Tuesday, October 13, 2015

What I read in September

Soooo, I'm back!!  I took a bit of a blogging break this past month, but I am going to be going back to blogging once or twice a week and possibly build up to more as I go.  I got hit with a major case of blogger burnout.  BUT I am back with another "What I read" post.  I have kept up on my reading! I read 28 books last month!  A ton of romances, as usual, but also some fantasy books sprinkled in there.  I labeled the types of books they were to make it easier for people to skip the genres that they aren't interested in.

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Matt and Grace meet during their senior year in college and being fast friends. Grace was cellist and Matt was there for photography. After spending almost every day together their feelings grow to something even more. Towards the end of the semester Matt gets the opportunity to travel with National Geographic until the end of summer. They make plans to be with each other when he gets back, but after a misunderstanding, they don't see each other until 15 years later. Matt only saw her for a split second on the train platform before her train pulled away. After seeing her he can't stop thinking about how in love they were and decides to write a "missed connections" post on Craigslist with hopes that she'll see it.

My rating: 2 out of 5 stars
This is Captain Hook's story.  I feel like this once started out okay but then quickly lost some steam. The middle section of the book really dragged on for me. I also didn't really understand why Peter Panwas a happy boy playing around Neverland one second and bloodthirsty murderer the next. I expected some kind of reasoning. I'm also not a huge fan of stories that are depressing the whole way through with no redemption at all. I mean, I knew it wasn't going to end well for James but it just felt like watching someone repeatedly kick an injured dog. While others may enjoy this one, it just wasn't for me

My rating: 2 out of 5 stars
I really love any story that is inspired by a fairy tale but I had a hard time getting into this one. I didn't feel like the story flowed very nicely. It could be because I missed the first book in the series. The beginning of the story really dragged for me until it got past halfway, so that was disappointing. I really didn't feel the attraction between the two characters much. It seemed a bit forced.to me.

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars
I really loved the way this one started out. It was a lot of fun watching them try to get under each other's skin while stuck in the train compartment together. It was a different kind of story than I'm used to, being a hate to love kind of thing, but I loved it. I thought it lost a bit of steam towards the middle and end though.

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Rory was one of the biggest MMA stars around until an injury destroys his career. He is depressed and has no direction until he meets Clare. She makes him want to change and get his life back together. Clare is new to town but she has a dark past. She is running from something and has a lot of secrets. She just wants to move on and forget everything that happened but her plans didn't involve falling for a tough MMA fighter.

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Annie grew up idolizing her brother's best friend, Nick, and has had a crush on him since she was a kid. When her sister asks her to be the maid of honor at her wedding, she is surprised to find out that Nick is the best man. Through their bickering and all of the wedding drama they start to have a lot of chemistry with each other.

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars
This was a cute fast read, filled with funny moments. It was centered mostly around the road trip itself so it all took place in a short span of time. I thought the ending was a little rushed, and they left a lot of loose ends with their families. I liked it but I didn't love it.

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Fire Chief Gavin is shocked to run into his high school love, Jordan, after leaving the school for a false alarm. He never really got over her and he's still hurt by there way that she disappeared on him 15 years ago. Jordan is trying to start over in her hometown after divorcing her husband in New York. She starts feeling all of the old feelings coming back but she is nervous about starting over with someone again.

My rating: 2 out of 5 stars
I was really excited about the idea of a tattoo shop family, but this one just wasn't for me. Paul's relationship with his ex was extremely weird and Friday handles it WAY too well. She claims to be the jealous type but never really showed it when there was a big reason for it. I just couldn't get into the story with this one. I haven't read any of the others in the series, so maybe I was missing something from an earlier story.

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars
I thought this was really sweet and I love that they both had troubled histories that helped them bond and heal together. I thought they both acted a bit immature at times and the story moved a little slow. I think my favorite part of the whole book was the grandmother, Ruby, who owned the Inn

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Cooper was professional surfer until a career ending injury forces him to take it easy. His best friend of 6 years, Maggie, insists that he stay at her house with her and her son while he recuperates. There has always been an attraction between the two of them but they have kept their relationship strictly friendship. But after being in each other's company for days they are both having issues keeping it that way. Cooper doesn't want to ruin their friendship and Maggie doesn't want to have her son be hurt when Cooper goes out traveling again.

My rating: Did not finish
Lainey's high school crush, Danny, dies in a tragic hit and run accident.  The whole school, including the the popular girl/bully Wynter, blame her for his death.  Danny's ghost appears one day and asks Lainey to solve his murder.  This one moved extremely slow for me.  I couldn't get into the story at all.  She didn't even see a ghost until halfway through the book!

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
I loved both of these characters. I could really relate with Penelope because I grew up a big tomboy, and as "just one of the guys". I had a lot of the same self esteem issues too. Cole was introduced as kind of a womanizing type but he didn't really come off that way to me at all. He treated Penelope great and did a lot of really sweet things for her. I am definitely going to try to get my hands on the other books in this series because the secondary characters were so much fun!

My rating; 4 out of 5 stars

My rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars
I had a bit of a hard time with parts of this one. My biggest problem with this was that Isabelle decided to completely change her looks to try to get his attention. That just rubbed me the wrong way, I guess. And then how Devon proposed this affair between the two of them is just insulting and sounds cheap. Some of the things that he said to her to give her a "reality check" were really harsh and cruel and she lets him get away with it! I would have like to see her take more of a stand for herself. She ended up coming off very weak. All of that being said, I still managed to enjoy pieces of this one.

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
I loved the whole love/hate relationship that they had with each other. I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about Eli at first because he seemed so sneaky but I feel like he really grew on me. Alex had such a great tough-girl personality and I loved the banter between her and Eli. I also loved Alex's protective brothers. I'm definitely going to go back and read the first one in the series, since I missed that one.

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
I was surprised by how much I liked this one! First of all the heat factor is through the roof! I think I was just as surprised as Gracie when it came to James. At first he came off kind of snooty but after a while you realize he's not really that way at all. They had a crazy amount of chemistry. I was pleasantly surprised that Gracie wasn't just a bubbly airhead type too

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Brenna decides to head back to the town of her old high school when when of her older friends passes away. She is a very closed off person so she has to try to get used to living in a small town again where everyone knows everything about each other. One person she wasn't prepared to see was her old crush Jake. Jake has some demons in his past that he is trying to hide from as well. Whenever they are around eachother they both feel the attraction but are both weary of acting on it.

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Leary and Reeve are opposing attorneys in an upcoming case. Leary isn't afraid to use her charms to win cases but she's never come up against anyone like Reeve. They begin a relationship but both worry what's going to happen between them once the case is over.

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars
A big part of this book was their sexual relationship since they were "friends with benefits" but I thought the author wove their growing feeling into the story nicely. It never felt forced to me. It seemed like Chloe was the one that had to get over her emotional hangups the most, even though what Ryan's ex did to him was pretty awful. I was surprised that Ryan let it go and still had his friendship with his team mate. The ending was so perfect, especially with the epilogue added. So sweet

My rating: 2 out of 5 stars
After reading the first one in this series, I was really looking forward to Ty's story. I thought the emotional connection between him and Brian was great and I really loved them together but unfortunately I just didn't feel like it worked with Randi added too. Randi and Brian were too "inst-love" for me. It seemed like once they added Brian, she didn't really care about Ty anymore. She seemed to get more of an emotional connection with him right off the bat, even though she was supposedly falling for Ty. It just seemed off to me.

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars
It was so much fun on their trip when they would start to bicker with each other and rile each other up. I loved how sweet they were with each other at times but towards the end of the book I just wanted to hit them both for acting like children. When the HEA came along I felt like it was too rushed and didn't answer some of the questions in the book. I didn't dislike this one but it probably won't be something that I remember a few months from now

My rating: 2 out of 5 stars
I thought some parts of this were really fun with their flirting and chemistry, but sometimes when Blake opened his mouth I wanted to punch him in the face. Any time he would feel any sort of emotion towards her he would insult her repeatedly. And she would let him!! It made me crazy! She was a girl with a stronger personality but she just let him say awful things to her on multiple occasions. She just forgives and forgets instantly...I guess I'm just not wired that way

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
I really enjoyed this one but I wish it was just a little bit longer. This is a pretty short story. I was able to read it pretty quickly in one sitting. The story takes place in just a week's time so I think instead of skipping a few days, it would have made the story a little bit stronger to talk more about their time together even if it would have added more pages. I still enjoyed this one though, and I would definitely read the others in the series

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Fiona and her family grew up in their small hometown being great friends with Ben, but Fiona always had a huge crush on him. He always treated her like the annoying little sister, and was chasing after her older sister. But now that she is back in town to plan her sister's wedding, he is starting to take notice of her. 

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars
I definitely had a few moments where I laughed out loud at this one, and then other parts where I was cringing at the awkwardness. I liked Cowboy's cocky attitude, but there was definitely a point where I wanted to punch him for being a jerk. I liked it but I didn't end up loving it as much as I thought I would

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars
I really loved Nick's character but I have to be honest, I didn't really care for Ava. I liked her wit but other than that I just couldn't understand her. Even after hearing about the way she grew up, she still didn't make sense to me.

What have you been reading lately?  If you are on Goodreads, we should be friends!

** All of these Kindle books (with a couple exceptions) were given to me for free from NetGalley or Entangled Publishing for an honest review.  All opinions are my own. **

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Monday, September 14, 2015

What I've read lately

In August I read 18 books!  Not as many as last month (30) but still really good.  I know I said I was going to try to mix things up and read something other than romances but I guess I didn't pick the right books to try because I couldn't even finish some of them.  So if you have any mystery/thriller recommendations, I would love to hear them!  This past month I read a lot of books that are part of a series, so I tried to include that in the title.  Although they are part of a series they are stand alone books, so you don't need to read the others in the series to understand what is going on.  (With the exception of Darker the release)

Just Say Yes by Alyssa Goodnight 
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars
 Jade was s single mother to a teenage daughter named Evie when her new friend Opal introduced her to Max. Max was a contractor and Jade hired him to completely remodel her kitchen. They both felt the magnetic pull towards each other and tried to fight it at first. Max decided to give in and made a bet with her that if he could finish her kitchen in 2 weeks then she would have to go out on a date with him.

At Any Price by Brenna Aubrey
My rating: 2 and a half out of 5 stars
Mia is a popular gaming blogger who decides to auction her virginity online (yep, you read that right) to help pay off her mother's debt and get her through school.  Adam is a software prodigy/millionare who wins the auction.  I just couldn't get into this one at all.  I had a hard time understanding the way Mia would reason things out.  She was a smart girl but seemed to not want to use her brain much

SLATE (Breaking the Declan Brothers #2) by Kelly Gendron
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Rayna and two of her friends head to her old hometown for vacation and she sees her first love Slate there.  It doesn't take her long to realize that he is not the same man that she remembers.  He is now a scarred MMA fighter that is battling addiction issues.

Tamed By The Outlaw by Michelle Sharp
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Jesse is an erotic romance writer who meets and has an amazing night with a man in Vegas. It was great until he left without a word the next morning...or did he?? Grayson was the new CEO of the publishing company that Jesse works for and he thought SHE walked out on HIM. When they are forced to work together a year after their night together sparks fly and they have to decide if they can work things out or not. I loved Jesse's spunky personality, and Grayson was trying so hard to be a good guy. I do wish the story was just a little bit longer. The ending felt a little bit rushed to me

Darker the Release (Revenge Saga #2) by Claire Kent
My rating: 2 out of 5 stars
This was the second part of Sweet the Sin.  I honestly didn't care for the first one very much but I am a curious person and NEEDED to know how it ended. lol!  I ended up not being overly thrilled.

Jayhawk Down by Sharon Calvin
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Caitlyn Stone is a Jayhawk pilot in the Coast Guard who has vowed never to date another doctor OR anyone in the service again, but then she meets Dr. Stillman Gray. Not only is he a doctor but he also flew Blackhawk helicopters and ran dangerous missions in the service.  I liked how strong of a character that Caitlyn was at the beginning of the story but then I feel like she started to fall apart. I also thought the story really dragged towards the middle, I wanted a little more action!

Broken Play by Samantha Kane
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars
This is a very different type of romance than I am used to reading.  It involves 2 men and one woman all falling in love and making a relationship with each other.  I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about the idea of a menage type of relationship but I thought the author handled it really tastefully, for the most part.  There was a lot of sexually explicit content (just a warning for some readers).  I thought they ending was a bit strange but that could just be me.

The Doorway by Alan Spencer
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Morty comes home late from the bar one night to find his wife missing. Not only that but an overwhelming burning smell is coming from his bedroom and the doorway is glowing bright red. An investigation is started and one night Morty, his daughter, his friend Bruce, the detective, a reporter, and several officers are pulled through the red doorway to face a horror beyond anything they could have expected. This story definitely contains bloody and gory violence, so readers beware!

And Then Forever by Shirley Jump
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Darcy and Kincaid had a summer romance when they were younger and then Kincaid left to go back to his privileged lifestyle with his family. Now 7 years later he returns and sees Darcy again working at The Love Shack where they used to hang out. Sparks fly and old feelings come back to the surface but Darcy has a 6 year old secret, with eyes and hair just like her dad, that she never told him about.

Gypsy Heat (Gypsy Beach #3) by Jillian Neal
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Nadya has just left an abusive relationship with her ex-husband and decided to return back to Gypsy Beach where she grew up. She is excited to be home and free from her ex but she has a lot of issues she needs to work through. Gypsy Beach is also the home to her first love Grady. They both want to rekindle things but face some obstacles, including someone trying to bring down Grady's family. I loved both Nadya and Grady's characters. While she was definitely damaged she still had a fierceness about her and Grady was such a sweetheart

It's In His Heart by Shelly Alexander
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Ella was married to Coop's best friend Bradley for years until she lost him to cancer. When Bradley passed away he left his cabin to both of them. After 2 years of mourning his death, Ella decides it's time to move on but before she does she want to spend some time at the cabin because it was his favorite place. She doesn't expect Coop to be there when she gets there and she definitely doesn't expect the sparks between the two of them.

Here All Along by Crista McHugh
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars
I like "friends first" types of stories, so I was excited to give this one a try.  I thought Gideon was sweet but a bit childish. While there were some parts of the book I really like, other parts had me rolling my eyes. But it was a nice quick book that passed the time.

King Stud by Liv Rancourt
My rating: 1 out of 5 stars
Dani has three months to remodel her grandmother's old house before she has to get back to her life in LA.  She hire her best friend's younger brother to fix up the place and they both are attracted to each other.  Dani tries to deny the way she feels for him because she just got out of a relationship, she has to go back to LA soon, he is her best friend's brother, and because he is 9 years older than her.  Ryan has his own set of problems: he has an extremely attached ex-girlfriend who is an alcoholic and won't take no for an answer AND he also has extremely bad anger issues.  I tried really hard to get into this one but every single character drove me absolutely insane.

Just One Reason by Brooklyn Skye
My rating: 2 and a half out of 5 stars
Declan is working at a dueling piano bar trying to save up enough money for his brother to have a serious surgery, when he meets Melody. Melody happens to be the CEO's daughter and could be his ticket to getting the better position he's been hoping for. I liked this one to start out but it just got more and more unbelievable as the story went on. Melody's "poor me" attitude and he complete lack of faith in herself really started to grate on my nerves. The ending ended up just seeming ridiculous

Hold Me Down (Deacons of Bourbon Street #3) by Jackie Ashenden
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars
I've read all 3 of the books in the series.  The Deacons are a motorcycle club in New Orleans.  This one is about "Blue" and Alice.  I've enjoyed all 3 books but I still think the first one is the best in the series.  I did like this one a bit more than the second one though.

Fighting Dirty (Worth the Fight #5) by Sidney Halston
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
I wasn't sure if I was going to like this one as much as the last one I read (Cain's story) because both of their personalities were so extreme: her the crazy "fly by the seat of your pants" artsy type, and him the OCD neat freak businessman. But I really loved "watching" them grow as the story went on. Enzo had his alpha moments but was such a sweetheart to her. I love this series and can't wait to read Travis' story! I don't want this series to end!

Wrong Number, Right Guy by Elle Casey 
My rating: 2 out of 5 stars
I wanted to like this one, I really did! I loved Elle Casey's Shine Not Burn books but this one just fell a bit short for me. I loved the humor that she mixed into it, but then May was just so painfully awkward that it killed any attraction that may have been there between her and Ozzie. I didn't feel the spark with them. He came off a bit cold.

Off Limits (Aces Hockey #1.5) by Kelly Jamieson
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Andrew, who is a defenseman in the NHL, was taken in by the McFadden family when he was young and lost his family. He becomes part of the family and best friends with their son but can't help his growing attraction for their daughter Jenna. Jenna has loved him since she was a young teenager but knew they could never be together because she knows he fears he would lose the new family that he's made. I ended up loving it even more than the first one in the series!

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Monday, August 31, 2015

What I bought in August

I got a little overexcited shopping this month.  I was on a spending freeze for almost 2 months so I guess I should have known it was coming, AND I'm really proud of the deals I found.  I have been really obsessed with stripes, so I stocked up on more....because you can never have enough stripes, right?!  Okay, maybe that's just me.  I also tried finding a few more basic pieces.  I only spent full price on one top in that whole collage!  I couldn't help myself.  (I'll let you know which one towards the end)

Everything I bought below was from an online site called ThredUp.

ThredUp is basically an online thrift store.  They buy and sell gently used clothing from top brands.  I love Express clothing but can't really afford to buy it at the full price, so this has been a great option for me.  Every top above is from Express.  The only thing I bought that wasn't from Express was the striped skirt on the bottom left.  

Here is what I paid for 8 tops, 1 jacket, and 1 skirt from ThredUp:
Express camel sweater - $8.49
Express red and navy baseball tee - $7.49
Express b&w dolman top - $12.49
Express blue and black top - $10.49
Express red & white henley -  $7.99
Express berry top - $8.49
Express grey top - $9.49
Apt 9 skirt - $8.99
Express jacket - $18.99
Express b&w striped top - $9.49
Subtotal - $102.40
Free shipping & 20% discount TOTAL: $81.92

If you want to give ThredUp a try, here is my referral link.  Thank you in advance if you use it!

Gap b&w striped top - thrift store - $2.99
Foo Fighters top - $30
Banana Republic pink top - thrift store - $4.99
Loft grey sweater - thrift store - $2.99 - 50% off - $1.50
Charming Charlie tortorise bracelet - $6.99
Forever21 striped top - thrift store - $3.99
Total - $ 50.46

Total spent in August - $132.38

I'm really happy with that total and the amount of stuff I was able to find!  Obviously the Foo Fighters top was the full price item.  It's been a long time since I paid full price for anything, but it was worth it!  I bought my husband tickets to see Foo Fighters for our anniversary, and I have to buy a tee shirt at every concert I go to.  It's tradition!  And also why I have a whole dresser drawer full of band shirts. haha!  Ooops!

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