Monday, May 25, 2020

Strange Love by Ann Aguirre [Review]

 Strange Love by Ann Aguirre
Strange Love (Galactic Love #1) by Ann Aguirre
Format: ebook
Source: borrowed through Kindle Unlimited
Date read: January 18, 2020

Galactic Love
1. Strange LoveKindle

Ann Aguirre
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Amazon |

Synopsis (Goodreads):
He's awkward. He's adorable. He's alien as hell.

Zylar of Kith Balak is a four-time loser in the annual Choosing. If he fails to find a nest guardian this time, he'll lose his chance to have a mate for all time. Desperation drives him to try a matching service but due to a freak solar flare and a severely malfunctioning ship AI, things go way off course. This 'human being' is not the Tiralan match he was looking for.

She's frazzled. She's fierce. She's from St. Louis.

Beryl Bowman's mother always said she'd never get married. She should have added a rider about the husband being human. Who would have ever thought that working at the Sunshine Angel daycare center would offer such interstellar prestige? She doesn't know what the hell's going on, but a new life awaits on Barath Colony, where she can have any alien bachelor she wants.

They agree to join the Choosing together, but love is about to get seriously strange.
Thoughts on Strange Love: I am very much a mood reader and my mood lately has been pretty solidly in the "alien finds love with a human" range. I believe I can emphatically say I have a fair amount of literary experience in this particular scenario at this point in time. So when I say OMG! ZYLAR AND BERYL ARE SO FREAKING FUN you're just going to have to trust me. THEY ARE SO FREAKING FUN!

Our alien hero is seriously sweet, sort of prim and repressed when all is said and done, and very, VERY desperate for a mate. Not because he has anyone he wants, exactly, but more because this is his last chance at procuring one and he's not exactly thrilled at the prospect of becoming a drone if he fails. Being the rule-follower he is (at least in the beginning), he doesn't fight against becoming a drone, but it's not what he wants. Despite his desperation, he's always up front with Beryl as to her options while on the planet.

Even if those options aren't him.

As for Beryl, she's a pretty good sport about the mix-up that lands her on Zylar's ship. In fact, she's darn open-minded about almost everything that gets thrown in her path after Zylar accidentally abducts her. Her dog can talk now thanks to alien technology? Cool. She's on an alien planet? Right on. She has to compete in a series of potentially deadly challenges if she wants to stick with Zylar? No problem.

That sounds really flippant, but Beryl is pretty chill about it all. In a good way. When things get awkward between her and Zylar, she opts to talk it out instead of letting things stew. Considering they're from two VERY different backgrounds, I think this is key in the two of them connecting. Frankly, I like when they connect, both emotionally and physically.

A little danger, a family member who is THE WORST, more than a touch of heat, and two very different individuals trying to figure out how to make things work between them. I like!

Sunday, May 24, 2020

RtP's Week in Review (05/24/20)

Reading the Paranormal's Week in Review
Bookish Delights
Globetrotting...
  • KellyApple.com
    • On Wednesday, I shared a freebie promotion I took part in. SO MANY BOOKS FOR FREE! So many.
    • Feature Friday concluded the Grimwood series with a look at Cursed Heart, Lorianne and Alistair's HEA. Endings are always a little bittersweet for me, but I really liked how this one turned out.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Write On Review-a-thon [76]

It's time for another installment of the Write On Review-a-thon. YAY!

A little about the Review-a-thon:
Brought to you by Reading the Paranormal and the #boutofbooks-ers facebook group. This monthly review-a-thon is a chance to get caught up on outstanding reviews. Bring your to-be-reviewed list, block out some time, write reviews. It's that simple.
This month's review-a-thon will run from Friday, May 29th to Sunday, May 31st.

To find out more about the review-a-thon and future dates, visit the Review-a-thon page.

As for me...
Reviews to be written:
  • Kiss Me Not by Emma Hart - DONE
  • Kiss Me Tonight by Emma Hart
  • Whose Midlife Crisis is it Anyway? by Robyn Peterman
  • Lover from the Waves by Tiffany Roberts
  • Badger to the Bone by Shelly Laurenston
  • North Bound by Cynthia Sax
  • The Interdimensional Lord's Earthly Delight by Elsa Jade

Friday, May 22, 2020

Tricky Bond by Emma Hart [Review]

 Tricky Bond by Emma Hart
Tricky Bond (Holly Woods Files #7.5) by Emma Hart
Format: ebook
Source: borrowed through Kindle Unlimited
Date read: May 22, 2019

Holly Woods Files
1. Twisted Bond
2. Tangled Bond
3. Tethered Bond
4. Tied Bond
5. Twirled Bond
6. Burning Bond
7. Twined Bond
7.5. Tricky BondKindle

Emma Hart
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Amazon |

Synopsis (Goodreads):
Noelle and Drake are sent on a wild-parrot chase when Gio disappears.
Thoughts on Tricky Bond: Motherhood hasn't dulled Noelle's fiery wisecracking ways, that's for sure. She's still the same shoot first, ask questions later lady she was before the twins. Now she's just being a little more careful about the cases the takes on.

Unless, you know, her Nonna comes crying to her about her pet parrot going missing. Even then, if Drake hadn't promised to look for the critter, Noelle probably would have found a way to wiggle out of it. Maybe.

So off they go. Looking for the foul-mouthed parrot that drives everyone crazy. GOOD TIMES!

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Bountiful by Sarina Bowen [Review]

 Bountiful by Sarina Bowen
Bountiful (True North #4, Brooklyn Bruisers #4.5) by Sarina Bowen
Format: ebook
Source: purchased
Date read: May 21, 2019

True North
1. Bittersweet
2. Steadfast
3. Keepsake
4. BountifulPaperback | Kindle
5. Speakeasy
6. Fireworks

Brooklyn Bruisers
1. Rookie Move
2. Hard Hitter
3. Pipe Dreams
4. Brooklynaire
4.5. Bountiful
5. Overnight Sensation
6. Superfan

Sarina Bowen
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Amazon |

Synopsis (Goodreads):
No last names. No life stories. Those were the rules.

Once upon a time a cocky, copper-haired tourist sauntered into Zara’s bar. And even though she knew better, Zara indulged in a cure for the small-town blues. It was supposed to be an uncomplicated fling—a few sizzling weeks before he went back to his life, and she moved on.

Until an accidental pregnancy changed her life.

Two years later, she’s made peace with the notion that Dave From Brooklyn will never be found. Until one summer day when he walks into her coffee shop, leveling her with the same hot smile that always renders her defenseless.

Hockey star Dave Beringer has never forgotten the intense month he spent with prickly Zara. Their nights together were the first true intimacy he’d ever experienced. But the discovery of his child is the shock of a lifetime, and his ugly past puts relationships and family out of reach.

Or does it? Vermont’s countryside has a way of nurturing even tortured souls. The fields and the orchards—and hard won love—are Bountiful.
Thoughts on Bountiful: HOLY BANANAS, I LOVE CROSSOVERS. Especially when I'm knee deep in BOTH series when I hit the crossover book. *swoony mad love*

Dave and Zara. How do I love thee? SO MUCH. Zara is in a bit of an odd place when Dave crosses her path that one summer. She's a little bitter and a lot defensive and she indulges in a no-strings affair with a man she never expects to see again. Except letting go is harder than she thought it would be and that was BEFORE she found out she was pregnant.

Motherhood forced Zara to take a long, hard look at herself and her life and she realized that...life wasn't all that terrible. Sure, it was tough being a single mom, but her family was great about helping out and she's come a long way from the bitter bartender she had been.

For his part, Dave is blindsided when he runs across Zara two years after that fateful summer and finds himself an unexpected daddy. He's completely out of his element and a hot mess on a lot of levels when he first finds out, but he adjusts (eventually) and comes to terms with, well, everything.

I loooooove seeing the extended Shipley family and the various Bruisers who make cameos. Crossovers, man. I'm a hardcore sucker for them and I'm never planning on changing. *THUMBS UP*

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Miss Mechanic by Emma Hart [Review]

 Miss Mechanic by Emma Hart
Miss Mechanic by Emma Hart
Format: ebook
Source: purchased
Date read: May 18, 2019

Purchase Links: Paperback | Kindle

Emma Hart
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Amazon |

Synopsis (Goodreads):
Two mechanics. One rivalry.
She’ll prove she’s as good as she says she is.
He’ll prove her place isn’t under the hood.
It’s over it.

“Don’t let the bastards get you down.”
For twenty-six years, I lived by my daddy’s motto. Which is why “Mechanic Wanted” is all it takes for me to apply for the job at the garage we once owned.
And I meet the biggest bastard of them all.
Dexter Ryne. Hotter than Hell in July and a firm believer that my place is on reception, taking phone calls and looking pretty. Not getting dirty under the hood of a car.
Determined to prove each other wrong, we make a deal.
I have three weeks to prove my worth as a mechanic. If I don’t, I’m on telephone duty.
If I do, he’ll accept defeat and make my job permanent.
Now, all I have to do is fight my attraction to the cocky little… beep.
Problem is, an engine isn’t the only thing he knows how to make purr…

MISS MECHANIC, a standalone romantic comedy from New York Times bestseller, Emma Hart.
Thoughts on Miss Mechanic: Jamie and Dex are...I'm going to say they're kind of explosive. Jamie has a bit of a temper and Dex doesn't want to be attracted to her, but they both have the hots for one another even though they're DESPERATELY trying to deny it to themselves (and everyone else around them).

When you have simmering attraction and you throw in a heaping handful of denial, THINGS HAPPEN. Sexy things. Things like accidentally going at it in the garage when the let their guard down. HOO-BOY. That was a smokin' hot encounter.

But as antagonistically compatible as they may be physically, they fight like...well, actually, they fight like they're engaging in really intense foreplay. Which sort of reminds be of a certain Noelle Bond and her honey, come to think of it. (No lie, I like the verbal sparring as foreplay. Characters who get wound up poking at each other do it for me apparently. And then the OTHER type of poking happens and...GOOD TIMES!)

Sexy, fun, and hot in all the right places. I got a kick out of Jamie and Dex and their (somewhat) complicated relationship.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Upsy Daisy by Chelsie Edwards [Review]


 Upsy Daisy by Chelsie Edwards
Upsy Daisy (Higher Learning #1) by Chelsie Edwards
Format: ebook
Source: provided for review
Date read: May 2, 2020

Higher Learning
1. Upsy Daisy - Paperback | Kindle

Chelsie Edwards
| Twitter | Facebook | Amazon |

Synopsis (Goodreads):
College, cookies, capers, Oh my!
Daisy Payton has everything.
Exceptional grades.
Impeccable clothes.
Model family.

But perfection comes at a high cost, and Daisy is wilting. Determined to use college as her chance to bloom anew, she’s focused on only one thing, leaving the Payton name behind and forging her own path—even if she has to tell the teeniest of fibs to do it.

Trevor Boone has nothing.
Abandoned as a child.
Raised by distant relatives.
Constantly reminded he’s a burden.

Trevor’s lived at the edges of opulence for years, having all he’s ever desired dangled just out of reach. But his ambition is finally about to pay off and nothing will distract him from his goal—finishing college top of his class and starting life, on his own terms.

When Daisy and Trevor meet it’s clear from the start that they’ll tempt each other to distraction, can they learn to put their ambitions aside and fall or will they lose it all?
Thoughts on Upsy Daisy: OKAY! Going back to see how the lovely and industrious Daisy Payton (of Daisy's Nut House fame) got her start (or at least got put on the path to her start) was pretty darn fabulous. She's been a mainstay in the town of Green Valley since the Winston boys first made their debut. Or maybe I should say her famous donuts are the mainstay. Either way, it was great seeing how she (and her donuts) got her start.

It was also a little bumpy. That was mostly due to a BOATLOAD of miscommunication and little lies that were never meant to hurt anyone, but which hurt people all the same.

But then, if you can't lie about your name or where you come from or who you're in love with, what can you lie about?

I kid! Seriously, though, Daisy and Trevor have a lot of little hurts (and a few REALLY big ones) to get past before they can do the couple thing. Daisy wants to learn how to be herself without the weight of her family name and it leads to her making some questionable choices. Trevor is doing a noble thing for someone he cares for, but it ends up hobbling both himself and Daisy AND his closest friends. It's a mess, really, and it takes a lot of time and patience and soul-searching before Daisy and Trevor realize that being alone and miserable is absolutely not where either of them want to be.

(As an aside, Jules' parents are AWFUL and I genuinely hope their actions are addressed down the road.) (And by that, I mean in Jules' book. Because he is getting one, right? RIGHT?)

Finding yourself, a teeny case of theft, baking, baking, baking, and figuring out that some things are absolutely worth fighting for. GOOD STUFF.

Excerpt

My room was small with pale yellow walls, one window on the far wall, two closets, two raised beds, and a single dresser. I’d beaten my roommate there and claimed the bed closest to the window. We’d made quick work of the cleaning and had gotten a good way through the decorating and hanging my clothes before Dolly flopped on the bed and called me to sit next to her.

I knew what was coming next. It was one of my favorite Dolly speeches. It was the “Today You Become a Woman” speech. My conservative guess was I’d become a woman twenty-three times in the last few years. It’d happened when I’d gotten my driver’s license, when I’d gotten asked to the junior prom, when I’d gone to the senior prom, graduation day … you get the drift. Dolly was good with marking milestones with big speeches.

She’d begin gently but I knew it wouldn’t stay gentle for very long, she would poke and pry and try to get me to cry and suddenly I was tired and ready for her to go.

“Do you like your room?” she asked innocuously.

I nodded, because I knew she hated when I nodded. Instead of reacting she simply stared and stared until I said, “Yes, it’s nice, a bit small for two people but I’m sure my roommate will be nice and we will make do,” I said it more hoping than knowing.

Dolly smiled, and then after a moment said, “Don’t be angry with your father …”

I stared at her confused, waiting for her to go on. She seemed to be struggling for words and so I patted her leg reassuringly. “Don’t worry, I’ll write him a letter. Or better yet, I think I saw a pay phone at the end of the hall, I’ll call him and tell him I’m not angry he couldn’t make the trip.”

She sighed. “No, Daisy, I know you’re not angry over that.”

There was another pause and she took a deep breath. “Daddy wanted to surprise you. He thought you might be more comfortable in your own room here since you have your own room at home.”

I continued to stare at her. “He called in a favor with one of his friends at the Alumni Association and they made special accommodations for you … someone will be by to collect the extra bed—”

“No,” I said more forcefully than I intended. I wasn’t angry with Dolly.

Although she had kept this from me until now, so maybe I should’ve been. In fact I definitely should’ve been.

“Dolly, why didn’t you tell me?”

“I knew it would make you upset. There is no use trying to change what’s done.”

“No use? Would make me upset? I am way past upset. I don’t want special accommodations. I don’t want my own room. I don’t want to be treated differently,” I hollered.

“Daisy, calm down. This isn’t the end of the world.”

How could I explain that it wasn’t the end of the world, it was a continuation of the same world.

And that was the problem.

I wanted to be Daisy Payton here, not Daisy Payton.

Because Daisy Payton played a mean game of spades, and knew how to cornrow in every direction. She had a natural head for figures, and could even do three digit multiplication in her head. She loved the Temptations and could cut a rug on the dance floor with the best of them. She could bake better than your eighty-five-year-old granny. She studied geography for fun. She got a four-point-oh during the worst year of her life. She was good with potted plants but terrible in the garden; weeds were foes she could not defeat. She’d been kissed twice. Once was awful and once was amazing, so amazing that she did it again, and then again—so really four times, but three of the kisses happened in one session. And she wanted opportunities to roll that fifty-fifty dice again to find out how the next kiss would be.

But Daisy Payton?

Daisy Payton had a powerful father. (That poor man.)

Daisy Payton was a rich girl. (She’s not but it doesn’t matter if people think you are.)

She had a dead brother, who got murdered in Vietnam. (What a useless war.)

Daisy Payton had a mother who was there and then *poof* was gone from breast cancer. (Poor Daisy.)

Daisy Payton went from rich girl to poor girl. Poor little rich girl that everyone looked at with pity.

And she hated it.

She hated that everyone, everyone thought they knew her.

She hated the assumption that if they hurt with her, or worse, for her, then it made the pain better, as if that made it the entire community’s pain; when it absolutely didn’t.

She hated that she still read and reread the letters from her brother. Some of the pages had wrinkles from being crumpled in fits of anger because oh, she was so angry when he left. And then she felt guilty and stupid and horrified that she’d almost destroyed his letters when they were all that was left. Some were starting to show signs of age, yellow in some spots and the ink fading in others, and she hated that too because how could so much time have passed without him?

And she hated that her mother had been helping her shop for homecoming dresses and was buried before Thanksgiving. It had spread so fast.

No junior prom dress shopping. No junior prom.

She barely remembered her senior year.

She hated that her friends and family and perfect strangers spoke to her in hushed tones and assumed she was broken.

She hated that they were right.

Because the ache inside her was relentless. It constantly missed her brother. It constantly missed her mother. It would not abate. It could not be moved. She was thoroughly, horribly, broken and all that brokenness was put up for examination by an entire town. That just couldn’t happen here.

For the whole of her life, the whole of Green Valley had treated her differently, and she absolutely hated it.

But she wasn’t in Green Valley now. And Daisy Payton had a plan.

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About Chelsie Edwards
Chelsie Edwards’ mother declared her a smarty-pants at 4 years old; now she gets to be one professionally. She manages project timelines by day and book timelines by night. She resides in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. and has no dogs, fish, or birds, but her neighbors cat “Buddy” keeps her company by sunbathing on her porch. Her debut novella is scheduled to be released Spring 2020 on Smartypants Romance and will chronicle Daisy and Trevor’s journey.

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