Friday, January 31, 2014

Blog Tour - The Death of Ink by M.M. John Review and Giveaway

Title: The Death of Ink
Author: M.M. John
Published: January 30, 2014
Series: The Death of Ink #1
Format Read/Pages: ebook/246
How I Acquired It: Itching for Books
Date Finished: January 19, 2014
Find it at: Amazon | Goodreads

Paige Langley’s life has always revolved around good grades and escaping her less than ideal home life…but once she meets Devon Connors, her life drastically changes.

Although, they share an instant attraction, Devon’s concealing a dark past. And an even darker secret…there’s a dead girl haunting him nightly.

Resolute to win the school’s writing contest, Paige will do just about anything to achieve her goals. So after she finds a binder containing information on a past murder and the illegal activities of the students, she believes the stories are fictional and the perfect way to win the contest.

But the owner of the manuscript, Devon Connors, has other plans. To keep Paige from exposing his secrets, Devon befriends her and even offers to help her write a winning story for the contest.

The chemistry between Paige and Devon is undeniable, but Paige doesn’t know if she can trust him. The deeper she digs into the dark underbelly of their high school, the more she realizes that some secrets are better left buried.


This story was a slow start, but it sure builds the suspense. There are a lot of intersecting elements that can be found in The Death of Ink, which in the end leave us a bit confused but wanting more. John weaves a very intricate story that keeps you engrossed and wanting to find out just what is really going on.

I enjoyed both of the main characters, they each brought something interesting to the mix and it worked well together. Paige is striving to make a name for herself as the winner of a writing contest, if only to fund her other expeditions in life, as well as, to get out of the shadow of her last name. A name that is associated with deadbeats and teen pregnancies. Devon is trying to deal with the fact that a dead girl visits him in the middle of the night and convince his family that things are getting better for him. Both of these high school seniors are struggling to go about their day to day lives and make the most of it all, and along the way they find solace in each other.

I must say that the ending was very abrupt and left me wondering what had just happened, I can only home that John plans to explain further in the next installment.

3 Stars

About the Author
College student by day, clandestine writer by night, M. M. John lives in a Florida town full of ghosts, mysteries and secrets. The Death of Ink is her first novel.

Make sure to check out all the stops on The Death of Ink tour! 
The full schedule is available at Itching for Books.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you to Shane at IFB and M.M. John for the chance to participate in this tour!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

American Library Association 2014 Midwinter Conference in Philadelphia!!

This past weekend I had a chance to attend the ALA Midwinter Conference that was held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center here in Philadelphia. It was three days of glorious book overload. I currently have a roommate that is a children's library for the Free Library of Philadelphia and she was the one who really turned me on to the idea of going.

There were some things that I could not attend, as they were for ALA members only, but all the best things were open for my enjoyment. The exhibit hall was what I imagine heaven to be like, rows upon rows of book publishers handing out ARCs and showcasing recently published titles. The booth size definitley depended upon the publishers. I found that the smaller publishers were more interested in talking and answering questions about their books than the larger ones, but everyone was very pleasant and helpful. The largest booths were for HarperCollins, Penguin, and Random House.

I went all three days that were open to the public and lets just say I went a little crazy. Saturday was the first day that I could attend and lets just say I was a little overwhelmed, people were literally handing me tote bags to fill with books and I couldn't have been more excited. I only stayed for a little while because I had to work that afternoon, I ended up coming home with a modest 17 books. Some of them I had no idea about, but either sounded interesting or the cover drew me in.

Sunday is when things started going downhill. I went early in the morning thinking I would beat some of the rush and I was right, but it became a very dangerous thing for my back and arms. With less people around I was able to take more time to really look through the booths and at the books, which of course, made me pick up sooo many more than the day before. I was only there for an hour and a half and I went a little book crazy. I ended up bringing home 50 books!A cab was necessary to get home because there was no way I could have made the ten minute walk from the el to my house. I got mostly ARCs this day, with a few already published books in the mix.

Monday was probably my favorite day of all three. As it was the last day of the conference a lot of the publishers were giving away their display books (ranging from ARCs to published hardcovers) away. There were long lines and waiting, but I was able to get in pretty early for all three of the bigger publishers and get some great books. I came away with almost twenty really nice hardcovers that would have set me back quite a bit. Monday yielded me another 34 books.

Overall, after those three days I came away with over 100 books!! All FREE!!! For a student in college that loves to read this is pretty amazing and I had a great weekend. Over the next few weeks I am going to be doing a meme that is very prevalent in the blogging community and is hosted by Tynga's Reviews, Stacking the Shelves. Because there is over 100 books to showcase I am thinking about doing them in groups of ten, that way it is not an overly long post and I can make a little blurb about each one.

Something that I was a little disappointed to not take mart in was the Rainbow Rowell book signing. She was signing hardcover copies of Fangirl and I really would have liked to be there but had to work that afternoon. (I ended up getting an unsigned copy the next day, so I am still happy!) I really had a great time and can't wait to start reading some of these books!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Crashing into You by B.D. Rowe

Title: Crashing into You
Author: B.D. Rowe
Published: October 1, 2013
Format Read/Pages: eBook/212
How I Acquired It: NetGalley
Date Finished: December 26, 2013
Find it at: Amazon | B&N Goodreads 

Bookish college sophomore Sydney Baker wants Evan Taylor with every ounce of her being. The hottest stud on campus, Evan is six foot four, ripped, stacked with muscles. He's even easy to talk to.

There's just one problem: he's her roommate Melanie's boyfriend.

But when Melanie tragically dies after a night of wild partying, Sydney and Evan turn to each other in a time of intense grief. And it doesn't take long for their close friendship to blossom into something more.

Unfortunately for Sydney, secrets from the past soon put her relationship with Evan to the test. Especially when a sexy blonde freshman makes her way into Evan's life, and tries to rip away everything Sydney holds close to her heart.


This book made me sooooo mad. I was on the verge of ripping my hair out while reading this. Sydney has to be the most unlucky person to ever be written into this world. So unlucky, that it starts to be very unbelievable. I am not going to get into too much detail, because then it would spoil the whole story, but I will outline some of my greater frustrations.

How do you not check on your roommate, who has been sleeping in the bed above you, for DAYS!?!?!? Taking one little glance at a foot sticking out of the covers is not the same as checking on a person when they are sick. I had mono my freshman year of college and was stuck in bed for almost two weeks straight. Everyday my roommate made sure that I was okay and would ask if I needed anything while she was out, that is what people do. Okay, so you didn’t check on her, fine. But when the room started to smell wouldn’t you think something was really wrong? Or try and find the source of said smell? The idiocy this girl possessed made me question how she got into college in the first place.

The relationship between Syd and Evan left me feeling unsettled. I understand that traumatic experiences pull people together, but I don’t know if I could be in a relationship with a boy if I had a hand (although unintentional) in killing his girlfriend. Or, if I found out that he was one of the main reasons that she drank so much in the first place and that he had been lying to me about it for months.

Crashing into You was not an enjoyable read in the slightest. The story was not the most horrible thing I have ever read, but for all this to happen to one person seems really improbable. The absurdity of it all was what really turned me off and I think that if things were less dramatic that it all would have been easier to swallow. 

2 Stars

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Accidentally in Love with ... A God? by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff

Title: Accidentally in Love with... a God?
Author: Mimi Jean Pamfiloff
Published: March 5, 2013
Series?: Accidentally Yours #1
Format Read/Pages: eBook/288
How I Acquired It: NetGalley
Date Finished: December 26, 2013

Trapped for decades, a powerful god seeks freedom ... and revenge. But the only thing that can save him is the passion of a woman's touch …

Emma Keane is your average city girl trying to get a date. There's just one thing holding her back: the disembodied male voice speaking to her through her mind. Sound kind of crazy? Maybe. But crazy turns downright deadly when the voice persuades her to travel to the wilds of the Mayan jungle. There she will free his body-his incredibly hot, muscled, naked body.

Humans are so frail, so undisciplined, so susceptible to love. And when this ancient being connects with Emma, the feelings she sparks drive him utterly mad. Protective, keep-her-close, never-let-her-go kind of mad. Which might not be such a bad thing because from the moment the beautiful, passionate Emma unshackles his body, they are hunted at every turn. Now he'll have to do everything in his power to keep her safe. But will it be enough?


I was torn when reading this, I really wanted to like the characters and plot, but there was something about it that just made me feel meh. It was all entertaining enough, but I could not really devote myself to the story because it was a bit all over the place. The over arcing story was told in a bit of an odd way, that made it hard for me to connect with it all, even the information on the gods was hard to come by, which I think could have made the story more entertaining, to know more about these deities and their escapades.  

Emma was hard to stand at times, her back and forth on whether Guy’s controlling and jealous actions made me want to yell at her and tell her to make up her mind. Either tell him to shove off or accept it. But please, stop complaining about it. Some of what happened was very predictable, especially what happened between Tommaso and Emma, as well as who would ultimately betray them.

Overall, it was an okay read, I did not dislike it. I enjoyed the writing and witty remarks. I just could not get too invested in the love story, as I did not feel as though the two leads were right for each other. I am also confused as to how the whole series works. Are they all companion novels and novellas? Or are there sequels mixed in? I don’t really know. I might check out another one just to find out, and see if I like the protagonists better than I did in this one. 

3 Stars

Further reading in the Accidentally Yours series:
  1. Accidentally in Love with...a God?
  2. Accidentally Married to...a Vampire?
  3. Sun God Seeks...Surrogate?
  4. Accidentally...Evil? (a Novella)
  5. Vampires Need Not...Apply?
  6. Accidentally...Cimil? (a Novella)
  7. Accidentally...Over? (Coming in August2014)

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Blog Tour - Psycho Inside Me by Bonnie R. Paulson Review & Giveaway

Title: Psycho Inside Me
Author: Bonnie R. Paulson
Published: November 30, 2013
Format Read/Pages: eBook/171
How I Acquired It: Itching For Books
Date Finished: January 11, 2014
Purchase at: Amazon | B&N

I killed my first victim at thirteen years old – my age, not his. He was going to rape me, him and a couple of his friends. And so, I killed him. And then… I killed again. And again.

At seventeen, I’m killing four to six times a year – maybe more. Don’t stress out. I only go after the pedophiles and rapists. There are more out there than I could cover in a lifetime.

Saying I did this on my own would be selfish. Enforcing justice holds a glory all its own. But now, my lifelong friend and backup, Deegan, has been arrested. I have to decide if I want to give myself up and take his place or leave him with all the damning evidence. I don’t want to stop killing. But if I let him take the fall, I can’t kill anymore. And I need to keep doing that.

But the worst part of it all? I love him.


Can we just acknowledge that blurb and how catching it really is? As soon as I had read it I knew that I needed to read Psycho Inside Me. It enraptured me and there was no way I could not find out what happens to Deegan and how this all came to be. Bonnie R. Paulson captivated me with a very intriguing premise and kept me interested all the way through.

Something that I really enjoyed was that we jump right into the story; it starts when Cassie, our main character, is thirteen years old and makes her first kill. Within the first ten pages we have the first kill and a promise of more. It starts out fast paced and never lets up. The writing style, I feel, fit when Cassie was young. It was a little all over the place and reminded me of the thoughts and interactions of a young teenager. I would have liked to see it grow right alongside her, but it pretty much stays the same throughout the book, this does not detract from the story though.

While I really liked Cassie, there were times she made me want to pull out my own hair! You would think that after the second killing, where Deegan saves her ass, she would realize that she should just include him in the beginning and save everyone the trouble of having to guess whether or not he will make it to her in time. Their relationship was fitting for this type of situation, even though his insistence that they not be together is what gets them in trouble in the long run.

The story was one that captivated me all the way through and had me on the edge of my seat for the last few chapters. I feel as though the outcome was perfect and was believable in the sense that it really could have turned out that way.

This was a nice fast paced and short read with one of the most original ideas that I have come across in a long while. It was a highly enjoyable, dark and gritty story that shows what can happen when children are forced to grow up too fast. Paulson has written a number of other books and I will definitely be checking some of them out!

4 Stars

There are people who know a lot about a little, we’ll call them experts. Then there are people, like Bonnie, who don’t specialize, but rather gather information like pebbles in their pockets and drop them like Hansel & Gretel in the stories they write.
The question is, do you want to follow them back?
Certified as a Radiologic Technologist, Bonnie prefers a touch of medical in her storylines. Don’t be surprised if romance somehow runs through a hospital or comes in contact with a paramedic. It’s just how she rolls. And you know there's nothing more romantic than an 18 gauge needle poking your vein!
She and her Hubs delight in dirt biking, snowboarding, fishing, cooking, eating, spending time together and more with their adorable children.

Make sure to check out all the stops on the Psycho Inside Me tour! The full schedule is available at Itching for Books.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you to Shane at IFB and Bonnie R. Paulson for the chance to participate in this tour!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Blog Tour - Lingering Echoes by Erica Kiefer Review and Giveaway

Title: Lingering Echoes
Author: Erica Kiefer
Published: November 16, 2013
Format Read/Pages: eBook/278
How I Acquired It: Itching for Books
Date Finished: January 11, 2014
Purchase at: Amazon | B&N 

She's broken with guilt.
He harbors a chilling past.
It's safer if they keep their distance...
But, the echoes that linger connect them.

Returning to Hidden Pines is the last thing Allie Collins wants to do during her final summer before college. For her, the family cabin she spent her youthful summers in, now holds a dark memory that has haunted her every day for the last year.

While struggling to forget her past, Allie runs into Damien, a local rebel with secrets of his own. He's dark, dangerous and he keeps showing up when Allie least expects him to. She has every reason not to trust him. So why does she find herself opening up to him in a way she hasn't been able to with anyone?

As pieces of Damien’s identity emerge, answers to a rumored mystery begin to unfold. By the time Allie unearths the secrets of Damien’s past, she realizes just how intricately they are connected. Now she is caught in a dangerous battle that threatens her life and those she loves.


When I first started reading this story I didn’t think I was going to like it half as much as I did. It was tough to get into but once the story really started to develop it had my attention and did not let go. Erica Kiefer created a beautiful setting for Lingering Echoes and an amazing story to go along with it.

I really think the reason I ended up liking the story so much was because of the place that it was set in. Hidden Pines is the picturesque vacation on a lake spot, the sort which I often frequented as a child. Reading some of the descriptions of places in town and around the lake made it that much easier to picture what I thought Hidden Pines would look like. It almost became its own character in the fact that there was so much history and story behind that one place, for both of our characters, that the book would not have been the same without it. Kiefer provides us with beautiful imagery and makes it easy to picture every scene as if you are there.

I really felt for Allie in the fact that her family thought it would be best to drag her back to the scene of such heartbreak for her. At first it seemed as though they did not have her best interest at heart and were really doing things that they thought would push her to get over what happened, for their sakes and not hers. As things progressed it does seem to be the right idea, but only because it pushes her closer to Damian, who happens to be the one person that can really understand what she is going through.

Towards the end of the story, which is told mostly through Allie, we get to a part entitled ‘Damian’s Story’ as soon as I saw that I let out a huge sigh. I saw this going one of two ways, it not working with the story and completely disrupting the flow of it or being just what we needed to really understand Damian and what happened to him. I am glad to say that it turned out to be the latter. I thought that it fit right into the overall telling and did not feel out of place at all. Kiefer did a great job of melding the two different voices.

I ended up really enjoying the sad, but heartfelt tale that is presented in Lingering Echoes. It tells what the real life consequences of some of our actions can be and how our decisions not only affect us, but those around us. More often than not, they are felt by those that we love. This story also offers a chance at redemption and shows how two people, jaded from their experiences, can help each other heal from their pasts. 

4 Stars

Erica Kiefer was born on Christmas Eve in Southern California to an American father whose ancestors arrived from Europe during colonial times and a Thai mother who moved to the US during high school. Adding to her rich and varied heritage, Erica grew up living abroad in Asia, including Taiwan, Fiji, Thailand and Indonesia. She gained a great respect for the beautiful mosaic of cultures found in various parts of the world. After graduating from International School Bangkok, she attended Brigham Young University in Utah, where she earned a degree in Recreation Therapy. Her career as a Recreation Therapist has allowed her to work with at-risk youth since 2007

Erica made the best decision of her life by marrying her husband in 2005 and is currently a mother of three, one of whom awaits her in heaven. Erica also loves singing, reading, writing, and satisfying her sweet-tooth with chocolate-chip cookies. Playing collegiate rugby was one of the most memorable experiences of her life, thus far.

Be sure to check out the other stops on the Lingering Echoes tour! The full schedule is available at Itching for Books.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you to Shane at IFB and Erica Kiefer for the chance to participate in this tour!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Blog Tour - Heart Breaths by K.K. Hendin Review & Giveaway

Title: Heart Breaths
Author: K.K. Hendin
Published: November 5, 2013
Format Read/Pages: eBook/265
How I Acquired It: Itching for Books
Date Finished: January 5, 2014
Purchase at: Amazon | B&N

***Heart Breaths will be available for $0.99 on Amazon for this week only!!

After a tragedy nearly ripped 21 year old Madeline Darlington-Gray’s life in half, she's spent the past three years trying to put the pieces back together. But pieces never just fit back together, and when she's betrayed by those she trusts, everything crumbles. Shoving everything she owns into the trunk of her car, Maddie drives south, trying to run from her past.

Eno, North Carolina seems like the perfect place to hide. Working at a local café is light years from Maddie's Manhattan existence and for the first time in a while, she's finding her family. There's Grandma, the café owner; Samantha, the hairstylist next door with plans to make Maddie's life unsuck and Noie, the three year old girl who's stolen Maddie's heart.

And then there’s Gabriel Mendez, Noie’s single dad. He’s intrigued Maddie since the first time she met him, and while he has his own secrets, he wants more from her than just friendship. But the past never stays past, and all too soon, Maddie realizes she can't hide from hers. If she can't put the pieces of her shattered life together this time, she'll have no hope for a future.

A future she desperately wants.


I really, really, really loved this story. It hit me right in the feels and left me with more emotions than I ever like to have. I seem to be reading a lot of stories about loss and they all manage to make me feel for the characters as though they are real people. Hendin accomplished that and then some with Heart Breaths.

The fact that the single parent in this story is the father was something that I really appreciated. It seems that not many authors, these days at least, have fathers as the main parent, especially as a single parent. I feel as though it brought a whole new set of challenges that are not always seen, especially since Noie comes with challenges of her own. The relationship between Noie and Gabe was perfect and it made me feel as though they are the best father/daughter duo a person can ask for. Maddie seamlessly fits into the equation upon being introduced to the two of them and it just seemed natural for her to be there. 

The heartbreaking reality that is Maddie’s life is something no young woman should have to go through at that age. Given her circumstances and the reasons that drove her to flee her home, she really finds a place that she is able to let her guard down and start to find a new way to live. With the help of some kick ass friends and people that genuinely love her, she found something and someone to live for again. Watching her journey unfold made reading the story easy and had me setting a fast pace to see what new daily adventures she was embarking on along the road to happiness.

The one and only gripe I have about this story was the abrupt ending!! I feel as though I got no closure with the characters and I would have loved to see how they all turned out. Other than that, I cannot express how much I loved this story. I will definitely be on the lookout for any more stories that Hendin puts out. 

4.5 Stars

KK Hendin's real life ambition is to become a pink fluffy unicorn who dances with rainbows. But the schooling for that is all sorts of complicated, so until that gets sorted out, she'll just write. Preferably things with angst and love. And things that require chocolate.

Make sure to check out the other stops on K.K. Hendin's Heart Breaths tour. The full schedule is available at Itching for Books!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you Shane at IFB and K.K. Hendin for a chance to participate in this great tour!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Blog Tour - Me After You by Mindy Hayes Review & Giveaway

Title: Me After You
Author: Mindy Hayes
Published: November 18, 2013
Series: Willowhaven #1
Format Read/Pages: eBook/290
How I Acquired It: Itching for Books
Date Finished: January 4, 2014
Purchase at: Amazon | B&N

Widowed at twenty-five, Sawyer Hartwell has no choice but to return to her hometown. Broke and alone, the intention was to heal and find herself again, but how can she heal in a place filled with so much sorrow and memories she yearns to forget?

Dean Preston has regretted leaving Willowhaven since the day he rode off on his motorcycle six years ago, destroying the only love he had ever known. Returning too late, he's found small comfort in a new life with Lily, but with Sawyer back he's not sure of anything anymore.

The time has come for Sawyer and Dean to face the past, to learn from their mistakes. The road to healing is paved with old wounds, each one threatening to tear them down completely. Carrying their own scars close to their hearts, they must both confront what's gone before or lose their second chance.

The measure of who we are is what we survive. Who we become is up to us.


This is an emotion driven story, about a young woman and her struggle to move on after multiple heartbreaks in her young life. It is a story about finding something to live for, when nothing seems worth it. Me After You had me engrossed from the first few pages and took me on a rollercoaster ride of emotions to the very end.

The beginning really caught my attention; it was very abrupt and set the tone for the rest of the story. The opening has us at the funeral of Sawyer’s husband who has been murdered.  I had so many questions after the first few paragraphs, and I was extremely happy to not be left hanging and to receive all my answers. I was a little mad at Hayes for making me really like the dead husband, Grayson. Through well placed and timed flashbacks we get to see how he and Sawyer meet and how their relationship progresses. I knew that I liked him when he asked her out for “coffee or hot chocolate,” as a non-coffee drinker I find it is nice to see that others don’t assume everyone drinks coffee.

Most of the characters that Hayes introduces are likable enough, though they are not without their flaws. I felt strongly for Sawyer and I can’t imagine all the heartbreak she has had to go through in her 25 years, first with Dean and then with Grayson. I really think that she was written in a realistic fashion of a grieving young wife and that, to me, made the story infinitely better. I did not care for our main characters best friends. They both rubbed me the wrong way and if I found out my best friend lied to me, even to protect me, about something as important as what Alix lied to Sawyer about, there would have been hell to pay.

Dean was tough for me to get behind; he made some terrible choices, both by leaving Sawyer and then some when she returns. As the story progressed I found it a bit easier to understand his reasoning for leaving, but I will probably never understand him not telling her that he has still wants her right away. I just kept thinking to myself, ‘You know you want her, so tell her!!’

Overall, I really enjoyed the story. In some parts it felt a little slow and repetitive, but it was worth it in the end. Hayes really delivers a sweet, yet heartbreaking tale. I would be interested in seeing what else she has to offer us. 

3.5 Stars

Mindy Hayes grew up in San Diego, California exploring her interest for singing and playing the piano. She first discovered her passion for reading when she had to take her first flight alone to South Carolina to visit her then fiancé. Mindy's love for writing followed shortly after. She and her husband have now been married for six years and live in Summerville, South Carolina.

To visit the other stops on Mindy Hayes' Me After You tour check out the tour schedule at Itching for Books

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank You to Shane at IFB and Mindy Hayes for a chance to participate in this tour!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Defy by Sara B. Larson

Title: Defy
Author: Sara B. Larson
Published: January 7, 2014
Series?: Defy #1
Format Read/Pages: eBook/336
How I Acquired It: NetGalley
Date Finished: January 3, 2014

 *Thank you to Scholastic for the chance to read an ARC.

A lush and gorgeously written debut, packed with action, intrigue, and a thrilling love triangle.

Alexa Hollen is a fighter. Forced to disguise herself as a boy and serve in the king's army, Alex uses her quick wit and fierce sword-fighting skills to earn a spot on the elite prince's guard. But when a powerful sorcerer sneaks into the palace in the dead of night, even Alex, who is virtually unbeatable, can't prevent him from abducting her, her fellow guard and friend Rylan, and Prince Damian, taking them through the treacherous wilds of the jungle and deep into enemy territory.

The longer Alex is held captive with both Rylan and the prince, the more she realizes that she is not the only one who has been keeping dangerous secrets. And suddenly, after her own secret is revealed, Alex finds herself confronted with two men vying for her heart: the safe and steady Rylan, who has always cared for her, and the dark, intriguing Damian. With hidden foes lurking around every corner, is Alex strong enough to save herself and the kingdom she's sworn to protect?


There have been a lot of comparisons made to Mulan and there really shouldn’t be. The only thing that is similar is the fact that a young woman pretends to be a boy and joins an army. The two young women have completely differing reasons to hide their identities and really should not be placed in the same boat. I was excited when I received this ARC via NetGalley, I had read about it beforehand and it seemed like a promising start to what could turn out to be a great series. In the end I must say that I was disappointed with what was presented in Defy.

Some of my first thoughts were that even though the concept is something that has been around and used quite often, there are still a number of ways that it could have been spun to create something highly suspenseful and entertaining. I was most looking forward to the reveal, how Alex let everyone know that she was in fact, Alexa. When the time came, the way that it was handled really annoyed me. There were so many other ways to have it play out, rather than both love interests having known for years. It makes sense that Rylan might know, but I would have liked to see Damian be surprised by the news, there were also spaces for some moments that could have been added for some comic relief, given that she is pretending to be a boy with the feelings of a young woman, that Larson did not capitalize on. I understand that it is a serious story, but it was a bit flat at times and a bit of lighthearted fun could have been added.

The love triangle was very predictable and quite annoying at times. Given the fact that both boys have been in love with her, without her knowing, for years there was no real development in any of the relationships. It just seemed that one second the prince is letting her think she has fooled him into believing she was a boy and the next they are kissing. And don’t get me started on Rylan; could Larson make him into any more of a chump? Telling Alexa he will wait for her and still love her even after she has clearly chosen Damian. Alexa needs to stop being a baby and take what she wants, even if that person happens to be a prince. “Oh, I will never be good enough for him; it won’t be accepted… blah, blah, blah.” Girl, shut up. You just saved a country, take what you want! 

I really had no emotional investment in any of the characters and the one that I did like, got killed off quite early on in the story. The only thing I could really relate to with Alexa was the fact that I too would have disguised myself as a boy to avoid being raped daily and used as a brood mare. This brings me to something that was not all that necessary, in my opinion, the breeding house. I understand it was used a tool to make us hate the king more than we already did, but it really was not needed and I find it hard to believe that the people living in the vicinity of the castle, seeing what happens to those girls everyday would actually allow that to go on. I really think that there would have been a revolt before, had any of them been thinking compassionately at all.

Overall, I really don’t know how to feel about this story. I really, really wanted to like it, but it just rubbed me the wrong way. In this day and age, where there are so many strong female protagonists out there and Alexa just did not match up. If after reading the plot of the next book, I find myself intrigued, I may check it out; but I have no idea where the story could go from here without introducing a random antagonist that will threaten the lives of our characters, making them act on all the love that is flowing between them. And at this point it would probably just continue to annoy me. Good thing I have another year, to maybe revisit Defy and change my opinion, before Larson gives us another entry into the series. 

2.5 Stars

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Blog Tour Review - A Deal with Benefits by Susanna Carr

   Title: A Deal with Benefits
Author: Susanna Carr
Published: December 17, 2013 
Format Read/Pages: PB/185
How I Acquired It: Itching for Books
Date Finished: December 28, 2013

Thank you to Shane at Itching for books and Susanna Carr for including me in this tour!

Thirty days and thirty nights!

Ashley Jones has been sitting in Sebastian Cruz's office. For hours. Behind the imposing wooden doors sits the man who stole her family's island home. And she wants it back.

But the fight is knocked from her when Ashley recognizes him as the man she knows intimately; the man who betrayed her after their blissful night together.

Sebastian has no intention of giving the island back, but he does want Ashley. He agrees to her deal, but has a few sub-clauses of his own. Specifically, a month at his beck and call; and in his bed!


This was a surprisingly good read. I have not read many Harlequin romance novels before, but when thinking of them I always pictured cheesy romance, not something that I would actually enjoy. Susanna Carr delivers a light, sweet read in A Deal with Benefits.

I actually enjoyed both main characters. There were some times where I got a bit annoyed with each of them, overall they were likable characters. Sebastian seemed a bit heartless at times and did not pick up on things that probably should have been apparent to him. There is no way that he should have missed how disheartening it was for Ashley to be referred to as his mistress. Once he realized the negative feelings that came with being called that, he looked like an idiot for not seeing it to begin with.

While I thought that the story was a bit rushed in places, it was still pretty well paced. I would have liked to actually spend more time with Sebastian and Ashley, I feel as though we only got a few days with them when it seemed in the beginning we would be getting the better part of a month. Overall, it was an enjoyable read and a great first real introduction to Harlequin romances. 

3.5 Stars

About the Author: 
Susanna Carr has been an avid romance reader since she read her first Harlequin at the age of 10. She has written sexy contemporary romances for several publishers and her work has been honored with awards for contemporary and sensual romance.

Susanna Carr lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family. When she isn’t writing, Susanna enjoys reading romance and connecting with readers online.

To visit the other stops on Susanna Carr's A Deal with Benefits Tour check out the tour schedule at Itching for Books.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Full Blooded by Amanda Carlson

Title: Full Blooded
Author: Amanda Carlson
Published: September 1, 2012
Series?: Jessica McClain #1
Format Read/Pages: eBook/259
How I Acquired It: NetGalley
Date Finished: December 17, 2013

Born the only female in an all male race, Jessica McClain isn’t just different—she’s feared.

After living under the radar for the last twenty-six years, Jessica is thrust unexpectedly into her first change, a full ten years late. She wakes up and finds she’s in the middle of a storm. Now that she’s become the only female full-blooded werewolf in town, the supernatural world is already clamoring to take a bite out of her and her new Pack must rise up and protect her.

But not everyone is on board. The werewolf Rights of Laws is missing text and the superstitious werewolves think that Jessica means an end to their race. It doesn’t help when Jessica begins to realize she’s more. She can change partway and hold her form, and speak directly to her wolf. But the biggest complication by far is that her alpha father can't control her like he can the rest of his wolves.

When a mercenary who’s been hired by the vampires shows up to extract information about the newly turned werewolf only days after her change, they find themselves smack in the middle of a war and there's no choice but to run together. When it’s up to Jessica to negotiate her release against her father’s direct orders, she chooses to take an offer for help instead. In exchange, Jessica must now swear an oath she may end up repaying with her life.


I am a sucker for urban fantasy. I try and limit myself on how many I read at any given time so I do not tire myself of them. Full Blooded was one of the best UF stories I have read in a long while. I really, really enjoyed it.

Carlson created characters that were well developed and fit together. Jess was a really likable character, while it would have been easy to create a female werewolf that came off as too tough or too dependent; there was a good balance between vulnerability and strength. Normal clichés were avoided by having Jess be the daughter of the pack alpha, where as many authors would have had her as the mate. To me, this gives a whole new range of conflicts and problems, that move away from the usual, you are my mate, no other man may look at you, type stuff.

The world that was fleshed out was a very interesting one in the fact that it introduced us to many different types of supernatural without being overwhelming in any sense. There was mention of a number of different groups, while some were not explored in any depth, it left possibilities open for the future. We got to meet quite a few different supernaturals, but I never felt that I was being bombarded with names and descriptions and had an easy time keeping them all separated. I also really enjoyed the dichotomy between Jess and her wolf. It was handled in a very believable way; most boys go through puberty with their wolves giving them time to make the necessary adjustments, it would definitely be harder to develop a working relationship with another being, which happens to be in your head, later on in your adult life. There was a balance between the two that worked in the story and I would be interested in seeing how that develops.

The story that Amanda Carlson gave us was a great way to start a series. Interesting characters, fast paced action, and budding romance will definitely have me reading farther into this adventure. 

4 Stars

Current Releases in the Jessica McClain Series:
  1. Full Blooded
  2. Hot Blooded
  3. Cold Blooded
  4. Red Blooded *to be released 2014