Waiting on Wednesday: Hunted by Meagan Spooner

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Hunted by Meagan Spooner

Release Date: March 14, 2017

Book Description:

Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them.

So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance.

Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?

Waiting on Wednesday: The Continent (The Continent #1) by Keira Drake

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The Continent (The Continent #1) by Keira Drake

Release Date: January 3, 2017

Book Description:

For her sixteenth birthday, Vaela Sun receives the most coveted gift in all the Spire—a trip to the Continent. It seems an unlikely destination for a holiday: a cold, desolate land where two “uncivilized” nations remain perpetually at war. Most citizens tour the Continent to see the spectacle and violence of battle—a thing long vanished in the Spire. For Vaela—a smart and talented apprentice cartographer—it is an opportunity to improve upon the maps she’s drawn of this vast, frozen land.

But an idyllic aerial exploration is not to be had: the realities of war are made clear in a bloody battle seen from the heli-plane during the tour, leaving Vaela forever changed. And when a tragic accident leaves her stranded on the Continent, she has no illusions about the true nature of the danger she faces. Starving, alone, and lost in the middle of a war zone, Vaela must try to find a way home—but first, she must survive.

*THE CONTINENT is the first book in Keira Drake’s sparkling debut fantasy trilogy.

Release Blitz & GIVEAWAY: Break My Heart by Esther M. Soto

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Book Title: Break My Heart (The Heart Series, #2)

Author: Esther M. Soto  @emsotoauthor

Genre: Time Travel – Romantic Suspense

Release Date: September 8, 2016

Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions  @bookenthupromo

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Book Description:

Ileana Harper is focused on her future with Tommy Colton, the man she fought so hard to get back to, but not everything is at it seems. Unable to confide in Tommy, Ileana holds tight to her last shred of sanity, struggling with inner demons that could jeopardize their relationship and her career with the FBI. Through it all, Ileana is intent on moving onward and never looking back.

Too bad the past won’t stay in the past.

Tommy Colton’s love for Ileana Harper kept hope for her safe return alive in his heart. Now, with Ileana by his side and his new job as a DEA agent, Tommy’s life is finally complete — until a stranger appears, threatening to destroy their bond and tear them apart.

Once again, Tommy might lose Ileana; perhaps this time forever.

They say love conquers all…but sometimes fate has other plans.

What if the past becomes our future?

Kelli’s Review:

I have been awaiting this book since I finished Hold My Heart way back in December 2014. I think when you love a story so much (the way I loved HMH), you begin to build up the rest in your head. You hype it up, even though you’re sure nothing can top it. I am thrilled to report that was not the case with Break My Heart.

BMH picks up right where we left off in HMH. And while some things stay the same, a lot has changed. Most importantly, the relationship between Ileana and Tommy. Esther Soto doesn’t shy away from the realities of a new relationship. There is a good amount of sex scenes. And for all you lovers of steamy scenes — well, enjoy! Because these are H-O-T.

But there’s also the turmoil and struggles of being a new couple. Especially when both people are so emotionally damaged. Soto handles the truths brilliantly. The changed dynamic of Lil and Tommy are, at times, hard to get through. Trust me, you will feel frustration like never before. I felt like my heart was in a vise for a lot of this book. And I can’t lie…I was worried about the ending. I didn’t have a good feeling about where things were heading since the end of HMH.

Fans of book one will be happy to see all their favorite characters back in action. I’d have to say that Charlie Ryan definitely added much needed humor to this mostly somber installment. I may or may not have a crush on him.

The plot itself is building and now we are just awaiting the epic and inevitable crash. Underneath all that romance is a very well-thought out sub-plot. It’ll make your head spin trying to understand every aspect of what’s going on. This isn’t just a story of lovers. It’s a puzzle or two to solve, too.

So, I may have been worried about where things were heading, and with good reason. Like any real-life relationship, there are ups and downs. And especially with the new couples in the honeymoon phase. It all eventually ends. And hello, the title alone is scary! It will break you a bit. I cannot lie. This isn’t an easy book to read. There is angst. It will take quite an emotional toll on you, too. There are shocking moments, A-HA! moments, and moments that will make you realize just how brilliant this tale is.

The most important thing about this series, though, is that it doesn’t feel like fiction. Soto’s writing is beautiful, sometimes absolutely lyrical, and with her talent, she’s created characters who feel like real people. People who you could be friends with. Or neighbors you spy on because their lives are so much more exciting than yours. It feels like we are just watching a reality show without all the contrived drama.

Break My Heart is an outstanding follow-up to Soto’s debut novel. Packed with romance, angst, suspense, and complex plotting, Break My Heart will not only break yours, it will captivate you and keep you thinking of this story long after you finish the final page. Oh, and wondering what’s up next in the final book.

You can read my review for book one, Hold My Heart, here.
My review for the companion book, Meant to Be, here.

Kelli’s Rating: 5/5

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Blush Factor: 4

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Purchase Links:

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Hold My Heart links:

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Meant to Be links:

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About the Author:

Esther grew up in the beautiful Caribbean island of Puerto Rico before meeting and marrying her soul mate. A former military wife, she is the mother of three boys, explorer, avid reader, communications professor, and knowledge hound. An Army Mom at heart, Esther resides in FL where she spends her days at her home office teaching, grading, and writing about love, romance, and life.

Facebook ~ Website ~ Twitter ~ Pinterest ~ Goodreads

GIVEAWAY!!!

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ARC Review: Epic Love (Epic Fail #3) by Trudy Stiles

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Epic Love (Epic Fail #3) by Trudy Stiles

Release Date: September 19, 2016

*ARC received from the author in exchange for an honest review*

Book Description:

HEATH STRICKLAND, the son of a prominent district attorney, lived his life surrounded by violence and crime. He was an unwilling witness to the corrupt lives his father swore to prosecute and keep behind bars. His escape was his music, which eventually led him to replace the iconic singer of the world famous band, Epic Fail.

NOELLE DURAND lived in luxury, growing up on a sprawling estate, with everything she could ever want or need. Her life, to everyone else, seemed perfect. Perfect house. Perfect things. Perfect family. But nothing at all was perfect. She lived in hell. A hell that nobody on the outside could see.

As a neighbor and childhood friend, Heath would have done anything for Noelle. He would have given up the world to protect her and keep her safe. Their friendship grew into something that neither of them expected. But then she suddenly disappeared, vanishing from his life as if she never existed. He never stopped hoping that one day she would resurface, alive and well. But as time went by, and her family gave up hope, he surrendered his heart to his lost love.

Twelve years later, one phone call changes everything.

EPIC LOVE is the third book in the EPIC FAIL series and can be read as a STANDALONE novel.

This series is a spinoff from the FOREVER FAMILY series.

 

Kelli’s Review:

The first two books in this series were great. I truly enjoyed them, so I was excited to receive this ARC to continue my journey. Unfortunately, this one lacked a bit of what I loved so much about the other two.

Like the other books in the Epic Fail series, we get glimpses of the characters’ pasts. And I really loved those scenes! It definitely adds depth to the story. Especially in this case where we see the couple’s history. And really, the present scenes didn’t bother me until the phone call mentioned in the description took place.

I just really thought some of the story was too far-fetched. I think you’ll see what I mean once you read, but I didn’t quite comprehend the necessity of the act(s) that caused Noelle to disappear. To me, that part of the story is still muddled. Some aspects just didn’t connect.

I did love Heath and Noelle as children and teenagers. Their relationship was authentic, as was its growth. It was probably my favorite thing about the book. I did miss the other characters from the series, too. They feel like a family, so their absence was noticed.

I won’t say anything else in order to keep this spoiler-free, but I did enjoy the story. Just not as much as the previous two. Trudy Stiles can write, and I’m still looking forward to Tristan’s story!

Kelli’s Rating: 3/5

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Blush Factor: 3

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Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas REVIEW

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Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5) by Sarah J. Maas

Release Date: September 6, 2016

Book Description:

The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those don’t.

As the kingdoms of Erilea fracture around her, enemies must become allies if Aelin is to keep those she loves from falling to the dark forces poised to claim her world. With war looming on all horizons, the only chance for salvation lies in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.

Aelin’s journey from assassin to queen has entranced millions across the globe, and this fifth installment will leave fans breathless. Will Aelin succeed in keeping her world from splintering, or will it all come crashing down?

Kelli’s Review:

First half in bold were pre-release thoughts.

Things I want/NEED from this book:

1) Rowan to die. Horribly. The fae Mike Tyson needs to GO.

2) Manon + Dorian = MANORIAN. That’s who I ship since my old ship sunk miserably.

3) Aelin to stop being a bitch. Seriously, I prefer Celaena to the “Fire-breathing bitch queen.” *insert eye roll*

4) Less talk about how amazing and wondrous Aelin is. Because who really needs hundreds of pages of THAT after QoS?? She’s nothing more than a whore-ish ship sinker. Bitch.

5) Manon and the Thirteen. Hundreds of pages of them.

6) Chaol returned to all his former glory.

7) Less cheesy “romantic” dialogue between the almighty queen and Fae Tyson. Barf.
7a) And no more ridiculous nightgowns meant to seduce Tyson, either.

8) A GREAT BOOK THAT FITS THE SERIES.

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Okay, I think we can see from above my feelings on where this series was most likely going. And how I felt about it. The utter disappointment and disaster that was QoS left me with a bad taste in my mouth. And I still stand by my initial thoughts on it, because after finishing Empire of Storms, I maintain that QoS doesn’t fit in AT ALL.

I think part of the reason QoS went south for me was all the expectations I had prior to release. I had hopes, dreams…and then I read it and it all exploded in a violent fury. So, I really had lost my desire and love of the series. I still planned to read EoS, but I just didn’t feel the same anticipation and excitement as before. This boded well, too. Without anything to really tie me to the book, I could go in and just read. Does that make sense at all?

However, there were rumors the weekend before release. Horrible ones that brought back my old anger, and I was hesitant to even go forward with EoS after all. But then as it always does, curiosity won out.

Anyway, I actually really did enjoy Empire. More than I thought was possible considering how things were left in the last installment. I found myself devouring this one just like every book before it. It almost felt like things were back on track.

ALMOST.

I remember reading reviews of Throne of Glass ages ago, and one complaint was that Celaena was too arrogant. I never really got that vibe until she accepted/became Aelin. Now, I see it all the time. And in some scenes, I really felt she lacked the maturity she had shown before — sticking out her tongue, little quips that didn’t fit scenes, etc. Her tone in EoS annoyed me at times, and had my eyes rolling. But overall, I liked THIS Aelin far more than the one we met in QoS.

And then there’s the lovey-dovey crap. Honestly, I could really do without it. The eyes, the comments, the mind-to-mind messages…and I’m sure a part of that is because of the WHO, but really it’s awkward in places. I am over my full-blown hate of RowAelin. I’m just indifferent at this point. But the romance in this series isn’t as important as everything else.

Thankfully, the plot is nearly non-stop action. All that pointless scheming from QoS is gone. We are left with action and that I appreciated immensely. Don’t get me wrong, I love detailed plotting – especially the kind behind the scenes. But that was another issue in the last book for me. The pacing was terrible. But in EoS, there are no boring chapters to be found. Every single one counts. I was flying through this monster of a book, while also trying to slow down so it wouldn’t end.

And speaking of plotting and planning…Maas is a master! Things I’d been waiting for since book one are finally starting to happen. And yes, I’d say they were worth the wait. We finally get all the pieces to this puzzle of the WyrdKeys. We finally know HOW things will end. And we know the why it all happened to begin with. It was intricately woven, brilliantly thought out, and I was blown away for the most part.

And I’m probably in the minority here, but I really loved the new couplings that took place. One in particular, but another that I never gave thought to! That latter turned out to be some of my favorite chapters, just behind Manon and her Thirteen. Those witches will ALWAYS be my #1. ALWAYS. And once again, their chapters were the highlights for me. I can’t get enough. I’d legit read a series solely based on them. GIVE. ME. MORE. And I’m still no closer to being head-over-heels in love with Rowan than I was in HoF or QoS. It is what it is. I just don’t see him as swoony because he spouts lovey lines to Aelin, or is stupidly protective (ALPHA, whatever), or supposedly super hot, or because he has powerful magic. It takes more than that to win me over. I still feel he lacks any depth. He’s boring. I’ve read his character in 72517399565278940 romance novels (minus his magic and face tattoo). I just don’t FEEL the connection between him and Aelin. At all. It’s one of the things that still bothers me.

However…some things were too much for me. First, the sex. Look, I’m no prude by any means. But this series started out as YA and very much has remained so up until now. The scenes between Celaena and Chaol were fade to black or just mentioned in passing. And now, we have detailed sex straight out of an adult romance book. For me, it’s okay, because I’m an adult. But it’s also jarring to see it in the 5th book in a series. Unexpected. Plus, I think of parents who may not realize it. Parents who may not want their children reading such material. Mature warnings or not, I still feel that had no place here. Not now. ACOTAR and ACOMAF, sure, but that was because those books ALWAYS felt more adult. I think this was unnecessary and I’m still struggling to understand why they were added. And yes, it happens several times in the book, not just once. And then there’s the ending. I won’t mention here, but it felt like I had already read this. Oh, that’s because I had. It felt cheesy TBH. Especially since it has been done in her other series. In fact, there were several things in EoS that felt more ACOTAR/ACOMAF-ish. But the ending…I did love it! Minus that one part. I was also awaiting one other thing which I didn’t get.

But I still have a question: Maas said we’d understand why she was writing a novella for Chaol at the end of this book. I’m still scratching my head on this. Don’t get me wrong, I will read the shit out of that story, but I’m not sure I see its necessity at this point.

To sum up, I surprisingly really enjoyed Empire of Storms. There are the few issues I mentioned, but I think this book got the series back on track. So many things happen, I can’t even recollect them all here. The ending is fantastic! And it has me excited for the final book next year.

*Note: I did omit pieces here, but they can be found in my Goodreads review.*

Kelli’s Review: 4/5

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Blush Factor: 4

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