Review: A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

Review: A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

PJV QUICKIE:

I just finished reading A Court of Mist and Fury and I can’t breathe. Can’t. Breathe. I’ve been on a roller coaster and didn’t want to get off at the end of the ride – now I’m stuck at the back of the line, waiting, waiting for my turn on the next ride in May 2017 when the third installment of this amazing series drops. Somebody hold me*cries*

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Review:
Without giving spoilers for the first book, A Court of Thorns and Roses (ACOTAR), A Court of Mist and Fury (ACOMAF) picks up three months after the events ending ACOTAR.  Feyre is having survivor’s guilt from the horrible events that happened under the mountain.  Tamlin and his court have been going out and fighting to keep the Spring Court safe, but they’re leaving Feyre behind, stuck at home and making wedding plans, which she is ambivalent about but Tamlin insists will be good for the morale of his people.

Neither of them have forgotten the bargain Feyre made with Rhysand while she was under the mountain, and his timing to collect his debt is suspicious.  Forced to spend time at the Night Court, Feyre begins to question Tamlin, herself, and everything she thought she knew about the faerie world.

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You guys, this book!!!  I picked up ACOTAR because I needed something to read on the plane and I’m so glad I did. I fell in love with Feyre, and the worldbuilding, and S. J. Maas’ writing.  As soon as I closed the last page I requested ACOMAF from my local library.  It was totally worth the wait.

While I had my frustrations with Feyre in ACOTAR, she shone in ACOMAF. Her character growth during the course of ACOMAF is astounding and I loved every minute of it – she has abilities!  And she’s encouraged to grow them! Ms. Maas takes the way we thought things were in the faerie world and turns everything on its head, and she does it spectacularly.  Without going into too much detail, I’m going to say that Rhysand is an awesome anti-hero and I adore him!  We also meet some genuinely interesting characters and by the end of the book I loved them as much as I loved Feyre.

Some people might say that there is a love triangle in this series but I’m going to say that there’s not. No spoilers but it’s definitely not a love triangle.  There is romance though, and it’s a delicious slow build that I loved every minute of.

The end of ACOMAF left me crying for the next book – so many twists that I cannot wait to see how things are going to resolve.  Is it 2017 yet? *checks calendar*

Recommendation:
Fans of YA (be warned – there is some sex) and fantasy will love A Court of Mist and Fury. If you’ve read a little bit and are on the fence about whether it’s a genre you like, give this series a try before you give up on YA Fantasy.  Fans of Leigh Bardugo, Julie Kagawa, and Melissa Marr should give this series a try.

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About_the_book

Review: A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses
on May 3, 2016
Genres: New Adult, Paranormal Romance
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Also in this series: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Also by this author: Crown of Midnight, A Court of Thorns and Roses
5 Stars



Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas’s masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights.

Arena by Holly Jennings

Arena by Holly Jennings

PJV QUICKIE:

ARENA by Holly Jennings had me talking about it weeks after I completed it. ARENA was one of those books I was dying to post my review about, so I could discuss it with anyone that would listen. This book makes you think. But, it’s thrilling and different and has a bit of romance, a flushed out plot, so you’re thinking while being entertained. My kind of book!

The gaming world of Jennings’ future is a virtual reality existence where gamers have become the NFL players of our time. Athletes compete in virtual arenas where they fight to the death in the virtual world. They plug in and battle it out in what is called the RAGE tournaments. Violent, bloody and set-up like the gladiatorial games of the past, they are the most watched broadcasts of the day. The gamers are celebs, worshipped by the masses, but treated like cattle by the owners.

The main character is asian, a female named Kali Ling. She’s the first female captain in the tournaments and the weight of the world is on her back. She lost her teammate and lover to an overdose, right after they lost horribly to an unknown team. She’s expected to get over her friends death, train a new teammate, win and do PR all while battling depression, addiction and whole lot of self-doubt about her life choices.

The plot was intricate and it wove within it a lot of issues and ideas. The treatment of professional athletes, addiction, taoist principals, our materialistic society, and a future that seems all too inevitable. ARENA is a surprise find and a must read. If you want something different, something bold, with diverse characters and interesting topics– check this one out.

About_the_book Arena by Holly Jennings

Arena by Holly Jennings

Published by ACE on April 5th 2016
ISBN: 1101988762
Genres: Dystopian, New Adult, Science Fiction
Pages: 336
Source: Publisher
5 Stars

A fast-paced and gripping near-future science fiction debut about the gritty world of competitive gaming...

Every week, Kali Ling fights to the death on national TV.
She’s died hundreds of times. And it never gets easier...

The RAGE tournaments—the Virtual Gaming League’s elite competition where the best gamers in the world compete in a no-holds-barred fight to the digital death. Every bloody kill is broadcast to millions. Every player is a modern gladiator—leading a life of ultimate fame, responsible only for entertaining the masses.

And though their weapons and armor are digital, the pain is real.

Chosen to be the first female captain in RAGE tournament history, Kali Ling is at the top of the world—until one of her teammates overdoses. Now, she must confront the truth about the tournament. Because it is much more than a game—and even in the real world, not everything is as it seems.

The VGL hides dark secrets. And the only way to change the rules is to fight from the inside...




Betrayed By Blood (Betrayed #1) by Victoria Renteria

Betrayed By Blood (Betrayed #1) by Victoria Renteria

PJV QUICKIE:

Betrayed by Blood from debut author Victoria Renteria was a pleasant surprise. Not often do you find such depth from a new author. But, Renteria delivered an emotional and very intense read that had me unable to put the book down. The cliffhanger ending has me dying to read more…

Betrayed by Blood from debut author Victoria Renteria was a pleasant surprise. Not often do you find such depth from a new author. But, Renteria delivered an emotional and very intense read that had me unable to put the book down. The cliffhanger ending has me dying to read more…

The book begins with an emotional punch, a look back on the main characters tragic past. From the first page you are sucked into an emotional rollercoaster that is both uncomfortable and heart-wrenching at times. Kylee Parker is a military brat, abused by her mother when her father was deployed. She’s broken, but determined to go through life as if nothing happened. Kylee takes a position in Korea, where she meets Alexander Grant and the two find themselves drawn to each other, even though both are not looking for any kind of emotional attachment.

The romance between Alexander and Kylee was intense, but what made this book wonderful was the tragedy of it. Kylee is a compelling character that draws you in and you’ll find yourself invested in her plot. The setting of South Korea was also a welcome change. Renteria paints a picture of the country that wasn’t the usual backdrop of a romance. Then there was the cliffhanger. The book was short, but it was fast-paced and at the end, being left hanging was a bit of a frustration…but the need for more is fun. Can’t wait for the next installment.

As far as the self-published aspect, I have to say the editing was top-notch. I found no issues that jumped out at me and I read an ARC. Renteria is truly an author to watch. I did find the ending slightly rushed, with the antagonist a bit stereotypical, but it was a minor annoyance. Overall the book was fantastic, and a great read. I would highly recommend BETRAYED BY BLOOD if you are looking for an emotional romance. There are some trigger warnings though, topics such as child abuse, rape and adultery are covered and are also described.

About_the_book Betrayed By Blood (Betrayed #1) by Victoria Renteria

Betrayed by Blood by Victoria Renteria

Published by Self-Published on March, 1 2016
Pages: 164
Format: eBook
Source: Provided by Author
Also by this author: Bound by Blood
5 Stars

My heart, my spirit, my body were broken…betrayed by my own blood.

Kylee Parker was no stranger to betrayal. After a tragic incident in her youth, she struggled against the darkness within, all the while fighting to appear normal to the outside world. Focusing most of her time on her teaching career, Kylee went about her everyday life pretending she was not broken, until one day everything changed. Coerced into taking a position out of the country, Kylee finds herself once again battling the terrors of her past. When a mysterious stranger appears in her life, she must decide if she is going to take a chance, or risk being damaged beyond repair.

Alexander Grant had sworn off relationships. While stationed overseas, he never expected to meet the one woman who could change everything...until Kylee. But will his past catch up to them both? Will he be able to save her from the torments of her past, or will they both end up betrayed and broken?




A RECKLESS DESIRE by Isabella Bradford – Review

A RECKLESS DESIRE by Isabella Bradford – Review

PJV QUICKIE:

A RECKLESS DESIRE by Isabella Bradford was a wonderful historical romance that I found myself sucked into from the beginning. Bradford spun a unique and captivating story that was well researched and heartwarming. A RECKLESS DESIRE was everything a good historical romance should be.

 

A RECKLESS DESIRE is the third book in the Breconridge Brother’s, but the first one that I’ve read. I had no issues falling within this book, though, they did introduce the other brothers, but made no reference to the other books, other than to establish that the brother’s were more open-minded than their brethren and there was a pregnancy that would be more exciting if I would have read the prior novels.

The book focuses on Lord Rivers Fitzroy, the youngest of the Fitzroy’s, and his father’s only hope to produce a male heir. His older brother’s keep giving birth to females, so it is expected that Rivers is to marry well and birth a boy. A scholarly man, Rivers isn’t excited about marrying and spends his time in the company of the theater and a troop of Italien dancers. On one more raucous night, Rivers and his friend make a bet that he could turn a tiring girl into a worthwhile actress. To the boys it’s just a joke. To Lucia di Rossi, an abused orphan, with hopes of becoming an actress it’s her dream come true.  She tracks down Rivers and holds him to his bet. From there instruction turns to a romance…and Rivers finds himself in over his head. The little tiring girl that he thought was dreary, turns into quite a charming and beautiful actress.

The drama of the theater and the romance between the two characters are very intense. It’s flushed out and real, not the usual fluff that is sometimes written in the genre. There were real consequences for their romance and the decisions they made were not predictable. I did find that the ending was wrapped up a little too nicely to give things a Happily Ever After, but I didn’t expect anything less. Overall, this was a charming and engaging novel that I enjoyed and I will have to go back and read the first two books in the series.

About_the_book A RECKLESS DESIRE by Isabella Bradford – Review

A Reckless Desire by Isabella Bradford

Series: Breconridge Brothers #3
Published by Ballantine Books on March 1st 2016
ISBN: 0345548175
Pages: 384
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Source: Publisher
5 Stars

For fans of Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, and Sabrina Jeffries: the elegantly seductive third historical romance in Isabella Bradford’s Breconridge Brothers trilogy.  Lord Rivers Fitzroy is as charming and sought-after as his rakish elder brothers, though he immerses himself more in dusty books and scholarly pursuits than in bawdy houses. Yet, Hell-bent on making the most of his remaining bachelorhood now that his father insists he marry, Rivers becomes the favorite of a troupe of Italian dancers. One night, after a performance, the handsome lord is challenged with a most provocative wager: Turn the players’ meek and mousy cousin into the first lady of the London stage.   But Lucia di Rossi is not what she seems. Scorned by the rest of her family, Lucia longs for the respect and stardom of a great actress. Rivers’s wager could be the answer to all her hopes—so long as he understands that she wants to be an actress, not his mistress. The two commence her metamorphosis in earnest—even as passion begins to take center stage. As Lucia’s dreams come true, she fears that it may be Rivers, not she, who is the master performer. Is he only making her believe he cares? Has she found the spotlight only to lose her heart—or will the final curtain reveal a love strong enough to last?




The Hottest Books to Warm You Up This Winter

The Hottest Books to Warm You Up This Winter

Snowed in and bored out of your mind?

Grab your comfy socks and download these HOT books so you can stay warm through this cold winter.

A hard list to put together, I’ve read some hot romance – but these are the ones that come to mind when I think “extra hot.” I wanted to give a few different types of reads. For the paranormal fans, there is a vampire romance and some shifter love on the list. For lovers of contemporary I have a billionaire, a bad-boy and well, a millionaire. Rich boys are hot. I even have a choice for fans of Young Adult. Enjoy and stay warm.

Tangled by Emma Chase

One of the hottest romances I’ve EVER read. Let Emma Chase warm you up this winter with her TANGLED series. 

When rich, handsome, and arrogant meets beautiful, brilliant, and ambitious, things are bound to get tangled

Drew Evans makes multimillion-dollar business deals and seduces New York’s most beautiful women with just a smile. So why has he been shuttered in his apartment for seven days, miserable and depressed? He’ll tell you he has the flu, but we all know that’s not really true.

When Katherine Brooks is hired as the new associate at Drew’s father’s investment banking firm, every aspect of the dashing playboy’s life is thrown into a tailspin. The professional competition she brings is unnerving, his attraction to her is distracting, his failure to entice her into his bed is exasperating.

How can one woman turn a smooth-talking player into a broken, desperate man? By making the one thing he never wanted in life the only thing he can’t live without.

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Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost

This is a series I read over and over again and it’s still going strong. It also has the HOTTEST sex scene you’ll ever read. Paranormal Romance at its finest.

Half-vampire Catherine Crawfield is going after the undead with a vengeance, hoping that one of these deadbeats is her father—the one responsible for ruining her mother’s life. Then she’s captured by Bones, a vampire bounty hunter, and is forced into an unholy partnership.

In exchange for finding her father, Cat agrees to train with the sexy night stalker until her battle reflexes are as sharp as his fangs. She’s amazed she doesn’t end up as his dinner—are there actually goodvampires? Pretty soon Bones will have her convinced that being half-dead doesn’t have to be all bad. But before she can enjoy her newfound status as kick-ass demon hunter, Cat and Bones are pursued by a group of killers. Now Cat will have to choose a side . . . and Bones is turning out to be as tempting as any man with a heartbeat.

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Bared to You by Sylvia Day

Before there was Fifty Shades of Hype – there was Gideon Cross. Sylvia Day is a master of Romance. Day is a must read and you’ll never meet a character like Gedeon Cross. 

Gideon Cross came into my life like lightning in the darkness… 

He was beautiful and brilliant, jagged and white-hot. I was drawn to him as I’d never been to anything or anyone in my life. I craved his touch like a drug, even knowing it would weaken me. I was flawed and damaged, and he opened those cracks in me so easily…

Gideon knew. He had demons of his own. And we would become the mirrors that reflected each other’s most private worlds…and desires.

The bonds of his love transformed me, even as I prayed that the torment of our pasts didn’t tear us apart…

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Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout

If you aren’t in the mood for a grown-up romance, there are some hot teen reads that might get you hot and bothered. Armentrout’s signature Young Adult series a must read, it’s Paranormal YA at its finest. 

Starting over sucks.

When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I’d pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring… until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.

And then he opened his mouth.

Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something… unexpected happens.

The hot alien living next door marks me.

You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon’s touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I’m getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades.

If I don’t kill him first, that is.

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Beautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren

You’ll never ride in an elevator with your boss and feel comfortable again after reading BEAUTIFUL BASTARD.

An ambitious intern. A perfectionist executive. And a whole lot of name calling.

Whip-smart, hardworking, and on her way to an MBA, Chloe Mills has only one problem: her boss, Bennett Ryan. He’s exacting, blunt, inconsiderate–and completely irresistible. A Beautiful Bastard.

Bennett has returned to Chicago from France to take a vital role in his family’s massive media business. He never expected that the assistant who’d been helping him from abroad was the gorgeous, innocently provocative–completely infuriating–creature he now has to see every day. Despite the rumors, he’s never been one for a workplace hookup. But Chloe’s so tempting he’s willing to bend the rules–or outright smash them–if it means he can have her. All over the office.
As their appetites for one another increase to a breaking point, Bennett and Chloe must decide exactly what they’re willing to lose in order to win each other.
Originally only available online as The Office by tby789–and garnering over 2 million reads on fanfiction sites–Beautiful Bastard has been extensively updated for re-release.
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Feral Sins (The Phoenix Pack #1) by Suzanne Wright

This is my FAVORITE wolfy romance. I love Wrights series and is definitely hot hot hot.

When female wolf shifter Taryn Warner first encounters Trey Coleman, an alpha male wolf shifter with a dangerous reputation, she’s determined to resist his charms. After all, Trey—who was only fourteen when he defeated his own father in a duel, winning the right to be alpha of his pack—can’t have anything to offer the talented healer besides trouble, or so she thinks. Taryn finds herself drawn in by Trey’s forceful demeanor and arctic-blue eyes, and she eventually agrees to enter an uneasy alliance with him. If the two succeed in convincing their respective packs that they’ve chosen each other as mates, Trey will win valuable political allies, while Taryn will escape an odious arranged mating.

But there are a lot of potential pitfalls to this plan—including the very real possibility that the wolf shifters, overwhelmed by their growing attraction to each other, will be unable to maintain the clear heads needed to pull off the deception.

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Patti’s 2015 Wrap Up

Patti’s 2015 Wrap Up

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Hey all! Patti here, barely sliding it in under the end-of-year deadline (as usual, lol).  I’ve been absent from the PJV of late, but I’m determined to make the New Year a fresh start.  

2015 was off to an excellent start and I had an amazing time at RT in Dallas in May, but about halfway through the year things in my personal life started to get complicated.  By September I wasn’t pretending anymore – I was overwhelmed by life and couldn’t even find joy in reading or blogging. I think I read about six books between September -December.  New releases I had been looking forward to held no interest to me and I DNF’d almost everything I tried to read. I decided that wasn’t fair to authors so I stopped reviewing, too.  

BUT, I am determined to start new in January, and there were several books I really enjoyed in 2015 before life kicked my ass, so I thought I’d take a moment to share.  Without further ado, I give you my Top Reads of 2015:

 

(book covers are amazon affiliate links) The MartianThe Martian by Andy Weir:

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him & forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded & completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—& even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—& a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

I loved The Martian, which is weird for me because there’s no romance in it. My husband read it first and convinced me to read it. The audiobook is spectacular. If you saw the movie and weren’t impressed – the book was better; I don’t think the humor translated onto the big screen very well.  My Rating: 5 stars.

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Asking for It by Lilah Pace:

Graduate student Vivienne Charles is afraid of her own desires—ashamed to admit that she fantasizes about being taken by force, by a man who will claim her completely and without mercy. When the magnetic, mysterious Jonah Marks learns her secret, he makes an offer that stuns her: they will remain near-strangers to each other, and meet in secret so that he can fulfill her fantasy. Their arrangement is twisted. The sex is incredible. And—despite their attempts to stay apart—soon their emotions are bound together as tightly as the rope around Vivienne’s wrists. But the secrets in their pasts threaten to turn their affair even darker… Reader Advisory: Asking for It deals explicitly with fantasies of non-consensual sex. Readers sensitive to portrayals of non-consensual sex should be advised.

Asking For It was an unexpected treat – it was dark, it was different, and I devoured it. The subject matter may be difficult for some readers, but if you don’t have triggers, I highly recommend – definitely read the blurb first.  My Rating: 5 stars.

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Dead of Winter by Kresley Cole:

Can Evie convince her rival loves to work together? Their survival depends on it in this third book of #1 New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole’s Arcana Chronicles, a nonstop action tale of rescue, redemption, and a revenge most wicked. Heartbreaking decisions Evie was almost seduced by the life of comfort that Death offered her—until Jack was threatened by two of the most horrific Arcana, the Lovers. She will do anything to save him, even escape Death’s uncanny prison, full of beautiful objects, material comforts…and stolen glances from a former love. Uncertain victory Despite leaving a part of her heart behind with Death, Evie sets out into a perilous post-apocalyptic wasteland to meet up with her allies and launch an attack on the Lovers. Such formidable enemies require a battle plan, and the only way to kill them may mean Evie, Jack, and Death allying. Evie doesn’t know what will prove more impossible: surviving slavers, plague, Bagmen and other Arcana—or convincing Jack and Death to work together. Two heroes returned There’s a thin line between love and hate, and Evie just doesn’t know where she stands with either Jack or Death. Will this unlikely trio be able to defeat The Lovers without killing one another first…?

I love this series.  I get frustrated that Kresley Cole isn’t writing it faster, until I remember that she’s also writing the Immortals After Dark series and the Game Maker series, both of which I also love. I listened to Dead of Winter and the audiobook narration was excellent.  My Rating: 5 stars.

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Heat Exchange by Shannon Stacey:

Lydia Kincaid’s shipping back to Boston, but she’s not happy about it. She left to get away from the firefighting community—her father was a firefighter, her brother’s a firefighter and, more important, her ex is a firefighter. But family is number one, and her father needs her help running the pub he bought when he retired. Soon, Lydia finds it hard to resist the familiar comfort and routine, and even harder to resist her brother’s handsome friend Aidan. Aidan Hunt is a firefighter because of the Kincaid family. He’s had the hots for Lydia for years, but if ever a woman was off-limits to him, it’s her. Aside from being his mentor’s daughter, she’s his best friend’s sister. The ex-wife of a fellow firefighter. But his plan to play it cool until she leaves town again fails, and soon he and Lydia have crossed a line they can’t uncross. As Aidan and Lydia’s flirtation turns into something more serious, Lydia knows she should be planning her escape. Being a firefighter’s wife was the hardest thing she’s ever done, and she doesn’t know if she has the strength to do it again. Aidan can’t imagine walking away from Boston Fire—even for Lydia. The job and the brotherhood are his life; but if he wants Lydia in it, he’ll have to decide who’s first in his heart.

I was a little hesitant to read this – I love Shannon Stacey’s Kowalski family books, but I didn’t care for her ‘Under the Lights’ series, so I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed ‘Heat Exchange’. Having a husband and brother who are career law enforcement, and the kids I grew up with are now firemen, I feel like Ms. Stacey really ‘got’ the mindset of first responders.  I have the second book in my purse and ready to read as I type this.  My Rating: 5 stars.

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Manwhore by Katy Evans:

Is it possible to expose Chicago’s hottest player—without getting played? This is the story I’ve been waiting for all my life, and its name is Malcolm Kyle Preston Logan Saint. Don’t be fooled by that last name though. There’s nothing holy about the man except the hell his parties raise. The hottest entrepreneur Chicago has ever known, he’s a man’s man with too much money to spend and too many women vying for his attention. Mysterious. Privileged. Legendary. His entire life he’s been surrounded by the press as they dig for tidbits to see if his fairytale life is for real or all mirrors and social media lies. Since he hit the scene, his secrets have been his and his alone to keep. And that’s where I come in. Assigned to investigate Saint and reveal his elusive personality, I’m determined to make him the story that will change my career. But I never imagined he would change my life. Bit by bit, I start to wonder if I’m the one discovering him…or if he’s uncovering me. What happens when the man they call Saint, makes you want to sin?

I loved Manwhore – it was a twist on the Billionaire hero trope and it felt fresh and modern.  My Rating: 4 stars.

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Nuts by Alice Clayton:

From New York Times bestselling author Alice Clayton, the first in a brand-new romance series telling the humorously sexy tale of Roxie, a private chef who gets a taste of love—but is it to stay, or to go? After losing almost all of her clients in one fell swoop following an accident involving whipped cream, private chef to Hollywood’s elite Roxie Callahan gets a call from her flighty mother, saying she’s needed home in upstate New York to run the family diner. Once she’s back in the Hudson Valley, local organic farmer Leo delivers Roxie a lovely bunch of walnuts, and soon sparks—and clothing—begin to fly. Leo believes that everything worth doing is worth doing slowly…and how! But will Roxie stay upstate, or will the lure of West Coast redemption tempt her back to Tinseltown?

I am a huge Alice Clayton fangirl, and ‘Nuts’ did not disappoint. Funny, sexy, and it made me want to look into my local farmer’s market and ‘buy local’ food movement.  My Rating: 5 stars.

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radianceRadiance by Grace Draven:

~THE PRINCE OF NO VALUE~ Brishen Khaskem, prince of the Kai, has lived content as the nonessential spare heir to a throne secured many times over. A trade and political alliance between the human kingdom of Gaur and the Kai kingdom of Bast-Haradis requires that he marry a Gauri woman to seal the treaty. Always a dutiful son, Brishen agrees to the marriage and discovers his bride is as ugly as he expected and more beautiful than he could have imagined. ~THE NOBLEWOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE~ Ildiko, niece of the Gauri king, has always known her only worth to the royal family lay in a strategic marriage. Resigned to her fate, she is horrified to learn that her intended groom isn’t just a foreign aristocrat but the younger prince of a people neither familiar nor human. Bound to her new husband, Ildiko will leave behind all she’s known to embrace a man shrouded in darkness but with a soul forged by light. Two people brought together by the trappings of duty and politics will discover they are destined for each other, even as the powers of a hostile kingdom scheme to tear them apart.

A wonderful fantasy romance. If you liked The Last Hour of Gann, you’ll like this. If you thought Gann was too long or too violent, try Radiance instead. (If you haven’t read The Last Hour of Gann, you need to. Seriously. Click here for my raving review.)  I loved the hero and heroine and their sense of humor about their situations. I also loved the slow, sweet romance that neither of them expected. Also, Radiance has great worldbuilding.  My Rating: 5 stars.

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The Hooker and the Hermit by Penny Reid:

New York’s Finest Blogging as *The Socialmedialite* April 22 LADIES AND GENTS! I have an announcement! You know that guy I featured on my blog a few months ago? The really, really hot Irish rugby player who plays the position of ‘hooker’ in the RLI (Rugby League International)? The one with the anger management issues, the body of a gladiator and the face of a movie star? The one with the questionable fashion choices leading me to ask whether he was the lovechild of a leprechaun and a hobbit? Ronan Fitzpatrick? Yeah, that guy. Well, I have a confession to make… THE HERMIT Annie Catrel, social media expert extraordinaire at Davidson & Croft Media and clandestine celebrity blogger, can make anyone shine in the court of public opinion. She is the Socialmedialite, anonymous creator of New York’s Finest and the internet’s darling. Virtual reality is Annie’s forte, but actual reality? Not so much. THE HOOKER Ronan Fitzpatrick, aka the best hooker the world of rugby has seen in decades, despises the media—social or otherwise. The press has spun a web of lies depicting him as rugby’s wild and reckless bad boy. Suspended from his team, Ronan has come to Manhattan to escape the drama, lay low, fly under the radar. Only, Ronan isn’t easy to overlook, and he can’t escape the notice of the Socialmedialite… THE PLAN When Ronan is sent to Davidson & Croft Media to reshape his public image, he never expects to cross paths with shy but beautiful Annie, nor does he expect his fierce attraction to her. He couldn’t be happier when her boss suggests pairing them together. What lengths will Annie take to keep her virtual identity concealed? And what happens when the hooker discovers who the hermit really is? The Hooker and the Hermit is a collaboration between authors L.H. Cosway and Penny Reid, is a full length 100k word novel, and is a standalone.

You guys, Penny Reid seriously took over Romancelandia this year – in addition to ‘The Hooker and the Hermit’, I also read and loved her ‘Elements of Chemistry’ trilogy (my review here), and ‘Truth or Beard’ (review here) – a Winston Brothers book that is a spin-off of her Knitting in the City series.  My Rating: 5 stars.

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When A Scot Ties The Knot by Tessa Dare:

On the cusp of her first London season, Miss Madeline Gracechurch was shyly pretty and talented with a drawing pencil, but hopelessly awkward with gentlemen. She was certain to be a dismal failure on the London marriage mart. So Maddie did what generations of shy, awkward young ladies have done: she invented a sweetheart.

A Scottish sweetheart. One who was handsome and honorable and devoted to her, but conveniently never around. Maddie poured her heart into writing the imaginary Captain MacKenzie letter after letter … and by pretending to be devastated when he was (not really) killed in battle, she managed to avoid the pressures of London society entirely.

Until years later, when this kilted Highland lover of her imaginings shows up in the flesh. The real Captain Logan MacKenzie arrives on her doorstep—handsome as anything, but not entirely honorable. He’s wounded, jaded, in possession of her letters… and ready to make good on every promise Maddie never expected to keep.

I haven’t been much for historicals in quite some time, but this has me jonesing for more.  Super cute, light and entertaining, I’m ready for more hot scots!! I used my Christmas gift card to buy three more historicals thanks to Ms. Dare!  My Rating: 4 stars.

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And an additional shout-out to a few reads that I should probably also mention:

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Even though it’s not a book, I’m including a TV show in my list – Have you seen Netflix’s Sense8 yet? You need to. Seriously.

(Some brief nudity in the video, so probably NSFW)

I love the diversity of the cast and the originality of the show; there’s really nothing else like it on TV right now (that I’m aware of). This scene makes me swoony and happy every time I hear the song and I watch the video when I need cheering up.

What were some of your favorite reads in 2015?  What are you looking forward to in 2016?  

Share in the comments!

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