Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Book Review: Duke of Desire by Elizabeth Hoyt

Duke of Desire (Maiden Lane #10)
by Elizabeth Hoyt
Release Date: October 17, 2017
Source: Publisher

Refined, kind, and intelligent, Lady Iris Jordan finds herself the unlikely target of a diabolical kidnapping. Her captors are the notoriously evil Lords of Chaos. When one of the masked-and nude!-Lords spirits her away to his carriage, she shoots him . . . only to find she may have been a trifle hasty.


Cynical, scarred, and brooding, Raphael de Chartres, the Duke of Dyemore, has made it his personal mission to infiltrate the Lords of Chaos and destroy them. Rescuing Lady Jordan was never in his plans. But now with the Lords out to kill them both, he has but one choice: marry the lady in order to keep her safe.


Much to Raphael's irritation, Iris insists on being the sort of duchess who involves herself in his life-and bed. Soon he's drawn both to her quick wit and her fiery passion. But when Iris discovers that Raphael's past may be even more dangerous than the present, she falters. Is their love strong enough to withstand not only the Lords of Chaos but also Raphael's own demons?

I fell in love with Elizabeth Hoyt's historical romances four years ago, but sadly have not picked many up since then. I don't read nearly enough historical romances these days, so it was like coming home when I got to snuggle up with my pups and Elizabeth's newest release. 

Raphael, the Duke of Dyemore, will do anything to take down the Lords of Chaos, a horrible group of men his father was in charge of. Raphael is the hardened man he is today because of his father and he despises everything the man was. What Raphael didn't expect, though, was Lady Iris, a woman who was wrongfully kidnapped by the Lords of Chaos and finds herself at their mercy. Before he knows what he's doing, Raphael rescues Iris and finds himself marrying her to protect her. As a new duchess, Iris wants to take the role head on, even though she did not plan on her marriage to Raphael. The more she tries to integrate herself into his life, though, the angrier and more distant he becomes. Can Iris break down his walls before she loses him to his need to revenge forever? 

Holy. Cow. From the very first page of this book, I was sucked into this dangerous, dark world of the Lords of Chaos. Poor Iris was thrown headfirst into this terror and thankfully she had Raphael there to save her from a horrible end. Raphael was the definition of a dark and brooding male and I fell so hard for that man. He was so damaged and it was sad watching him slowly reveal his dark past to Iris throughout the story. That meant, though, that he was opening up to Iris and slowly letting her into his cold, dark life. 

Since this book centers around taking down a dark, disturbing group, this story was full of dark, suspenseful moments. Raphael has some serious enemies, so Iris and Raphael found their lives in jeopardy many times throughout the story. There was never a dull moment in this book and I was just waiting to figure out who was leading the Lord of Shadows and how Raphael was going to finally take them down. Oh, and don't forget the nice chemistry that burned between our two main characters. As much as they wanted to push each other away (*cough* Raphael *cough*), they obviously couldn't ignore their insane attraction towards one another. 

If you're a fan of historical romances, you HAVE to pick up Elizabeth Hoyt's Maiden Lane series. There was romance, intrigue, suspense, and action in this addicting romance and I could not get enough. I flew through this book and did not want this story to end!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Book Review: Most of All You by Mia Sheridan

Most of All You 
by Mia Sheridan 
Release Date: October 17, 2017
Source: Publisher 
A broken woman . . .

Crystal learned long ago that love brings only pain. Feeling nothing at all is far better than being hurt again. She guards her wounded heart behind a hard exterior, and carries within her a deep mistrust of men who, in her experience, have only ever used and taken.

A man in need of help . . .

Then Gabriel Dalton walks into her life. Despite the terrible darkness of his past, there’s an undeniable goodness about him. And even though she knows the cost, Crystal finds herself drawn to Gabriel. His quiet strength is wearing down her defenses and his gentle patience is causing her to question everything she thought she knew.

Only love can mend a shattered heart . . .

Crystal and Gabriel never imagined that the world that had stolen everything from them would bring them a deep love like this. Except fate will only take them so far and now the choice is theirs: Harden their hearts once again or find the courage to shed their painful pasts.

I am so incredibly excited for Mia and her first venture into traditional publishing. The books that I have read that she has self-published have been so emotional and so addicting. This one sounded like it was going to be just as emotional and I made sure to prep my heart before diving in. 

Crystal and Gabriel have been broken time and time again. Neither one of them knows what love is or how to let their hearts open up to love after what they've been through. When the two meet, they find they can't seem to stay away from one another, no matter how hard they try to push each other away. 

I don't know why, but for some reason, since this is a traditionally published book, I didn't think it would be as emotionally heart-wrenching as Archer's Voice or Becoming Calder. BOY WAS I WRONG. Both Crystal and Gabriel had such damaged pasts, both of which were not their faults at all, and I just wanted them both to feel happy. Because of their pasts, neither one of them knew how to let others in, emotionally or physically, and it was just heartbreaking to get to know each of them in the beginning. Since they both had issues with trusting people, it was so hard for them to even grow close to one another no matter how hard their hearts were yelling at them to just love each other. 

While this was more of a slow read because it took a long time for their relationship to develop, I thought it was a very necessary pace for their stories to be told right. Gabriel is such a vibrant character, even though he was struggling emotionally because of his past. I loved how well he balanced Crystal's harder shell and helped crack her walls until he could wiggle his way in there. The progression of their relationship was so sweet and I loved every second. 

If you want an emotional read about two broken people just trying to find their missing pieces, you have to pick up Most of All You. This was a fabulous first dip into traditional publishing and I can't wait to see what else Mia writes in the future!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Release Week Blitz + Giveaway: Most of All You by Mia Sheridan

MOST OF ALL YOU by Mia Sheridan
On sale: October 18, 2017 | Forever | Trade Paperback: $14.99 | eBook: $4.99

"Heartbreaking...inspiring, uplifting and raw..." ― RT Book Reviews, A 5-star Gold Pick

A broken woman . . .

Crystal learned long ago that love brings only pain. Feeling nothing at all is far better than being hurt again. She guards her wounded heart behind a hard exterior and carries within her a deep mistrust of men, who, in her experience, have only ever used and taken.

A man in need of help . . .

Then Gabriel Dalton walks into her life. Despite the terrible darkness of his past, there's an undeniable goodness in him. And even though she knows the cost, Crystal finds herself drawn to Gabriel. His quiet strength is wearing down her defenses and his gentle patience is causing her to question everything she thought she knew.

Only love can mend a shattered heart . . .

Crystal and Gabriel never imagined that the world, which had stolen everything from them, would bring them a deep love like this. Except fate will only take them so far, and now the choice is theirs: Harden their hearts once again or find the courage to shed their painful pasts.

Barnes & Noble:
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About the Author

Mia Sheridan is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestselling author. Her passion is weaving true love stories about people destined to be together. Mia lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with her husband. They have four children here on earth and one in heaven.


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Sunday, October 15, 2017

Book Review: Drunk Dial by Penelope Ward

Drunk Dial
by Penelope Ward
Release Date: August 21, 2017
Source: Amazon
It seemed like a good idea at the time. Look up Landon Roderick, that boy from childhood whom I’d never been able to forget—even though he so easily forgot about me—and call him. 

Then again, anything sounds like a good idea when you’ve had a little too much wine before bed, right? It was supposed to be just a quick, meaningless, prank call. Instead, I went off on him—unloading thirteen years of pent-up emotions. 

I didn’t think he’d call me back. 

I certainly could never have anticipated the weeks of sexually tense phone conversations that followed as I got to know the man he’d become. 

Turned out, Landon had never really forgotten me, either. That special connection we had was still there. I opened up to him, but there were also things about me he didn’t know. And he had his own secrets. 

Over the countless hours we talked on the phone, I wondered what would happen if we actually saw each other. One night, I did something impulsive again. Only this time, I went to the airport and booked a ticket to California. We were about to find out if one phone call could bring two lost souls together or if my drunk dial really was all just a big mistake.

I was so excited to read this book. I've only read one other book by Penelope Ward and really enjoyed that one, so I couldn't wait to read more by her. The premise of this book sounded so fun and I was hoping for a fun romance. 

Rana isn't living a life she loves. She's getting by and hasn't ever had a real relationship. Sure, she could blame her parents' dysfunctional marriage for her relationship problems and self image issues, but she knows the only person to blame is herself. When she gets drunk one night, Rana decides to look up Landon, a boy who was important to her when she was a little girl and hasn't forgotten about since. One drunk conversation turns into long phone conversations about life, love, and everything in between. But both Rana and Landon have secrets that could destroy any chance of ever being together. 

I've got to say, this book was so hard for me to get through. I really enjoyed the beginning of this novel and how the main characters reconnected over a drunken phone call. After that, though, I really could not stand Rana, our main character. She had so many issues with how she viewed herself and I was so tired of it. I get that that's a realistic way some people are, but Rana hated her life and it was just annoying. When she started up a thing with Landon, they both had these huge secrets that they were obsessed with. The secrets, especially Landon's, were so overdramatized and I felt like they were super judgmental of each other. Landon's secret was before he was with Rana and she was so hypocritical with how she viewed it. 

Another thing that really bothered me in this book was the writing style itself. The sentences were very choppy and basic while some of the words seemed very misplaced. It seemed like the author was throwing in words that people don't use in everyday conversation just to use them. The writing bothered me so much and I hated the characters, so it took me two weeks to make it through this book. I didn't care how things would end up and I was more and more annoyed every time I tried to pick this book up. 

Overall, this was a huge miss for me. Rana was not relatable at all and I really did not like her character. Her little "quirk" of telling Landon silly things felt so forced and not authentic at all. The connection felt forced as well because they became obsessed with each other so quickly that I didn't buy it. While I enjoy Penelpe Ward's books, I would recommend skipping this one.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Stacking the Shelves (262)


Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews where bloggers share what books they got throughout the week!

From Book Outlet

Book Outlet was having an amazing sale the other week and I ordered these 14 books for only $40! I have a wide variety of genres and authors and I'm so excited! Of course, almost all of them are romances! I am so happy to add these all to my shelves! 

That's it for me! What did you add to your shelves this week? 

Friday, October 13, 2017

Blog Tour Review: The Breathless by Tara Goedjen

The Breathless 
by Tara Goedjen
Release Date: October 10, 2017
Source: Publisher 
No one knows what really happened on the beach where Roxanne Cole’s body was found, but her boyfriend, Cage, took off that night and hasn’t been seen since. Until now. One year—almost to the day—from Ro’s death, when he knocks on the door of Blue Gate Manor and asks where she is.

Cage has no memory of the past twelve months. According to him, Ro was alive only the day before. Ro’s sister Mae wouldn’t believe him, except that something’s not right. Nothing’s been right in the house since Ro died.

And then Mae finds the little green book. The one hidden in Ro’s room. It’s filled with secrets—dangerous secrets—about her family, and about Ro. And if what it says is true, then maybe, just maybe, Ro isn’t lost forever.

And maybe there are secrets better left to the dead.

I must say, I have strayed away from YA lately because I can't seem to connect with the characters. When I read the synopsis for this mystery/thriller, though, I was so intrigued and had to take a chance on it. 

When Ro Cole died, no one knows who did it or why she was murdered. All they know is that her boyfriend, Cage, disappeared the day she died and hasn't been seen since. Everyone speculates that Cage did it, but no one has heard from him in over a year. Until now. Cage wakes up in the hospital with no recollection of the past year. When Cage runs into Mae, Ro's sister, he's adamant that he last saw Ro alive. Mae doesn't want to believe him, but she found a strange green book that makes Ro's death more mysterious than ever. What really happened to Ro that night and will Mae uncover her big sister's secrets, or will she be left with even more questions than before? 

I've got to say, this book was hard to get into when I first started it. The point of view is third person, but it jumps between different characters in the present and then new characters in the past. It was hard to feel attached to any character and it was really hard to keep track of who was who and what was going on. Once I got into the story, it was a little easier to follow. I only really felt engaged when Cage finally showed up not knowing what had happened over the past year. 

While this book was marketed as a suspense, the story felt very lackluster while I reading it. I wasn't scared or horrified or thrilled, but I didn't hate the story. I think some of the scenes that were supposed to be scary were just normal scenes to me that didn't do anything. It wasn't a horrible read, but nothing made me react strongly. I think that mostly had to do with how slow the pace of the book was and how long it took for anything remotely "scary" to even happen. 

Overall, this one isn't as thrilling or scary as I hoped it would be. The author's writing style made it hard to connect or care about the characters and the slow pace made the thrilling moments not so thrilling. While this wasn't a bad read, it was hard to find the motivation to pick it up since I wasn't loving it like I wanted to.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Book Review: Game On by Victoria Denault

Game On
by Victoria Denault
Release Date: October 10, 2017
Source: Publisher
"I don't break hearts. I break headboards . . . "

When it comes to scoring in the pro hockey league, Alex Larue is crushing it-with the hot puck bunnies. He's the life of the party, the guy with all the jokes . . . and the one whose Party Guy mask keeps the real him well hidden. The last thing he needs is anyone finding out about his troubled past, or the nightmares that haunt him still.

Brie Bennett is less than impressed by Alex from the moment she meets him. And even though he insists on volunteering at the charity she runs, she doesn't trust him. He's hiding something...but so is she. She's not just the rich, privileged New York princess he thinks she is. The animosity between them is undeniably addictive and as their worlds keep colliding it becomes supercharged with something else - attraction. But if they stop playing games and let each other in, they both might lose.

I love myself a good hockey romance, so when I discovered Victoria Denault had a hockey romance series, I knew that I had to read the newest release. 

Alex Larue might not be the best hockey player in the league, but he knows his dedication and charisma has teams wanting to keep him on their roster. Alex gives his career his all to forget the past that almost broke him. Brie Bennett is not impressed with the Canadian hockey player who hit on her at Starbucks. He has player written all over him and Brie needs to focus on the charity she runs. The handsome hockey player is hard to ignore, though, when he shows up to volunteer. Brie can't stand his judgmental, condescending view of her. But as the two continue to crash into each other's lives, they realize there is more under the surface and they may have more in common than they think. 

From the start, I was hooked on Alex's flirty, confident attitude and how Brie completely shut him down. Brie is such a confident woman who is so dedicated to her cause and I admired her drive and heart. While Brie saw Alex as a flighty player who had no care in the world, I really enjoyed seeing his side of the story and how much pain he was still dealing with over his past. 

Alex and Brie were really amazing characters, but I also loved the side characters and the new characters that became important to them both. I don't want to spoil anything, but Brie and Alex really opened their hearts to people in this book and it just made my heart warm. Of course, they both had to then spend more time together and realize their preconceptions of one another were very wrong. 

Overall, I absolutely loved this hockey romance. We got so much sports talk and play while still getting an emotional romance between our main characters. I loved how foster care was a huge part of Brie's charity and how Alex went out of his way to help those in need. For a sweet romance with a hot hockey player, you need to pick this book up!

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