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Review: House of Whispers by J.L. Bryan

Posted October 27, 2016 by Lily B in Reviews / 13 Comments

Review:  House of Whispers by J.L. BryanHouse of Whispers by J.L. Bryan
Series: Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper #5
Published by J.L. Bryan on October 2nd 2015
Genres: Ghosts, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 215
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Author
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4.5 Stars

I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The luxurious Lathrop Grand Hotel is a Savannah institution that has entertained guests for more than a century and a half, offering some of the finest accommodations in the city. Famously haunted, the hotel draws tourists from around the world eager to encounter its numerous ghosts. The hotel is also known for being honeycombed with hidden doors and secret passages, enabling staff to appear and disappear quickly as they attend to the hotel's guests.
Now some of the spirits in the Lathrop Grand have turned violent, even murderous. Ellie and Stacey must determine which ghost has become dangerous and remove it from the hotel before it can claim any more lives. They soon learn the hotel has secrets even darker than the notorious string of nineteenth-century murders that made it famous, and the powerful entities inhabiting it don't intend to leave without a fight.

The luxurious Lathrop Grand Hotel in Savannah is notoriously known for being one of the most famously haunted hotels at it’s time, drawing tourists around the world who are eager to experience the encounter of its numerous ghosts. When these encounters turn deadly, Ellie and Stacy are commissioned by the management to help remove the ghosts before they claim any more lives.

What I liked

  • I really loved that Bryan is branching out and taking Ellie and Stacy places that are no longer just client houses, but other properties. In the last one he took us for a ride on a ghost train and in this installment we get to explore the dark history behind Lathrop Hotel and not only its famous ghosts but the dark secrets that have been buried with for years.
  • While reading, I had a thought and did a bit of research, I came to wonder if perhaps the basis of this story was influenced by the famous Marshall House, whose history upon a little research I have come to realize is eerily similar to Bryan’s version in the book. If so, I wonder how many other haunted places in Savannah have influenced his works. I find it very fascinating and it makes me want to dig around a bit in the history of Savannah. I do know that Bryan’s ghost stories are original and even if they are based on the history of a real location, he expands on that basis and makes it into a very engrossing read that is difficult to put down.
  •   This book is probably one of my favorite yet. It is dark, it is scary, and it’s hard to read with the lights out. The ghosts that Ellie and Stacy were investigating were sinister and came with a lot of packages. But the history and the plot that Bryan wove into the story just really made this book for me.
  •   We get introduced to the agency that is thinking of buying Calvin’s and the two people that I think will become significant in Ellie’s life her boss goes forward with the move.

 

What didn’t I like

  • I am a sucker for romance and even thought it does not play a major part in the books, I still wish that we got a bit more. Something strange happens in the scene with Ellie and Michael when she does meet him and it makes me wonder what kind of a role it will play in the later books.
  • When Ellie and Stacy show up to the Hotel they have to sign a disclosure agreement. The way the manager of the hotel was acting and being pushy about it made me wonder if there was something else too it, but it never went anywhere beyond that.
  •  I was a bit thrown off by how Ellie had come to the conclusion of who the bad guy was with all of these ghosts running around because the baddie wasn’t really talked about much through the book. It made me pause and left me wondering what happened there. The whole ending had once again made me feel like it had faltered, just like it had in the last book. I am not sure what is going on. I loved these stories because the ghosts up until the last two books have sounded realistic and that is what made them creepy. The whole showdown with the end boss (heh, see what I did there?) felt a bit cartoonish at times and not what I have come to expect from Bryan’s work. I hope there will be an improvement with endings because I am enjoying the books, oh so very much and cannot wait for more.

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City of the Lost by Kelley Armstrong

Posted October 22, 2016 by Lily B in Reviews / 16 Comments

City of the Lost by Kelley ArmstrongCity of the Lost by Kelley Armstrong
Series: Casey Duncan, #1
Published by Minotaur Books on May 3rd 2016
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
Pages: 416
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars
Heat:one-half-flames

Casey Duncan is a homicide detective with a secret: when she was in college, she killed a man. She was never caught, but he was the grandson of a mobster and she knows this crime will catch up to her. Casey's best friend, Diana, is on the run from a violent, abusive ex-husband. When Diana's husband finds her, and Casey herself is attacked shortly after, Casey knows it's time for the two of them to disappear again.
Diana has heard of a domestic violence support town made for people like her, a town that takes in people on the run who want to shed their old lives. You must apply to live in Rockton and if you're accepted, it means walking away entirely from your old life, living off the grid in the wilds of Canada: no cell phones, no Internet, no mail, no computers, very little electricity, and no way of getting in or out without the town council's approval. As a murderer, Casey isn't a good candidate, but she has something they want; she's a homicide detective, and Rockton has just had its first real murder. She and Diana are in. However, soon after arriving, Casey realizes that the identity of a murderer isn't the only secret Rockton is hiding - in fact, she starts to wonder if she and Diana might be in even more danger in Rockton than they were in their old lives.
An edgy, gripping crime novel from bestselling writer, Kelley Armstrong, City of the Lost boldly announces a major new player in the crime fiction world.

Guys, I am totally kicking myself for not picking up a Kelley Armstrong book sooner. I picked up City of the Lost on the whim, I read the blurb, it caught my attention and I really wanted a good thriller. I know a lot of you have given Armstrong a lot of praises, so I can’t say I haven’t been curious what the fuss is about. What I got in return, I couldn’t have asked for more, mixed in with some really amazing writing and I was completely sold.

Casey Duncan is a homicide detective that has killed a man when she was in college, and not just any man but a grandson of a local mobster. She knows that eventually her secrets will catch up to her, but that does not seem to stop her from tempting fate.

Now with Casey’s best friend is in trouble. Her violent and abusive ex is back in town and she just can’t seem to shake her. When Diana gets attacked in Casey’s apartment and Kurt get’s shot by one of the mobster men, Casey is forced to make them disappear. Leaving behind her job as well as her casual partner Kurt.

The blurb had me at the mention of a city where people go to disappear. I thought that sounded extremely interesting and I was wondering how Armstrong was going to manage that. Casey couldn’t believe that a place like that exists, but she is proven wrong when she arrives in Rockton with the help from the local Sheriff Eric Dalton.

Eric doesn’t want her there. He wasn’t completely buying her story about Diana since Casey has no proof from the hospital that Diana was abused. Plus, Casey herself has committed murder and he doesn’t want people like her in his town. But Eric needs a detective and Rockton’s council kind of bends his arm into taking Casey in – so he puts her on probation for six months.

Casey arrives in town just in time for another murder and secrets of the town and the wilderness keep me on the edge of my seat the entire time.

Wow… just wow.. I cannot express how much I loved this. It was so engrossing, it was so original and it was in it’s way creepy. There were secrets, there were settlers in the woods and people called hostiles. There was mention of cannibalism and an interesting mystery. Also, because Rockton is such a remote town in the middle of nowhere, we get to see the darker side of people when they don’t believe in consequences, something primal and scary that came from this. These people can suddenly be someone new, and leave the old selves behind letting the remoteness take over their beings. And since the ratio of men and women doesn’t match – there is also a bordello!

Okay, so I might have figured out who the killer is at around half way into the book. But, I was okay with that because there was just so much more going on. There is even a romance, but it’s kind of a subplot and doesn’t take over the entire book. Still, the romance was fantastic. I really loved Casey with the way she was around Dalton, she really bought something out in him. Dalton has an air of mystery on his own and it made me want to learn more about him.

I was confused about Diana and the way her character has changed so much, Armstrong also puts a strong spin on her story-line. I found that I didn’t like her character to begin with and by the end of the book, I hated her extremely.

One thing for sure, you cannot get attached to the people who live in Rockton. With the killer on the loose, you never know what will happen next and Kelley does not shy away from making sure that the reader gets the full experience.

When the big reveal happened, I wasn’t completely surprised I was just surprised by why and the confrontation was a bit odd to me and almost felt out of character. I forgave this because Armstrong still took us on a wild ride and since this is a series I am super giddy to see what happens next. I absolutely adored the setting, it played such a major part in this story.

I feel like I am going through a withdrawal, the worse part is the second book won’t be here till Febraury. Oh well, she has a ton of other books for me to explore that I think I will really enjoy. I am sorry the review was so long winded, but I was excited and had a lot to say. There is cursing, alcohol abuse and possibly sensitive subjects, so read at your own discretion.

Like thrillers? Like Armstrong? Did not read this one yet? What are you waiting for?

Memorable Quotes

He catches my expression, shakes his head, and says, “Ever heard of those amazing devices called DVDs?”

“Sure, but what do you play them on up here?”

“Tree stumps. If you carve them out just right and get ground squirrels to run around them really fast, you can project moving pictures on a wall.”

“Yeah, yeah.”

 

 

 

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Terminal by J.L. Bryan

Posted October 19, 2016 by Lily B in Reviews / 22 Comments

Terminal by J.L. BryanTerminal by J.L. Bryan
Series: Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper #4
Published by www.jlbryanbooks.com on May 4th 2015
Genres: Ghosts, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 211
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars

Ellie Jordan and her apprentice Stacey investigate a house in an elaborate planned community that was only half-built before it went bankrupt, leaving an instant ghost town with only a few residents. The entity haunting this house is a banshee that feeds on sadness and misery.
Unfortunately for Ellie, this is no simple haunting, but just one symptom of the cursed land on which the suburban community was built. The old railroad line running through the nearby woods might just be a conduit for lost souls, including dark spirits with ill intentions toward the living. Ellie soon finds herself facing one of the most complex and difficult hauntings she’s seen in her career.

Ellie and Stacy are investigating a house of a young couple with a baby on the way, living in a community that was never fully developed. Ellie suspects that the ghost might be a banshee and is feeding off on the soon to be mother because of her delicate state.

It should have been a simple haunting, but Ellie and Stacy soon find that the situation is a bit more complicated. Near the failed development runs an old railroad through the woods, a ghost train, lost souls and dark spirits that can be harmful to the hand full of people living nearby.

Wow, what a thrilling ride. Bryan has done it again with this new installment that focuses on a much more complicated haunting that takes the duo out of the house and into their surroundings. I love the creepy, atmospheric setting of the woods, the ghost train and the mystery behind what happened when a train robber went wrong.

I thought this was a very nice addition to the series and I liked how the story branched out and that it wasn’t just a regular house haunting. As always Bryan does an amazing job putting together an interesting background story of what happened to the people on the train and I found the entire thing exciting and fascinating. It made me eagerly flip through my kindle pages to see how it all turned out.

As much as I absolutely adored the story and train robbers and how it connected, I was a bit rattled by the ending. It felt a bit strange, too convenient, too random, as if Bryan wasn’t sure where he was going with it and just threw it all together the last minute. I was left with more questions than answers. Out of all the times she had spent trapping ghosts, why did it happen this way now? The whole resolution with the main baddie ghost was just odd and I have a feeling that whatever it was that Ellie saw that night might not get addressed in later books. I hope that Bryan will prove me wrong in that regard.

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Death Masks by Jim Butcher

Posted October 10, 2016 by Lily B in Reviews / 35 Comments

Death Masks by Jim ButcherDeath Masks by Jim Butcher
Series: The Dresden Files, #5
Published by Roc on August 5th 2003
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Pages: 378
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Heat:two-half-flames

Harry Dresden, Chicago's only practicing professional wizard, should be happy that business is pretty good for a change. But now he's getting more than he bargained for:
A duel with the Red Court of Vampires' champion, who must kill Harry to end the war between vampires and wizards...
Professional hit men using Harry for target practice...
The missing Shroud of Turin...
A handless and headless corpse the Chicago police need identified...
Not to mention the return of Harry's ex-girlfriend Susan, who's still struggling with her semi-vampiric nature. And who seems to have a new man in her life.
Some days, it just doesn't pay to get out of bed. No matter how much you're charging.

Harry is back in the fifth installment of The Dresden Files and the stake seem higher than ever. He is commissioned by a priest to recover the missing Shroud of Turin, but on top of that, he is in a battle with the Red Court. The vampires still want to see him dead after what he did to the Red Court and a vampire named Ortega has challenged him to a duel to the death.

This was an interesting installment. I really enjoy Jim Butchers work and when I am in a slump reading I always find myself gravitating towards The Dresden Files. There is just something about the series that captivates me. Let it be the fast paced style of the book, the noir style, or the one liners that make me smirk – there is always some form of trust that I will walk away enjoying what I got.

I love Harry and his development is progressing within the series. I also enjoy the repeat appearance of the Knights of the Cross and Murphy. We seemed to have missed out on Bob in this book, which breaks my heart a little, but no big deal.

I love Harry and I love his approach to his world with his humor. I also adore the way he seems to care about the people close to him, even if it gets him almost killed like all the time.

The book has a familiar motion that seems to follow Jim Butcher’s style of writing, but I don’t hate it. There is a lot going on, a lot. Storylines intertwine, old characters come out to play, new characters reveal themselves, and the world continues to build on quite nicely.

I was a bit confused by the ending and how Harry found out who the bad guy is, but that can stem from the fact that I picked up the book in the middle after months of it just sitting on my shelf. Also, this one felt a bit more darker. Harry was dealing with demons and sacrifices and there was a bit of gruesomeness that left me cringing. Despite all that, i really had a fun ride and I continue my love and enjoyment of this series.

Memorable Quotes

“It came charging toward me, several hundred pounds of angry-looking monster, and I did the only thing any reasonable wizard could have done.
I turned around and ran like hell.”

“How long have you been a Wiccan?’
‘A what?’
‘A pagan. A witch.’
‘I’m not a witch,’ I said, glancing out the door. ‘I’m a wizard.’
Sanya frowned. ‘What is the difference?’
‘Wizard has a Z’
He looked at me blankly.
‘No one appreciates me.’ I muttered.”

“Michael, are you wearing the armor?”

“I am wearing the armor,” Michael said. “And the cloak.”

“Hello, Michael. We’re going to an airport. The Kind with metal detectors.

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Review: The Crawling Darkness by J.L. Bryan

Posted October 8, 2016 by Lily B in Reviews / 12 Comments

Review:  The Crawling Darkness by J.L. BryanThe Crawling Darkness by J.L. Bryan
Series: Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper #3
Published by Self-published on February 5th 2015
Genres: Ghosts, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 222
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Author
Rating: 4.5 Stars

I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Ghost removal specialist Ellie Jordan must face a dangerous, shape-shifting entity that she and Calvin have encountered once before, with tragic results. The spirit has the power to reach into the minds of living and feed on their fears, taking the shape of their worst nightmares, and it has awoken in search of new victims.
Now Ellie must try to succeed where she and her mentor failed before, and try to defeat the twisted and powerful old ghost before it can claim another soul for its collection.

Stacy and Ellie are back, but this time they are square off against a ghost that Ellie and Calvin have faced and failed to capture in the past. The ghost is dangerous, it feeds off people’s biggest fears and it seems to pry on the weakest the most, like children. Worse is the fact that it disappeared on the night that Calvin and Ellie had tried to capture him, hurt Calvin and is now years later moved into a new home.

Ellie must find a way to stop the ghost and get rid of it for good. It won’t be easy since years of darkness had turned the ghost into something dark, creepy and unidentifiable with the person this creature once was.

I enjoyed this, it was extremely creepy, but well done. This one really brought chills up my spine, and made the darkness of the night even more scary. In its essence, this was the story of a boogeyman and the history was not only interesting but disturbing. There is a lot more evil in the house than Ellie had originally bargained for and it does seem like the case is not yet closed.

We also get to meet Michael in this book, who becomes a sort of love interest of Ellie. I am very excited about the potential here and I loved the connection the two shared. I am looking forward for him appearing in other books, his hobby of restoring old clocks is fascinating.

I’ve been reading a lot of ghost stories lately with it being October and so close to Halloween. I’ll try to slow down and do something different for you guys but these books that I have been picking up are just amazing in writing and the authors have a real way of just sucking you right into that world.

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Review: The Kingdom by Amanda Stevens

Posted October 7, 2016 by Lily B in Reviews / 28 Comments

Review:  The Kingdom by Amanda StevensThe Kingdom by Amanda Stevens
Series: Graveyard Queen #2
Published by Mira on March 27th 2012
Genres: Ghosts, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 376
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Heat:two-flames

Deep in the shadowy foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains lies a dying town.
My name is Amelia Gray. They call me The Graveyard Queen. I've been commissioned to restore an old cemetery in Asher Falls, South Carolina, but I'm coming to think I have another purpose here.
Why is there a cemetery at the bottom of Bell Lake? Why am I drawn time and again to a hidden grave I've discovered in the woods? Something is eating away at the soul of this town, this withering kingdom, and it will only be restored if I can uncover the truth.

Amelia has been commissioned to restore an old cemetery at Asher Falls, South Carolina. When she arrives things take a strange turn and she begins to wonder the real reason she was bought summoned to Asher Falls and why she feels like she is there for a greater purpose. With the way the residents of Asher Fall’s act around her has Amelia wonders that maybe she wasn’t chosen by random to restore to Asher Falls Cemetery.  The land is cursed, Amelia can feel it in her bones as if she is also a part of it. There is a great evil that lurks in the darkness of the mountain and a woman who keeps showing up always in time to save Amelia from trouble.

Wow! If I thought book one was dark and creepy, it doesn’t begin to hold a candle to The Kingdom. It was creepy, with a gothic undertone and it was tenfold more atmospherical. The book also takes on a more evil and paranormal tone over book one and makes it reading late at night that much more chilling. Don’t make that mistake, I did and found that I lost a bit of sleep because of that, hah.

I loved it. I loved everything about this book. Steven’s writing is enthralling and so good. I was so focused on the mystery, so eager to uncover the secrets of Asher Falls, the secrets of the unmarked grave that Amelia stumbled upon and why Amelia is so drawn to this place.

Thought by the end things unraveled rapidly, I was a bit surprised by the amount that was left unsaid. It might be the reason I did not give the book 5 stars and held back. I felt there was quite a bit answers left for the dead along with Asher Falls. I really hope that sometime in the future things will come to light, but I am a bit doubtful. I wanted to know more about the Asher history, their sins, why almost no one bore an heir yet and how the old cemetery ended up under the water.

I do love how the story progressed and we learned a lot about Amelia. Even if Devlin was absent in this book, his present was still strong through Amelia’s inner battle. There was a brief romance between Amelia and Thane Asher, I wanted to feel angry about it because of Devlin, but I knew there was a reason and in the end it was all going to work itself out.

I cannot wait for book 3, I feel like I should take a break and maybe read something else, but I have been so drawn to this series it is really hard to put down. Especially with the mood setting weather that we are currently experiencing.

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Review: The Restorer by Amanda Stevens

Posted October 4, 2016 by Lily B in Reviews / 22 Comments

Review: The Restorer by Amanda StevensThe Restorer by Amanda Stevens
Series: Graveyard Queen, #1
Published by Mira on April 19th 2011
Genres: Ghosts, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 376
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars

My name is Amelia Gray. I'm a cemetery restorer who sees ghosts. In order to protect myself from the parasitic nature of the dead, I've always held fast to the rules passed down from my father. But now a haunted police detective has entered my world and everything is changing, including the rules that have always kept me safe.
It started with the discovery of a young woman's brutalized body in an old Charleston graveyard I've been hired to restore. The clues to the killer, and to his other victims, lie in the headstone symbolism that only I can interpret. Devlin needs my help, but his ghosts shadow his every move, feeding off his warmth, sustaining their presence with his energy. To warn him would be to invite them into my life. I've vowed to keep my distance, but the pull of his magnetism grows ever stronger even as the symbols lead me closer to the killer and to the gossamer veil that separates this world from the next.

With the anticipation of Halloween on the horizon, I’ve been in the mood lately for some creepy ghostly reads. After witnessing several of my blogger friends review a new book by Amanda Stevens, I knew I had to go back to the beginning.

So I was introduced to The Restorer and Amelia Gray. Amelia grew up most of her life centering on graveyards. She also has a secret, she can see the ghosts. In order to protect herself from the dead, her father had passed out a very strict set of rules that she had held on to until John Devlin stepped into her life.

A body was uncovered in the cemetery that Amelia had been commissioned to restore and John thinks that there might be something in her pictures or her knowledge that might have them uncover the killer.

I absolutely enjoyed every bit of this book. It was perfect for the cold, gloomy, rainy days that we just got and made it impossible to put it down. The weather here, coupled with the writing of Stevens has made the book very atmospherically heavy. It added to the mood and the chills and thrills.

I liked Amelia and felt her character was very true to self for someone that was just tossed into a very different world. The connection between her and John makes me especially giddy for the upcoming books. John is haunted, he has his ghost, literally that follow him. It’s against Amelia’s rules to get attached to anyone who is haunted, but an unexplained attraction has both of them pulling towards each other. It complicates things, and really makes me wonder how it will play out.

The book was written well, the mystery was a bit dark, but it was the unexplained and the surroundings that gave me the most chills. I figured out who the killer is half way through the book, but it was still interesting to follow the characters as they unravel the secrets of the death and break the code that the killer keeps sending through the cemetery.

I felt like there was a bit of mystery left in the air about the order that was questioned in the book, and wonder if it is something that will become important or get addressed in other books.

I’ve been very happy lately, just sitting back and picking up books I’ve been in the mood to read, even if they are not ARCs. I’ve been impressed with Steven’s first book and already have the second one waiting to be read.

Memorable Quotes

“Don’t look at him.”

I turned in surprise. “You see him, too?”

“Yes, I see him. Now get back to work.”

“But who is he-”

“I said don’t look at him!”

“Do you mind?” Devlin cut in. “If it’s not too much trouble, I’d like to hear your initial assessment.”

“Of Amelia?” Regina gave me a wink. “Lovely girl, handled herself well on camera.”

“I’m talking about the remains,” he said drily.

“Oh, him. Dead as a doornail.”

“Why did you come here tonight?” I asked softly. “Earlier, you said I need to distance myself from the investigation.”

“And I meant it.”

“Then why are you here?”

“Because I can’t stay away.”

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Review: The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

Posted October 1, 2016 by Lily B in Reviews / 43 Comments

Review: The Hating Game by Sally ThorneThe Hating Game by Sally Thorne
Series: Stand-alone
Published by William Morrow Paperbacks on August 9th 2016
Genres: Romance
Pages: 384
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 5 Stars
Heat:three-flames

Debut author Sally Thorne bursts on the scene with a hilarious and sexy workplace comedy all about that thin, fine line between hate and love.
Nemesis (n.) 1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome.2) A person’s undoing3) Joshua Templeman
Lucy Hutton has always been certain that the nice girl can get the corner office. She’s charming and accommodating and prides herself on being loved by everyone at Bexley & Gamin. Everyone except for coldly efficient, impeccably attired, physically intimidating Joshua Templeman. And the feeling is mutual.
Trapped in a shared office together 40 (OK, 50 or 60) hours a week, they’ve become entrenched in an addictive, ridiculous never-ending game of one-upmanship. There’s the Staring Game. The Mirror Game. The HR Game. Lucy can’t let Joshua beat her at anything—especially when a huge new promotion goes up for the taking.
If Lucy wins this game, she’ll be Joshua’s boss. If she loses, she’ll resign. So why is she suddenly having steamy dreams about Joshua, and dressing for work like she’s got a hot date? After a perfectly innocent elevator ride ends with an earth shattering kiss, Lucy starts to wonder whether she’s got Joshua Templeman all wrong.
Maybe Lucy Hutton doesn’t hate Joshua Templeman. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.

Oh my god! This book is so good, so good you guys. I picked the book up on the whim when the bloggers that I trust and follow, sang such high praises for it. I knew I had to try it out, and although it started out a little slow for me at first, after 20% I was completely in love.

Anyone who has ever loved romance should give this one a try. Sally Thorne absolutely nails it with her humor and talented story telling. The writing was hysterical, smart, emotionally charged, filled with snarky banter and sexual tension.

Lucy and Josh are both assistants to two CEO’s of two book companies that had merged, Bexley and Gamin. Josh is a Bexley through and through, he is well dressed, he appears well calculated and the staff is scared of him. Lucy is a Gamin, and is quite a bit of a dork – which was one of her redeeming qualities as the book went on. She collects Smurfs, she is from a family who owns a strawberry farm, she is nice and also a bit easy to push around. They share an almost antagonistic relationship that had me laughing through the book.

I will be honest, I didn’t like Lucy as much as I wanted to, but maybe it was because I felt a little protective of Josh – especially when his intentions and feelings were starting to become a bit clearer. I was a little worried that Lucy might be a bit mentally challenged, because I didn’t understand how she kept failing so helplessly at picking these said signals up. I really, really wish Thorne had implanted Josh’s point of view in this book, I think it would have been an A+.

Or as Lucy would have put it;

“I want to know what’s going on in your brain. I want to juice your head like a lemon.”

Her dorky personality did redeem her character for me later on, because it was something I could relate to. But the number of times she wouldn’t stop talking about Josh’s body felt at times over the top.

I loved Josh. I wanted to know what was his story. Josh came off a bit damaged, which was clear by the way he handled himself around Lucy – he didn’t know how to. The moments that Josh did expose himself were sweet, raw and left me with a lot of feeling.

Nor did I understand or fully believe the issue between Josh and his dad and how Lucy handled it, but that’s just a small gripe.

I can’t describe the amount of love I felt for this book, it was nearly perfect. It is now my top favorite read of 2016. I loved the banter, I loved the tension, I loved the hate to love romance. I literally went two days with only a few hours of sleep because I couldn’t stop reading this late into the night. I didn’t want it to end, even if the ending was sweet and near perfect. I am feeling like I am not going through a book withdrawal. This was Thorne’s debut novel and she blew it out of the water and earned herself another loyal fan! I already cannot wait to see what she has in store for us next, even if I am going to miss Josh oh so much.

If you love romance, I highly recommend you read this book if you have not yet. It is worth it. Just take the plunge and let it surprise you, because this book is big must read.

Memorable Quotes

But Clark Kent is such a darling; all bumbling and soft. Joshua is hardly the mild-mannered reporter. He’s a sarcastic, cynical, Bizarro Clark Kent, terrorizing everyone in the newsroom and pissing off poor little Lois Lane until she screams into her pillow at night.

“What are you imagining? Your expression is filthy.”

“Strangling you. Bare hands.” I can barely get the words out. I am huskier than a phone-sex operator after a double shift.

“I love strawberries. So much, you have no idea.” He sounds so kind that I feel a wave of emotion. I can’t open my eyes. He’ll see I have tears in them.

“My evil brain is thinking about grabbing some dinner soon.”

“Mine is thinking about strangling you.”

“I’m thinking if we plunge off a bridge I won’t have to go to this wedding.” He looks at me, perhaps only half joking.

 

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Review: Second Chance Summer by Jill Shalvis

Posted September 28, 2016 by Lily B in Reviews / 34 Comments

Review:  Second Chance Summer by Jill ShalvisSecond Chance Summer by Jill Shalvis
Series: Cedar Ridge, #1
Published by Grand Central Publishing on June 30th 2015
Genres: Romance
Pages: 368
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Heat:three-flames

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

RESCUE ME
Cedar Ridge, Colorado, is famous for crisp mountain air, clear blue skies, and pine-scented breezes. And it's the last place Lily Danville wants to be. But she needs a job, and there's an opening at the hottest resort in her hometown. What has her concerned is the other hot property in Cedar Ridge: Aidan Kincaid-firefighter, rescue worker, and heartbreaker. She never could resist that devastating smile . . .
The Kincaid brothers are as rough and rugged as the Rocky Mountains they call home. Aidan has always done things his own way, by his own rules. And never has he regretted anything more than letting Lily walk out of his life ten years ago. If anyone has ever been in need of rescuing, she has. What she needs more than anything are long hikes, slow dances, and sizzling kisses. But that can only happen if he can get her to give Cedar Ridge-and this bad boy-a second chance . . .

I know, I know I am reviewing these out of order, but I kind of read them out of order. Once I got my taste of Jill Shalvis and My Kind of Wonderful, I knew I had to go back to book 1 and read about the other brother – Aidan.

Once again, I wasn’t left disappointed. Jill Shalvis delivered everything I was hoping for in Second Chance Summer. A second chance romance that left me swooning. It was snarky, it was romantic and it was fun. Filled with characters that I have grown to love from the second book, I was eager to find out all the juicy details of the relationship between Aidan and Lily.

Lily bailed on Cedar Ridge years ago after her sister’s and father’s death. Feeling like it was all her fault, she never looked back, leaving Aidan Kincaid in dust and confused.

Now, after a scandal leaves her out of a job, she must take what is left of her dignity and come back home. The last thing she ever wanted was to run into Aidan, but as luck would have it, not only did she run into the now sexy firefighter on her first day back in town – but also in the most embarrassing fashion.

Aidan has no idea why Lily left, especially not when everything he thought, was going great between them. She broke his heart and he was hoping the girl would not find a way to shatter the walls back down again. But the attraction pulls them back together, and before he even realizes, he might be the only thing that can help Lily heal and move on from her dark past.

Love this, love this so much. The passion, the banter, the love between the Kincaid clan and especially the romance between Lily and Aidan. The book had me laughing and bought a lot of joy into my heart. It was a great read, it’s even better for those days where you need a pick me up, because Shalvis is just so great and the dialogue, with moments that kind of stick with you long after the book is done.

Aidan really made the book for me. A firefighter with a lot of heart, he was just amazing. The passion and the amount of work he put into his job, his care for saving people is apparent and endearing.

Also, can we just sit back and talk about the prank the brother’s have going between them? Each one gets to pick an embarrassing underwear and the other has to wear it and if called upon, most prove that they are wearing it. Seriously, so amusing.

Anyway, if you haven’t given Jill a shot, I highly recommend her. I cannot wait to get my hands on Jacob’s story.

Memorable Quotes

Mitch grinned at him. “Man, you just had your bones totally jumped by a nearly naked chick. We almost had to resuscitate you. Fireman Asphyxiated by Boobs, news at eleven.”

“How long are you going to pretend you don’t see me?” he asked.

“Forever?” she asked.

Okay, enough of this. “It’s just a set of keys.”

When she still hesitated, he revealed the cookies in his other hand, jiggling them enticingly.

 

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Review: My Kind of Wonderful by Jill Shalvis

Posted September 26, 2016 by Lily B in Reviews / 41 Comments

Review:  My Kind of Wonderful by Jill ShalvisMy Kind of Wonderful by Jill Shalvis
Series: Cedar Ridge #2
Published by Grand Central Publishing on December 22nd 2015
Genres: Romance
Pages: 368
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars
Heat:three-flames

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

UNEXPECTED AND UNDENIABLE...
Bailey Moore has an agenda: skiing in the Rockies, exploring castles in Europe, ballroom dancing in Argentina. Now that she has a second lease on life, she's determined not to miss a thing. What she doesn't realize is that item #1 comes with a six-foot-one ski god hot enough to melt a polar ice cap. She doesn't want to miss out on him either, but Hudson Kincaid isn't the type of guy to love and let go. And as gorgeous as Cedar Ridge is, she's not planning to stick around.
As head of ski patrol at his family's resort, Hud thinks he's seen it all. But never has he run into someone like Bailey. She might look delicate, but her attitude is all firecracker. And her infectious joy touches something deep within him that he's been missing far too long. Now he'll just have to convince Bailey to take a chance on her biggest adventure yet . . . something rare and all kinds of wonderful.

Guys! I cannot believe that as a lover of romances that it took me this long to pick up a Jill Shalvis book. No, really, I am quite embarrassed. Once I read My Kind of Wonderful, which of course I was unable to put down, I have crowned Jill my new Queen of Romance.

Jill’s writing in romance is exactly what I crave.  I love the humor, I love the banter and I absolutely adore the quirky characters that dig their way into your heart.

Bailey and Hudson were the main characters of this book, though the rest of the Kincaid clan pops up in the book – with the exception of Jacob. Hudson was wonderful, even if he does come with a bit of baggage. He feels terrible about what happened between him and his brother Jacob and feels completely and utterly responsible for his mother and her state of mind. Between taking care of his mother, worrying about the whereabouts of his twin brother and taking care of the resort – Hud has no space for anyone in his heart.

Bailey was fantastic. She is a cancer survivor who has a list of things she wants to do in life, especially since she is now free of cancer. She is hired to paint a mural for the Kincaids at the resort, where she runs into Hud. The attraction between the two is crackling, and no sooner do they start a small fling, that quickly develops into something more, a lot more than either of them are willing to admit.

This book was quite a ride. The interaction between the Kincaid clan alone just made the entire journey worthwhile. The way they pick on each other is both endearing and amusing. There is a lot of love there, even if for the most part they are all step-brother’s and sisters. The Kincaids significant others fit into the series perfectly. The book made me laugh, it brought joy into my heart and had me completely hooked. I am now looking forward to more from Jill and I will be reading the books that I have missed out on.

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