Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Review: "The hero within" by Bec McMaster


Author: Bec McMaster
Book 3 in series Burned lands 
Main characters: Johnny Colton and Eden McClain

I voluntarily reviewed an early copy of this book :) this is the last book in the original trilogy, but since this world have soooo much potential for future stories, I am definitely hoping that Bec will come back to it at some point with more novels :) #FingersCrossed ;) but for now this is all we have, and what a way to end a series with a bang :) since this is the review of the last book, it's gonna be a bit tricky to actually write it, but I will do my best so all of you can read at least a little bit of it :) so here's what we're gonna do: the next paragraph will be completely spoiler free about the whole series, so even if you are brand new to it, you are safe to read it :) it will tell you a bit more about the world, the characters and the overall vibe :) then in the third and last paragraph, I will share my thoughts and feelings about this particular installment, so I will assume that all of you who will stay and read it, already read the first two books... I might mention some spoilery things and talk about characters or events without major explanations, so be prepared for all that :) ok, let's jump into that safe space first ;)

Bec McMaster is definitely one of my all time favourite authors... sitting currently at a very strong #2 (right after Penny Reid, but that's a story for another time) :) I adore her writing style in all of her books, which is saying something, cause she has a few of them... all of them different from one another :) steampunk, fantasy, paranormal... she has it all :) but Burned lands series may be her most underrated one, which really pains me, cause I love it soooo much :) but I get that dystopian-ish themes may not be for everyone... :) but if you loved "Mad Max fury road" as much as I did, you will inhale this trilogy without even thinking about it :) so let me tell you some more about it... ;) it takes place in the alternative version of our world set some time in the future... there was some sort of disaster, that plunged our world into Darkening... no, I'm not gonna go into more details, mostly since it's not explained straight away in the book, and those details are not that important at the beginning... but now people live in the Wastelands... forming settlements, doing their best to survive in the harsh conditions... one of the most important rules among them? don't get caught outside of the settlement after dark... cause there are monsters... let's just say that the Darkening influenced some people... in a very dangerous way... and since then, those people... changed... that's all I will say on the subject :) to be quite honest, that's pretty much all I can say without spoilers, so let's just jump into the main characters :) each book revolves around a different couple, but they appear in other stories as well... so I highly recommend you guys to read those books in order... that's the best way to understand all the connections and dynamics between certain people... not to mention that there are events in one book, that have consequences in others, so... just trust me and read them in order :) what else can I say to you about this series without spoilers...? :) the writing style is phenomenal, as always with Bec's books :) she writes stories full of surprising turns of events and characters who are strong and flawed in the most human way... they make mistakes and learn from them... they fall in love and form the most surprising friendships... this particular series is even more fast paced than her other ones... with action right from the very first chapter... you will gasp in shock and keep turning page after page, because you simply have to know what's gonna happen next... they are the best kind of addictive :) now that hopefully I convinced you to give this series a try, let me jump into the actual topic of this review, which is book #3 :)

Ok, last warning people :) if you are not caught up in this series, I might spoil you some major things right now... :) you ready? :) we met both our main characters before... and as much as I was curious to get to know more about Eden, there was no competition as to who was the main reason I read this book so quickly... Johnny Colton... *sighs dreamily* you might not know that about me, but I have a very soft spot for those morally grey, used-to-be-bad-but-they-changed-their-way heroes...there's just always something about their story that hits me in all the feels... so I was really looking forward to read more about Colton... he was after all sort-of-a villain in the previous books... but even then we could see some redeeming qualities in him, so imagine my joy when I learned he will be the hero of this final installment :) Bec definitely love those kinds of stories as well, because they appear in all of her series... ;) and Johnny... oh, how I loved him... :) what surprised me the most was his vulnerable and soft side... *sighs dreamily* it was Eden who irritated me from time to time ;) but only a little bit, because I could understand why she was so wary of the situation between them :) because to say that they have a history would be a huge understatement... yeah... complex doesn't even begin to describe that... so even though sparks fly between them, it will not be an easy way to a happy ending... :) this was an absolutely phenomenal ending to a series... although like I mentioned before, I am really hoping that Bec will come back to this world at some point... because in those previous stories, as well as in this one, she introduced us to quite a few very interesting characters and I can totally see them getting their own stories in the future... :) but for now, I am very satisfied where we left things... :) once again, I highly recommend you guys this action packed series full of surprises, strong and brave characters with an absolutely amazing writing style... don't hesitate and pick these gems immediately... you can thank me later ;) I promise I won't gloat... not even a little bit ;)

XOXO

A

Review: "Love at last" by Claudia Connor


Standalone
Main characters: Deacon and Clare

I voluntarily reviewed an early copy of this book :) I gave this standalone contemporary romance 4 stars :) I really liked it, but my review will be a bit shorter than usual... only because even though this is a full lenght novel, there are very few things I can actually share with you when it comes to the events in it... otherwise I would spoil you all the fun :) so before I will jump into my thoughts and feelings about it, let me share a few safe details :) at the beginning of the book Clare is left on the day of her wedding and chooses to go on the honeymoon alone... there, in a very tropical place she meets Deacon, who is there on a conference... sparks fly from the first moment they collided... literally ;) and they decided to spend a few days together... just a quick summer thing... ;) but of course that's not gonna be the end of their story... and that's all I can say about the plot... trust me, I want to tell you more, but I refuse to spoil you anything, so instead let's just jump into my opinion about this story... although I will have to refrain from many details there as well... :)

Like I mentioned before, I gave this novel 4 stars :) I am a fan of Claudia's writing style, but I do have to say I enjoyed her other stories more than this one... don't get me wrong, I still really liked it, it's just her other characters were closer to my heart :) I did liked the romance in this one, how Deacon and Clare fell for each other... how they approached everything that happened to them, and between them, throughout the whole story... GAH!! it is sooooo hard to talk about it without spoilers, because I feel like I cannot explain myself enough for you guys to truly understand what I mean... but we're just gonna have to manage :) one thing I always love in Claudia's books is that her characters act like adults... yes, there are problems and obstacles on their way to the happy ending, but they talk with each other about them, being reasonable and everything and they try to figure out the best solution :) it's not as common in books as I would like it to be ;) so I am always grateful when the main couple in a story is like that ;) like in this book, yes, Clare had trust issues, but I could understood why she acted the way she did... and Deacon understood it too... it took them a while to get to that beautiful ending, but it was sooo worth it... that lovely epilogue was a total cherry on top :) again, since there is not much else I can actually say about this book without spoilers, I will end by recommending you this lovely contemporary romance... if you are looking for a beautiful and mature relationship, a story with a few surprises along the way and characters you will root for, definitely give this little gem a try :)

XOXO

A

Monday, April 23, 2018

Review: "When stars burn out" by Carrie Aarons


Author: Carrie Aarons
Standalone
Main characters: Paxton "Pax" Shaw and Demi Rosen

I voluntarily reviewed an early copy of this book :) I was very hesitant before starting this book... don't get me wrong, I absolutely adore Carrie's writing style, but she writes such different stories and characters, that I dod't love each of her books equally... and that's great :) because that means all of you can find one just for you :) but this one deals with themes that I am not the biggest fan of in novels... let me explain by telling you more about this story :)

Our main couple, Pax and Demi, met in college... they were actually involved during those times.... although that may not be the best way to describe their "relationship"... Pax treated her pretty horribly back then... like a guaranteed booty call... and yes, she let him do it, always coming when he called and texted... but still... one day, he left without a word of goodbye and they don't see one another for eight years... now Demi has a non-profit foundation that works on granting sick kids their wishes, meeting a famous person and such, and Pax is one of the most famous football players... and yes, you probably guessed correctly... they meet again because of one of the kids in her foundation... and yes, he wants another shot with her... this time, a serious one... ok, that's basically all I can tell you about the overall plot of the story, so now let me jump into all the reasons why I loved this book so much and why you all need to read it :)

I am not the biggest fan of second chance romances... it's a personal preference, connected to my own backstory that you don't need to know ;) it's right up there with the other tropes I hate: cheating, love triangles and secret baby... :) I very rarely pick up those kind of stories, because it's almost never done in a good way... at least, not in my opinion :) please, don't get me wrong, I know that some people love those stories, and I am happy for you... go forth and read as many of them as you want :) but they are just not for me... so why did I pick this one up, you ask? that is a great question... :) I'm not really sure... I guess, I just... had a good feeling... plus, I wanted to give Carrie a chance to change my mind... "I can always put it down if it starts to annoy me" I said to myself before diving into it... yeah... I inhaled this book... I was simply unable to put it down... *sighs dreamily* it was absolutely wonderful... we have chapters written from two perspectives, so Pax, as well as Demi, have their own moments to show us what's inside their heads... :) and it was done incredibly... especially since there were also flashbacks to those college years between different chapters... and those parts broke my heart... to see how big of a jerk Pax was... how stupid and selfish he acted... how naive and hopeful Demi was... how she let him treat her like that... but it was necessary to fully understand how both of them changed... a lot of things happened within those eight years in both of their lives and they are two different people now... trust me, no one was more surprised than yours truly when I pretty quickly started to cheer Pax on to win Demi's heart again... no one... :) but their story... really hit me in all the feels... I ached for them... an don't even get me started on how they acted like adults... you know, talking and explaining how they feel... which does not happen as often as I want in books... how respectful Pax was of her boundaries... yes, he was pretty relentless and determined, but in the best and tactful possible way... :) there was no stupid, unnecessary drama... yes, there were problems and issues they had to face to find their happy ending, but all of that was understandable considering their past... but what I think got throught to me the most was the writing style... it was just... so raw... so honest... it hit me straight into my heart... I fell in love with both of them and seeing their happy ending might even brought a tear or two into my eyes... ;) I think this beautiful gem is now my favourtie story by Carrie :) I did my best to convince you to give it a try, and hopefully a lot of you will actually listen ;) trust me, even if you are not a fan of those type of stories, you should try it... if I loved it as much, I'm sure you will find something wonderful in it as well... :)

XOXO

A

Weekly wrap up #17 ;) april 16th - april 22nd

Well hello there my awesome people in my newest #WeeklyWrapUp post where I talk all about the books I read this past week :) there were a few surprises last week, and not all of them pleasant, so let's dive right into all the details... since I still haven't finished the only book I was in the middle of at the beginning of the week, we will start with the books I read entirely and then I will share the ones I am still in the middle of :)


"The sexy one" by Lauren Blakely
from 1% to 100% -> 270 pages, finished

This was the first book I finished this past week :) I listened to the audiobook version and absolutely loved it :) it was pretty short so I just flew through it :) the narrators were phenomenal and the story itself absolutely stole my heart, so I highly recommend you this gem :) it's loosely connected to Lauren's other books, but works perfectly well as a standalone, so no excuses, go pick it up ;)


"Love at last" by Claudia Connor
from 1% to 100% -> 408 pages; finished

This eARC definitely took me a while longer than I anticipated, but it's only because I was quite busy during the week ;) this was an absolutely lovely contemporary romance, and if you want to know more, be sure to come back tomorrow, when I will have a full review up on my blog :)


"The hero within" by Bec McMaster
from 1% to 100% -> 420 pages; finished

I inhaled this eARC over the weekend :) it was definitely one of my most highly anticipated books of the first half of the year :) action packed conclusion to a dystopian-ish series with some serious "Mad Max fury road" vibes... count me in ;) long story short: 5 stars :) for more details check out my full review tomorrow on my blog, don't worry it will have a totally spoiler free parts for all of you who are completely new to this :)


"#Nerd" by Cambria Hebert
from 1% to 45% -> 210 pages; DNFed

Once I finished my first audiobook so fast, I decided to pick another one... I chose "#Nerd" because it was available for free in mu Audible Romance Package and I kept hearing people talking about it... I also heard some mixed opinions about this one... unfortunately, I had to give up listening to it about half way through the book... you can find more of my thoughts and why I decided to stop reading in my Goodreads review right here -> READ ME <- it just wasn't my cup of tea... 


"The son of Neptune" by Rick Riordan
from page 61 to page 152

This is the one book I still haven't finished... I thought I would be done with it by now, but I got sidetracked by other stories and... the rest is history :) I really do love it, but it's been going slowly for me, since I have yet another set of completely new characters, a brand new place as well, and it takes me a while to get into everything :) but I enjoy every minute of it :)


"Wolfsong" by T. J. Klune
from 1% to 7% -> 30 pages

I am a huge fan of T. J. Klune's Tales from Verania series, so I decided to give another one of his stories a try... :) originally I wanted to start a different audiobook, but this one kept coming back to my mind, so I just started it... who am I to argue with myself? ;) and oh what a great decision this was... I am only at the beginning, but I am already soooo much in love with this story... I can just tell, that it will hit me in all the feels... I can't wait ;)

Total page count of the week: 
1429

I've had a pretty good reading week ;) even though it's been a while since I DNFed a book, I really enjoyed everything else I read :) and consideraing I was pretty busy... I know, I know, what else is new? ;) I inhaled quite a lot of pages ;) I think I'm most happy about the fact that I am still absolutely in love with audiobooks... the more I listen to them, the more I enjoy this type of reading... and the longer my list of audiobooks to check out is ;) but I do have to say that my system of reading three books at the same time: one paperback, one ebook and one audiobook, is really working for me :) I always have different choices for different moods and hopefully it will bring some order into my chaotic life... ;) one can only hope :) and what have you been reading lately?

XOXO

A

Thursday, April 19, 2018

J says :) #16

Let’s talk about…
Bridgertons!

Are you guys ready for another post about a series of books? I hope you are, because today I’m gonna share my love for a kick-ass series of historical romaces. First of all, you should know that since I read them years ago I decided that this past weekend I was gonna look through some of them. Just to be able to describe them better, all in the name of research of course. This is a kind of sacrifice I was ready to make, just for you guys ;) I hope you appreciate this hard work… ahhh the horror! :)

To those of you who doesn’t know anything about these books, let me tell you a couple of things. Well I should start that there are eight books (written by Julia Quinn) and each sibling has their own story. You can read them as standalones of course, but I highly recommend doing it in order, because it’s way more fun to observe dynamic between characters, especially in group scenes. So as I was saying, there are eight siblings, named in alphabetical order, so we have: Anthony, Benedict, Colin, Daphne, Eloise, Francesca, Gregory and Hyacinth. Unfortunately their father died when some of them were young, I think the last one didn’t even get to meet him :( so they’re raised by their mother. Her biggest dream is to marry all of her children and see their happily ever afters :)

You should know that even though each story is unique, which is great because everyone will find something for themselves :) there are many things, that you’ll find in all of them. Like amazing writing, seriously it’s that good. Wonderful characters but each of them has their own flaws, no one is perfect, but I loved them even more because of it. Hilarious group scenes with all or most of the siblings, their sarcastic banter will definitely make you laugh. Let’s not forget about secondary characters such as Lady Danbury, who is present throughout the whole series. You can add to the list wonderful epilogues after each book, where we get a glimpse of the future of our main characters. Most of the times it’s a few years ahead, with couple of children and a whole lot of love (oh and I should mention that there are second epilogues published, where we get scenes from each couple and trust me they're just as amazing as the first ones). And as a cherry on top, they’re all just fantastic stories, with ideal combination of funny, sweet and hot scenes… So in a word: perfection :)

I love all of them, I really do… Ok, you got me, I’m just gonna say it… I didn’t read one of them, I was gonna but I couldn’t buy it right away… it was a long time ago, and I didn’t have amazon… don’t judge me ;) and then my #BookMountain got in the way, so to this day I haven’t read Francesca's story… but A told me that it wasn’t the best one in the series and there weren't other siblings there so I’m good… Ok since I came clean, let’s move on :)

So I actually wanted to do a top 5 books in the series, but… here’s the problem with that. If you’d point a gun to my head and ask me about them, well I would lie to save my life, but still if I had to be honest I would say: just shoot me already, because it’s too hard. Of course I have my favourite, but it’s one book. The order of other four on my top 5 list change all the time, everything is related to the mood I’m currently in. So I’m gonna just give you 4 of them and then the big finale, ok? And if you’d read the book you know that when they do anything together (like play a game or something) they do it in specific order, the eldest is first and so on… it’s just easier to remember since there are a lot of them ;) so because I always do things the other way around, today is not gona be different ;) so let’s start from the youngest in the family ;) ekhm, ekhm *drum rolls* here are the top 5 books in Bridgertons series (four in random order and the big winner):

Hyacinth - It’s in his kiss (book #7)

It’s a story about the youngest of them all – Hyacinth, since she’s a nice girl she visits lady Danbury once a week to read her books (those books itself are amazingly hilarious). Because of their connection, she meets her grandson – Gareth. When he’s looking for a Spanish translator she offers her help. And we all know that good deeds come back to you, so of course they will fall in love :) It’s not gonna happen overnight, but sooner rather than later. I love their dynamic, they have so many funny banter between them, you will smile through the whole book. There’re some public functions that they have to suffer together, like music performances by the Smythe-Smith family, an we know how that kind of traumatic events bind people together. Don’t get me started on Lady D with her cane… I always know she was a romantic at heart so of course she would like to see them together, and she gets her wish :)

Eloise - To sir Phillip, with love (book #5)

It all started with a letter… Eloise always liked to write them, but even couldn’t predict how this story would end. How could she think that what started as a letter of condolences to sir Phillip about his wife passing, after over a year of constant correspondence, would end up with her standing at his door. He did invite her to see if she would agree to become his wife and a mother to his two children. I would say lovely children, but that would be a lie… They scare everyone really, but since Eloise has many brothers and sisters she can definitely handle them, don’t worry she has her ways :) So what I really liked in this book is that they are tottaly different, she’s chatty and full of life. And he’s not so much… But she’s just what he needs in his life, a true ray of sunhine :)

Daphne – The duke and I (book #1)

It’s the very beginning of this amazing series :) It’s a story about Daphne and Simon. What can I say… they strike a deal. They will pretend that he’s on the verge of proposing to her, but in fact he just wants to escape from all the ambitious moms and their debutante daughters. And what’s a better way to make a girl popular than attention of the duke. So it’s a win-win right? Who could predict that in between pretending to be in love, something real will start? I think most of us did, but who cares ;) So mabe a win-win for them, but one person is not so happy with this situation, and it’s Anthony. He’s Simon's best friend and Daphne's oldest brother… So you can imagine ;) classic story with a forbidden fruit vibe, but definitely with a happy ending :)

Colin – Romancing Mister Bridgerton (book #4)

Colin and Penelope knew each other for many years, since she’s his sister's best friend. She always loved him, but never thought something might actually happen between them. But then, after he came back from one of his trips she asks him for one little favor. And it changes everyhing. After just one kiss, he can’t understand why he didn’t pay more attention to her. She’s smart, funny, beautiful but no one see her like he does. It’s a classic friendship to love kind of story. It’s full of sweet moments, but there is one not such an innocent scene in a carriage… but can you blame them? Would you restrain yourself? Didn’t think so. Anyway besides romance there is a mystery, because Penelope has a secret… and it’s a big one ;)

Anthony – The wiscount who loved me (book #2)

For me the winner could be only one, this book is by far my favourite :) It’s about the oldest of the sibling – Antony. What you have to know about him is that if he decides to do something he goes for it. So one day he announces his decission to Benedict and Colin, that he’s gonna find himself a wife and settle down. He has his reasons, and I can’t really tell them without spoilers, so moving on. Important part of the deal is that he doesn’t want to fall in love with his wife, I know how this sounds, but trust me it’s really good at the end. So anyway he thinks that Edwina, supposedly the most beautiful debutante will be perfect, but what he doesn’t know is that she has an older half-sister who has something to say when it comes to accepting courtship. And Kat is definitely not his fan, mostly because of his reputation as a rake, what a shocker, am I right? Let’s get ahead a couple of chapters and I’m just gonna say that one moment can really change your life, but if you want to know more you have to pick up a book and read it yourself ;) So why this book was my favourite, you may ask… Well besides great story and other things I wrote somewhere above, is that one epic scene of a “friendly” game of Pall Mall (group scene… hurray). Just read it and see what happened when Kate ended up with a “mallet of death” while Anthony got a pink one ;) There was also the scene with a thunderstorm… seriously I could give so many reasons, but that doesn’t change the fact that you should just go ahead and read it! :)

If that wasn’t enough for you to just pick up one of these books and give them a try I don't know what will :) so if you’re a fan of historical romances, you should definitely read them (if you haven’t already) if not... well it’s a great start to fall in love with those types of books :) It was one of the first series I’ve read and I love them still, so that’s saying something :) so don’t let my blabing stop you from getting them right now, just do it and you’ll thank me later :)

J