Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Book Blitz + Giveaway: Deal Takers by Laura Lee

Title: Deal Takers
Author: Laura Lee
Publication date: July 17th 2018
Genres: Comedy, New Adult, Romance
When he takes charge, I’ve been known to do a lot of stupid shit, despite the fact that I have a genius IQ. Case in point: How I met the woman of my dreams.
Now, I’m going to let you in on a little secret: I don’t regret that moment of idiocy one bit. It may have been one of the most embarrassing moments of my life, but you know what they say about first impressions, right? Well, I can guarantee that I made quite the impression that evening. (Don’t worry; I’ll tell you all the gory details later.)
Most days, she acts like she hates me—probably because I behave like an ass— but we both know the truth: Rainey O’Neil wants me just as much as I want her—she just doesn’t want to admit it.
Good thing I’ve never been one to back down from a challenge.
*Deal Takers is the second installment in the Dealing with Love world but can be read as a standalone.

“C’mon dude, work with me here. I swear I’ll be more selective going forward. GO LIMP YOU BASTARD!”
Okay so maybe taking Viagra wasn’t the smartest idea after all. Let me be clear that I don’t need it; I’m a healthy twenty-three-year-old guy. And I’m hung like Justin Bieber, only thicker. Yeah, I saw the pictures online—color me curious. But back to my predicament: My buddy swore the little blue pill is the ultimate sexual enhancer so I decided to partake. I’d like to point out that most guys don’t regularly get the chance to have a horizontal party with two hot sisters and said chance was presented to me on a silver platter. Before you get grossed out, they’re step-sisters so it’s not as weird as it sounds. And did I mention how fucking hot they are? We’re talking Pamela Anderson from the good ol’ Baywatch days. Not current Pam because let’s face it; a Susan Sarandon she is not. I mean seriously, could Suz be any sexier? She’s aged like fine wine—a vintage I’d drink like a motherfucking Slurpee. Great, now I’m thinking about banging hot MILF’s which certainly isn’t helping my boner situation. I’ve always had a thing for older women.
Anyhoo, I’m getting off track again. Where was I? Oh yeah, I’m sitting in the Emergency Room parking lot talking to my painfully hard dick. The commercials warn that you should seek medical attention if your erection lasts more than four hours. Well, here I am, EIGHT hours and TWO ROUNDS with the sisters later, with a fucking hard-on that won’t quit. If I didn’t know better, I’d swear I was being punk’d. Who would’ve ever thought I’d be complaining about my dick staying hard for too long? If you’ve never suffered this cruel fate, let me assure you; it fucking hurts. I think I may have actually broken the poor guy. He’s raw from way too much friction and don’t even get me started on how difficult it was to take a piss.
Think, asshole! Think! I close my eyes and concentrate on some of the most non-erotic things I can think of: Kittens. Grandma Ethel. Munchkinland. Damn it, that last one made me scream like a girl but my spaceship is still ready for liftoff. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise; those creepy high-voiced fuckers are terrifying. TERRIFYING I TELL YOU!
I slam my head back into the seat, take a deep breath, and groan in frustration. I rip the keys out of the ignition and slide out of my truck as carefully as possible. With the front of my shorts tented in the most obvious way possible, I stroll through the automatic doors of North Seattle Memorial and walk up to the lady at the front desk. The look of revulsion on her face as she eyeballs my pocket rocket matches my level of embarrassment.
“May I help you?” she inquires with a side order of stink eye.
“Um…” I nod toward my bulge. “I think I should see a doctor about this.”
Her eyebrows reach her hairline. “What seems to be the problem, sir?”
“My erection-way won’t go own-day,” I whisper in mediocre Pig Latin. “I took some Iagra-vay and I think my ick-day may be oken-bray.”
“I see. So, your chief complaint is that you took some Viagra and you think you may have broken your penis as a result?”
I glare at her. “Lady, do you not know the purpose of Pig Latin?”
I swear to God her lips twitch. “I’m sorry, sir, but the purpose behind Pig Latin is not in the Employee Handbook.”
“Well, it should be,” I mutter.

Laura's passion has always been storytelling. She spent most of her life with her nose in a book thinking of alternate endings or continuations to the story. She won her first writing contest at the ripe old age of nine, earning a trip to the state capital to showcase her manuscript. Thankfully for her, those early works will never see the light of day again!
Laura lives in the Pacific Northwest with her wonderful husband, two beautiful children, and three of the most poorly behaved cats in existence. She likes her fruit smoothies filled with rum, her cupboards stocked with Cadbury's chocolate, and her music turned up loud. When she's not writing or watching HGTV, she's reading anything she can get her hands on. She's a sucker for spicy romances, especially those involving vampires, bad boys, or cowboys!


Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Graphic Novel Review: The Dam Keeper - World Without Darkness

Title: The Dam Keeper: World Without Darkness
     * Volume 2
Authors: Robert Kondo & Dice Tsutsumi
Illustrator: Robert Kondo & Dice Tsutsumi
Publisher: First Second
Pages: Hardcover; 160
Recommended Age Group: Middle Grade/YA
Release Date: July 10, 2018
Source: NetGalley

Beyond the dam lies certain death—this is something every citizen of Sunrise Valley knows well. Yet, when a poisonous black tidal wave carries Pig, Fox, and Hippo over the dam and into the wastelands, they don’t find death. Instead they find bustling cities, each with their own dams. Pig can't help but wonder, who is the mysterious dam keeper behind it all?

But he doesn't have time to unravel this mystery. The wave of deadly black fog will return to Sunrise Valley in four days, and its dam can't withstand another assault. In a stolen truck and with a deranged lizard leading the way, Pig and his friends are in a race against the clock. but can they reach home in time?

I can't believe that I failed to write an actual blog review for the first entry in this series, because I fell for it hard. Kondo and Tsutsumi have created this beautiful world that is also filled with darkness. It's a world that pits cute, sometimes fuzzy, lovable characters against an entity that is so mysterious that it's terrifying. I never thought I could have as many feelings about a pig as a main character as I do now. It's absoutely wonderful.

Before anything else, I have to commend the illustrations in both these books. They are more of a watercolor style, so everything is gorgeously blended and has a mystical feeling. I fell in love with the art style before, and I fell in love with it all over again this time around. It sets the mood beautifully, especially as this particular volume is very much about the journey these characters are part of. Kondo and Tsutsumi have captured my heart fair and square. I'm all in. 

As for the story of The Dam Keeper: World Without Darkness, Pig, Fox, and Hippo ended the last book lost and on a mission to get back home. The huge cliffhanger ending of the last book had me ravenous for more, and so I was more than eager to get started with this installment. Although I had an inkling at the back of my mind that this book would be a little slower than the first, it still set me back for a bit. As I said above, this book is very much about the journey. A lot of traveling, a lot of discovery, and only a little of the intrigue that I loved the first time around. This installment takes patience to get through, although the illustrations definitely help.

I warn you all, there is another massive cliffhanger ending. Be prepared now, and then settle in with me to wait for the next part of the story! Was this installment perfect? Perhaps not, but that doesn't negate the fact that I am utterly in love with this whole story. When Pig, Fox and Hippo are ready to move on to their next adventure, I'll be here waiting.

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Monday, July 9, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (7/9/18)

Happy Monday, friends! If it's as hot where you are as it was here this weekend, please know that I'm thinking of you. Staying inside and reading this weekend was the best possible thing I could have done. I'm hoping you did the same!

Here's what I've been working my way through.

Last time I did this meme I'd been through a bout of really excellent reads. This time around, I'm sad to report that it's been more of a "meh" kind of run. The Feed was slow and failed to live up to what I was hoping for. Furyborn drove me mad with how shallow it was overall. The only book I've read recently that I really enjoyed was Garbage Land. If you've ever wondered how our refuse system work, this is a read worth your time!

I'm on a non-fiction kick lately, and so I decided to read Tomatoland because of my gardening obsession as well. It's been an amazing read so far. It's crazy to see how nuanced our tomato crops in the US are, and now that I've been growing heirloom tomatoes I see why the ones at the store don't taste as good. It's fascinating!

I finally got my new Audible credit and promptly bought The Outsider to devour. I love Stephen King. Love him. I can't wait to read this!

That's it for me! What are you reading?

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Book Review + Giveaway: Watching You by Shannon Greenland

Media Type: ebook
Title: Watching You
Author: Shannon Greenland
Published by: Entangled Publishing
Publication date: July 2nd 2018
Genre: Thriller, Young Adult

HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who enjoy books that keep you guessing till the very end.
Viola’s always been that girl from that family, so a scholarship to a prestigious private school in Florida was supposed to be her ticket out of poverty and into a brand-new life. But Viola’s secrets have followed her. Her relationship with the intelligent and gorgeous Riel should have been the salvation she needed—he understands her troubled past better than anyone. But then weird things start to happen.
Frightening messages.
Missing personal items.
The unsettling feeling that she’s being watched.
Viola’s never been one to give her trust easily, but she’ll need to trust in Riel if she’s going to survive her stalker. Because she’s not fighting for a new life anymore—she’s fighting to stay alive.

There is a lot to unravel about Viola's story and I hope to do it justice. We meet Viola as she is starting at a most prestigious school that she's worked tirelessly to attend. From the first interaction with Riel we know that there is a spark between them but it is quickly doused with cold water when Viola realizes Riel is her competition for the scholarship that allows her to attend the school.

As Viola settles in at her new school she has a strong sense of impostor syndrome. She hasn't lived the privileged life most of her classmates have and if they only knew where she came from she would never be accepted, or so she thinks. This particular piece of of the story is so important. The need to fit in, to feel like you belong, is so strong as you enter into adulthood. This is Viola's chance to change her life and she's willing to fight hard, study furiously, and try to ignore her budding feelings for a certain boy. 

I really loved falling in love with Riel. His character has so much depth and passion that it's impossible to ignore. Viola deserves a beautiful soul like Riel and their story was enthralling to read. Of course, as with most relationships, there are hurdles to overcome and trust to be earned, but I was rooting for them from the first meeting. 

My favorite part of suspense novels is trying to figure out who did it, before it's revealed in the story. I was not successful in this case, which makes me love this story even more. Viola's stalker was a mystery right up to the reveal. So hang on to your hats, cause you're in for a whirlwind. 

I'd recommend this book to readers who enjoy a good coming of age story with a lot of heart, and a great build of suspense. 

Shannon Greenland is the award winning author of several novels including the teen spy series, THE SPECIALISTS, and the YA romances, THE SUMMER MY LIFE BEGAN and SHADOW OF A GIRL. She also writes thrillers under S. E. Green and lives off the coast of Florida with her very grouchy dog.


FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Birthday Giveaway!

That's right everyone! It was my birthday yesterday, and I'm giving a present to YOU in honor of that! You've stuck with us through busy work days, teething kiddos, family vacations and random, unexpected breaks. We appreciate you, and I'd like to give something away to show that!

Up for grabs is any book from Book Depository, up to $20 in value!

The Rules:

* You must have an address that Book Depository ships to! Please check before entering.
* You must be at least 18 years of age, or have parental permission to enter.
* The winner will be contacted and have 24 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen.
* No spam or giveaway accounts. Your entry will be deleted.
* Please make sure to put in a valid email address.

That's it! Good luck!
Giveaway ends at midnight on July 9th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Book Review: The Beyond Now Device by Mark Hollock

Media Type: Ebook
Title: The Beyond Now Device
Author: Mark Hollock
Publisher: Mark Hollock
Pages: Ebook; 338
Release Date: January 15, 2018
Source: Author
Genre: Speculative Fiction

HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who enjoy books that really explore our place in time and space.

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon
We are all fated to die and the earth will continue to circle the sun. Of this, we can be sure. Yet when four people sharing an apartment happen upon a device that transports them three weeks into the future, they care less about the grand scheme and more about their own lives in the time to come. During their brief episodes they are cast as key players in a crime. One will grow physically attracted to the man she is to blackmail, annoying her boyfriend. One will fire two bullets into the chest of an attorney he doesn't know, growing to like the power of the gun, while his friend tries her best to stop him.

Both wanting and not wanting the seen future to unfold, they contact the maker of the device who is convinced only a true understanding of time will help them. From Plato to quantum physics, religion to common sense, immediacy and anticipation to the gravity of elephants, the maker expresses time from a variety of perspectives.

The author solicited help through email correspondence with graduate students and professors at major universities in the departments of physics, philosophy, and theology to enrich the characters' evaluation of free will at odds with determinism as they try to control their futures and answer the question 'Does the future already exist?'

Realizing that physics, philosophy, and theology hold no consensus on the nature of time, or on the existence of the future, the characters' day of destiny arrives, affirming and refuting the power of choice to smooth the road beyond now.

Before I get into the grit of this review, I have to share that Mark Hollock's book falls outside the norm of what I generally read. I've been attempting to branch out into more speculative and science fiction, and get lost in stories that really make me think about our world. I can tell you, The Beyond Now Device definitely fits that bill. This is a book that takes a hard look at how we fit into the "now" that we inhabit, and how the past makes us who we are. I found myself fully immersed in the lives of the characters, as they tried to find out how their actions really affected the future, and I'll admit it was a little jarring. So take my review with a grain of salt, because I'll be the first one to honestly say that this isn't my general cup of tea.

On the positive side of things, I thought the characters in this book were really well drawn. They each felt like whole individuals, and watching them interact with one another was like watching real life unfold. As I grew to know them better, and understood their quirks, I realized how well their personalities played off of one another. The four main characters are as diverse as any reader could ask for, and I loved watching them interact. It was a pleasure to read a book that contained real people, and their real flaws.

What I could have done without, and kept me really enjoying this book as much as I wanted to, was the use of Niko and his creation as a plot device. While the actual movements forward in time were interesting and vital to the story, the device that created those movements felt forced. That, and Niko as a driver of the story felt even more forced. His brief appearances felt like mini info dumps instead of blending in with the overall story. I just wanted the characters to have to figure things out themselves. Watching time creep ever closer to the events that they had experienced through the device, and watching them try to figure out how to change things, was fascinating. Such clever characters, with such human flaws. It was great.

My only other issue with this book, and it is a small one, was the fact that the actual device itself is never really explained. I know that this book is more in the speculative, rather than science, fiction realm. However I couldn't help but feel like I'd missed out on an opportunity to really understand how the "time travel" really took place. Granted, the focus here is on the idea of time/space and our place in it. My inquisitive mind wouldn't let that small hole go though, and it bothers me even as I write this.

Overall though, I though that The Beyond Now Device was a pretty solid book. There were portions that felt a little slow, or a little forced, but the concept was fascinating and the characters were great. Anyone going into this book should keep in mind that this is a very character heavy book. If that's your type of read, you'll enjoy this too.

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Book Review: The Truth Hunters by Emilia Zeeland

Media Type: Ebook
Title: The Truth Hunters
Series: STAR Academy book 2
Author: Emilia Zeeland
Publisher: Self
Pages: 328, ebook
Publication date: May 26, 2018
Source: Author
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction

5 Keys to My Heart: Recommended for readers who enjoy science fiction and young adult.
For Yalena Russo, peace was never an option.
Pushed out of the spotlight and into obedience, Yalena returns to a STAR Academy that has changed. In fact, the near worlds have changed, forcing her to walk the thin line between politics and mayhem.
Determined to find out why the Fians claim to be connected to her, Yalena has to track down whoever gave her up as a baby. But thetruth can be elusive. Yalena must employ her friends' talents—and her own—on a shadow quest to hunt down the answers. And all the while, she weaves herself deeper into the web of Fian lies. But what if some of them aren’t lies at all?
Throw in some grueling training, a few inconvenient affections, as well as a pair of mischievous freshmen, and second year at the Academy just got tricky.
Add it: Goodreads / Amazon

Hang on to your hats friends, this is a roller-coaster ride. If you're looking for a page turner, then look no further. The STAR Academy series is quickly becoming a favorite of mine. The Truth Hunters is book 2 in the series and you'll want to read book 1 before starting it.

We pick right back up with Yalena and her friends as they return to STAR Academy for year two. Lots has changed as they prepare for whatever it is the Fians are up to. Yalena struggles to find her new place since she lost her leadership role, but eventually finds her footing again. With a few new freshmen to make things interesting, we follow the same cast from last year through their trials and tribulations. Except this time, there is even more at stake.

In true trilogy fashion, this book gets to the heart of the issues. There is so much information to uncover about Yalena's past, and trust me when I say it will leave you speechless. A roller-coaster of emotions is the only way to describe her story. You will want to keep reading till the last page and then you'll want more.

In addition to a personal quest for answers, we learn a lot about the nuances of the space world and everything really comes to life. Zeeland does a wonderful job of bringing you into the moment and making you feel like part of the story. There is a threat from the Fians that can't be ignored, but understanding the history makes it even harder to cope.

I wish book 3 was already out, but alas, we will have to wait for the next installment. Grab this fantastic sci-fi story now.

Emilia Zeeland is a Young Adult sci-fi writer and author of The STAR Academy Series. Even though she holds an international business degree and two Masters, Zeeland’s heart is full of love for speculative fiction.

Behind the Emilia Zeeland pseudonym, Em (as her friends call her) speaks six languages, loves to try on—and, sadly, also buy—dresses, and is a bit of a foodie.

Her own stories include coming-of-age tales, detailed worlds, unimaginable consequences, deep friendships, and romances that sneak up on you. She’s not afraid to push her characters to their limits and give them a depth that firmly plants them in readers’ hearts. In Zeeland’s writing, readers will be transported to another world, where they are not alone, but part of a tightly-knit, perfectly imperfect family.

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Slowly, so slowly.

It's been a month, y'all.

I'm coming up on my birthday weekend, which has made me realize that June is almost over and WOW it's flown by. Work has been so insanely busy, sickness overtook me, books have been slowly (very slowly) read, and I haven't had the motivation to write a review. All of my intentions to stockpile reviews posts have been thwarted, and so this blog sits empty more than it should. *sigh*

The good news this year is that I haven't fallen into a horrible reading slump like I normally do around this time. I've still been enjoying what I'm reading, taking it slow, and just trying to enjoy it. I think picking up gardening, and embroidery, has been good for me too. It's been all about balance this year and, true to form, that means some things will suffer for others to even out.

I love this blog. I'll keep writing in it, and keep reading. I'm just not going to apologize for when it slows down. That's life, guys. There are only two of us, and we're both busy people. We still books, we still love all of you, and we're here. When we can be.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Book Blitz + Giveaway: Escape Forbidden by Ruth Silver

Hot off the presses we have a fabulous new release for you today! This prequel to the Aberrant series is sure to be a great addition to the series. Grab it today, or win a copy! Keep scrolling for the giveaway.

Escape Forbidden
Ruth Silver
(Aberrant Prequel)
Publication date: June 15th 2018
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
Fight to stay alive.
The Gravelands are a dangerous place.
In a world of uncertainty, Cora Manning knows one thing without a doubt: getting into Genesis will offer her a brighter future.
When the intake coordinator agrees to let her in because of her genetic makeup, Cora discovers the promised city of utopia is nothing like she imagined.
The rebellion has begun.
Add it: Goodreads / Amazon

“What do you want?” I didn't dare ask how he got inside the facility. Based on his clothes and the fact he could easily be my father, I knew he didn't belong inside our walls. Had the fence fallen? The office had no windows; I didn't have a clue as to the hour or how long I'd been asleep.

“You, pretty girl.”

My stomach lurched at the man's tone and his icy touch as he inched the barrel of the gun away only to caress my cheek with the pads of his fingers.

“Get away from me,” I said through clenched teeth and sat up, backing off the cot as I tried to out maneuver him and slip out of the room.

Faster and closer to the door, he blocked my escape. My heart raced and I wiped my sweaty palms against the front of my pants. “Let me go.” I held his stare and refused to show him how afraid I felt.

“Now why would I do that?” he asked, his smile crooked with his left front tooth missing.

My eyes scoured the desk, trying to find something I could use to defend myself against this monster. Did he do something to Noelle and Toby or had they gone home? I felt hot but I knew it was the adrenaline coursing through my veins.

Ruth Silver enjoys reading, traveling, writing, photography, boardgames, and playing with her dogs.
REFUGE FORBIDDEN (Aberrant Book 4) by Ruth Silver will be available June 29, 2018.
She also writes adult romance under the name Allison West.


Monday, June 18, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (6/18/18)

Happy Monday, friends! I'm not going to write a long intro today, because I'm tired and not feeling super inspired. I did want to share my reading progress with you though, so...

On to the books!

It's been a great run of reads lately. Like, insanely good, to be honest. I haven't disliked a single thing I've powered through. My most recent three reads all garnered at least 4 stars, with Kiss the Ground coming in at a 5 star rating because of how fascinating it was! If you're at all interested in learning about our agricultural system, I highly recommend it.

I'm so slow at reading lately, but it's mainly because I'm trying to slow down and enjoy the books I've been excited for. Which is why I just started Spymaster by Margaret Weis and Robert Krammes, and plan to focus exclusively on this until I'm done!

I started this book, accidentally deleted it off of my Kindle, put it back on, and haven't finished. So I'll be finishing this up next as well.

That's it for me! What are you reading this week?


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