Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Really Short Reviews: Mandy Baxter, Nalini Singh and Shiloh Walker

It's official! Really Short Reviews are a hit! So keep an eye out for them periodically here at Goldilox and the Three Weres. This week I'm reviewing some Contemporary Romances I've read recently.

One Night More (US Marshals #1) by Mandy Baxter
Release: September 2, 2014 Source: ARC provided by publisher
My Really Short Review: Galen and Harper had a one night stand that ended in a huge misunderstanding. A year later she witnesses a murder and he's the US Marshal assigned to protect her. He pretends not to remember her in order to stay on the case, which only makes the situation more awkward. I really liked Harper and Galen. (And Landon, who's the hero of the next book.) I also enjoyed Harper's pop culture references -- she's a really fun narrator. The last 25% or so of the book was really exciting! There was a little lull in the middle, but Harper was getting bored too so I guess it makes sense.

I had to question Harper's and even Galen's investigative skills though. She's a journalist and he's in law enforcement, and at one point I thought it was obvious who was after her but they didn't even try to figure it out. They seemed to get too distracted by their relationship to worry about the danger she was in. I still really liked the book. It was exciting and sexy and kept me turning the page. I'll just try not to think too hard about why the characters didn't see all the clues that I did.
 4  stars

Rock Addiction (Rock Kiss #1) by Nalini Singh
Release: September 9, 2104 Source: ARC provided by publisher
Links Goodreads Amazon
My Really Short Review: Nalini Singh wrote a rock star romance! Fox is the lead singer of Schoolboy Choir, one of the biggest bands in the world. He meets Molly, the band's publicist's little sister at a party and convinces her to take him home. The two agree to turn their one night together into a month while the band vacations in New Zealand, but Molly is terrified of being photographed with Fox. Her politician father's scandal made her hate the media. Fox wants to make their relationship permanent but doesn't know how to help Molly overcome her fear.

 I know everyone is all excited about this book, but I thought it was just ok. I like the main characters, Fox and Molly. I like the supporting cast. I especially enjoyed the scenes with the rest of the band. It seems to set up three other couples for future books. (The one I'm most interested in is Charlie and T-rex and since they're not part of the band, I'm not sure how they would fit into the series.) The story just sort of dragged for me. Not much happens in the first half, other than lots of sex, which is not as graphic or as kinky as I would have expected given the quantity. (That's just an observation, not really a criticism.) I didn't feel like Fox and Molly's relationship was really challenged by anything other than their personal baggage. Though the would-be obstacles were interesting, they didn't seem to really threaten the relationship.

I will still keep reading this series to see what happens with the other characters. I think the members of Schoolboy Choir have a lot of potential.


You Own Me by Shiloh Walker
Release: August 4, 2014 Source: ARC provided by publisher
My Really Short Review: Lizzie and Decker were best friends in high school. Then he went to prison. Exactly what he did isn't revealed until the end, but it's clear early on that he was protecting Lizzie. Shortly before Decker's release, Lizzie starts dating Noel and Decker thinks he's missed his shot to be more than a friend. But when Noel asks Lizzie for an open relationship, he sees his chance. He goes about winning her over in kind of an unusual way though.

I really enjoyed this story. But it's one of those romances that falls apart a little if I think about it too much. Noel has a lot of holes in his story and I got increasingly frustrated with Lizzie for not figuring it out. I wish she hadn't been such a doormat. I liked Decker even though the tattooed mechanic ex-con is a bit of a cliché. If you enjoy friends to lovers stories or tortured, tattooed heroes give this novella a try.

 3 1/2 stars

Monday, September 1, 2014

Read This F@!%ing Book (22)

Welcome to a feature I'm going to post on Mondays called:
Read This F@!%ing Book!
This is a feature for me to push my favorite reads that just aren't getting enough attention! 
I'm also opening it up to anyone who would like to guest post. Do you have a book that you just LURVED but feel like its not getting the play it deserves? Email me to let me know and I'd be THRILLED to have you post about it here! Especially if its something I haven't reviewed yet - that's even better (but not necessary)! If you're interested email me:

This week's post comes from our very own: 
Rose Red!

Read This F@!%ing Book Post 22: The Glamourist Histories by Mary Robinette Kowal
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18392726-shades-of-milk-and-honey   https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12160890-glamour-in-glass   https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15793208-without-a-summer
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12987423-valour-and-vanity    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18873823-of-noble-family

(Click book cover to go to Goodreads page)
*Of Noble Family doesn’t come out until Spring 2015 but I wanted to include the cover because it’s so pretty!
Jane Austen With Magic! 
I’m a huge fan of both Regency romances and fantasy. When the two genres are combined, you can just take my money now. The Glamourist Histories were recommended to me as “Jane Austen with magic” which is so true! It should be noted that while similar to Austen these books are not retellings of any of her novels. But they have the same feel. Mary Robinette Kowal has done her research and it is downright impeccable! The book feels authentic to the time period it recreates. Except for, you know, the magic.

This alternate reality is set up in such a manner that it doesn’t seem like a divergence from our reality. The magic is slipped into the first paragraphs of the book as if it was perfectly natural, and it almost seems like our world has always had glamour in it. In fact, I can see perfectly in my mind the alternate Pride & Prejudice where the Bennet sisters work with folds of glamour while discussing potential suitors.

Also, the romance in this series is so sweet and delightful to read! They are some of my favorite Regency romances ever! And there are freaking Doctor Who cameos in each of the books. Let's give a slow clap to Kowal for some of the best Easter eggs ever! Plus, all of the covers are downright gorgeous!

Austen-esque Shenanigans! 
Not only is the research top-notch, Kowal also managed to capture the style of Jane Austen’s novels and yet have it still be original. It has all of the societal intrigue as young ladies are paraded before eligible bachelors, issues of propriety, scoundrels, and so on. And there are all the elements we love in Austen novels: the silly mother, the sisters who are complete opposites, rich neighbors, dinner parties, issues of propriety, unexpected friends, and villains… They are just amazing!

As the series progresses, the plot gets more and more action-packed and exciting! Valour and Vanity is described as what you'd get if Jane Austen wrote Ocean’s Eleven. Seriously. That's quite an apt description.

The Audiobooks!
If you like Audiobooks, then you have to listen to this series! The author, who happens to also be an award-winning puppeteer, is the one who narrates them and they are phenomenal! I found myself so caught up in the story that I didn’t realize that I had stopped washing my dishes and was just standing at my sink with my hands in the water for a good hour while I was listening to Shades of Milk and Honey. All of these audiobooks are just so good!

If you’re a fan of Jane Austen, I’d highly recommend picking this series up. 

Have you read this book?
Did we persuade you to add it to your TBR mountain?
Let us know in the comments below!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Audio Review: Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead

Silver Shadows
(Bloodlines #5)
Author: Richelle Mead
Narrator: Emily Shaffer, Alden Ford
Release: July 29, 2014
Goodreads  Amazon
In The Fiery Heart, Sydney risked everything to follow her gut, walking a dangerous line to keep her feelings hidden from the Alchemists.
Now in the aftermath of an event that ripped their world apart, Sydney and Adrian struggle to pick up the pieces and find their way back to each other. But first, they have to survive.

For Sydney, trapped and surrounded by adversaries, life becomes a daily struggle to hold on to her identity and the memories of those she loves. Meanwhile, Adrian clings to hope in the face of those who tell him Sydney is a lost cause, but the battle proves daunting as old demons and new temptations begin to seize hold of him. . . .
Their worst fears now a chilling reality, Sydney and Adrian face their darkest hour in this heart-pounding fifth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where all bets are off.

Adrian and Sydney. Just. Love. Them. In Silver Shadows we see the consequences of their actions in the previous book, and with the way that one ended we knew things were going to be bad.

When the book starts, Sydney is in the Alchemists' reeducation center and things are not looking good. Throughout the first half of the book we see Sydney going through hell - isolation, torture, etc. - and Adrian going through a different kind of hell not knowing what happened to Sydney and not being able to get in touch with her through her dreams at all. Even though they are apart for most of the first half, I still felt their romance through their feelings for one another. One of my favorite quotes is when either of them is feeling desperate about the situation, but then remembers their personal saying, "The center will hold".

I always gush about the two of them when I review these books, but I just can't help it. In the last two books I've said I love Adrian and Sydney more than Dimitri and Rose. I KNOW. But the way each of them is written, so completely opposite of the other, I find myself really drawn to their relationship. I adore Adrian's bad-boy-made-good-by-a-smart-girl and how he continues to struggle with both staying sober and the craziness that comes with being a spirit user., both of which are explored more in this book.

The plot of this one goes back and forth with the action, but it largely takes places in the final act of the story. And it's a lot of action for this series! I enjoyed the build up of the plot and the unexpected ending! That ending!

Notes on the Narrator: This series is one of my favorites on audio. Something about Emily Shaffer's voice is just perfect for Sydney. Her voice sounds young enough but at the same time has that maturity behind it that Sydney exudes. Plus there's the wry quality to her voice that's perfect for Syd. Alden Ford joined the audios with the previous book because of the new dual POV and he's been a perfect addition. In Silver Shadows, he delivers Adrian's down and out moments flawlessly. I highly recommend listening to the audios for the Bloodlines series!

Recommended for fans of: YA bad boys, Adrian, Vampire Academy series, opposites attracting,

  4.5 / 5 stars

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Really Short Reviews: Kate SeRine and Bec McMaster

I have been known to read as many as 8 books in a single week. I will never be known for writing 8 reviews in a single week though. So I'm trying something new and putting together some mini-reviews of some of the books I've read recently. Let us know in the comments what you think of the format. Should we make it a regular feature?

Along Came a Spider (Transplanted Tales #3) by Kate SeRine
Release: August 1, 2013 Source: purchased
Links: Goodreads Amazon
My Really Short Review: If Once Upon a Time aired on HBO it might be something like the Transplanted Tales series. Prince Charming is in prison for racketeering. Snow White and the seven dwarves run a brothel. The three little pigs are shady contractors who know how to hide a body. And Little Miss Muffet, our heroine, swears like a sailor and kicks ass like Buffy.

Trish Muffet works as a CSI for the Fairytale Management Agency or FMA, their version of the FBI. She teams up with long time crush, Nicky "Little Boy" Blue to solve a series of murders that seem to be tied to Dracula, but no one has seen the vampire in years. The human authorities are also investigating the crime and seem to have some ulterior motives. It looked like there was going to be another one of those supernatural stories where the humans were collecting the supes to dissect them, which I've seen a lot in the last few years (and give me the creeps.) I was dreading that revelation the whole time I was reading, but it didn't turn out exactly like I thought it would.  I really enjoyed Trish and Nicky's story and all the characters they met as they tried to solve the crimes. And I loved Trish's snarky voice and her badass attitude.

  4 stars

Ever After (Transplanted Tales #4) by Kate SeRine
Release: August 21, 2014 Source: ARC provided by publisher
Links: Goodreads Amazon
My Really Short Review: Ever After is sort of a mash-up of the Robin Hood and King Arthur stories with some fairies thrown in. Gideon, bodyguard and security chief to the king of the fairies, was called Little John for a time while he lived in Sherwood Forest. He fell in love with a girl who was called Robin Hood and then he watched her die. 500 years later in the Here and Now, he finds her again, alive and in danger.

I didn't like this one as much as the previous book. I think maybe I wasn't as interested in these slightly more grown up myths and fairytales. I figured out who was the real villain was pretty early on, so the mystery plot moved a little slowly for me. I did really enjoy seeing the couples from the other books come to Gideon's aid for once. He only ever seemed to show up in their stories when someone needed help. Fans of the series have been eagerly awaiting Gideon's story and won't want to miss this one.

The Curious Case of the Clockwork Menace (London Steampunk #3.5) by Bec McMaster
Release: August 19, 2014 Source: free on Smashwords
My Really Short Review: I read this novella after Forged by Desire, but I would recommend reading it first since it's the beginning of Perry and Garrett's story. The blurb calls it a pre-romance, not a prequel. To me it feels like an extended prologue. This is the case that made them realize they had feelings for each other. It just took them two more years to get to the events in Forged by Desire that led them to act on those feelings. (It actually takes place before My Lady Quicksilver as well, so if you're behind in the series you could read it then.)
A lot of what goes through the character's heads is the same as it is in Forged by Desire. They're both thinking about their pasts, contemplating their partnership, and trying to suppress their love. They also refer to events from this story in the book. I think that's why I'm finding it really hard to view this as a separate book for the purposes of rating and reviewing it -- it just seems like part of the same story. I can say, though, that I wish they had spent more time with "the clockwork menace." He was a really interesting character and just didn't get developed much. I also felt like solving the case, one about an actress's disappearance, became something of an afterthought once the characters started dealing with their feelings. But it's definitely worth picking up before Forged by Desire releases next week to get some more Perry and Garrett. And it's free at all e-book vendors right now. (The price will eventually go back to $2.99.)
3 1/2 stars
Forged By Desire (London Steampunk #4) by Bec McMaster
Release: September 2, 2014 Source: ARC provided by publisher
My Really Short Review: Forged by Desire is a friends to lovers story featuring Garrett, the new head of the Nighthawks, and Perry, his long time partner. He was seriously injured in the previous book and she maintained a vigil at his bedside. Since his recovery, though, he's been keeping his distance. Now he sends Perry to investigate a grisly murder that brings back nightmares from her past. Perry fears that the life she fled years ago is coming to reclaim her and has to decide whether to stay and fight or run to protect the one she loves.

The first part of the book was full of instances of the characters almost getting together. There were so many near misses it got kind of frustrating, for me and the characters both. I was surprised by Perry's backstory but I wished we got to the meat of it sooner. I really enjoyed the political intrigue and the chance to see the couples from the previous books, who come to Perry's aid, but again wish we got to it sooner. It seemed that all of the action was in the last quarter of the book.

 4 stars

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Release Day Review: I Want It That Way by Ann Aguirre

I Want It That Way
(2B Trilogy #1)
Ann Aguirre
Release: August 26, 2014
Reviewer: Rose Red
Goodreads Amazon
Nadia Conrad has big dreams, and she's determined to make them come true—for her parents' sake as well as her own. But between maintaining her college scholarship and working at the local day care to support herself, she barely has time to think, let alone date. Then she moves into a new apartment and meets the taciturn yet irresistible guy in 1B….

Daniel Tyler has grown up too fast. Becoming a single dad at twenty turned his life upside down—and brought him heartache he can't risk again. Now, as he raises his four-year-old son while balancing a full-time construction management job and night classes, a social life is out of the question. The last thing he wants is for four noisy students to move into the apartment upstairs. But one night, Nadia's and Ty's paths cross, and soon they can't stay away from each other.

The timing is all wrong—but love happens when it happens. And you can't know what you truly need until you stand to lose it.
Review by Rose Red:
I’m always a bit hesitant starting a new adult book because I’ve been burned by so many of them. Granted, I do have several that I love! Hello, J. Lynn’s Wait For You series! But a lot of the new adult I’ve read all revolved around the innocent college age girl falling in love with the bad boy. I’m sick of that trope which is why I gravitate to the new adult with love interests that don’t fall into that category.

It’s not a secret that I’ve been a fan of Ann Aguirre since I first read Grimspace back in 2008. I’ve read everything she’s published since. I squealed when I found out her new series was going to be new adult! And the romantic interest was going to be a single dad? Heck yes! Sign me up for that book! So when I saw I Want It That Way pop up on Netgalley, I requested it so fast that my poor mouse probably got whiplash.

The verdict? I enjoyed it so much! In fact, I loved it. I didn’t want it to be over so I reread it immediately after finishing it. I haven’t done that with a book in almost a year. If that wasn't a sign I loved it; I haven’t been able to quit rereading my favorite parts even after reading it twice. It’s just so good guys! Also, there's a playlist to go along with the book and it's amazing! How had I never heard The National before?

Nadia and her friends Max, Lauren, and Angus are juniors in college who have just moved into a new apartment to escape the on-campus dorms. Nadia isn't expecting to be attracted to her new neighbor in the apartment below hers. Ty is three years older and very good-looking. He works during the day and takes night classes. Oh, and he has a four-year-old son. Ty doesn't want a serious relationship with anyone, not after what happened with his ex-girlfriend and not with Sam being so young. But he and Nadia can't seem to stay away from each other.

I didn't think that this book was cliché at all. I’ve only read one new adult novel before this one that involved the male protagonist having a son, but it wasn’t as integral to the plot line as it was in this book. I love that we get to see so much of Sam through out the book especially with him being enrolled at the same daycare that Nadia works at. You can't not help but fall in love with him. He’s just so adorable!

Ann Aguirre surprised me with nice, strong storyline that I wasn’t able to put down until I finished it. I fell in love with the characters. True story, I wanted to be Nadia’s best friend by page three. I found myself relating to her on a personal level. We all remember what it’s like being in college and trying to stay sane between work and school. I love that Nadia was very likeable, driven, and warm. I liked reading about her and her struggles. But what I liked the most is that she is normal. She doesn’t have any skeletons in her closet waiting to come out or any extreme emotional baggage to deal with. It was so refreshing to read about a heroine who is just a normal, intelligent college girl!

While Nadia is normal, everyone else in this story seems to have emotional baggage. But none of them have as much as Ty, the romantic interest. Well, the others didn’t wear it so prominently on their sleeve as he does. His demons, in my opinion, were so real and are so common in our day and age. Ty is a single parent and that fact was as much heartwarming as it was heartbreaking. I started liking him instantly even though he comes off as more of a grumpy old man instead of man in his mid-twenties. He’s just dealing with single parenthood the best he can. Although, he does act like a jerk in a couple scenes and there were times that I just wanted to shake him because I was getting angry with him.

That being said, I really liked the romance. Ty and Nadia don't have the normal cookie-cutter fall-in-love story. They don't meet, flirt, hook up, fall in love, break up, fall in love and end up together. No, their journey is much more complicated than that, especially with Sam in the picture. Aguirre leaves no stone unturned in exploring their relationship and its struggles and I found it a delight to read. The relationship between Nadia and Ty is honest. They both have heavy loads at the moment and aren't afraid to admit it. Yet they can't ignore the easy dialogue they share and the meaningful conversations they’ve had. They actually talk about things! They might not fully admit their feelings because they're afraid to get hurt or the situation seems too difficult, but ultimately they still reach out and open up. There is a lot of chemistry between them, and I’m not talking just about the physical side of things. Although, I didn't particularly like the friends-with-benefits arrangement they decided on.

I love that while the romance is a big part of the story, there are several other relationships and events in the story that are just as important. Nadia has a lot to deal with, with classes and work and her best friend's school crisis and her roommates and Ty. Her experiences as a college student are not the focus of this novel but their presence enhanced the tale and brought her decisions into perspective. At one point, it feels like life hits Nadia with everything all at once. But it feels natural and let’s be honest, that’s how life is most days. There are several little clues that hint at some of the reveals, but some of them are so subtle that I didn’t catch them until I was reading it the second time through.

This book was sweet, romantic and touching. It had just a bit of angst, lots of great sexual tension and nice, likeable characters. It was quite charming all around. I liked that Ty and Nadia aren't constantly banging each other or flirting or doing that dance around each other. Ty lives the life of an individual and it’s not easy for him to let Nadia into it. Similarly, it isn't easy for Nadia to choose to be with Ty. Their relationship is meaningful from the start. It's not based on oh-my-gosh-I-want-to-be-in-his/her-pants-ASAP feelings. I mean, they both think that, but they start actually interacting on a deep level first, physical second.

You know how most new adult novels end perfectly? Like, boy and girl FINALLY get together as a real couple, girl faces her demons, boy faces his, boy saves girl from getting raped or beat up or whatever, and everyone sails off into the sunset. Well, in this book, the ending isn't what you would expect. Not everyone ends up perfectly happy, but I won’t say anything besides the fact that I liked. I wouldn’t want to spoil it for you.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book! And not just because it's an Ann Aguirre book but because it was a genuinely good book. Although, the fact that Ann wrote it totally helped me make the decision to pick it up. It’s quick, entertaining, and satisfying. I can't wait to get my hands on the next book! I’d highly recommend picking up I Want it That Way for a read that is perfect for back-to-school.

Recommended for fans of:
Wait For You by J. Lynn
Easy by Tammara Webber
Be With Me by J. Lynn

ARC provided by Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

4.25 / 5 stars

Monday, August 25, 2014

Read This F@!%ing Book 21

Welcome to a feature I'm going to post on Mondays called:
Read This F@!%ing Book!

This is a feature for me to push my favorite reads that just aren't getting enough attention! 

I'm also opening it up to anyone who would like to guest post. Do you have a book that you just LURVED but feel like its not getting the play it deserves? Email me to let me know and I'd be THRILLED to have you post about it here! Especially if it's something I haven't reviewed yet - that's even better (but not necessary)! If you're interested email me:

This week's post comes from our very own: 

Read This F@!%ing Book Post 21: The Blud Series by Delilah S. Dawson
(Click book cover to go to Goodreads page)


Why I Love It:
Delilah S. Dawson calls her style “dark whimsy” which pretty much explains what I love about it. The Blud series has a traveling circus, derigible pirates, vampire bunnies, killer unicorns, and a giant mechanical elephant, just to name a few of the wonderful whimsical elements. It’s also got romance, steampunk and magic. And if that’s not enough, it takes place in an alternate reality, kind of like Wonderland, that you could find yourself in completely by accident. Each of the three novels takes place in a different part of this world called Sang. Each country is recognizable as the one from our world - the Eiffel Tower is still in Paris – but it’s a little twisted and populated by bludmen (vampires) and daimons and other fantastical creatures.
There are no real rabbits left, munching on carrots and flowers. But there are bludrats and bluddeer and bludhogs. Pretty much all the wild animals are blood drinkers. -Wicked as They Come
The other thing I really love about this series is the way all of the novels and novellas are tied together by little details. For example, The Mysterious Madame Morpho opens with Criminy Stain, the hero of Wicked as They Come, reading a newspaper article about the missing Freesian princess, who then becomes the heroine of Wicked as She Wants. And Vale, the hero from Wicked After Midnight, may have transported the princess to her location at the beginning of the book. Everyone is intertwined in such subtle ways that you don’t need to read the previous book to follow the story, but if you have read them you’ll pick up a lot of little details. It's like my own little Easter egg hunt each time and I'm always proud of myself when I find them.
Why I'm Pushing It:
This series has a little something for everyone. It has steampunk elements, like clockwork creations in every shape imaginable from service animals to burlesque dancers, but it’s not your typical steampunk series. It has sci-fi style time travel and alternate worlds. It’s a paranormal romance that also talks about art, music and literature from the real world. It has fun, action-packed adventures. And it has a really unique take on vampires.
I was really disappointed that the publisher didn’t pick up any more novels after the original trilogy, but with digital publishing that doesn’t have to be the end of the series. Dawson recently announced plans for Blud #4 Wicked Ever After to be released in 2015. There’s so much more of the world to be explored if readers are interested. I really want to see Almanica (the Blud version of America) – I think I heard something about bludbuffalo?
 [T]his rogue in a cravat was right up my alley, like an extra-naughty Mr. Darcy. -Wicked as They Come
Criminy Stain!
It's either the most brilliant character name you've ever heard or the most ridiculous. I actually wasn't a fan until after I read the first book. Now I couldn't imagine calling him anything else. Criminy is the proprietor of the Clockwork Caravan, travelling circus and home to freaks and misfits from throughout Sang (and even a few from other worlds entirely.) He's the romantic lead, the ringmaster, the father figure, or maybe even the villain, depending on which member of the Caravan you ask. He's a vampire, a magician and a rogue. He's also dead sexy. And he makes an appearance in every book. One of my favorite Alphas!
Check out Goldilox’s reviews of the first two books in the Blud series.
Have you read this book?
Did we persuade you to add it to your TBR mountain?
Let us know in the comments below!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...