Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Top Off Tuesday - *points*

I've decided to join Felicia, Christi and Amanda for their gratuitous shirtless covers on Tuesdays. Because nothing says Tuesday like flashing some skin! Hop over to Felicia's blog to see who else is participating!

Hello, tats and muscles!

Hammer's Fall (The Breakers' Bad Boys #1) by Laurie Roma
Jared “Hammer” Caufield is a former Army Ranger and retired professional MMA champion that had to give up his fighting career due to a knee injury. He is a bad boy through and through, but that doesn’t stop him from craving the sweet little bakery owner, even though he knows she is too good for him…

Bakery owner, Kalista Redford, is a woman who has had a difficult past. She has always struggled with her self-esteem, and her last breakup hasn’t done anything to help improve her opinion of herself. When Kalista finds herself pursued by the dark and dangerous man she has secretly dreamed about, will she be able to follow her heart or will past insecurities threaten to ruin her chance at true love?

Monday, July 21, 2014

Toxic by Belinda McBride [Review]

Toxic (Truckee Wolves #1) by Belinda McBride
Format: ebook
Source: provided by Loose Id through NetGalley
Date read: April 14, 2014

Truckee Wolves
1. Educating Evangeline (at Free Books Need Love, Too!)
2. Toxic - Kindle
3. Hunting Holly

Belinda McBride
| Website | Twitter | Facebook | Amazon |

Synopsis (Goodreads):
There are three things that Dr. Briony Theale loves. Her job as a veterinarian, a good bar of rich, dark chocolate, and Rico, the ranger in charge of the Wildlife Rescue center. When a casual dinner with Rico turns surprisingly intimate, Briony realizes that she might just have a chance with him after all, if only she could lose a few pounds. It’s the ultimate sacrifice, but Briony goes cold turkey, and swears off chocolate forever.

Rico Montgomery fell hard for Briony the first time he set eyes on the curvy little doctor. Her rich brown hair and cocoa skin trigger cravings that he can barely control, and her fragrance is like the sweetest, richest chocolate he’s ever scented in his life. That’s a bad thing for Rico, because to a werewolf like him, chocolate is literally a toxin. After his pack warns him off the very human doctor, Rico finds himself even more drawn to Briony.

Rico can’t live with it, and Briony can’t live without it. And when a certain wandering wolf finds a bag of chocolate in the trash near Briony’s clinic, these two will find out just how toxic love can be.
Thoughts on Toxic: I really REALLY liked this book. While Briony and Rico's relationship issues were fun and steamy, it was Chase and his utter weariness at trying to heal his pack that tangled me up. Throw in the damage Abraxas did to many of his other wolves and I was a puddly pile of hurt for them.

But this was still Briony and Rico's story, so let's get back to them.

First off, poor Rico. Gorging on chocolate in his wolf form and becoming vilely ill has to be pretty darn awful. Especially when the sexy vet doesn't know you're a man most of the time and has to take your temperature. YIKES! But Rico works through it and is able to introduce Briony to his animal side with a minimum of fuss. Until things go bad and he crashes and burns from his chocolate high, leaving Briony in the hands of his protective pack.

All things considered, Briony does handle the idea of werewolves among them pretty well. This is in part because of her own gifts and the way she was raised. Speaking of which, I totally felt for her mother. That lady gave up everything to protect her children and I totally respect that. Also, points to mama for caging wild Sage (*sniffle* poor Sage.) and making it very clear that she would do ANYTHING to make sure her children were safe.

Frankly, I am completely in love with the characters and the world that's been created here. All of them are a little left of center and they have some very bad people who want to drag them back into the fold. And I want to read all the stories and... and... MOAR PLEASE!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

RtP Week in Review (07/20/14)

Reading the Paranormal's Week in Review
Bookish Delights
  • Books added to the pile - 2
  • Books read - 4
  • Currently reading 
    • Tempted by a Rogue Prince by Felicity Heaton
Check it out!
  • Seriously Series weekly update: Slow reading week for me, so I'm counting ANY forward momentum as good. Way to go, me!
    • Series started in 2014: 9/18 (+1 since last week)
    • Series started before 2014: 4/18 (+1 since last week)
    • Series rereads: 7/9 (+0 since last week)

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Blog Housekeeping [41]

It's that time again! Time to polish up your blog until it shines!

POP QUIZ: Have you been backing up your blog?

  • review archive - are you responsible for sites other than your own? Don't forget about those
  • sidebar - check for buttons or links for events that have ended. Have any new events coming up? Now's the time to add them.
  • reading challenges - update your progress, add links to challenges where you can link up. If you're a challenge host, do you try to comment on linked reviews? Now's your chance!
  • blogrolls -  clean 'em up!
  • crosspost - do you crosspost to Amazon, B&N, Goodreads, Library Thing? Don't forget to add your reviews to Netgalley or Edelwiess for those ARCs.
  • check your subscription and social media links - if this isn't something that you normally check, now's an excellent time to make sure it's doing what it should be doing. (check out Felicia's Tech Tips for ideas on what to do if you're getting errors on your subscription link)
  • check your static pages (About, Review Policy, etc) for outdated information, broken links, etc.
  • review your profiles - when was the last time you updated your Goodreads or Facebook profiles? Is everything up to date?
Get ahead:
  • July is on the way out! What have you done to get (and stay) ahead? Drafted any end of month/beginning of month posts? Prepared review templates?
  • respond to review requests and other bloggy emails
  • check your spam folder - legitimate emails can sometimes slip through, catch them now.
  • check the spam filter on the blog - get rid of the spam! save the legits!
  • make the rounds - check back on blogs where you left comments, maybe spread a few new comments around like candy.
Did you do everything that applies to you? Well done! Now...


The next Blog Housekeeping is scheduled for August 2nd! I hope to see you there!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Change for Me by Lynn Red [Review]

Change for Me (Alpha's Kiss #1) by Lynn Red
Format: ebook
Source: provided for an honest review as part of the Fated Mates bundle
Date read: March 22, 2014

Alpha's Kiss
1. Change for Me - Kindle
2. Shift Into Me
3. Howl for Me

Lynn Red
| Amazon |

Synopsis (Goodreads):
New faces were hard to come by in Fort Branch, Arizona. From the moment she saw Damon, Lily Kyle’s heart was stolen. He and Lily were inseparable, until he finally pushed her too far away.

Despite the distance Damon put between them, Lily never stopped loving him.

Motorcycle riding, rough-around-the-edges Damon King has a complicated life. He’s trying to juggle existence after high school, while attempting to get back the only girl he ever really loved. On top of all that? Damon has to figure out his new role as Alpha of a scattered pack of werewolves.

When Damon learns that Lily is more than just his high school sweetheart – she’s his fated soul mate – he also realizes he’s not the only Alpha in town. Will he be able to protect her, and drive his dangerous rival out of town before it’s too late? Or will his savage, feral werewolf rival tear Fort Branch apart and claim Lily first?
Thoughts on Change for Me: I liked parts of this story a lot -- the werewolves and the fated mates parts because YAY!WEREWOLVES AND SEXY TIMES! -- and then there were parts I didn't love as much. The inclusion of the second Alpha (along with everything that entailed) felt a little lackluster. While his presence definitely drove the ending of the story, the hows and whys of what he was doing in Lily's small town weren't fleshed out enough for me. (and without giving things away, I can't say much more than that, but I was confused as to why he wasn't recognized prior to everything happening.)

I liked Damon up to a point. I get why he kept backing away from Lily, but at the same time she puts up with A LOT from him and it started to get old after a while. Really, I get his fears and why he's worried about involving her in everything, but let the girl make up her own mind.

As for Lily, she has a few issues. I could never quite get a handle on what those issues specifically were (depression? delayed grief? bipolar disorder?), but her feelings for Damon are pretty darn constant. I do wonder about her grandpa and how he's connected to the werewolves (was that explained? I don't remember.) and the mysterious Poko.

Overall, there was intriguing world building, but I needed a little more explanation as far as the character development went. Still, I read it in one sitting. So, there's that.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Invisible Fate by Mary Buckham [Review]

 Invisible Fate (Alex Noziak #3) by Mary Buckham
Invisible Fate (Alex Noziak #3) by Mary Buckham
Format: ebook
Source: provided by the author for an honest review
Date read: April 22, 2014

Alex Noziak
0.5. Invisible Prison
1. Invisible Magic
1.5. Invisible Duty
2. Invisible Power
3. Invisible Fate - Paperback | Kindle

Mary Buckham
| Website | Twitter | Facebook | Amazon |

Synopsis (Goodreads):
Forced to choose, will dark magic be the only path.

Hidden from a world unaware of magic, a recently and only partially trained group of operatives known as the Invisible Recruits are the only ones willing to stand between mankind and those powerful preternatural factions seeking to change the balance of power and gain world domination.

Alex Noziak, part/witch, part/shaman, is imprisoned by a powerful Druid bent on changing her into a black-magic portal to release a three thousand year-old demon on the world.

By trying to shield a juvenile witch from the Druid, Alex places the lives of her IR teammates in jeopardy.

Her relationship with Bran is in turmoil, making him the last man she'll turn to . . . but the only one who can help her.

Alex is placed between watching Bran die or saving the world. Choices. Choices.
Thoughts on Invisible Fate: Overall, I enjoyed this book, but, MAN!, did Alex's team have some animosity issues. If at any point they could manage to go an entire meeting without snarling and/or looking for a fight--verbal or otherwise--with at least one other team member, I'd be shocked.

I guess I should mention I'm stepping into this world with this book (I know. I'm a rebel. I read out of order!), so it's possible (however unlikely given the heated exchanges in this book) that a previous installment had them all dancing around, braiding flowers into each others' hair. Ha. No. I can't even type that with a straight face. They're a feisty bunch. There's no flower braiding.

Maybe some gratuitous punching, though.

Anyway. Alex is in a bad place for a big portion of this book. She's a witch with a little something extra and her magic is remarkably unreliable. Until it isn't. There's betrayal and bloodshed and feats of daring. That last part is mostly when Alex is ready to drop and has to mine for the last bits of energy and power to get herself out of a horrifying situation.

She has a few family issues that need to be ironed out. Her relationships (both family and otherwise) aren't all rainbows and puppies. She's hot tempered and that little something extra I mentioned above makes her dangerous.

Yeah, overall, I liked the book. I probably would have gotten more out of it if I had read the previous installments, but it was enjoyable and fast paced. And nicely bloody. I do appreciate when characters engage in some creative mayhem. There's nothing quite like the cracking of bones to get the blood flowing. So to speak.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A Strange There After by Missy Fleming [Review]

A Strange There After (Savannah Shadows #2) by Missy Fleming
Format: ebook
Source: provided by the author for an honest review
Date read: April 8, 2014

Savannah Shadows
1. Happily Never After
2. A Strange There After - Paperback | Kindle

Missy Fleming
| Website | Amazon |

Synopsis (Goodreads):
Ghosts exist. Quinn Roberts knows this because she is one - kind of. The spirit of a dysfunctional ancestor, Catherine, has evicted Quinn from her own body, forcing her to live in a world with the paranormal. No one can see, touch or hear her, except the ghosts she grew up with and the bane of her existence, a self-centered paranormal investigator named Boone.

Forced to watch the growing bond between her boyfriend, Jason, and the body snatcher, Catherine, Quinn delves deeper into the history of her family in search of a way to reverse what's been done. What she finds is a dangerous entity more terrifying than anything she's encountered before. He's willing to grant all her desires...for a price.

As Quinn faces painful decisions and makes unlikely alliances, she learns how far she will go to get her life back. Desperation is a wicked thing and she soon realizes that recovering her body may only be the beginning of her end.
Thoughts on A Strange There After: Given how book 1 ended, I was very curious how Quinn was going to get herself out of the pickle she found herself in. With her physical body possessed by a malicious spirit and no one around who could hear or see Quinn, getting back to herself looked hopeless.

As it turns out, there's more to Quinn's house than just a few random ghosts and Quinn is resourceful enough to make herself heard.

On the downside, Quinn makes a deal that could turn out very badly for her in the future. But she also finds a hot guy who can see and hear ghosts just like she can. Hot guys always liven up the place. Especially when you accidentally walk in on them showering.

Naked, wet men aside, we get a insight into why Catherine did the things she did and learn a little more about the ghosts Quinn has grown up with. There's still a whole lot left to explore in this world (showering men optional) and a few more mysteries to unravel.

Should I mention the naked guy again? I liked him. He grew on me. Not like a fungus, either. *slow thumbs up*