All posts by moung682

Review: Kisses and Rogues: Four Regency Stories by Anthea Lawson

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Kisses & Rogues: Four Regency Stories by Anthea Lawson
My Overall Rating: 3 of 5 stars

Passion flared in his eyes, and he took her mouth again in a kiss that seared her to her soul. In a moment, they must pull apart, their two bodies un-melding, but for now she savored every second.

I breezed through this anthology because the stories were exactly what I needed at the time: short, lighthearted romances with a touch of historical ambiance and a guaranteed HEA. Without going into too much detail on such short stories, I’m just going to sum up a couple key points about each one.

Five Wicked Kisses: 2 of 5 stars – I kept getting really distracted (and upset) by the coercion in this story, which wasn’t long enough to dive into such morally fraught waters.

Maid for Scandal: 3.5 of 5 stars – While totally unbelievable, this story was hilarious. It would have had a slightly higher rating if I hadn’t been so annoyed at the heroine’s naivete, but I suppose that was also part of the story’s charm.

The Piano Tutor: 4 of 5 stars – This was definitely my favorite of the bunch, and I think it was because the heroine was more mature. The plot also worked excellently as a short story.

To Wed the Earl: 3 of 5 stars – Of all the stories, this was the one I most wanted to see developed into a full-length novel. I kept finding myself wanting to know more about the characters, the financial mystery, and the side relationships.

As someone who doesn’t often read historical romance, I was happy with how this one turned out. I have had Passionate on my TBR for about a year now, so maybe it’s time to give that one a try.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books Set Outside the US

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For those who don’t know, Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, they post a new theme and everyone is invited to join in! (Note: all book cover images in this post link to that book’s Goodreads page.)

Today’s Theme: Ten Books Set Outside the United States

After taking several months off, it’s so nice to do a Top Ten Tuesday post! Many of these have a fantasy element, but I only included those that are still modeled after our world.

From my TBR:

Beautiful Ruins  Akata Witch (Akata Witch, #1)  Every Breath (Every, #1)  Paris Time Capsule  My Lady Jane

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter – Throughout time in Europe and the US (a little cheaty…)
Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor – Nigeria
Every Breath by Ellie Marney – Australia
Paris Time Capsule by Ella Carey – France
My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, & Jodi Meadows – Historical England

Some of My Favorites:

The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn, #1)  Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #1)  Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1)  Carry On  Die for Me (Revenants, #1)

The Wrath & the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh – Historical Persia
Daugther of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor – Czech Republic
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins – France
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell – England
Die for Me by Amy Plum – France

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Which books made your list this week? I’d especially love to find more books set outside of the US AND Europe. Link your own Top Ten Tuesday in the comments!

BookTube-a-Thon 2016: TBR

I’m back for BookTube-a-Thon with my tentative TBR. It’s mostly tentative because I’m not sure how well I’ll be able to stick to it. I tend to read with my moods, so I’ve never been great at following a set list. With that in mind I’m giving myself flexibility and a LOT of leeway.

Without further ado, here are my plans for each of the reading challenges.

Read a book with yellow on the cover:

   Miss Mayhem (Rebel Belle, #2)

I have two in mind for this one, depending on how ambitious I’m feeling. Miss Mayhem is the second book in Rachel Hawkins’ Rebel Belle series, and I’ve been listening to the audio version. Finishing this will be totally dependent on how much time I can dedicate to  working around the house. Summer Days and Summer Nights is an anthology of short stories, and I might give myself a pass and count this one complete if I finish at least one of them. (I know, it’s cheating…)

Read a book only after sunset:

Saga, Volume 1

The sun sets late in Seattle this time of year (around 9pm), and I’m usually in bed by 10, so I’ll be going quick-and-easy with this challenge. I’ve been meaning to read Saga for a while, and Volume 1 is one of my book club picks for the month, so now is the time!

Read a book you discovered through BookTube:

Ivory and Bone

I was completely sold on picking up Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh after watching a few of Trina’s videos on her BookTube channel, Between Chapters. I had never heard of it before, and her reviews easily convinced me that it was worth a read. To sum it up VERY briefly (and not having read it yet), it has a unique 2nd person narrative and is a prehistoric fantasy retelling of Pride and Prejudice.

Read a book by one of your favorite authors:

Reliquary (Reliquary, #1)  Days of Blood & Starlight (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #2)  

This one should be easy, but it’s actually really hard for me to pin down. I tend to store up a bunch of books from favorite authors so that I can pull one out when I need help out of a reading slump, or when I just can’t figure out what I’m in the mood for. These are just a few of many that I might choose from: Reliquary by Sarah Fine, Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor, and Status Update by Annabeth Albert.

Read a book that is older than you:

Howl's Moving Castle (Howl's Moving Castle, #1)

I’ve been meaning to read Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones for a couple years now, and this is the perfect excuse! I love the movie adaptation, and I already have a copy of the book.

Read and watch a book-to-movie adaptation:

    Howl's Moving Castle (Howl's Moving Castle, #1)

I have a few ideas for this one, each of which is cheating just a little bit. The first is to finish my re-read of the Illustrated Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (began several months ago). The second is to watch the movie adaptation of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (read for book club in February). Lastly, if I need to, I’m happy to watch and count Howl’s Moving Castle for this one, too.

Read seven books: This is the challenge I think I am least likely to complete. I have read this much before, but not often, and never on command. If I do manage to finish, it won’t be following a set TBR. We’ll see how it goes!

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Are any of you guys participating in BookTube-a-Thon this year? Let me know so I can follow your progress!

 

BookTube-A-Thon 2016 (And Welcome Back!)

Hello everyone 🙂 It’s been so long since I’ve posted, but I’m still here, and I’m still reading. School and life got away from me, so I took a break from blogging and reviewing my reads. I’m back today, though, because of BookTube-A-Thon.

I don’t have my own BookTube channel, but I’m an avid BT watcher, and all of the BookTube-A-Thon TBR videos got me really excited to join in the reading. I’ve never actively participated in a read-a-thon before, so I’m not sure how closely I’ll be able to follow a set TBR. I’m going to give it a shot, though!

Okay, here are the details for anyone else interested in jumping aboard:

When: Now! July 18-24, 2016 (12am on the 18th – 11:59pm on the 24th)

Reading Challenges:

  • Read a book with yellow on the cover.
  • Read a book only after sunset.
  • Read a book you discovered through BookTube.
  • Read a book by one of your favorite authors.
  • Read a book that is older than you.
  • Read and watch a book-to-movie adaptation.
  • Read seven books.

More Info: There will be a lot more going on, like video challenges, Twitter sprints, and Instagram posts. For all of the details on those, checkout the official YouTube channel!

My main focus is just going to be on reading and enjoying everyone’s awesome video posts. If I’m feeling really ambitious, I might join in on some of the Instagram activities (@AmorousReads).

Stay tuned for a post on my TBR, and if you’re participating, too, let me know, especially if you’ll be blogging, vlogging, or photographing the experience!

Series Review: Portland Heat by Annabeth Albert

Served Hot (Portland Heat, #1)  Baked Fresh (Portland Heat, #2)  Delivered Fast (Portland Heat, #3)
Note: This review is for the first three books in the series (spoiler-free)!

Portland Heat by Annabeth Albert
Served Hot: 3 of 5 stars
Baked Fresh: 3 of 5 stars
Delivered Fast: 4 of 5 stars

Series Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Since David had come into my life I’d learned a lot more about hope. It looks like ivory sheets and stacks of paint cans and two pairs of shoes next to the bed. It sounds like rustling bedcovers and murmured endearments. Hope tastes like skin and soap and victory and coffee. And I can say now with absolute certainty that hope does come in a paper cup and smells an awful lot like a vanilla latte to go. – Served Hot

This series is full of quick, sweet contemporary M/M romance novellas. Each installment features its own main couple, with their own romance, and while the other characters make an appearance, it’s only in passing. One upside of this is that the stories can basically be read in any order, and there’s no need for recap between them.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this series so far. It helps that stories like this are candy for my brain – I’m a serious sucker for romance, the novellas are short enough that they progress quickly with a limited amount of drama, and they require very little mental focus on my part. I’ll definitely keep reading more from Annabeth Albert when I’m in need of a guilty pleasure read.

Recommendation: Read this if you are a fan of lighthearted M/M romance with lots of sexy times, or if you’re a pacific-northwesterner looking for a delightfully familiar setting.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Enjoyed That Weren’t My Typical Read

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For those who don’t know, Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, they post a new theme and everyone is invited to join in! (Note: all book cover images in this post link to that book’s Goodreads page.)

Today’s Theme: Ten Books I Enjoyed That Weren’t My Typical Genre

This week’s theme was really hard for me, and if I weren’t already making an effort to read more broadly, this would be a serious kick in the pants for me! I had to cheat a lot with this list, and most of my “atypical” genres aren’t really all that atypical – most of them are just romance sub-genres I tend to avoid. That being said, most of the ways I want to expand my reading focus on exploring different cultures and perspectives rather than genres, and I’m okay with that, at least for now. So with that out of the way, here are my top ten!

Young Adult

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files, #1)  Nice Dragons Finish Last (Heartstrikers, #1)  Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda  The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn, #1)

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff – Science Fiction is one genre that I feel like I should love, but I can rarely get into. I definitely did not have that problem with Illuminae. The fascinating format and action-packed plot kept me racing through the story and I finished it in a couple sittings!

Nice Dragons Finish Last by Rachel Aaron – I’ve reviewed both this book and it’s sequel, so you may have seen them on here before. It’s genre-nonconformity makes this series hard to describe to others, and I was initially hesitant to pick it up, but I’m so glad I did!

Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli – I can be a little wary of YA Contemporary, but more than that, I almost never read books from the perspective of one male main character. This is definitely something I’d like to change!

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh – I adored this book, and retellings/YA romance aren’t exactly a stretch for me. I’m including this one because it’s also a more diverse YA novel, taking place in historical Persia and having been written by a woman with a mixed-race heritage. We absolutely need more diverse perspectives!

Adult

Venetia  Fortune's Pawn (Paradox, #1)  Hard to Be Good (Hard Ink, #3.5)  A Spear of Summer Grass  Silver Lining

Venetia by Georgette Heyer – I usually shy away from purely historical romances, despite being a lover of Jane Austen. This is largely because I often run into historically accurate context (like discrimination and xenophobia) that detract from my enjoyment of the romance. I didn’t encounter that in Venetia, though it does crop up occasionally in other Heyer novels.

Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel Bach – Here’s another Sci Fi! Just like I mentioned with Illuminae, this one was seriously action-packed, and it sucked me into the story.

Hard To Be Good by Laura Kaye – This novella was my first M/M romance, and I loved it 🙂 I was already a big fan of Kaye’s work, so I was more than willing to step out of my box for this one. It’s a good thing, too, because I discovered a new sub-genre to enjoy!

A Spear of Summer Grass by Deanna Raybourn – Here’s another Historical Romance. This one did have a couple cringe-worthy historical scenarios, but the African setting was vibrant and engaging, and the story was fascinating.

Silver Lining by Maggie Osborne – I have to admit, I only picked this American western historical romance up because it was a book club pick. I won’t be reaching out for the genre again any time soon, but I can say that Silver Lining made me laugh, and I’m really glad I gave it a shot.

Top of my TBR

Akata Witch (Akata Witch, #1)

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor – For my tenth pick, I’m going with another diverse book that’s on the top of my TBR pile! This is a YA Fantasy taking place in Nigeria, and the blerb sounds fantastic 😀

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Which books shook things up for you? Link your own Top Ten Tuesday in the comments!

Series Review: Servants of the Fate by Sarah Fine

Marked (Servants of Fate, #1)  Claimed (Servants of Fate, #2)  Fated (Servants of Fate, #3)

Servants of the Fate by Sarah Fine
Marked: 4 of 5 stars
Claimed: 4 of 5 stars
Fated: 5 of 5 stars

Series Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

She laid her cool palms over the backs of his hands. “You’re making this so hard.”

“Good. We’re almost there, then.” He ducked his head until they were nose to nose. “My plan is to make it impossible.”

Servants of the Fate is an adult paranormal/urban fantasy trilogy, with a hefty dose of Greek mythology thrown in. Each book follows a Ferry sibling, a long-living descendant of a family that ferries souls into the afterlife after they die. The setting is post-apocalyptic Boston, and due to environmental disasters, it has been transformed into a dangerous network of canals (think Venice). The world is a fascinating blend of dystopian/urban dangers, the surviving modern technology, and mythological beings – namely ferrymen, Keres, Moros, and the Fates.

Each novel features its own main couple, with their own romance, but the overarching trilogy plot is also compelling, and everything comes together excitingly in Fated.

I really enjoyed this series! It has a blend of both YA and Adult themes that add up to a winning combination for me. As with Fine’s Guards of the Shadowlands trilogy, I was hooked within the first couple of chapters, and I raced through the whole series in less than a week. It helps that I had a great time reading them, and I was always dying to know what would happen next, even without cliffhangers.

Recommendation: Read this if you are a fan of YA urban fantasy with some sexy times thrown in, especially if you’re intrigued by Greek mythology!