Tag Archives: Laura Kaye

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

TTT 1.0

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!

Review: Love in the Light by Laura Kaye

Love in the Light (Hearts in Darkness, #2)
Love in the Light by Laura Kaye (Hearts in Darkness, Book 2)
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars
Release Date: 1/12/16

Note: This review is for the much anticipated sequel to my favorite novella. To learn more about book 1, check out my review of Hearts in Darkness.

“I love you so much it feels like a part of me is gone when we’re not together. I love you because you’re beautiful and kind and smart and funny. Because you accepted me when I didn’t even accept myself.”

I have to admit, I had mixed feelings when I learned that there would be a sequel to Hearts in Darkness. I think that stems from the fact that I loved it so much as it was – not every great story needs another installment, and some things are perfect just as they are. That being said, I’ve loved everything I’ve read from Kaye, so I knew I had to get my hands on this as soon as possible. If anyone could do justice to an extension of Makenna and Caden’s story, it would be her.

While I didn’t love this one as much as its predecessor, I wasn’t disappointed in the least.

Love in the Light is really Caden’s story as he confronts the demons of his past and learns to hold on to the future he could have with Makenna. This makes for a more somber story than Hearts in Darkness, but it’s also more realistic, with real human struggles and emotions. One thing I love about Kaye’s work is that she’s not afraid to confront dark issues like depression, PTSD, and thoughts of suicide. When she writes about heroes who’ve known tragedy, they face many of the aftereffects that real humans experience in those circumstances.

In this story, Caden is forced to confront those aftereffects and find a way to move on with his life. Thankfully, he has friends, mentors, and Makenna to help him fight his demons.

All in all, Hearts in Darkness remains my favorite novella, and I’m glad to know what happens with Makenna and Caden down the road. I got the best of both worlds with this – a pleasing sequel that adds to the story without detracting from the appeal of Hearts in Darkness as a standalone.

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(This ARC was generously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.)

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Releases For The First Half of 2016

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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 Most Anticipated Releases For The First Half of 2016

I still feel like I’m buried under a TBR pile of great books that everyone has read but me, so I haven’t looked too far ahead at new releases. There are some that I’m really looking forward to, though, and all of them are from favorite authors of mine. Here’s my Top Ten Seven Tuesday:

A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2)  In The Labyrinth of Drakes (Memoir by Lady Trent, #4)  Forevermore (Darkest London, #7)  The Glittering Court (The Glittering Court, #1)

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas (ACOTAR, Book 2) – (Expected Release: May 3rd) – I’m really looking forward to book two of this series because I want to dive back into the world of ACOTAR. I’m a little wary of love triangle potential, though…

In The Labyrinth of Drakes by Marie Brennan (Memoir by Lady Trent, Book 4) – (Expected Release: April 5th) – I love the covers of these book so much. I haven’t finished book two yet, but I can’t wait to get more of these on my shelves!

Forevermore by Kristen Callihan (Darkest London, Book 7) – (Expected Release: June 28th) – I’ve loved this whole series so far, and I can’t wait for the next installment. I need a little more steampunk romance in my life 😉

The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead – (Expected Release: April 5th) – I actually don’t know much about this one yet, but I really enjoy Mead’s writing style, and I’m excited about exploring a new series from her.

Love in the Light (Hearts in Darkness, #2)  Ride Hard (Raven Riders MC, #1)  Hard Ever After (Hard Ink, #4.6)

This is a big year for Laura Kaye releases, and I will eagerly read ALL of these as soon as they come out.

Love in the Light by Laura Kaye (Hearts in Darkness, Book 2) – (Expected Release: January 12th) – I was actually lucky enough to receive an ARC for this one, and I couldn’t be happier about it 😀 Love in the Light is the sequel to Hearts in Darkness, my favorite novella to date.

Ride Hard by Laura Kaye – (Expected Release: April 26th) – This one will kick off Kaye’s new series, a spin-off of the Hard Ink series about the Raven Riders MC. Since I loved Hard Ink so much, I’m eager to dive into this one, too.

Hard Ever After by Laura Kaye (Hard Ink, Book 4.6) – (Expected Release: February 2nd) – This is a novella/epilogue to the Hard Ink series featuring Nick and Becca’s wedding, and like the rest of the series, I must read it!

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Which books are you most looking forward to next year? Link your own TTT in the comments!

Top Ten Tuesday: This Year’s New-To-Me Favorite Authors

TTT 1.0

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 New-To-Me Favorite Authors I Read For The First Time In 2015

I read so many great books this year. Here are 10 of my favorite new-to-me authors:

Young Adult:

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda  Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)  Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1)  Carry On  Nice Dragons Finish Last (Heartstrikers, #1)

Becky AlbertalliSimon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda – After reading Simon, I am anxiously awaiting anything else Albertalli decides to publish.

Sarah J. MaasThrone of Glass and ACOTAR – I’m still not caught up in the Throne of Glass series, but mostly because I want to savor it. I fell in love with Maas’ fantasy writing this year.

Stephanie PerkinsAnna and the French Kiss trilogy – Because Étienne in Paris, Cricket in San Francisco, and Josh in New York…

Rainbow RowellFangirl and Carry On – I don’t think I will ever get over how much I loved Carry On. I’m sensing many more Rowell books in my future.

Rachel Aaron/Rachel BachNice Dragons Finish Last and the Paradox trilogy (Adult) – So far I’ve loved both her adult and her young adult work. Here’s hoping for more impending releases!

Adult:

Hearts in Darkness (Hearts in Darkness, #1)  The Kraken King (Iron Seas, #4)  Venetia  Halfway to the Grave (Night Huntress, #1)  Shadows Strike (Immortal Guardians, #6)

Laura KayeHearts in Darkness and the Hard Ink series – I will forever be indebted to Romance Novels for the Beach for convincing me to try to Laura Kaye’s work.

Meljean Brook Iron Seas series – Brook is my favorite Steampunk author, and I can’t wait for the Blacksmith’s story!

Georgette HeyerVenetia and Faro’s Daughter – I was REALLY late to the Georgette Heyer party, but I’m really glad I found another author to fill my Jane Austen cravings.

Jeaniene Frost – The Night Huntress and Night Prince series’ – I read a whopping 14 books by Frost this year, and I can’t wait for The Sweetest Burn to come out next March.

Dianne Duvall Immortal Guardians series – Duvall became one of my go to authors this year, especially when I’m in the mood for characters that are both kick ass and kind-hearted.

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Who are some of your own “new” favorites? Link your TTT in the comments!

Top Ten Tuesday: A Year in Quotes

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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 Favorite Quotes From Books I’ve Read This Year

Picking out quotes is one of my favorite parts of writing a review, and I had a really hard time narrowing this list down to 10. Without further ado, here are some of my favorite quotes from books I’ve read this year (in no particular order).

After the End (After the End, #1)After the End by Amy Plum (After the End, Book 1)
(My Review)

“Even though you could probably kill me in fifteen different ways with a table fork, and even though you barbecue bunnies, I like you, too, Juneau.”

 

The Beautiful Ashes (Broken Destiny, #1)
The Beautiful Ashes by Jeaniene Frost (Broken Destiny, Book 1)
(My Review)

He was danger wrapped in secrets tied with a bow of bad intentions, and it was totally unfair that no one had made me feel this way before.

 

Carry On
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
(My Review)

I am going to die kissing Simon Snow. Aleister Crowley, I’m living a charmed life. – Baz

 

The Kraken King (Iron Seas, #4)
The Kraken King by Meljean Brook (The Iron Seas, Book 4)
(My Review)

“You are my queen. I am your sword and your shield. I am your wolf and your steed. Mountains will tremble at my approach, for they know I will tear them apart if ever they stand between us. But you need not be afraid, Zenobia Fox, because my heart is iron and my will is steel, and before the new moon rises, I will come for you.”

 

Shadows Strike (Immortal Guardians, #6)
Shadows Strike by Dianne Duvall (Immortal Guardians, Book 6)
(My Review)

“I have the most absurd urge to ask you to promise me you won’t go out after dark anymore.”

“Um…”

“I know. It’s totally unreasonable.”

 

Lola and the Boy Next Door (Anna and the French Kiss, #2)Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins (Anna and the French Kiss, Book 2)
(My Review)

Just because something isn’t practical doesn’t mean it’s not worth creating. Sometimes beauty and real-life magic are enough.

 

Hard to Hold on To (Hard Ink, #2.5)
Hard to Hold On To
by Laura Kaye (Hard Ink, Book 2.5)
(My Review)

You were never created to live depressed, defeated, guilty, condemned, ashamed or unworthy. You were created to be victorious.

 

Velvet (Velvet Trilogy #1)Velvet by Temple West (Velvet Trilogy, Book 1)
(My Review)

“Why would I fall in love with you? You’re just a hot, closet-nerd vampire with a bazillion dollars and a Harley. There’s absolutely nothing attractive about you.”

 

The Grand Sophy
The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer
(My Review)

“Now, that,” said Sophy, “I am very glad to know, because if ever I should desire to please you I shall know just how to set about it. I daresay I shan’t, but one likes to be prepared for any event, however unlikely.”

 

Fangirl
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
(My Review)

“Look at you. All sweatered up. What are those, leg sweaters?”
“They’re leg warmers.”
“You’re wearing at least four different kinds of sweater.”
“This is a scarf.”
“You look tarred and sweatered.”

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What are some of your favorite quotes from this year’s book list? Also, link your own TTT in the comments!

Review: Hard to Be Good by Laura Kaye

Hard to Be Good (Hard Ink, #3.5)(A quick note before I dive into the review: I think this cover will go down in history as one of my least favorite romance covers ever…)

Hard to Be Good by Laura Kaye
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

NOTE:  This review is for a book with mature content and sexy times!

Hard to Be Good by Laura Kaye is a novella in the Hard Ink contemporary romance series. It falls right between books 3 and 4, and while it is primarily about Jeremy and Charlie’s romance, it does fill in some of the gaps of the progressing story. If you aren’t a novella reader, or aren’t an M/M reader, it would be safe to skip this one. That being said, it’s a WONDERFUL story and I highly recommend it!

Love knows no distinctions, it only knows the joy of finding in another everything your soul needs to feel complete.

I loved Jeremy the moment his character was introduced in book one (Hard as It Gets), and I was over the moon when a flirtation between him and Charlie popped up in the first novella (Hard to Hold on To). I’m so glad that Kaye included this story in the series, even though it doesn’t follow the usual series pattern of sticking with one orientation. This was actually my first M/M read so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Because of that I’m not sure what to say about that aspect of the story except that I really enjoyed it. I’d be happy to give other M/M books a try in the future, especially any by Kaye.

The romance was pretty short and quickly progressing, but I thought it developed naturally given the fact that Jeremy and Charlie became fast friends over the course of the series before reaching this point. The style fits right in with the other Hard Ink stories, and the characters are respectful, loving, passionate, and genuinely good people. I spent the whole read with a giant grin plastered to my face. I really am a sucker for a good romance 🙂

Tattoos make another appearance, of course, with Charlie getting his first. Being a computer genius, it’s only fitting that he elected to do a quote in ASCII – the computer language that converts letters to 0’s and 1’s. The following means “No Fear” and Jeremy inked it down Charlie’s side ribs.

01001110 01101111 00100000 01000110 01100101 01100001 01110010

As I’ve said a couple times now, I loved this story. I’ve already read it twice, and I’m sure I will read it many more times in the future. It’s definitely an asset to the series, so if you’re a fan of the other Hard Ink books, please give this one a try!

PS – Here’s my favorite of Jeremy’s dirty t-shirts from this installment:

“I’m trying to give up sexual innuendos. But it’s hard… SO HARD!”

 

See my review on Goodreads for Some Particulars, including a steam rating!

Book Jar Pick # 2

Despite great success with my last read (see my review), my book funk persists, so it’s time for another Book Jar pick! For those who are wondering what on earth a Book Jar is (or a book funk, for that matter), here’s a link to my previous post.

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Without further ado, here are my three choices from this round:

  1. Hearts in Darkness by Laura Kaye – (old favorite) A contemporary romance with a potential sequel in the works, this is my favorite novella to date (my review).
  2. Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale – (old favorite) This is another contemporary romance, but full-length and much more on the romantic comedy side of things. It’s the second book in Hale’s Austenland series, and like the first, it’s a quick, hilarious read.
  3. The Mermaid’s Sister by Carrie Anne Noble – (TBR) This is a young adult fantasy novel with mermaid folklore. I’ve read mixed reviews, but the premise really intrigues me!

To be honest, finals week is upon me, and I’m really feeling like a comforting read. To that end, I’m going to go with Hearts in Darkness! While it won’t give me something new to review, hopefully it will help me survive the week with a little more of my sanity in tact 🙂

Hearts in Darkness (Hearts in Darkness, #1)

Have you read any of these picks? Let me know what you thought in the comments!