Friday, December 15, 2017

simply all about audible romance

so audible recently created a romance subscription package that i am totally in love with. i have an hour-long commute to work on one-lane country backroads and suffer from motion-induced narcolepsy (ok, i made that up, but i fall asleep in cars even if i'm driving) and listening to books helps me say alert.

since signing up for the subscription i've listened to the following three books: the theory of second best by j. bengsston, playboy pilot by vi keeland and penelope ward, and defenseless by corinne michaels.

each one is a different kind of romance, and one of my favorite things about the new subscription service is that it lets you search for books according to your mood. it categorizes by trope, by heat level, by subgenre. it's a great way to search for things, because it allows you to try new authors with minimal risk.

and because you can access an unlimited number of books per month using the service, i find myself saving my audible credits for books not included in the service. which means more books for me. and let's face it, i'm on a book reading binge.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

something from the archives: say goodbye - part 50

to start from the beginning click on the links 123456789101112131415161718192021222324252627282930,  313233343536373839404142434445464748, and 49.

part 50 follows the jump...

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

seriously romantic: only you by addison fox

the brooklyn brotherhood closes out with only you, and fender and harlow get a chance for their own very happy ending after first meeting in just once and having sparks fly. from the moment they meet again in only you it's clear that everyone in park heights is rooting for them.

but both fender and harlow have a lot of childhood baggage and mistrust to overcome on top of the differences in their backgrounds. and when fender's abusive father comes back into the picture, the trauma of abuse and neglect add some unexpected challenges to their burgeoning connection. that's above and beyond the fact that the woman fender calls mama lou, is the same woman who helped harlow's mom become a bitter and vengeful shell of herself. while louise shouldn't take the full blame, she's also not entirely innocent. and her actions did negatively impact harlow and the way she sees relationships.

for novels that take place in the city, the brooklyn brotherhood series manages to cop a small town romance feel. there are so many meddling neighbors and family members. it's nice to have such a connected set of characters because it's so easy to slip into the world that's being built around them, and maybe it's the born and bred city girl in me, but all these people getting up in other people's business makes me absolutely crazy. why can't a relationship just be about two people and not the whole freaking village?

it's a quibble and totally has to do with my own prickly personality that it gets to me so much, but it's forgivable because the relationship that blossoms between fender and harlow is beautiful and sweet and surprisingly deep. i love how they connect with each other in ways that they both find surprising. and i love how neither of them tries to deny their crazy chemistry and the attraction that keeps them coming back for more. even as they do their very best to push each other away, protecting themselves, protecting each other, the truth is, that only with each other will they find true happiness. and that's why i read romance novels.

**only you published on december 12, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/st. martin's press (swerve) in exchange for my honest review.

seriously romantic: the way back to us by jamie howard

book 3 in the love unplugged series, the way back to us, finds singer gavin maccormack coming face to face with the one who got away. dani didn't just get away, she disappeared completely, and when gavin sees her catering an event he's stunned.

when he runs into her again at the blackbird, the bar he co-owns and regularly hangs out in, he begins to think that maybe it's not such a coincidence. dani knows better. she knows she shouldn't let gavin get too close. she's been on the run her whole life, and there's no end to the running. she doesn't even know for sure what danger she is facing. she's just always followed her father's lead.

even knowing that she won't stay, gavin falls headlong back in love with the woman he's never forgotten. because heartbreak will be worth it for a few more seconds of happiness with her. and as she allows herself to become entwined with his life, she starts to wish for the impossible too.

we get updates on all the band members, ian and bianca and felix and jules are still going strong. and ben and rachel are still super messed up. and i can't wait to see what book 4 of this series has in store for him.

as for gavin and dani, the shoe eventually drops. but all hell breaks loose when dani is confronted with evidence that the life she's been forced to lead may not be necessary. and on a pindrop everything changes. except for one thing. the fact that she's hopelessly in love with gavin.

**the way back to us published on december 12, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/st. martin's press (swerve) in exchange for my honest review.

slightly silly: riverdale, episode twenty one: house of the devil

i don't care what people say, i still think it's the janitor. even if archie claims that it's not him. archie isn't the brightest bulb. and sure the green eyes aren't the same, but maybe the dude had contacts. or maybe he's not the black hood.

so, let's talk about the relationship drama abounding in this episode. we have f.p. and jughead, for once having a good, easy father-son relationship that is destined to go to shit when f.p. realizes how far gone into serpent business jughead is.

we have jughead cutting ties with betty in order to protect her. this after she's put it all out there on the stage for jughead in her very own serpent dance. something that she does in front of her mother, who happens to be in full serpent gear at the time.

an aside, alice cooper is one of the most perplexing characters on this show. you never know what version of her will show up. and i kind of love her when she's her most serpent self. i think that's the real alice. the other alice, the one who is all brimstone and fire and propriety feels like an act. she and f.p. had something a long time ago it seems. and whatever she and hal have going on, it's clearly nothing stable.

i know this is a show about the kids, but i am just as intrigued as to what is going on with all the adults. because there are ties and feelings and drama held back from their kids, and i want to know it all.

and then there's archie and veronica, who have been going at it like bunnies. and when poor dumb archie tells veronica he loves her, she freaks out. she's never known love. her parents don't have love. in her book it's a weakness. and veronica has always been untouchable. but she doesn't know how to tell him this. and he doesn't know how to accept that she can't speak her feelings. and so when she walks away from him, it's the right thing to do. because how can you tell someone you love them when you don't even know what it means? but this doesn't mean you don't feel anything. and her breakdown in the car is the most vulnerable veronica has been in a while.

but when you push people away, and when they finally believe you, you have to reap the consequences of that. because it's easy to fall back on relationships and feelings that are safe and familiar. and this leaves an opening for betty and archie to reconnect. this isn't something i'm particularly interested in, because i think they are not very interesting together. but i understand it. and i'm hoping that the show takes us there in a way that makes sense and leaves the door opening for the challenge that jughead and veronica bring into both their lives.

also, cheryl is still being all single white female with josie. where this is going will be interesting to see. especially since cheryl is like one step away from being dragged away in a straitjacket.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

strictly literary: sea of strangers by erica cameron

sea of strangers picks up where island of exiles left off. at sea, khya and her friends must come upon an idea that will allow them to survive the dangers ahead.

the action rarely stops, but we do get more answers to what the misireh are up to and a deeper understanding of the mythology and magic that imbues this world. because this is book two of a planned trilogy there’s still not a whole lot of resolution but i have high hopes for book three.

the relationship between khya and tessen continues to deepen, and i enjoyed the quiet moments between them, even as everything around them falls apart over and over again. what they are aiming to do feels like the impossible and yet, their perserverance, their determination makes it seem like it's within reach even as they are faced with setback after setback.

**sea of strangers published on december 5, 2017. I received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley:entangled publishing (entangled teen) in exchange for my honest review. keep reading for an excerpt and more information on the book... 

strictly literary: island of exiles by erica cameron

island of exiles brings to life a world of magic and lies, one where gender fluidity is the norm and asexuality and bisexuality are nothing remarkable. the glossary and the explanations of magic and rank are all nested at the end of the book, which if i had read the physical copy of i would have happened upon it much sooner than i did in the ebook, when i only found it because i had reached the end of the story.

there is a lot of world-building here. it's complex and detailed and maybe a little overwhelming. i'm still kind of confused by everything with tsua and osshi but i'm guessing book 2 will continue to provide answers.

at its heart, this is khya's story. realizing that what she loves most in the world is in terrible danger she pulls together a quest that will betray everything she believes about her society. working with her brother's lover, sanii, and her longtime nemesis, tessen, they come up with a daring plan to rescue her brother, yorri.

but when things go sideways, they soon learn that there is so much more to uncover about the world around them. and the battle they will need to prepare for will be more challenging and difficult than any battle they've ever faced before.

the only thing they have to rely on is each other, on each other's abilities and the bonds that tie them together. watching the bond between khya and tessen grow in strength throughout the novel is so satisfying. it's pretty clear from early on that he's totally into her, but she sees him as her enemy. i think she reacts so strongly because she knows that he is important. he's the only person to both challenge and support her unconditionally. how he does both things at the same time is impressive. he has the strength to let her be herself, and at the same time, he bolsters her in a way that allows her to shine and yet doesn't deny his strength either. their relationship is so unique and layered and i can't wait for more. luckily my review of sea of strangers is coming up shortly.

**island of exiles published on february 14, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (entangled: teen) in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, December 11, 2017

seriously romantic: dance with me by alexis daria

i really enjoyed take the lead, but i think dance with me totally topped it. i loved, loved, loved this book. natasha and dmitri are perfection together. they've been indulging in an on and off things for three years, so when dmitri suddenly starts to really be there for natasha she's suspicious.

though to be fair, she would have always been suspicious. her whole life she's been made to feel unworthy by her mother. born to a teenager who felt her life was ruined and incapable of expressing her affection in a constructive manner, tasha feels like she's second best in all things. and being surrounded by people who give off the appearance of being more successful without working nearly as hard has only added to her complex.

inadvertently dmitri has also fed into tasha's insecurities, mainly because in trying to protect himself from heartache and rejection he's made tasha believe that she isn't as important to him as she is. because the truth is, to dmitri, tasha is everything. he wants it all with her. love, passion, commitment. but he doesn't know how to express himself in a way that she would believe. and because he is holding back, he finds himself saying the exact wrong thing at the most inopportune moments.

te way these two love each other is sweet and deep and so emotional. together they build each other up. and they only need to figure out how to keep it going once they are out in the real world. everything about this story worked for me. especially the ethnic, puerto rican-ukranian bits.

**dance with me will publish on december 12, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/st. martin's press (swerve) in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

seriously romantic: hold me harder by renee dominick

when natalie lindgren returns to the ranch her family used to spend summer vacations on in hold me harder, she's not just revisiting old childhood haunts. she's reencountering the one man who she has fully submitted to,javier, the man she turned her back on because she believes that her need to submit makes her weak.

to make things more complicated the man she fell in love with after javier is also part of the wedding party that brings her back to the ranch. ryan is another man she's run from for the same reason, his desire that she submit has her running scared.

but coming to the ranch is like coming home. and natalie learns that in order to be her true self, in order to be truly happy she can't keep denying the part of her that needs to submit. with javier and ryan guiding her and working together there's a chance that she can have it all. as long as she realizes that there is strength in submission. that all these two men want most in the world is to give her pleasure.

**hold me harder will publish on december 11, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (scorched) in exchange for my honest review. 

Saturday, December 9, 2017

seriously romantic: a perilous passion by elizabeth keysian

rafe seaborne, aka the earl of beckport, is determined to redeem himself after his allergies to a horse ruined a military operation in the midst of war. humiliated he abandoned society and has taken up residence on the coast determined to catch a group of smugglers and a traitor to the crown.

when he crosses paths with miss charlotte allston he assumes that he is saving her from a suicide by drowning. in truth she'd been moping by the seashore for her lost love, justin, but her eye had been caught by a scrap of something floating in the water. she was just being curious not suicidal.

but once their paths cross, it's like they can't stay out of each other's way. either he's spying on her and she catches him, or she finds reasons to track him down. and at every turn they are beset by danger, accidents, and a surprising passion.

a perilous passion establishes early on that these two are wild for each other but rafe believes he isn't free to pursue charlotte until he has redeemed himself in the eyes of society and his country, and also he needs to make things right for himself. meanwhile, charlotte is harboring a secret about her father's past that she believes will negatively affect her marriage prospects.

but as much as rafe pushes charlotte away, he comes to realize that having her as a partner makes everything better. as often as he pulls her out of a scrape, she saves his life just as often in turn. and there is no doubt that these two are tailor-made for each other.

**a perilous passion will publish on december 11, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (amara) in exchange for my honest review.