True North by Kelly Collins

true northBlurb:  Scarred.  Hopeless.  Lost.

Alexa Cross leaves Los Angeles with a scarred heart, beat-up car, and a secret. She’s ready to move on and leave her past behind, but fate has had a way of knocking her right back down.   Marooned in the middle of nowhere—she imagines misfortune has dealt its final blow, but this time, destiny seems to have a different plan when she ends up in a place aptly called The Last Resort.

Reassembling shattered lives is what innately sexy, bar owner, Zane Abbamonte, does best, and it rarely ends well for him.  When he sees a woman stranded on the side of the road, desperate and alone, the otherwise irascible biker rescues her without hesitation, but Zane harbors secrets of his own. When Alexa begins to uncover the truth about Zane, the weight of her past comes crashing back. Her instincts say, “Run!” but her heart tells her to stay.

Glimpsing the chance for a future together, Zane and Alexa must confront their “ghosts” and navigate through their fears. Will The Last Resort be the end of their encounter or the beginning of everything they desire?

Find out in True North.

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3 stars

The beginning was great. Then it just kinda lost steam. I felt her journey to find herself became something else entirely by the end.  There were too many cliches thrown in. Misconceptions, deliberate misunderstandings, stuff like that.  And I was rolling my eyes in the beginning but held out hope that it would get better.  But then…

Everything seemed to be over-explained. As if the author didn’t think the reader would get the subtle nuances of the relationship.  Which in turn forced the relationship to progress before it was ready.  They moved in together incredibly early, especially for him being a parent.  And I get the suspending of reality in a book, but I felt this was just too much to ask of us.  And its not like I don’t get it could happen, hell, I moved in my then boyfriend (now-husband) two months after we started dating so I get a fast progressing love story.  This one was just beyond my ability to believe.

By the end I was a bit disappointed honestly.  It was a feel good book with no real climax. And sometimes those are good.  but this time, for me, it was only okay.

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Enforce (Eagle Elite #1.5) by Rachel Van Dyken

23931211Blurb: There’s two sides to every story…

And ours?
Isn’t pretty… Then again,
what’s pretty about the mafia?
Trace Rooks, that’s what.
But she only wants one of us, and I’ll kill him before I let him have her.
The only problem ?
We’re cousins .
And she may just be our long lost enemy.
Whoever said college was hard, clearly didn’t attend Eagle Elite University.
Welcome to hell also known as the Mafia where blood is thicker than life, and to keep
yours?
Well, keep your friends close, and your enemies?
Even closer…

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DNF

This book made NO sense whatsoever! I’m so upset because I have never reacted this way to a book by RVD before. I don’t even know what plot was. Something like, mafia were trying to protect there asses by running a college and also they were the heads of their families, but they were only like 22? And then there was a new girl who was nice so they were mean to her to protect her? From what I have no idea. And they murdered and sexually manipulated people but I’m supposed to care about them? I just don’t get it.

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Capture (Seaside Pictures #1) by Rachel Van Dyken

captureBlurbLosing your ability to speak at the age of seventeen; it’s not normal or fair.
But trauma, has a way of throwing normality out the window.
Dani lives anything but a normal life.
Her sister is married to one of the biggest names in Hollywood.
Her best friends are rockstar duo AD2.And she has more love around her than most people experience in a lifetime.
But that doesn’t change the fact their parents are dead.
Or that it’s her fault.

It seems her new normal is being a mute, living on the inside, unable to actually communicate on the outside.
That is until Hollywood’s newest heartthrob Lincoln Greene hires her as his assistant for the summer.
He’s gorgeous, completely unavailable, and unobtainable.
But that doesn’t stop her from wondering… if things were different…would he want her?
If she was whole, would he be the other half?

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3 stars

The beginning seemed a to start in the middle of the story and jarred me a bit but it picked up pretty quickly.  I don’t really know how I feel about this book. The caption reads #1 but apparently this is the second series set in this world so I feel like I missed so much of everyone’s back story.

There were so many side characters that were coupled I just knew that they each had their own book. And now I want to know their stories for GP but I don’t know if I like the book that much to read SIX other books to get all the subtle context.

I felt her selective muteness was made out to be a bigger deal than I it actually was. It seemed more of a plot device than a real part of the story.

Their attraction went from simmer to full boil too quickly in my opinion.  And they kept playing at staying away from each other when it was obvious they liked each other, so I kept wondering why stay away?  There was no real reason other than the overprotective men in her family. And honestly, that got a little stale after a while. They treated her like she was some fragile flower and it was quite annoying.

I think I’ll shelve this series and come back to it at a later time.  Maybe some time will change my perspective on the characters.

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Déjà Revu May 22nd, 2017

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

Love Hacked (Knitting in the City #3) by Penny Reid

love hackedBlurb: There are three things you need to know about Sandra Fielding: 1) She makes all her first dates cry, 2) She hasn’t been kissed in over two years, and 3) She knows how to knit.

Sandra has difficulty removing her psychotherapist hat. Of her last 30 dates, 29 have ended the same way: the man sobbing uncontrollably. After one such disaster, Sandra–near desperation and maybe a little tipsy–gives in to a seemingly harmless encounter with her hot waiter, Alex. Argumentative, secretive, and hostile Alex may be the opposite of everything Sandra knows is right for her. But now, the girl who has spent all her life helping others change for the better, must find a way to cope with falling for someone who refuses to change at all.

 

 

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Favorite Quotes:

It is the burden of the optimist to live a life not knowing why others can’t see the beautiful light within themselves.

“What would I do without you girls?” “Likely eat more ice cream.” Kat patted her hair. “I hate to admit this, but I feel so lost.” I didn’t tell her, because I didn’t think it would help, but all people are lost, to varying degrees. I suspected that it’s only when we love others—through purpose, friendship, romance, or any combination thereof—that we become found.

Desire was like a good soup; it needed simmering.

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4 stars

I liked this one even though Alex was all kinds of wrong for my personal tastes. I just kept thinking that he was very creepy and his mannerisms quite frankly scared me. I would have ran in the opposite direction the very first night. But that’s the great thing about books, what seems crazy in real life is believable in a fictional world.

I love Sandra!  She was analytical just like me.  Well, she was a bit more than me but I loved the way she thought. And I totally identified with her friends view of her.  That she seemed like she had it all figured out and always had a plan.  That is so me!   And I love how held back she was with regards to starting a relationship with Alex. 

While Alex is not my cup of tea, I could appreciate his character all the same.  He had such passion that seemed to temper his possessive mannerisms.  Even though he was a bit selfish in some areas he clearly put Sandra’s welfare above his own personal wants.  Which in the end, made me like him.  Just…like…platonically.  🙂 

The love story was awesome but I gotta say I STILL have no idea what the plot was with regards to bitcoins.  WTF is a bitcoin? That was all a bit too abstract for me to interpret. The cool thing was that Sandra felt the same way so I didn’t feel like a complete idiot reading about it.  

A solid book in the series and exactly what I’d expect for PR.  

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Stacking the Shelves — May 20th, 2017

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

Stacking The Shelves is feature/weekly meme created by Tynga’s Reviews in which you share the books you are adding to your shelves, both physical and virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical stores or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

Curly Carla’s Haul

(All Ebooks unless otherwise specified)

NetGalley ARC Requests Approved:

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  • Why The River Runs (The Riverview Series #1) by JoAnna Grace from Y&R Publishing (Y&R Enterprises LLC) — released April 17th, 2017. Available for purchase now.

Purchased:

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  • Love Hacked (Knitting in the City #3) by Penny Reid.

Freebies I Found on Amazon:

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  • Tear (Seaside #1) by Rachel Van Dyken.

eReaderIQ Freebies:

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Lenoreo’s Haul

(All Ebooks unless otherwise specified)

ARCs from Authors/PR Companies:

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Got It On Sale:

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  • Sidebarred (The Legal Briefs #3.5) by Emma Chase — I actually have a signed copy of this paperback, but haven’t read it yet.  So when I got an eReaderIQ alert that this one was on sale for 99 cents from its usual $2.99, I one-clicked like a boss!!  I prefer reading on my Kindle, so I have a higher likelihood of actually reading it now.  This one’s still on sale!

Promise Me by Vivian Wood

promise meBlurb: Violet Shaw. My Vi.

I made her a promise a long time ago, and she thinks I broke it. But I never stopped loving her. I never will.

I was fool four years ago. I threw what we had away, thinking it was for her own good. No girl should have to wait around for a soldier that might never come home.

Everyday I thought about her; I fought to come back to her.

Now that I’m back in our hometown, I see her everywhere, as curvaceous and tempting as ever. But all she’s doing is pushing me away.

I was her first and I want to be her last.

I just need one chance.

I threw what we had away once — I won’t make that mistake again. Vi is going to be mine.

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2.5 stars

I don’t see what this cover has to do with the story.  And frankly, it irritates me now. He has tattoos, so what?  That is not indicative of anything really.  And why is the woman not represented?  And why is he shirtless?  Not the reason I chose the book and a strike against it after reading it and knowing it has nothing to do with the characters.

The book was ok. I really did not like how much his leaving affected her.  It was like she put too much value on what everyone else thought and allowed it to color her own view of herself.  While I don’t mind a weak female lead, I do expect there to be some kind of growth in regards to that.

But there didn’t seem to be.  She seemed to care even more about what everyone else thought.  And instead of standing up for herself, she retreated almost every time.  The only one she did stand up to was the male. I can’t even remember his name.  He chased her and she repeatedly turned him down.  It got old pretty fast.

I did’t really feel their connection or chemistry.  And I found him a bit overbearing in his pursuit of her.  Plus his backstory was wholly unbelievable.  It just wasn’t my cup of tea.

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The Faerie War (Creepy Hollow #3) by Rachel Morgan

fairy warBlurb: Violet Fairdale is in big trouble. Her home is gone, her beloved forest lies in ruins, the guy she gave her heart to has deserted her—and she doesn’t remember any of it. The powerful Lord Draven is taking over, brainwashing guardians into fighting for him. No one is safe from the evil spreading throughout the fae world.

As alliances are forged between the remaining free fae, Vi struggles to reclaim her identity and figure out where she belongs in this new world. When someone from her past shows up, life gets even more complicated. He brings with him a long-forgotten weapon and an ancient prophecy that places Vi at the center of the fight against Draven. With the future of the fae world at stake, can Vi carry out the prophecy’s instructions before it’s too late?

 

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4 stars

I felt this was a great ending to a wonderful series. Even though it shows it is a seven books series, this is the last story with our MC’s in them.  The others go on and focus on other players in the same world.  I will probably read them in the future but not right now.

For those of you that pay attention, this is one of my all time favorite series, I have read it about three times so far and I’m sure I will read it again in the future.  Violet is just my kind of gal!  She is smart, stubborn and shows real growth throughout really making me love her all the more.  There is nothing more crappy than a stagnant MC.  It kills my enjoyment of a series.

And Ryn is my kind of love interest.  He is patient, supportive and passionate about Violet without being domineering and possessive.  He also exhibits a life outside of their relationship which is sooooo refreshing.  In fact, they aren’t really with each other for most of this book.

The ending was wholly unpredictable for me (the first time I read it)  and I really enjoyed the twists throughout the story.  Highly recommend this series for those who love YA Paranormal.

Curly Carla_small

Field of Schemes by Jennifer Coburn

field of schemesBlurb: Newly widowed Claire Emmett leaves Los Angeles so she and her eleven-year-old daughter, Rachel, can have a fresh start in the picture-perfect suburb of Santa Bella, California. But the simple, quiet life she seeks is nowhere to be found in the town where soccer is king and parents are far, far too involved in children’s sports.

When Rachel is scouted for an elite travel team, Claire is sucked into a world of high drama, backstabbing and deceit. The team manager plots a Wall Street-style hostile takeover. Parents sabotage players, serve as sports agents, and trade sexual favors for playtime.

Off the field, Claire must navigate the brave new world of the suburbs and build a life that doesn’t revolve around kids’ sports. Nothing is simple in Santa Bella, though. Claire’s neighbor is an outrageous flirt. She stumbles upon some dark secrets and unwittingly becomes the target of a very powerful enemy.

As Rachel’s team moves to the State Cup championship, Claire must develop a game plan of her own. It’s time for her to fight back and show her daughter what it means to be a soccer mom who plays to win when it matters most.

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DNF

Originally, the title, cover and blurb drew me in.

But…..It was slow, and the same things kept getting repeated. Like how hard it was for her to move on and the fact she likes to run away when things get tough.  They just didn’t seem to be progressing fast enough to hold my attention.  And I guess I have an issue with this but….the TELLING! OMG, there was so much telling.  I was just not interested enough to move past the slow parts.
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Hook by Elisabeth Grace

Blurb:
29379163From USA Today Bestselling Author, Elisabeth Grace, comes her most suspenseful, sexy, and thrilling book yet!

Women loathed me without even knowing my name. Men coveted the very idea of me.

Escort. Call girl. Prostitute. Hooker. Wh*re.

I’d heard it all. Done it all.

Over the years I’d felt a lot of things about my occupation…but not regret–never regret. I had my reasons for doing what I did and nothing and no one had ever made me question them.

UNTIL MARCO VALENTI.

He’d changed me and I’d naively fed into the fairy tale.

But Marco wasn’t my Prince Charming. He had secrets of his own. Secrets that would eventually rip away everything I held dear.

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My Review:
3.5 stars — OK, so I will admit that I tend to shy away from mob/mafia feeling books, and with a name like Marco Valenti and a guy with secrets, I had a hunch something like that would appear.  It’s the same as I shy away from Motorcycle Club books, I just have a hard time falling in love with a hero who does questionable things.  But the hooker part intrigued me.  And since the author is going to be at a signing event I’m attending, and gave away this book for free, I figured I’d give it a shot.  And I must say, I was actually pleasantly surprised for the first more than half!!

For one, it was nice to have a woman in a questionable profession who isn’t some virginal girl, but who owns the choices she’s made to get where she’s at.  And who doesn’t regret them.  And when you learn why she’s chosen this path for her life, I could buy it.  A son with MD can NOT be an easy financial burden, especially as a young single mother.  And I think that’s particularly where our heroine shines, in her love for her son Daniel.  I really felt her love for him, her worry, and you could see the different choices she was making to truly give him the best life possible.  And I LOVED that she had goals outside of that too.  Like, with the amount of money she was making, she could have just coasted, but she was going to school, and she had dreams of something more.  It really made her a more interesting and 3 dimensional character.  That caught me by surprise, and I was impressed with that.

Marco was a bit harder to love, but I also didn’t hate him.  He had some spectacular moments (such as how he handles Daniel), and I loved how forceful he was about reminding our heroine that she is not just her profession.  I thought the balance was good.  He could be a bit…emotionally volatile?  Or something.  That wasn’t really a turn on for me.  But he had lots of sweet moments as well.

Honestly, I almost rated this one a full 4 stars because I really enjoyed the first part, even despite some reservations…  But I started to get a bit impatient/bored near the end of the book, b/c I had forgotten that it was a duet, and so I was wondering when we were going to get some resolution.  Answer?  We weren’t.  Cliffhanger.  Which is fine.  It was my fault for forgetting.  And so it just lost a bit of the good steam it had going.

So what were my reservations?  Well, what exactly drew Marco to her in the first place?  He was quite infatuated.  That was mitigated in that at least we got to see them get to know each other, so I could accept the development of the relationship past that point.  The name thing was a bit weird too…it went on longer than I was anticipating.  And it did pull a few things directly from Pretty Woman, which I didn’t feel like it had to be so close (the kissing thing, the opera).

And then we get to the ending.  Well, I’m a bit of a skeptical girl, so I don’t buy it all.  It felt a bit like a cheap play on emotions.  And I REALLY don’t like where that takes our heroine and hero.  In fact, the ending didn’t make me super keen on continuing on (despite the fact that having a cliffhanger is supposed to do the exact opposite).  So I read a few bad reviews for the next book, and I know darned well that my personal tastes are going to run towards that end of the spectrum, so I think I’ll just leave it at this.  Once that decision was made, I read some spoilers so I could at least have a question answered.  No regrets.  Enjoyable book, just not quite in my wheelhouse enough to continue on.

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