The Faith of William Shakespeare by Graham Holderness

TFOWSBlurb: William Shakespeare is arguably the world’s most famous writer. His plays and sonnets have been translated into many different languages, and are performed, read and loved the world over. But what of the man himself? What did he believe? Was he a secret Catholic, like his father, prepared to run the risk of being accused of treachery to the Tudor state? Or was he convinced by the new Protestant teaching? Or maybe did he not believe any of it, just saying and doing what was expected of him, in order to get by in a dangerous age? Shakespearean scholar Graham Holderness examines the evidence, both from Shakespeare’s life and his key works.

 

Netgalley

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DNF

I tried and tried and tried to finish this book. I’ve had it for a looooong time. I think I thought this was a fictional story when I first requested it. I made it about 25% through before I couldn’t read anymore. This book is not in my wheelhouse so I wouldn’t count this as a negative review. I don’t generally read non-fiction and was trying to challenge myself to broaden my horizons. This one just didn’t do it for me.

I received a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review/opinion.

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Shacking Up by Helena Hunting

33838194Blurb:  Ruby Scott is months behind on rent and can’t seem to land a steady job. She has one chance to turn things around with a big audition. But instead of getting her big break, she gets sick as a dog and completely bombs it in the most humiliating fashion. All thanks to a mysterious, gorgeous guy who kissed—and then coughed on—her at a party the night before.

Luckily, her best friend might have found the perfect opportunity; a job staying at the lavish penthouse apartment of hotel magnate Bancroft Mills while he’s out of town, taking care of his exotic pets. But when the newly-evicted Ruby arrives to meet her new employer, it turns out Bane is the same guy who got her sick.

Seeing his role in Ruby’s dilemma, Bane offers her a permanent job as his live-in pet sitter until she can get back on her feet. Filled with hilariously awkward encounters and enough sexual tension to heat a New York City block, Shacking Up, from NYT and USA Today bestselling author Helena Hunting, is sure to keep you laughing and swooning all night long.

Netgalley

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5 stars

I absolutely LOVED this book.  I was lucky enough to be offered to read this ARC through Netgalley.  I have actually never heard of this author before but the title, cover and blurb really drew me in. I hit the trifecta in the book world!

And now I find myself looking up all the other books by this author cause she writes my kind of romance.  It was witty. It was clumsy and full of humor.  It was a slow, simmering romance that also had some kinky sex scenes in it.  You see what I mean?

I really liked Rubys’ character. She had a stubbornness that I could identify with.  I totally get not wanting to rely on anyone to support myself.  But there is a difference in making it on your own with support and being fully supported.  And I think she was having a hard time figuring out which side she landed on at times. She had a great sense of humor rounding out her character. Along with a fierce sense of independence and penchant for looking for the silver lining of life. When life gives you lemons, you buy some fucking vodka to go with it, amIright?

And Bancroft!  Oh dear lord, this man is the epitome of sexy.  His alpha, millionaire manliness is physically attractive. But this man has layers, not just sexiness.  His sensitivity shines through with his care for his pets.  And his family values are clear as day with his willingness to compromise for them.

You know what? I think I’m gonna have to read this one again very soon.  Highly recommend to anyone who reads contemporary romantic comedy.

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Bluebells (Wolf Land #1) by Fiona McShane


32797353Blurb:
 In 1652, Ireland is known as Wolf Land. Oliver Cromwell’s army have arrived. Properties will be seized. Land will be cleared. Wolves will be destroyed.

In the small village of Wolf Wood, Cromwell’s men face far worse enemies than those in the rest of the country. The wolves here are bigger, stronger, more intelligent. Could these wolves be something different? Could these wolves be forming an army of their own?

Sorcha Moore has grown up hearing stories about the unusual wolves of Wolf Wood, but her fears are more immediate. She fears what will happen to her older sister, Peggy. Peggy is to become the latest mistress of Lord Tolbert, so that the Moores can keep their farm. Sorcha is frightened, too, of her own future marriage to Sean, a farmhand. If the decision were hers she would be with Rory Farrrell, a young blacksmith.

Peter Moore has never let his daughters have their freedom. If he had, they might have turned out like their mother before them – a woman many thought was a witch.

On the night of Bealtaine, Rory Farrell is bitten. Unable to tell Sorcha that he must join the ranks of the werewolves who protect Wolf Wood, he tells her he is moving to Dublin.

No matter what his new responsibilities, Rory cannot truly abandon Sorcha. As the years pass, and Sorcha grows from girl to woman, he watches over her night after night. But when Lord Tolbert’s eyes turn to Sorcha, will Rory be able to keep her safe?

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DNF

I couldn’t get through this one. I made it about 20% in before stopping. It was too dry for me. I didn’t feel anything for the characters and the storyline was too linear for me if that makes sense. Too bad, I love shifter books.

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Punk 57 by Penelope Douglas


31437918Blurb: 
“We were perfect together. Until we met.”

Misha

I can’t help but smile at the words in her letter. She misses me.

In fifth grade, my teacher set us up with pen pals from a different school. Thinking I was a girl, with a name like Misha, the other teacher paired me up with her student, Ryen. My teacher, believing Ryen was a boy like me, agreed.

It didn’t take long for us to figure out the mistake. And in no time at all, we were arguing about everything. The best take-out pizza. Android vs. iPhone. Whether or not Eminem is the greatest rapper ever…

And that was the start. For the next seven years, it was us.

Her letters are always on black paper with silver writing. Sometimes there’s one a week or three in a day, but I need them. She’s the only one who keeps me on track, talks me down, and accepts everything I am.

We only had three rules. No social media, no phone numbers, no pictures. We had a good thing going. Why ruin it?

Until I run across a photo of a girl online. Name’s Ryen, loves Gallo’s pizza, and worships her iPhone. What are the chances?

F*ck it. I need to meet her.

I just don’t expect to hate what I find.

Ryen

He hasn’t written in three months. Something’s wrong. Did he die? Get arrested? Knowing Misha, neither would be a stretch.

Without him around, I’m going crazy. I need to know someone is listening. It’s my own fault. I should’ve gotten his number or picture or something.

He could be gone forever.

Or right under my nose, and I wouldn’t even know it.

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4 stars

I purchased this book on the recommendation of an author friend that I have. Hi Caylie! I’ve read PD books before, a few times actually.  But there was always something that really kept me from turning into a full fledged superfan.

This book was great and I really liked the penpal aspect of it. It’s actually kind of funny because my daughter has three penpals herself so it was kind of cool how it parallelled my real life.  The only thing that I didn’t like I gotta say was how they went from friends to enemies to lovers. Also, there was a lot of deceit in this book.  This is a bit if a deal breaker for me so I think that’s one of the reasons I can’t five star this. Yet, I keep coming back to her books so obviously it doesn’t ruin the whole story.

If you read her other books you’ll notice a trend with regards to the chemistry between the two main characters.  A lot of their sexual tension is based in very intense, passionate emotions but the emotions are negative.  They’re rooted in fear, anger and hate and I think that if I had to pinpoint something that pulls me back from being a super fan, that would be it. Because I cannot relate to having those feelings and then turning them around into a physical, sexual, love filled relationship.

But again, I keep coming back to her stories. Maybe I’m again glutton for punishment. Her stories always have depth and originality and as long as she keeps those coming, I’ll continue to keep reading them.

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Can’t Stay Away by Lilly Avalon

cant stay awayBlurb: Piper Winchester is fresh out of college. With only three weeks until her father remarries and five weeks until her first business venture launches, she’s got her hands full. She certainly doesn’t need any distractions to get in the way of building the future her father’s always wanted for her. But when a familiar boy with bright green eyes walks back into her life, she’s thrown for a loop.

Four years ago, Chase MacKenzie left for college without looking back. He didn’t mean to disturb the peace then, and he definitely doesn’t want to do that now. Once he lays his eyes on Piper again, there’s no way he can leave without fixing what went wrong in the past. Although she’s more determined than ever to push him away, he still manages to get under her skin. Regardless of what happens between them, there’s one thing that will always be standing in their way…

He’s about to become her stepbrother.

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3 stars

I do love me some step love! This one was different in the fact that the male MC was NOT an alpha, which was lovely.  He was a bit of a beta boy.  And while this story had the ‘traditional’ sex scenes, it was tempered with deep emotion.

One of my favorite things about this story is that they were friends in the beginning, not enemies. This really stood out because anyone who reads these types of stories knows they are mostly enemies to lovers.

I also like how the parents were more present in this book. Being aware and involved in the family.  Plus they were both out of the house and living on their own.  These may seem like little nuances but added all up helped to create a vibrant background that really sucked me in.

This was a quick read that I really enjoyed.

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Silver Bastard (Silver Valley #1) by Joanna Wylde

silver bastardsBlurb:  Fourteen months. For fourteen months, Puck Redhouse sat in a cell and kept his mouth shut, protecting the Silver Bastards MC from their enemies. Then he was free and it was time for his reward—full membership in the club, along with a party to celebrate. That’s when he saw Becca Jones for the first time and set everything in motion. Before the night ended he’d violated his parole and stolen her away from everything she knew.

Five years. It was five years ago that Puck destroyed Becca and saved her all in one night. She’s been terrified of him ever since, but she’s even more terrified of the monsters he still protects her from… But Becca refuses to let fear control her. She’s living her life and moving forward, until she gets a phone call from the past she can’t ignore. She has to go back, and there’s only one man she can trust to go with her—the ex-con biker who rescued her once before.

Puck will help her again, but this time it’ll be on his terms. No more lies, no more tears, and no more holding back what he really wants…

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4 stars

This is another audio book that I chose from my Overdrive account. (An amazing app that allows you to listen to books for free through your library card) And I  know I’m not supposed to start new series but I needed another book to listen to.  And I liked the cover. I have a kinda sketchy past with MC books.  There was only one MC book that I recall liking.  So I figured I’d try a different format.  This was my last ditch effort before I threw in the towel on this genre.  I can gladly say that it worked.

This book was f-ing amazing! The voices are what really pushed it over the edge.  This book was a dual POV and it was read by a male and female.  These fucking readers you guys…  IDK who read them but I’m gonna look them up.  They read it so well.  I felt the characters, I felt the anger and the betrayal. I felt the chemistry and sexual tension between the characters.

The woman especially did a really good job I think.  Each voice was distinct and had a unique pitch and accent.  Even the male voices sounded real and it was astonishing how many inflections she could do. I’ve never heard so many different voices come out of one person in my life.

The guy was great to. I’m not trying to knock him but there’s only so high a males voice can go.  So when he did the females voices it wasn’t as seamless a transition.

The story itself was a predictable read…except the ending.  I totally bought into the story, but there was one point at the end that really shocked me.  Kudos to that author for that. The cool thing about it is it tied up all the loose ends so I don’t have to read anymore in the series.  And I’m not going to because I’d had my fill of this story line and world and have no interest in returning.  The beginning was very graphic and intense so people who are not into that kind of stuff I would not recommend this for you.

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Noticed Me Yet? by Anyta Sunday


28423328Blurb: 
 Jacob’s in a pickle. He needs a new flatmate, and soon. And what better way to advertise than on the noticeboards around campus?

Trouble is, someone is taking down his ads.

Jacob writes to the offending thief, little expecting to be answered—and soon he finds himself in a deeper pickle: who is this Mr. X that he keeps writing to?

And how can Jacob be falling for him?

 

 

 

 

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4 stars

I really liked how they didn’t use electronics to communicate but did the old school way of note passing.  I love passing notes, especially in HS, we used to fold them into cool shapes like hearts and stuff. That was what we did in high school so this was right up my alley.  I did think the notes seemed a bit too pubic for me though.

The mystery of who it was was fun and had just enough oomph to keep my attention.  I kept trying to figure out who it was right along with Jacob.  The only thing that I had an issue with was how did either of them know what their sexual preference was? It seemed intuitive to me and that’s not really something that I think would be apparent by passing a few notes. but hey, I can suspend my belief for a short novella.

Their banter was easy going and flirty.  Just what I needed in between my series reading funk and a number of DNF’s that I have been going through. If you are looking for a quick, cutesy, romantic m/m romance, this is the one to pick up.

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Hunt (The Grizzly Brothers Chronicles #1) by Alyssa Rose Ivy


30045749Blurb: 
There’s a new Alpha in town and he just found his mate, she just doesn’t know it yet.

Welcome to Crestview, Montana. Population ~1000 and not all of those are human.

After his brother is murdered, Ian must step up to become Alpha of his bear shifter pack. At the same time law student Mara shows up in town, and Ian knows she’s destined to be his mate.

When a rival pack lays claim to Mara, Ian and his brothers will stop at nothing to protect her.

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1.5 stars

This is my third time attempting to read a series by this author.   The first series I read by I loved, the second I DNF’f .  This one is not a keeper but I at least finished the first book. I keep trying because the one I was able to finish was fantastic and I just want to think she has others out there that I will love as much.  But alas, this one is not one of those.

I tried.  It didn’t work out.  There was too much dialogue and not enough emotion for my tastes.  I don’t really have much more to say other than the it was too fast emotionally and the heroine was not strong enough.

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Blood Warrior (The Alexa Montgomery Saga #1) by H.D. Gordon

Blood warriorBlurb: When her home is attacked by murderous vampires, 17-year-old Alexa is forced to leave her mother for dead in order to save her sister. She soon learns that she is the last known member of an elite race of supernatural Warriors, and is thrust into a world full of vampires and werewolves who all seem to regard her as some sort of savior. Meanwhile, Alexa battles a monster within herself that seeks to gain control; a monster that seeks blood.

The hidden city she finds herself in appears perfect, but Alexa’s instincts tell her that all is not right within its walls. When she is asked to attend a school of fighters, whose exams consist of gladiator-style competitions, she must decide who she can trust among the smiling faces. And, when she meets Kayden, a vampire she feels undeniably drawn to, she must decide if she can trust herself.

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2.5 stars

This book was okay I guess.  Honestly, and I know this is gonna sounds rude but I need to let this out, I forgot the whole thing shortly after reading it. I had to re-read the blurb to jog my memory.  This is a thing that rarely happens to me so when it did I knew that I wasn’t going to have nice things to say about this story.

First off, the world building was sub-par for me.  And that’s saying a lot because I’m one of those people that doesn’t really like world building.  I like an author to give me just enough that I can fill in the blanks.  But I don’t feel I even got that. It seemed all very rushed and intuitive.  But like so intuitive an outsider (such as me) is thinking, “Okay, but how do you know that’s right?” Am I making sense?

Second, I didn’t really get why her not knowing what she was, was such a huge deal.  It was never really explained to us.  So when things don’t make sense or are never really explained, I tune out of the story. I almost DNF’d the book TBH but I was at like 75% in and I thought, might as well see if it turns around. Plus, I have had A LOT of DNF’s recently and I wanted to get out of my funk.

Third, it was unoriginal and a bit tropey.  And while I am not a hater of tropes in general,(an author can make me LOVE a trope if written well) the lack of originality just made it a run of the mill read for me.  I feel like a dick for this review but this is how I feel.  Not a fit for me.

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Witchcraft by Jayne Ann Krentz

WitchcraftBlurb: Mystery writer Kimberly Sawyer lives alone and likes it that way. But when she is threatened by a hooded figure, and a blood-red rose with a needle thrust into its heart is left on her doorstep, she knows she needs protection. So it seems like perfect timing when Napa Valley vineyard owner Darius Cavenaugh returns to Kimberly’s life, offering help and a place to stay. But how did he know she needed him? Was it the deep, intuitive intimacy of a soulmate…or was it witchcraft?

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4 stars

This is a stand alone audio book. It was really good. I liked the cover, the title was intriguing and the blurb was well written. Those are the things that pulled me in. But I gotta say the content of the book had almost nothing to do with the title. And it was kinda irritating to me because I was looking for something more paranormal than what was represented. So for me to spend all that time listening…(You know how long it takes to listen to a audiobook, like 14 fucking hours.) Time that I don’t get back. Then to get to the climax and be soooo disappointed that it wasn’t more paranormal.  Yeah, I was a bit mad and it really sticks out in my mind.

The build-up was really good though and the audio was excellent. I’ve never really listened to romance audiobooks before. Generally I lean more toward the Sci-fi/Fantasy genre. It was one reader and she did all the voices with accents. I felt it gave the book more depth of feeling than if I was to read it myself. This was a romance novel that had just a smidgen of mystery.  I felt it was a bit misleading as far as marketing the book went.

It was also predictable as far as the big bad is concerned. As soon as the character was introduced I knew they were it. I think the author may have intended it to be that way though since it was a love story.

I’d read more from this author if I knew what I was getting into.

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