Monday, February 8, 2016

Audio Review ~ In Bed with a Highlander ~ Maya Banks

In Bed with a Highlander (McCabe Trilogy, #1)In Bed with a Highlander by Maya Banks
McCabe Trilogy #1
Narrated by: Kirsten Potter
Release Date: March 22, 2012
Genre: Adult, Historical Romance
Source: Audible Credit
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms
Challenges: Historical Romance 2015
Goodreads

Synopsis
Ewan McCabe, the eldest, is a warrior determined to vanquish his enemy. Now, with the time ripe for battle, his men are ready and Ewan is poised to take back what is his--until a blue-eyed, raven-haired temptress is thrust upon him. Mairin may be the salvation of Ewan's clan, but for a man who dreams only of revent, matters of the heart are strange territory to conquer.

The illegitimate daughter of the king, Mairin possesses prized property that has made her a pawn--and wary of love. Her worst fears are realized when she is rescued from peril only to be forced into marriage by her charismatic and commanding savior, Ewan McCabe. But her attraction to her ruggedly powerful new husband makes her crave his surprisingly tender touch; her body comes alive under his sensual mastery. And as war draws near, Mairin's strength, spirit, and passion challenge Ewan to conquer his demons--and embrace a love that means more than revenge or land.




I'd already fallen for Banks' highlanders, via Potter's narration, with the Montgomery's & Armstrong's series so I was eager to become acquainted with the McCabe's. I was not disappointed!

Mairin Stewart is a young woman who's lived hidden due to her parentage and birthright. However, an evil man, who's been tirelessly searching for her, found her. With some luck, Mairin and a young charge, are able to escape and she finds herself at the McCabe Keep, under their protection.

It takes Ewan McCabe some time to get the pieces of Mairin's story and put them together, but he realizes that Mairin could change the circumstances for his clan in a huge way. And lucky for them both, they've already begun falling for one another once Ewan has this realization.

Mairin is such a feisty, headstrong lass. She doesn't filter her thoughts or words and it made for a lot of fun even while it drove Ewan a bit crazy. Ewan is everything strong and noble you'd expect from a laird. He's a good man and he and Mairin made for a good match.

Banks' addition of Crispin to their story, Ewan's son and the young charge that led Mairin to Ewan, was a delight. He's a well-developed character and added much to the story. Duncan Cameron is a brilliant villain. He's crafty and determined to take Mairin and her inheritance, which would ensure him great power in Scotland. It may sound awful, but I'll be glad to see him run through.

I was also delighted in my introduction to the other McCabe brothers, Alaric and Caelen, as well as the warriors and other members of the McCabe clan. I enjoy a story with a well-developed supporting cast and in a story set in the Highlands, a large supporting cast makes sense. The secondary characters are colorful and reflected the type of leader Ewan was in the actions and interactions. Banks also wove in some intrigue and suspense which left me gasping at times.

Kirsten Potter did a fantastic job of narrating. She rocks a Scottish accent and her delivery not only kept me riveted, but she also has the ability to raise goosebumps during particularly intense scenes. I find that impressive.

I'm loving this series and I can't wait to read more!



Sunday, February 7, 2016

Sunday Post #4 ~ Snow Day!

Sunday Post

As y'all probably all know, the Sunday Post is hosted by Kimba @Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It's a chance to share my news from the week whether it be book, blog, or just life news. Since I read so many of your Sunday Posts and I wanted to add something new in 2016, I've decided to join in the fun!


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This week was much more calm. It started snowing here on Sunday and didn't stop until Tuesday night, and we ended up with about 2 feet of snow. The kids got a snow day on Tuesday, which was nice for us all. We relaxed in front of the fire and caught up on things. :) 

This coming week, we have band/orchestra concerts as well as the first winter guard competition of this season. Busy, busy!

OH! In BIG NEWS...my daughter was accepted to Reed College, her first choice. We haven't seen the financial package yet but our fingers are crossed. :D

Reading-wise, I did something crazy - something I've never done before. I started reading 4 books at one time!! I'm listening to Never Love a Highlander by Maya Banks. And I'm reading Confess by Colleen Hoover (a read-along hosted by Chapter Break) and Riding the Storm by Sydney Croft. And since I can't read a physical book on the treadmill, I started a book on my kindle, Facade by Nyrae Dawn. I've finished Facade but that's the only one I've finished.

I hope y'all had a wonderful week! And I hope the upcoming one is chock full of great reads! :)


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COYERBTBsignupBookworm BrandeeBlogger ShameNew Release Challenge 2016 - (un)Conventional Bookviews

Challenge Updates
So far, I've read 12 books out of 40 for COYER B2B, 8 books for #ShelfLove, 7 books for Blogger Shame, and 5 books for my New Release challenges. Some of these overlap - I've read 20 books so far this year.

How are y'all doing with your challenges?

Bought, Borrowed, & Bagged #81


Bought, Borrowed, & Bagged is a weekly meme, hosted by TalkSupe, where I share with you the books I have bought, borrowed, or bagged (gifted or won) plus a recap of the previous week's reviews, upcoming reviews, and any other bookishness I want to share. :)


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So I picked up just a few items this week. However, I only purchased two of them! And those are all Melanie @Rabid Reads' and Tanya @Girl Plus Pages' fault. ;) 


Bought
Kodiak's Claim (Kodiak Point, #1) 
Tanya's review of I'll Meet You There was enough to convince me I *had* to read it. So I used a little Christmas loot and got myself a copy. ;) Melanie has been reviewing this Eve Langlais and this series quite often. I couldn't stand the temptation any longer!


Borrowed

I picked up these from the library! Lexxie's review of Firsts made me want to read it. And I've read so many fabulous reviews of Thief of Lies, I felt it was a *must-read* as well. :) 


Bagged

I won City of Light in a giveaway @Rabid Reads. Thanks, Keri Arthur and Signet Publishing.

I got this special package as an early birthday gift from a fabulous, generous, and beautiful book friend ~ you know who you are! ;) Thank you so very much!!! <3 <3


Last Week's Reviews
Upcoming Reviews
In Bed with a Highlander by Maya Banks
Becoming Alpha by Aileen Erin
Hunting Ground by Patricia Briggs

Saturday, February 6, 2016

My TBR List ~ February ~ Let's Vote

MyTBRList

My To-Be Read List is a meme hosted by Michelle @Because Reading. I think it's a fabulous idea because it gets y'all in the game and it helps me knock off some of the many, many books on my TBR list. You're more than welcome to join in the fun! I've included the basic rules below but you can click on the graphic above to hop over to Michelle's site where you can find all the details. 

Here's how it works:
On the first Saturday of each month, I will make a post with three books from my TBR List (these books can be already on your ereader or bookshelf OR books you might want to purchase) and add your link on the linky that will be provided on Michelle's post. Y'ALL will help me choose which book I will read next. The following Saturday, I will announce which book won. Then the last Saturday of the month, I'll post my review.

Fun, right?!?


***

This month, I'm letting y'all pick my next Blogger Shame Challenge read. :D 


Your Choices Are:

Caden's Vow (Hell's Eight #6)Caden's Vw
Hell's Eight #6

Synopsis
His past has haunted him for a lifetime...but one woman could be his salvation.
Gunslinger Caden Miller's compadres are becoming a bit too domesticated for his liking. So he's off to Kansas territory to carve out a living and a space of his own--alone, just the way he likes it.
Maddie O'Hare has been drawn to Caden ever since she escaped to the Hell's Eight compound from the brothel where she was born and raised. And she's not ready to let him go so easily...until she's captured by his new neighbors.
When Caden discovers that Maddie is being held by a rival at a nearby ranch, his plan to rescue her backfires, and he finds himself the groom in what's literally a shotgun wedding. As shocked as Caden is by the bizarre turn of events, Maddie's grateful kiss holds a fiery promise that's far more unexpected. But with old enemies catching up with him, Caden and Maddie will face a danger that tests their passion--and will either bind them together forever or break them apart for good.




Sultry with a Twist (Sultry Springs, #1)Sultry with a Twist
Sultry Springs #1

Synopsis

Welcome to Sultry Springs, Texas: where first loves find second chances...

Nine years after June Augustine hightailed it out of Sultry Springs with her heart in pieces, one thing stands between her and her dream of opening an upscale martini bar: a bogus warrant from her tiny Texas hometown. Now she's stuck in the sticks for a month of community service under the supervision of the devilishly sexy Luke Gallagher, her first love and ex-best friend.

If Texas wasn't already hot enough, working side-by-side with June would make any man melt. Luke wants nothing more than to strip her down and throw her in the lake-the same lake where they were found buck naked and guilty as sin all those years ago. In their heads, they're older and wise. But their hearts tell a different story...





Don't Even Think About It (Don't Even Think About It, #1)Don't Even Think About It
Don't Even Think About It #1

Synopsis
SECRETS.
SCANDALS.
ESP.

Where weren't always like this. We  used to be average New York City high school sophomores. Until our homeroom went for flu shots. We were prepared for some side effects. Maybe a headache. Maybe a sore arm. We definitely didn't expect to get telepathic powers. But suddenly we could hear what everyone was thinking. Our friends. Our parents. Our crushes. Now we all know that Tess is in love with her best friend, Teddy. That Mackenzie cheated on Cooper. That, um, Nurse Carmichael used to be a stripper.

Since we've kept our freakish skill a secret, we can sit next to the class brainiac and ace our tests. We can dump our boyfriends right before they dump us. We know what our friends really think of our jeans, our breath, our new bangs. We always know what's coming.

Some of us will thrive. Some of us will crack. None of us will ever be the same. So stop obsessing about your ex. We're always listening.



Okay, now vote! And thanks! :D

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Friday, February 5, 2016

Books & Crafts #1 ~ #BookBlogger #CraftCircle ~ Join Us!



Welcome to Books & Crafts, a craft circle composed of book bloggers, a sporadic meme where we share our other creative pursuits aside from reading and blogging. Everyone is welcome to join, just add yout tag/label links below and you're good to go!


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As most of y'all know, I'm a crafter. I scrapbook, papercraft (cards, etc.), and I knit. I'm very excited about the opportunity to share with y'all some of the things I make...you know, when I'm not doing the duties of a wife/mom OR reading. ;)

Last weekend, I went on a girls' getaway with a group of friends. We typically scrapbook when we're together, and I did some of that. But I thought I'd share with y'all some of the other crafting I did. I made bookmarks!

These are made using super big paperclips, which I purchased at Target (I think). I used punches to shape the paper, using 2 pieces of the solid, and one of the print. I used crafty foam adhesive to adhere the paper to the paperclip, tombow adhesive to adhere the print paper to the solid, and glue dots to adhere the bling! ;)







Do you craft too? Wanna get in on the fun? Just add your link below. And don't forget to check out the other hosts' crafts! :D
(I had problems with the linky so I'll add it in when I figure out the issue. Until then, head over to Talk Supe and link up there. Thanks!)




Thursday, February 4, 2016

Thirsty Thursday & Hungry Hearts #31


My pick this week comes from:

Confess by Colleen Hoover


I'm participating in the read-along with Chapter Break this month. I've only read chapters 1-6 so far...cried in the prologue. Yeah, Colleen Hoover does that to me. 

These few scenes (I pieced them together) are kinda funny though. See what y'all think...

"Do they have cheese sticks?" she asks.
I'm not sure if they have cheese sticks, but I'll say anything at this point just to spend a few more minutes with her. "The best in town."

...

Me: I'm coming for a drink. Do you serve cheese sticks?
Harrison: Nope.
Me: Do me a favor. When I order cheese sticks, don't say you don't serve them. Just say you ran out.
Harrison: Okay. Random request, but whatever.

...


"Bring us two Jack and Cokes," he says. "And an order of cheese sticks."
Harrison taps the bar with this fist and says, "Coming right up." He begins to turn around but quickly faces Owen again. "Oh, we're all out of cheese sticks. Travesty. Cheese fries okay?"
I try not to frown, but I was really looking forward to cheese sticks. Owen looks at me and I not. "Sounds good," I say.


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Audio Review ~ Charming ~ Dannika Dark

CharmingCharming by Dannika Dark
Seven Series # 6.5
Narrated by: Nicole Poole
Release Date: December 8, 2015
Genre: Adult, Paranormal Romance
Source: Audible credit
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms
Challenges: #ShelfLove
Goodreads

Synopsis
After seven hundred years, Prince has acquired everything a Packmaster could desire. But when he meets the enchanting Nadia Kozlov, he realized that there's one thing he doesn't have: answers. Princes owes his life to a man he hasn't seen in centuries, and Nadia holds the key to his whereabouts, because that man is her father. Destinies collide when Nadia's sister shows up unexpectedly. Katarina is a skilled bounty hunter, hot on the trail of a nefarious outlaw who turns out to be Prince's old nemesis. Prince teams up with Nadia's sister to track down the Mage, but the real game of cat and mouse is already underway as sparks fly between Prince and the cunning bounty hunter. The only trouble is, Nadia wants him too.



Charming - a word I'd never considered in conjunction with Prince, the serious, rigid, disciplined Packmaster. I was curious about the title and I was absolutely pleased with how Ms. Dark worked that word into the story.

Charming is a story I was happy to get. While Prince isn't necessarily my favorite character in the Seven series, he does have my respect. He's disciplined in his leadership, but a fair, if arrogant, man. Getting his backstory, learning his history, answered so many questions about him. I appreciated those answers. Of course, getting those answers was precipitated by Prince meeting Nadia and Katarina Kozlov - the daughters of a man with an important role in Prince's past. Kat's appearance is brought about due to her job and her search for her father - and a Mage, who also played a pivotal rile in Prince's life.

Despite there being some tension and suspense, coupled with some action, Charming might be the lightest story in this series. This is mostly due to Kat and her feisty personality. She has no filter and the things that come out of her mouth had me, and Prince, laughing! I like how Charming played out but what I enjoyed the most - the thing that had me snickering often , is the fact that Prince falls for a woman so unlike him - so opposite of what he thought he'd been looking for. And watching that made for a lot of fun.

Nicole Poole, as usual, impressed me with her narration. Her delivery kept the packing perfect and her voices and accents for both men and women were spot on.

I'm eager to see how this series winds up but at the same time, I hate to see it end.



Monday, February 1, 2016

Release Day Review ~ Troublemaker ~ Melissa Pearl

TroublemakerTroublemaker by Melissa Pearl
Songbird Series #6
Release Date: February 1, 2016
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Rating: 3.5 Bookworms
Challenges: #2016NewRelease, #COYER B2B
Goodreads

Synopsis
Kelly DeMarco is out of Marcus Chapman's league. When they met in high school he was besotted with the blue-eyed goddess, but she never gave him the time of day.

High school is now over and the tide is turning.

Five years later, Kelly is job-hunting and the best she can find happens to be Marcus Chapman's personal assistant. He is thrilled by this second chance and determined to win the beauty's affections, but Kelly has no intention of falling for the "class clown."

What you're looking for can be hiding right in front of you.

In spite of her resolve, Marcus's playful charm begins to chip away at Kelly's protective veneer, and she starts to realize that tall, dark, and mysterious isn't a requirement, and sometimes Mr. I Don't Think So can actually be Mr. Perfect.

Will Kelly's obsession with keeping up appearances push Marcus away, or will he have enough drawing power to convince his favorite girl that honest love can outclass anything?




The Songbird Series is one of my favorites because it's comfortable. The writing is always easy to read, the characters feel familiar and are engaging, and the music element gives the stories that little something extra that makes them that much more enjoyable. Troublemaker is a great addition to the series with a couple I was rooting for and an excellent soundtrack!

Marcus is a manager at Torrence Records. He's an affable guy, loyal, honest, and hard-working. I loved his goofy grin, his determination to make people smile and laugh, and his kinda nerdy personality. (In other words, kinda like my hubby. ;) Things are going well for him and then his high school crush turns up to interview for a job as his personal assistant.

Kelly is something else. As the heir to a fashion company, she was raised in a cold home with certain expectations placed on her. Basically, she's always felt like an ornament. She does let a few close friends see the real Kelly, but she hasn't introduced them to her world. And Marcus is *not* her type. Too bad she'll be working for him and he's determined to change her mind.

Marcus was a sweetheart! I liked that Ms. Pearl had the story be about a guy who's been in love forever with the unattainable girl. I had a hard time connecting with Kelly because of her haughtiness. She's so entrenched in social status, seeing people according to where they fall in social circles, how they look, how they dress. It rubbed me wrong, especially considering the expectations her parents placed on her were chafing her. It took a really long time for her to grow a backbone and to realize what she could have with Marcus. Because Marcus - he always saw the real Kelly underneath all her window-dressing. It's a good thing Troublemaker is told using dual POV so that I could connect with Marcus - and see Kelly through his eyes. I did eventually warm up to her though and I was fist pumping when she finally stood up for herself against her parents, and fought for Marcus.

I have to mention how much I loved Ms. Pearl's use of music in the story - not only in Marcus' job but as an important element in both Marcus' and Kelly's lives. They use it to communicate - and it added this layer of fun to their story. Now Ms. Pearl has me anxious for the next couple's story - and I get the pleasure of going back for a few I missed in between.