Geekerella by Ashley Poston

Blurb:
33224718Cinderella goes to the con in this fandom-fueled twist on the classic fairy tale.

 
Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic sci-fi series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a cosplay contest for a new Starfield movie, she has to enter. The prize? An invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball, and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. With savings from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck (and her dad’s old costume), Elle’s determined to win…unless her stepsisters get there first.

Teen actor Darien Freeman used to live for cons—before he was famous. Now they’re nothing but autographs and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Carmindor is all he’s ever wanted, but the Starfield fandom has written him off as just another dumb heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, Darien feels more and more like a fake—until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise.

Part romance, part love letter to nerd culture, and all totally adorbs, Geekerella is a fairy tale for anyone who believes in the magic of fandom.

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My Review:
3 stars — I received a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review/opinion.

This one left me a bit conflicted.  I am a self-professed geek, and really enjoyed all the geek references in this book (whether quotes or nods to real life fandoms, or just the overall feel of BEING in a fandom).  That was honestly the highlight of the book for me, b/c I really do love the whole world of nerd culture (even if I’m not the type to cosplay or go to cons).  And on the whole I was definitely entertained by this book, and don’t regret reading it, I was just a bit disappointed b/c it was missing some magic.

For me, characters are what make or break a story, and I just didn’t end up loving EITHER of our main characters.  Which is not to say I disliked them!!  I just didn’t love them.  And I kind of need to love at least one of them for me to really enjoy a story.  They both felt a bit weak and with less dimension than I would have liked.  I needed more from both of them.

Elle has a rather tragic childhood and current situation (consistent with the Cinderella tale), but I didn’t end up really feeling much empathy for her.  I didn’t really get a feel for her emotions on any of the events that shaped her.  She felt kind of flat.  I can’t even tell you why, what did I need to make it…just…more…  But I didn’t really *feel* her grief.  I didn’t feel her loneliness, or what did she feel after whatever happened the previous summer?  And I couldn’t vibe with how socially inept she was that it took her so long to understand when Sage was reaching out to her.  It felt…forced?  I don’t know, I’m probably mucking this all up.  She just wasn’t that interesting I guess.  Like she had some of the building blocks there, but never went anywhere with them.  She wanted to be a scriptwriter, but she had stopped writing (other than on her blog)?  How was that going to work out?

And Darien.  OK, I am all for a beta boy, but a beta boy still has to have some inner strength, you know?  Some quality that makes you root for him.  His development and backbone took entirely too long to come around.  Why was he so reluctant to take his career into his own hands?  Why did he let Mark boss him around like that?  Was he just apathetic?  I guess I can kind of see it based on things that had happened in his past, but it wasn’t enough to make me really get behind him.  Did he even like acting??

And for goodness sake, what race was he?  Was he Indian?  The only reason I would guess that is because he’s not a white-washed pick for Carmindor, and the previous actor’s last name was Singh.  Why bother having that element and not go into it?  I can’t even call this book diverse, b/c it’s NEVER EXPLORED.  What was it like to be a different race celebrity heartthrob?  Was he half?  ANYTHING!  JUST GIVE ME SOMETHING!  Or don’t make it an element at all!  That, apparently, really annoyed me.

And honestly, the chemistry between Elle and Darien wasn’t really there besides a bit of a friendship.  I didn’t really buy that development.  From the messages we saw, I’m not sure what drew them together.  I could have used a bit more.  Even when they finally interacted in person, they were both so distracted by other things, I didn’t get the magic I was looking for until the ball.  Bummer.

And in the end I was unsatisfied with the evil characters.  They were kind of caricatures.  And Catherine was abusive as heck, so I didn’t get a satisfactory resolution with her.  I guess it was realistic in some ways, but still unsatisfying.  Chloe’s was a bit better, but again, she was a stereotypical mean girl.  No depth there.  And I wasn’t always happy with how things happened along the way to stick with the plot (like bringing the costume back to the house, hiding the tickets in the house).  Not to mention the whole selling the house thing.  If it was left to Elle, then how can Catherine sell it?  Is there no law there?

Sage and Calliope were bright spots in terms of secondary characters.  I felt bad for both of them because Elle really took a long time to give them a chance.  But I liked that they each had more depth to their characters.  On the other side, I enjoyed Gail and Lonny, but felt like there could have been even more from them…I wanted more anyways.

So yeah.  That all reads like a bummer review.  But it’s really just me ruminating on why this book missed the mark between an entertaining read and a life-changing read.  If you enjoy nerd culture though, I think you will love all the nods in this one.  In the end it was a book with a LOT of potential that just failed to live up to it for me.

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Royal Disaster by Parker Swift

Blurb:

34118025“He’s not who you think he is . . . “

Meeting Dylan Hale has turned my life upside down. I’m dating an actual duke who’s devastatingly handsome and deliciously naughty. On the surface, I’m living the high life. But this surreal world of royalty and paparazzi is getting out of control.

Someone knows way too much about Dylan and me-about the moments when we’re alone, about how his hands leave a trail of fire over my skin . . . about the complete control he has over me between the sheets. And worse, it’s starting to become clear that Dylan’s keeping secrets from me, too . . .

 

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My Review:
3.5 stars — I received a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review/opinion.

Well huh.  I basically feel almost identically about this book as I did the first book in this series.  LOVED the characters and the witty back and forth and dialogue, and generally the chemistry was spot on.  BUT, I also got a bit bored in places and wanted to skip ahead.  There was slightly less sex I think, but I did get a bit bored with that as well, which does not seem like a great thing for an erotic read.  Honestly, I reread my review for book one and could have just vomited it here verbatim.

Sooooo…what can I add?  Well, the intrigue and mystery with the threatening e-mails wasn’t as prevalent as I expected…and I’m kinda meh on how that played out.  Like, I didn’t dislike it, but it wasn’t as interesting as I had anticipated.

What did surprise me?  I had no idea how this book would develop with their relationship, but I kind of appreciated having that bit more and seeing them stumble over obstacles and grow and change together.  Some of those obstacles felt contrived, but some were very genuine.  I still haven’t the foggiest how we’re going to get a whole other book out of their story.  Maybe we’ll finally learn something about Lydia’s mother?  I keep waiting.

I enjoyed some of the tiny side characters we got more of — Will, Emily, Mrs. Barnes, Frank….  And the friendships with Fiona and Josh were great (and surprising, particularly with Fee).

I guess the crux of the problem for me is that both this book and the previous one would have been more enjoyable for me if they were edited down…in the end they had great stuff, but they dragged.  Which is a shame for such great story potential.  I’m still curious about the next book, but I’m going to assume I will feel similarly.  Good, but could be better.

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Top Ten Authors We Can’t Believe We’ve Met or Are Dying to Meet

Top Ten Tuesday
(Authors 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 Authors I’m Dying To Meet / Ten Authors I Can’t Believe I’ve Met  (some other “meeting authors” type spin you want to do).”  We both couldn’t decide on one or the other, so did a bit of a mix.

Curly Carla’s Top Ten:

The following authors I had the wonderful pleasure of meeting a couple years ago at an author/reader con. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life and I will never forget the welcome they made me feel.

  1. Stormy Smith — she was the first author to ever answer me when I reached out to her with silly questions. Her writing is absolutely wonderful. I love the way her brain works. And she is a great dancer!
  2. Caylie Marcoe — her book was the first one to ever make me cry and I love her sarcastic sense of humor. And she takes pretty cool pictures.
  3. Alex Tuttle — I just loved picking this guy’s brain. His writing has always captivated me.
  4. Theresa Kay — she writes in my favorite genre and adds a depth to her books that constantly astound me. I loved being able to hang out with her at Utopiacon.
  5. Kat Nichols — I was fortunate enough to go line dancing with her and I had such a wonderful time.
  6. Regan Oakley — I love her honesty and her playfulness. Her ability to combine both of those traits shows in her writing as well.

    Now we are to the part on authors I’m dying to meet.

  7. Michelle Bolanger — I consider her a wonderful writer and a friend. We met through IABB and we just hit it off. We’ve been friends for a couple years now and I am grateful to be a part of her team.
  8. Lila Felix — I have been a fan for a while and would love to meet her in person.
  9. Cassie Mae — How could I leave out this glorious personality? She has such a great heart, I can’t wait to finally meet her…one day.
  10. Anyta Sunday — I love her writing and have for a while. She is the author of one of my favorite series OF ALL TIME!!

Lenoreo’s Top “Ten” Authors I Can’t Believe I’ve Met:

I’ve been fortunate to attend 5 separate author signings/conventions, and have met some amazing authors.  These were my absolute favourites in order of when I met them.

  1. Nyrae Dawn — My first signing was at Orlando Book Bash 2013, and Ms. Dawn was the second author I met.  I’d even seen her outside the venue and had to act “cool” and not run up to her while she was just vacationing.  The truly amazing twist to this story is that I have since Beta Read twice for Ms. Dawn, having been recommended by a mutual friend.  Seriously, sometimes my life is too cool for words.995097_10153001372815023_1423606906_n
  2. Rachel Higginson — Before I ever met Ms. Higginson, I was a part of her street team because I’d become a mega huge fan.  And through the street team I was lucky enough to interact with her personally, which I don’t think authors will ever understand how huge that is to a reader like me.  I first met her in person at Penned Con 2014 in St. Louis, and my hubby and I got to hang out with her, her husband, and a few of the Rebel Writers (see number 6).  Since then I truly feel like I can call her a friend, and I’ve seen her at UtopyaCon 2015, Emerald City Author Event 2016, and a girl’s weekend in Wisconsin in 2016.  I’ve also beta read a few of her books.  She is a delight.

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  3. Rebecca Ethington — While I’ve only read 2 of Ms. Ethington’s books, I absolutely fell in love with them.  And I find her truly delightful.
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  4. The Rebel Writers: Alex Tuttle, Caylie Marcoe, Kat Nichols, Regan Claire, Stormy Smith and Theresa Kay — Oh my Rebel Writers.  I kind of cheated if you couldn’t tell, hence why I put ten in quotes.  I met the ladies of this group through Rachel Higginson’s street team, and when they decided to group together to help each other achieve their dreams of becoming authors, I wholeheartedly jumped onto that bandwagon and joined their own street team, where I was introduced to Alex.  I think I’ve now beta read for all of them, including the debut novels of 5 of the 6.  And while I may group them together, they are wildly different, but all amazingly talented and delightful people.  I met Caylie and Theresa at Penned Con 2014, and then saw ALL of them at UtopyaCon 2015.  And I’ve been lucky to hang out with a few at UtopiaCon 2016, and at 2 separate girl’s weekends in 2016 and 2017.  It was through them that I met my co-blogger Curly Carla, so I will be grateful to them for more than just their beautiful words.

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  5. Anne Eliot — I met Ms. Eliot at the Emerald City Author Event 2016 in Seattle, and she was just ridiculously adorable and delightful, and I can’t even express how enjoyable it was to talk to her!
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  6. Cassie Mae — Oh Cassie Mae.  She is not just an amazing author that I am a huge fan of, I consider her a close friend.  I’m not even sure how our friendship started, I think she contacted me after I reviewed her debut novel, Reasons I Fell for the Funny Fat Friend.  And there are just some people in the world that you click with and know they’re meant to be in your life.  I’ve since beta read quite a few books for her, and each one floors me for their uniqueness and heart (and OMG humour).  And when I was given the opportunity to meet her and room with her and basically shenanigate with her at UtopiaCon 2016, you can bet your booty I jumped all over it.

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  7. Rebecca Yarros — I actually met Ms. Yarros the first time at UtopyaCon 2015, but I don’t think I managed to get a picture with her (though I did come back and show her my fresh tattoo).  I then proceeded to stalk her again at UtopiaCon 2016 and complete my collection of the books she had out at the time.  Of course now she has more books out, so perhaps I will have to stalk her again at another event.
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  8. Tiffany King — Ms. King is one of those first Indie authors I read, and I have admired her talent for years, particularly her YA contemps.  So when I saw she was going to be at UtopiaCon 2016, I knew I had to meet her.  And lucky for me, I was able to tag along with Cassie Mae, which probably gave me a bit more street cred.  I can pretend I’m cool and not just a ridiculous fangirl.
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  9. Kelly Oram — This was another author that I pretty much freaked out about meeting at UtopiaCon 2016.  And again, she knew Cassie!!  So not only did I meet her, get her ENTIRE book collection signed, but I got to hang out with her on one of the days!!  Be jealous, be very very jealous.

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  10. Cambria Hebert — It’s funny, b/c while Ms. Hebert had been at UtopyaCon 2015, I had yet to read any of her books so I didn’t meet her at the time.  But I got sucked into her Hashtag and Gearshark series, and so you can bet I stalked her at UtopiaCon 2016.  In fact, I fully intend to get more books for my collection at the Big Apple Author Event in October of this year.
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Lenoreo’s Top “Ten” Authors I’m Dying to Meet:

  1. Katy Regnery — I GET TO MEET HER!!  In like a month and a half at Romancing the Falls 2017 in Niagara Falls.  Super excited.
  2. Ginger Scott — Same deal with Ms. Scott!!  I can’t wait for May!!  She’s going to take all my money as I buy up all her books.  🙂
  3. Brenda Rothert — I’ve only read one book by Ms. Rothert, but I really really enjoyed it, so I’m looking forward to meeting her in May as well!
  4. Sarina Bowen — I GET TO MEET HER TOO!!  This time at the Big Apple Author Event  in October in NYC!!  She’s another author that’s going to take all my money.
  5. Lauren Layne — Another author I am STOKED to meet at the Big Apple Author Event!!  I’ve already started collecting a few of her paperbacks to bring with me and get signed.
  6. Elle Kennedy — This is an author that I don’t currently have plans of meeting, but I would really love to.  I noticed her name on the Apollycon 2018 list, so perhaps I need to go to Washington, D.C. in a year?
  7. Melissa Pearl/Jordan Ford — I would DIE to meet Ms. Pearl, who also writes as Jordan Ford.  I became a member of her ARC team at the beginning of 2016, and recently beta read a few of her books.  She’s delightful, and I would run out of money collecting her books.  But hey, maybe this is an excuse for us to go to New Zealand!
  8. Jolene Perry/Mia Josephs — I “met” Ms. Perry through Cassie Mae, and was lucky enough to beta read a few of her Mia Josephs books.  I adore interacting with her, she’s just such a beautiful soul, and sassy to boot.  I would love to meet her someday.
  9. Sarah Mayberry — I think this is the first author I ever solicited for a signed book.  When my hubby and I traveled to Australia, I contacted her via e-mail (I still don’t know how I was that brave), and while she didn’t have any events happening while we were there, she was nice enough to send a signed copy to the hotel we were staying at in Melbourne.  It would be sweet to attend an event and actually get to meet her, she’s hands down my favourite Harlequin author (though she doesn’t write exclusively through them, it’s just what I know her most from).
  10. Amy Harmon — I am blown away by Ms. Harmon’s talent and words, and so would definitely love to meet her!

As you can see, most of the authors on both my lists are there b/c I have a personal connection to them in some way.  I can’t tell you how amazing that is, to live in a world where I can interact with authors I admire and occasionally become friends with them.

So how about you guys?  What authors can you not believe you’ve met?  What authors would you DIE to meet?

Campaigning for Christopher by Katy Regnery

Blurb:
26159697Christopher Winslow, the youngest of the four Winslow brothers, was born with a silver spoon in his privileged mouth, which has made it difficult for him to establish his credibility in the fast-approaching congressional race. Working against the clock to assure Pennsylvania voters that he is forthright, trustworthy and able has been an exhausting challenge, but Christopher’s chances at beating the incumbant look good.

Julianne Crow, a plus-size model struggling to make ends meet, jumps at the chance to make a little extra cash on the side. What does she have to do? Slip something into Christopher Winslow’s drink and take some very naughty pictures with him.

But Christopher is nothing like Julianne expected, and when her actions sabotage his hard-earned campaign only a month before the election, her guilt is overwhelming. She offers Christopher her help in an effort to repair the damage she’s caused, but can anything change the fact that he sees her as an opportunist and a mercenary? When she starts campaigning for Christopher, he may find out there’s more to her than meets the eye.

Return to the world created in the English Brothers books with this fresh foursome of scorching hot Winslow Brothers!

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My Review:
3.75 stars — OMG you guys, I was having such a hard time coming to terms with how I felt about this book, and honestly my skepticism started with the Note From the Author at the very beginning.  She talks about doing research and choosing to go with American Indian or Indian to refer to Julianne based on what she learned, and my whole being just rejected that.  I wondered if she actually talked to anyone, or if she’d had someone of that race read the book and gut check it.  And even though it’s really not super important to the overall story, it caused me to do my own research after I finished the book.  And I discovered one VERY important thing (besides discovering that it’s an extremely complicated issue, and that Ms. Regnery did not make a bad choice as I’d thought): the term Indian is considered much more offensive in Canada (where I live) than in the US.  AHHHH!!!  I feel so much better!  So my whole being rejected it b/c it’s different up here!!  I wish I’d looked into it right away from the beginning, b/c I’m not sure how much that coloured my reading, you know?   But anyways, you gotta love when a book causes you to learn something new for yourself.  Yay for knowledge!

ANYWAYS.  As seems to be the case with so many of my reviews for this series, I start off with a related, but not necessarily helpful piece of babbling.  The thing is, I really love reading diverse books, but I’m often wary of them as well, particularly when the author does not share that diversity…can I trust that they got it right?  As a white woman, will I even know?  But at the same time, I WANT to see this diversity.  I want to see characters that reflect the varied world that we live in, so I applaud Ms. Regnery for giving us Julianne, of the Lakota tribe of South Dakota.  And for not just having it be a throw away element of her character, but something that really defined her and the story that she tells.  I felt for her and all that she went through growing up, and I thought that while she had her struggles, she was also a very strong and admirable character.  Which is funny considering how the story begins.  She’s not so admirable at the start.

I can honestly say that I was SOOOOO leery of this aspect of the story (that’s hinted at in the blurb).  Maybe it’s because drugging a person is so anathema to everything in me, that I could not imagine what would transpire to make it OK for Jules to resort to that.  And the great thing is that while we saw her motivations, it *wasn’t* a good enough reason.  Why is that great?  Because she doesn’t excuse it for herself.  She made a HORRIBLE mistake and decision.  And she never backs down from that or plays it off.  From the moment she gives herself time to think, and then investigate, she does what she can to make it right.  Because you know what?  People do make very bad decisions from time to time, based on a multitude of reasons, but still bad decisions in the end.  And every time she lifted her head and sucked it up and quietly apologized and forged ahead, but also didn’t take too much sh*t as time went on, I just wanted to applaud.  Because I can love a flawed character that understands their flaws and works on them.  I admire that.  She was honestly my favourite character of this story, I LOVED her growth and change, I loved that she was forthright about her feelings, I loved that she didn’t play games.  And I loved that she respected herself and made hard decisions that were right for her.

Christopher wasn’t bad either, but I’m not entirely sure I had the same level of connection to him.  He had so much rage after being taken advantage of, and honestly, RIGHTFULLY SO.  But it was hard to fall in love with him.  Because *we* as the readers could see inside Jules’s heart, but he couldn’t.  So when he would snipe at her and same horrible things, it was just hurtful and hard to remember the context of where he was coming from.  I wanted him to be better.  And don’t get me wrong, he did get better.  But it was hard to reconcile his own development with the development we were seeing in Jules.  And I’m not sure what you could have done to make that work better, b/c it made sense.  But maybe I’m just not cut out for the enemy to lovers trope.  I don’t deal well with conflict.  Especially when it’s not born of sexual tension, but where the tension is there in spite of the conflict.  It was hard to get into.  And I kind of wanted to know more about Christopher’s campaign…or maybe not that so much as to see HIS passion.  We saw Jules’s passion, and we saw how much she admired his passion based on his platform.  But I wanted to see him get all riled up and passionate about things he believed in.  I think that would have endeared him earlier.

OK, so we have a heroine that I adore, and a hero that I liked, but took me longer to love.  Which would probably have had this book at a solid 4 stars for me (what? it’s my review, I’ll rate how I want).  But there were some niggles, hence the loss of a quarter star.  Who was the black hat man?  Why was that never resolved?  And why bother making Jules plus-sized if it’s never going to come into play?  I mean, it’s nice to have a plus sized girl, but it’s honestly mentioned like twice the whole time, so why put it there if you’re not going to give it some play.  Heck, we never even know if Chris likes plus sized girls.  It’s not bad, just a bummer.  And where was Alex?  I LOVED seeing Elise and Preston, and even a bit of Margaret and Skye.  But why was Alex never with his wife?

So that’s it, that’s all folks.  Imma gonna go pre-order me a set of Winslow Brothers paperbacks for the signing in May.  As much as I dissect these books and how I feel, I really do enjoy them.  They entertain, they give me a solid romance, and sometimes they even make me think and learn.  Sweet.

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Déjà Revu March 26th, 2017

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

Meme

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Contemporary

Dystopian/Post Apocalyptic

Fantasy

Paranormal

Romance

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Fantasy

General Fiction

Horror

Non-Fiction

Romance

Science Fiction

Crazy About Cameron by Katy Regnery

Blurb:
25848928Crazy about Cameron is the third of four books about the Philadelphia-based, wildly-handsome Winslow brothers who are all on the look-out for love.

(Say what? Not so much…Brooks and Pres are OFF. THE. MARKET, and Chris is so distracted with his campaign, he can’t see what – or who – is right under his nose.)

With her stiff posture, black-rimmed glasses and chestnut waves in a tight bun, Cameron Winslow’s downstairs neighbor, Margaret Story, has long been the unaware star of his filthiest dirty-librarian fantasies. But with a floundering business eating up all his time, Cam doesn’t have the open road he’d need to date a lady like Margaret.

Margaret, who grew up down the road from Cameron, has always thought of him as a cross between a bully and a tease, as likely to pull her braids as pull her leg. But he’s grown up to be a smokin’ hot businessman, and Margaret can’t help daydreaming about what it would feel like to be under, um, with someone like him.

When hot-headed Cameron and buttoned-up Margaret start using the same shady contractor for apartment renovations, Margaret may find herself in some unexpected trouble, which forces long-hidden feelings to come out of hiding…and might just make way for two unlikely fantasies to finally come true.

Return to the world created in the English Brothers books with this fresh foursome of scorching hot Winslow Brothers!

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My Review:
4 stars — OK, because I can’t seem to get over it, I’m going to get one of my annoyances out of the way at the beginning, and then commence the gushing.  If you choose to binge read this series (The Winslow Brothers section in particular) as I’m doing since I have the box set, and you have a mind for details, this series is going to bug you at least a little bit.  Because there are continuity errors.  A few little, one a bit bigger.  I first noticed one in Proposing to Preston, when the age of Preston was wrong and inconsistent with what we learn in Bidding on Brooks (he should have been 31 in Part One and 33 in Part Two).  But I didn’t say anything in my review, b/c it’s only something someone who pays attention to details would really notice, and really didn’t influence the story.  But the bigger continuity issue we run into in this book is kind of annoying since it’s what had me anticipating this story in the first place.  We first glimpse Cameron and Margaret in Bidding on Brooks at the auction, and there seems to be this playful war going on wrt the contractor.  Margaret even has a conversation with Brooks before the auction.  That part of the timeline in this book goes QUITE differently.  We never see her talk to Brooks, Cameron is not hiding from Margaret (and actually purposely approaches her), and the whole signing for tiles things doesn’t ever happen.  In fact the contractor war really doesn’t happen how I anticipated.  And there were a few other little ones (like when they moved to England)…  So if you have a mind for details and this kind of thing would annoy you, I suggest spacing out the reading of this series so that you forget that stuff by the time you get to this book.  Or at least be forewarned and forearmed.

OK.  Sorry.  That was a big ole pile of word vomit.  But I needed to get it off my chest before I could get to the good stuff, b/c my brain is, quite frankly, stupid.  It doesn’t help that I’ve recently finished two beta reads, so that switch was still on in my brain.  And, shake it off…

So while this book did not go how I was anticipating, I really actually LOVED the way direction it took instead!!  Like I would have enjoyed the story that was hinted, but I was equally enamoured with the story I got.  And part of that is just good ole likable characters.  Cameron was NOT what I expected.  Not that I knew much about him, but he was…DIRTY, and thoughtful, and FOCUSED (on Margaret), and vulnerable, and initially unhappy, and so sweet!! and protective, and even his impulsiveness came out in ways I wasn’t expecting.  Because he may have been impulsive, but it was like he wasn’t afraid to go after what he wanted once he figured out what that was…  And he went for it WITH ALL ENGINES FIRING.  Sexy as f*ck.  Like seriously, I just loved the way he saw Margaret, and wanted her, and how he resolved the things going on in his personal life, and how involved he became with the new direction and with his new relationship.

And Margaret broke my heart in places.  I’m a sucker for a shy, vulnerable, somewhat wounded heroine that has a core of strength, and we definitely get that in Margaret.  OMG, I had not anticipated her Father, and I seriously cried for her in places.  And while I may not have understood her desire for approval in spite of certain things, I bought it from her.  And I really appreciated that we saw how she would be when she could be the self she wanted to be.  I loved her passion for wine (even though GROSS), and just all the little bits that made up the real her.  She wasn’t what I was anticipating either, but I loved her all the same.

And I really enjoyed the romance that played out between her and Cameron.  It may have been fast at times, but it developed at a pace that made sense for these characters and their histories.

The bit of suspense and mystery that played a small secondary part really didn’t work for me, as it was fairly obvious from the start, and easy to put the pieces together.  And, I don’t know, I guess I was less impressed with the way it played out.  Not sure if it was necessary.

So honestly, despite the few little things that might have brought it down, the characters just drove this story home.  One more book!!

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Rock Bottom by Cate Masters

rock bottomBlurb: Can success trap you at Rock Bottom?

For rocker Jet Trently, success means playing the same platinum-selling hits ad nauseum. Philly rock journalist Billie Prescott thrives on covering the latest music releases. When her editor sends her to Malibu to cover Jet’s reality dating show, Rock Bottom, her blog’s success keeps her trapped there. Her life’s at Rock Bottom too, until she hears Jet’s new songs. They touch her heart as his music did when she was fifteen. When Jet touches her heart as well, will the reality show ruin the real thing?

WARNING: No graphic love scenes, some adult language.

 

 

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3 stars

Okay, the title and cover are a bit cliche but the writing was sound.  The story was engrossing for the first third of it but then something happened, or rather something didn’t happen.  Billy’s character stop evolving and her constant internal debate and misunderstanding started to get boring.  The repetition led me to start the process of not-picking.  

Once I lost interest in her character other things started popping up. Billie was too pushy for me. And I found Jet to be arrogant and condescending.  Also, I wasn’t feeling the chemistry.  It didn’t make my toes curl, but rather, made me scratch my head in confusion.  I didn’t see how Jet would have kept trying to be with her when she was so cold to him.  I feel like I didn’t get enough backstory for either character to really care about them. So I wasn’t really invested in them.  

Then without spoiling it, the ending.  ::rolls eyes:: I only finished it because I had invested my time and with 30 pages left I felt I needed too.   So solid 4 star in the beginning ending was a 2 star leaving my review at an overall 3 star.  Too bad, I probably won’t be reading any more from this author.  

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Rumpel’s Prize (Kingdom #8) by Marie Hall

Rumples prizeBlurb:  Imp, deceiver, villainous mastermind… Rumpelstiltskin’s been called all these names and more, and for the most part, they’re entirely true. But there is more to the brooding, blond haired Adonis than brokering deals for the devil. He’s hiding a terrible, hideous secret. One that threatens to fray the already delicate strands of his sanity and reason. A secret that he’s desperate to make right, to see whole again, and there is no one and nothing that will stand in his way of getting what he wants—no one except a slip of woman with hair like fire and skin like finest porcelain. Something about Shayera Caron calls to the beast inside him and makes him question his motives for the first time in his life.

Shayera Caron is the daughter of the infamous Gerard Caron, former lothario of Kingdom but now a reformed rake and settled husband and father. She can go nowhere in her tiny hamlet without seeing the sneers of women and hearing the murmurings of their disdain for the blood that runs through her veins. Shayera is desperate to get away from the gossiping hens, so when Rumpelstiltskin rides into town, she doesn’t think twice before going wherever he leads. Only thing is Shayera is not as innocent as she might seem, for she hides a secret too. One that will bring the most feared man in all of Kingdom to his knees…

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4 stars

I like this one way more than the others.  It might be because the Gerald is one of my favorite bad guys in this series so since his daughter is in it I paid extra close attention to it.  And she had her own demons to deal with, so to speak.  She was a bit of a firecracker and I really loved her protectiveness of her family.  

Also I’m also a huge fan of Rumpelstiltskin.  I absolutely loved his backstory, it gave a lot of insight into his present character and made me love him even more. He is one sexy demon.  

This love story was more drawn out than the others as well so I got a bit of simmer before the boil if that makes sense.  And the plot twist at the end was unexpected.  I was pretty shocked at the things Rumple was willing to sacrifice to get what he thought he wanted. 

I enjoyed this one and since I had previously read the next one I’m very excited to finish this series.  

Curly Carla_small

Huntsman’s Prey (Kingdom #7) by Marie Hall

Huntsmans preyBlurb: Rumors abound in Wonderland, of a dark princess named Chrysalis who bears the Moon’s curse. Her beauty is beyond compare, and her madness… even greater than her father’s, The Hatter. Death follows wherever she roams, and Danika—fairy godmother of all villains—knows this task is too great for her to handle on her own. She has no choice but to seek out the one they call Huntsman, his mission is simple: Find the creature, and destroy it.

But nothing is ever so simple in Kingdom. The moment the hunter Aeric steps foot in the mad, twisted realm he’s enveloped in a reality that is neither wholly true nor fantasy. The key, the Cheshire explains, to ending the madness is for one to become mad themselves. The Huntsman has one chance to figure out the riddle before the beauty destroys them all…

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3 stars

This one was okay.  I enjoyed the romance part but the madness was a bit hard to follow and I was turned off by the multiple personalities. I had a hard time thinking he could keep them separate in his head. TBH, I always had a hard time following the stories in Wonderland due to the madness there.  It seems like the journey just goes in circles and nothing really gets accomplished.  Which is exactly how I felt about this one.  

Danica’s story concludes in this one, which was a pleasant surprise for me because I wanted that in the last book.  Some of the things I didn’t like in the last book are addressed here.  

The plot was straightforward, tidy and tied up all loose ends.I’m digging the extended fairy tail series. These are the second generation of fairy tales, the bad guys children.  It’s pretty cool.  I’m a sucker for fairy tale retellings.  I’d definitely recommend for 18 and up as there is some graphic sex scenes here.

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Moon’s Flower (Kingdom #6) by Marie Hall

moons flowerBlurb: Once upon a time, long, long ago a flower fairy looked up to the sky and dared to fall in love with the Man in the Moon…

Or so goes the tale that Danika weaves for the gathered fae children. Tonight is the night to learn a hidden tale of Kingdom. A story long forgotten, remembered by few. A tale of treachery, of love, betrayal and woe… but there’s more to the story than meets the eye. This isn’t just a tale of Jericho and Calanthe and their doomed Shakespearean romance, for tonight the truth of one beloved Kingdom character will be revealed.

 

 

 

 

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2.5 stars

I was unimpressed with this story. I mean, it was nice that Danika kinda sorta got her happy ending but I guess I wanted more for her.  Danika is an awesome character and it sucks that she didn’t get what she give others.  I wish we could have known more about the suns past.  Was she cursed? Does she have a true love also? And we didn’t get a lot of background on the man in the moon’s powers either.  It focused more on Danika which may be why I didn’t really feel a connection to him.  

This story was more physical than mental, they didn’t really get to know each other.  It was mostly chemistry, which I dig, don’t get me wrong but when I’m in the sixth book in the series I am invested in the characters and to not have that extra background was a let down.  I’m going to let it go because I love the series though.  

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