Stacking the Shelves — July 29th, 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)

Gifted to Me:

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  • Win (The Atlantis Grail #3) by Vera Nazarian. Sooooo, I’m doing a buddy read with some of my friends and I had mentioned that I needed to wait till I got paid to get the third book. Well, Theresa didn’t want me to wait that long. So she bought me the book. I was actually quite surprised because when she asked for my email address I thought she was gonna loan me the book. But no! So thanks Theresa for gifting me a book in a series that I have come to really enjoy. It has its ups and downs but overall, I’m glad you guys turned me on to this series. Now we just have to bugger Lenore to read it!

Got It On Sale:

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  • Yours to Bare (Slip of the Tongue #2) by Jessica Hawkins.  My girl Lenore let me know this was on sale so I snatched it up. The first book was INCREDIBLE.
  • St-St-Stuffed (Enemies to Lovers #2) by Anyta Sunday.  I got the alert this was on sale (free!) and I devour anything this author writes so it was a no-brainer.  No longer free.
  • Get It (Enemies to Lovers #2.5) by Anyta Sunday.  What! Another sale for free! Heck yeah, score! (I just got this alert today so it’s probably still free guys)

Lenoreo’s Haul

(All Ebooks unless otherwise specified)

Preorders That Went Live:

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New Releases:

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  • Royally Raised (Royally #2.5) by Emma Chase — released July 21st, 2017.  I have not read this series yet, so when this short story was offered in Ms. Chase’s newsletter, I failed to snag it.  So I was happy when this one was offered through Amazon, and when the Canadian price finally got to free as well.  Ms. Chase is an author that is attending both the Big Apple Author Event in October and Apollycon 2018 in Washington, D.C. next March that I’m going to.

Got It On Sale:

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  • Random Acts of Trust (Random #2) by Julia Kent — Late 2016, or early 2017 I snagged the first book in this series for free.  I haven’t read it yet, so I still don’t know if Ms. Kent is my kind of author, but I saw this second book in the series on BookBub for free from its previous price of 99 cents, and I figured on the off chance it’s my kind of thing, why pass up on the deal.  Still free.
  • The Fear of Letting Go (Fairhope #3) by Sarra Cannon — I read the first two books in this series quite awhile ago, but was very interested in book 3 (though it wasn’t out at the time).  So it went on the wishlist, and apparently I forgot about it.  So when I got eReaderIQ alert that this book was on sale for 99 cents from its usual $2.99, I one-clicked!  Still on sale!
  • The Sexy One (One Love #1) by Lauren Blakely — I still haven’t read a Lauren Blakely book, but I’ve been convinced to give them a try from reading reviews of bloggers I follow.  So I put a few on my wishlist.  And this week I got eReaderIQ alert that this one went on sale for 99 cents from its usual $3.99, so I one-clicked!  Still on sale!
  • Dazzled by Jane Harvey-Berrick — This author will be attending the Big Apple Author Event in October, and she mentioned this sale in the BBAE Facebook group. And since I love a good celebrity romance, and a friends to lovers, I nabbed it.  Still on sale for 99 cents from its usual $3.99.
  • Get It (Enemies to Lovers #2.5) by Anyta Sunday — Curly Carla shared this sale on our page, and since it’s a prequel to William (book 3) which I read a LONG time ago, I definitely want to see what it’s all about.  On sale for free from its usual 99 cents.
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Kissing Max Holden by Katy Upperman

Blurb:
33797128Equal parts swoonworthy romance and deeply affecting family drama, this debut novel about the boy next door turned super hot bad boy will have readers hooked from the very first kiss.

After his father’s stroke, Max Holden isn’t himself. As his long-time friend, Jillian Eldridge only wants to help, but she doesn’t know how. When Max climbs through her window one night, Jill knows she shouldn’t let him kiss her. But she can’t resist, and when they’re caught in the act by her dad, Jill swears it’ll never happen again. Because kissing Max Holden is a terrible idea.

With a new baby sibling on the way, her parents fighting all the time, and her dream of culinary school suddenly up in the air, Jill starts spending more and more time with Max. And even though her father disapproves and Max still has a girlfriend, not kissing Max is easier said than done. Will Jill follow her heart, and allow their friendship to blossom into something more, or will she listen to her head and stop kissing Max Holden once and for all?

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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 book started out as a solid 4 star, and just kept slowly motoring downhill from there.  I honestly was sucked in by the storyline, and I thought Jill was an interesting heroine.  And I was pulled in by the initial chemistry and connection between Jill and Max.  And there were glimmers of goodness, don’t get me wrong.  I did enjoy some aspects, but on the whole I ended the book on a heavy sigh.  This review is probably going to focus on the negative aspects way too much, but I really did enjoy the few cute moments, hence why it’s not lower than 3 stars.

In the end, I didn’t really enjoy either Jill or Max.  They both had good qualities, but they were HEAVILY overshadowed by their bad qualities.  Or rather, I don’t feel like they redeemed themselves.  Jill was definitely better than Max.  I felt like I would start to like her, and then she would disappoint me and annoy me…then I would be impressed by some decision or choice she would make, then she would disappoint me again.  I can chalk up a lot of her annoyance as being a fairly stereotypical teenager, so I guess I gave her more of a pass than Max in the end.  But I still felt like I was shortchanged on her growth.  As an example, I didn’t necessarily buy her change of heart about the money.  I certainly wouldn’t have forgiven so easily, so it didn’t feel authentic.

Max’s journey was more of a deep valley of not good stuff, with a little blip of goodness occasionally.  I get that he was screwed up and acting out badly, and that’s fine.  I mean, it doesn’t leave me too impressed with him, but I get that was his storyline.  But other than occasionally being sweet to Jill, when he dived back down, he REALLY dived back down.  Where was his redemption?  Maybe it’s because we don’t get to see inside his head, so while he says he’s trying to get better, you sort of see it, but as a reader I just didn’t buy it.  I didn’t want to give him a pass.  And he was so hypocritical!  After all the crap he did, he totally jumped down Jill’s throat without giving her much time at all to grow as well!  Not impressed.  Gee, could you tell?

Inherently my problem with this story lies in the presence of a lot of one of my major button issues: cheating.  I’m sorry folks, it’s just not for me.  Maybe if it was just that first kiss.  Maybe if he hadn’t stayed with his girlfriend time and time again, while simultaneously trying to explore a relationship with Jill as well.  I could even forgive a little bit of Jill’s bad judgement, and her having to live with her decisions.  But we’re given hints that there is more to Becky’s story, and then what we’re given just didn’t seem like enough, and as with most YA’s, we’re made to dislike her because she’s a bitch and a mean girl.  It was a shame, it would have been more interesting if there was a hint of depth there.  It definitely doesn’t show Max in a good light then.  And it was like I was told about Jill’s emotional journey over how she feels about participating in cheating, but I didn’t feel it.  AND THEN there’s her Dad.  It was too much.  Too many truly reprehensible characters with no redemption.

There were bright spots.  I LOVED the development of Jill’s relationship with Meredith (and Ally to a degree).  That truly surprised me in a good way.  I enjoyed Jill’s passion for baking, and how she tried to figure out her future.  And I loved the little bits we saw of Marcy and Bill.

Honestly, I could probably pick apart a few more tiny things (like I wish there was more from the friend side of things, Kyle or Leah), but it’s just not that important.  This was a book with a lot of potential that just fell short in the end, and was tainted for me personally by the cheating topic.  I recognize it’s hinted at in the blurb, but if I’d known the degree, I would have steered clear.  Ah well.

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Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader by Brent Schlender

BEcoming Steve JObsBlurb: Brent Schlender is an enormously respected journalist, writing about technology and Silicon Valley over the past three decades, and in May 2012, his Fast Company cover story about Steve Jobs, entitled “The Lost Tapes of Steve Jobs,” broke, spawning hundreds of articles and a feeding frenzy for the book rights. Walter Isaacson’s authorized biography, Steve Jobs, was a landmark publication that sold millions of copies and has been on the New York Times bestseller list for two years. But the most interesting years of Jobs’s life are shortchanged, as many people refused to talk, because Jobs was still alive and because of the extraordinary haste in finishing the book in order to get it out immediately after Jobs’s death.
Apple devotees and Silicon Valley tech readers will be dazzled by the array of stories from people who worked alongside him. Becoming Steve Jobs is a vividly dramatic and high-octane biography that reveals Jobs at his most colourful and volatile.

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This book satisfies a place on my 2016 Read Harder Challenge being hosted by Book Riot. I know its well into 2017, but I’m no quitter!

5 stars

I loved this book.  It’s not generally in my wheelhouse of genres that I read but it’s part of my read harder challenge from last year.  This book took me about 6 weeks to get through. Partly because its an audio book and I only listen to those on my commute to work and partly because I had to take A LOT of breaks.  It was very monotone and linear, not really what I’m used to.

However, the reporting on his life and all the interviews that were quoted were awesome. I felt like I got to know him on a more intimate level.  I had no idea how much of an asshole he was. LOL, and arrogant, my god he was very much about his ideas and had no qualms about telling anyone what his opinion of them was.  And he was so damn impulsive, he would judge a person on the first impression and wouldn’t let it go.  All faults IMO, but when you are on the outside looking in.  And only focusing on his career, it was quite fascinating. I mean, I could never have worked for him, but hey, nobody’s perfect.  I don’t mean to say that he was a devil or anything, but the biography didn’t hold anything back in regards to his professional life.

This book was very in depth about his career, and since I remember most of it growing up, I got a little nostalgic while listening.  Especially, when he purchased Pixar, and then eventually sold it. Or when he came back to Apple and slowly turned it into one the most profitable and recognized brands in the world.  But I think the thing that stands out most to me were his values.

They spoke a great deal about how Steve thought the past was the past and you couldn’t change it, so instead you needed to learn from it.  And how he looked in the mirror and asked himself if I died today, would he have accomplished everything he wanted?  Or how he was constantly asking himself, “What comes next?”  Constantly looking forward, I really liked that.  I do that to. Don’t dwell on the past, always move forward.  These are things I can relate to and I found that very interesting that we shared some of the same views on life.  When his sickness and eventual death was covered, I actually started crying.  He was a giant in the PC world and I wish I would have read this book sooner.

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Compete (The Atlantis Grail #2) by Vera Nazarian

26100693Blurb: It’s one thing to Qualify…
But do you have what it takes to Compete?

With Earth about to be destroyed by an extinction level asteroid, teenage nerd, geek, and awkward smart girl Gwen Lark, and a few of her friends and loved ones, barely Qualified for rescue onboard one of the thousands of ark-ships headed to the ancient colony planet Atlantis.

Now faced with a year-long journey in space, life in a wondrously alien environment, and many tough life choices, Gwen must decide who or what she will become. Fleet Cadet or Civilian? Friend or lover? Average or extraordinary?

Can she make new friends? Can she trust the old ones, such as Logan Sangre, her sexy high school crush and an Earth special operative?

Time and time again, Gwen’s uncanny ability to come up with the best answer in a crisis saves her life and others. And now, her unique Logos voice makes her an extremely valuable commodity to the Atlanteans — so much so that her enigmatic commanding officer Aeson Kassiopei, who is also the Imperial Prince of Atlantis, has taken an increasingly personal interest in her.

Before the end of the journey, Gwen must convince him that she has what it takes to compete in the deadly Games of the Atlantis Grail.

It’s becoming apparent — the life of her family and all of Earth depends on it.

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4 stars

I’m quite conflicted on this book, because the beginning was pretty fricking awesome.  I loved hearing about their culture and the cool new world they were heading too.  But then it kinda stuttered with the romance.  I mean, I admit, the romance part is so light in this book as to almost be nonexistent.  But I clung to it hoping it would pick up a bit.  But unfortunately I was disappointed.

I loved  Aeson in the beginning then it’s like he drank some crazy juice or something because his character started to become inconsistent.  He was emotionally immature.  And I expected more from his character than his hot and cold antics.  I felt like I was getting whiplash with it.  And as a woman that shit would irritate the fuck out of me.  Like dude, pick a lane or shut up about it.  I can’t stand when someone can’t commit to their feelings.  Especially without a reasonable explanation.

Now… and this is pretty important I think… take the romance out of the book and you have yourself a pretty great story.  Lark is a great character. She bends and flexes with the upheaval in her life.  She shows growth and perseverance in the face of adversity and she is a huge nerd, which appeals to me.  She’s just an all round bad ass IMO so I felt the book would have been better if we could have just focused on her, without a main love interest.  I know! That’s wild right? Cause I love romance in books, but this one just left me unfulfilled in that aspect.

I do want to know why the ending happened the way it did, so I’m gonna give the story the benefit of the doubt and continue reading it.  Hope the author changes my mind about Aeson.

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Broken Skies (Broken Skies #1) by Theresa Kay

20764638Blurb: Thirty years ago, civilization collapsed. Few survived.
Ten years ago, the aliens arrived…and stayed.
One year ago, I killed two men and went a little crazy.
Today, the aliens took my brother and I will do anything to get him back.

In seventeen-year-old Jax Mitchell’s world, humans are nearly extinct and alien settlers have arrived.

Until recently, the E’rikon have remained segregated in their city and ignored the few humans who have tried to engage them… but now they have taken Jax’s brother. To rescue him, she forms an uneasy alliance with a teenage E’rikon left stranded in the woods. She agrees to guide him to the city if he sneaks her past the human-proof barrier. Too bad it’s not that simple.
Jax, who cannot stand to be touched, finds that she’s drawn to the alien boy with bright green hair and jewel-like scales on his back. And he’s equally affected by her, the courageous redhead with haunted eyes. But she doesn’t know the alien’s true motives and he has no idea that she is much more than she seems.

With the aliens and the humans at odds, the connection forming between the two teens has consequences. What started off as a rescue mission sets a chain of events in motion which threatens not only the remaining humans and the growing alien society, but Earth itself.

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5 stars

~I just realized I never posted a review for this book on our blog! ~

This kind of book is my favorite. Aliens, sci-fi and post apacolyptic. Trust no one. Evil is about. That is what this book screamed to me as I read it. Ooooooh! I love when evil is about. It had it all, equal parts action, love, war, internal strife.

Jax had it hard. Like post apocolyptic hard. The background was detailed and I totally felt a connection with Jax. We are like BFF’s now. In fact, I may have a bit of a girl crush on her.

Jax is a bit of a bad ass. She finds paths when none seem possible. She perserveres when all is hopeless. I admire her greatly. She doesn’t use her past as an excuse to give up. She goes on. It’s hard, but anything worth doing is right? Even when she has no idea what she is doing, she doesn’t allow the idea of failure to settle in her mind. Its amazing really. She just steamrolls on.

Lir is the like a warm sun to her dark cold night. Fire and ice people. He has a close, loving family. A promising future within his community and an easy going personality. He would have to after the crap that happens to him at camp. He is down to earth and protective without being pushy. He lets her in and shows her it is okay to trust.

Flint was a favorite supporting character. Jax and he have a sibling like relationship. He looks out for her and she has no appreciation for it. If you have siblings you understand.

Her bio-brother is pretty cool too. They are twins and they have that spooky twin thing which I love. It was just them two for the longest time so they know they can rely on each other. He is a bit over-protective since her incident. Oops, nuff said on that.

The bad guy is pretty evil. He has control issues and seriously needs to talk it out with a shrink. Maybe he wasn’t loved enough as a child.

I have read this book a few times and it never gets old, so you should go read it too. Just saying.

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Qualify (The Atlantis Grail #1) by Vera Nazarian

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Blurb: You have two options. You die, or you Qualify. 

The year is 2047. An extinction-level asteroid is hurtling toward Earth, and the descendants of ancient Atlantis have returned from the stars in their silver ships to offer humanity help.

But there’s a catch.

They can only take a tiny percent of the Earth’s population back to the colony planet Atlantis. And in order to be chosen, you must be a teen, you must be bright, talented, and athletic, and you must Qualify.

Sixteen-year-old Gwenevere Lark is determined not only to Qualify but to rescue her entire family.

Because there’s a loophole.

If you are good enough to Qualify, you are eligible to compete in the brutal games of the Atlantis Grail, which grants all winners the laurels, high tech luxuries, and full privileges of Atlantis Citizenship. And if you are in the Top Ten, then all your wildest wishes are granted… Such as curing your mother’s cancer.

There is only one problem.

Gwen Lark is known as a klutz and a nerd. While she’s a hotshot in classics, history, science, and languages, the closest she’s come to sports is a backyard pool and a skateboard.

This time she is in over her head, and in for a fight of her life, against impossible odds and world-class competition–including Logan Sangre, the most amazing guy in her school, the one she’s been crushing on, and who doesn’t seem to know she exists.

Because every other teen on Earth has the same idea.

You Qualify or you die 

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4 stars

I really liked how Lark was not perfect.  Not even a little bit.  In fact, I think she messed up more than she succeeded.  But the greatest attribute that I admired about her was the fact that no matter how many times she fell down, she got back up. Every. Time.  And she was always there to offer help, even if the help was shunned.  Those are traits of a heroine that you want to read more about and see succeed right?

So, the colors.  I have been bugging my other friends who read this book to pick their colors.  Now I’m not really gonna go into it because spoilers, but….If I had to choose, I think I’d go Blue or Green.  And I’ll just leave it at that.

Her family support system was super awesome and was a very big part of the story. No token siblings cameo here. No, they all had depth and different personalities that seemed to compliment each other.  My favorite sibling is George.  George was the oldest of the four.  I am the oldest of seven.  So I related to him, like a lot.  He was reliable and if he didn’t have the answer he would damn sure help you find it.   After George my fave is Gordie because he just kinda went with the flow and made the best of every situation he was in.  He was laid back and he loved food!  A boy after my own heart! I am still on the fence with Gracie (you see the pattern here right?).  Maybe its cause she was the youngest at 12 and had an attitude.  I found her to be a brat actually.

You should all go read this book.  Then tell me what you think. J

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One True Pairing by Cathy Yardley

Blurb:
30174469They couldn’t be more opposite, the Hollywood actor and the hometown girl, but all they need is a little convention magic to become the perfect ship in Cathy Yardley’s One True Pairing.

Jake Reese needs a decoy girlfriend. Fast. The lead actor of the popular TV show, Mystics, is tired of losing his shirt to overeager fans. Literally. Which is why a chance meeting with gothabilly bookworm-slash-barista Hailey Frost seems almost too perfect to be true. Hailey is not impressed with his TV fame and is desperate to save her family’s bookstore. It’s a match made in Hollywood, but as the two pretend to date, fan fiction becomes reality. Can this OTP become canon?

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

Yup, that was a whole lot of perfect for Lenore.  I was sucked right in, and entertained from start to finish.  I loved the humour, I loved the characters, I loved the romance, I loved the geek stuff, I loved the celebrity aspect…  Seriously, it was just my kind of book, you know?

Hailey was all sorts of unique as a heroine.  Not just because she embraced her rockabilly style, but because she was hiding a childhood growing up with grifters, and damage from time spent in the foster system.  I liked that she was both tough and independent, but she was also using her sisters as a crutch to avoid being vulnerable.  It was surprisingly easy to love her.

Jake was just uber adorable.  I just wanted to hug him.  He was so sincere, and kind, and caring, and passionate about what he loved.  I will admit that I saw the Susie thing from like a mile away, and so just kept waiting for him to figure things out.  I actually anticipated that resolving with Hailey as a catalyst, but I was satisfied with the way it went anyways.

And I liked the two of them together…you could really feel their draw to each other, and the chemistry and sexual attraction.  Seriously, it was hot.  But, even though it was hella fast, I still really enjoyed the development of their relationship due to spending so much time together in a short span of time.  And I found it amusing how tongue in cheek Ms. Yardley was having Hailey despise insta-love in stories and then giving Hailey a fast love story herself.  I’m sure it will bother some people, but I loved it.  I’m not an insta-love hater though (not a lover, just not a hater).

And the secondary cast was pretty great too, from Hailey’s sisters to Jake’s co-stars.  It’s definitely setting up future stories, you can totally tell.

Honestly, other than totally guessing the Jake side story, the only other thing I was meh on was the stalker storyline.  It felt a little thrown in last minute, and like just a plot device.  But I loved so much else in the story, I don’t even care.

Any book that can make me tempted to fight through sleep and keep reading, even though it’s 3 am, is my kind of book.  I did manage to resist, but I was epically tired.  Can’t wait for more in this series.  Gotta go back and read Level Up now, though those characters are only loosely mentioned in this one…it stands alone pretty well.  I concur with the title: Jake and Hailey are my OTP!

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The Difference Between Us by Rachel Higginson

Blurb:
35002568I’m cursed.

At least when it comes to finding Mr. Right.

I’m tired of men that only want one night stands or blind dates that are nothing but awkward and uncomfortable. I’m tired of avoiding inappropriate text messages and the constant disappointment of always meeting Mr. Wrong.

After all these years of dates that lead nowhere, I can admit that it’s me. I’m the problem. I’m shy and picky and cursed. Definitely cursed.

So I’ve decided two things.

The first? I’m giving up dating and relationships and men in general. Maybe, possibly, forever.

The second? I’m going to have to try harder to avoid Ezra Baptiste.

If I couldn’t hack it in the kiddy pool of dating, I certainly can’t swim in his deep end. He’s too successful. Too intense. He’s all man when I’m used to nothing but boys pretending to be grownups. He’s everything I’m afraid to want and so far out of my league we might as well be different species entirely.

So he’ll need to find a different artist to paint his mural. And a different graphic designer to help him with his website. He’ll need to find someone else to glare at and flirt with and kiss.

It can’t be me.

We’re too different.

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My Review:
4.5 stars — I did receive an earlier copy of this book as a beta, in exchange for my oh-so-amazing opinions, and stellar typo catching (yes, there is some sarcasm there).  But I’m obviously going to write out my honest opinion, b/c I have one of those too (and it’s wholeheartedly unbiased).

There’s a reason Ms. Higginson is one of my favourite authors of all time.  While there may be elements here and there that don’t always jibe with me personally, I ALWAYS get a story where I fall in love with the unique and VERY REAL characters, and where I spend an inordinate amount of time smiling unexpectedly, truly laughing out loud (usually accompanied by snorts), and swooning left, right and center.  And isn’t it weird how you forget all about that enchantment in between your favourite author’s releases?  Like, you convince yourself that they’re not as good as you remember, or you’ve blown the memory out of proportion.  And then you get a few paragraphs in and it’s like coming home to an old friend.  THAT is what this book was for me.  I totally get that I *just* read The Opposite of You a mere 4 months ago, but from that first snort of laughter, I’m right back where I want to be.  And where I want to be is in Molly’s head.

I have wholeheartedly admitted in the past that my heart generally lies in dual POV books, so it always amuses the crap out of me that one of my favourite authors writes almost exclusively in single POV.  But again (because I feel like I’m repeating myself from my review of TOOY), she manages to convey so much through the heroine’s story, that I don’t even feel that gypped.  I’m still absolutely able to fall in love with the hero too, even without being in his head (though I would never sneeze at a bonus POV scene, *hint hint*).

Molly is exactly as hilarious and sassy and snarky as I expected her to be, but she’s also so much more.  Honestly, I really connected to her because I feel like she is a soul sister.  She’s a bit shyer, outside of her inner circle she prefers to blend into the background, she loathes confrontation, and she has a hell of a case of imposter’s syndrome (which my hubby constantly tells me I have).  And you know what?  I wanted to high five her for each of those characteristics, because she really felt like me.  I know strong forceful heroines are all the rage, but there is also something to love about a girl who has moments of meekness and insecurity.  And I really loved the glimpse we got into her family, and how her upbringing influenced her in so many ways.  It made it so that at parts where I was cringing for her decisions, I also got how she got there.  You know?

Molly’s story has so many elements, and not all of them were easy to read.  Particularly the sexual harassment she endures at work.  It’s so easy as a reader to be able to see what’s going on, but it’s SOOOO much harder to deal with it in real life when you’re faced with consequences and uncertainty when it involves your livelihood.  I had a REALLY hard time with that part, I wanted to scream at Molly so many times and it all made me feel very uncomfortable.  But at the same time I felt like it was really brave of Ms. Higginson to confront this issue, and shine a light on how complicated it is…and have Molly NOT make the black and white decisions.  It made the situation more REAL you know?

And then there’s the romance, which was a slam dunk for me.  I absolutely loved that Ezra managed to bring out a completely different side to Molly.  Their courtship made me laugh, it made me swoon, and it tugged at my heartstrings.  It was seriously just so odd you guys, but I was in love practically from the first e-mail.  I wasn’t sure what I was going to think of Ezra, b/c he’s kind of hard to pin down…but I thought Molly got to the heart of him, and we got to see what made him tick, and why he appears the way he does.  And their chemistry was amazing.  My only niggle is that I’m not huge on the flip-flop, and Molly did have a bit of that.  That would be what caused the half star loss for me.

Of course the secondary characters were beyond amazing.  My heart was so happy with the reappearance of all my favourites (Vera, Killian, Wyatt, and Vann), and I totally fell in love with Ezra’s half-sister Dillon as well.  Their addition just takes a great story and levels it up.  I tried petitioning for a certain pairing, but apparently I got the matches wrong.  To say I’m excited for more from this crew is an understatement.

And there you have it.  Essentially a fangirl review.  What are you gonna do?  We all have our favourite authors for a reason, and I’m a sucker for Ms. Higginson’s characters, and she writes banter that has my highlight finger going crazy.  It’s as simple as that.

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Misconduct by Samantha Kane

Blurb:
33100746The Birmingham Rebels play both sides of the field, proving that the hottest action isn’t always in the arena.

Rookie running back Tom Kelly loves the perks of football stardom. Men, women—there’s no shortage of companionship for a pro athlete who’s hot, young, and willing, and Tom is definitely willing. But deep down he wants a committed three-way relationship, especially if the female in the middle is Carmina de la Cruz. The undeniably sexy Army veteran may not say much, but her body speaks loud and clear.

After a traumatic tour in Afghanistan, Carmina is struggling to regain her speech and rebuild her life. More than anything, she wants to feel like a woman again. Tom may be a wholesome All-American, but he knows just how she needs to be touched—and he’s not the only Rebel who arouses her interest. With his scorching intensity, Tom’s best friend leaves her wondering if two players might be better than one.

Danny Smith is no stranger to his team’s kinky reputation. He gave in to temptation once, but he’s not going down that road again. Sure, Carmina’s curves promise pleasure, but her eyes guarantee it comes with baggage—and Danny has enough of his own. Still, giving up control can feel so good. And when it comes to everything Danny craves, Carmina and Tom make the perfect team.

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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.

*heavy sigh*  So, I enjoyed this book.  I enjoyed it more than the previous book in the series (and I’ve only read books 3 and 4, not the first 2).  I came out at the end of it entertained, I thought the character development was pretty good, and I thought the steamy scenes were deliciously…well…steamy.  I even initially pegged this one as a 4 star for me.  And I’m going to round up, b/c I’m trying to keep true to *my* personal feelings at the end of it.

I thought all the characters had something to offer, and I particularly liked the goofiness and just, well, like-ability of Tom.  Like seriously, I really loved him, and his humour, and he was just so adorable.  And I loved the way he pushed both Danny and Carmina, recognizing what he wanted was a relationship with both of them (all three of them together), and after recognizing interest from both of them, I enjoyed how he pushed them out of their comfort zones to get them to that place together.

I thought Carmina’s storyline was interesting, particularly since I didn’t see her past with Richie coming.  I had been looking forward to learning more about her brain injury, b/c she fascinated me in the previous book, and I was a bit bummed that besides putting herself down about it, we didn’t really get as much out of that as I’d wanted.  But I did like seeing her grow more confident, and I appreciated a glimpse into some of the challenges that she faces (particularly in trying to reenter the workforce, and dealing with well-meaning friends/family).

I thought Danny was probably the one I learned the least about, and probably had a few reservations about.  He came across kind of homophobic (even though he ended up being bisexual), and while I understood his hangups about his sexual preferences in light of his past with Marian, I still had a hard time with it…I always have a hard time reading about characters that feel ashamed of what they like, even though I think it’s a valid storyline b/c I’m sure many people go through this.  I’m not sure how much I liked the scene between Tom and Danny in the hotel room, particularly consent-wise, but I let it pass…and I’m not sure what that says about me.

And here’s where the sigh comes in.  I decided to glance at other reviews of the book.  And I realized that, as a white woman, I didn’t see a lot of things surrounding the race of Danny and Carmina that others might.  I subscribe to the philosophy that everyone’s a little bit racist, and I was bummed that I had yet again failed to see the far reaching consequences of some of the elements in the story.  Also, while I am trying to be more conscious of slut-shaming, consent, and all the other little sexual tidbits that crop up in books, I tend to forget about them in eroticas sometimes…is it suspension of disbelief?  I don’t know.  So I guess what I’m trying to say is that while reading other critical reviews, I could see some of the points that they were making, but they hadn’t bothered me while reading, and so I’m going to maintain my rating, b/c it’s how I felt and I’m reviewing my personal experience.  But if you are sensitive to these issues, then you might want to read some other reviews to help you make a better decision.  And hopefully you won’t judge me too much.

Anyways, I do want to say that I did enjoy how the football game against the Rough Riders went at the end there.  I was proud of all the boys for growing and learning and eventually helping each other to do the right thing in such a hard situation.

So yeah.  There you go.  I enjoyed the book.  *shrugs*  I guess I just don’t think as hard as other readers, especially when it comes to eroticas.  And here I was excited that we got so much diversity in this story.  Whatcha gonna do?  Learn and grow I suppose.

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Stacking the Shelves — July 22nd, 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)

Paperbacks I Bought From The Library:

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  • You’re Bacon Me Crazy (Wish #4) by Suzanne Nelson. When you see a book with bacon on the cover, you buy it immediately! 🙂 This is a middle grade book and it sounds super cute. Also, my kid is almost old enough to start reading these with me so I figured I’d help her get a head start on her book hoarding. Cause I’m considerate like that. 😉
  • Body Heat (Dept 6 Hired Guns #2) by Brenda Novak.  I’m a fan and it was $.25, like I’m gonna pass that up! LOL

Books I Purchased:

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  • Compete (The Atlantis Grail #2) by Vera Nazarian. So my tribe recommended the first book, Qualify, to me. And I was hooked. I can’t wait to start this one.

eReaderIQ Freebies:

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Lenoreo’s Haul

(All Ebooks unless otherwise specified)

NetGalley ARC Requests Approved:

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  • Breakaway (Corrigan Falls Raiders #4) by Cate Cameron from Entangled: Crush (Entangled Publishing LLC)  — releases August 14th, 2017.  I’ve read all 3 books in this series so far and really enjoyed them (reviews of Center Ice, Playing Defense, and Winging It), and am so excited to read Dawn’s book!!
  • Love in the Friend Zone by Molly E. Lee from Entangled: Crush (Entangled Publishing LLC)  — releases August 14th, 2017.
  • Taming the Rebel (Endless Summer #3) by Dawn Klehr from Entangled: Crush (Entangled Publishing LLC)  — releases August 14th, 2017.
  • Arm Candy (Real Love #2) by Jessica Lemmon from Loveswept (Random House Publishing Group – Loveswept) — releases September 5th, 2017.  I *just* finished reading book one of this series (my review of Eye Candy) and really enjoyed Ms. Lemmon’s voice.  I’m definitely intrigued by Davis’s story!

Got It On Sale:

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  • Hooked by Brenda Rothert — Back in December I read an ARC of this book from NetGalley and absolutely LOVED it (see my review here).  So when I saw it on BookBub for 99 cents from its regular $3.99, I pounced on it.  Still on sale!!