Historical Romance Review: Round Midnight by Emma Barry and Genevieve Turner

round-midnightRound Midnight by Emma Barry and Genevieve Turner

Published by: Amazon Digital Services

Format: .mobi ARC

Genre: Historical Romance

Reviewed by: Erin

Buy at: Amazon

What to Expect: 

Could you use some sweet, minimal angst historical romance in our life right now? Yeah, that’s what I thought. It’s been a tough week. Here are some lovely escapist holiday novellas for your reading pleasure.

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Historical Romance Review: Earth Bound by Emma Barry and Genevieve Turner

earth boundEarth Bound by Emma Barry and Genevieve Turner 

Series: Fly Me to the Moon (#2)

Published by: Amazon Digital Services

Format: eARC

Genre: Historical Romance

Order at: Amazon

Reviewed by: Erin

What to Expect: A steamy secret romance, competence porn, science, math, tight, immersive writing, and the most repressed, smitten man in a historical since that Duke you loved so much.

Plot: 

Houston, Texas, 1961

The race to the moon is on, and engineer Eugene Parsons has two enemies: danger and distraction. Nothing is more distracting than his attraction to the brilliant, beautiful computer scientist on his team, but he’s determined to overcome it since he needs her to help America win.

Charlie Eason is used to men underestimating her. It comes with being a woman in engineering, but it’s worth it to join the space race—even if she can’t figure out what’s behind the intense looks one tightly wound engineer keeps sending her. But life isn’t as unemotional or predictable as code, and things soon boil over with the intriguingly demanding Parsons.

With every launch, their secret affair grows thornier. The lines between work and play tangle even as Parsons and Charlie try to keep them separate. But when a mission goes wrong, they’ll have to put aside their pride for the greater good—and discover that matters of the heart have a logic all their own.

 

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What Are We Reading? April 24th Edition – What Erin is Reading

Welcome to the “one of these things is not like the other” installment of What’s She Reading…as well as the “cheap as heck” one, because all of these books are currently $1.99 or less at Amazon! You could kick back, relax, and have yourself a lovely afternoon of reading all three of these books for less than $4. Pretty sweet.

What is Erin Reading? 
BeFunky Collage 0424 Read More

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Historical Romance Review: Fortune Favors the Wicked by Theresa Romain

fortune favors the wickedFortune Favors the Wicked by Theresa Romain

Published by: Zebra (March 29th, 2016)

Format: Kindle ARC

Genre: Historical Romance

Order from: Amazon

Reviewed by: Erin

What kind of awesome can you expect inside: A former courtesan, a blind Naval officer, a treasure hunt, secrets, and a delicious tart (or two)…

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YA Review: In Too Deep by Eliza Jane

In too deep coverIn Too Deep by Eliza Jane

Format: Uncorrected review ARC

Self-published

Review by: Onnica

Genre: YA

Score: 8/10

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Books and Boys: We all have “types”

A few days ago, after yet another Judith/Ellen books conversation, I realized something: I totally have a book “type”. Just like how I know that the tall, über-jock looking guy at the bar will be the one I go for (it’s a weakness!) there are some books that, no matter how bad they might be for me, I will buy. Doesn’t matter if they’re YA/NA/romance novels, or if the book has a zillion 1 star reviews on Amazon, I just can’t say no! So now, dear readers, Judith and I are joining forces for just the second time to discuss our book types. Do you agree? Have we missed any important ones? What are yours??? Please let us know we’re not alone! Read More

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Marina in a Green Dress by Alan Davidson

Marina in a Green Dress by Alan Davidson

Published by: Straw Hat Books

Format: Kindle edition

Reviewed by: Judith

Evidently it’s redemption week here on the blog though I never got the memo. Without fail, every book I’ve read with the express purpose of reviewing has featured redemption and salvation pretty heavily and you know what? I like it! I was getting a bit bored of overused and cliched love stories and am so happy to have something more weighty on the agenda. The cool thing about the latest one on my list, Marina in a Green Dress, is that you go into it with some deeply rooted pre-conceived notions about who will be saved and how. But But BUT!!! What you get is a completely different story. However, before I start to delve too deep, let’s get one of the most important bits out of the way.

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From What I Remember by Stacy Kramer and Valerie Thomas

From What I Remember, by Stacy Kramer and Valerie Thomas

Publisher: Hyperion, 2012

Format: Kindle

My very last Olympic review!!! And I’m actually doing this while I watch the Closing Ceremony so if this makes even less sense than my normal review I’m sorry but it’s not easy to sing, type, and keep an eye out for Prince Hot Ginger at the same time. But according to my resume I’m an excellent multi-tasker so let’s do this!!

Plot: Max and Kylie have been going to the same posh private school outside of San Diego for years but it’s not until days before graduation that they actually interact. When an evil teacher pairs off the class and gives them an assignment on the second-to-last day of school everyone is determined to ignore it. Well, everyone except Kylie who needs to keep her average up so she can remain class valedictorian. Unfortunately she’s paired with hottie hot hot Max who couldn’t care less about the assignment. After a VERY public confrontation Max and Kylie agree to meet up. During the meeting Kylie’s book bag is stolen – the book bag which contains her laptop with her screenplay, her valedictory speech, her journal…and none if it is backed up (girl, I feel your pain). Kylie follows the thief, with Max deciding to tag along, which leads to the two of them ending up in a U-Haul full of stolen merchandise on its way to Mexico. They eventually rescue Kylie’s laptop but are now stranded in Mexico with no passports and no way to get home. What follows is quite possibly the craziest/greatest day ever full of amazing tacos, revealing family backstory, deep talks, celebrating St. John the Baptist, group weddings, and lots of margaritas (YAY!!!!).

Sport: This one just barely made the cut because there’s only one scene but Max is an excellent squash player. I’m not going to lie – I have NO CLUE what squash is and sounds really WASPy but it counts! I mean, I’d never heard of handball until last week and yet it’s evidently an Olympic sport? The more you know (picture the rainbow).

Review: What I like best about this book is that, unlike so many of the books we love, these are not perfect characters. Both Kylie and Max are flawed people who can be uptight, stand-offish, suspicious of people’s motives…but also fun, loyal friends, adventurous, and totally awesome. I loved how much the two of them grew as individuals throughout the book. Max stopped being afraid of living up to people’s expectations, Kylie learned how to let her hair down and not be such a control freak, and together they became such an amazing couple who compliment each other in so many ways.

The sub-plot in which they just happen to end up in the town where Kylie’s father grew up, and stumble into the bar run by his best friend who Kylie has never even heard of, was overly convenient but it still worked. I loved all the house party stuff, Max trying on the dress so Kylie would also, how welcoming everyone was, the fact that Max didn’t completely freak out when told he’d eaten tripe (ewwwwwwwwww!). It was all great.

The only thing that upsets me about this book isn’t actually about the book (Closing Ceremony note: OMG SPICE GIRLS!!!!!!!! Even though I knew this was coming I’m so beyond excited. I love them!) but that our review structure doesn’t have a “How awesome was the bff” category. Because Charlie would get a 10 but Will would get a 1000000000. I love Will so much I want him to be my bestie. Not only can he quote an amazing number of movies, but he’s so loyal, and fun, and endearing, and has great fashion sense, and honestly – I want to read a book just about Will.

In the end I’m going to give this one a 10 out of 10.

Based on the following criteria:

How much did I like the heroine: 9. Kylie defines anal-retentive. Granted this is in large part because of the pressure from her parents to be valedictorian, get into a great college, take care of her brother with Asperger’s…basically to be perfect. I love the scenes with her and Will quoting all those movies, and she was SO Jason Bourne when she and Max were in jeopardy. I loved the fact that when Max began to f everything up she didn’t get all whiny but knew that she’d be able to get through it all. I would definitely want to be friends with this girl…even though she’d probably intimidate me a lot. Oh and she gave the greatest graduation speech EVER. At the end all I could picture was this. (Closing Ceremony: “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life!” And Prince Hot Ginger is singing!!!! I’m the happiest Ellen ever!)

How much did I like the love interest: 9. Oh Max. Seemingly so confident on the outside but in reality you have no clue who you are or how to be yourself. In the pre-Mexico scenes I really disliked you and when Kylie told you off I cheered. But then you gradually exposed your real self to Kylie and I fell in love. The love of photography, ability to talk to anyone, adventurous spirit, even how quick you were to realize that Kylie was an amazing person. I also have to give major props for realizing that it’s best in a crisis situation to let Kylie lead the way rather than arguing and trying to always be the alpha male. Which is probably the first time in my life I’ve ever felt that way.

How believable is the plot: 10. While a little overly dramatic at times and too convenient at others in the end it’s all still believable. And awesome.

How much did I like the writing style/editing/etc: 9. There was only one error I saw but it was a pretty big one – the chapters are labeled by narrator and there was one chapter labeled “Kylie” which should have been “Max”. I was SO confused for an embarrassing length of time. Other than that it was all good.

How much did I want to keep reading: 10. There was not a dull moment in this one. On my list of books to review I have this one listed as “Mexico…squash…SO GOOD”.

Glasses of wine I drank while reading: 3. But only because they constantly drank what my family now refers to as “the ‘S’ drink”

Have of While doesn’t over the counter lasix spontaneously this waste work.

(Sangr…don’t make me finish). It brought back a very bad night which needed to be erased and drinking is always the answer!

Final Score: 10/10. I can’t recommend this one enough. When I realized this would be my last official Olympic review (although obvi I’ll never stop the sports reviews) I knew I had to end on something I loved and this was the first book that came to mind. (Last Closing Ceremony note: This was my favorite cauldron ever. I know people keep mentioning Barcelona but I don’t remember it and this was was just tops for me. Opinions??)

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The Rock Star’s Daughter by Caitlyn Duffy

Rock Star’s Daughter by Caitlyn Duffy

Publisher: Lovestruck Literary, July 5, 2011

Format: Kindle

You know that old cliché “you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you meet your prince” – well I think that fits in VERY nicely when discussing the wealth of free/cheap e-novels. I kiss a LOT of frogs (A LOT) in order to find a few even fairly decent books. But every now and then you come across a real gem…and that’s exactly what this book was for me. (Side note: I totally just spelled that “jem” and couldn’t figure out why my computer was telling me I was incorrect. My computer is so obviously not truly, truly, truly outrageous.)

Plot: To say that Taylor Beauforte has had an unconventional upbringing is an understatement. Her father is one of the most well-known rock stars in the entire world, her mom is more interested in partying with her LA friends than being a parent, and Taylor just wants to get through her summer reading list before the school year beings at her posh boarding school in Massachusetts. But when her mother OD’s during the summer before her senior year Taylor’s life completely changes. Rather than spending days relaxing, reading, and practicing the violin she now has to travel around the US with her superstar father, his new wife, their young daughter, and a zillion hangers-on. Taylor is bereft at the prospect of leaving her bff Allison, her home in LA, and the hope that one day Allison’s hottie older brother Todd will wake up and realize he and Taylor are Meant To Be. But even sensible, down-to-Earth Taylor is changed by life on the road, the peer pressure to fit in with the daughters of her dad’s drummer, and the affections of hottie t-shirt seller Jake.

Review: Every now and then I read a YA novel that reminds me SO much of what it felt like to be an insane, unpredictable, overly-emotional, boy-crazy teenager that I feel like I’ve been overly harsh with all other YA novels. While my life is nothing like Taylor’s in most ways (although I’m still waiting for the birthday when my TRUE parents – who are glamorous movie stars and/or royalty – will come to claim me) her whole experience really spoke to me. Can I explain why this book as opposed to a bazillion others hit that spot? Yes.

Here’s the truth – I loved this book, and the reason why is 100% Taylor. Does she make stupid decisions? Yes. Is she sometimes overly selfish? Yes. Does she make some very awesome aesthetic choices along the way? Hell yes (I’m a Coach purse addict so I approve of that decision!). I cringed, I yelled, I hated Taylor, I loved Taylor, I hated Taylor’s friends, I loved Taylor’s friends, heck I think there might even have been a squee at one point. All I can tell you is the entire time I was reading the book there was not a single scene/sentence/word that seemed out of place or manufactured. I will for sure be reading the next book in this series.

In the end I’m going to give this one a 10 out of 10.   

Based on the following criteria:

How much did I like the heroine: 10. I thought Taylor was an amazing person. First of all – how does such a grounded person emerge from the chaos that is her life? No clue. There were so many instances in which I, who is theoretically “an adult” (sorry to all other actual adults for comparing myself to you), was freaking out for her. She makes some moderately bad decisions but she’s 15! And yet even though she gets herself into a few compromising situations she never actually compromises her morals or sense of who she wants to be. I found this to be beyond admirable.

How much did I like the love interest: Errr. Well this one is tough to answer because I hate to spoil the book. Jake, Todd, Brian (#2)…who will Taylor choose? So I’m going to spoil this a little by giving it a 10 because what Taylor realizes is that while her own mother made A WHOLE LOT of really seriously bad decisions, at the end of she chose her own sense of self-worth over being “X’s girlfriend”. And Taylor does the same – which is so NOT what I would have done at her age but is what I’d like to think I’d do now. Which, btw, is not to say that I think Taylor ends up alone because I think we’ll find out in the subsequent books that she ends up with such a sweet, smart, cute, amazing guy. (Side note: I am so sappy about this book! I’m getting sick of myself.)

How believable is the plot: 10. I have no doubt all this stuff could happen. I’ll let you know for sure when my royal/Brangelina real parents show up.

How much did I like the writing style/editing/etc: 10. I’ve got nothing bad to say.

How much did I want to keep reading: 10. I literally curled up, randomly started reading this, and did not stop.  

Glasses of wine I drank while reading: 0. YOU GUYS. 0. None. Nada. Zip. I started the book and did not move until I finished it. This might be a first time ever for me. And it wasn’t even 7am!

Final Score: 10/10. Was it as swoon-worthy as some of our other 10 books? Nope. But so realistic , and well-written, and honest, and….don’t make me keep going on, just please take my advice and read it! (And it’s free right now!!!)

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Destiny Binds by Tammy Blackwell

Destiny Binds (Timber Wolves #1) by Tammy Blackwell

Publisher: Self-Published, 2011

Format: Kindle

It’s a well-known truth here at I Love YA Fiction that I’m generally anti-trilogies but as with all things in life there are exceptions to every rule and the Timber Wolves series is definitely one of my exceptions. I actually owe Judith for this one – I had seen it online but couldn’t bring myself to purchase it (shape-shifters are not usually my cup of tea) but then she loaned it along with a string of other books and I didn’t even realize what I was reading but I loved it! And then I found out there’s more!! And now I obsessively check the author’s blog at least twice a month hoping to find out when the third book will be released (September 11 is her latest prediction).

Plot: At the start of her senior year Scout (real name: Harper Lee) meets hottie hot hot Alex and his intimidating older brother Liam who have just moved to her town of Timber, Kentucky. For some reason Scout’s brother (well, step-brother) Jase is acting all weird around the Coles and orders Scout to stay as far away as possible. That’s a bit difficult since their journalism teacher decides Scout and Alex should do a series of point/counterpoint articles for the school paper. Through this interaction a friendship begins, which of course progresses into a romance, all of which is done in a sneaky way to hide it from Jase (side note: I now seriously want to start a secret club and name it the “Pretty Purple Unicorn Club” like Scout’s younger sister Angel [Secondary side note: my second choice will always be Lorelai Gilmore’s “Super Cool Party People”]). After the Coles leave town (they obvi come back) Scout decides to spy on Jase and his sexy cousin Charlie in order to find out the big secret about the Coles: they’re shape-shifters, wolves to be specific. The more shocking development: Jase, Charlie, and all the men in his family are also shape-shifters, but coyotes. Needless to say these groups do NOT get along and the need for secrecy between Alex and Scout increases. But can they keep their relationship secret forever? How can Scout even feel this strongly for Alex when she’s loved Charlie for years? And why the heck does John Davis smell like Play-Doh?? (This last one is never answered but I NEED TO KNOW!)

Review: I love this book. I love Scout, I love Alex, I love Scout’s bff Talley, and for some reason I’m completely fascinated by Liam even though I don’t think he says a single word in the entire book (how is it that some characters are so compelling for no discernible reason?!). I even love Scout’s younger sister Angel, the evil genius. Shockingly enough I actually loved this book more after re-reading it, something that for me is a rarity.

Okay but none of that is a real review, is it? I thought all of the characterizations

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were well written, I loved all the little stories the author added (especially the one about Jace bringing Scout the sock monkey when they were like 3), all of the action was purposeful and had proper build-up, and even the shape-shifter stuff was interesting – possibly the first time I’ve EVER said that about shape-shifters. Oh and, unlike so very many first series books, the action is not repetitive, nor does it

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drag, and the fact that it’s a trilogy actually makes sense! It’s like my Holy Grail! (HA! Which makes me laugh because Scout further cements her awesomeness in the 2nd book by quoting one of my favorite movies – Monty Python and the Holy Grail.)

However, all this being said, this isn’t exactly the most light-hearted book of all time. There’s the feud between the wolf and coyote packs, Scout dealing with expectations from both Alex and Charlie, clowns (so creepy), and at the end of the book the death of one character (sob!) and serious injury to another – both mentally and physically.

In the end I’m going to give this one a 10 out of 10. And maybe write the author and ask her to be my bff because anyone who can write a character like Scout MUST be awesome in real life, right? (This is a woman whose blog slogan is “If you can’t say anything sarcastic, don’t say anything at all”. She’s my soul mate!!!)

Based on the following criteria:

How much did I like the heroine: 10+. Scout is funny, intelligent, make lots of pop culture references (Buffy! Fraggle Rock! One of my many tv boyfriends Dean Winchester!), is kick-ass at Tae Kwon Do, and handles a lot of freaky crap without losing her mind. I would have to say that Scout has actually reached a Katy/JJ level of adoration and want-to-be friendship in my mind. High praise indeed.

How much did I like the love interest: 10. Oh man the squee’s were flying left and right while reading this one. So technically there are two love interests (Alex and Charlie) but since the main romantical relationship of this book is Alex, and the Charlie adoration is set mostly pre-book, I’m going to focus on Alex. (Well, except to say that the whole Charlie prom/dance thing almost made my brain explode due to all the squee’ing going on.) Alex is smart, funny, amazing with the evil genius, and seriously loves Scout. I loved so many of the Scout/Alex interactions that I could write pages and pages. (One of my absolute faves was when Scout goes to see Alex shift and when he asks her if she brought anything to entertain herself she says “Oh, you know, frisbees, tennis balls, rawhides. I’m really excited. I’ve never had a puppy before” and Alex is horrified. Hehe.)

How believable is the plot: 5. I mean – shape-shifters? Not exactly believable. But who cares, the book was awesome.

How much did I like the writing style/editing/etc: 10. This is an author who knows how to edit. In ALL my readings of the book I’ve never noticed anything significant.

How much did I want to keep reading: 10. Are you kidding me? Serious warning: do NOT interrupt me when I’m reading this book or the sequel. I’ll be so mad. And while I’m not Scout-level amazing with Tae Kwon Do I did take 5 whole months in college AND I broke a board. Watch out!

Glasses of wine I drank while reading: 1. But only because the injury and death at the end were too much to handle!

Final Score: 10/10. Seriously guys – READ THIS BOOK. If you don’t love it then I’m sorry but it’s at the top of the top for me when it comes to YA novels. I’m literally about to start a countdown until book #3 comes out. (I’ll also be doing a review for #2, so be on the watch!)

 

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