NetGalley Challenge 2015I was not going to join one more Challenge this year.  I already have more than enough.  But the 2015 NetGalley Reading Challenge hosted by Fictively.com is exactly what I need right now.  So I joined one final challenge.  No More!

I was recently approved for NetGalley (as I have mentioned before) and was simply overjoyed because I had wanted to be part of NG for the longest time.

To say I went overboard in requests would be an understatement (insert blood red blush here).  I didn’t really expect to be approved for many as a new reviewer, so I hedged my bets by requesting a lot.  Yes, I got declined.  But, I got far, far more approvals.  So now I have a pretty hefty shelf.

When I first started I did not truly understand the importance of the 80% ratio.  Sadly, I do now.  Now when I’ve already made the mistake of asking for too many books at once.  🙁

So I need to fix that mistake and joining the 2015 NetGalley Reading Challenge is going to help me with that.  How?  Well, I have to do the work, but knowing that there are others out there in the blogging world working on the same thing helps mentally.  And I believe reading comments along the way will help me as well.

NetGalley 2015 hardcore level

That’s what level I’m going for.  The highest, perhaps the most difficult – but I’m going for it.  Once I succeed, then I can ask for more books at a more realistic rate.

If you’ve recently thought about joining NetGalley, please don’t make the same mistake I did.  Ask for your books a few at a time, review them then ask for more.  Your ratio number will be much better that way.  🙂

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Break The Spine where we can show off our much anticipated upcoming novel releases.

My pick this week is Viper Game by Christine Feehan.  I think the video speaks for itself as to why I’m looking forward to this one.

This is what I’m waiting for.


Book Blurb:

GhostWalker Wyatt Fontenot knows the price he paid for the secret military experiments that gave him his special catlike abilities. After all, he left his bayou home a healer and came back a killer. While Wyatt and his GhostWalker brother Gator may have known exactly the sort of game they were getting into, Wyatt never anticipated where it would lead — or to whom.

The swamps hold many mysteries, but few are as sinuously seductive as Le Poivre de Cayenne. The woman the locals call Pepper is every bit as enigmatic as the three little girls she’s desperately trying to protect. From what, Wyatt is soon to discover. Right now Pepper needs a man like Wyatt. Passionately. But her secrets are about to take them both deeper into the bayou than either imagined — where desire is the deadliest poison of all.

Viper Game by Christine Feehan

Technically, since this released on January 27, 2015 I don’t have to wait any longer. At the time I wrote up this post I believed the release date was tomorrow, so I’d just get this in under the date – yet I found it on Amazon yesterday.  So I broke the rule just a wee bit. But I cannot wait to start reading it.

Excuse me, I have to head off to the swamp now.  *wink*

 

teaser tuesdayOne of the fun parts of taking part in blog hops (aside from getting to visit new to me blogs) is finding great ways to interact with other book lovers.  This is one:

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

 

“The sun hurts, but it can’t hurt her anymore.”  The child paused, tracing small fingers over the curve of the tombstone.  “She said she couldn’t wait to see the sun rise again, but all the stars are suns and she’d be watching us from them always.”  ~from Eternal Neverland: Steps Before The Fall by Natasha Rogue

 

 

Eternal Neverland Steps Before the Fall

UntouchedI received a copy of Untouched from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review of the novel. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Title: Untouched

Author:  Lauren Hawkeye

Series:  Florence, Arizona (book 1)

Source:  NetGalley

Format:  e-book

Pub. Date:  December 9, 2014

“Alexa Kendrick has no recollection of the car accident that left her scarred and sent her life careening wildly off course. When the half-sister she thought she’d never meet shows up at her door with an invitation to a new life, Alexa finds herself in Florence, Arizona, a town notorious for being populated with more prison inmates than actual citizens…a town that has done its best to hide its own dark secret.

After Ellie is called out of town, she leaves her sister with the keys to her flower shop and Alexa finds herself swapping lives with her sibling: running Ellie’s business, living in the house left to them both by their absentee father…and forging a smoldering relationship with sexy-as-sin penitentiary officer, Nate Fury—a man with his own demons.

But arranging flowers by day and tangling with the only man who has ever seen her real self by night isn’t enough to silence the mysterious panic that fuels Alexa’s dark dreams. When Nate brings home a book written by an inmate, one describing an unspeakable crime, the shackles binding Alexa’s own lost memories begin to shatter. And as the devastating truth comes to light, she realizes that Nate holds the key to unlocking her past, as well as her heart.”

 

The Review of Untouched

Alexa is ready to take her life back.  It’s been a year since the accident, and while her body had healed her memory was no closer to returning.  Sitting on a hillside ledge, looking down at the beauty and color of the landscape of Arizona below her, she wished for her paintbrushes.  A good sign since she hadn’t taken up her brushes since that night.  The night she lost so much of herself.

The need to express herself through her art was strong again.  The cell call to her agent Jia finalized her decision.  It was time, past time to move forward – to whatever life held.

Two days before her momentous decision was made, a stranger asked for her in the chain restaurant where she put in time, or hid from her mother.  Eleanor Kendrick or Ellie.  Her half-sister.  Unknown half-sister.  While the resemblance was hard to deny, even more questions popped into Alexa’s head.  Ellie explained that she had found Alexa’s birth certificate, among other things in a box in their deceased grandmother’s apartment.  It took awhile to track Alexa down but now that she had – well, Ellie just wanted her to know that she existed and that Florence, Arizona wasn’t too far away for a visit.  Ellie walked out of the diner as quickly as she had appeared.  But she left Alexa with a lot to think about.

Alexa’s mother, Tracy had her own reasons for leaving Florence years ago.  Secrets best left uncovered, best left alone.  While she doesn’t want Alexa to go there, she doesn’t stop her or tell her what she should have been told long ago.

Within an hour of arriving in Florence, Alexa found herself holding the keys to her sister’s flower shop, no clue how to make the most simplest of flower arrangements, a place to stay above the shop and the feeling of having survived a tornado.  The whirlwind that was Ellie and her husband drove off to tend to a family situation – leaving Alexa speechless.

Taking refuge in a diner across the street, Alexa sits trying to figure out what to do next.  Trouble is she’s stuck until Ellie returns.  While pondering her options she picks up a pen, pulls a paper napkin towards her and starts to sketch various people in the diner.  As she draws some of the excitement, the color filled enjoyment of drawing once more fills her.

Seated across the diner from Alexa is a man, probably a prison guard by the look of his uniform. He looks like the world is on his shoulder, as he glances up and nods in her direction Alexa is surprised by the sudden awareness, attraction even between them.  His sadness is worn like a second skin, and Alexa begins to sketch him.  Nate Fury.

Two people broken by circumstances beyond their control.  Together can they become strong, whole again?  With a mystery to solve and secrets to uncover only time will tell.

And from here, you will have to read the book.  I’ve given you enough to whet your curiosity to find out what happens next.  You won’t be disappointed.

My Opinion of Untouched

I’m not usually a big fan of the instantly fall in love within hours type of love story.  I suppose it could happen.  I’d believe lust at first sight more.  But for these two wounded souls it works.  It surprisingly does work.  Because as the story goes on they will need to hold onto each other.

The story is interspaced with Alexa’s color, seeing items, people, scenery through her color filled, color described eyes.  It gave a subtle touch of someone coming out of the darkness into the richness of the world and life once again, as though everything had been shaded and muted, now it bloomed.

While there were a few times I wanted to shake these characters into making different decisions, the story line was right for them.

Overall, I really enjoyed Untouched and am looking forward to the next novel in the series.

Silver DeceptionsSilver Deceptions was originally written by Deborah Martin (a pseudonym of Sabrina Jeffries)

  • Series: Restoration (Book 2)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books; Reprint edition (December 30, 2014)
  • Genre:  Historical Romance
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1476761051
  • ISBN-13: 978-1476761053
  • Source: given to me by a friend

In New York Times bestselling author Sabrina Jeffries’s classic, revised novel, originally written as Deborah Martin, London Theater’s newest actress is determined to find out secrets about her past.

“Arriving in a cloak of mystery, London Theater’s newest actress, Annabelle Taylor, quickly became known as “The Silver Swan.” While she loved performing for her adoring audiences every night, Annabelle secretly longed to draw out the aristocratic father who abandoned her and her mother years ago.

Sent to unmask her identity, Colin Jeffreys, Marquis of Hampden, had only his dashing good looks and desirable kisses to use as bait. Sparring with wit and half-truths, Colin and Annabelle soon realized what they truly wanted was a night of passion. But when Annabelle’s vengeful quest traps her in a nest of deceit and treachery, she realizes she must place her faith in Colin—a man she doesn’t trust, but can’t resist.”

First of all this is a reprint edition of Silver Deceptions written by Deborah Martin… or Sabrina Jeffries as she is also known.  I found it highly amusing, but haven’t seen any review mention the odd, tongue-in-cheek fact that our hero’s last name is also Jeffreys (at the time of the first release only Deborah Martin’s name appeared with this novel.  🙂  Just a fun coincidence I guess. *wink*

I had read Deborah Martin’s novels before (long time Historical Romance reader here) but I do not remember this one.  I really enjoyed this novel and would highly recommend it to anyone who loves Historicals, Romance and Intrigue styled novels.

Please read on for my review of Silver Deceptions.  No true spoilers, promise.

heartMost book websites, be they blogs or huge book collection sites, use a rating system.  Usually this system is a 1 to 5 star review.

I want to say this upfront.  This is a totally “my opinion” post.  It’s not an argument, or a rant or a slap on the wrist.  It is totally my opinion.

I was over on NetGalley yesterday, going through my books.  I’m often curious about the authors of the novels we read and review.  Because they do something I cannot… create an entire world for me to take a peek into for awhile.

Clicking on an author’s page I discovered a post they made on their blog.  A heart-wrenching post that really made me think of what exactly my role is.  You know that old saying about something being one man’s junk is another man’s treasure?  That is my point.

As someone who loves to read and in addition, pass those opinions about what I read on to you, I believe I have some rights.

I have the right:

  • to read whatever I please – I’m the one putting in the time out of my life to get lost in an author’s world.
  • to tell others about what I, personally, thought about that novel
  • to not finish a novel that just wasn’t that interesting – to me

In my opinion – I do not have the right:

  • to call someone’s work a piece of crap not worth the paper it’s written on
  • to claim that an author is an idiot because of how they chose to create their world or how the people in their world react
  • to make personal attacks on an author because I, personally, don’t like their work

You may disagree with me and that’s fine.  Just about everything we do as review sites is give our opinion on things.

I’m simply suggesting that as we write and post our opinions we remember:

  • authors know how to use Google and can find any review about their work in a keystroke
  • there is a live, feeling person reading our words about their project – and words can wound
  • to keep our opinions to what we read and not cutting apart the one who wrote what we read

No, I’m not saying go all gooey, and kumbaya over every book read and reviewed. There are a lot of books that simply are not to my taste, that doesn’t mean that someone else wouldn’t love it.  There are books that I did not finish, I wasn’t enjoying the experience and there is too little time as it is to read all the books I want to without wasting time on something that I’m not being entertained by.  I simply don’t review that book.

Today I’m thinking about authors whose work I love, collect and look forward to their next book with anticipation.  What if my favorite authors early works were ripped apart as a piece of crap?  What if they were so devastated by a review that they gave up believing that they had no talent?  When I think of the worlds that I have been allowed entry into, the fictional people I have met and cared about how their story ended — and I might have lost that experience because of someone’s really nasty opinion about the author’s work…

It makes me stop and think.

~*~

(th heart graphic used was found and credited to:  Here

Witches & Witchcraft Challenge 2015 largeThe 2015 Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge is hosted by Melissa’s Eclectic Bookshelf once again.

Paranormal Romance is one of my favorite genres.  The stories are usually equally romantic and magical… with an evil to fight and overcome tossed in.  What’s not to enjoy about that?  🙂

I’ve jumped into several challenges this year, mainly for the pure fun of it.  I’m going to be reading, I might as well get some additional enjoyment out of it.

I have several re-read reviews planned for the blog this year.  And some of the Challenges (this is one) allow for crossover reading.  So I get to visit with “old friends” in books that I enjoyed and have them count toward other totals.  It’s a win-win!  It’s also a great way to discover novels that I might not know about and other book blogs as well simply by checking out the sign-up links or following the reviews posted about books read for this Challenge.

If this sounds like something you’d enjoy follow the graphic link over to the sign up page.  The rules are very simple – and hey, you’re going to be reading anyway.  :

Crouching Tiger Forbidden Vampire

The exotic title of this novel caught my attention first.  Anything with the word “vampire” in it is an auto-read for me.

  • Series: Love at Stake (Book 16)
  • Title:  Crouching Tiger, Forbidden Vampire
  • Author:  Kerrelyn Sparks
  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Avon (December 30, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062107771
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062107770
  • Aquired by: Given to me by a friend

From Goodreads:

Russell wakes from a coma to find he’s become a vampire. Now he has a thirst for revenge. Determined to hunt down the master vampire who turned him, he’s used to working alone . . . until he meets Jia. She is after the same vampire for murdering her parents and insists she can help Russell on this mission. Reluctantly, he agrees, and sets up some ground rules:

Rule #1: Their partnership is strictly business. If he holds her a little too close . . . if she looks at him with those exotic eyes . . . well, that has to stop.

Rule #2: He’s in charge. Jia isn’t used to taking orders and questions every move he makes. So he stops her the only way he knows how.

Rule #3: Don’t fall in love. But the kiss that was supposed to quiet her awakens something else in him . . . something forbidden. Because Jia is engaged. To someone else.

I just wish I had realized sooner (since this was given to me by a friend who passes on her reads) that this is the conclusion to the Love At Stake series.  *sigh*  I do not believe you really need to have read the entire series first, but it would be a far better experience in my opinion.  I enjoyed the story and could get the basics of the previous tone of the series.  I simply would have preferred to start at the beginning.

With that understanding – continue on for my review of Crouching Tiger, Forbidden Vampire.  No true spoilers ahead, promise.  🙂

StackingTheShelves

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!

My Haul for the week of Jan. 18 – 24, 2015

Usually my reading and reviewing tastes lean toward Romance in any genre.  It’s easy to find a love story just about anywhere.  But this week I went looking for specific novels for a Challenge I’m taking part in, so my picks are not the usual ones for me.  🙂  My haul isn’t huge this week.  But what I did pick up I’m looking forward to.

The Watchers D. KoontzThe Watchers by Dean Koontz

“From a top secret government laboratory come two genetically altered life forms. One is a magnificent dog of astonishing intelligence. The other, a hybrid monster of a brutally violent nature. And both are on the loose…Bestselling author Dean Koontz presents his most terrifying, dramatic and moving novel: The explosive story of a man and a woman, caught in a relentless storm of mankind’s darkest creation…”

I entered a Horror Reading Challenge last week.  And ever since I’ve been trying to remember the horror classics that I once read constantly.  Dean Koontz’s The Watchers came to mind.  I loved the book, but details were sketchy so I decided to pick up a Kindle edition. (the nice part is that this covers another re-read challenge too – love it when that happens)

 

Rushed B. HarmonRushed by Brian Harmon

“Eric can’t remember the recurring dream that keeps waking him in the middle of the night with an overwhelming urge to leave, yet he spends each day feeling as if he desperately needs to be somewhere. With no idea how to cure himself of this odd compulsion, he decides to let it take its course and go for a drive, hoping that once he proves to himself that there is nowhere to go, he can return to his normal life. Instead, he finds himself hurled headlong into a nightmare adventure across a fractured Wisconsin as the dream reveals itself one heart-pounding detail at a time.”

Any time I’m on the Kindle pages at Amazon I have to check out the “free” book downloads.  It’s often a great way to read the start of a series or a new to me author.  I found Rush (Book 1) and that qualifies as horror read number 2, plus new to me author challenge too.

 

The Paranormal 13And finally, also at an amazing “free” price I picked up 13 Paranormals  which I realize will be the lead-in story to 13 paranormal series.  But that’s okay, it gives me a chance to find out if I want to buy any of the rest of the series novels.

 

That’s it for this week.  Not a big haul, but enough to keep me reading late into the night when most Horror and Paranormal novels would take me anyways.  🙂

FeatureFollowParaAlisonThe Feature & Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee’s View and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it’ll allow us to show off more new blogs!

This week’s Featured Blog is Askerisk Pearl

Question of the Week: Do you post your reviews anywhere besides your blog? Where else do you post reviews? – Suggested byA Great Read

For me:  I originally only posted on my blog (which I regret doing only that for so long) – now I’m beginning to post recommendations and reviews on Goodreads, NetGalley as well as here at home.  I do have a Keeper Bookshelf at blogspot, but hesitate to use it due to confusion – still debating on that one. I plan to start putting up short reviews on books I’ve read on Amazon, that is my major project to begin next week. Right now my main concern is not to just copy and paste to drop the same review in all places, but to change each just a bit to be unique.  Maybe that’s not really necessary, but I feel that each deserves to be a bit different due to the amount of space available. (actually this week’s question is awesome because I had put up a post of my own recently asking this same question)

Since I cannot have GFC on this blog I’d love a follow on bloglovin’  🙂  Thanks

Bloglovin buttonFetureFollowbloglovin

 

And now on to the fun part – visiting other blogs.  🙂

 

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