Join Up by Tudor Robins

Synopsis:
26889950A summer at one of the poshest riding camps in the province. A hundred horses. Rolling hills ribboned with hacking trails and cross-country jumps.

It could be perfect. Unless you’re Lacey Strickland, and you’re leaving Salem, Meg, and Jared behind on the island.

The only thing that isn’t hard to leave is Lacey’s memory of her first kiss, delivered in a spring-scented hayfield, which sizzled, then fizzled into nothing at all.

The other thing making camp less-than-perfect for Lacey? She’s not a cosseted camper, but a staff member – teaching riding lessons from sun-up to sun-down.

In Meg’s first letter to Lacey, she writes: “I bet anything there’s at least one amazing horse waiting for you there. And maybe a new great – if not best – friend.”

Is Meg right? Could Lacey meet a horse she’ll love just as much as Salem? And are there new friends in her future? Maybe even somebody who could give her more than just one kiss in a hayfield?

Find it on Goodreads.
Order it on Amazon.

My Review:
3.5 stars!  I received an copy of this ebook from the author in exchange for my honest review!

I honestly didn’t initially realize that this wasn’t going to be a continuation of Meg’s story, but since I felt like her story was complete, I was happy to see that we have a new heroine — Lacey!  She was so bubbly and forthright, I was interested to see how it would be to read from her perspective…and in general I thought the author did a great job of being faithful to the Lacey we’d come to know, just grown up.

I’m not a horsey person, but I felt like I could want to be a horsey person after reading these books.  They really give you such a sense of how important these creatures are in some people’s lives….  LOVED watching Lacey get to know Night.  Enjoyed the little bits of horsey knowledge that was passed along in little places here and there…not so much to overwhelm someone from outside that world, but enough to give a sense of place and time if that makes sense.

I thought the romance was blended in nicely with the rest of the story.  It’s really such a minor role — it’s more Lacey’s coming of age tale.  Dealing with the aftermath of a first kiss, learning to be a leader and teacher….  But I did really like Fitch and the way they bantered back and forth.

I do wish the book had been a bit more something…either more romance, or more coming of age struggles for Lacey.  I don’t know, I just wanted something a bit more.

I also felt like the ending kind of snuck up on me — not that it didn’t work, but just that I turned to a new chapter and all of a sudden it was the ending.  Might have been nicer to say “3 weeks later” or to label it as an epilogue.  Just something.

All in all this was a great addition to the Island Trilogy.  I’ll miss the girls and their horses…

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Wednesday Riders by Tudor Robins

Another throwback review!!  Loving rereading these stories — they are everything I love about a great YA story, all the trials and tribulations and growing up.

Synopsis:
24968475The island.

Meg can’t wait to get back. She’s excited to see her new mare kick up her heels in Salem’s old paddock. She’s impatient to run on country roads between breeze-blown hayfields.

Mostly, Meg longs to be back with Jared again.

It’s going to be the perfect summer.

But can real life live up to Meg’s huge expectations?

When Jared makes a heart-wrenching confession, Meg has to re-evaluate everything. If perfection’s not possible, can Meg find a way to build happiness for herself?

Fans of Appaloosa Summer will welcome the return to familiar places and characters, with the chance to be captivated by more of the beauty, romance, and dreaminess of Meg’s summer island life.

Find it on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24968475-wednesday-riders
Order it on Amazon: http://amzn.to/22wHK1i

My Review:
4.5 stars — I was lucky enough to receive an ecopy of this book from the author!!

This was a SOLID followup to the first book — both books felt very much like coming-of-age tales, but this one was NOT a repeat of the first book. This was Meg growing even more, struggling with new and different challenges. From the synopsis, I knew this was going to be a hard book to take, and I wasn’t disappointed. Ms. Robins gives us heartbreak, but it’s so real and multi-dimensional and takes us through the ringer with Meg. I’m finding it extremely difficult to write this review without spoilers….and still say something meaningful. I guess I just really liked that the characters aren’t perfect, and they don’t always behave the best, and that things actually take time to resolve and accept and move on from.

I enjoyed the development of her relationship with her mother as a result — I always found it intriguing reading about their not-overly-affectionate relationship (since that’s kind of foreign to me), so it was nice to see them grow but stay true to their own characters at the same time.

The side plot with the girls and the musical ride was a nice relief from Meg’s troubles…. I kept thinking it would be too much to draw me away from Meg’s story, but she ends up learning and growing through her relationship with the girls as well.

I have NO IDEA where the 3rd book is going to go, I just hope for slightly less heartbreak. I will be watching for the last book though! It’s been fun watching Meg grow….

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Runes (The Runes Series 1) by Ednah Walters

RunesSynopsis: Seventeen-year-old Raine Cooper has enough on her plate dealing with her father’s disappearance, her mother’s erratic behavior and the possibility of her boyfriend relocating. The last thing she needs is Torin St. James—a mysterious new neighbor with a wicked smile and uncanny way of reading her.

Raine is drawn to Torin’s dark sexiness against her better judgment, until he saves her life with weird marks and she realizes he is different. But by healing her, Torin changes something inside Raine. Now she can’t stop thinking about him. Half the time, she’s not sure whether to fall into his arms or run.

Scared, she sets out to find out what Torin is. But the closer she gets to the truth the more she uncovers something sinister about Torin. What Torin is goes back to an ancient mythology and Raine is somehow part of it. Not only are she and her friends in danger, she must choose a side, but the wrong choice will cost Raine her life.

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1Ufbnyj

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18046743-runes

4 Stars

This book is FREE!  It’s a mythological YA.  I love these books; they are so fun to read.  Raine is a forceful character and I love how the book doesn’t really center too much on just her.  It really shows all aspects of her friends and family as well.  She is very involved in her life, and looks to her future without seeming too mature for a seventeen year old.  It shows in the writing how she truly cares about things outside of herself.    She may seem a bit dense sometimes but I think that was intentional.

One thing that stuck out for me was the two love interests in this book.  They have an opposites attract thing going on; which makes for better story telling IMO.

Eirik is sweet and almost like a beta-alpha if that makes sense.  He cares for Raine but doesn’t try to take over her life.  He respects her and gives her space.  He is there for her when she needs someone to lean on.  I love Cora, she is spunky and fun.  She helps to keep Raine from taking life too seriously.  We all need a friend like Cora.  Torin is mysterious yet can’t seem to help himself when it comes to Raine.  He likes to stir the pot and get Raine all riled up for no other reason than to see her get flustered.  Their verbal foreplay is awesome and it really makes the tender moments that much more poignant.

The plot in this book is pretty intricate I think.  I realized after reading it a second time that I missed some things.  This is definitely a book you need to pay attention too.  The mythology in this book is profound but written in a way that it doesn’t hurt you head too much.  I appreciate the background done to make this book more three dimensional.  There is more than one plot and they all seem to intertwine making it a bit hard to understand at times.

If you like mythology, I would recommend this book.

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Appaloosa Summer by Tudor Robins

A bit of a throwback review — I’ve started rereading these books in preparation for the last book in this trilogy, so thought I’d post my old reviews on the bloggy blog as I finish reading each book!

Synopsis:
22674837Sixteen-year-old Meg Traherne has never known loss. Until the beautiful, talented horse she trained herself, drops dead underneath her in the show ring.

Jared Strickland has been living with loss ever since his father died in a tragic farming accident.

Meg escapes from her grief by changing everything about her life; moving away from home to spend her summer living on an island in the St. Lawrence River, scrubbing toilets and waiting on guests at a B&B.

Once there, she meets Jared; doing his best to keep anything else in his life from changing.

When Jared offers Meg a scruffy appaloosa mare out of a friend’s back field, it’s the beginning of a journey that will change both of them by summer’s end.

Find it on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22674837-appaloosa-summer
Order it on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1QSUf3G

My Review:
4.5 stars — OK, this was just all kinds of YA goodness. Oh crap — I was provided with a copy of this book through netgalley, and here is my honest review!!!

OK, now that that’s out of the way….I will admit, being a Canadian, reading a Canadian author, with a book set in Canada, with a few little Canadian quirks….might have made me a very happy camper. They weren’t overt or all over the place, but it is kind of cool to see colour spelled with a u (it might have been favourite….it was one of those words), Tim Horton’s mentioned, and heck I used to live in Ottawa, so it was like revisiting a magical place! What does this have to do with the book? NOTHING! I just wanted to gush. Now onto relevance….

Coming from the perspective of someone that knows NOTHING about horses and showing and all that stuff, I felt like it was explained really well and didn’t get so technical that I was lost…. Course that also means I can’t vouch for the authenticity, but it worked wonders for me! It had such a heartbreaking start, and I was really wondering how I was going to feel about Meg b/c she seemed so self-contained and a bit separate from her parents. But I really ended up loving Meg…and maybe that’s b/c I got to see her have a summer in her element, embracing who she is and what she loves and learning more about herself.

I LOVED Jared….he was just sweet, and a bit sassy (in a guy way), with his own bit of heartbreak to tell. And the romance in this book was just so sweet and innocent and BEAUTIFUL. LOVED it.

So yeah, it made me feel things, it made me happy, and even though it seems to be a part of a new series, I felt closure at the end of the book. I don’t know if the next book will be about Meg (and Jared), but I would love to see more of their story if it’s told!! Will definitely be watching out for this author in the future.

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Read This Round Up #63

20151228_071016_resizedPhoto courtesy of KissinBlueKaren

Welcome to Read This, a collection of book reviews and giveaways that were posted in the past week or so from around the web. This is a collection of book reviews & contests from real reviewers. If you want to be included in the next edition start with the guidelines, then use the submission form.

Want to read more reviews? Check out Read This for a list of the latest reviews and stellar reviewers. You can also follow on twitter for the latest round ups. Read This is now accepting photo submissions for each edition.


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Giveaway

Any book or preorder (retailer of your choice) up to $17

The Touch: (The Cotiere Chronicles #2) by Michelle Bolanger

THe touchSynopsis: Alexander Koch lives a life most men would kill for. As the sole heir to his family’s enormous wealth, he enjoys the finer things in life despite the crippling pain that increases with every passing day. Until he meets the one he’s intended for. The one whose slightest touch makes the pain vanish. But after a chance meeting at the first Gathering of their kind, the girl runs from him in terror. Now he’s willing to spend every last cent to find her.

Jessalyn Vogt escaped her father’s controlling ways and has settled into a simple life, caring for her horses and brewing coffee for her customers. Until Alexander Koch tracks her down. She wants nothing to do with his arrogance, his money, or the undeniable attraction drawing her to him. But she knows she is the only one who can relieve him of the horrible pain racking his body.

The Cotiere has been reunited, but that was the easy part. Greed and old traditions threaten to tear it apart again. Trust has been compromised and hidden agendas are destroying the fragile truce between parents and children. It’s in the hands of the new counsel to keep it together, even if it means some must be willing to lose everything.

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1NS7Sds

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27390380-the-touch-the-cotiere-chronicles-2

5 Stars-YA Paranormal appropriate for ages 18 and up due to violence

I loved the first book so when the chance came up to review the second I jumped on it!  This book is not for the faint of heart. It’s filled with pain, anger and loss.  The sadness in this book kinda broke my heart.  To need something but not want it; to want something but fear accepting the unknown.  The feelings in this book are written superbly.  I felt Jessi’s fear, her anger at being controlled and her sense of freedom when she started to live her life on her terms.

Jessi is a kind yet fractured soul.  She shows amazing courage by paving her own path.  I loved the fact that she worked with horses that need special attention, it shows her patience as a person.  And I loved that even though she was skeptical when it came to Alexander, she still gave him a chance.  But she isn’t a push-over; she made him work for it!  The balance of frailty and strength is weighed evenly, with no one side as the winner.  I loved that about her character.  Seriously, I loved her character more than the first book.  But don’t tell the author. J

Alexander, swoon! Who doesn’t love a man with a beard? He is brooding and aggressive, yet sensitive to others needs.  Imagine living in pain, physical pain, every day of his life with no end in sight.  I think it would be very lonely to not have that connection with someone.  To not be able to do those simple things for fear of hurting.  He is very determined to find his Jessi.  His perseverance is incredibly attractive to me.  He had a monumental challenge facing him but he never faltered in his determination.

The open honestly in this book was so refreshing. There was no dancing around what wasn’t said.  Everything was laid on the table and the communication was a key focus in this book. The dialogue had great depth and was hurtful as well as healing.  Sometimes you have to say the words to face it and move on.  I highly recommend this book.  It can be read as a stand-alone, you do not need to read the first one.

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The Gentleman and the Lamplighter by Summer Devon

the gentleman and the lamplighterSynopsis: You Can’t Walk Away from Love.

Destroyed by the death of his former schoolmate yet unable to show it publicly, Giles Fullerton has taken to walking the streets of London in the middle of the night, the only time he can safely mourn the only person he’s ever loved—until one chance meeting with a lamplighter changes everything….

But You Can Walk Toward It…

Widower John Banks knows a thing or two about grief, and immediately recognizes a kindred spirit when he finally meets the handsome, haunted gentleman he’s admired from afar. And in fact, the two men discover shared passions and the possibility of a forever love—if they can overcome social taboos, and their own fears….

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1RJ0N4Q

Add it to your TBR list on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23587053-the-gentleman-and-the-lamplighter

4 stars

This is the first historical M/M romance I have ever read. It’s a short story but it didn’t read like one. The author made very good use of the words; there were no wasted words if that makes sense.  It was great, I totally loved it.  I actually got this novella for myself after seeing it on somebodies wish-list at Jingle Bell Book Exchange on FB.  It’s over now or I would give you guys the link.

But it was nice, the two personalities played against each other.  They are from two different socio-economical tiers I guess you could say.  They came across each other like two ships passing in the night honestly. (I know the adage is overused but it’s appropriate) They never would have known each other if not for some traumatic circumstances. I like reading those kinds of books where one single act of walking out a door can literally change your entire life.

The historical aspect of the romance was really neat because it was set in a time where I think things were still in a grey area.  They weren’t really spoken of in a positive or a negative way, they just weren’t spoken of, like a turn your head the other way kind of thing.  It was cool to set it in that time as opposed to a modern time m/m romance. I think I’m gonna read more in this genre. If I can find any, this is the first historical m/m romance I have ever come across.  I didn’t even know they existed but I totally recommend it.

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Blood will Tell (Warriors of Ankh #1) by Samantha Young

blood will tellSynopsis: What would you do if you were born to be a predator? Would you fight your natural instincts or give in to your nature?

Eden is a soul eater closing in on her awakening. Her family has convinced her that soon she will have to take a life in order to save her own. It’s a decision Eden doesn’t want to deal with even as her hunger for souls grows stronger every day.

To complicate her impossible position, new guy in school Noah Valois’ determination to befriend her puts Eden in touch with a humanity she’s never known. Addicted to his company, his friendship and affection, she becomes more and more terrified that giving into her hunger will mean losing him forever…

… But when she discovers that Noah is not what he seems, his betrayal forces her to face two choices. One will offer her revenge and the destruction of a boy she loved. The other may offer her a life of eternal redemption…

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1OoKARO

Add it to you TBR list on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11201519-blood-will-tell

4 Stars (isn’t the cover perdy?)

I’m a huge fan of SY. She writes good stuff.  She has a flair for originality and creativity.  (cue the guy asking for a smoke, the FB folks know who I am referencing) This one is kinda like the anti-heroine. I could be wrong because I am not really versed in all the technical shit.  She is a bad guy but she doesn’t want to be a bad guy and there are people who can save her.  She really struggled with the monster inside of her. Eden is a strong heroine, a great female lead.  For a quick minute, I thought there was gonna be some incest in the book. The brother and sister were really close.  Thank god I was wrong. I’ve read enough V.C. Andrews thank you very much.

There’s not really any romance in the book, it’s lightly touched upon. I think knowing what the author is capable of might have colored my expectations of this book.  But there was none of it in this book.  It was refreshing to not have that, it was very focused on Eden.  The way that she had to fight her natural born instincts, the way that the author wrote her internal struggle and how she fought it. I felt the anger and fear that she was going through.  I was pissed off for her when she felt betrayed.  The hunger she had was so detailed and intensely pronounced.  Her loneliness with regards to anybody who could understand her. She was so very alone, there was nobody in her corner except for her brother. But even her brother was pushing her to embrace the darkness and I think it was kind of selfish of Stellan to do that because he just didn’t want to be alone.  And I totally agree with her decisions at the end of the book. I was 100% behind Eden on what she wanted to do.  That was kinda cool for me because rarely do the author and I have similar views on what should happen.  I have a lot of empathy for Eden.

I would recommend any book by Samantha Young.    I will be reading the next one.

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Dark and Stormy (Sacred Hearts Coven #1) by Felicia Starr

dark and stormySynopsis: The sisters of the Sacred Hearts Coven gather every month with one intention, to ignite a flame of passion into one lucky person’s love life.

Regina’s work is her driving force. She strives to be the top of her game, but there is a large thorn in her side—Reddick, her apparent nemesis. His confident and somewhat arrogant persona makes her blood boil, but as the saying goes: there is a thin line between love and hate.

Will a touch of magic have Regina opening her heart to the unknown? Or will she run from this storm only to be crushed by her greatest fear?

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1mB5GQD

Add it to your TBR on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18467512-dark-and-stormy

2 stars

It’s started really good!  The story seemed to just build and build.  I was hoping it would continue to build at that steady pace…but it didn’t. Once it hit that climax, everything went really fast.  I didn’t like how fast things progressed once they started making out.  It was made clear very early on in the book that they did not like each other.  Then it turned into intsa-love.  That right there is what turned me off.

It didn’t seem consistent with their characters to move so fast.  In my head I was thinking, “Oh man.”  It ended a bit sourly for me.  I might give another book in the series a chance. But if I’m being honest, how I feel right now; I’m not reading anymore of this series. So take it for what it is, this book just wasn’t for me.

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Something Reckless (Reckless and Real Book 1) by Lexi Ryan

something recklessSynopsis: He talks dirty to me, but I don’t know his name.

He wants to tie me up, but I don’t know his face.

He turns me on, but I couldn’t point him out in a crowd.

I’ve fallen for an anonymous stranger, and now the anonymity ends. I want more than typed secrets and texted promises. I want something reckless. Heat. Passion. The thrill of being entirely possessed.

Because I suspect this anonymous stranger isn’t a stranger at all.

*****

Lizzy Thompson met riverrat69 online through a service promising to deliver meaningful relationships by forbidding its users to share names or photos until they’ve reached a certain benchmark. She was looking for love. He was researching an investment. They hit it off. Talked and flirted, hid behind screen names and cartoon avatars.

Now they’re breaking the rules and meeting in person. But Liz is prepared. She’s picked up hints and followed clues. She’s nearly convinced she’s discovered the identity of her dirty-talking online friend.

She wonders if her ex-lover Sam Bradshaw knows her identity too.
When she rolls the dice on one reckless night, her chance at something real could crumble.

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1TiiZ2Z

Get it on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22434551-something-reckless

4 stars  *It may be a bit spoilery*

I gotta admit, this book changed my mind because when I first started reading it all I could think of was, “another sex means love book, Ugh.” Little bit of advice Lizzy, when a man tells you no strings, he isn’t saying it to get you to think you can ‘change’ him.  He is telling you so when he actually acts like an asshole and you get all indignant about it, he can say, “I told you no strings.”   (That’s what I call the CYA response) I never get that kind of storyline.  Bitch, you know what you are getting into. Why are you all shocked and chagrined when it goes the way you were effing told it was gonna go?  (Sorry, I might have some issues I need to work on)

I felt that way for like 30% of the book. The book turned around for me, and it got really good.  It started getting more layered such as her little quirks in her home life and her work life.  But I gotta say, the whole anonymous website thingie, it messed with me.  It was made into a bigger deal than it needed to be.  I found that a bit immature because I would not give a shit if that happened to me.

Those negatives are actually pretty minor compared to how much I actually enjoyed the book. I could have skipped the prequel and not even missed a beat with the story.  I found it unnecessary.  I think it gave me a negative first impression when I started to read the actual story; which probably impacted how I felt about the book in the beginning.  So if you’re gonna read the book, you can skip the prequel.  It doesn’t really matter I think.  You can always go back and read it.

And the ending, you know I thought I had it pegged.  Turns out I was dead wrong.  So yeah, it was a good book, I’m probably gonna read the next one.

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