2013 Year in Review

I should start off by thanking all of you guys who have decided to follow me this year – you have no idea how much i appreciate it.  I love to read and knowing that there are a lot of folks out there just like me that like to do the same, and are willing to hear what i have to say about those books – well that’s just amazing to me.

Let me then go into saying that i FAR exceeded my 2013 Goodreads Challenge – i had a goal of 100 books to read this year and if i’m not mistaken, i’m at 178.  AMAZING right?  I had no idea how much i read, but i guess for 2014, i need to set my limits a bit more realistically.

There’s a lot of great reading coming out in the next few months that i’m really looking forward to.  From Young Adult appropriate Dystopia and Fantasy series that have 2nd and 3rd (plus) installments coming out, to Erotica series that are either new or continuing, i really can’t wait to see what’s up next.

I also loved discovering NetGalley and the world of ARCs where i can dip my toes into new authors or even get a jump on installments that i’m waiting on but can’t be quite so patient enough for.

So, enough of my ramblings, again, I thank you all, and I can’t wait to share my reviews and hear your thoughts and feedback in 2014.  Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with any recos/feedback/comments since i’m always looking for ways to grow.

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Review: The Golden Locket (The Unbreakable Trilogy #2) by Primula Bond

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Title: The Golden Locket
Author: Primula Bond
Publisher/Year: HarperCollins UK 5/6/14
Length:  400 pages
Series:  Unbreakable Trilogy #2

Overview

Temptation would test them…

The second novel in the Unbreakable Trilogy, The Golden Locket follows Gustav and Serena to New York.

Ensconced in their Manhattan penthouse, all seems blissfully happy for Gustav and Serena. Still in the first flush of love, they have every satisfaction they could need.

But as they enjoy their New York pleasure ground, ghosts start to emerge from Gustav’s past, and when his damaged younger brother, Pierre, comes back into his life, he brings with him a dangerous threat…

With temptation waiting at every turn, can Gustav and Serena survive all the excitement that the Big Apple holds?

My Thoughts

so, after reading the introduction of the tale of Serena and Gustav, I had such high hopes on what could become of them since there’s so much anxiety and animosity running through the relationships.  we were left on such a cliff hanger, learning that Polly’s boyfriend is none other than Gustav’s estranged brother…and all hell breaks loose.

Fast forward just a short bit, and we are now in NYC where Gustav and Serena have relocated.  Gustav is using some of his connections to get Serena some work, and she builds a name for herself not just as a voyeur photog, but as one that acts on it a bit as well.  That’s a big change from the naive little girl that we met in the first book and we’re starting to see that she’s not only becoming a master, but is she possibly mastering Gustav?  She participates in activities with folks that a small town country girl never would think about, she becomes a temptress and seductress that men can’t avoid being drawn to her and fantasize of her…and she indulges in fantasies that were originally not her own, but have somehow become such.

Throughout this story, we get a lot of insight into various sexual experiences, which of course are all designed to test Serena and see how devoted she is to Gustav?  does she pass, does she fail?  Well, what i will say is that she takes a commission to go to Venice and Gustav does not come with her….so make your own decisions there.

In this 2nd installment, Pierre rears his ugly head towards Serena since i have a feeling that his intentions are not on the nice and innocent side.  All the while, his relationship with Polly is crumbing and that’s a story line on it’s own.  Along with that, there’s the woman that both men started their hatred of one another from, Margot, and she seems to be coming up a lot and possibly may be planning and plotting a way to come back.

I have to say though, that there’s one small thing that i really enjoyed about this book aside from seeing where the friendships, brotherhoods, and relationships go – it’s the locket itself.  All throughout the book, we’re told about this lovely gift that Gustav has given Serena, and we know that something’s inside, and i’d be lying if i didn’t say that EVERY page i kept wondering what was in it.  is it something dark that would align with the vampire esque conversations in the first book, or is it something overly anti-climactic.

So, i will have to keep my eyes open for this 3rd and final installment that’s still untitled i believe, since i have a feeling that the roller coaster that we were on so far is only just beginning.

ARC Review: The Torturer’s Daughter by Zoe Cannon

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Title: The Torturer’s Daughter
Author: Zoe Cannon
Publisher/Year: CreateSpace Independent Publishing 12/11/13
Length:  274 pages

Overview

Overview

When her best friend Heather calls in the middle of the night, Becca assumes it’s the usual drama. Wrong. Heather’s parents have been arrested as dissidents – and Becca’s mother, the dystopian regime’s most infamous torturer, has already executed them for their crimes against the state.

To stop Heather from getting herself killed trying to prove her parents’ innocence, Becca hunts for proof of their guilt. She doesn’t expect to find evidence that leaves her questioning everything she thought she knew about the dissidents… and about her mother.

When she risks her life to save a dissident, she learns her mother isn’t the only one with secrets – and the plot she uncovers will threaten the lives of the people she loves most. For Becca, it’s no longer just a choice between risking execution and ignoring the regime’s crimes; she has to decide whose life to save and whose to sacrifice.

It’s easy to be a hero when you can save the world, but what about when all you can do is choose how you live in it? THE TORTURER’S DAUGHTER is a story about ordinary teenage life amidst the realities of living under an oppressive regime… and the extraordinary courage it takes to do what’s right in a world gone wrong

My Thoughts

I was in the market for a new dystopian to get into, since i’m always interested in what POV they would take things – would it be a society that’s formed based on over throwing the government or was it a result of disease or war?  In this case we learn that it’s in response to something political, but that’s about as far as we get.

We are first introduced to Becca when her best friend Heather calls her to get her out of 117 which is a processing center where ‘dissidents’ are taken once they are arrested.  Dissidents here are the ones that are against the government and must be killed or held captive until they are proven to be useful. 

This night is really the turning point for Becca since her life begins to change from here.  While her friend Heather is released, Heather’s parents are not, and it’s from Becca’s mother that she learns that Heather’s parents were dissidents.  this opens Becca’s eyes to the fact that maybe all that she knows isn’t the truth, and she begins to question everything.  She wonders if her mom is lying to her about everything and what can be believed.  While she tried to stand up for Heather in school since everyone now thinks that she’s one of the opposition, Becca finds herself in the line of fire as well.  It’s through the help of a boy – Jake that she feels like someone is on their side. 

Jake has a past of his own, he used to live in their town and ‘disappeared’ for a few years, only to return now.  Becca is quite skeptical of his presence, and wonders if he’s a spy or is looking to do more harm than good, even when he seems interested in her. 

So, what we get here is a story that’s quite YA in nature, with bits of Dystopia peppered in. 

What frustrates me about this story though is that we get ZERO backstory.  what i mean by this is that we have no idea why society is the way that it is and what happened to make it this way.  We also really only get to scratch the surface on anything.  meaning relationships and the sort.  It took me a little time to get into the story at first since i kept waiting for something to happen.  with the opening being as exciting as it was, Becca running in the middle of the night to save her friend, we go downhill from there.  I still to this moment have no idea what the dissidents actually do, if they are talking about overthrowing anything, or what exactly the deal is.  

If this is a series (i’m not sure if it is, although the ending implied more to come) then i think that the 2nd installment really needs to take us a step back to understand things.  I also think that there needs to be a bit more character development since we get a tease of what life was like when Becca’s parents were together, but i’m curious if her father will play a bigger role in the future?

so…all in all, average – i’d love to get someone else’s opinion on this.  The good news for you guys if you don’t get ARCs, it’s available for $0.99 today online if you want to pick it up and see for yourself! 

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/The-Torturers-Daughter-ebook/dp/B009UEVWCW

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-torturers-daughter-zoe-cannon/1113578832?ean=2940015509359

Kobo: http://www.kobobooks.com/search/search.html?q=1230000026330

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/247175

 

ARC Review: The Silver Chain (The Unbreakable Trilogy #1) by Primula Bond

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Title: The Silver Chain
Author: Primula Bond
Publisher/Year: HarperCollins UK 1/21/14
Length:  400 pages
Series:  Unbreakable Trilogy #1

Overview

Bound by passion, she was powerless to resist.

The Silver Chain is the first in the sexy, passionate and addictive Unbreakable Trilogy by Primula Bond.

One dark evening in London, photographer Serena Folkes is indulging her impulsive side with a night-time shoot. But someone is watching her – mysterious entrepreneur Gustav Levi. Serena doesn’t know it yet, but this handsome stranger will change her life forever…

Serena is fascinated by Gustav, the enigmatic owner of the Levi Gallery, and she soon feels an irresistible pull of attraction. The interest is mutual, and Gustav promises to launch Serena’s photographic career at his gallery, but only if Serena agrees to become his exclusive companion.

To mark their agreement, Gustav gives Serena a bracelet to wear at all times. Attached to it is a silver chain of which he is the keeper. With the chain Gustav controls Serena physically and symbolically – a sign that she is under his power.

As their passionate relationship intensifies, Gustav’s hold on the silver chain grows stronger. But will Gustav’s dark past tear them apart?

My Thoughts

It took me quite a bit of time to warm up to this book i have to admit.  While the idea of the story line is a good one, a small town girl who comes from a less than stellar home moves to London to pursue what turns into a lucrative career as an artist, all the while meeting a sexy, sophisticated patron who helps her make her way and earn quite a bit of money…..it dragged, and kept me wondering when things were going to happen.

We meet Serena at the very beginning of the start of her new life, moving from small town Devon to big city London where she’s hoping to reinvent herself and come into her own as a photographer.  On Halloween night though, her life changes when she meets a man coming out of the shadows who seems both mysterious and very sexy and alluring.  This man of course is Gustav and he will change her forever.  This chance meeting not only stirs up feelings that she only had for her ex at one point in time, but it introduces her to an opportunity at a gallery that she would have never had before.

Gustav has his own sordid past that we only partially learn about through this book through both what he reveals and what his confidant and assistant of sorts crystal shares with us and Serena.  He does things on his own terms and puts those terms forth to Serena in the hopes that she’ll bite and then they can see what happens.  What he asks of her is that she binds herself to him until her last photo is sold, and binding herself means that she’s literally at his beck and call, and is bound in the sense of an actual silver chain.

So…you can begin to see where i’m lost a bit.  the entire time that we’re in this story, we know that he’s got this dark past that’s made him into a control freak and we keep hearing about how Serena was neglected, but that’s really as deep as it gets.  For the first 2/3 of the story, we get relatively tame scenes with the 2 of them, although you get the sense that there will be more to come – you just don’t know when.

Also, the entire time there are these hints of calling him a vampire or implications that Gustav reminds us of one, and there’s a mention of Dickson having a bite on his neck…so i kept wondering if there was more to the story…yet that’s not a big thing that’s ever talked about.

The redeeming quality though are the last few chapters.  The story picks up a bit and you’re left to wonder what the outcome will be….and who will end up with whom.  Throughout, we keep hearing about Serena’s cousin Polly who’s apartment she’s staying at, and her boyfriend that’s this successful guy….yet we don’t know too much more about that…until the very end.

All in all, if i could have fast fowarded to the last 1/3, it would have been better, but i guess we sometimes need to have a slow progression and a round about way to get to the good stuff in order to get us excited about the next installment in the series.  I think that i’ll give it a chance though since my interest is piqued.

Review: Layers Deep (Layers Trilogy #1) by Lacey Silks

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Title: Layers Deep
Author: Lacey Silks
Publisher/Year: MyLit Publishing 12/1/13
Length:  176pages
Series:  Layers Trilogy #1

Overview

He needs her to save a friend.
She needs him to plan her revenge.
Their pasts scar them Layers Deep.
Their passion distracts them…
…and distractions can be fatal.

Tristan Cross is battling emotional demons from the past. He lives in a world where trust is earned, loyalties are tested, and love is impossible. That is, until he meets Allie Green. She’s the only woman who can help him find a kidnapped friend and to top it off, she captivates him. All he has to do now is persuade her to work for Cross Enterprises, his top investigations firm.

Allie Green is a rookie cop seeking revenge and she’s willing to sell her soul to get it. With an opportunity to use Tristan Cross’s resources Allie calculates her time for payback. As vengeance boils her blood she can’t keep her mind off her new boss and Allie finds it difficult to keep her employment professional. With the mouth watering Tristan Cross distracting her, she struggles to prioritize an undercover job she’s been assigned and her hunger for revenge.

And when you’re ready to give up your life to save someone else, distractions can be fatal.

My Thoughts

What a nice introduction to a new series!  I loved where this plot line took us and there’s so much to build on.  We first meet Allie when she’s learning about a potential job opportunity with Cross Enterprises, a well known and established security firm….along side the other officers and rookie cops that she works with.  At the same moment that she first meets Tristan Cross, one of the owners, she finds that she can’t look away from him, and at the same time, is not willing just yet to apply for the job.  There are circumstances from her past that make things challenging – she and her mother are ‘on the run’ from someone from their past that wants to do them harm, and she’s hoping that she can use a relationship with Cross Enterprises as a means to seek revenge against him.

In walks of course Tristan, the powerful, domineering stature of a man that takes Allie’s breath away.  Of course, he knew what he was looking for some how – before recruiting for someone.  He has done a background check on Allie and knows more about her than makes her comfortable.  Along with this though, he finds himself attracted to her so strongly that not only does it mean that she would be ideal for the role in his company, but in his life as well.

This first installment of the series introduces us to the life that Tristan lives, to his family and that raises a few eyebrows to me.  There are so many similarities and hints that come along that i hope we get some of that resolved in book 2 and 3.  Namely his sister emma…..irony there…yes.

In any event, not only is the plot line compelling for the sort of role that he’s trying to recruit Allie for (an escort or prostitute of sorts) but there’s such heat and passion that you can’t help but to keep reading.

I don’t think that i’m overly familiar with this author, but i have to say that her style of writing is really engaging and exciting.  I felt the heat and clear chemistry in every scene that we were taken through.  These 2 can’t keep their hands off each other and i think that it came through really well.  There’s also the hope that we’ll get to see more, even in a spin-off with Julien and even with Laura.  I can’t wait until January when we’ll get the next installment, since this first book really left us blindsided with the ending.  Not only were there changes in the lives of people that were unexpected, there was just a cliff hanger than makes you wonder who will survive and continue on the journey.  Enjoy!

Review: Fracture Me (Shatter Me #2.5) by Tahereh Mafi

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Title:  Fracture Me
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Publisher/Year: HarperCollins  12/17/13
Length:  68 pages
Series:  Shatter Me #2.5

Overview

In this electrifying sixty-page companion novella to the New York Times bestselling Shatter Me series, discover the fate of the Omega Point rebels as they go up against The Reestablishment. Set during and soon after the final moments of Unravel MeFracture Me is told from Adam’s perspective.

As Omega Point prepares to launch an all-out assault on The Reestablishment soldiers stationed in Sector 45, Adam’s focus couldn’t be further from the upcoming battle. He’s reeling from his breakup with Juliette, scared for his best friend’s life, and as concerned as ever for his brother James’s safety. And just as Adam begins to wonder if this life is really for him, the alarms sound. It’s time for war.

On the battlefield, it seems like the odds are in their favor—but taking down Warner, Adam’s newly discovered half brother, won’t be that easy. The Reestablishment can’t tolerate a rebellion, and they’ll do anything to crush the resistance . . . including killing everyone Adam has ever cared about.

Fracture Me sets the stage for Ignite Me, the explosive finale in Tahereh Mafi’s epic dystopian series.

My Thoughts

It’s been a while since i had entered this story line so it was a nice little tease of what’s to come.  I think this is one of the nice things that i’ve seen with Tahereh Mafi, and with this series.  there’s a lot of character development and a lot of depth to the story line that we don’t always get everywhere.  it’s complicated at times since there’s always a lot going on, but i think that it’s nice to get.

What we have here is the scene of the attack that Omega Point is trying to avoid while trying to rescue a few of their own.  This follows a scene in the previous book where Kenji was injured by Juliette accidentally and almost killed, so he’s not at 100% which makes things more complex.  We also know that there’s a troubled love triangle still in play between brothers Adam and Waner over Juliette who tries to make things better by ‘walking away’ from Adam since her powers are harmful to him.

All in all though, with this short 68 page novella, we get a glimpse of what’s to come.  We see that Omega Point is damaged beyond repair, Juliette is taken captive, and the few remaining are left to hide out, plan and try to stay alive.

What’s next for them, we have no idea, but i’m sure that Ms. Mafi won’t leave us hanging and there will be plenty of anxiety, angst and super natural powers at play.  Honestly, i just wonder who will survive and which relationships will hold true.  I love that James, Adam’s little brother plays a continuously strong role, and I’m hoping that he survives….

ARC Review: His to Possess (the whole series 1-6) by Opal Carew

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Title:  His to Possess
Author: Opal Carew
Publisher/Year: St Martin’s Press 3/18/13
Length:  253 pages
Series:  His to Possess (1-6)

Overview

While attending a job fair, Jessica can’t help but notice the tall, dark, and handsome stranger across the conference lobby. Especially since he bears a striking resemblance to her ex, the man who broke her heart when he couldn’t support her dreams. Deciding to take a chance, Jessica invites Dane back to her bed for one night of hot, no strings attached sex in a last effort to finally get over her heartbreak. However, in Opal Carew’s His to Possess, when the night’s over they find that sometimes a casual fling doesn’t end the next morning.

My Thoughts

WOW – so i’m glad that i am part of Netgalley where i’m able to not only get the books that i love by authors that love, but i don’t have to wait any longer for the bits of stories that i love as well.  In this case, i had read #1-3 and then got my hands on the full length story and was SOOOO thrilled.

So as you have probably read through in my previous posts, we are following the torrid affair between Jessica and her boss Dane, and in comes Storm who also happens to be Rafe, the missing brother and co-owner of this billion dollar empire.  Things couldn’t get any dicier could they?

For the remainder of the story, we’re left trying to sort out who is going to end up together and how they will get there, and while i expected the outcome (as far as pairings), i can’t say that i really guessed how they would get there. there’s a bit of twisted brotherly competitive ness going on which is nice but like i said, twisted, and the fulfilling of a few fantasies.  It’s hot and definitely more BDSM than we’ve seen in the past  (enter a bit of leather and chains towards the end) which is different for this story but in line with what we get from this lovely author.

What i really enjoyed here is that we got enough of a teaser of Melanie and her life that i can only guess that she’ll have her own spin-off where she tries to get all that she’s hinted at wanting.  that’ll be nice since i really think that she can have a wild bit of a story in her.

anyhow – i hope that you guys are able to get your hands on the novellas now, and if not waiting until March won’t be such a bad thing since it’ll be worth it.  I was turned on enough in the first 3 installments that it really warranted a quick desire to read the remainder.  I’m still reeling from some of the scening since it wasn’t so unrealistic, yet it was one of those ‘i’m powerful man and i have control and you sexy female will like it’ dynamics that’s exactly what was needed. enjoy!

ARC Review: The Perfect Storm (His to Possess #3) by Opal Carew

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Title:  The Perfect Storm
Author: Opal Carew
Publisher/Year: St Martin’s Press 12/31/13
Length:  30 pages
Series:  His to Possess #3

Overview

When Jessica invited Dane back to her bed for one night of hot, no strings attached sex, she never expected to see him again. However, when the night’s over they find that sometimes a casual fling doesn’t end the next morning.

An office affair was the last thing Jessica ever imagined herself having, but each encounter with Dane is better, hotter, and more sensual than the last. As their relationship deepens, Dane pushes Jessica to discover new desires, testing her limits in ways she’d never considered. But despite their unstoppable passion, Jessica can’t shake the ghost of her past relationship with Storm, the man who broke her heart and refuses to leave her alone.

 My Thoughts

This are just starting to get juicy in this 3rd installment – we know that Jessica has made a few decisions about things in her life which is nice, but we also know that Storm is going to come back at a time that she’s not overly excited about.  When Storm walked out on Jessica, she felt like her heart was breaking, but with her life in Philly going as it is, she’s moving on and is ok with that.  when she learned at the end of book 2 that her father had given him her information on how to reach her, well…we knew that a triangle of sorts was going to pop up and boy did it.  Not only has someone else figured out what Jess has been up to, but Storm reappears at a moment that’s less than ideal  and we’re left off on such a cliff that i can’t wait to see how everyone reacts.

ARC Review: The Morning After (His to Possess #2) by Opal Carew

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Title:  The Morning After
Author: Opal Carew
Publisher/Year: St Martin’s Press 12/24/13
Length:  34 pages
Series:  His to Possess #2

Overview

When Jessica invited Dane back to her bed for one night of hot, no strings attached sex, she never expected to see him again. However, when the night’s over they find that sometimes a casual fling doesn’t end the next morning.

Determined to put the memories of their shared night behind her, Jessica tries to view her new boss in a completely professional light. But the more time she spends with Dane the harder it becomes to keep things strictly boss-employee, and after a scorching kiss, she knows there’s no way she deny her attraction any longer. And even though a part of her wants to resist his sexual dominance, she discovers she enjoys it more than she could have ever imagined.

 My Thoughts

Of course we had to expect some of what was going to happen here now that we know that Jessica’s scored a job for Mr Ranier, but what that means, well we’re not so sure yet.  What’s nice about this story is that there’s a lot of sexual tension for sure – so that keeps us interested since I’m not sure when the bubble of control is going to burst, but in addition to that, we get some of the background filler that we need.  We begin to see a friendship developing between Jessica and Melanie which i’m sure will be a big piece of things, and then we get to learn a bit more about Dane and his family so that’s nice as well.

Where this will go, only time will tell – but i can’t wait to see…

ARC Review: The Seduction (His to Possess #1) by Opal Carew

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Title:  The Seduction
Author: Opal Carew
Publisher/Year: St Martin’s Press 12/24/13
Length:  36 pages
Series:  His to Possess #1

Overview

While attending a job fair, Jessica can’t help but notice the tall, dark, and handsome stranger across the conference lobby. Especially since he bears a striking resemblance to her ex, the man who broke her heart when he couldn’t support her dreams. Deciding to take a chance, Jessica invites Dane back to her bed for one night of hot, no strings attached sex in a last effort to finally get over her heartbreak. However, when the night’s over they find that sometimes a casual fling doesn’t end the next morning.

My Thoughts

We get a nice introduction into what will most likely be a complicated tale of a naive girl named Jessica who moves from a small town to Philly to get a job, and encounters Dane who is most likely a billionaire businessman with an edge of dominance to his nature.  We see the beginning of this relationship when Jessica mistakes Dane for her ex Storm who left her heart broken and out of sorts.  Of course, that means that it instantly makes her think of all things passionate and sexually charged.

There’s definitely more to the story that I can’t wait to uncover.  What will Jessica do with Dane if anything?  Will she manage to get a job or will she have to use her meeting with Dane to get something?  Will her new friendship with Melanie turn into something useful to her, and will Storm make his presence known in Philly at any point and stir up trouble?

I”m going to try to get my hands on books #2 and #3 since i know that they are also available via NetGalley but until then, at least i started this journey and can’t wait to see where it takes us.  The heat that I’ve seen in other books by Opal Carew lead me to the assumption that this will be so steamy and charged that readers won’t be left wanting.