Saturday, 29 August 2015

Book Review | Hot & Bothered by Lynn Raye Harris

Hot and Bothered (Hostile Operations Team, #8)Hot and Bothered by Lynn Raye Harris
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was provided an ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review.  All the squees are my own.

Another great edition to HOT, for me this series just keeps delivering – both with the action and with the feels.  With the addition of Dane and his team (HOT SEAL – coming out in September), I like where the series is going.  And we are that much closer to Mendez’ story, which from what Harris is laying down in Hot & Bothered, it’s going to be HOT.

This time around our Hero & Heroine (Ryan & Emily) are dealing with forbidden attraction – he needs to stay away from her because of her past and his job. We first met Emily in HOT Rebel, (Nick & Victoria’s story), she is the sister that Victoria went rogue for and it’s not until now that we’re really getting to know her.  Since being back in the US, Ryan has been one person that Emily can really confide in, he is a big part of her coping with everything that’s happened since the desert, Bin Yusef  and her rescue.  But when Ian Black gives her a chance to clear her name and make things right, how can she say no?

In the previous books we’ve mostly seen Ryan as the joker, the class clown.  So it’s a little different to see him as both vulnerable and the big bad protector.  Although I admit it was nice to see beyond the surface.   Emily manages to get past that and in that sense they’re perfect for each other, they work through their problems together.  They’re both as stubborn as each other to begin with, so it’s fun to see the give and take in their relationship.

I like that Harris continues to write strong female characters, sure they can’t do everything on their own and I don’t expect them to, but they’re resourceful, strong and they kick arse – these characters feel real to me, they aren’t cookie cutter.  And that is why this series continues to be one of my favourites.

I know for the previous couple of stories in the series I’ve said the books can be read as stand-alones, but I think that it’s better to read them in order, there are tidbits of information that relate to previous stories and while they aren’t major spoilers it’s nice to start the series as Harris intended and let’s be honest why wouldn’t you want to read them all.


View all my reviews

Until next time, happy reading.

C.

Friday, 24 July 2015

Book Review | Venetia by Georgette Heyer

Venetia (Abridged)Venetia by Georgette Heyer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I've been meaning to read Georgette Heyer since the 2013 ARRA Conference when Cathy Maxwell referenced some of her 'must read' books and this is the first chance I've gotten.  And honestly the draw card here was Richard Armitage.

Richard. Fucking. Armitage.  Giving me eargasms like Dre.  I honestly don't know how I haven't crashed my car (I'm listening to The Convenient Marriage now).  He does a wonderful job of the narration, but I'm not surprised.  That man could read me the phone book and my ovaries would explode!

By most standards of the time, Venetia is an on the shelf spinster.  She has options in the form of a rather dull Mr Yardley, but she's not planning to settle and she doesn't seem overly bothered by not being married, she's happy to manage the estate and take care of her younger brother.  It's not until she meets Demerel that her world is challenged for want of a better word.

This was such fun, I loved the developing relationship between Venetia and resident rake Lord Damerel.  I've always got a special place in my heart for sassy, independent regency ladies.  This was bringing back memories of Lady Calpernia from Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean - another book I adore.  They banter with witty quips and literary quotes (which I'd love to explore more, I recognise some but not all of them),their friendship blossoming into something more.  It didn't seem twee or contrived and if they were real people I'd like them.  Heyer's writing kept pace nicely and I'm looking forward to reading more of her work, I understand she also writes mysteries although I'm not sure if they are of the Regency era.  She certainly does her research and it shows.

I am going to have to reread this as the audio that I listened to was abridged, something I didn't realise until it arrived at work for me.  As much as I did enjoy the narration I'm looking forward to curling up on the couch and spending a little more time with Venetia and Damerel.


View all my reviews



I mean COME ON people, how could you not!!!!  I'd be all over that like Vegemite on toast.

Until next time, happy reading.

C.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Bout of Books | Reading Updates & Wrap Up 16/5 - 17/5


Saturday
Number of books I've read today: 1
Number of pages I've read today: 200
Total number of books I've finished: 3
Total pages read:
Books: The Skeleton Road by Val McDermid, No one belongs here more than you by Miranda July, Not My Father's Son by Alan Cumming.
Daily challenge: Favourite Read Photo Challenge hosted by Once Upon a Book 


Saturday Challenge:

The challenge today is to post a photo of your favourite read of Bout of Books.  For me, it is Not My Father's Son by Alan Cumming. I listened to this and it was also narrated by the author. This is a past/present memoir of his early life (about the abuse that his family suffered at the hands of his father) and his journey to discover what happened to his maternal grandfather after the Second World War.   




This was funny, moving, sad, insightful, brilliant. I'll stop throwing words at the page.  Needless to say, I thought this was well written and the sensitive subject matter was handled with respect. I'm fascinated by people's history and as luck would have it Alan's episode of Who do you think you are is coming up next weekend. I think watching it will add another layer to the story. 
  Sunday

Number of books I've read today: 1
Number of pages I've read today: A lot :)
Total number of books I've finished: 4
Total pages read: 1170
Books: The Skeleton Road by Val McDermid, No one belongs here more than you by Miranda July, Not my Father's Son by Alan Cumming, Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson.  Not completed: T'was the night after Christmas by Sabrina Jeffries.
Daily challenge: No challenge.



Bout of Books 13.0 Wrap Up
 So I guess you can see, towards the end I got a little lax in keeping track of pages read, but I was having too much fun reading.  I ended up reading 1,170 pages all up.  Four books completed (almost five).  But more importantly, I had fun.

I managed to finish:

* The Skelton Road by Val McDermid; 140 pgs
* No one belongs you here more than you stories by Miranda July; 205 pgs
* Not my Father's Son by Alan Cumming; 288 pgs
* Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson; 337 pgs
* T'was the night after Christmas by Sabrina Jeffries (not completed). 200 pgs.

I knew I wouldn't be reading as much as in previous years, but I wanted to participate and if I read great, if something else came up, I wasn't going to stress.  I'm uploading a video to BookTube at the moment so I'll add that here once it's done cooking.

So how about you?  What did you read, what was your favourite book or did you read something you didn't like?  Let me know in the comments below. 

Until next time, happy reading :)

C.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Bout of Books 13.0 | Reading Updates 11/5 - 15/5


So it has just hit the end of the first day of Bout of Books and I've completed one of my goals - finish my book club book.  Huzzah!!  Rather then having separate daily update posts I'm going to use this post for my each of my daily updates.  So lets get started:

Monday
Number of books I’ve read today: 1
Number of pages I’ve read today: 140
Total number of books I’ve finished: 1
Total pages read: 140
Books: The Skeleton Road by Val McDermid
Daily challenge: Bookish Survey hosted by Writing My Own Fairytale 



Tuesday Challenge: 


The Questions: 
1. How do you organize your shelves?
    ~ My main shelves are organised in Dewey order, I've also got them separated into Genres. I have a bookshelf with my 1001 books and another for uni texts. And don't get me started on all the boxes...
2. What is one of your favorite book that’s not in one of your favorite genres?
    ~ Strickly speaking it's not very sci-fi, but Foundling by Octavia Butler.  I don't read a lot of sci-fi, but I wanted to try reading more and I thought starting with vampires (which I do read a bit of), would be a good place to begin. I really enjoyed it and I'm looking forward to more of her work. 
3. What is the last 5 star book you read?
    ~ Tempest Tales by Walter Mosley. Absolutely brilliant. Read it!!
4. What book are you most excited to read during the read-a-thon?
    ~ There's two that I bought for my birthday last month - graphic novel, The Wicked + The Divine by Gillen, McKelvie, Wilson & Cowles and a poetry book by Langston Hughes.
5. What book do you recommend the most?
    ~ At work I often rec Year of Wonders & Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks or Secret River by Kate Grenville, YA I'd go for On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta. 

Until tomorrow, happy reading :)

Tuesday
Number of books I've read today: 0
Number of pages I've read today: 20 and 2 hrs of audio
Total number of books I've finished: 1
Total pages read: 160
Books: The Skeleton Road by Val McDermid
Daily challenge: Character Face Off hosted by LuLo FanGirl


I started listening to two books on Tuesday, the first T'was the Night After Christmas by Sabrina Jeffries.  This is a regency romance in her Hellions of Halstead Hall series (Book 6).  The prologue was an absolute scream, picture two 8 year old boys facing off like 60 year old men!  I've only heard a disc so far, but I'm enjoying it so far.  The next book I started was Nobody Deserves to be here more than you by Miranda July.  This was not at all what I expected it to be.  For some reason I thought it was written by the lady who stars in Miranda, (who I've since realised is Miranda Hart).  To be honest, if I wasn't listening to this, I don't think I would keep reading.  It is a collection of short stories, some of which I do enjoy, others are really not my cup of tea.  And lastly, Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson, I'm only 20 pages in and loving it.  I like the format of novels in verse.  And how could I not enjoy a book that opens with one of my favourite Langston Hughes poems!

I didn't take part in the challenge today, by the time I got home I was ready to drop, so maybe I'll have more luck on Wednesday.

Until then, happy reading :)

Wednesday
Number of books I've read today: -
Number of pages I've read today: 3 hrs of audio
Total number of books I've finished: 1
Total pages read: 160 pgs and 5 hrs of audio
Books: The Skeleton Road by Val McDermid
Daily challenge: Book Haiku hosted by Kristina Horner


I'm continuing on with my audios, although I've requested the print version of T'was was the night after Christmas because while the narrator is making me laugh it's kind of for the wrong reason.  It's very distracting and I think it would be a more enjoyable experience to read the book.  As for No one belongs here more than you, I'm almost done, I've got maybe an hour left and I've got to say I kind of wish that I read this one as well or at least listened to a couple of stories at a time rather than all at once.  It all kinds of runs into one big stream of consciousness. I didn't even get a chance to pick up Brown Girl Dreaming, which is the one book that I really want to read, go figure!  And in something that is no surprise...no challenge today either.

Thursday
Number of books I've read today: 1
Number of pages I've read today: 2 hrs of audio (so far)
Total number of books I've finished: 2
Total pages read: 160 pgs and 5 hrs of audio
Books: The Skeleton Road by Val McDermid, No one belongs here more than you by Miranda July.
Daily challenge: Modern to Classic hosted by Ranty Runt of a Reader


Thursday Challenge:

The challenge for Thursday was to pick a book that you thought would become a classic and why.



My answer for this would be On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta.  This was published in 2006 in Australia and later as Jellicoe Road in the USA, where it won the 2009 Michael L. Printz award.  This tells the story of Taylor Markham, who was abandoned by her mother on Jellicoe Road when she was 11.

I can't really put my finger on what it is about this story, but it is one of my favourites.  The first time I read this, I knew nothing about it and I just sank myself in the story.  It was amazing.  But I could honestly reread this over and over.  It is beautifully written, made my heart hurt. It's great for discussion and I think it would work well for the classroom, (Looking for Alibrandi,  an earlier book of Marchetta's  is read for English in Australian high schools).  I also think it is easy to relate to, it's about journeys and coming of age.

Friday
Number of books I've read today: 0 :(
Number of pages I've read today: 3 hr of audio, not sure what that amounts to in pages.
Total number of books I've finished: 2
Total pages read: 365 pgs and 7 hours of audio.  I finished another disc of T'was and listened to the first 16 chapters of 'Not my father's son' by Alan Cumming.
Books: The Skeleton Road by Val McDermid, No one belongs here more than you by Miranda July.
Daily challenge: Cover Colour Challenge hosted by Wishful Endings


Friday Challenge

So I picked red as the colour that I wanted to use for the challenge today.  I am so tempted by the Penguin Drop Caps, the typography on them is beautiful...maybe if I had a spare $500.00!!  Until then I'll just covet them from afar.  Pride & Prejudice is the only book I've read of these, although I own Dracula & An Abundance of Katherines.  I've heard lots of good things about Ruby Red, but can't seem to find it locally.

How about you - have you read any of these?  Have any other red covered recommendations, better yet, leave me a link to your Colour Cover Challenge so I can have a look at what you've picked :)



Until next time, happy reading :)

C.

Monday, 11 May 2015

Book Review | Call of the Wild: My Escape to Alaska

Call of the Wild: My Escape to AlaskaCall of the Wild: My Escape to Alaska by Guy Grieve

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


At some point in our lives we all dream of packing it in and having a grand adventure.  I often think how I'd enjoy taking time off and traveling the world.  Gut Grieve made that dream a reality.  As the blurb says he was stuck in a job he hated, in dept and was unhappy with aspects of his life.  So rather than suffering it out how most of us do, he quit his job and took to the wilds of Alaska for a year.

I enjoyed reading this, Guy mentions that he wrote for The Scotsman while he was in Alaska and these articles were part of the basis for the book so it makes sense that this is easy to read.  I was happy to read a chapter at a time, although there were some points where I had to keep reading.  I wouldn't mind doing some digging and finding the original articles.

There were a number of photos of the camp and surrounds included in the book and this helped me picture his daily life, in the book there were also lists of what he took with him, which I found interesting.  I suppose you could use this book as a jumping off point if you were looking at doing something similar - but it goes without saying research would be key before attempting something like this.  I liked that it acknowledges the realities of living in the wild.  Guy had a huge amount of help setting up for his year in Alaska.  Both with extensive research before he left Scotland and once he arrived in Alaska. Guy mentions both Christopher McCandless and his death in Alaska (John Krakauer wrote Into the Wild based on McCandless' story) and Guy also mentions another man who was attempting to do the same thing as him but was found starving in his camp because he didn't prepare for the winter properly.

I would loved to have read more about the Native American family that helped him when he reached Alaska.  I can imagine they would have some amazing stories to tell and reading about the dog sled team was fascinating.  Those dogs are fantastic, that they can withstand the cold, the pressures of sledding and reading how they train them - amazing!

The only thing I didn't love about this was that Guy left his family behind and it's not even that, I guess it's more about how I felt about that.  For one, it frustrated me to no end.  How do you quit your job,  leave your wife and two small children to live alone in Alaska for a year.  It's all well and good to have a mid life crisis, but it works a little differently when you have family responsibilities.  But each to their own I guess.  I know if that was my husband, I would've gone with him!  But by the end of the book, I think I had a better understanding of why he did it.

I'm interested in reading his other book, Sea Legs, where he and his family sail from Venezuela to Scotland.  I like the 'off-road' sense that you get from Call of the Wild.  I like a swanky hotel as much as the next person, but I also love that idea of visiting a place as locals would.  I want to see a place as it should be seen, not through the windows of a kontiki bus and that is was this book inspires.



View all my reviews

Until next time, happy reading :)

C.

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Bout of Books 13.0 | 11/5 - 17/5


The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organised by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal.  It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 11th and runs through Sunday, May 17th in whatever time zone you are in.  Bout of Books is low-pressure.  There are challenges, giveaways and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional.  For all Bout of Books 13 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog
- From the Bout of Books Team


For me it seems like such a long time since I participated in a read-a-thon, it's been at least a year I think.  Life as usual gets in the way.  But it is that time again and I'm going to run with it.  I'm participating, but I'll be going low key, I'm going to read what I can and participate in challenges and chats when I have time.  I've got an assignment due in two weeks, so I need to spend time on that and Library & Information Week is coming up at work, so I'm busy with that as well.  If anyone has spare minions lying around - I could use a couple!

I'm not quite sure what I'll be reading yet, I've got a couple of e-audio's on hold from the library, but I don't know if they'll come in on time and I've got a stack of graphic novels which I'll no doubt tuck into.  They are perfect for when you don't have a lot of time or need a quick pallet cleanser.  I also have a new volume of J.M. Coetzee's short stories, which I've been wanting to read since I got it at Christmas.  I'd also really like to finish the three books that I've been currently reading for what seems like forever.  Half Bad, Gone Girl and The Year of Living Biblically.  And lastly, the other definite is The Skeleton Road which is the Just a Lil' Bookclub pick for this month.

Are you participating?  Let me know if you are and I'll come cheer you on!

Until next time, happy reading :)

C.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Blog Tour | Rock Hard by Nalini Singh


Meet Gabriel (sexy rugby player turned CEO) & Charlotte in this fantastic addition to the Rock Kiss Series! 
NOW AVAILABLE! 

Amazon US:  http://amzn.to/1BXhHWB



Blurb
In New York Times Bestselling author Nalini Singh’s newest contemporary romance, passion ignites between a gorgeous, sinfully sexy man who built himself up from nothing and a shy woman who has a terrible secret in her past…
Wealthy businessman Gabriel Bishop rules the boardroom with the same determination and ruthlessness that made him a rock star on the rugby field. He knows what he wants, and he’ll go after it no-holds-barred.
And what he wants is Charlotte Baird.
Charlotte knows she’s a mouse. Emotionally scarred and painfully shy, she just wants to do her job and remain as invisible as possible. But the new CEO—a brilliant, broad-shouldered T-Rex of a man who growls and storms through the office, leaving carnage in his wake—clearly has other plans. Plans that may be equal parts business and bedroom.
If Charlotte intends to survive this battle of wits and hearts, the mouse will have to learn to wrangle the T-Rex. Game on.


EXCERPT
Charlotte arrived at work at seven thirty the next morning to find Gabriel Bishop’s office door open, but no carnivorous predator inside. A fresh suit was hanging on the back of his door, however, which meant he’d been in already.
Deciding to catch up on e-mails that had come in overnight from international suppliers as well as stores involved in a stock take, she was typing a reply when a sweaty Gabriel arrived fifteen minutes later. He was dressed in black running shorts and a faded University of Auckland T-shirt that was currently sticking to his body.
She’d known he was in shape, but now she realized none of it was an illusion created by his well-cut suits. Okay, she’d already known that, but seeing his muscled body in the flesh was a whole different ball game. He was built like a tank, hard and powerful.
Each of his thighs was thicker than both of hers put together, his biceps toned, his shoulders appearing even wider than usual. Everything about him was big. Civilized clothing didn’t make him look better, she realized—it toned down his intense masculinity. Out of his suits, with the ink on the upper part of his left arm exposed, as well as that on his opposing thigh and…
Her skin hot and lower body clenching, she just nodded in response to his “Good morning.”
Disappearing into his office, he returned with his suit pants and a fresh shirt slung over his arm, along with a sports bag. “Push the meeting with Sales to nine, will you, Ms. Baird? I need to talk to HR about something before then.”
“Yes, sir,” Charlotte said almost soundlessly, but he was already gone, heading toward the employee shower one floor down.
The thigh tattoo went all the way around, the design intricate.
Heart rate a rapid stutter, Charlotte got up after he disappeared and decided to go grab him a coffee. He’d bought her one yesterday after all. She was just being nice. “Oh, shut up, Charlotte,” she muttered once she was in the elevator, and slumped her face into an upraised hand.
The truth was she was running away. Only for a few minutes, but that’s what this was: strategic retreat. Gabriel Bishop was overwhelming. Once, before she’d ever met him and under the influence of cocktails, she’d told Molly she wanted to rip off his shirt and sink her teeth into his pecs.
That desire hadn’t waned even now that she knew he was a T-Rex. Of course, the desire was all strictly in her imagination. The idea of actually handling him in real life? So impossible as to be laughable. Charlie-mouse was not about to play with a predator who could eat her alive and not even notice the bones. The good news was that she could admire him in relative safety—there was no chance in hell he’d ever notice her as a woman.
Getting the coffee from a nearby cafĂ©, she took it back upstairs. He was in his office when she entered, the striped dark gray of his tie hanging around his neck and his damp hair roughly combed. The scent of clean, fresh soap over warm skin permeated the office. Shooting her a smile that turned him from gorgeous to flat-out devastating, he flipped up the collar of his white shirt to get the tie in place. “Thank you, Ms. Baird.”
Nodding, Charlotte escaped, though she really wanted to stay. She’d never realized how erotic it was to watch a man dress until this precise moment. And she shouldn’t be having these thoughts about her boss—especially since she couldn’t keep from quivering like a rabbit in his presence. Sometimes she just annoyed herself.
“Get to work,” she muttered and knuckled down.
Gabriel was fine for the first hour, but then he began barking orders even a six-armed woman with a split personality would have had trouble handling.
Finally, pushed to the edge, Charlotte snapped. “I’m going as fast as I can!” she yelled when he asked her for something a minute after he’d asked her to complete another task.
He scowled and held out a file. “This is a priority.”
Grabbing it from his hand, she said, “Fine,” and slapped it down on her desk.
It was over an hour later that he disappeared for ten minutes. When he returned, it was to put a small bakery box on her desk. “I think you need something to sweeten your mood today, Ms. Baird.”
What she needed was for the T-Rex who was her boss to stop snarling and growling, she thought as he returned to his office. Not opening the box until her curiosity had almost killed her, she found it held a slice of decadent chocolate cake with a white-chocolate ganache topped with curls of both white and milk chocolate. “I cannot be bribed with cake,” she muttered, eating a bite nonetheless.
Full two-chapter excerpt available on Nalini’s Website: http://nalinisingh.com/rockhard.php


My Review

I've managed to read all three of the books in the Rock Kiss series in the space of a couple of days - why? Because Nalini Singh is one of those authors that gets you started and pulls you into her world and even if you could stop you wouldn't want to. I had the same excitement starting this series as I did the Psy-Changeling series.  I want to read it all right now and her new series shows she is still that author for me. 

Rock Hard could've easily been full of cliches, but Charlotte's past is treated with dignity, and while it has scarred her deeply, she is still a wonderful character, it doesn't fully define her, the snark may be hidden, but hot damn if T-Rex isn't going to find it! I also liked that Charlotte wasn't 'fixed' at the first sign of flirting or the first kiss.  There were hints of what happened to Charlotte in Rock Addiction, and obviously wasn't fully explored and when you do finally find out you realise just how strong she is. What happened to her was huge and not something you just get over and I thought that slow burn between the Charlotte and Gabriel was well done. He was patient with her and before they realised it they were completely intertwined in each other. He helps her regain her self confidence and opens her world to possibilities that she's missed for the last five years.  He helps her take that final step, (which is why I love Gabriel so much - bugger the rock star, I want an ex-rugby playing CEO!!). 
There were some great one liners and I loved the chapter descriptions, they made me laugh.
A fantastic edition to the Rock Kiss world, compared to the first two, (especially Rock Addiction - which was instant, delicious Foxie gratification), this was a slow burn of a book, but once it took off, there was no stopping T-Rex. I'm so looking forward to the next in the series.  

You don't have to read these in order, as the stories are told concurrently , but I do recommend it as it paces nicely with the full on rock star loving of Rock Addiction, to the build up of Rock Courtship and then into the slow sexiness of Rock Hard. I tip my stapler to you Nalini, brilliant as always!

I was given a copy of Rock Hard for review. The opinions in the above review are my own and were given freely and honestly.  

The Rock Kiss Series
rock kiss.png
Rock Addiction (Book One) Rock Kiss Series
Rock Courtship (bk 1.5) A Rock Kiss Novel: 

 Author Information
nalini.jpg
NEW YORK TIMES AND USA Today bestselling author of the Psy-Changeling and Guild Hunter series Nalini Singh usually writes about hot shapeshifters and dangerous angels. This time around, she decided to write about hot and wickedly tempting rock stars (and one gorgeous ex-rugby player). If you’re seeing a theme here, you’re not wrong.
Nalini lives and works in beautiful New Zealand, and is passionate about writing. If you’d like to explore her other books, you can find lots of excerpts on her websiteSlave to Sensation is the first book in the Psy-Changeling series, while Angels’ Blood is the first book in the Guild Hunter series. Also, don't forget to swing by the site to check out the special behind-the-scenes page for the Rock Kiss series, complete with photos of many of the locations used in the books.
STALK HER:  Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
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