Sunday, March 18, 2018

Five Mini-Reviews

I started the year so well, February I had no unfinished reviews as the month started. But then I got behind, and I began March with three.  One of them was part of a blog tour, so it is already done.  But here it is over halfway through the month, so I thought I'd better get a few of these past due reviews, plus a few from this month done.  These are all pretty much adult romance, but not all five fit the same category under that heading.  So that's why the generic title for this post.  Oh well, let's get to it!

The Spring Girls by Anna Todd:
Genre:  Contemporary - Little Women retelling
Published:  January 2nd, 2018
Source:  Purchased paperback
My rating:  4 stars

If you've followed my blog for a while, you know that I loved the whole After series by Anna Todd, and so I'm excited to read any and all books that she puts out.  To be honest though, I've never actually read any of the Little Women books.  So while I know the characters basically from being a reader, the story itself wasn't anything I knew exactly.  However, I really enjoyed this book despite not knowing the original.  It did not make me want to go back and read it, but the way it ended, I really do hope for a sequel.  What was really cool was that only 22 pages in, they mentioned my friend's bar in New Orleans, Spirits on Bourbon, and it was a location used for one of the character's jobs in the book.  About a fourth of the way in, I was already hooked. There were definitely parts that I was crying a bit during.  And at the end, there was a twist I did NOT see coming.  Another great story from a great storyteller, Anna Todd.  Here's hoping there will be a sequel!

Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:
Four sisters desperately seeking the blueprints to life—the modern-day retelling of Louise May Alcott’s Little Women like only Anna Todd (After, Imagines) could do.

The Spring Girls—Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy—are a force of nature on the New Orleans military base where they live. As different as they are, with their father on tour in Iraq and their mother hiding something, their fears are very much the same. Struggling to build lives they can be proud of and that will lift them out of their humble station in life, one year will determine all that their futures can become.

The oldest, Meg, will be an officer’s wife and enter military society like so many of the women she admires. If her passion—and her reputation—don’t derail her.

Beth, the workhorse of the family, is afraid to leave the house, is afraid she’ll never figure out who she really is.

Jo just wants out. Wishing she could skip to graduation, she dreams of a life in New York City and a career in journalism where she can impact the world. Nothing can stop her—not even love.

And Amy, the youngest, is watching all her sisters, learning from how they handle themselves. For better or worse.

With plenty of sass, romance, and drama, The Spring Girls revisits Louisa May Alcott’s classic Little Women, and brings its themes of love, war, class, adolescence, and family into the language of the twenty-first century.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon:
SeriesOutlander #1
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Published:  June 1st, 1991
Source:  Purchased paperback
My rating:  5 stars

So of course I had been wanting to read these for about a year.  I'd purchased the boxed set for my sister-in-law for Christmas back in 2016.  Then when I switched my cable from U-verse to Direct TV this past fall, I was lucky enough to get a free trial of Starz.  So I decided to start watching the tv show first.  Of course I fell in love.  I started reading the book about the same time, however the book is so long that I didn't finish it until a while after I'd finished all three of the seasons of the show that are out.  I loved the book just as much though.  I felt like the show did a pretty good job of following the book. Obviously there were things that were left out of the show, and they also had to change some things in the show just to make it work as a tv show.  But overall, I was very pleased.  I found myself going back and rereading scenes over and over that I really enjoyed.  And while I found myself kind of skipping over some of the details and descriptions as I read, like I used to do when I had more time to read, I'm okay with that. Because I know that this is a book I will read over and over.  I didn't think I could love Jamie any more than the show made me love him, but I was wrong.  Boy was I wrong.  I can't wait to have the time to pick up the next book in the series.  I'm now converted to a huge fan of both the books, and of course the show.  Loved it, loved it, loved it!  If you haven't tried it yet, you need to soon.  And because I love Jamie so much, I've got to share a gif from the show.

Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:
The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is just back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of Our Lord...1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life, and shatter her heart. For here James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire—and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

#Player by Cambria Hebert:
SeriesHashtag #3
Genre:  New Adult Contemporary Romance
Published:  March 6th, 2015
Source:  Purchased audio from Audible
My rating:  5 stars

I've really enjoyed this series, you can read my review of book one and two at these links:  #Nerd and  #Hater.  Book two definitely ended with a bit of a cliffhanger, and it was so frustrating that my library did not have it for me to download. So when I resubscribed to Audible, I decided to just go ahead and buy this next one.  And honestly, I loved it.  First off, is there such an alcoholic beverage as Smurf Balls?  Because I want to try it.  I'm hoping to get to meet the author at Book Bonanza in Denver in July, so maybe I'll ask her for the recipe.  And then there was BBFL - Big Brother for Life.  Then, there are the little intros to each chapter, and the one for chapter 33 is something that I know I've posted myself on Facebook or Twitter many, many times, and that is: 
“The most annoying sound in the world is a morning alarm. #firstworldproblems”
I love that this book totally wrapped up Rimmel and Romeo's story, but I want to read more from the Hashtag world, especially to hear BBFL Braeden's story.  So I'll be listening to that one somewhere down the road!  I definitely recommend this series.

Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:
Players gotta play.
Hate is like a poison. It contaminates everything.
So does doubt.
Even though I deny what I overheard, even though I insist it isn’t true, the seed of doubt has been planted. I can’t help but be tormented with the endless what-if’s that have taken over our lives.
Romeo and I were happy in love. The future stretched before us brighter than any star in the darkest sky. Now everything is broken. Literally broken. Romeo’s entire career is at stake, my entire future is threatened… and my past?
It’s coming back to haunt me.
To haunt us.
Romeo says we’re in this together and right now the only sure thing is us. But how far can a love so new be pushed? The lengths we will have to go to save each other puts everything at risk.
Romeo is a #player but how much of the game can one person play?

The Player by K. Bromberg:
SeriesThe Player #1
Genre:   Sports Romance
Published:  April 17th, 2017
Source: Received audiobook from author
My rating:  5 stars

Let me tell you something about this author, she really knows how to get you with a cliffhanger!  I had assumed, yeah-yeah, I know what assuming does, that this was going to be a series where each book was about a different player on the team.  Just so you know, I was wrong.  The way this ended, GAH!  The narrators were some of my favorites, Andi Arndt and Joe Arden.  I had to stop in the middle to listen to another audiobook by the author that I was supposed to review by a certain date.  But when I started listening to this again I was hooked right back in.  Not to mention I'm still a little unsure about Santiago.  I thought maybe one thing was going to happen, but then at the end there was a whole twist that I did NOT see coming.  And wow was it a good one.  Of course I had already used my February credit on the Meghan March audiobook I'm listening to currently, so I had to wait for my March credit to get the sequel to this one.  Which I cannot wait to get started on and find out what is going to happen!

Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:
Baseball has never been sexier in an all-new novel by New York Times Bestselling Author, K. Bromberg.

Easton Wylder is baseball royalty. The game is his life. His passion. His everything.

So, when an injury threatens to end Easton’s season early, the team calls in the renowned physical therapist, Doc Dalton, to oversee his recovery. Except it’s not Doc who greets Easton for his first session, but rather his daughter, Scout. She may be feisty, athletic, defiant, and gorgeous, but Easton is left questioning whether she has what it takes to help him. 

Scout Dalton’s out to prove a female can handle the pressure of running the physical therapy regimen of an MLB club. And that proof comes in the form of getting phenom Easton Wylder back on the field. But getting him healthy means being hands-on. 

And with a man as irresistible as Easton, being hands-on can only lead to one thing, trouble. Because the more she touches him, the more she wants him, and she can’t want him. Not when it’s her job to side in the club’s best interest if he’s ready to play. 

But when sparks fly and fine lines are crossed, can they withstand the heat or is one of them bound to get burned?

Son of Kong by T.S. Joyce:
SeriesSons of Beasts #2
Genre:   Shifter Romance
Published:  August 23rd, 2017
Source: Purchased paperback
My rating:  3 stars

So, no, I'm not a normal fan of shifter stories.  And this one didn't really turn me into one.  It wasn't horrible, but it really wasn't that good.  I only bought it because, well, because of the cover model, as well as I was meeting the author at the Kinky in Kansas City romance author convention earlier this month.  Plus, the people in line in front of me were going on and on about how much they loved her books, and the people in line behind me. I did purchase one with the same cover model last year when I met her, again, the only reason I was in the line was to meet him really.  Okay, but on with my review.

Like that one former author friend of mine that didn't like my reviews of her books, I have some of the same issues with this.  It definitely needed some extra editing. But when you're self-publishing, you don't have to do that I guess.  I have been lucky enough lately to read a lot of self-published books where the authors took the extra time or spent the money to have someone do that for them, and it really makes a difference.  The story was okay, not horrible.  One of the characters made me laugh, Nox, I think probably who was the main character of the first book in the series.  And there were things left for the next book that while I am kind of interested in, I don't think I'll ever read on.  At least I doubt I'll have the time.  I do need to share the picture of me with the cover model and author here.  I did also pick this one, because hey, son of King Kong?  Just sounds like fun.

Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:
Torren Taylor has a gorilla problem. The birthmark on his back says he is supposed to be the new Kong, but he wants nothing to do with his people. Shunning their traditions means his silverback is out of control and on a one-way track to crazy-town. He accepted his shortened life a long time ago, but right now all he wants to do is live long enough to for a couple last bucket list items. When a rare beauty shows up at his door and offers to keep his animal steady for two hundred bucks a week, well, he’s mighty tempted to pay to prolong his life. Especially if it means spending time with Candace, who seems to have a knack for calming dominant men. She’s a good girl gone bad, and he wants to corrupt her even further. But something’s brewing against his crew, and drawing her in closer will put her at risk. And now Torren is torn on one important decision: be selfish and live longer, or shorten Candace’s life with the danger building around the Sons of Beasts. 

Candace Sumner needs a change. She’s back in Foxburg paying off big debts and taking desperate measures to do so. She had to give up her dreams to come back to her hometown, and now she wants a break from the monotony. And maybe a friend or two wouldn’t hurt either. An offer to keep a local silverback shifter steady sounds like an adventure, but when she sees Torren for the first time, her plans at aloofness are squashed. He is the type of man who is the perfect combination of sweet and deadly that could finally make her feel safe in her life. Too bad he’s going crazy, and his crew could go down in flames at any second. 

Candace wanted an adventure, but she didn’t bargain for love, betrayal, and a group of the worst-best friends a shifter like her could ask for. 

Content Warning: Explicit love scenes, naughty language, and piles of sexy shifter secrets. Intended for mature audiences.