Merry “Bookmas”

I saw this on facebook today and loved the look so I thought I would share.

book tree

** I blurred out the family pictures on the right for privacy reasons.

I definitely don’t have enough books to construct a Christmas tree, at least not anymore. I sold and donated most of mine because I got tired of moving them all! Mostly an e-book gal now. But it is beautiful and definitely something I would consider if I could. I would love to see a library try it!

Seem like anything you would try?

And how many books do you think are in it?!! I’m guessing a minimum of a thousand.

xx

Exquisite Danger – a review

Exquisite Danger is the second part of Smoke and Swan’s story and the second book in the Iron Horse MC series. As such, it cannot be read as a stand-a-lone. For my review of book one, click here.

smoke 2

 

Blurb:

For the first time in my life I know what it’s like to be completely and truly adored by a man who loves me for exactly who I am, a high functioning autistic with more personality quirks than there are stars in the Texas Hill Country night sky.

Some people think my boyfriend, Smoke, is a total biker psycho, a natural born killer who will destroy anyone who threatens what he considers his. They wouldn’t be wrong, but he’s so much more than that. He’s my dark salvation, my beloved fallen angel who is trying with all of his wicked heart to save me from what seems like an entire world bent on either killing me or a fate worse than death.

We’re headed to the Denver, Colorado chapter of the Iron Horse MC, chasing after my narcissistic, junkie mother who decided to steal from some very bad men leaving her two daughters behind to pay the price for her betrayal. My twin sister, Sarah, old lady to the Iron Horse MC president, is looking for my mother as well, but Sarah’s gone rogue and has no one to guard her back which worries me deeply. To further complicate matters, there are traitors in the Iron Horse MC who are working with my mother, not only helping her to escape but also informing my enemies of my every move.

The odds are stacked against me, but I will do whatever is necessary to protect those I love, and with Smoke at my side, I just might make it out of this mess alive.

—                     —                   —

Oh man. I loved some things about this book. Getting to see more of Smoke’s POV is awesome. I think it gives the book more balance and I really liked getting both leads’ perspectives throughout the story. In this book particularly, Smoke’s very complicated psyche needed some exploration and I thought his generally steadier thought processes helped to balance out Swan’s frenetic, jumpy POV. It was also fun for Smoke’s scarier side to come out to play. I love how gentle he is with Swan – she is incredibly fragile and insecure in some ways – but the last thing a writer wants is her audience doubting whether the badass Master at Arms biker is really all that intimidating…. he definitely is! Do not get on Smoke’s bad-side.

Unfortunately, I didn’t think the plot was as strong as the first novel. Most of “ED” was about the identity of the Iron Horse traitor but to the reader, it is painfully obvious who is at fault. This is one of my biggest turnoffs in any type of entertainment and unfortunately it is persistent in this series. I almost wonder if the author is playing some sort of end game, because on her social media sites there is a pretty clear consensus on which secondary character is the traitor but she is is continuing to play dumb and carry over the “ruse”. It annoys me and I hope she ends it soon, and gets back to the good stuff.

The second point that drew me away from the story is the overly dramatic nature of some scenes. I felt that the characters just went from one super dramatic situation to another, to the point that these actions scenes felt like fluff.

This meant that IMHO, there was less deep content than there was in Trouble, when I had been hoping Mayburn would build on it instead. The scene between all the different factions (MCs and mafias and bratvas) in particularly was so overdone that it lost all meaning, for me at least. These men are all supposed to be so terrifying that you can’t help but laugh and shake your head. They just cancelled each other out whereas if it had just been the Boldin Bratva, I would have probably been shaking in my boots.

The book is solid and if I had read it first, I probably would have rated it higher, but after the stellar start in Exquisite Trouble, “Danger” was a bit of a let-down. I love this author so it was disappointing and surprising. Still looking forward to the series continuation though! And it was great to finally meet Sarah. Her and Beach’s story will be released this winter in another two-parter.

* * *

xx

Exquisite Trouble – a review

In a genre saturated with terrible biker romance/erotica, there are a small handful of authors who stand apart. Ann Mayburn, with her Iron Horse MC series is definitely one of those stand-outs.

The first two novels, Exquisite Trouble and Exquisite Danger, are Mayburn’s debut MC couple, Smoke (hero) and Swan (heroine). I’m going to review the books separately, but because they are about the same hero/heroine, I’ll try to get up my review for the second book this week as well.

smoke 1

Blurb:

Before I met Smoke I’d never been kissed, really kissed, by a man, let alone a biker sex god bent on taking my virginity and my heart.

I got dragged into the deadly world of the Iron Horse MC by my crazy twin sister who is engaged to the club’s President and even crazier mom who only cares about herself. Smoke has been assigned by the club to keep me safe even though he’s everything that I should be afraid of. He’s the kind of man who lives by his own rules and does whatever he wants whenever he wants, but he treats me like I’m something rare and precious, not a socially dysfunctional basket case who has no idea how to love, but needs him more than her next breath.

Not that my feelings matter, because if we don’t find my mother soon, the only thing I’ll have to be worried about is who is going to kill me first.

NOTE- This is Part One of a Two Part book with a ‘Happy for Now’ ending.

—                             —                             —

I loved Exquisite Trouble but I did find it a little bit hard to get into the rhythm of Mayburn’s writing. She wrote first person perspective and it might just be the first time I’ve read this style since highschool. Also, Swan is autistic, so her brain tends to jump around a lot, which means the writing does too. Once I got used to her idiosyncrasies though, I settled in and enjoyed the story.

One of the best things about Ann Mayburn, which I know I’ve mentioned in previous posts, is that she does a phenomenal job of building an entire world in her series. I love that her couples don’t exist in a private bubble; they interact with other characters and it all fits. It flows. Feels natural. This is incredibly difficult to achieve (I’m guessing, considering the huge numbers of authors who fail) but in an MC type story where there are so many secondary characters who are integral to both plot and character development, it is even more important. And this author nails it on the head.

One thing I wish is that there were more scenes from Smoke’s POV. The book finishes from his perspective but the rest of the time we can only see his thoughts from his conversations, or from Swan’s interpretation of Smoke … which is problematic at times. Because of Swan’s autism, she has a difficult time reading people and understanding certain social cues and situations. As a result, there are points in the book when you know she is misunderstanding him.

The second book has many more scenes from Smoke’s POV which is awesome, and he reflects on the mistakes he made with Swan in the beginning. Smoke starts out as the typical egotistical, alpha-male, sexually dominant biker, but changes his way of relating to and understanding Swan as he gets to know her better and realizes the differences in which they communicate.

Swan is a kick-ass, take no names, completely comfortable with violence chica. Raised by a mob assassin mother-figure and mentally unstable Spec Ops superstar father, she curses like a sailor and stands beside her man. But at the same time, due to an isolated childhood and problems relating to other people, especially her peers, she is very vulnerable emotionally. She has limits that absolutely cannot be pushed without her shutting down. Swan is also a virgin, and once Smoke realizes these things about her, he discovers a sweet, gentle side of himself that only comes out for his girl. I wish the reader could have had those chapters from his POV to see these realizations occur, so it is great that the next book has more dual perspective sections.

Smoke and Swan are one of those couples where you can just see that they were made for each other, and their love makes you believe in a higher power.

I do wish that the book was a bit longer, to allow for more interaction between Swan and some of the other characters, particularly Beach, her twin’s fiance and the President of the same MC Smoke belongs to. Other than that, their story is awesome and I highly recommend this series if you need a break from the biker junk littering the romance and erotica genres right now.

* * * * *

xx

Breaking Love – a review

I’m a happy girl 🙂 I received an e-arc copy of Breaking Love from the amazing and talented B.B. Reid! The following is my honest and unbiased review.

If you aren’t familiar with this series, “BL” is the fourth book in the Broken Love series. The first two novels are about the first couple and are very dark. The other two couples each have just one book since their back stories are well-established through the series openers and are also not as dark. If you are sensitive to dark themes, you might want to start with this book as a test-run. While I always prefer to read in order, I think the author does enough catch-up that a new reader could jump in here and not feel confused.

Okay, here’s the good stuff.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00037]

Blurb:

She’s the girl who got away, but now she’s back…

Four years was all it took.

I told myself I didn’t need friends. I didn’t need family. I sure as fuck didn’t need him.

And you know what?

I was right.

He had been inside of me, coursing through my veins.

So I cut and bled Dash Chambers until I was free.

But the day I returned to Six Forks and was thrown at his feet, I realized I would never forget how it felt to have every inch of him inside me.

…and he’s waiting.

Angel thought if she ran far enough, she’d be free.

What’s mine will always be mine.

This time I do things my way.

* * *

DISCLAIMER: While Breaking Love isn’t dark, the first of the series contains sensitive themes many people aren’t able to swallow.

—                —                —

This was the come-back book in my opinion. The third really rubbed me the wrong way for various reasons, but Breaking Love was more true to the author’s writing in the first two novels, albeit lighter in content.

I liked how the story unfolded for Dash and Willow and that you could see how they had grown from their teenage selves we were first introduced to. Dash is less likely to lash out and seems to be the most stable man in this series. Considering the parenting that they all had, it is remarkable that the characters weren’t institutionalized, actually.

Willow on the other hand is much more vulnerable than in the past. I felt a lot of empathy for her. She has never really had someone who loved her unconditionally without demanding anything of her. It seems that every time she starts to feel something and take a chance on someone, that person lets her down or makes demands alien to her personality, even her parents. I’m glad that she starts to really connect with the people around her by the end of the novel, people she’d been around for years but never actually connected with before.

I would have preferred the plot to be refined a little more because I did feel like there was a lot going on at times. Despite this, the story was such a vast improvement over the third book, that “BL” was a miraculous joy to read and review in comparison.

I do wish that the author had removed some of the superficial plots to stream line the book. I found it confusing for her to reveal that Willow had been making secret trips home every month for years while in hiding (between book 2 and the start of this one) and never got caught, when she is estranged from her abusive mother and stepfather, and her beloved brother was away at university. What exactly was the point of taking huge chances to go home and visit people she detested when she had run away from everything and everyone in her old life?? This was never explained to my liking and I wish a beta-reader had pointed it out.

By taking out minor things like this, the story could have been made less confusing and opened up word count for the areas where there was VAST room for expansion: Willow’s relationships with the old gang and especially, between her and Keiran. I loved the couple of scenes between these two, about 85% in, and wish that BB Reid had further explored their relationship. I think Keiran was a huge part of why Willow was so hurt and disappeared for years, possibly as responsible as Dash was, so seeing this interaction was hugely important to me. I really like to see main characters interact with characters other than their romantic partner, because you get a much fuller sense of who they are in that way.

I hope you take a chance on this new author, she is doing a great job with very complicated material for a rookie. And she left a little bonus present for her dedicated fans at the end of the book 🙂

* * * (and a half)

xx

Movie Review – We Are Marshall

We Are Marshall (2006) is an amazing movie.

movieposter

It is based on a true story.

In 1970, a plane carrying the university’s football team, athletic staff and assorted other members of the community crashed just outside of town, on a return trip from an out-of-state game. All 75 people on board died. I think this remains the deadliest sports tragedy in American history.

We Are Marshall is about the community grieving this loss and coming together to form a new team. Even though it’s a “football movie”, it is so much more.

The film was so well done. I’ve seen it at least a half a dozen times, and I still get goosebumps every time that plane goes down. And teary-eyed throughout. The loss the entire Marshall/Huntington community must have been feeling is unimaginable but you get a sense of it. This movie is endearing and uplifting, something I can watch over and over. You can feel the power and emotion behind the story. I certainly believe that the actor and producers creating it really cared about the people involved.

It stars Matthew McConaughey, Matthew Fox and Kate Mara (who is my favourite actress). Here is the trailer.

* * * * *

xx

Hidden Away – a review

KGI 3

Blurb:

A man who shoots first and asks questions later…

Most people would take an all-expenses-paid trip to the beach in a heartbeat. Garrett Kelly only accepts to keep tabs on Sarah Daniels, who’s in hiding after witnessing a murder by Marcus Lattimer, her half-brother—and a personal enemy of KGI. This gig may be beneath a disciplined soldier like Garrett, but if he gets a shot at Lattimer, it will all be worth it…

…and the ultimate moving target.

But Garrett hadn’t counted on falling for Sarah. He’d considered seduction as a tactical maneuver, but when he glimpses Sarah’s dark past, he feels an urgent desire to keep her safe—even after she disappears on him. Garrett doesn’t know exactly who, or what, Sarah’s running from, but whatever it is, she’s running for her life…

—                   —                    —

One of the things that I really admire about Maya Banks’ first three KGI novels is that each of them has a very different tone. Ethan and Rachel’s novel is more emotional and intimate. You see the family dynamics strongly at play and the softer side of everyone. It tugs at your heart strings just a little bit. Sam and Sophie have lots more action. So much of the story is told from Sophie’s perspective that even though the reader has already met the Kelly brothers, they seem a little cold and harsh, a lot intimidating and powerful. In particular, I loved seeing the very different sides of Garrett, from lovey with Rachel to suspicious of (and frightening to) Sophie.

Which leads us to Hidden Away, featuring the enigmatic Garrett and fragile, forgiving Sarah.

I loved the beachy tone of this book, and the time that this allowed for Garrett to break down Sarah’s defences. I don’t think that their relationship would have worked in any other environment, because he wouldn’t have gotten through those barriers without completely breaking her down as a person. I felt a lot of empathy for their situation. And now I feel a strong need to escape my life and move to a sleepy little Caribbean island.

There were a couple of things that bothered me a slightly about this book. Sarah is so emotionally fragile – understandably so from her character’s backstory – but she seemed to get over it a little too easily when she and Garrett became intimate. I would have really loved to see the back-end of their story extended at least five chapters to see how they work through some of those problems, and also to demonstrate how they stay together and overcome the fallout at the end of the plot …..

* * * Minor Spoiler Alert * * *

You know it isn’t going to end completely happy because Sarah is inevitably going to lose either Garrett or her brother … and it’s a romance … so you can probably guess who she loses from her life. That was well-written and I enjoyed how it played out on the page but was another thing that I wish Banks had teased out a little more. Without giving everything away, I have no idea how Sarah and Garrett were able to overcome the hardships and emotional entanglements that became embedded in their relationship due to his mission and her circumstances. It would be so natural for this to break them apart and their reunion is little more than that. A reunion. You have about a half chapter where he apologizes and they get back together to sail off into the sunset.

I don’t like that the book ended this way. It left out all the hard stuff and it’s super lazy when authors do that. I suspect Banks was concerned that the novel was going to be too long, but there was other stuff I would have much preferred she remove, especially the whole Alaska plot-line. It would have saved a few pages without affecting the story at all.

It would have been awesome to see Sarah slowly make her way into the Kelly family and overcome what I’m sure would be initial fear – intimidation, at least – of the KGI group as she and Garrett made a life together. You do get to see glimpses in later books, but it is very understated because this couple is not the focus of those instalments.

Despite my criticisms, I do really like Hidden Away, I just wish the tough bits had been more flushed out.

This is the last KGI book that I am going to review – for now at least. There are seven more after Hidden Away, but I like the first three the best so I don’t want to re-read the others for a review. If you really like these ones though, you might want to continue.

* * * *

xx

Reaper’s Fall Release Tour Day Two

This is day two of the Reaper’s Fall Release Tour. The link to day one is a little further down, by the excerpt. I cannot wait until this comes out Tuesday. Squee!reaper's teaser 5

Isn’t that a hot beginning to a post! *fanning self*

Blurb:

The New York Times bestselling author of Reaper’s Stand is back in her “uber-alpha rough world of MCs”* as one woman’s future is rocked by the man whose hardcore past could destroy her…

He never meant to hurt her.

Levi “Painter” Brooks was nothing before he joined the Reapers motorcycle club. The day he patched in, they became his brothers and his life. All they asked in return was a strong arm and unconditional loyalty—a loyalty that’s tested when he’s caught and sentenced to prison for a crime committed on their behalf.

Melanie Tucker may have had a rough start, but along the way she’s learned to fight for her future. She’s escaped from hell and started a new life, yet every night she dreams of a biker whose touch she can’t forget. It all started out so innocently—just a series of letters to a lonely man in prison. Friendly. Harmless. Safe.

Now Painter Brooks is coming home… and Melanie’s about to learn that there’s no room for innocence in the Reapers MC.

reapers fall

Excerpt #2 (see yesterday’s post for the 1st excerpt)

“You’re not going back to the party.”

She cocked her head, and I saw the confusion in her alcohol- glazed eyes as she wrinkled her nose at me. All cute, like a rabbit.

“You look like a bunny.”

“You look like an ax murder,” she said, frowning. “And I thought London was looking for me. Aren’t we going the wrong way?”

“I lied. I do that a lot,” I told her, staring at her lips. I reached out, catching her chin in my hand, running my thumb across her lips. Our eyes locked, and I don’t know if her pulse started to rise but mine sure as fuck did. What the hell had I been thinking, writing to this girl? She was so pretty and perfect and had this amazing, magical life just waiting for her and all I could think about was dragging her down into the dirt and shoving my cock into every hole she had.

She’d scream while I did it, too, the same sweet screams that played in my head every night while I jacked off.

I hated myself.

“Why did you lie?” she asked, her voice a whisper.

“To get you away from Taz. It’s not safe with him.”

Mel’s forehead creased in confusion, her brain moving so slowly I could practically see the wheels turning behind her eyes. She might be smart as fuck most of the time, but she’d transitioned to drunker than fuck tonight. Kit. Kit and Em. They’d done this to her.  

I leaned in closer, catching her scent. For an instant I swayed, so tempted . . .

“They told me all about you,” she whispered.

“Who?”

“The other girls. Kit, Em. Jessica. I know how you operate,” she continued. One of her hands rose, touching my chest. Fire burst through me, because if I’d wanted her before I was desperate for her now. She was so soft, so sweet . . . so perfect.

Then her words sank in.

“What did you just say?”

“They told me all about you,” she said, eyes dropping to stare at  my lips. “They told me you have a Madonna-whore complex.” I froze.

“A what?”

“A Madonna-whore complex,” she repeated, her voice earnest. “You like to screw dirty girls and you put clean girls on pedestals, where they can stay perfect and pure. That’s pretty messed up, Painter. There’s no such thing as Madonnas and whores. We’re all just people.”

The words stunned me. What the hell was she talking about? Just because I didn’t want her dragged down in the drama and bullshit of this life didn’t mean I had some sort of fucking complex. And who the hell were the Hayes sisters to have an opinion? I couldn’t tell what pissed me off more—the fact that they’d talked to Mel about me or that they hadn’t done a better job of scaring her off.

She wasn’t supposed to be here.

“Kit and Em are crazy, and that friend of yours—Jessica? She’s like a car crash. You don’t belong here, Mel.”

“And where do I belong?”

“With some nice kid who’ll treat you like a queen and work his ass off to give you everything perfect for the rest of your life.” The words were practically a growl.

Her eyes widened.

“What if I don’t want perfect?”

“Too fucking bad, because that’s what you’re getting.”

reapers fall bannter

Reaper’s Fall is the newest standalone in the Reaper’s MC Series.  Painter & Melanie’s story will be available on November 10th and is currently up for Pre-order!

Available at the following retailers:

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1DsDyRt

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1yYt1Rn

Nook: http://tinyurl.com/pljucpa

iBooks: http://tinyurl.com/pwfxzyj

joanna wylde

Joanna Wylde is a New York Times bestselling author and creator of the Reapers Motorcycle Club series. She currently lives in Idaho.

Stalk Her: Website | Facebook | Twitter |  Goodreads

reaper's fall pre-order

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