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BookCon Rant - Never Again

This is just something I need to get off my chest before I can get to the awesomeness that is BEA in a whole other post.  Out with the bad and in with the good, I say.  So I am expelling all my anger into this blog post in hopes that it’s out, I’ve said my piece and I can focus on all the great stuff about last week.

BookCon was horrible.  It was the worst bookish experience of my life.  Maybe that’s not saying much because my bookish experiences have been rather pleasant so the bar isn’t really all that low to begin with, but BookCon set a new low that I don’t think any other event/panel/insertyourbookeventhere will ever be able to match...

"“Censorship ends in logical completeness when nobody is allowed to read any books except the books that nobody reads."

George Bernard Shaw

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Book 6)

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - J.K. Rowling, Mary GrandPré Holy big-sobbing mess, Batman. *sniffle*

Blackout

Blackout - Robison Wells Hmmmmm.

How to Love

How to Love - Katie Cotugno Never in my life have I finished a book that left me with goosebumps on my arms and tears in the corner of my eyes, until I read the last page of How To Love by Katie Cotugno.How To Love is a heart-breaker – and heart-mender – of a story. It’s the kind of story where you fall in love with the characters; where their troubles, and their loves, and their lives, and each heartbreak, each measure of happiness becomes your own. How To Love shows the reader what it takes to love someone, and that love is not an easy path, nor that it should be, because love is worth the wait, the scars and the tears, when you find someone who makes you a better you, even if the path to a better you isn’t a straight one.Sawyer LeGrande is the prodigal son/boyfriend with habitual drug problems, the boy every girl wants to either party with, or the boy every girl wants to save from himself, because he needs saving. He’s charming, and he’s not necessarily and asshole, but he’s put other things first in front of the people who care about him – the people he cares about, deeply.Reena Montero is a beautiful, mixed-up character. Having been raised by her devout Catholic parents, she’s never gone against the grain: she’s sort of quiet, but a bit lemming-hater and she’s secretly witty. She’s also brilliant and doesn’t think enough of herself to know it. And yeah, she’s been in love with Sawyer LeGrande for pretty much her whole life, but she’s been too meek to do anything about it, other than gossip about him in the quiet way some girls do with her best friend Allie.Reena has such a poetic nature that just broke my heart, because she struggled with her love of him, like she knew she shouldn’t, yet she did anyway:The hideous thing is this: I want to forgive him. Even after everything, I do. A baby before my 17th birthday and a future as lonely as the surface of the moon and still the sight of him feels like a homecoming, like a song I used to know but somehow forgot.Likewise, Sawyer seemed to struggle with his demons, like he knew everything he was doing wrong, but a guilt so large lived inside of him, eating its way out, until he couldn’t take it anymore. He wasn’t a jerk or mean or anything, it was just like he had all these issues within himself that needed to be unraveled before he could be that someone for Reena. Yet I knew he still loved her, even when he left. My heart broke, but I knew he still loved her with everything inside of him. He just didn’t love himself enough. And he needed to find that.Both Reena and Sawyer were the kind of characters that made me feel like I left friends when I ended How To Love. Having begun in the Before’s as naive children, not aware of what love takes, the kind of sacrifices required of them, they both really grew throughout the novel. Especially Reena. We don’t get to see much of Sawyer’s growth (although it does get shared), since he left and the book starts with his return, and is told in Befores and Afters, but Reena’s growth is magnificent. She goes from a teenager idolizing a boy she’s always loved to someone who knows that no one and nothing is perfect – including love.The story is one that just tugged at me. The stories of lost and found loves always do, so I might be the perfect demographic for How To Love, but watching them tumble into love, the first and the second time, was a rip in the gut, because it wasn’t perfect. The first time, because there was the obstacle of Reena’s father, their religion and her own insecurities, and Sawyer’s addictions, guilt and selfishness. The second time, because seeing them mend their hearts with each other, through their baby daughter Hannah was just beautiful. It also wasn’t perfect: Reena suffered from anger and her own guilt and she was damn justified in all of that, but god, I could tell Sawyer loved her and he wasn’t going anywhere this time.I have to say that the way the book addresses the idea of people being imperfect is just spectacular. Reena’s family is Catholic, Sawyer’s family is Catholic, and their upbringing reflects that. So how did they go from such a supposed Godly way of life to making a baby as teenagers? I mean, it happens, but what was the fallout from that? What happened that was so bad that Sawyer turned to drugs to dull his pains? Katie Cotugno addresses all of this with finesse and grace, her characters realistically dealing with their problems the way I can see it actually happening. I mean, life isn’t perfect and nothing is absolute, right?What I learned from How To Love: sometimes the path two people take with each other is not the same path.How To Love by Katie Cotugno was so incredibly perfect, that this review was nearly impossible to write. I feel like I am a better person for having read this novel. It is simply one of the best books I’ve ever read and is now one of my favorites.

Social Code, The (Start-Up)

Social Code, The (Start-Up) - Sadie Hayes The synopsis is what caught my eye about The Social Code by Sadie Hayes. It sounded promising and very much like a book version of The Social Network. I’m a bit of a tech geek, so combine that with a YA novel and you’ve pretty much hooked me (plus, look at that cover!).But this book pretty much sucked ass. Let me tell you why.In the beginning, the twins are going to college, she’s a genius, he’s a wannabe social climber. She hacks a system called Gibly (a smartphone app), and finds some…really questionable things about the app and the companies that back it and are buying it. All hell breaks loose, threats are thrown about, and she gets offered a prestigious spot in a Silicon Valley incubator, plus all the dramaz.Unnecessary Characters and Plotlines.The primary plot of this book is Amelia and Adam’s start up company, but there is a second plot, and I totally do not understand why it’s in the novel: Patty’s affair with her future brother-in-law. Patty had a hand in the beginning of the story, with the Gibly hacking scandal, but it was minor, and frankly, I wouldn’t have missed her if she never appeared in the rest of the novel. But yet, she did, over and over, and her family life, with her sister and her sister’s fiance, really confused me, because it seemed to have absolutely no bearing on what really mattered in The Social Code, which is the say, the story that centralizes around Amelia and Adam Dory. Patty’s story felt like it was put there to create conflict and reader interest and frankly, it was not done well. It was a distraction.This Book Tells, Not ShowsShe was wearing a simple purple silk slip dress and gold sandals with turquoise stones at the toe strap; her long brown hair fell in gentle curls down the front of her shoulders and her three-and-a-half carat princess-cut engagement ring sparkled obnoxiously atop the thin finger that could barely support its weight.Do we need that level of detail? Part of the greatness in books is the idea that readers get to fill in some of the details themselves. I certainly didn’t care that her gold sandals had turquoise stones at the toe strap. Or that her purple silk dress was a slip dress. Or that her diamond ring was princess-cut!The large room had tiled floors and seven pieces of gym equipment, plus a stretching area with a mirror and the Pilates junk his wife was obsessed with.Look, all that needs to be said is, “he went down to his own, state-of-the-art, private gym in his home.” I can fill in the details myself. I’ve seen Cribs.Her Characters Are StupidThere is a certain point in the novel (33%) where Amelia, coder-extraordinaire, is discovered as the Gibly Hacker. She tells one of Gibly’s venture capitalists exactly what she did (which was to hack in to Gibly, discover the bad things they were doing to end-users), AND THEN OFFERS EVEN MORE DETAILS:“Well, then I started thinking that maybe that was why the company had sold for so much. I mean, it’s illegal, but that kind of information would also be insanely valuable to everyone from advertisers to terrorists. So, I tracked Aleister’s accounts.”Are you fawking stupid, Amelia? You don’t tell people your hacker secrets, you twat! No, seriously, who does that?!Patty was blushing horribly at what was happening onscreen – two naked women were kissing in front of a casually smoking Henry Miller – when she felt Chad’s knee press against hers. He just moved in his chair, she thought. It’s not intentional. It doesn’t mean anything.Patty, you are a dolt. You already made out with the guy. *facepalm*Later on, Amelia is wondering if Roger Fenway, her mentor and start-up backer, knows about her “criminal” past:She actually hadn’t thought about whether or not Roger knew.No lie, folks, these are my actual notes from my iPad: “Fucking really? Silicon Valley giant and you don’t even wonder if he knew???”The Plot Is Implausible. All the Things Are Not Right.It is totally 100% possible for a university student to come up with a genius idea and run with it, turning it into a billions-of-dollars cash cow. After all, Mark Zuckerberg did it. And that’s why I was interested in this book, because stories like that fascinate me. But it’s like Sadie Hayes did absolutely little-to-no research for this storyline, because most of it is impossible, or highly, highly improbable.Amelia and Dory have a past that included Amelia hacking into the SAT website (LOLOLOLOLOL) and changing the SAT score of her older foster brother. And then hacked into her foster father’s company’s system to increase his sales figures. And then hacked into the company’s bank account to move money from one account to another. Including the State Insurance Bureau. And now that the twins are back in the public eye with their invention and company, their old foster family wants them to start hacking again.I laughed. Uproariously. Because this kind of thing doesn’t happen. Look, I know it’s fiction, but I’m reading realistic fiction here, so it needs to be, OH I DON’T KNOW, REALISTIC.(And ALSO LOOK. I know all these things are possible, but a naive teenager is not going to do them.)Sadie Hayes also clearly didn’t do any research into what coding or being a programmer means (which, you know, surprises me, because supposedly she works in Silicon Valley as an executive and this is actually her pen name…).The sound of tapping computer keys and the sight of line after line of zeroes and ones and Courier typeface up and down the screen [...]“No. Just, no. Being a programmer doesn’t mean you look at ones and zeroes. Ones and zeroes is computer and internet language. It’s the language computers use to talk to one another. Programmers do not stare at ones and zeroes all day, they stare at characters and symbols, like < and ” and %. LOL, “zeroes and ones.” WTF is this, The Matrix?Amelia meets a gay person for the first time in her life. Ever. Because he might be the first gay person in the history of mankind.

Big Sky Wedding

Big Sky Wedding - Linda Lael Miller Big Sky Wedding by Linda Lael Miller is such a cute and feel good story, I think it deserves to be on every romance lovers’ bookshelf.Brylee Parrish is the owner of a mega-successful home decor company, but she’s really just a small-town girl…that got jilted at the altar some years back by her then-lover Hutch Carmody. She knows it was for the best, and she’s even friendly with Carmody & Co now, but I really think she feels like something is wrong with her, as if she’s broken so no one will want her, and she’s become a sort of social recluse, even though her friends and family try to get her to let loose and be at least a shadow of her former self.Enter handsome recovering actor, Zane Sutton. Zane happens upon Brylee in the forest (because all good fairytale romances start in the forest) and he’s smitten, but he doesn’t want his life complicated. In fact, that’s exactly why he left Hollywood in the first place – to unravel the complications in his life and get back to his roots. And along comes a woman that can proverbially smack in right in the gut. Then his kid brother is thrust upon him, and now he has to figure out how to raise a tween. Life didn’t get less complicated for Zane; it got more!The chemistry between Brylee and Zane was s-s-s-smokin’! Every time they were on the same page together, I was chanting in my head “Kiss her!” or “Bang her!” or “For the love of all that is holy, do something to her! Break that barrier!” and still, the author just teased me. Damn you, Linda Lael Miller. This is an author that focuses not on the sex, but on the romance and arousal leading up to the sex, the anticipation of it all, which, by the way, is my favorite part of sex in books. It’s steamy and sexy without being outright bookporn, which probably DOES mean I’m a sensitive soul underneath all my profanity and junk. Hmmmm, self-reflection time.Anyway, I also liked the secondary characters, with the exception of Zane’s brother Landry. I don’t understand his purpose in Big Sky Wedding. Why does he make an appearance in town? Is the next book going to be about him? It felt abrupt and a little like a set-up, but it didn’t flow too well with the story, and then he isn’t even spoken of again. Kinda weird.Overall, this story was just all sugar and sweet, the kind of romance that I sometimes need to just sink into and let it take me on a little ride. It’s the kind of book that will restore your faith in the world, plus it has really hot cowboys, and who doesn’t love really hot cowboys?**I received this for an honest review and my opinion can also be found on my blog, The Bawdy Book Blog.

King Hall

King Hall - Scarlett Dawn Let me tell you a little story about how I came to review King Hall. I was standing in the registration line for RT 2013, and began talking to the woman behind me. We smirked at a man in a kilt, we lamented at how slow the line was moving, and we talked books. And that’s when she said, “Oh, by the way, my name is Scarlett Dawn.”I replied that it was nice to meet her and asked what she wrote. I was expecting indie and was ready to whip out one of my business cards to promote Indie Author Excerpts, when low and behold, she struck my blood sucker lovin’ heart like a viper (or Ezra), and said, “I write paranormal…well, it’s got everything in it. Vampires, shifters, everything. It’s called King Hall.”So I told her the name of my blog, asked her to look me up and yes, I’d be interested in reading it when it was ready.I’m always a little nervous when things like this happen, because what happens if I dislike a book? I’ve “made friends” with the author, who I usually (as in this case) think is awesome, and now I’m afraid that if I don’t like the book, I’m going to look like the bad guy, or a mean blogger. Let me just hashtag that: #bloggerwoes.Rest assured, my friends. King Hall fawking kicks ass!Scarlett Dawn pulls from every paranormal element to create a crazy-exciting story that leaves you as breathless as it does yearning for more. I never got bored during King Hall, and in fact, the pace kept my eyes glued to the pages. There is danger, there is excitement, there is (the promise of) sex. This is not for the YA crowd, ya’ll. Nope. This is New Adult Paranormal, and Scarlett Dawn lets us know that, with little sexy bits that just tow the line of decency. It was just right for me.The characters were all great. I found them funny (especially the Kings, OMG) and – well I’m not sure what to say. The thing is, the main character – wait, no, scratch that. Let me get into the plot first.The plot was just plain ol’ exciting. You have coms (common humans) and you have Mys (the mysticals), co-existing in the world together. Coms are aware of Mys, and there is an uneasy peace between them, although I would like to know in the future how that came about. In the Mys community, there are 4 rulers (one King or Queen) for each Mys faction: Vampires, Mages, Elementals, and Shifters. Every generation or so, a new quad of rulers is chosen and they must train to rule their people. THIS is where hijinks and brouhaha ensue. And also some tragedies, because you can’t know what happiness is without feeling sad, right? The part where Lily loses someone very close to her nearly broke my heart. I had to set the book down so I could have a moment. Anyway, they are training to become the next rulers, to essentially become politicians for their respective races, and you know, they just may start a revolution in the process…So the main characters really tickled my fancy, because they’re preparing to be rulers, and all they do is make me laugh (or sweat bullets at the sexual chemistry, heeeey Ezra!). They are your typical mouthy teenagers, just with more responsibility, magic and more to lose. The Kings themselves did not seem pompous, but really genuine. In fact, I found all of the characters really likeable. Except Phillip Masterson. I hated that bastard.Some questions I had while reading King Hall:Why can’t the Kings smell Lily’s vampire side?Why are there com terrorist groups bent on destroying the Mysticals? Are we expected to accept that they are just crazy terrorists? Not sure how I feel about that.WHY IS SCARLETT DAWN MAKING US WAIT FOR AN EZRA/LILY GET-TOGETHER? Because that’s gonna happen in book two, right? Right?! RIGHT?!Altogether, King Hall was rock-my-socks and for those fans of boarding school books (April @ My Shelf Confessions, I’m looking at you), you’ll love this. It has just the right amount of e’erything, and I can’t wait to read what happens next.

A Trick of the Light

A Trick of the Light - Lois Metzger A Trick of the Light by Lois Letzger is an ARC that showed up on my doorstep one day, so I decided to give it a try. I had no reference for what it was about, because the synopsis wasn’t even referenced on the back of the ARC, but it has received such high praise (based on the Goodreads rating, because I try not to read reviews before I write my own), I figured why not? There’s a semi-naked boy on the cover, head to head with his shadow. I honestly thought this conveyed a different meaning and story entirely and boy how wrong was I.Initially, I didn’t like A Trick of the Light. The writing felt choppy to me and I wasn’t quite understanding what was happening, so by page 50, I was getting fed up and nearly set it down. The reason I pressed on? It’s a short book, and I decided that it wouldn’t take a lot of my time to see it through to the end.I’m so glad I saw this book through to the end. At page 60, I was telling my fiance how weird this book was. By page 80, I was hooked, because I completely got it. So, if this is a book that you’re thinking of reading, don’t give up on it. The story is a must-read.Mike is 15-years-old and struggling at home. His parents have drifted apart and he feels like he has no one. He gets good grades, but they don’t notice him anymore, and even at school, he’s not one of the more popular kids. He struggles with identity issues, always wanting to know if people see him as fat, and suspicious when they answer too quickly, or too slowly. He’s also sick in the mind, because he listens to a voice in his head that tells him what to do, who to be friends with, and what to eat. This voice has a name: anorexia.A Trick of the Light is a fascinating novel for a multitude of reasons: it’s in the 1st-person but it’s not narrated by Mike, it’s narrated by the sickness itself, and as the reader, we get to watch the sickness take control of him. This is such a unique look at how the anorexic mind works, and it explains the writing style. Sickness is not fluid, therefore the narration of the book cannot be fluid. It’s also interesting that the protagonist in this story is a boy and not a girl. Girls are often victimized with anorexia, because statistics show we develop it more often than boys. So to read the story of a boy with anorexia is refreshing and heartbreaking all at the same time.Ray Harryhausen, the father of stopmotion films, is referenced a lot. I am positive there was a purpose behind this and it frustrates me that I don’t know what that is. Like, it’s just there at the tip of my brain, but I can’t grasp the concept.Mike is fascinated with a two-headed cyclops that he draws a few times. I really connected the two-headed cyclops with his own self, and the voice in his head telling him to do bad things, like run through his hunger, or not eat.I did think Mike’s road to recovery was not detailed enough and it felt to clean for me. I wanted it a bit messier, because by all accounts that I’ve heard, it’s never easy and it felt liked Metzger was trying to wrap the book up instead of getting nitty-gritty, but I am appreciative of the glimpse into the recovery process at all.A Trick of the Light is a fabulous and profound book. Not only should everyone read this, but this should be on every high school reading list as well.This review can also be found at The Bawdy Book Blog. I received this ARC in exchange of an honest review.

Bared to You (Crossfire, #1)

Bared to You (Crossfire, #1) - Sylvia Day,  Jill  Redfield You guys know I am not a typical romance reader. I read YA, almost exclusively. I joke that this makes me a delicate soul, despite the fact that much of my YA perusings take me to far-off planets and stars, or government take-downs. So why so delicate? They don’t address the issue of sex, all that much. YA is a kiss here, a touch there, and then break to the “after.”So why did I dive headfirst into a near-BDSM erotica novel by Sylvia Day?It’s a question I asked myself through the entire novel, and I can only say, most of my book buds are romance readers and all of them have sung the praises of this book. I’ve been told, “It’s 50 Shades of Grey but better” (thank goodness, because I’ve read passages of 50 Shades that made me want to stab my eyeballs right out of my head), and since I had the opportunity to sit in on an erotica panel (sort of by force, mind you) at this year’s RT that was headed by Sylvia Day herself (and she is awesome!), I decided to give the genre a go.Whoa. That’s all I have to say.That’s not really all I have to say…I have heard that the beginning is much like 50 Shades, but since I haven’t read 50, I can’t comment on that. I will say, however, that the whole “Hey, I just met you, and this is crazy, but here’s my number, so fuck me maybe” attitude by Gideon was both a turn-on and a turn-off for me. If someone actually said that to me in real life, I probably would punch him in the face. Wait, not probably. Definitely.So I can get beyond that and I dig the tension between Eva and Gids, except she leaves all the damn time. Like, come on girl, have some self-respect. Self-respect doesn’t include running away every chance you get. I know she had her issues with her past, and she’s all “boohoo I’m scared” but this really bothered me, because at some point, it was less about her past, and more about being passive-aggressive to get Gids-man to do what she wanted of him. Which was to chase after her. I seriously became fucking annoyed with that ploy and it never ended.I totally dug on Gideon up until he used screwing her to fix everything. I mean, I felt bad for the guy, because he has his demons and we don’t even really find out too much about him (gah! so I guess I still have to get the next book, FML!) but he has these control issues that are so not normal, and seriously, it was sometimes like watching a bad episode of the Young & the Restless. Remember that show? No? Man I’m getting old. It’s still on TV, right? *Googles* So anyway, Eva will get upset about something, oft-times, because Gids-man is upset about something, so he’s all “I’m going to fuck you back to your senses, rawr.” And so they do. A lot.There’s a lot of sex. It was sexy and steamy, but at some point it got boring, because you can only listen to so much porn sex before it becomes repetitive (it’s like when you are at a party and standing at the door of a room, listening to a couple having sex and you’re giggling, but then after a few minutes, you’re all “This is boring because I’m not the one having sex, good bye.” Oh… am I the only person who’s done that? Nevermind.), and that’s when Sylvia Day brings out the BDSM big guns. (Okay, they were probably just pistols compared to other BDSM books). And my eyeballs popped out of my head. I’m no longer an ear-virgin. There were no red-rooms folks, but I bet the Gids-man has one…somewhere…in that penthouse mansion of his.I didn’t love it, and I didn’t hate it. There was a lot about the story that annoyed me, mostly the characters (Eva, I’m looking at you, chick), because they’re so damaged and I don’t have a lot of patience for people who can’t work stuff out. But you know, it could have been a lot worse. Hell, it could have been 50 Shades worse (Kristina is going to kill me when she reads that)! So, you know, if you’re reading this review, you’ve probably already read Bared To You, and if not and you like this genre, don’t take my review as anything other than a YA reader getting her feet (or something) wet in erotica. Whoa, did I just go there? Yep. Yep, I think I did.Narrator 4-1-1Jill Redfield is a stupendous narrator. She is quite possibly the best narrator I’ve come across yet, and while that hasn’t been too many, I have passed on books because the narrator sounded awful in the preview. Jill should never do anything else besides narrate books for a living, because she brought to life the characters in this story, and I will be looking for more audiobooks by her.This review can also be found at The Bawdy Book Blog.

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War - Max Brooks, Henry Rollins, Eamonn Walker, Ajay Naidu Couldn't finish this book in audiobook. The narration was too dry and I didn't like the story-time way they tell it. DNF.

Ghost Light

Ghost Light - E.J. Stevens I was really excited to get the ARC for Ghost Light. E.J. Stevens is quickly becoming an Indie favorite of mine, with her two other books in the Ivy Granger series, Shadow Sight and Blood & Mistletoe. Ghost Light didn’t disappoint!Stevens plunges us back into the world of private detective Ivy Granger, who now knows she is a halfie-fae Wisp princess, although that’s a secret to the rest of the fae community. Or so she thinks. Things are hunky dory with Ceff. Again, or so she thinks. And then all at once, poop hits the fan: she thinks she spots Ceff’s ex-wife outside a store while shopping with Jinx, and practically all the fae community end up on her doorstep, requesting her services because the fae children have all gone missing.She’s a busy lady.I think I liked Ghost Light even more than Shadow Sight – or Blood and Mistletoe for that matter, as macabre as that novella was. Stevens is really hitting her stride in the Ivy Granger series, delivering a compelling mystery that’s full of spunk and a paranormal twist to boot. Since it’s continued in the 1st person, we get Ivy’s inner dialogue, which is often her dry humor, even when she isn’t trying to be, and it’s something I can easily relate to.Ivy discovered in the last book that she is a fae princess, so there is another story line that begins halfway through this book, and I can see where E.J. Stevens is going to take the third: what happened to Ivy’s father, King of the Wisps? She’s spent her entire life thinking he abandoned her, but it’s hinted strongly in the last book that he left for some other reason we have yet to discover. I can’t wait to find out!Jinx has horrible luck with guys, like usual. Ivy tries to protect her from this, but I don’t think there is any protecting Jinx. My question has been and will continue to be, when will she fornicate with Forneus the demon? Hmmmm?I really, REALLY enjoyed the introduction of new characters in this novel, like Torn, and the sidhe cats. Torn’s nature, with his sly remarks, and the way he slinked around, often reminded me of the Cheshire Cat. I loved him!I will say that I kind of figured out what was going on early in the book. Perhaps not the details, but I definitely had the whodunit down pat. I won’t give it away, and perhaps I was just on the lookout for it, or maybe it’s my suspicious nature, LOL. But I do like it more when I get completely surprised and I wasn’t really. However this didn’t detract from my enjoyment of Ghost Light one bit!Stevens also incorporated some key current (or historic) events, to tie the novel to the real world, which I thought was pretty neat, and helped me to ground it as an urban fantasy.Overall, this is one of the best indie series you could possibly read right now, and if you don’t have it on your TBR, I think I might just disown you!This review is also posted at The Bawdy Book Blog. I received this ARC in exchange of an honest review.

This Love

This Love (University of Branton) (Volume 1) - Nazarea Andrews This review is also posted at The Bawdy Book Blog.God. Damn.That’s how This Love made me feel: Slightly scandalous, arousing and so in-my-face, I couldn’t turn away!Nazarea Andrews has a jackpot of a book in this new adult novel with two adorbs characters, Avery and Atticus, both of whom have had troubled relationships in their pasts and maybe have a hard time trusting others now because of it. They felt relatable to me. Like, I totally got them, I got why they felt they way they did all the time. I understood them, I walked in their shoes. It’s tough to make readers feel that connected, but Andrews does it very well.I think the thing I loved about Avery was that she is this strong girl/woman, on the brink of the rest of her life, and she is uncompromising. She knows what she wants, and she goes after those things, but at the same time, I think it’s hard for her to admit that she might be wrong, she might jump to conclusions and she’s definitely afraid of admitting to being afraid. But she has these ambitions and this drive to be great and no one is getting in the way of that. Not. Even. A. Hot. As. Fuck. Guy.And boy is Atticus HAWT. He’s the professor you daydream about, the one you want to rip the clothes from, the one you think about seducing behind the closed door of his office while you sweep student papers from his desk. He strikes me as the kind of guy who’s always been a dreamer, but teaches to get himself by so he can do the things he desires, like chase pirates and research legends. And it’s not that he doesn’t like teaching, or even needs to do it, but I think it’s also something to keep him fulfilled.I cannot express how much I really just loved This Love and Atticus + Avery. These two are so explosive together, that I spent the first half of the novel twisting my fingers and curling my toes, waiting for them to get a move on already, because I needed that…that explosion of the two of them together. I wanted to see them work, because they felt so damn good together. The potential scandal of it all, you know, professor/student relationships, that also tickled my fancy, because it’s like they are doomed from the beginning anyway, and that made me want to see them make it even more.The plot is really simple and I liked that. I’m not going to rehash it, because you can get it from the synopsis, but I will tell you that Nazarea Andrews does a fabulous job on selling her characters and making them all feel real. This is a New Adult, and I think that genre sometimes don’t feel real, like people in real life don’t really talk like that or do those things, but in This Love, it’s all very genuine and I had no problems getting lost in the story and rooting for the characters she made me love.I loved This Love 100%, I read it in one night. And Nazarea Andrews is now on my auto-buy list.**I received this book in exchange of an honest review.

Purely Relative (The P.U.R.E.)

Purely Relative - Claire Gillian Purely Relative is probably a great follow-up novella to the first in the series, P.U.R.E. by Claire Gillian. Unfortunately, I went in a little blind to the backstory, because I didn’t read the first one, and therefore, didn’t know the characters. This isn’t really a bad thing though, because Purely Relative read just fine as a standalone novella (although I still recommend you read the first one – it sounds like there was action and hijinks).Gayle is a likable protagonist: she’s funny and witty, and definitely self-deprecating in her sense of humor. She definitely looks at the funny side of things, and as her author, Claire Gillian tells her story with a lot of banter and funny. She’s the kind of character that someone like me (sometimes offensive, often inappropriate) can totally relate to, because she’s the same way.She’s also a total nympho, which leads to laughs, often.Jon is more reserved, but he plays the typical male role well, and Gillian writes him rather well, if cliche, as the bumbling boyfriend who doesn’t talk, is over-protective and would beat up any man who looked at his woman wrong. Oh, and who also likes to have a lot of sex, often.These two had so much sex, I’m surprised they were still able to walk by the end! As Amanda said in her review of Tammy Faulkner’s novel, The Magic of “I Do,” some authors write steam and some write sex. I think Purely Relative was more on the sex side than the steam side and I personally prefer steam to sex, although I’m not opposed to sex at all. But I want it to leave me breathless at the end of the scene, much like the characters, and I didn’t personally feel that in Purely Relative. But their sexual hijinks (and references to hijinks past) made me laugh!I did not feel like the book read right for their ages. They are supposedly in their 20s, but I was reading them as if they were in their early 30s. The tonality of their characters just didn’t fit with 20-somethings for me. That sometimes threw me off, but overall, it wasn’t a large issue, just a minor complaint. Although if their tone didn’t convey their age, their sex-drive certainly did!I enjoyed the dynamic with Jon’s family, it reminded me very much of my own: loud, obnoxious, over-bearing, and very, very Italian. I guess that’s just how we roll.The novella ends on a very good note, and this is one for the HEA fans. I think romance junkies should pick up the first and this one as well, because it’s a cute contemporary read.This review is also posted at The Bawdy Book Blog. I received this ARC in exchange of an honest review.

Imaginable: 2 (Intangible)

Imaginable: 2 (Intangible) - J. Meyers If you read my review on Intangible, then you’ll know I liked the story, the characters and the fact that J. Meyers pulls from every paranormal space (or just about) to create an interesting plot about fraternal twins destined to doom the vampire race.Sera’s ability is now putting herself and those she loves in even more danger than before, because she doesn’t realize what she’s actually doing when she “heals” vampires, or why they are becoming so demanding in insisting she heal them. Luke is gaining the ability to change the future based on what he Sees in his visions, or even change his Visions. Fey is in charge of protecting Sera, and by extension, Luke. Jonas is…well, he’s Jonas. He’s brooding, he’s dark, he’s dangerous and he’s very much in love with Sera. That much is obvious.The problem is their abilities. Not only were they prophesied to doom a paranormal race, but now the secret is out and everyone wants a piece of Sera, which puts her in danger. This creates much conflict, especially among the Elves, as well as the vampire race and Jonas’ own coven, and there is a lot of action I really and truly don’t want to spoil for you!Jonas and Sera? Maybe, finally! I’ve been waiting for this to happen, but is it actually going to? Don’t make me wait forever, J. Meyers! And Fey and Luke? Gah!The Dark Elves in this story were fascinating to me. They were passed off by the Light Elves as so horrible, but it really felt like they wanted to be healed and free, not confined to the Dark Realm, or be the bastards of Fae society. I actually really felt for them in a strange way. But who knows, maybe I read it all wrong, and they really are jerks and wanted to use Sera for nefarious purposes.We finally get to go into the Realm and it is beautiful! I loved all the detail and I could picture how vibrant everything would look. It reminded me of the scenes from Snow White & The Huntsman, when she is with the dwarves, and how contrasty and colorful things were there.There is a lot of action and something is always happening on every page, I was totally engaged the entire time. I will say that it was hard for me to remember some of the details of the last book, because there was so much going on and Meyers didn’t recap much. Just a little of that would have been nice, to get my brain juices and memory flowing again, but overall, I was able to keep up and had a few “aha!” moments as I remembered things throughout the story. I think this is a fab indie YA to sink your teeth into, and you won’t regret it.This review can also be found at The Bawdy Book Blog. I received this ARC in exchange of an honest review.

Dare You To

Dare You To - Katie McGarry I am wowed by Dare You To by Katie McGarry. Simply wowed. Pushing the Limits is a hard book to follow up on and without a doubt, Dare You To was even better. I can’t even contain all my feels, but I’ll do my best not to fangirl all over this post.Hahahah, sike.Let’s start off with Beth. She’s jaded. If you’ve read Pushing the Limits, then you already know she’s cynical and war-torn in the sense that no one has ever really looked out for her, so it’s her against the world. Isaiah is obviously in love with her and would do anything for her, but he’s her best friend, and sometimes, that’s just how it’s meant to be. Beth doesn’t trust people, and as such, is quick to jump to conclusions about them and their intentions. Sometimes this is a good thing, but often, it’s not. Beth is also uncomfortable when she is put in new situations. She doesn’t enjoy change and craves consistency, even if that consistency is a bad situation like her mom’s boyfriend Trent. At least she knows what she’s getting, right?Ryan is outwardly cocksure and inwardly insecure with himself and his life, right down to what he’s supposed to do after high school. His family is perceived as perfect, but no family is really that perfect, and besides, nobody gets to see what really happens in their home. He’s also mad: mad at his brother for ruining their perfect life, mad at his father for being unrelenting, and mad at his mother for being a coward. He’s also mad at himself for not speaking up like he wants to, even if he doesn’t know it.Beth’s and Ryan’s worlds collide when she is yanked from her home in Louisville to live with her uncle Scott in Groveton thirty minutes away, after an unfortunate episode involving her mother and Trent. The two really couldn’t be more different, so the whole “opposites attract” ideal really appealed to me in this story. In reality though, they aren’t much different from one another. Both have secrets they don’t want people to know about, both rely on false bravado, both have f-ed up families.I loved them together. Even more so than Echo and Noah in Pushing the Limits. There is something about two people, who appear different and come from two very different backgrounds, coming together with explosions that just tickles my fancy! They also make each other better people and those are the best kinds of relationships.One thing I found interesting was the role-reversal between Beth and her mom. It was almost like Beth was the parent and Sky was the child, and Beth desperately wanted to be the child here. I think she resented her mom for taking that role from her and forcing her into the position her mom should have been in from the beginning. And Katie McGarry painted it so well. The torturous dynamic between the two was so believable, I feel like I need therapy just having read it!Likewise, Ryan has problems with his family, although it’s more traditionally structured, and honestly, it could have been any family I grew up with. Traditional Southern, “country” values. Dare You To explores a lot of boundaries within his family, like homosexuality, defying your parents, and dating someone from the “wrong side of the tracks.” I grew up in a fringe town similar to this one in southern Virginia, and Groveton could have been taken from my home, truthfully, because most people I knew were like Ryan and his parents. Field parties, drinking, church committees and baseball. Parents that have dreams for you and are pretty pushy. I could sympathize with Ryan on everything (except the pushy parents, mine were awesome).I also liked the “dare” theme, like that was the only way they could learn to trust one another, and hell, get to know each other. By daring one another to do things, feel things and – be together. And their friends made it fun (and funny!) in the beginning!If I don’t stop waxing poetic about Dare You To, I never will. Everything about it is amazing and emotional and omgallthefeels! It’s snarky, and easily relatable for someone of any age. This review is also posted at The Bawdy Book Blog. I received this ARC in exchange of an honest review.