepest recesses of his disturbed mind. 

His Hangmen brothers fear that Flame is beyond saving. 

His only hope of salvation: Maddie and her healing light.


Sunday, March 5, 2017

February Reads

FEBRUARY READS
February was a great month for me book wise. I discovered a lot of new-to-me authors and really enjoyed them all. Plus I put a nice little dent in my Goodreads Challenge for this year! Below I've included covers, blurbs, review links, and amazon links. If you click on the authors name you'll be redirected to each of their Facebook pages. I definitely recommend checking them out!


In the aftermath of a tragedy, twenty-six-year-old Blake Kendall has found it easier to all but swear off relationships. However, her resolve is not as strong as she thinks when she meets the enigmatic, captivating owner of a charitable bookstore called Forever Grace. Landon Farrar is callous and blunt, and shows just as much reluctance to share anything about his history as Blake does. As much as he pushes her away, Blake is drawn to him for both obvious and unexplainable reasons, and despite Landon's hesitance to grow close to anyone, a physical connection soon develops between them. As fate would have it, their connection runs more than just skin-deep.

As Landon reveals more and more about his past and Blake realizes just how alike they are, she's torn between the decision of whether to come clean or to stay quiet and salvage the semi-relationship they've found. Turns out, you can't control fate, the past doesn't always stay in the past, and the things that connect two people can often tear them apart.




A witch, a kitty and dark chocolate magic...
Caitlyn is used to being the ugly duckling in her glamorous showbiz family... until the day she learns that she was adopted as an abandoned baby. Now, her search for answers takes her to the tiny English village of Tillyhenge where a man has been murdered by witchcraft - and where a mysterious shop selling enchanted chocolates is home to the "local witch"...

Soon Caitlyn finds herself fending off a toothless old vampire, rescuing an adorable kitten and meeting handsome aristocrat Lord James Fitzroy... not to mention discovering that she herself might have magical blood in her veins!

When she's dragged into the murder investigation and realises that dark magic is involved, Caitlyn is forced to choose. Can she embrace her witchy powers in time to solve the mystery and save those she loves?




A witch, a kitty and a wickedly delicious mystery...
Since arriving in the tiny Cotswolds village of Tillyhenge, Caitlyn is discovering that there are lots of perks to being a witch (although sadly, magic still can't make your thighs thinner or stop you acting like an idiot every time you meet handsome "lord of the manor", James Fitzroy).

But when the nasty housekeeper at Huntingdon Manor is murdered and Caitlyn becomes the main suspect, she finds herself surrounded by suspicious villagers. With the help of her sassy American cousin, a mischievous black kitten and a slobbering English mastiff - not to mention the old village witch and her shop of enchanted chocolates - Caitlyn sets out to clear her name.

She soon realises that this is no simple murder. Her sleuthing leads her to an ancient ring with mythical powers - a ring worth killing for. But with a few clever spells and some chocolate magic, Caitlyn just might solve the mystery - and find her real family too!




She expected to start Harkness College as a varsity ice hockey player. But a serious accident means that Corey Callahan will start school in a wheelchair instead.

Across the hall, in the other handicapped-accessible dorm room, lives the too-delicious-to-be real Adam Hartley, another would-be hockey star with his leg broken in two places. He’s way out of Corey’s league.

Also, he’s taken.

Nevertheless, an unlikely alliance blooms between Corey and Hartley in the “gimp ghetto” of McHerrin Hall. Over tequila, perilously balanced dining hall trays, and video games, the two cope with disappointments that nobody else understands.

They’re just friends, of course, until one night when things fall apart. Or fall together. All Corey knows is that she’s falling. Hard.

But will Hartley set aside his trophy girl to love someone as broken as Corey? If he won’t, she will need to find the courage to make a life for herself at Harkness — one which does not revolve around the sport she can no longer play, or the brown-eyed boy who’s afraid to love her back.




Scarlet Crowley’s life was torn apart the day father was arrested for unspeakable crimes. Now the shock has worn off, but not the horror.

It’s a safe bet that Scarlet is the only first year at Harkness College who had to sneak past TV news trucks parked on her front lawn just to leave town. But college will be Scarlet’s fresh start. Clutching a shiny new student ID — with a newly minted name on it — she leaves it all behind. Even if it means lying to the boy she’s falling for.

Bridger McCaulley is a varsity hockey star known for being a player both on and off the ice. But a sobering family crisis takes that all away. Protecting his sister means a precarious living arrangement and constant deception. The only bright spot in his week is the few stolen hours he spends with Scarlet.

The two form a tentative relationship based on the understanding that some things must always be held back. But when grim developments threaten them both, going it alone just won’t work anymore. And if they can’t learn to trust one another now, the families who let them down will take everything they’ve struggled to keep.




So it’s a shock when his past strolls right into the Harkness College locker room, sporting a bag of hockey gear and the same slow smile that had always rendered Graham defenseless. For Graham, there is only one possible reaction: total, debilitating panic. With one loose word, the team’s new left wing could destroy Graham’s life as he knows it.

John Rikker is stuck being the new guy. Again. And it’s worse than usual, because the media has latched onto the story of the only “out” player in Division One hockey. As the satellite trucks line the sidewalk outside the rink, his new teammates are not amused.

And one player in particular looks sick every time he enters the room.

Rikker didn’t exactly expect a warm welcome from Graham. But the guy won’t even meet his eyes. From the looks of it, his former… best friend / boyfriend / whatever isn’t doing so well. He drinks too much and can’t focus during practice.

Either the two loneliest guys on the team will self destruct from all the new pressures in their lives, or they can navigate the pain to find a way back to one another. To say that it won’t be easy is the Understatement of the Year.




The girl who’s had everyone meets the boy who has no one.

For Bella, the sweet-talking, free-loving, hip-checking student manager of the Harkness men’s hockey team, sex is a second language. She’s used to being fluent where others stutter, and the things people say behind her back don’t (often) bother her. So she can’t understand why her smoking hot downstairs neighbor has so much trouble staying friends after their spontaneous night together. She knows better than to worry about it, but there’s something in those espresso eyes that makes her second guess herself.

Rafe is appalled with himself for losing his virginity in a drunken hookup. His strict Catholic upbringing always emphasized loving thy neighbor—but not with a bottle of wine and a box of condoms. The result is an Ivy League bout of awkwardness. But when Bella is leveled by a little bad luck and a downright sinister fraternity stunt, it’s Rafe who is there to pick up the pieces.

Bella doesn’t want Rafe's help, and she’s through with men. Too bad the undeniable spark that crackles between the two of them just can't be extinguished.




Freshman Lianne Challice is known to millions of fans as Princess Vindi. But sometimes a silver screen sorceress just wants to hang up her wand, tell her manager to shove it, and become a normal college student. Too bad that’s harder than it looks.

She’s never lived a normal life. She hasn’t been to school since kindergarten. And getting close to anyone is just too risky — the last boy she kissed sold the story to a British tabloid.

But she can’t resist trying to get close to Daniel "DJ" Trevi, the hot, broody guy who spins tunes for hockey games in the arena. Something's haunting his dark eyes, and she needs to know more.

DJ's genius is for expressing the mood of the crowd with a ten second song snippet. With just a click and a fade, he can spread hope, pathos or elation among six thousand screaming fans.

Too bad his college career is about to experience the same quick fade-out as one of his songs. He can't get close to Lianne, and he can't tell her why. And the fact that she seems to like him at all? Incredible.








Thursday, February 9, 2017

Review - FOREVER GRACE by Holly Hall


In the aftermath of a tragedy, twenty-six-year-old Blake Kendall has found it easier to all but swear off relationships. However, her resolve is not as strong as she thinks when she meets the enigmatic, captivating owner of a charitable bookstore called Forever Grace. Landon Farrar is callous and blunt, and shows just as much reluctance to share anything about his history as Blake does. As much as he pushes her away, Blake is drawn to him for both obvious and unexplainable reasons, and despite Landon's hesitance to grow close to anyone, a physical connection soon develops between them. As fate would have it, their connection runs more than just skin-deep.

As Landon reveals more and more about his past and Blake realizes just how alike they are, she's torn between the decision of whether to come clean or to stay quiet and salvage the semi-relationship they've found. Turns out, you can't control fate, the past doesn't always stay in the past, and the things that connect two people can often tear them apart.

*contains sensitive subject matter. 17+



One-Click on Amazon! 




Forever GraceForever Grace by Holly Hall
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Very rarely do I ever read the blurb of a book, one click it, and then immediately start reading. 99% of the time it just gets added to my never ending TBR pile (it's way beyond a list at this point), and I'll read it when and if I remember. This time was different though. After checking out the blurb I knew I needed to read it asap.

My interest was piqued from the very beginning as the prologue opened up with the accident that changed Blake's life. The exact details come later on in the story but it's safe to say she harbors a lot of guilt and regret that has tremendously impacted the way she lives her life. When she wanders into Forever Grace, a not for profit bookstore, she's instantly drawn to its standoffish (mostly rude) owner, Landon. He's all too eager to push her away and avoid any kind of connection, but it's too late for that, Blake is already beyond intrigued by his less than pleasant demeanor and determined to get to know Landon whether he likes it or not.

What ensues is an endearing battle of emotions between two equally damaged souls. They push and pull each other, as their game of give and take brings them closer together. Slowly but surely Blake and Landon navigate through their feelings and rediscover what it is to live and be happy outside of their guilt. But there's always a catch isn't there? Especially when one isn't being entirely truthful...

The pacing of this story was perfect, with each scene playing out exactly as it needed to, neither rushed nor dragged out. Holly Hall did an amazing job of engaging my interest and keeping me fully invested in Blake and Landon's journey. I found the writing to be flawless, the editing on point, and delivery of it all well worth the 5 stars it so rightfully earned. As I've already told Holly, I was especially impressed with the ending. At the risk of spoiling it for other readers I'll just say that it goes in a direction I wish most books in this genre would. I can't wait to read more from this new-to-me author!