Sunday, November 30, 2014

Those Ferro Brothers

It's impossible to think of the brilliant H.M. Ward and not immediately conjure up images of the incredibly sexy, incredibly H-O-T Ferro brothers  Ward has practically built her entire empire on them, in fact, and she's done a good job of it too.  There's Sean, who is featured in The Arrangement  series as the aggressive one, the one who always gets what he wants. He's a liar, a manipulator, and he's very deeply troubled.  There's Jonathan who stars in Stripped 1 & 2 , who is cocky, determined, passionate, dedicated...and just a little bit cruel. Then, of course there is Peter, from the Damaged series, the one brother who is the complete opposite of the others.  He's a poet, sensitive, insightful, caring, and charming. Well, at least that is how we know him now.  It seems, though, that ol' Pete, has a past that he's been trying to hide for some time and we finally get a glimpse of his selfish ways in Ward's latest release, Life Before Damaged, Vol. 1.   

Like most of Ward's books, this is being released in several volumes so each one is rather short.  It's definitely NOT my favorite way to read a book, but I understand her reasoning for doing it this way.  This story shows us a side of Peter Ferro before he reformed himself, before he was with Sidney, but shows us how he came to meet her and begin a relationship with her.  He's much more like his brothers in this book, believing women will fall to his feet, using his good looks and charm to get what he wants from whomever he wants and not really worrying about the consequences.  We do, however, see glimpses of the man who appears in the Damaged series.  It's almost as if the man is fighting an internal battle with himself where he isn't quite sure exactly who he wants to be.  Seeing these glimpses leads this reader to believe that maybe, just maybe, Sidney is the one who helps him decide which path is the better one for him to follow.

I really enjoyed reading this book, even if it was too short and left me Ward loves to do.  It's a little hard to see Peter as the self assured, cocky playboy since I've come to adore him as the sweet, sensitive poet, but I believe the end will justify the means, so to speak, when the full story is revealed.  I trust Ward will not let me down in that aspect.

There are supposedly going to be 2 more volumes of this story released, although I am unsure of when those will be.  I am hoping sooner rather than later though and based on Ward's promise to overwhelm us with releases "around the holidays" I'm thinking it may be also.    And, in case you're curious about this interesting sounding Ferro family, here's a graphic of the family tree, along with a link to Ward's books.!/BOOKS

Saturday, November 29, 2014

2014 "Best" Lists from Around the Web

It seems like there are lots of places to look for the best books, but I thought I'd post some here so they're all in one convenient place for you to see.  I don't necessarily agree that everything on each list actually IS the best, but at least the lists will give you some ideas.

40+ Best Books for Boys includes some of my own sons' favorites, like the Big Nate collection, the hilarious adventures of Diary of a Wimpy Kid collection, Charlie and the Chocolate FactoryHatchet, and City of Ember

This article also lists some fun books for older boys as well, like the Hunger Games trilogy and The Lightening Thief.  

Hello Giggles makes a list of 25 Book Every Girl Should Read Before 25.  This list includes some of my personal favorites such as The Bell Jar, and some classic tales like To Kill a MockingbirdLittle Women, and a surprising one that my sons read in school and adored, Stargirl

Esquire, men's magazine, recently came up with an 80 Books Every Man Should Read list as well.  I must admit that as a woman, I'm not familiar with many of them but I found it fascinating to see the list all the same.  This "must read" list includes book-turned-movie Deliverance, and other classic titles like The Call of the WildFor Whom the Bell Tolls, and Slaughterhouse Five.  

Another great list from Hello Giggles is the 40 Books Every Woman Should Read.  I've read a lot of titles in my life but there are several on here that I haven't.  I should probably be getting busy.  I have, however, read BelovedThe Bell Jar (again), Little Women (again...again), The Fountainhead, the Harry Potter collection, The Diary of a Young GirlThe Lovely Bones, and mentioned once again is To Kill a Mockingbird.  I really have a lot of catching up to do if I'm going to read all of the ones on these lists!

Last, I thought I'd let you see what's been at the top of the lists this year, in 2014.  Depending on where you go, the lists vary.  The New York Times Bestseller is going to be different than what you're going to find on a popular fiction reader/writer site like Goodreads.  Amazon's list might differ from Publisher's Weekly.  If you're interested in checking out all of the following and more, here they are,

Publisher's Weekly
New York Times
The Guardian
Barnes & Noble
The Telegraph
The Washington Post
Journal Sentinal

Stay tuned for my personal best of the best list for 2014, coming soon!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Darkness Falls Flat

The Darkness Trilogy by author Abby Weeks consists of 3 separate titles, Tangled Rose, Tainted Rose, and Twisted Rose, all of which are full novels. Although the synopsis of the first book, and those following, all contain the same warning: 

Warning! This book contains triggers that some readers will find distressing. It is not for the faint of heart.

I clearly didn't take it seriously enough, or simply didn't understand what I was getting myself into when I started to read.

This is a tale of a young lady named Rose who is kidnapped and held as a prisoner for several years.  She is not only abused physically, but also emotionally. She is treated as property, as an animal in fact.  What the men do to her is pure torture and Weeks spares no details in her writing of the humiliation and degradation that Rose endures while in captivity.

There were parts, while reading, that I wanted to shut off my iPad and forget this story.  I wanted to start reading something light and sweet where I didn't have to think about the atrocities that Rose went through.  Even though I know this is a fictional character, what she went through actually does happen in our world.  There's a huge sex slave industry and I kept thinking,while I was reading, about those who have gone missing, thinking about how they may have been kidnapped and sold into some lifestyle much like what this character had. So I kept reading, trudging through, hoping for something good to happen.  And then it finally does midway through the second book.  It took a long time to get to it though.

Throughout the second half of the second book, Tainted Rose and the entire third book, Rose fights for her life in more ways than one.  She fights for the father she lost, she fights for love.  The third book, Twisted Rose, was quite drawn out.  I honestly think the author could've cut the book in half and still conveyed the same message and spared me at least an hour of my life.  It was repetitive and boring and I found myself skipping through entire pages of what I found to be monotonous dribble.  She kept repeating the same things over and over and over and...well, you get the idea.  Then, sadly it just ended.  Like seriously worst ending ever!  I hated it and felt so let down and disappointed.  Yes, the story was mostly wrapped up but the abruptness of the ending was horrible and as a reader I deserved more!

Overall, the story was far more than I bargained for.  It was full of intense imagery and realistic violent situations.  It's categorized as a "dark romance" but I dare say that it's barely a romance.  The girl finds love but the majority of the story is graphic and violent, not at all what I would consider romance at all.  I've read a few other titles by Weeks and been pleased, so maybe this genre just wasn't my cup of tea.  With that being said, I'm hoping the next one I read by her redeems itself.

Sunday, November 23, 2014


Guess who just had a surprise release?  My very favorite author, Colleen Hoover!  This was actually supposed to be a total surprise for her readers but it actually got leaked earlier in the week.  I'm so excited though because it's already downloaded and waiting on my iPad RIGHT NOW!!!  

I cannot wait to see what Miss Hoover has in store in her newest, just released (like 15 mins ago!) novella, Maybe Not.  

Saturday, November 22, 2014

One Year Love

I feel like I've been waiting forever for a new release from Devon Hartford...and finally he delivers.  This novel is being released differently than he's done in the past though and I'm not sure if I like it or not.  He's doing more of a bit-by-bit release, much in the same style of H.M. Ward with her series'.  There are definite pros and cons for the reader when releasing a story that way and that can be debated, but not today.  I'm just going to talk about Hartford's new release, One Year Love.  Parts 1, 2, and 3 have been released already and there is rumors of a fourth release as well coming soon to conclude the story.

What I enjoy about Hartford's writing is that his characters are very funny.  They generally don't take themselves too seriously and I'm guessing that neither does Hartford himself. That's a good thing because it brings a layer of realness and believe-ability to the characters he creates.  I feel like he probably puts a lot of himself into his characters as well and that can go either way as far as the actual writing goes.  Oftentimes it works, because as I mentioned, it makes the characters real, more like you and me.  Sometimes, however, the fact that he's a male writing in what is a predominantly female genre becomes very obvious.  His language and thought process though are very much along the line of being male dominated.  When he's writing from the male prospective, that's a good thing.  Hell, that's a phenomenal thing really.  Help us ladies out and let us know what is really going on in those tiny brains of yours!  When we're dealing with the ladies it sometimes comes across...hmmm...I'm not sure what the word I'm looking for is.  Maybe crass?  No.  Just strange, I suppose, and not quite right in my opinion.  Regardless, Hartford does come up with some fascinating characters that he writes about and this new novel in no exception.

In One Year Love we meet River, a masseuse at a high end hotel.  She's strong willed, but also a bit innocent in a way.  She's sweet and impulsive at the same time and exceedingly likable.  We also are introduced to Drakken, a foreign business man with lots of money and not a huge grasp on the English language.  He also seems very troubled...but then again what kind of story would it be without that flawed character, right?  ;)  When these two very different personalities come together, you won't believe what kind of sparks start flying!  The flirting between them is both hilarious and sexy.  I can't wait to read how the rest of this novel plays out but I have a feeling that I won't be disappointed.  So far, Hartford has always delivered a great storyline, fun & friendly characters, and a great ending.

Mad Props for McAdams

Every once in a while you read something and remember why you fell in love with a particular author.  This just happened.  Molly McAdams has shown me once again, with her latest novel, just why I adore her.  Letting Go, the first Thatch book, is her latest release and it is almost beyond words.  Really, it was...but I'm going to try.

Grey and Jagger, the main characters, have been friends since childhood.  They know everything about each other and love each other to the moon and back.  Jagger has a fiercely protective attitude about him when it comes to his best friend, Grey.  Why wouldn't he be?  He's known her forever and he has gone through the same devastation and heartbreak that she has.  They've been there to support each other and lift each other up during tragedy.  Jagger is so patient, kind, loving, and seemingly unselfish with her that it creates this illusion of a fairy tale of sorts.  He is the prince that every girl is waiting for...maybe even Grey.

Letting Go weaves the most intricate, tangled web of relationships with so much depth and incredible amounts of heart built into each character.  It's been a long time since I've had a story move me like this one did.  I felt actual hurt in my chest as I was reading this because the characters were like friends that you only wanted to see happy things happen to.  Parts of me broke inside while I was reading and I was led to tears several times as well. That hasn't happened in who-knows-how-long.  Probably not since a Nicholas Sparks novel.  We all know how those go!

What I love about McAdams' writing is that her characters are so real.  The have real faults and behave and act like we all have in life.  They're easy to relate to because they could be our neighbors or friends from school or work, and she has a way of bringing them to life in such a magical way.  It's very admirable, really.  There are some good writers out there; there are some fantastic writers out there actually but not all of them are able to recreate human spirit  with the written word like McAdams.  For that I say "kudos."  

I'm not sure when the next novel by this exceedingly talented (and hilarious) writer will be out, as she just had a baby and I'm sure she is keeping her very busy.  Hopefully not too busy though because I know I'm going to need another fix soon. Letting Go is easily one of my favorite reads for 2014 and I couldn't recommend it enough if you like a sweet, honest yet heart pulling romance.

Monday, November 10, 2014

A Little Bit O' This, A Little Bit O' That

So many books have been released recently and there are still so many coming out that I have on my "wish list" so I have a feeling I'll be continuing to keep busy reading.  I just finished my 5th book in the past 2 weeks and they were all good ones by some of my favorite authors.

After finishing ABbi GlinesSea Breeze series, I went straight to Rowdy, the latest and greatest inked up bad boy from Jay Crownover.  He was everything I hoped he'd be too, after catching bits and pieces of him from her other Marked Men novels.  I can't wait for the next one to come out!

Following Rowdy, I quickly read the latest installment in The Arrangement  series, by H.M. Ward.  Although I love the series, love the Ferros, and love Sean, I get really tired of only being able to read 40-something pages at a time.  

Next up was Stone Cold Touch , book 2, from Jennifer Armentrout's The Dark Elements series.  It was funny when I read this one because at first I couldn't remember the storyline and was a bit confused.  It took me a while to get back into the story.  Then, once I was in it, I really didn't want to put it down.  What happens though?  It ends and leaves me totally and completely hanging again!  I HATE THAT!  Don't we all?  Anyhow, this is a different read because although there's a romantic component to it, the story is most definitely has a fantasy story line to it.

Secrets and Lies 2 by H.M. Ward was next up and this was another one that I had forgotten what was happening in the story line, but I caught up quickly and remembered again why Ward is one one of the great writers around right now.  I follow her on Facebook and she's a great person who really responds to her readers and I love that about her.  I love that she's "big" but not too big that she still finds time to personally take care of her own account like she does.

Last up, the one I just finished tonight, was All Broke Down, a Rusk University novel, by Cara Carmack.  This is a series I'm so excited about and really love the characters that Carmack has created.  They're all intertwined in this small college town and continue to show up in each of the books.  The next one isn't even out until Spring but I'm so excited for it.  From what I read on her personal blog, she's only slated at this point for 3 books but I'm hoping (praying!) that she'll be able to continue so that several of the beloved characters will have their own story.

It's really hard to even say which of these would be my favorite because they all offered so many different things as far as reading goes.  I've got a couple more on my plate to read next, including First PositionOne Year Love, and Letting Go.  More to come soon!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Funny Funny HAHAHAHA!

I haven't made the time to sit and blog this week and I apologize for that.  I have lots to fill you all in on too!  But let me get my thoughts gathered before I do.  While you're eagerly awaiting my BIG NEWS... here's a little something to entertain you.