Falling Softly by Maria Duffy

falling-softlyBlurb: Holly Russo couldn’t be happier.
Christmas, her favourite time of year, is only seven weeks away and her boyfriend has just popped the question. David is steady and reliable, and Holly knows he’ll give her a wonderful life. The kind of life she’s always wanted. Right?

Then her new neighbour moves in.
Josh O’Toole is also approaching the festive season with joy. He loves his teaching job. He’s about to have a baby with his adored girlfriend Stephanie, and they’ve just moved into a new home to begin their life as a family.

But as Josh and Stephanie settle into their new house across the road from Holly and David’s, things begin to get complicated …

Falling Softly is a sparkling, heart-warming story about first love, and how life has a habit of turning out in the way we least expect it to.

scr2557-proj697-a-kindle-logo-w-rgb-lg

images

2 stars

I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest/unbiased opinion.

I’m sorry but I did NOT like this story. It started out slow and only dragged on. There was not enough showing, too much telling. And the flashbacks didn’t really give us a look into how happy they were so the chemistry was non existent for me.

It showed how unhappy they were in their current relationships but I failed to see how them getting together was better.  It had been too long and they didn’t know each other anymore.  We never really knew them in love so when they ‘fell’ it didn’t seem genuine at all.

The end was too fast, not flowing cohesively like the slow beginning and middle. The transition of the story seemed a bit choppy throughout honestly.  I had to keep stopping because the scenes kept changing abruptly and I was like, “Wait, how did we get here?”

Honestly, I almost DNF’d this book but wanted to give it another chance. I regret it. I should have gone with my gut.

Curly Carla_small

Dragon Seeker Part One (Dragon Hunter Chronicles #5) by Carina Wilder

dragonBlurb: Trix is a cheeky, redheaded Hunter whose mind is consumed with thoughts of sexy Dragon shifter Lyre. He’s gorgeous, amazing, perfect and doesn’t know she exists. Well, at least that’s what she thinks.

Lyre is an easy-going, good-humoured Dragon shifter, and has just one problem: he wants a certain red-haired Hunter, but he knows he can’t have her. And when secrets from his past start to rear their ugly heads, things get even more complicated.
Now he’s been assigned to find the next Relic, and that can only mean one thing:
He has to find his mate and claim her.

This is part one of three, and the two next books will come out every few weeks after release, with the box set coming shortly after that.

scr2557-proj697-a-kindle-logo-w-rgb-lg

images

3 stars

This book was more about physical attraction than a genuine one.  They both wanted to have sex with each other.  They couldn’t stop thinking about it.  But I didn’t really see who they were as people so I wasn’t able to connect with there characters .  And we never get to see them have a ‘real’ conversation so I don’t know if they were really compatible or if they were just hard up.

The chemistry was decent and I really liked the main plot of the story.  Honestly, their attraction for each other could have waited a bit and it would have had more depth to me. I was very interested to find out what happened with the bad guys but the author kept going back to the romance.  And while I’m a huge fan of romance, in a paranormal it is usually more underscored.

The bad guys powers were pretty cool and the dragons were awesome.  There were different kinds and powers.  They had an alliance with humans, which I thought that was cool. Most times the dragons are the bad guys but in this one they are good.

While I don’t usually tell people if its a cliffy or not I’m outing this book. It’s a cliffy. And the reason I’m doing that is because even though it is, I’m not reading the next one.  I wasn’t invested in the story enough to want to know what happens.  So that tells you something yeah.

It’s free so you can check it out and see if its something you might like, but for me the ride ends here.

Curly Carla_small

Kissed (The Thorn Chronicles #1) by Kimberly Loth

kissedBlurb: Trapped in a dark cult, sixteen-year-old Naomi Aren has lived a quiet, albeit unhappy, life nestled deep in the hills of the Ozarks. With uncut hair, denim skirts, and only roses for friends, Naomi seldom questions why her life is different from other kids at school. Until the day her abusive father, who is also the cult’s leader, announces her wedding. Naomi must marry Dwayne Yerdin, a bully who reeks of sweat and manure and is the only one person who scares her worse than her father.

Then she meets Kai, the mysterious boy who brings her exotic new roses and stolen midnight kisses. Kisses that bring her a supernatural strength she never knew she had. As the big day approaches, Naomi unearths more secrets of about her father’s cult. She learns she has power of her own and while Kai may have awakened that power, Naomi must find a way to use it to escape Dwayne and her father—without destroying herself.

scr2557-proj697-a-kindle-logo-w-rgb-lg

images

3 stars

This book started out so odd.  The roses and the kisses were intriguing but I think the author lost me after that.  I mean, I finished the book so it wasn’t terrible but so many things could have been tightened up.  It was a bit all over the place.

First off, the kissing.  I didn’t get it.  The reasoning behind it didn’t make sense to me. Too me it seemed like the author wanted her to kiss a bunch of guys to show her interest but it could have been done in a more subtle way.

Second, there was soooo much telling in this book.  I didn’t really connect with any of the characters because of it.  Things happened ‘to’ them but we didn’t really get a chance to ‘see’ them if that makes sense.  I felt like I was listening to someone tell me what they did last weekend.  No connection.

Third, there was so much going on that the main plot got kinda lost.  It seems that the story has potential, otherwise I would have never finished it, but there was a lot of ‘fluff’ added to the story and its seemed it was for shock value.  A lot could have been taken out and it still would have made sense.  And if a little more depth would have been added to some main scenes, I probably would have identified with the characters more and cared more about what happened to them.

I feel this book could have benefited from some really good beta’s readers and a developmental editor. But I’m no expert.  I may read the next one but I’m leary.

Curly Carla_small

Top Ten New-To-Us Authors We Read For the First Time in 2016

Top Ten Tuesday
(Images link to Goodreads, Titles link to Amazon using Amazon Affiliate links)

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish in which you make a list of ten to do with a certain topic.  This week’s topic is “Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read For The First Time In 2016.”

Curly Carla’s Top Ten:

2976967520307976dream-chaser29753197imperfect-chemistry2573366920427449the-spider-catchertmilthe-other-guys-bride

  1. Vampire Girl (Vampire Girl #1)by Karpov Kinrade. This book was great. It’s written by a married couple. Can’t wait till I can afford books again so I can buy this one. My review.
  2. Agent I1: Tristan (The D.I.R.E. Agency #1) by Joni Hahn. Lots of steam in this book! And it’s Perma-Free! My review.
  3. Dream Chaser by Angie Stanton. A lovely book about overcoming fear. My review.
  4. It Took a Rumor by Carter Ashby. A really funny and cute read. My review.
  5. Imperfect Chemistry (Imperfect #1) by Mary Frame. I’ve been following this author for a while but this is the first book I’ve read from her. She is super funny and I loved that cast plus this book is also perma-free! My review.
  6. Fall Line (Downhill #1) by Tudor Robins. A very cute sports romance. My review.
  7. Relentless (Relentless #1) by Karen Lynch. This book is also perma free. And I enjoyed it. My review.
  8. The Spider Catcher (Redemption #1) by A.L. Tyler. Ohhh this book was soooo good and it’s also perma free. If you can’t tell I’m kinda broke so I gotta get those freebies when I can! My review.
  9. The Man I Love (The Fish Tales #1) by Suanne Laqueur. This book broke my heart then put it back together. My review.
  10. The Other’s Guys Bride by Connie Brockway. I am a fan of historical romances and this one was different in that it wasn’t England but Egypt. Very good book. My review.

Lenoreo’s Top TenThirteen:

For this week’s TTT the titles will link to my reviews, and the author name will link to their Amazon page if they have one.

index22616635254476942274681612135131hopeless25413371301176833157304430151392320571273232501230415027

  1. Ellie Cahill — I remember her being recommended by Cassie Mae, so I requested Call Me, Maybe and Just a Girl from NetGalley.
  2. Amber L. Johnson — Don’t know how I came across her, but I had Puddle Jumping on my TBR and wanted to read before the Emerald City Author Event at the end of April (which I did and got to get a signed copy and meet the author!).
  3. Cate Cameron — Another discovery from NetGalley, I requested Playing Defense, book 2 in the Corrigan Falls series, and then went back and bought book 1, Center Ice, and requested the third book, Winging It, from NetGalley before it came out.
  4. Krista & Becca Ritchie — The Addicted series has been recommended to me by many, and I had the first book, Addicted to You, and quickly bought the next 2, Ricochet and Addicted to Now, before meeting these lovely ladies at the Emerald City Author Event.
  5. Raine Thomas — The Daughters of Saraquel Trilogy is another series that I’ve had on my TBR for quite some time, and so I read Becoming, Central and Foretold before meeting Ms. Thomas at Utopia Con in June.
  6. Melissa Haag — This one is all Curly Carla’s fault.  She read the Judgement of the Six series in March, and so I read those interspersed with the Judgement of the Six Companion series throughout the summer, though I’m now 2 books behind again. My reviews for Hope(less), Clay’s Hope, (Mis)fortune, Emmitt’s Treasure, (Un)wise, (Un)bidden, and (Dis)content.
  7. Scarlett Cole — Another author I discovered through NetGalley, I’ve read books 1 and 4 of her Second Circle Tattoos series, The Strongest Steel and The Darkest Link.
  8. Kelly Siskind — Yup, you guessed it, NetGalley!  I read book 2 in her Over the Top series, A Fine Mess.  And I have book 3 burning a hold in my pocket as we speak.
  9. Sarah Nicolas — It seems that NetGalley is my number one source for new authors!  I requested Keeping Her Secret as I’d also requested the other Endless Summer book provided by Entangled Publishing.
  10. Julie Cross — Another NetGalley find, I read Ms. Cross’s first book in the Eleanor Ames series, Chasing Truth.
  11. Erin Fletcher — NetGalley strikes again, the first book in the Breakaway series, All Laced Up.
  12. Robin Bielman — And then I went NetGalley Christmas crazy, and discovered Ms. Bielman with Once Upon a Royal Christmas.  And after that I bought a few of her other books.
  13. Kendra C. Highley — Another NetGalley find, I just finished The Bad Boy Bargain last week!

I love discovering new-to-you authors, and obviously we both did great at finding new ones to entertain us!  Which new-to-you authors did you discover this year?

Déjà Revu December 5th, 2016

Picture
Déjà Revu is a weekly review round-up that is open to all book review blogs.

Rock by Anyta Sunday

23159305Blurb: Igneous.

When Cooper’s parents divorce, he finds himself landed in Week About—one week with his mum and one week with his dad.
Only, it’s not just his dad he has to live with. There’s Lila, too: The other woman, the one who stole the rock-solid foundation of his life.

And then …

There’s Jace. Lila’s son. Lila’s smug, regurgitated-fish-scale-blue eyed son.

All Cooper wants is to have his family back the way it once was, but there’s something about this boy that promises things will never be the same again.

Sedimentary.

Resisting the realities of his new life, Cooper and Jace get off to a rocky start. But rocky start or not, after hundreds of shared memories together, they forge something new. A close … friendship.

Because friendship is all they can have. Although it’s not like they are real brothers…

Metamorphic.

But how does that friendship evolve under the pressures of life?
Under pressures of the heart?

scr2557-proj697-a-kindle-logo-w-rgb-lg

images

4 Stars ~I’m a huge fan of Anyta Sunday so its no secret I was gonna love this book too.

This story took quite a bit of time to get to where it was going.  And I felt the climax was a but overdone.  But the love story was incredibly intense and deep.

I totally identified with Cooper’s reaction to his parents divorce.  I was thrown back in time feeling all those overwhelming emotions. I really got caught up in it in the beginning. But I never really understood his instant dislike of Jace in the beginning.  Nor did I understand how he didn’t know how Jace felt about him when they were younger.

This story takes place over many years so the background was a good half of the book. Honestly, I could have done without so much of it and I still would have been able identify with the characters.

Cooper used rocks as a way to ground himself when things got out of control for him. I really liked that.  He would be able to choose a rock and remember what memory it held or what he felt at the time he picked it.  A cool tangible way to recall memories.  He had a hard time with confidence and becoming comfortable in his own skin.  I think it helped that his HS friends really just rolled with the punch’s when it came to his sexuality.

Jace was a bit odd to me.  Sometimes they were so in sync that he was able to read Cooper’s mind but then others they were so far apart it was almost like, “What do they even have in common besides sharing a family?”  I think Jace overthought his feelings and couldn’t get past what some people would think.  I didn’t like him when he was in college. I felt he wasted time and allowed fear to get in the way of what could have been a great experience.

Then I think they each had to go it alone for a while because that’s what growing up is all about. Taking the journey.  So then my mind went all abstract on me and I understood why Jace was so withdrawn.

Honestly, I could go on and on about the nuances of this book!  Just, go read it!

Curly Carla_small

Cliffhanger (The Belinda & Bennett Mysteries #1) by Amy Saunders


16166710Blurb: 
Making her grand re-entry into Portside, Rhode Island, Belinda Kittridge expected fun, sun, and sugar cookies.

Instead, she gets one jilted lover braced for round two, an old rival on the hunt, and the murder of a former classmate and friend. Even worse, Belinda must return to the events surrounding a tragic sailing accident to set things right.

But new possibilities emerge in the form of security expert Bennett Tate. Between her connections and his know-how, they’re bound to catch the killer – and kick the skeletons out of the closet for good.

 

 

scr2557-proj697-a-kindle-logo-w-rgb-lg

Favorite Quotes:

“We could buy them an ice pick.” “And you’re complaining that nobody uses a bread maker?” “Hey, there is more than one use for an ice pick.” Victoria grinned. “Could come in handy past the honeymoon period.” “Yes, let’s buy the happy couple their future murder weapon.”

Bennett Tate was unfolding like origami. Deceptively simple on the surface. 

images

 

 

3 stars

Eh, this one was only okay for me.  I kept feeling like I was missing something while reading it.  Like things were getting skipped over and I had to keep going back saying, “Wait, how did we get here?”

The MC was a too breezy, I couldn’t really take her seriously.  Her manner was almost melodramatic.  And the near misses and the stalking were a bit over the top.  Also, I kept getting confused between Belinda and Bennett’s names.  They were too similar and it threw me out of the story.  So I was already half out of it by the time I got to the climax.

It just seemed that something that happened ten years ago wouldn’t take so much head space for so many people.  I guess I couldn’t suspend my belief on this one.

And the love interest was underwhelming for me. It lacked spark for me, there was smoke, but no fire.  So I was left wanting in that department and that makes for a cranky Carla.  Grrrr.

All in all, it was ok.  I don’t think I will be reading anymore of this series but I might try another my this author.

Curly Carla_small

Vampire Girl (Vampire Girl #1) by Karpov Kinrade

vampire-girlBlurb: You think it’s safe to walk alone at night. It’s not.

You think the only threat is other humans. It’s not.

Monsters are real. Demons are real. Vampires are real.

And I’m about to become one of them.

My name is Arianna Spero. I was an ordinary girl, living an ordinary life, until my mother lapsed into a coma. Now, I am her only hope. She made a deal with the devil, and on my 18th birthday he came to collect. But there’s a way to save her. There’s something the princes of hell want more than my mother.

Me.

So I signed my soul away and promised to pick a prince to marry. I would take the blood oath, become one of them, and give them an heir. I would become a princess of hell, and my mother would live.

I expected fire and brimstone. I expected pain and misery. I didn’t expect beauty. I didn’t expect magic.

I didn’t expect love.

But the princes are keeping secrets from me.

Secrets that could shatter everything.

scr2557-proj697-a-kindle-logo-w-rgb-lg

Favorite Quotes:

I sigh and look up at Jesus hanging on the cross. He always looks so reproachful, as if to say, ‘You think you have problems?’ but then again, maybe he’s just checking out the naked sculptures behind the bar.

She was a tall man once upon a time, and makes an even taller woman, given social stereotypes. But she is all woman, and one of my best friends in the world. Being transgender in a binary world can’t be easy, and every day I admire the courage it takes for her to just be herself.

“Right. Of course. That makes perfect sense. Mark of Cain. Hell dimension. Demons. What happens next?” I hold up a hand before he can speak. “No wait, let me guess. You tell me I’m some kind of chosen one and in exchange for my soul or some such nonsense you will save my mom. There’s probably a prophecy involved, and some danger, and you think your sexy charms will overcome all that and sway me to your way of thinking, yes? Sorry, dude. I’ve seen that movie.”

“No, we have four seasons. This is the beginning of winter. We haven’t seen cold yet. But it’s coming.” “So… is that when hell freezes over?” The look he gives me is funnier than my lame joke and I can’t help but laugh. He remains stoic, and I nudge him with my foot. “Oh come on, you know that was funny. Lighten up.” “I am the Prince of War. I do not ‘lighten up’.”

A part of me knows I have taken a life. It whispers to me of guilt and shame. But right now, I cannot listen. My mind thunders with rage. And there are more lives to take.

images

5 stars

Its been a while since I have read a book with  a plot that has so many twists and turns in it. Usually I have a hard time when reading those kinds but I loved this book.  It walked the thin line between difficult and simple for me.

We never really find out WHY Ari is chosen to be a bride of one the seven princes of Hell, also, they are vampires.  Pretty cool huh?  Which would normally make me hopping mad but the story unfolded so flawlessly and I was so engrossed with the authors descriptions of Hell that I didn’t even notice it till the very end. And even then I was so impressed with the storytelling skills that I just let it slide.

The parts that stood out to me were the descriptions of Hell.  It was so far removed form what we are traditionally brought up to believe that I was immediately in love with it. Think about that a tick.  In love with Hell?  Yeah, it was that good.

Ari is young, impulsive and all kinds of sarcastic, making for a lovable MC.  Her love for her mother knows no bounds, which shows us a softer side to her edgy persona.

I especially loved the Princes of Hell.  AKA vampires that live in the seven levels of Hell, AKA the seven deadly sins.  It was so awesome to visit the land of Sloth, Vanity and Pride.  Each prince represented their lands in a unique and thought provoking way.

And I can’t wait to go back and see what happens next. Spend the cash for this book people, you won’t regret it.

Curly Carla_small

Dream Chaser by Angie Stanton

dream-chaserBlurb: Willow Thomas has a bad habit of running away from things that scare her. And most recently, she quit her high school cheerleading squad after a terrifying fall.

With time on her hands, she auditions for a musical production directed by a Broadway choreographer. Just as things are looking up, Willow discovers she will be performing opposite Eli McAvoy, the best friend she abandoned three years before. To make matters worse, the kids in the musical hate her, her singing sucks, and her dog is sick.

Eli has grown up during their years apart and now possesses confidence and good looks, as well as a giant chip on his shoulder. He is in no hurry to play nice with Willow, but their entwined roles in the musical lead to entwined bodies in the backseat of his car.

Just when Willow finally has her life under control, another surprise is delivered in the form of her greatest challenge yet. Will she run or finally stand and face her fears? And will Eli be there to help or turn his back on her for good?

scr2557-proj697-a-kindle-logo-w-rgb-lg

images

5 stars

I must say the MC’s name didn’t fit for me for some reason. I kept forgetting it.  I just didn’t see her character with that name.

This book is about overcoming fear.  And it was pretty transparent throughout.  The romance aspect was slow going but the main plot kept my interest enough that I was fine with that.  I kinda felt she was a bit immature about her fears in the beginning, but then I realized they are in HS and her supposed BFF was acting worse so I let that slide.

Her parents seemed way too lackadaisical for me. Maybe its because my mom was way more strict with me but I would not have been able to quit something then start something new within a few days. No ma’am, that would not have gone over well in my house at all.

I really liked how Willow was able to identify her fear and find a way to cope with it without letting down all the people that were counting on her.  That was a shining moment for me int this book.  I also liked how her love interest, Eli, calls her on her BS without seeming too much like a total dick.

Eli was a bit of an enigma to me.  They had this past that kept coming up but I didn’t feel I saw enough of it to really know him.  He was just….there.  His character could have used more depth for me.  And Willow’s BFF was too extreme in her emotions it seemed.  First she was very supportive, but only if her interest aligned with Willows. Then she completely ignored her for most of the book.  Then they are buddy buddy again at the end. It was a bit choppy for me.  The transitions were wanting in those parts.

Those things were minor compared to the great story that unfolded.  And the couch scene was THE BEST!  Totally worth the money on this.

Curly Carla_small

 

 

It Took A Rumor by Carter Ashby


29753197Blurb:
 Thanks to a flamboyant, small-town gossip blogger, Ivy Turner’s lily-white reputation has just been unceremoniously muddied. Rumor has it Ivy has succumbed to temptation and slept with one of the Deathridge brothers. Sources can’t confirm which of the four, sexy cowboys she’s taken up with, but everyone in town is weighing in.

Ivy would gladly step forward and defend her good name, except that the rumor happens to be true. Perplexed that her little indiscretion has somehow made it into the public eye, Ivy sets out to find the rumor’s source. In the process, she becomes the unwitting keeper of all the Deathridge brothers’ rather formidable secrets.

Now, not only does she have to keep taking hits to her reputation to protect the brothers, but all these secrets and lies are keeping her from exploring her burgeoning feelings for one of them. But if Jake, Cody, Dallas, and Boone think that Ivy’s patience is limitless, they’re in for a shock. Because when Ivy breaks, she’s taking everyone down with her.

scr2557-proj697-a-kindle-logo-w-rgb-lg

Favorite Quotes: 

It didn’t much matter what he wore, his baby face held all the allure of a piece of candy from a stranger in a creepy van.

 She’d set herself apart by choosing career over family, as if one couldn’t have both, and was therefore outside their sphere of interest.
 
“First, we see that woman was created from man. That she was made equal to man, but for the purpose of supporting him.” Ivy sank into herself a little. It was so conflicting, hearing those words, because she disagreed with them. 
 
“I can acknowledge that a guy’s good looking or in good shape or whatever, but it’s never turned me on.” “If you say so.” “Stop trying to make me question my sexuality.” “Why shouldn’t you? Why shouldn’t we all? Maybe we wouldn’t have so many problems if we didn’t draw so many hard lines about it.”

images

5 stars

Oh man, did I love this book.  The romance aspect was soooo different than the ones I usually read.

Ivy is a career minded, independent woman with a very formal way about her.  Not at all what I would have expected of someone raised on a ranch.  I loved the fact that even though her reputation was being tarnished she didn’t defend herself. Opting for keeping the secrets and helping the very ones who were supposedly her enemies.  Hmmm, there’s a lesson in there somewhere.  It really showed a deeper level of selflessness that I found admirable in her character. But, her kindness was not weakness and let me tell you when she finally said enough is enough, ::shakes head:: she gave them what for!  It was wonderful to see her lose control after everything she went through!

The gossiping old lady was at times the perfect comedic relief but other times I just wanted to slap her old face because she as such a liar.

Ivy had such a great support system in her corner, a fact which I really loved. Her father was very understanding and open to other people’s point of view.  You could tell where Ivy got her understanding from. And even though his part was not that large, he stands out in my mind after reading the book.

The brothers mother’s story was bittersweet for me.  I felt very sad for her in some ways but her strong backbone shown through in the end.  And the brothers!  Oh my, they were almost more trouble than they were worth. Always getting into some kind of mischief, with Ivy smack dab in the middle of it all.  It was like a well rehearsed satire in its unpredictability and humor.  I can’t wait to read the next one.

Curly Carla_small