Tuesday, January 31, 2017

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Ten Manga Series On My Wishlist

Hosted by the ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish.

Swan, Volume 1
1. Swan by Kyoko Ariyoshi
One of the most famous shoujo manga books ever published, SWAN is Ariyoshi Kyoko's best-selling classic about a girl who strives to become a great ballerina. Masumi Hijiri is a 16-year-old girl about to enter her first ballet contest. The competition is fierce, and there's no telling whether she'll win, or how far her training can take her. After seeing her performance, the great director Sergeiev Alexej invites Masumi to join his company, and it is thus that she launches her career -- only to spend years dancing in the shadow of prima ballerina Kyogoku Sayoko. SWAN Vol. 1 begins the tale of Masumi's incredible journey through the great baller companies of Europe and America and through both triumph and despair as she struggles toward her goal of becoming the greatest dancer of her generation!

Maid-sama! Vol. 01 (Maid-sama!, #1)
2. Maid-Sama! by Hiro Fujiwara
Misaki Ayuzawa is the President of the Student Council at Seika High School, formerly an all-boys school. Unfortunately, most of the students are still male and stuck in their slovenly habits, so man-hating Misaki really socks it to them in an attempt to make the school presentable to attract more female students. But what will she do when the sexiest boy in school finds out that after school, Misaki works in a maid cafe.

Boys Over Flowers: Hana Yori Dango, Vol. 1 (Boys Over Flowers, #1)
3. Boys Over Flowers by Yoko Kamio
When her only friend, Makiko, accidentally offends F4 leader Tsukasa, Tsukushi boldly defends her. Enraged, Tsukasa puts the dreaded red tag in Tsukushi's locker — a sign that she is now a target for the abuse of the F4 gang and the entire school. But when Tsukushi fights the gang with their own weapon, Tsukasa finds himself falling for her!

Special A, Vol. 01 (Special A, #1)
4. Special A by Maki Minami
Her whole life, Hikari Hanazono has been consumed with the desire to win against her school rival, Kei Takishima--at anything. He always comes out on top no matter what he does, and Hikari is determined to do whatever it takes to beat this guy...somehow!
At age 6 Hikari lost to Kei in an impromptu wrestling match. Now, at 15, Hikari joins "Special A," a group of the top seven students at a private academy, for the opportunity to trounce the guy who made her suffer her first defeat!

A Bride's Story, Vol. 1 (A Bride's Story, #1)
5. A Bride's Story by Kaoru Mori
Acclaimed creator Kaoru Mori (Emma, Shirley) brings the nineteenth-century Silk Road to lavish life, chronicling the story of Amir Halgal, a young woman from a nomadic tribe betrothed to a twelve-year-old boy eight years her junior. Coping with cultural differences, blossoming feelings for her new husband, and expectations from both her adoptive and birth families, Amir strives to find her role as she settles into a new life and a new home in a society quick to define that role for her.

Kimi ni Todoke: From Me to You, Vol. 1
6. Kimi Ni Todoke by Karuho Shiina
Sawako Kuronuma is the perfect heroine...for a horror movie. With striking similarities to a haunting movie character--jet-black hair, sinister smile and silent demeanor--she's mistakenly called Sadako by those around her. But behind her scary fa├žade is a very misunderstood teenager. Too shy to fit in, all she wants to do is make some friends. But when the most popular boy in class befriends her, she's sure to make more than just that--she's about to make some enemies too!

Nana, Vol. 1 (Nana, #1)
7. Nana by Ai Yazawa
Nana Komatsu is a young woman who's endured an unending string of boyfriend problems. Moving to Tokyo, she's hoping to take control of her life and put all those messy misadventures behind her. She's looking for love and she's hoping to find it in the big city. Nana Osaki, on the other hand, is cool, confident and focused. She swaggers into town and proceeds to kick down the doors to Tokyo's underground punk scene. She's got a dream and won't give up until she becomes Japan's No. 1 rock'n'roll superstar. This is the story of two 20-year-old women who share the same name. Even though they come from completely different backgrounds, they somehow meet and become best friends. The world of Nana is a world exploding with sex, music, fashion, gossip and all-night parties.

Library Wars: Love & War, Vol. 1 (Library Wars: Love & War, #1)
8. Library Wars by Kiiro Yumi
In the near future, the federal government creates a committee to rid society of books it deems unsuitable. The libraries vow to protect their collections, and with the help of local governments, form a military group to defend themselves--the Library Forces!
Iku Kasahara has dreamed of joining the Library Defense Force ever since one of its soldiers stepped in to protect her favorite book from being confiscated in a bookstore when she was younger. But now that she's finally a recruit, she's finding her dream job to be a bit of a nightmare. Especially since her hard-hearted drill instructor seems to have it in for her!

The Earl and The Fairy, Volume 01
9. The Earl and the Fairy by Mizue Tani
Lydia Carlton is a fairy doctor, one of the few people with the ability to see the magical creatures who share our world. During one of her rare trips to London to visit her father, Lydia’s quiet life is suddenly transformed when she is rescued from kidnappers by a mysterious young man! Edgar Ashenbert claims to be descended from the human ruler of the fairy kingdom, and he urgently needs Lydia’s help to find and claim his birthright, the legendary sword of the Blue Knight Earl. Things will never be the same for Lydia as she is pulled into a dangerous quest against dark forces!

Death Note, Vol. 1: Boredom (Death Note, #1)
10. Death Note by Tsugumi Oba
Light Yagami is an ace student with great prospects - and he's bored out of his mind. But all that changes when he finds the Death Note, a notebook dropped by a rogue Shinigami, a death god. Any human whose name is written in the notebook dies, and now Light has vowed to use the power of the Death Note to rid the world of evil. But when criminals begin dropping dead, the authorities send the legendary detective L to track down the killer. With L hot on his heels, will Light lose sight of his noble goal... or his life?
Light tests the boundaries of the Death Note's powers as L and the police begin to close in. Luckily, Light's father is the head of the Japanese National Police Agency and leaves vital information about the case lying around the house. With access to his father's files, Light can keep one step ahead of the authorities. But who is the strange man following him, and how can Light guard against enemies whose names he doesn't know?

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

2017 TBR CHALLENGE REVIEW: "Be Not Afraid" by Alyssa Cole

Be Not Afraid
TITLE: Be Not Afraid
AUTHOR(S): Alyssa Cole
SERIES: Stand-alone

Historical Romance -- American Revolution
PUBLISHER: Seditious Sisters
PUBLICATION DATE: February 2, 2016
SOURCE: Purchased from Amazon
LENGTH: 63 pages
DATE READ: January 2017

2017 TBR Challenge, 2017 Backlist Reader Challenge, 2017 New To Me Reading Challenge, 2017 Historical Romance Reading Challenge

CHARACTER ARCHETYPES: Beta Hero, Tormented Heroine

TROPES: Captivity/Imprisonment



Brooklyn, 1776

Elijah Sutton is no fool, despite his love of a country that enslaves people like him. When he's offered land, livestock, and—most importantly—his freedom if he fights in his Patriot owner's stead, Elijah believes he'll soon have everything he ever wanted...and then he meets Kate.

The Crown has promised freedom to slaves who escape their Patriot masters and join the British side, and Kate intends to take them up on it. She's eager to leave America—and the painful memories it holds for her—far behind...and then she meets Elijah.

Their attraction is undeniable, but their goals couldn’t be further apart. When Elijah is captured by the British while helping Kate, they're thrown into close proximity and forced to choose between their hopes for the future and their hearts.

Why I Read It...
I have been wanting to read an Alyssa Cole book for awhile and also am continuing my efforts to read historical romances that are not set in Regency/Victorian England.  So, when it came time to pick a book to start off the 2017 TBR Challenge with the January theme of Short Shorts, I decided to give Be Not Afraid a try and I was not disappointed.

What I Liked About It...

1. I have always been into the American Revolution as a time period so the setting automatically grabbed my attention.  I thought the idea of having the protagonists be on opposing sides of the conflict due to their individual beliefs on who could offer them a better life out of slavery was a unique and important aspect.  I knew a little about the various promises the British and the Patriots gave to slaves during the war, but really felt like I came away from this book knowing more and wanting to know more.

2. Elijah was such a sweet guy!  He has been through a lot in his life as a slave, but, somehow,  maintained a gentle personality that paired well with his protective instincts.  I liked reading about his convictions and also that he was willing to rethink them when he was presented with other ideas.  It is always great to read about stand-up heroes in difficult situations who definitely deserve their happy ending.

3. Kate was the pricklier side of the romance, but that doesn't mean I didn't like her.  Her life has been difficult and she learned to survive by shutting her emotions out.  I admired her ability to keep going after the tragedy she suffered while trying to run away years ago.  Like Elijah, she had strong opinions about who would provide her with the best opportunity to succeed after the war.  It took some coaxing, but she also showed that she was intelligent enough to rethink her ideas when presented with evidence to the contrary.

4. The romance was full of tension, but also had plenty of sweet moments.  With Elijah and Kate being on different sides, there was a forbidden aspect that amped up the drama which I liked.  I enjoyed reading about their conversations and how much they respected one another.  It became obvious how much they wanted to rely on the other for happiness and I spent much of the book wondering how they would get their happily ever after which is always a good sign for me.

What I Disliked About It...

1. The only thing I didn't care for regarding Be Not Afraid was the page length.  It is pretty short and has a lot to pack into those few pages.  I thought Alyssa Cole did a good job with the pacing early on and towards the end.  I did feel like the middle part was out of place especially when the story jumped forward in time.  I think that time was important to the development of the romance and I would have enjoyed seeing more of it.

Would I Recommend It...

I definitely would recommend Be Not Afraid to readers who want a different type of historical romance and an introduction to Alyssa Cole's writing.  I definitely want to read more of her backlist and I am happy that this was my first experience.

Monday, January 16, 2017

2016 IN REVIEW: Favorite Reads

Hamilton: The Revolution
HAMILTON: THE REVOLUTION by Jeremy McCarter and Lin-Manuel Miranda (nonfiction)
A big part of 2016 for me was my obsession with the musical Hamilton so this glossy tome was destined to be a favorite.  I loved the story of how the musical was created paired with the lyrics/annotations.  The photographs were also beautiful and made it something I will page through again and again.

Listen to the Moon (Lively St. Lemeston, #3)
LISTEN TO THE MOON by Rose Lerner (historical romance)
A fascinating Regency romance featuring a marriage of convenience between a valet turned butler and a housemaid turned housekeeper.  The characters are richly drawn, the love story is engrossing, and the historical details just made my inner history nerd squeal with excitement.

Duke of Sin (Maiden Lane, #10) Duke of Pleasure (Maiden Lane, #11)
DUKE OF SIN & DUKE OF PLEASURE by Elizabeth Hoyt (historical romance)
The Maiden Lane is one of my favorite currently running series and the two installments we got in 2016 show that it is getting better every time.  The 1730s setting continues to fascinate me as does the author's tendency for unorthodox pairings and gritty storytelling.

Vision in Silver (The Others, #3)
VISION IN SILVER by Anne Bishop (urban fantasy)
The third book in the Others series and showcases how wonderful these books are.  The development of the heroine is subtle, but powerful.  The world building is mind-blowing and the action keeps me turning pages late into the night.  I still need to read the fourth installment in time for the release of book five, but that won't be a hardship when the series is this fabulous.

Bayou Moon (The Edge, #2)
BAYOU MOON by Ilona Andrews (paranormal romance)
Book two in the genre-bending Edge series which features a changeling soldier who almost stole the show from the main couple in the first book and is pulled back into the world he left forever.  William is one of my favorite heroes of 2016 and his romance with the determined, kick-ass Cerise was full of action and chemistry.  Also, I have to give a shout-out to the authors for the killer world building.

Radiance (Wraith Kings, #1)
RADIANCE by Grace Draven (fantasy romance)
An arranged marriage romance between two humanoid species in an alternate world.  The slow burn of the love story, the development of all the characters (main and secondary), and the attention to detail are highlights of this beautiful book.

Stars Above (The Lunar Chronicles, #4.5)
STARS ABOVE by Marissa Meyer (YA science fiction)
I don't read much young adult fiction these days, but I always make an exception for Meyer's Lunar Chronicles series.  Her sci-fi twists on fairy tales are so engrossing and this anthology, which features nine novellas that help flesh out this already wonderful series.  My personal favorites were the wedding epilogue, the reverse POV of when Kai met Cinder, and the loosely connected retelling of the Little Mermaid.

Forbidden (Old West #1)
FORBIDDEN by Beverly Jenkins (historical romance)
I have been meaning to try Ms. Jenkins for years and 2016 was when I finally took the plunge.  Her writing is as exquisite as my fellow readers have said and the premise of a businessman passing as White and the woman he can't resist.  My favorite aspect was the heroine who has gone through so much stuff and still retains her determined personality.

Saving the CEO (49th Floor, #1)
SAVING THE CEO by Jenny Holiday (contemporary romance)
Jenny Holiday was one of my favorite "discovered in 2016" authors.  I am very picky about contemporary romance, but her snappy writing style and Big City settings just work for me.  This is my favorite of her 49th Floor series, but I highly recommend all four of the books.  What makes this one stand out to me is the twist on the pretend relationship and the math genius heroine.

Kings Rising (Captive Prince, #3)
KINGS RISING by C.S. Pacat (fantasy romance)
I first started reading this addictive fantasy story when it was being published on the author's LiveJournal.  I (and the other Captive Prince fans) had been waiting for the conclusion for five years and it did not disappoint.  Damen and Laurent are one of my favorite all-time couples and the twists and turns of this book had me reading way into the night.

Magnate (The Knickerbocker Club, #1)
MAGNATE by Joanna Shupe (historical romance)
The Gilded Age setting helped this book (and series) stand out to me in 2016.  I also loved the class differences between the self-made millionaire hero and the upper crust heroine who wants to start her own brokerage firm.  I also enjoyed the "snowed-in" aspect which helped force these two to finally admit their feelings.

A Promise of Fire (Kingmaker Chronicles #1)
A PROMISE OF FIRE by Amanda Bouchet (fantasy romance)
I bought this debut on its release date after seeing a ton of gushing reviews/tweets/posts about it and it was the right decision!  Cat is such an amazing heroine and her romance with the gruff, but sweet Griffin had me laughing and swooning.  I also loved the Greek mythology that peppered the fantasy aspect of this world.
Magic Binds (Kate Daniels, #9)
KATE DANIELS SERIES by Ilona Andrews (urban fantasy)
2016 was the year that I got caught up on the popular Kate Daniels series and it was an amazing ride.  Curran and Kate are fantastic as are the other series characters like Andrea, Jim, Roman, Derek, and Julie.  I am sad that the series will ending in 2017, but it will always have a place in my heart.
Archangel's Heart (Guild Hunter, #9)
GUILD HUNTER SERIES by Nalini Singh (urban fantasy)
This is also the year that I caught up with Nalini Singh's Guild Hunter books.  I read eight installments and am always left wanting more.  Elena, Raphael, Janvier, Ashwini, Illium, Dimitri are all so fantastic and the political machinations really help this series stand out.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

2016 IN REVIEW: Reading List

Reading Goal for 2016: 175
Books Read in 2016:
Re-reads: 7
Audiobooks: 3
Library Books: 45
Series Started: 42
Series Completed: 11
2016 Releases Read: 66
New-To-Me Authors: 26

1. One-Eyed Dukes Are Wild (Dukes Behaving Badly #3) by Megan Frampton (historical romance) -- 4 Stars
2. Ninja at First Sight (Knitting in the City #4.5) by Penny Reid (contemporary romance) -- 4 Stars
3. Focus on Me (In Focus #2) by Megan Erickson (contemporary romance) -- 4 Stars
4. It Takes a Scandal (Scandalous #2) by Caroline Linden (historical romance) -- 4 Stars
5. Listen to the Moon (Lively St. Lemeston #3) by Rose Lerner (historical romance) -- 5 Stars
6. Emma, Volume 2 (Emma #2) by Kaoru Mori (historical manga) -- 4 Stars
7. Emma, Volume 3 (Emma #3) by Kaoru Mori (historical manga) -- 4 Stars
8. Dark Craving (Dark Kings #0.1) by Donna Grant (paranormal romance) -- 3 Stars
9. My American Duchess by Eloisa James (historical romance) -- 3.75 Stars
10. Wicked Temptation (Nemesis Unlimited #3) by Zoe Archer (historical romance) -- 4 Stars
11. Emma, Volume 4 (Emma #4) by Kaoru Mori (historical manga) -- 4 Stars
12. Radiance (Wraith Kings #1) by Grace Draven (fantasy romance) -- 4.5 Stars
13. All's Fair in Love and Scandal (Scandalous #2.5) by Caroline Linden (historical romance) -- 3.75 Stars
14. Forbidden (Old West #1) by Beverly Jenkins (historical romance) -- 4.5 Stars
15. Emma, Volume 5 (Emma #5) by Kaoru Mori (historical manga) -- 3.5 Stars
16. Lord Dashwood Missed Out (Spindle Cove #4.5) by Tessa Dare (historical romance) -- 3.5 Stars
17. The Score (Off Campus #3) by Elle Kennedy (NA contemporary) -- 4 Stars
18. Happily Ever Ninja (Knitting in the City #5) by Penny Reid (contemporary romance) -- 3.75 Stars
19. A Summer to Remember (Bedwyn Prequels #2) by Mary Balogh (historical romance) -- 5 Stars *re-read*
20. Emma, Volume 6 (Emma #6) by Kaoru Mori (historical manga) -- 3.5 Stars

21. Emma, Volume 7 (Emma #7) by Kaoru Mori (historical manga) -- 3.5 Stars
22. The Sword Dancer (Tang Dynasty #4) by Jeannie Lin (historical romance) -- 4 Stars
23. Kings Rising (Captive Prince #3) by C.S. Pacat (fantasy romance) -- 4.5 Stars
24. Stars Above (Lunar Chronicles #5) by Marissa Meyer (YA science fiction) -- 4.5 Stars
25. Full Exposure by Amy Jo Cousins (contemporary romance) -- 3.5 Stars
26. Magic Rises (Kate Daniels #6) by Ilona Andrews (urban fantasy) -- 4.5 Stars
27. How the Cookie Crumbles (Bluewater Bay #12) by Jaime Samms (contemporary romance) -- 3.5 Stars
28. The Wicked Deeds of Daniel Mackenzie (Highland Pleasures #6) by Jennifer Ashley (historical romance) -- 4 Stars
29. Emma, Volume 8 (Emma #8) by Kaoru Mori (historical manga) -- 3.5 Stars
30. Emma, Volume 9 (Emma #9) by Kaoru Mori (historical manga) -- 4 Stars
31. Emma, Volume 10 (Emma #10) by Kaoru Mori (historical manga) -- 4 Stars
32. Tycoon (Knickerbocker Club #0.5) by Joanna Shupe (historical romance) -- 3.5 Stars
33. Clockwork Heart (Clockwork Love #1) by Heidi Cullinan (steampunk romance) -- 4 Stars
34. The Rogue Not Taken (Scandal and Scoundrel #1) by Sarah MacLean (historical romance) -- 3.25 Stars

35. Magic Breaks (Kate Daniels #7) by Ilona Andrews (urban fantasy) -- 4.5 Stars
36. Magic Tests (Kate Daniels #5.3) by Ilona Andrews (urban fantasy) -- 3.5 Stars
37. The Hunter (Victorian Rebels #2) by Kerrigan Byrne (historical romance) -- 4.5 Stars
38. The Princess Wore Plaid (Oxenburg Princes #2.5) by Karen Hawkins (historical romance) -- 3.5 Stars
39. Sleeping With Her Enemy (49th Floor #2) by Jenny Holiday (contemporary romance) -- 4 Stars
40. Magic Shifts (Kate Daniels #8) by Ilona Andrews (urban fantasy) -- 4.5 Stars
41. The Rosie Project (Don Tillman #1) by Graeme Simsion (contemporary romance) -- 4.25 Stars
42. Love Me Like a Rock (Bend or Break #6) by Amy Jo Cousins (contemporary romance) -- 3 Stars
43. Hard Candy (Bend or Break #7) by Amy Jo Cousins (contemporary romance) -- 4 Stars
44. Duke of My Heart (Season for Scandal #1) by Kelly Bowen (historical romance) -- 4 Stars
45. Magic Stars (Kate Daniels #8.5; Grey Wolf #1) by Ilona Andrews (urban fantasy) -- 3.5 Stars
46. Act Like It by Lucy Parker (contemporary romance) -- 4.25 Stars
47. The Study of Seduction (Sinful Suitors #2) by Sabrina Jeffries (historical romance) -- 4 Stars
48. Fortune Favors the Wicked (Royal Rewards #1) by Theresa Romain (historical romance) -- 4 Stars
49. Because of Miss Bridgerton (Rokesbys and Bridgertons #1) by Julia Quinn (historical romance) -- 4 Stars
50. Luck Is No Lady (Fallen Ladies #1) by Amy Sandas (historical romance) -- 4 Stars
51. Us (Him #2) by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy (contemporary romance) -- 4.25 Stars
52. Pairing Off (Red Hot Russians #1) by Elizabeth Harmon (contemporary romance) -- 3.5 Stars

53. Love in the Time of Scandal (Scandalous #3) by Caroline Linden (historical romance) -- 3.75 Stars
54. Hot Stuff (Hot Zone #1) by Carly Phillips (contemporary romance) -- 3 Stars
55. Murder of Crows (The Others #2) by Anne Bishop (urban fantasy) -- 4.25 Stars
56. The Heart As He Hears It (Perspectives #3) by A.M. Arthur (contemporary romance) -- 4 Stars
57. Temptations of a Wallflower (Wicked Quills of London #3) by Eva Leigh (historical romance) -- 4 Stars
58. Bound by Flames (Night Prince #3) by Jeaniene Frost (urban fantasy) -- 3.5 Stars
59. Indigo by Beverly Jenkins (historical romance) -- 4.25 Stars
60. Magnate (Knickerbocker Club #1) by Joanna Shupe (historical romance) -- 4.5 Stars
61. A Fashionable Indulgence (Society of Gentlemen #1) by K.J. Charles (historical romance) -- 4 Stars
62. A Seditious Affair (Society of Gentleman #2) by K.J. Charles (historical romance) -- 4.25 Stars
63. Devil in Winter (Wallflowers #3) by Lisa Kleypas (historical romance) -- 5 Stars *re-read*
64. Blood Kiss (Black Dagger Legacy #1) by JR Ward (paranormal romance) -- 3.5 Stars
65. Vision in Silver (The Others #3) by Anne Bishop (urban fantasy) -- 5 Stars
66. Leveling the Field (Gamers #4) by Megan Erickson (contemporary romance) -- 3.5 Stars
67. Six Degrees of Scandal (Scandalous #4) by Caroline Linden (historical romance) -- 4.25 Stars
68. Archangel's Consort (Guild Hunter #3) by Nalini Singh (urban fantasy) -- 4.25 Stars
69. Duke of Sin (Maiden Lane #10) by Elizabeth Hoyt (historical romance) -- 4.5 Stars
70. Lessons in Pleasure by Victoria Dahl (historical romance) -- 3.25 Stars
71. Out of Frame (In Focus #3) by Megan Erickson (contemporary romance) -- 4 Stars
72. Only Enchanting (Survivors Club #4) by Mary Balogh (historical romance) -- 4 Stars
73. Turning It On (Red Hot Russians #2) by Elizabeth Harmon (contemporary romance) -- 2.5 Stars
74. Z (Demonica #11.8) by Larissa Ione (paranormal romance) -- 3.25 Stars
75. Come What May (All Saints #1) by A.M. Arthur (contemporary romance) -- 4 Stars

76. Diary of an Accidental Wallflower (Seduction Diaries #1) by Jennifer McQuiston (historical romance -- 4 Stars
77. On the Edge (The Edge #1) by Ilona Andrews (urban fantasy) -- 4 Stars
78. Angels' Flight (Guild Hunter) by Nalini Singh (urban fantasy) -- 4 Stars
79. The Captive (Captive Hearts #1) by Grace Burrowes (historical romance) -- 4 Stars
80. Only a Promise (Survivors Club #5) by Mary Balogh (historical romance) -- 4.25 Stars
81. Saving the CEO (49th Floor #1) by Jenny Holiday (contemporary romance) -- 4.5 Stars
82. Archangel's Blade (Guild Hunter #4) by Nalini Singh (urban fantasy) -- 4 Stars
83. Hamilton the Revolution by Jeremy McCarter and Lin-Manuel Miranda (nonfiction) -- 5 Stars
84. A Year Without a Duke by Kate Pearce, Suzanna Medeiros, Genevieve Turner, Jennifer Haymore, Sabrina Darby (historical romance) -- 3.5 Stars
85. A Gentleman's Position (Society of Gentlemen #3) by K.J. Charles (historical romance) -- 4.25 Stars
86. Archangel's Storm (Guild Hunter #5) by Nalini Singh (urban fantasy) -- 4 Stars
87. Beauty and the Rake (Rookery Rogues #3) by Erica Monroe (historical romance) -- 4.25 Stars
88. The Ruin of Gabriel Ashleigh (Society of Gentlemen #0.5) by K.J. Charles (historical romance) -- 3.75 Stars
89. In the Middle of Somewhere (Middle of Somewhere #1) by Roan Parrish (contemporary romance) -- 4 Stars

90. Only a Kiss (Survivors' Club #6) by Mary Balogh (historical romance) -- 4 Stars
91. Just the Sexiest Man Alive by Julie James (contemporary romance) -- 4.25 Stars
92. Truth or Beard (Winston Brothers #1) by Penny Reid (contemporary romance) -- 4 Stars
93. Bayou Moon (The Edge #2) by Ilona Andrews (urban fantasy) -- 4.5 Stars
94. Short Stay (Love Lessons #3.5) by Heidi Cullinan (contemporary romance) -- 4 Stars
95. The Spinster's Guide to Scandalous Behavior (Seduction Diaries #2) by Jennifer McQuiston (historical romance) -- 3.5 Stars
96. Forevermore (Darkest London #7) by Kristen Callihan (historical-paranormal romance) -- 4 Stars
97. How the Duke Was Won (The Disgraceful Dukes #1) by Lenora Bell (historical romance) -- 3.75 Stars
98. Once She Was Tempted (Honeycote #2) by Anne Barton (historical romance) -- 4 Stars
99. Fate's Edge (The Edge #3) by Ilona Andrews (urban fantasy) -- 3.5 Stars
100. Once Upon a Moonlit Night (Maiden Lane #10.5) by Elizabeth Hoyt (historical romance) -- 3.75 Stars
101. The Suitor (The Survivors' Club #1.5) by Mary Balogh (historical romance) -- 3.75 Stars
102. The Traitor (Captive Hearts #2) by Grace Burrowes (historical romance) -- 4.5 Stars

103. How to Rescue a Rake (Book Club Belles #3) by Jayne Fresina (historical romance) -- 3.5 Stars
104. Roped In by Marie Sexton and L.A. Witt (contemporary romance) -- 3.5 Stars
105. Getting It Back (Red Hot Russians #3) by Elizabeth Harmon (contemporary romance) -- 3.5 Stars
106. Only Beloved (The Survivors' Club #7) by Mary Balogh (historical romance) -- 4 Stars
107. The Unleashing (Call of Crows #1) by Shelly Laurenston (paranormal romance) -- 4.25 Stars
108. To Love a Thief by Julie Anne Long (historical romance) -- 4 Stars
109. The Laird (Captive Hearts #3) by Grace Burrowes (historical romance) -- 3.75 Stars
110. A Duke to Remember (Season for Scandal #2) by Kelly Bowen (historical romance) -- 4 Stars
111. The Highlander (Victorian Rebels #3) by Kerrigan Byrne (historical romance) -- 4.25 Stars
112. Big Vamp on Campus (Half-Moon Hollow #4.5) by Molly Harper (paranormal romance) -- 4 Stars
113. The Undoing (Call of Crows #2) by Shelly Laurenston (paranormal romance) -- 4 Stars
114. Cold-Hearted Rake (Ravenels #1) by Lisa Kleypas (historical romance) -- 3.5 Stars
115. Marrying Winterborne (Ravenels #2) by Lisa Kleypas (historical romance) -- 4.25 Stars

116. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Harry Potter #8) by JK Rowling (fantasy) -- 4 Stars
117. Reforming Lord Ragsdale by Carla Kelly (historical romance) -- 4 Stars
118. To Kiss a Thief (Runaway Desires #1) by Susanna Craig (historical romance) -- 3.5 Stars
119. To Charm a Naughty Countess (Matchmaker Trilogy #2) by Theresa Romain (historical romance) -- 4 Stars
120. Status Update (#gaymers #1) by Annabeth Albert (contemporary romance) -- 3.5 Stars
121. Steel's Edge (The Edge #4) by Ilona Andrews (urban fantasy) -- 4 Stars
122. If I Only Had a Duke (Disgraceful Dukes #2) by Lenora Bell (historical romance) -- 4.25 Stars
123. Hannah and the Highlander (Untamed Highlanders #1) by Sabrina York (historical romance) -- 3.5 Stars
124. Something About You (FBI/US Attorney #1) by Julie James (contemporary romance) -- 4.25 Stars
125. A Promise of Fire (Kingmaker Chronicles #1) by Amanda Bouchet (fantasy romance) -- 4.5 Stars
126. A Scot in the Dark (Scandal & Scoundrel #2) by Sarah MacLean (historical romance) -- 3.5 Stars
127. No Mistress of Mine (An American Heiress in London #4) by Laura Lee Guhrke (historical romance) -- 4 Stars
128. Archangel's Legion (Guild Hunter #6) by Nalini Singh (urban fantasy) -- 4.25 Stars

129. The Governess Was Wicked (Governess #1) by Julia Kelly (historical romance) -- 3.25 Stars
130. Say It Right (All Saints #2) by A.M. Arthur (contemporary romance) -- 4 Stars
131. Archangel's Shadows (Guild Hunter #7) by Nalini Singh (urban fantasy) -- 4 Stars
132. Archangel's Enigma (Guild Hunter #8) by Nalini Singh (urban fantasy) -- 4 Stars
133. Highland Warrior (Campbell Trilogy #1) by Monica McCarty (historical romance) -- 3.5 Stars
134. Level Up (Fandom Hearts #1) by Cathy Yardley (contemporary romance) -- 4.25 Stars
135. Do You Want to Start a Scandal (Spindle Cove #5) by Tessa Dare (historical romance) -- 4 Stars
136. The Perks of Loving a Scoundrel (Seduction Diaries #3) by Jennifer McQuiston (historical romance) -- 4 Stars
137. Fullmetal Alchemist -- 3-in-1 Edition, Volume 1 (Fullmetal Alchemist #1-3) by Hiromu Arakawa (fantasy manga) -- 4 Stars
138. To Steal a Heart (Secrets and Spies #1) by K.C. Bateman (historical romance) -- 4.5 Stars

139. Miss Goodhue Lives for a Night (Winner Takes All #2.5) by Kate Noble (historical romance) -- 3.5 Stars
140. First Star I See Tonight (Chicago Stars #8) by Susan Elizabeth Phillips (contemporary romance) -- 4 Stars
141. The Danger of Desire (Sinful Suitors #3) by Sabrina Jeffries (historical romance) -- 3.75 Stars
142. The Mane Event (Pride #1) by Shelly Laurenston (paranormal romance) -- 4.25 Stars
143. Magic Binds (Kate Daniels #9) by Ilona Andrews (urban fantasy) -- 4.5 Stars
144. What Happens in Scotland (Second Sons #1) by Jennifer McQuiston (historical romance) -- 3 Stars
145. A Raven's Heart (Secrets and Spies #2) by K.C. Bateman (historical romance) -- 4.25 Stars
146. Baron (Knickerbocker Club #2) by Joanna Shupe (historical romance) -- 4 Stars
147. The Debutante is Mine (Season's Original #1) by Vivienne Lorret (historical romance) -- 3.5 Stars
148. Sweet Little Lies (Heartbreaker Bay #1) by Jill Shalvis (contemporary romance) -- 3.5 Stars

149. Saving Grace by Julie Garwood (historical romance) -- 4 Stars 
150. The Engagement Game (49th Floor #3) by Jenny Holiday (contemporary romance) -- 4.25 Stars
151. The Secret Mistress (Mistress Trilogy #3) by Mary Balogh (historical romance) -- 4 Stars
152. A Rake's Guide to Seduction (Reece Family Trilogy #3) by Caroline Linden (historical romance) -- 4 Stars
153. Duke of Pleasure (Maiden Lane #11) by Elizabeth Hoyt (historical romance) -- 5 Stars
154. The Trouble with Mistletoe (Heartbreaker Bay #2) by Jill Shalvis (contemporary romance) -- 4 Stars
155. Pleasure Unbound (Demonica #1) by Larissa Ione (paranormal romance) -- 4.5 Stars *re-read*
156. Desire Unchained (Demonica #2) by Larissa Ione (paranormal romance) -- 4 Stars *re-read*
157. Passion Unleashed (Demonica #3) by Larissa Ione (paranormal romance) -- 4.5 Stars *re-read*

158. Ecstasy Unveiled (Demonica #4) by Larissa Ione (paranormal romance) -- 4 Stars *re-read* 
159. Archangel's Heart (Guild Hunter #9) by Nalini Singh (urban fantasy) -- 4 Stars
160. Sin Undone (Demonica #5) by Larissa Ione (paranormal romance) -- 4 Stars *re-read* 
161. A Grosvenor Square Christmas (Sons of the Revolution #3.5; Stanton #4.5) by Shana Galen, Vanessa Kelly, Anna Campbell, Kate Noble (historical romance) -- 4 Stars
162. One Snowy Night (Heartbreaker Bay #2.5) by Jill Shalvis (contemporary romance) -- 3 Stars
163. His Heart's Revenge (49th Floor #4) by Jenny Holiday (contemporary romance) -- 4 Stars
164. Four Weddings and a Sixpence by Julia Quinn, Elizabeth Boyle, Stefanie Sloane, Laura Lee Guhrke (historical romance) -- 4 Stars
165. Like a Wolf with a Bone (Pride #0.5) by Shelly Laurenston (paranormal romance) -- 4 Stars
166. A Study in Scandal (Scandalous #3.5) by Caroline Linden (historical romance) -- 4 Stars
167. A Kiss for Luck (Sweetest Kisses #0.6) by Grace Burrowes (contemporary romance) -- 3 Stars

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

MINI-REVIEWS: Nalini Singh, Jenny Holiday, Jill Shalvis

Archangel's Heart (Guild Hunter, #9)Archangel's Heart (Guild Hunter #9) by Nalini Singh
Urban Fantasy 
Berkley --November 1, 2016


One of the most vicious archangels in the world has disappeared. No one knows if Lijuan is dead or has chosen to Sleep the long sleep of an immortal. But with her lands falling into chaos under a rising tide of vampiric bloodlust, a mysterious and ancient order of angels known as the Luminata calls the entire Cadre together to discuss the fate of her territory.

Accompanying her archangelic lover Raphael to the Luminata compound, guild hunter-turned-angel Elena senses that all is not as it seems. Secrets echo from within the stone walls of the compound, and the deeper Elena goes, the uglier the darkness. But neither Raphael nor Elena is ready for the brutal truths hidden within—truths that will change everything Elena thinks she knows about who she is…

Nothing will ever be the same again.

I love this series and was happy to see the focus shift back to Elena and Raphael.  I find all the characters in this world fascinating, but the main couple has a special place in my heart.  This particular installment shows the Cadre dealing with the disappearance of one of their own and how that affects the power stability of the world.  I find the political aspect of this series to be a highlight and this book definitely focuses on that.  I thought the whole premise of the Luminata and whether they were hiding something was interesting.  I will admit that I did feel like the story got bogged down towards the middle and there wasn't much action.  Thankfully, Nalini Singh is a goddess and the story righted itself very quickly.  I'm definitely on pins and needles waiting for the next installment...especially because I want more Illium!


His Heart's Revenge (49th Floor, #4)His Heart's Revenge (49th Floor #4) by Jenny Holiday
Contemporary Romance (M/M)
Entangled -- June 20, 2016


Twenty years ago, I was too smart and too poor to be cool. Now I’m laughing my way to the bank—the bank I’m CEO of. Nothing can touch me. Except maybe him.

We met at summer camp. We made out under the stars. Then he stabbed me in the back. They say revenge is a dish best served cold. But I’m gonna go with hot.

Alexander Evangelista is a millionaire with all the trappings: houses all over the world and hot guys lined up whenever he’s in need of some no-strings-attached company. He's on his way to world domination.

A CEO in his own right, Cary Bell is competing for a major client with his boyhood crush. He’s never forgiven himself for betraying Alex. But with his professional reputation on the line, he’s going to have to find his inner cutthroat if he wants his new company to succeed.

Alex isn’t about to let his nemesis steal a client out from under him. It’s time to break Cary’s company—and his heart.

This was such a fun, sexy read!  Jenny Holiday's writing style is quick and vivacious which works so well for my current mood.  Both heroes were well-developed and I empathized with their individual plights.  I thought their character journeys felt organic and were entertaining.  Also, the scenes between them were full of so much tension and I loved every minute of it.  There is nothing like sexy, smart, successful men dealing with emotions they don't want to have with the one person they can't resist.  The cameos from the other 49th Floor couples were fun and didn't take away from the main storyline.  I can't wait to see what Jenny Holiday does next.

I received a free e-ARC of this book from Entangled Publishing via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.


One Snowy Night (Heartbreaker Bay, #2.5)
One Snowy Night (Heartbreaker Bay #2.5) by Jill Shalvis
Contemporary Romance
Avon Impulse -- November 8, 2016


It’s Christmas Eve and Rory Andrews is desperate to get home to the family she hasn’t seen in years. Problem is, her only ride to Lake Tahoe comes in the form of the annoyingly handsome Max Stranton, and his big, goofy, lovable dog Carl.

Hours stuck in a truck with the dead sexy Max sounds like a fate worse than death (not), but Rory’s out of options. She’s had a crush on Max since high school and she knows he’s attracted to her, too. But they have history… and Max is the only one who knows why it went south.

They’ve done a good job of ignoring their chemistry so far, but a long road trip in a massive blizzard might be just what they need to face their past… and one steamy, snowy night is all it takes to bring Max and Rory together at last.

Rory was such a fascinating character in The Trouble with Mistletoe and I was happy to see her get a story.  I thought this novella was a sweet, easy holiday read with plenty of themes that I enjoy like reunited from childhood and road/cabin romance.  Plus there are adorable dog antics to help break up the tension of driving through a blizzard.  I do feel like the page length forced the character development to be weak and the romance aspect happened very quickly.  The author tried to deal with that by having them know each other beforehand, but I'm not sure it worked for me.  Still it was a pleasant way to spend a winter afternoon.

I received a free e-copy of this book from Avon via the Avon Addicts Program in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, January 1, 2017


Hosted by Renee @ Addicted to Romance.

This challenge is to be centered around historical romance. I know that there are many wonderful romance that have become forgotten or not top priority. This is a way for those to discover those hidden gems. Any of these books can be from your aging TBR pile or they can be recently added to your wish lists. Any historical romance published before 2008 is up for grabs.  You can sign-up here.

  • Choose at least 5 books…Minimum.
  • Only romance books, and must have been published before 2008.
  • Must be a historical romance, but no limits to any time period or sub genre.
  • Keep track of your progress either through Goodreads or your own blog/website.
5-10 Books-The Newbie Looking For Swoon Worthy Adventure.
11-20-Seeking Passion on the High Seas.
30-45- The Pirate, Scot, and Duchess of Love
50-100+ Full Era Traveler of Romance and Passion.

CHALLENGE GOALS: 5-10 Books -- The Newbie Looking for Swoon Worthy Adventure

For my reading challenges, I always like to create a preliminary list of books that I want to complete. I usually like to look back at the end of the year and see how accurate my predictions were.

  1. The Windflower by Laura London
  2. Mistress by Amanda Quick
  3. The Bride by Julie Garwood
  4. It Happened One Season by Stephanie Laurens, Mary Balogh, Candice Hern, Jacquie D'Alessandro
  5. Highland Scoundrel by Monica McCarty
  6. Cotillion by Georgette Heyer
  7. The Lion's Daughter by Loretta Chase
  8. The Charm School by Susan Wiggs
  9. What a Woman Needs by Caroline Linden
  10. Married in Haste by Cathy Maxwell