Eli’s Triumph (Reapers MC #6.7)

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Peaches Taylor spent the last seven years slinging drinks and dodging drunks at the Starkwood Saloon. Some might call it a dead end job, but to her it was an investment—another six months, and she’d have enough money to buy the place.

Life would’ve been perfect if Eli hadn’t come home.

Eli King is ready to settle down. He stood by his brothers when they needed him, paying the price for their freedom with his own. Now it’s time to claim his reward—the Starkwood Saloon. He’s got the cash to buy the bar, the skills to run it, and just one person standing between him and his dream: Peaches Taylor.

She’s been driving him crazy since they were kids, and not in the good way. When she was six, she shoved a spider down his pants. When he was ten, he locked her in a closet overnight. Then she hot-wired his car at seventeen, and things got ugly…

They’re adults now, and the Starkwood isn’t a toy to fight over—it’s the hill they’ll die on. No prisoners. No compromises. No mercy.

Peaches Taylor and Eli King are going to war.

—                         —                         —

I read this book in a day. And that was a 14 hour workday for me.

It is amazing!

Unfortunately, it is also short seeing as it is a novella, but the romance feels natural and fulfilled. Peaches and Eli have known each other since childhood and sparks have always flown, their personalities just sort of got in the way.

Eli’s Triumph is a quick and romantic read, and I was surprised by several funny scenes in it. Reading a novella by Joanna Wylde always reminds me how good a writer she really is, since I normally do no like this style.

You do not have to have read the other books in the Reapers MC series to enjoy this story.

I only wish that the author would release a full length novel – it has been years – and get back to the Silver Bastards and Devil’s Jacks MC series as well.

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xx

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Forever Mine (Tormentor Mine #4)

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I fought against fate, and I won. I made a deal with the devil to keep her.

It was supposed to be over. We were meant to be happy.

Too bad my enemies had other plans.

Note: This is the conclusion of Peter & Sara’s story. It is strongly recommended that you read Twist Me and Capture Me trilogies before embarking on this book, as there will be major spoilers for those series.

—                         —                         —

Forever Mine is the fourth book from Peter and Sara’s points of view, and it concludes their story. It begins immediately following the end of book three and it is necessary for you to read those books before this one. It definitely isn’t a series you could pick up and read out of order.

This book picks up the day after Sarah and Peter’s wedding, and sees them settling into married life. It is interesting to see Peter attempting to live a normal civilian life, something he has really never tried before, even as a child.

Of course, nothing can ever be that simple so you know something is going to go wrong.

It does in spectacular fashion.

I was supposed to review this book a couple of weeks ago. I received a free ARC in exchange for an honest review. But as I mentioned previously, I’ve been in a bit of a stress-induced slump lately, and I felt like the beginning of this book was really slow, so it took me a little while to get through it.

Once things go wrong for Sarah and Peter though, there is sex and explosions and gunshots galore to keep you at the edge of your seat.

Overall, I enjoyed this book but the series lost its momentum as it progressed. IMHO, the first book was amazing, the second great, and the third and fourth pretty good, but they paled in comparison to number one. I think three and four could have easily been combined to make one amazing action-packed story, with some of the slower bits cut out. As it was, I felt that the conclusion to this series was slightly anti-climatic.

It did however tease a tantalizing glimpse of a future character pairing who will be set in this universe. Lord knows I am going to read those books too!

My favourite aspect of Forever Mine is that many fan favourite characters reappeared from previous series. It was a bit of a reunion story. I loved catching up with old friends and boyfriends …. uh… I mean, characters.

* * * *

xx

On The Come Up (Angie Thomas)

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Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least make it out of her neighborhood one day. As the daughter of an underground rap legend who died before he hit big, Bri’s got big shoes to fill. But now that her mom has unexpectedly lost her job, food banks and shutoff notices are as much a part of Bri’s life as beats and rhymes. With bills piling up and homelessness staring her family down, Bri no longer just wants to make it—she has to make it.

On the Come Up is Angie Thomas’s homage to hip-hop, the art that sparked her passion for storytelling and continues to inspire her to this day. It is the story of fighting for your dreams, even as the odds are stacked against you; of the struggle to become who you are and not who everyone expects you to be; and of the desperate realities of poor and working-class black families.

—                         —                         —

On The Come Up is not technically a sequel to The Hate U Give, but it does take place in the same neighbourhood, one year later.

I highly recommend you listen to this book. Not only is the narration excellent, but it allows you to actually hear Bri’s rap as it was intended to be delivered, rather than trying to figure it out as you read.

Personally, I think that (Mom) Jay gives some excellent advice to Bri, that I intend to take to heart:

There will always be people with something to say but that doesn’t mean you have to listen to it.

At times, I was really frustrated with Bri for being so easy to manipulate and continually reacting, rather than acting with intention. This made it a little more difficult to read than The Hate U Give but it was no less enjoyable. I just found that instead of periods of intense sobbing, I experienced mild frustration.

Angie Thomas has become a one-click author for me. I think she would interest teens and adults and wish that more high schools would incorporate these books into their curriculum.

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xx

Oil and Honey (Bill McKibben)

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Bestselling author and environmental activist Bill McKibben recounts the personal and global story of the fight to build and preserve a sustainable planet

Bill McKibben is not a person you’d expect to find handcuffed and behind bars, but that’s where he found himself in the summer of 2011 after leading the largest civil disobedience in thirty years, protesting the Keystone XL pipeline in front of the White House.

With the Arctic melting, the Midwest in drought, and Irene scouring the Atlantic, McKibben recognized that action was needed if solutions were to be found. Some of those would come at the local level, where McKibben joins forces with a Vermont beekeeper raising his hives as part of the growing trend toward local food. Other solutions would come from a much larger fight against the fossil-fuel industry as a whole.

Oil and Honey is McKibben’s account of these two necessary and mutually reinforcing sides of the global climate fight—from the center of the maelstrom and from the growing hive of small-scale local answers. With empathy and passion he makes the case for a renewed commitment on both levels, telling the story of raising one year’s honey crop and building a social movement that’s still cresting.

—                     —                     —

America has half as many farmers as prisoners. Half.

This is one of the startling facts I learned while listening to Bill McKibben’s Oil and Honey.

I didn’t know too much about this book before I picked it out. I knew it was about the environment and that I had been meaning to read it for a few years. It takes place over several years, but begins just about the time that I was starting university. I majored in environmental studies/science, so it was particularly interesting to me to review major environmental movements that were taking place as I was learning the foundations at school.

A sad fact that McKibben repeats often is that environmental victories are always temporary. Nothing is ever defeated permanently, just put off for awhile. The fight never ends. And environmentalists seem to be on the losing side more often than not. This is why it is so exhausting to be an environmental rights activist, or even just someone who cares. The fight goes on and on, and unfortunately, big money is not on “our” side.

For example, in 2010, the Keystone XL pipeline was on the main stage in the run-up to the 2012 Presidential election. Considerable pressure was on Obama to approve it and McKibben was one of the key activists trying to activate a grassroots response that would threaten Obama’s re-election if he did approve the pipeline.

Today, in 2019, this pipeline is still an ongoing battle in Canada.

The fights goes on.

Listening to this book took longer than I expected. It has been a while since I listened to something environmentally focused, and I forgot how angry these issues make me. How exhausting the failures can be when they add up. And the victories feel few and far between. I couldn’t listen before bed – it made me too frustrated to sleep – so I had to pick and choose the moments that I would listen.

I will say, something helpful I learned is the process of arrest at a political demonstration. That was reassuring in case I am ever in a similar situation. And humorous in a dark sort of way.

Climate change is global. Environmental disaster has zero respect for political borders. These issues are universal. However, most of the direct issues that are taken up in this book are based in America or Canada, so I believe that residents of these two countries will get the most out of it. Alberta’s tar sands are one of the biggest environmental disasters in the world. They are barely tapped, and already more earth has been moved than was moved in the construction of all the mega-dams in the world.

That is insane.

One of my favourite quotes from Oil and Honey, comes from McKibben’s account of the Keystone protests outside the White House. While in jail, he reported

“we don’t need sympathy, we need company”.

Narrator Kevin Collins has a smooth, relaxing voice that made the book pleasant to listen to, even if the topics were difficult to get through at times.

I am planning on watching McKibben’s interviews on The Colbert Report and his Ted Talk now. You can learn more on the website, 350.org.

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xx

 

 

Girl, Stop Apologizing (Rachel Hollis)

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“I believe we can change the world. But first, we’ve got to stop living in fear of being judged for who we are.”

Rachel Hollis has seen it too often: women not living into their full potential. They feel a tugging on their hearts for something more, but they’re afraid of embarrassment, of falling short of perfection, of not being enough.

In Girl, Stop Apologizing, #1 New York Times bestselling author and founder of a multimillion-dollar media company, Rachel Hollis sounds a wake-up call. She knows that many women have been taught to define themselves in light of other people—whether as wife, mother, daughter, or employee—instead of learning how to own who they are and what they want. With a challenge to women everywhere to stop talking themselves out of their dreams, Hollis identifies the excuses to let go of, the behaviours to adopt, and the skills to acquire on the path to growth, confidence, and believing in yourself.

—                         —                         —

Having loved Hollis’ previous nonfiction title, I was leery of this book, concerned it would be a rewrite of Hollis’ bestseller Girl, Wash Your Face. That is so far from the truth!!

Girl, Stop Apologizing stands on its own. I didn’t think it was possible, but I actually like this book even more than her last one. I highly recommend it and keep pestering my friends and family members to read it.

I listened to this audiobook, which is read by Rachel. I love that she changed the wording where necessary, so instead of saying “reading this book”, she says “listening to this book”. I know it is small, but that is a huge pet peeve of mine in audiobooks.

Talents and skills are like any other living thing. They can’t grow in the dark.

This book is extremely motivational. I like listening to it and know that I will again and again, but I already purchased the physical book so that I can more easily refer to individual sections at a glance. I want to study this book because her stories and advice are relevant and easy to relate to. My pen and highlighter will definitely be in play.

Be the kind of woman both your nine year old self and your ninety year old self would be proud of.

This is going to get personal, but I always feel like I am an inconvenience to my friends and family. I feel guilty asking for help, like my very existence is a bother sometimes. I don’t want anyone else to be inconvenienced by what I love to do, which is how I feel in everything, from asking loved ones to purchase a ticket to my local concert band’s annual show to my taking a job in the social services sector where I am stuck living paycheque to paycheque. Rachel has a whole chapter on this subject in her book, one I think I need to read every single month for at least a year, before it will sink in.

If you find yourself going through life without anything to work towards or aim for, it’s no wonder that you feel like your life is living you instead of the other way around.

This quote is LIFE right now. It perfectly address the way I – and several of my coworkers – feel in our current employment. We have no ownership of our goals and projects. We are told to make goals but not given time to fulfill them. Training requests are rejected. Our workplace does everything possible to put us down “in our place” and keep us there. It is a managerial style straight out of the 50s and I think to grow and thrive, I need to transition somewhere else.

I am definitely implementing Rachel’s 10:10:1 and Five-To-Thrive plans!

Rachel does touch upon relationships in this book as well as in Girl, Wash Your Face but I am hoping that she will release one dedicated to that subject in the future.

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xx

Twisted Pride (The Camorra Chronicles #3)

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Remo Falcone is beyond redemption. As Capo of the Camorra he rules with a brutal hand over his territory – a territory the Chicago Outfit breached. 

Now Remo is out for retribution.

A wedding is sacred, stealing a bride sacrilegious.

Serafina is the niece of the Boss of the Outfit, and her hand has been promised in marriage for years, but kidnapped in her wedding dress on her way to church by Remo, Serafina quickly realizes that she can’t hope for saving. Yet, even in the hands of the cruelest man she knows, she is determined to cling to her pride, and Remo soon understands that the woman at his mercy might not be as easy to break as he thought.

A ruthless man on a quest to destroy the Outfit by breaking someone they are supposed to protect. A woman intent on bringing a monster to his knees. Two families that will never be the same.

—                         —                         —

This. Book.

I had such a difficult time waiting for it to be released. I ended up reading nonfiction for awhile because every romance left me unsatisfied, and I realized it was because I only wanted to read Twisted Pride.

Thankfully, the book mostly lived up to my expectations : )

It certainly wasn’t how I played out Remo and Fina’s relationship in my head. Fina is dang feisty and I liked how important her relationships were to her. She is brave and proud and extremely loyal.

It was lovely to more intimately know Remo. He has been a secondary character in several books, but he is a difficult character to get a read on. Learning more about him made me admire him more. He may be crazy and capable of great evil, but he is also a family man and amazing with babies. He is an incredibly loyal fucker so long as you never cross him.

Even though I fell in love with both of these characters, I had a difficult time relating to them. Maybe I will feel differently on my second read – this has been known to happen with highly anticipated books – but I felt like some of the heart was missing from Twisted Pride.

It is possible the timeline is why I had trouble relating. The tale takes place over 18 months and nearly all of that time the couple are confrontational, even while falling in love.

The previous book, Twisted Emotions, is going to remain my favourite for a long time I think, but I would still recommend Twisted Pride. It will make far more sense when the series is read in order.

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xx

The Hate U Give (Angie Thomas)

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Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

—                         —                         —

The Hate U Give. This is a revolutionary book.

I know I’m late to the party. Everyone and their mother has already read this book. Or seen the film.

It is truly amazing though. I highly recommend it to everyone.

Shocking though it is, this is the debut novel for author Angie Thomas. She has recently released another, On The Come Up, that I will definitely be listening to as well.

The Hate U Give deals with racial relations, growing up poor and black, and the tensions between black communities and the police. It incorporates pop culture, humour and heartbreaking pain. This is definitely one book that you will want to read in some privacy, because if you are anything like me, it will have you ugly crying for sure.

The main character, Starr, is incredibly easy to relate to. Ms Thomas created an entire world of fictional characters interacting in a very realistic setting. Starr’s voice is clear throughout the narrative. I couldn’t put this audiobook down, draining my phone from 100% power to 4% multiple times.

Even if you are not a reader of young adult fiction, I hope you will give this title a try.

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xx

Everything we Keep (Everything #1)

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A luminous debut with unexpected twists, Everything We Keepexplores the devastation of loss, the euphoria of finding love again, and the pulse-racing repercussions of discovering the truth about the ones we hold dear and the lengths they will go to protect us.

Sous chef Aimee Tierney has the perfect recipe for the perfect life: marry her childhood sweetheart, raise a family, and buy out her parents’ restaurant. But when her fiancé, James Donato, vanishes in a boating accident, her well-baked future is swept out to sea. Instead of walking down the aisle on their wedding day, Aimee is at James’s funeral—a funeral that leaves her more unsettled than at peace.

As Aimee struggles to reconstruct her life, she delves deeper into James’s disappearance. What she uncovers is an ocean of secrets that make her question everything about the life they built together. And just below the surface is a truth that may set Aimee free…or shatter her forever.

—                         —                         —

This is the second book that I have read by Kerry Lonsdale, and I think that this author has skyrocketed to my top ten authors list.

Her writing is passionate and heartfelt. I could not stop listening to the story because I was so emotionally invested in what would happen to the characters, particularly Aimee.

Everything We Keep starts off at James’ funeral, and is told from his fiance Aimee’s POV. Obviously, the start of this book is extremely sad, but I didn’t feel like the abrupt beginning took anything away from the moment. Lonsdale’s writing is emotionally pure, and not knowing the characters took nothing away from Aimee’s loneliness, sadness and despair.

I don’t know who the original owner of this quote is, but is perfect for Everything We Keep.

“Some books you read Some books you enjoy.

But some books just swallow you up, heart and soul.”

The narrative takes place over the course of a fairly long time period, approximately two years. It also flashes back in time periodically, as Aimee recalls memories from her and James’ shared childhoods.

The story is very driven by character development rather than intricate plot points. Aimee struggles with reinventing herself as an independent women after the death of her fiance, with whom she had been best friends since childhood. The book progressed a little too slowly for me.

I enjoyed the audiobook performance by Amy Landon. She wasn’t great at the male characters’ voices though. I preferred the narration of All the Breaking Waves by Dara Rosenburg.

Overall, I loved this book, will listen to the rest in the series. This book tore my heart out at times, and was definitely accompanied by a box of tissues.

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xx

Bitter Heat (Singed #1)

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She was the wood. He was the flame. After this, they would be ash.

A cruel twist of fate leaves Jasmine Hennessy stranded in a remote cabin with her worst nightmare—her ex-husband, James Roth, who she hasn’t seen in five years. He isn’t acting like the man she married, but did she ever really know him?

One night together kicks off a series of events that threatens her freedom as Roth seeks vengeance on those who ruined him seven years ago. He’s determined to bring her back into the world she left behind where money is king, reputation is everything, and people will kill to keep their secrets.

Author’s Note: This is a dark romance novel with triggers and mature themes that may make some readers uncomfortable.

—                         —                         —

* I received a free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I read Bitter Heat in one sitting. And I want book two now. Not six months from now. NOW.

Sooooo, I guess you could say that I liked it.

This is the first book in the Singed dark romance series by Mia Knight. I hope it lasts a long time because it sure has started out strong.

The hero is James Roth, a self-made billionaire who takes cold ruthlessness to the extreme. He is determined to own and control his ex-wife “Jasmine Hennessy”, and punish her for walking out on their marriage years ago.

I have a feeling that book number two will be darker than book one, which is a-ok with me. I liked that there was a strong cast of secondary characters to flush out the story. Personally, I enjoy this because it makes the fictional world the author creates more realistic with the extra dimensions, but Ms Knight does an excellent job of controlling the flow of information, so it never takes away from the key love story between Roth and Jasmine.

If you like alpha males or dark romance, Bitter Heat should move to the top of your automatic buy list. It will be released on all retailers on March 29, 2019.

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xx

Toxic Game (Ghostwalkers #15)

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On a rescue mission in the heart of the Indonesian jungle, Dr. Draden Freeman and his GhostWalker team need to extract the wounded as quickly as possible—or risk spreading a deadly virus unleashed by a terrorist cell. When Draden gets infected, he forces his team to leave him behind. He won’t risk exposing anyone else. He intends to find the ones responsible and go out in a blaze of glory….

Shylah Cosmos’s mission is to track the virus and remain unseen. Her enhanced senses tell her that the gorgeous man eradicating the terrorists one by one is a GhostWalker—and his lethal precision takes her breath away. When he’s hit by a lucky shot, she can’t stop herself from stepping in, not knowing that by saving his life she’s exposed herself to the virus.

There’s no telling how much time Draden and Shylah have left. Racing to find a cure, they quickly realize that they’ve found their perfect partner just in time to lose everything. But even as the virus threatens to consume their bodies, they’ve never felt more alive.

—                         —                         —

Shylah and Draden are part of the fourth Ghostwalker team that has been dominating the series the last few years. Thankfully, this book takes place in Indonesia, instead of the Louisiana swamp, a welcome change of pace from many of Ms. Feehan’s recent books.

The Ghostwalker series is a mixture of science fiction and romance. It is heavily researched before hand and I always feel like I learn new things when reading it. This time, the author devoted a significant amount of time making sure that the science behind hemorrhagic viral infections was accurate and informative.

Although there is still a significant amount of romance / love interest story-line incorporated into these books, I personally feel they have edged further into the science fiction classification. The first few were much more romance-centered than the more recent instalments.

I did enjoy this book and read it very quickly. However, I have to admit I skimmed over several sections. I am really tired of this Ghostwalker team, and miss the original characters I fell in love with, some of whom have not been mentioned or seen in the books in more than a decade. Although I am glad I read this book, I am also very thankful I was able to borrow it from my library rather than purchase it.

** Spoiler Alert **

 

 

loved the wedding scenes between Draden and Shylah. Most romance stories do not include a wedding or will just gloss over it. It was sweet that they each put so much effort into personalizing their gifts to each other, particularly given the circumstances. It made me a little teary that all the other teams dressed up to honour the couple and watch the wedding take place over video screens. This was definitely my favourite aspect of the entire book.

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xx