Contemporary · Romance

Dr. Strange Beard – Penny Reid

30315676| GOODREADS | MY RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥|

Goodreads synopsis: Hunches, horse races, and heartbreak

Ten years after Simone Payton broke his heart, all Roscoe Winston wants is a doughnut. He’d also like to forget her entirely, but that’s never going to happen. Roscoe remembers everything—every look, every word, every single unrequited second—and the last thing he needs is another memory of Simone.

Unfortunately, after one chance encounter, Simone keeps popping up everywhere he happens to be . . .

Ten years after Roscoe Winston dropped out of her life, all Simone Payton wants is to exploit him. She’d also like some answers from her former best friend about why he ghosted her, but if she never gets those answers, that’s a-okay. Simone let go of the past a long time ago. Seriously, she has. She totally, totally has. She is definitely not still thinking about Roscoe. Nope. She’s more than happy to forget he exists.

But first, she needs just one teeny-tiny favor . . .

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My thoughts: Out of the now five books I have read so far in the series about the Winston brothers, this is the least favorite one of mine so far. I did not find it as funny, lovingly and straight to the heart and warm as the others. And I can’t quite put my finger on it. It is like Reid was uninspired while writing it and did it mostly because of the side story line and plot twists around the father Darrell.

I do understand it. It is an important line not to be forgotten since it has been there throughout the series, but it was a little too much and now so many different things happening and I can’t quite get it all connected in my head. There is no cliffhanger per say, but it is certainly stuff that is not yet cleared up.

I do like the characters as always, even though they were a little more shallow than usual. But hey, it was still good. And I will continue the series. This one just missed the mark this time.

Non-fiction/Biography

Becoming – Michelle Obama

38746485| GOODREADS | MY RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥|

Goodreads synopsis: In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America—the first African-American to serve in that role—she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments.

Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare. In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it—in her own words and on her own terms. Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations—and whose story inspires us to do the same.

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My thoughts: I’m not doing a full review on this one due to the fact that it is a memoir and I feel weird commenting on another persons life, thoughts and feelings. But I have to say I freaking loved it. It is well written, honest and I do understand the source to the hype. It’s unapologetic and the feeling I get is that Michelle have been honest and not concealed the less attractive attributes about herself or others but still emphasized that not all is what is seems and it does not always define a person. I would not determine the book as deep and a lot has probably only been scratched on the surface, but it still feel credible and always interesting. One thing I never got the feeling off (which is common in everything produced from that side of the world) is the “USA is the biggest, strongest and best no matter what” mentality. I do not doubt she love her country, but she was honest about her country’s flaws. It does not make USA worse than any other country, but it gave me a realistic view of how it is. Specially for me who never been there and my only source of information is media in different forms. And we all know how that information can be polluted at times.

My mental picture of Michelle is a down to earth, no nonsense, strong woman who is smart and only wants the best for her, her family and her country. She doesn’t want to run for president but in my opinion I believe she would have been great at it. Just as her husband. I though I would never read this book but now I’m happy that I did. It was a great nonfiction book I do recommend.

 

Fantasy/Paranormal · Young, New adult/College

Nevernight – Jay Kristoff

34503674| GOODREADS | MY RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥|

Goodreads synopsis: Mia Covere is only ten years old when she is given her first lesson in death.

Destined to destroy empires, the child raised in shadows made a promise on the day she lost everything: to avenge herself on those that shattered her world.

But the chance to strike against such powerful enemies will be fleeting, and Mia must become a weapon without equal. Before she seeks vengeance, she must seek training among the infamous assassins of the Red Church of Itreya.

Inside the Church’s halls, Mia must prove herself against the deadliest of opponents and survive the tutelage of murderers, liars and demons at the heart of a murder cult.

The Church is no ordinary school, but Mia is no ordinary student.

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My thoughts: This book is marked as a young adult fantasy. Me personally, I would not categorize it as a YA. It is way darker, gorier and explicit than other YA books I have read. And that is probably why I liked it so. There were some rough language but nothing embarrassing or cringe which I often find YA to be. I would place this one in the late young/adult epic fantasy. Thought you should know if you expected something else. 😉

The book is fantastic. It is dark, funny and witty to a degree it is on the border to sarcasm and irony. There is an interesting narrator, funny with a dark sense of humor and all the footnotes (Which I hear so many hate) is such a strong complement to the story without the impression of an author droning away on details. Strong and deep characters with interesting history and personality. Complex and wonderful world building. Notice that it is a man who is the author. Not much lovey-dovey. More strait to the point in a detached kind of way but still capturing and at some points heartbreaking.

Refreshing. Can nothing other than recommend it to whoever wish to read some epic fantasy. If you are new to the genre I would recommend it as an starter before you go into something heavier like, for an example, Robin Hobb, which I also have read some books of.

Contemporary · Mystery/Crime · Romance · Suspense

Fire and ice – Julie Garwood

3407345| GOODREADS | MY RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥|

Goodreads synopsis: Sophie Rose, a tough and determined newspaper reporter, is the daughter of Bobby Rose, a suave, charming, and handsome gentleman who also happens to be a notorious big-time thief sought by every law-enforcement agency in the country. When the major Chicago daily where she works insists she write an expose about her roguish father, Sophie refuses, quits her job, and goes to work at a small newspaper. Far from her onetime high-powered crime beat, she now covers local personalities such as the quirky winner of several area 5K runs whose trademark is goofy red socks.
Those red socks-with Sophie’s business card neatly tucked inside-are practically all that’s found after runner William Harrington is killed near Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, seemingly the victim of a brutal death by polar bear. The Alaska cops want to know why Harrington carried Sophie’s card. With an unerring nose for a good story, she heads north.
What Sophie doesn’t realize is that on her journey from Chicago to Prudhoe Bay, danger follows in her wake. After one attempt on her life, she’s been assigned brash but sexy Jack MacAlister as a bodyguard by the cautious FBI. Amid great peril and deadly intrigue in the unforgiving Alaskan terrain, she and Jack form an uneasy alliance sparked with sensual attraction. But they will soon be fighting more than their growing passion for each other. Powerful forces will stop at nothing to prevent the exposure of the sinister conspiracy Sophie and Jack are about to uncover.

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My thoughts: What I really like with Garwood is that she is such a strong character writer. Especially when it comes to the females. I’m a huge critic when it comes to females and often finds them dumb, childish, meek and excessive. But never with Garwood. I receive pretty much what I expect and it never disappoint me. This one was just as good as always when it comes to the writing, character and such. The plot however I found a little weak. I really liked Sophie’s history and enigmatic father but Jack could have used a little more work and the story a little more depth. I missed that … umpf… in lack of better words.

Nothing bad really, just didn’t earn the last star but certainly not a bad book in any means. This is the 7 book in the series about Buchanan-Renard family and it is safe to say, I will continue it.

Adult fiction/Erotica

Boomer – C.M Steele

39337611| GOODREADS | MY RATING: ♥|

Goodreads synopsis: As the President of the Steele Riders Motorcycle Club, Garrett “Boomer” Steele is used to people following his command. No questions asked. As a former military man, he is dedicated, focused, and disciplined. Then in walks a fiery little beauty and all that goes out the window. He will do all he can to keep her as his. Even go to war to protect everything that belongs to him.

Crystal Miller’s just being the friend that Morgan needs when she runs into a bare-chested Boomer. He’s cocky, loving, and bossy as hell. Even though she’s one tough woman, she loves the way he needs to shield her from danger. And there’s plenty of it.

When trouble comes calling, can they stand together and survive, or will a big secret tear them apart?

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My thoughts: If it wasn’t for the reason it is only like 130 pages long, I would probably never have finished this misogynistic crap. Because god damn this is some terrible junk in my opinion. It is so bad it is almost funny. (Keyword ALMOST) Let’s see! Horrible writing, horrible characters and so awfully shallow and cliché it hurts.

I’m warning you. This rest of the review contain spoilers.

We have the classic Guy no 1 trying to rape Girl. Girl doesn’t tell Guy no 2 who has set his mind to win her body. (Not her as a person or anything. No! Her body. Because that is all a girl is worth right?)

Anyway, Girl moves in with Guy no 2 after a day because he says so and she doesn’t even bat an eyelash to that. (What the hell?) Guy no 2 later finds out about Guy no 1 and goes batshit crazy and plan to revenge in her honor. Guy no 1 gets his pride hurt and is now planing to hurt Girl and everything the Girl holds dear (family, friends you name it). Girl (who is a virgin by the way) sleeps with guy no 2 after just a couple of days even though she was supposed to save it and yada, yada. Then after another couple of days Girl marrying Guy no 2 just because he say so, again not bating an eyelash. Hell breaks loose, Guy no 2 has some serious self-esteem issues, judging by the way he growls and want to knock the teeth out of every man’s mouth who even looking in their direction. Do I need to go one? Because I can. It’s only getting worse.

Don’t get me wrong. I love alpha males and sexy books but it still need to be from this century. Not this man dominating piece of crap that doesn’t even give the girl her own choice, voice and she takes it so damn lightly. He tells her what to wear, where to live, what to work with, what to eat and so on. If you like that kind of things, yay, god for you. But me personally do not find books where the man is the one who determines everything and not even giving the woman who by the way is pressed down to be a sex and birthing machine her own voice. Maybe I have totally misunderstand the book, maybe not. We will probably never know because I will not waist more time on it.

 

Contemporary · Romance · Young, New adult/College

Under Locke – Mariana Zapata

20613920| GOODREADS | MY RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥|

Goodreads synopsis: He was my boss, my brother’s friend, a Widower, an ex-felon, and a man I’d seen casually with a handful of women. But he was everything that gripped me, both the good and the bad. Worst case scenario if things turned awkward between us, I could go somewhere else. I’d gotten over epic heartbreak before, one more wouldn’t kill me.

After moving to Austin following six months of unemployment back home, Iris Taylor knows she should be glad to have landed a job so quickly… even if the business is owned by a member of the same motorcycle club her estranged father used to belong to. Except Dex Locke might just be the biggest jerk she’s ever met. He’s rude, impatient and doesn’t know how to tell time. And the last thing they ever expected was each other.
But it was either the strip club or the tattoo shop.

… she should have chosen the strip club.

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My thoughts: Mariana is one of my favorite authors with her unique writing style and thoughtful plots. And even though I often find it a delight reading her books, I can’t say that it I fell for Under Locke. In my opinion, of those book I have read so far, this is certainly the weakest one. I can see how she tried to achieve some strong, kick ass characters but it fell flat on so many levels.

My biggest problem was really Iris and that she certainly is not an character easy to love. She prides herself with not holding grudges, but like 60% of the books is constant nagging about what a dick one character is, what an asshole another are and it goes on and on and on. I can’t stand that type of self-pity and it drives me nuts that she sounds like a broken record. She is almost 25 years old but often acts like 15. Yeah I know she have had a hard life and so on, but then you would expect a more mature woman.

The plot is pretty straight forward. Woman has troubles with finding job, finds a job working for an asshole. Female fall in love with asshole and lo and behold, he is not an asshole after all. Just a man with many layers. Unfortunately those layers was not as deep as expected.

Overall it is a good book. It is quite entertaining and so on but so much dwelling is annoying to read. This book will not change my opinion regarding Mariana Zapata. I see it as a bad day, everyone has one and this book is just one of Mariana Zapatas bad days. Still okay but not as good as I know it can be.

Romance

Reeve – Jessica Gadziala

37285282| GOODREADS | MY RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥|

Goodreads synopsis: Reeve
I had long since given up hope of the pursuit of genuine happiness. It wasn’t possible after all the sh*t I had been through. I had my siblings, my club, a purpose in life. It was enough.
Until I came across her.
She represented everything that I knew I couldn’t have – stability, a future, a way out of my past.
And, it seemed, the harder I tried to keep her at a distance, to protect her from my reality, she only got in deeper, only pulled me closer.
Then, one night, an old face popped up in Navesink Bank. And everything changed forever.

Rey
I liked my life. I liked the freedom and simplicity of it, even if it was, perhaps, a little lonely.
Then one night, there he was.
With the saddest eyes I had ever seen.
He represented everything my life didn’t need – chaos, violence, uncertainty. But, at the same time, everything it was lacking – companionship, connection.
He tried to fight it, to keep up his guards, to keep me at arm’s length.
But, well, fate had other plans.
That was the night everything changed.
Down an alley, facing down a new, yet familiar, big bad in Navesink Bank, forcing us together, making us confront the reality of what was happening between us.
Trapped together, waiting for the winds to blow over, he finally trusted me enough to let me in, to give us a shot, to invite me into his family.
That is, if all of us survived the upcoming storm…

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My thoughts: Rey was a character I thought I wouldn’t like. To hippy dippy, flower power, peace on earth, mumble jumble for my taste. But god damn she is hilarious. Down to earth, smart, funny and I see a lot of myself in her. And her total love for animals, self-reliance, her easygoing nature and somewhat different lifestyle is just wonderful. I love her and it’s not often I love a female character more than the male one. But in this I did. And I feel almost a little sad that it wasn’t longer because I would have loved to follow her more. She is just that good and Gadziala did a great work without making her over the top.

Overall the book is a typical Gadziala book with some hot scenes and complicated characters, history and an interesting future. It was nice to know Reeve’s story. I loved his brother and Reeve he had a pretty large role in Cyrus book but you never got to know what his history really was. But everything makes total sense now. And all the side characters is just so fun to follow and get to know.

There was also a huge plot twist that will go on for at least a couple of books forward. Not a major cliffhanger yet, but I’m looking forward do see how that will evolve.

Fantasy/Paranormal · Fiction/Science Fiction · Mystery/Crime · Thriller/Horror

The seven deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle – Stuart Turton

41807223| GOODREADS | MY RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥|

Goodreads synopsis: How do you stop a murder that’s already happened?

At a gala party thrown by her parents, Evelyn Hardcastle will be killed–again. She’s been murdered hundreds of times, and each day, Aiden Bishop is too late to save her. Doomed to repeat the same day over and over, Aiden’s only escape is to solve Evelyn Hardcastle’s murder and conquer the shadows of an enemy he struggles to even comprehend–but nothing and no one are quite what they seem.

Deeply atmospheric and ingeniously plotted, The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a highly original debut that will appeal to fans of Kate Atkinson and Agatha Christie.

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My thoughts: Oh, so many feelings. I was looking forward to be reading this. It intrigued me and when I started, it felt like a mix between a classic Agatha Christie, dinner murder mystery and the movies like groundhog day and the cube. This is one of those books that seem to be impossible to give a deserving rating to. It all depends on what I’m focusing on.

If I would rate the concept, writing skill and character build-up it would be a solid 5 stars. It is just perfect and such a joy reading. Even though we are talking about a lot of characters and a lot of details, it was still fully possible to keep track of them all. At some points I was a little confused to be honest, but Turton skillfully included small details here and there to remind us readers where we were and what it was about.

If I would rate the general plot and ending I would give it a two star. The build-up of the story was so big and thrilling that the ending was just an anticlimactic balloon, losing all its air. Not at all what I had expected and quite frankly a little tame when compared to the rest of the book. And in the middle I found myself stagnant due to that the story didn’t progressed forward. And I didn’t find myself that into it to be honest. Specially since you never really get to know the whole truth outside of Blackheath. I would have liked that.

Then that I also had such problem focusing can also be a reason for my conflicted feelings and low rating. I have had a couple of bad weeks but that is not unusual for me and if a book is good it will keep me captured either way. Anyway, after a lot of thinking and sorting my feelings I land on a solid 3 stars. If possible I would give it 3.5. I did like it overall, but I didn’t love it and it certainly was not amazing in my opinion.

Contemporary · Romance · Sports/Games · Young, New adult/College

The Goal – Elle Kennedy

28262024| GOODREADS | MY RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥|

Goodreads synopsis: She’s good at achieving her goals…

College senior Sabrina James has her whole future planned out: graduate from college, kick butt in law school, and land a high-paying job at a cutthroat firm. Her path to escaping her shameful past certainly doesn’t include a gorgeous hockey player who believes in love at first sight. One night of sizzling heat and surprising tenderness is all she’s willing to give John Tucker, but sometimes, one night is all it takes for your entire life to change.

But the game just got a whole lot more complicated…

Tucker believes being a team player is as important as being the star. On the ice, he’s fine staying out of the spotlight, but when it comes to becoming a daddy at the age of twenty-two, he refuses to be a bench warmer. It doesn’t hurt that the soon-to-be mother of his child is beautiful, whip-smart, and keeps him on his toes. The problem is, Sabrina’s heart is locked up tight, and the fiery brunette is too stubborn to accept his help. If he wants a life with the woman of his dreams, he’ll have to convince her that some goals can only be made with an assist.

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My thoughts:I liked but I didn’t love it. Short, sweet but I wasn’t really feeling it. Okay, I will give you that it is a nice story and as always filled with some really nice characters and a believable plot. But the way it was built and the slowness of it, didn’t do much for me this time.

I like Sabrina. She is a tough cookie. She is just so set on the goal of her life and doesn’t handle stuff well outside of that goal plan and some of her personality traits just rubs me the wrong way.  It is Tucker who does the whole story. Maybe because I already loved him before I started reading this one. And off course how am I not supposed to love him? He is just such a great man. Kennedy really has a gift with writing characters that does not feel needy or unrealistic.

I did enjoy it and it was nice to read something simpler since I have trouble with keeping my head in the reading mode right now. Note to self: Finnish one series before starting another written by Kennedy. That way you wont risk any spoilers on some certain details. 😉 Just saying.

Contemporary · Romance

The Messenger – Jessica Gadziala

41576496| GOODREADS | MY RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥|

Goodreads synopsis: He’s loved her since the day he met her. She’s been either oblivious or uninterested.
And now she is set to marry another man.
So, he decided he had to let her go.
But when he finds her on what was supposed to be the happiest day of her life, staining her wedding dress with tears, needing help, he realizes he had never let go. And now that he has the chance, he will stop at nothing to show her that he was the one she was meant to be with all along.

 

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My thoughts: I’m happy for Kai to finally get his HEA. He have been a side character in the first two books but his love for Jules have never been a secret. And damn this was intense and yes, it was a good book. But at the same time, I’m little disappointed. I expected Jules to be this bad ass, strong woman, who just had no idea that Kai had a thing for her. Then it turns out she had known all the time, misinterpret (maybe) her own feelings and never acted on it. Kind of meek and submissive and not in the good way. It made the story a little to unrealistic and certainly not what I had expect. Then the whole like me, like me not, needs time, do not need time cabal back and forth, just irked me. But Kai totally saved it. I love him. He is the perfect guy. And maybe I love him more than other characters because he reminds me of my own man, but hey, we are not laying not on that.

The plot was believable and new compared to what Gadziala usually writes. However somewhat unsatisfying and anticlimactic with the whole Gary thing. I wish we got to follow Bellamy instead according to that topic, but that just me I guess. I crave the more darker stuff in these type of books.

Next up is the fourth book in the series and I’m so exciting. Because there you will (I have heard) get to know the whole truth behind Eli’s incarceration and the circumstances surrounding those characters. But I’m going to save it to a time where I do not have to work. Hate to read those really good books, but then have to go to work.