Monday, March 19, 2018

Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3) by Sarah J. Maas

🌟🌟🌟🌟 out of 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Celaena has survived deadly contests and shattering heartbreak―but at an unspeakable cost. Now, she must travel to a new land to confront her darkest truth . . . a truth about her heritage that could change her life―and her future―forever. Meanwhile, brutal and monstrous forces are gathering on the horizon, intent on enslaving her world. Will Celaena find the strength to not only fight her inner demons, but to take on the evil that is about to be unleashed?

The bestselling series that has captured readers all over the world reaches new heights in this sequel to the New York Timesbest-selling Crown of Midnight. Packed with heart-pounding action, fierce new characters, and swoon-worthy romance, this third book will enthrall readers from start to finish.

So, this is the third book in the Throne of Glass series. It has taken me a little while to get back into reading the series again after the second book because I haven't really been in a fantasy mood. This book was just as good as the previous two books although Heir of Fire is significantly longer. I would say carve out more time in your schedule if you are planning on reading this. 
Aelin/Celaena becomes even more awesome in Heir of Fire. In the previous book we see her researching magic and trying to figure out what the king is up to. In Heir of Fire, we already know a large portion of the King's plan but we also find out more of the evil he plans to unleash on the world. Celaena meets up with her aunt Maeve (She's an awesome relative that will help her right? Wrong!) in order to find out more about the Wyrdkeys and how to destroy them but she must first be worthy of entering Doranelle...enter Rowan. He is her trainer for all things magic and she can only enter Doranelle if he gives the okay. He was an interesting addition to the series. He was able to relate to Celaena due to having lost those close to him as well. I didn't really like him at first but he grew on me towards the end of the book. He was a bit gruff which is similar to how Celaena seems to be when she meets new people. I am hoping that nothing romantic happens between them because I enjoy the friendship that they have. I think that she needs more friends rather than more romantic entanglements. However, I see that Aedion is a very distant relative (So distant that they aren't really related) and I would not mind Celaena getting together with him. He was so awesome and such a fierce warrior! I think that they will be able to relate to each other on so many different levels when they meet up. Not to mention, that they already have history with each other and he remains loyal to her no matter what he hears about what she has done in the years that they have been apart. 
I'm not loving Dorian or Chaol anymore. I thought that Dorian might be redeemed for me after having magic in the last one because I thought that it would make him more invested in trying to better the world but that is not the case. He was so whiny in this book! Dorian complained about his friends not telling him things and not wanting magic. I think that he will be awesome in the next book after what happened between he and his father at the end of Heir of Fire. I'm really excited to see what becomes of him after that. Chaol on the other hand is invested in what is going on but not so invested that he can pick a side. He constantly says and thinks that he can remain on the outside while the lines are drawn in the side between the King and Celaena. Chaol also doesn't seem to truly love Celaena. Dorian says something in the book about not picking and choosing which parts of her to love and I believe that is right on the money with what Chaol is doing. I really hope that Celaena does not end up with either of them because neither of them are suited for her. 
Celaena grows and heals a ton over the course of this book. It is clear that the loss of her friend still pains her but it turns into a dull ache by the end. She begins the book by wishing that her life would end and thinking of herself as an assassin rather than a queen. She appears to have no interest in that title but I think that a huge purpose of this book was to help her grow into that title. I think that in order to beat the King at his own game it is important for her to take up her title and become the queen that she was meant to be. 
This book had a slow start but picked up speed as the story progressed. It was more focused on the character development and introducing new characters that will be key players in the war that will ultimately happen between the King and Celaena. I wasn't sure of the purpose of Manon's point of view besides hinting more about what the King has planned for the war that will take place. Her point of view was interesting but I'm not sure that it was necessary. It threw me off and it was clear that by the end of Crown of Midnight that the witches were going to find out that someone killed the Yellowlegs witch. 

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Harley & Rose by Carmen Jenner

🌟🌟 out of 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Ever since she was a little girl, thirty-year-old Rose dreamed of the day Harley would carry her across the threshold on their honeymoon. So what if this isn’t her actual wedding day, and that she’s only here because Harley was left at the altar just a few hours earlier?

Trading San Francisco for paradise and swapping her bridesmaid’s bouquet for a Blue Hawaii, Rose hopes she can finally escape the friend zone.

Once upon a time they had been more than friends, but life got in the way. She’s spent every day since wishing Harley would get a clue.

She’s always been his best friend.

He’s always been hers.

She’s in love with him.

He’s... not in love with her.

He’s... marrying someone else.

He’s... hiding something.

He’s... well—it’s complicated.

I kept seeing this book pop up everywhere and it had a good rating so I decided to read it. I thought that the book had an interesting plot at the beginning. I was intrigued by the concept of having a man who was left at the alter go on his honeymoon with his best friend who is in love with him. I could see how there could be heartache and angst. The book began interesting enough although it felt a bit repetitive with Rose having the same inner monologue of "this is a terrible situation for me but I have to help my friend". I thought that the sole focus of the book would be each of them coming to terms with their feelings over the course of the honeymoon but I was wrong. The book continues and switches from past to present with Rose being the main point of view. The pacing of the book felt off the entire way through after the honeymoon and I attribute part of that to her running hot and cold with Harley and vice versa. I don't feel like anything in this story was ever truly resolved. It had me feeling like I had emotional blue balls by the end because it teased at things so many times but nothing happens. There are so many things that don't add up for me like why Harley was getting married in the first place. 

Friday, March 16, 2018

Brighter Than the Sun (Cosmic Love #2) by Briana Pacheco

🌟🌟🌟🌓 out of 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

I loved love. Some might even say I was obsessed with it. I was the girl who had a fake wedding when I was six and subscribed to bridal magazines by sixteen. My happily ever was all I thought about.

So the fact that I had a crush on my brother’s best friend--a guy who notoriously doesn’t do relationships--was heartbreak in the making. I was forced to do the only thing I could--ignore my feelings and move on.

Years later, after countless failed relationships, my shy heart had slowly stepped away from its fanciful ideas of love. It was going smoothly until the guy who didn’t do relationships suddenly wanted to try having one…with me. It didn’t take long before I gave in. He was exactly how I imagined, and everything I'd dreamed about: goofy, smart, good with animals, and kind.

Still, my past break-ups were never far from my mind. I'd always crushed hard and fell fast, and no one ever caught me. But the more time we spent together, the more I started to see a future with him. And what’s shocking was that he saw the same thing as me.

He’s my forever.
I’m his.
This is our love story.

*Received this ARC in exchange for an honest review*

Brighter Than the Sun is still a solid book which is due to Briana Pacheco's ability to weave an amazing story. It may not be my new favorite of her books but it solidified its place in third place of the books I have read from her. 

I love Mackenzie but this book was hard for me to connect with. I think that it was because it has a different feel and tone to it than A Sky Full of Secrets and Let Her Go. There is a lot less angst and it seems to be a lighter story focused more on the love that develops between Blake and Mackenzie. It was too sweet for me and I found that I didn't really like Blake. I think that a lot of readers will find her to be sweet and likable but I couldn't connect with her. I would have liked someone more grounded and less in love with love. 

I loved any part of the book where I got to be in Mac's head. He had an interesting point of view that was refreshing and fun. I knew that I would feel that way because I have loved him since A Sky Full of Secrets. I'm not going to lie...I was secretly a little disappointed that he didn't end up with Luna but Phoenix is amazing. It was exciting to learn more about his home life growing up. I loved getting to meet his parents! His relationship with his father melted my heart and made me love Mackenzie more! I also loved seeing him interact with the animals at the shelter and the children at his job. 

Brighter Than the Sun will be 99c for release day only and is in Kindle Unlimited.

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About Briana Pacheco:
Briana Pacheco is the author of New Adult novels (DON'T LET ME FALL, SOUNDS OF YESTERDAY, A SKY FULL OF SECRETS, and LET HER GO), a twin, a dreamer, a tattoo lover, easily swooned by accents, and a little bit of an extrovert but a whole lot of introvert.

She loves hearing from readers!

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Thursday, March 15, 2018

Dear Aaron by Mariana Zapata

🌟🌟 out of 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Ruby Santos knew exactly what she was getting herself into when she signed up to write a soldier overseas. 

The guidelines were simple: one letter or email a week for the length of his or her deployment. Care packages were optional. 

Been there, done that. She thought she knew what to expect. 

What she didn’t count on was falling in love with the guy.

Dear Aaron is the definition of slow burn. The beginning of the book was interesting. I enjoyed how it began with Ruby writing her first few letters to Aaron through a military pen pal program. I thought that the letter and email format would stop after a while but the majority of the book is written like this with no back and forth dialogue but rather back and forth emails. This wouldn't have bugged me as much if something happened to improve the pacing of the story. There is literally nothing that happens until about 60-70% into the book. I was bored regardless of the jokes and getting to learn more about Ruby and Aaron through their letters to each other. 
I also had a hard time believing that they were in their twenties. Ruby's letters made her come across as a young teenager rather than an adult woman. When the book progressed to the point where they each talk about their ages I was shocked. I actually had to read and reread that page because I didn't believe it. Ruby's maturity level just wasn't right in order for me to believe that she was in her twenties. 
Aaron and Ruby's relationship was sweet and I loved their friendship but I wanted more from the story. They each had issues but the author stuck to the surface of them rather than driving into them. I think that it would have helped with the pacing of the book  as well as the overall story if the author would have spoken about the characters issues more in depth. I was curious about Aaron's life but he is skipped over in favor of Ruby's disastrous dating life. 

What He Doesn't Know (What He Doesn't Know Duet #1) by Kandi Steiner

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 out of 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟


On the northeast side of town, there is a house.

The house was once magical, filled with love and joy and plans for the future. 

Inside its walls are many things that belong to me — my books, the china from my mother on my wedding day, the beautiful cage once home to two birds, now empty, just like me.

And a man.

A man who also belongs to me.

A man I no longer wish to keep.

A man who, no doubt, has not slept, though the sun is rising. Because the house where he waits is where I laid my head to rest every night for eight years. Until last night.

No one who knows me would believe Charlie Pierce, the quiet, bookish girl who never made waves is pulling out of the driveway of a man who isn’t her husband.

But they don’t know me at all.

I don’t even know me.

Not anymore.

They say there are two sides to every story, and I suppose in most cases, that’s true. But the one I live inside of? It has three.

On the northeast side of town, there is a house.

But there is no longer a home. 

*Received this ARC in exchange for an honest review*

When I first heard about this book, I knew that I had to read it! Kandi Steiner has not let me down yet with her books and What He Doesn't Know sounded like it had more angst than the others that I had read. I don't normally gravitate towards stories that involve cheating unless they are done right otherwise I end up hating the characters and the story  but I thought that Kandi could do it justice. The synopsis hooked me in immediately and so did the story when I began reading it. 

This book was so powerful in its emotions and message that it portrayed. My heart broke for Charlie and all that she had been through. I have not personally experienced what she did in the story but the author did such a wonderful job of tapping into that particular type of pain that I felt as if I had. She was by far my favorite character in this story. Charlie tries to do the right thing and to put on a smile for everyone around her but inside she is numb. I hated to see how broken she was and I wanted her to have the love and support that she needed. She was such a sweet person and I enjoyed the interactions that she had with the students in her class. 

Now...for the men in the story. I enjoyed having both of their points of view. It was interesting to be able to be in both of their heads as well as Charlie's. I'm assuming that this part of the story was focusing on Reese and Charlie's side of things and the next installment will focus more on Cameron. I'm not going to lie. I strongly disliked Cameron for a large portion of the book. I had a hard time understanding how he could treat Charlie the way that it did and think that it was okay. Not to mention, the choices he made after the loss the Charlie went through were inexcusable. I know that he is trying to cope with things too but he won't even have a conversation with Charlie. ARGH! I'm still not sure that I like him even after the end of this book but I guess I'll see what he does in the next book and then make my final decision. 
I'm not sure how I feel about Reese either to be honest. I liked him as a character and for Charlie but he didn't make the best decisions either. She is clearly in a vulnerable state and I feel like he may have taken advantage of that to a certain extent. Plus, she is married regardless if it is a happy marriage or not. I felt for Reese because of the loss that he had been through as well. I do feel that I am leaning more on his side than Cameron's just because he seems to genuinely want to help and be helped by Charlie. He seems to understand her and her needs better than Cameron. Although, with the shocking twist at the end of this book, I'm not loving him as much as I did. He has some explaining to do. 

I'm really looking forward to the conclusion of the story because I want to know who Charlie will choose and how the story will progress now that a lot of the cards are on the table. 

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About the Author:
Kandi Steiner is a Creative Writing and Advertising/Public Relations graduate from the University of Central Florida living in Tampa. Kandi works full time as a social media specialist, but also works part time as a Zumba fitness instructor and blackjack dealer.
Kandi started writing back in the 4th grade after reading the first Harry Potter installment. In 6th grade, she wrote and edited her own newspaper and distributed to her classmates. Eventually, the principal caught on and the newspaper was quickly halted, though Kandi tried fighting for her “freedom of press.” She took particular interest in writing romance after college, as she has always been a die hard hopeless romantic (like most girls brought up on Disney movies).
When Kandi isn’t working or writing, you can find her reading books of all kinds, talking with her extremely vocal cat, and spending time with her friends and family. She enjoys beach days, movie marathons, live music, craft beer and sweet wine – not necessarily in that order.

Connect with the Author:
Twitter: @KandiSteiner
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Monday, March 12, 2018

Don't Be Afraid by C.A. Harms

🌟🌟🌟🌟 out of 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Have you ever looked at someone and just knew,
knew that they were put in your life for a reason?
The one person that would be not only your best friend,
but would be your absolute everything?
That’s how I felt the first time I saw him.

That one day when a few little words changed our entire lives forever…

Don’t be Afraid, he said.
Life can change so quickly.
One moment you can be smiling and feeling as if you're walking on clouds and the next, everything you love, everything you treasure crumbles at your feet.

I told him to fight, I told him I needed him.
We needed him.
But there are just some fights that can't be won…

He was my angel then, and he’s still my angel now.
In a way, I believe he’s still looking out for us, giving us a future.
Sometimes it’s as if I can still feel his presence,
guiding us and keeping us safe.

So, I won’t be Afraid.
I'll live. I’ll fight.
It’s what he would have wanted.

I’ll do it for him…

I absolute loved the first half of this book! I loved both Sawyer and Patrick. Their relationship is what many people strive to have and it was beautiful to see. I hated that they were facing something so traumatic that they were powerless against. I cried so much because of the pain and turmoil they felt through each of their perspectives. I was gutted especially when Sawyer and Patrick were talking about the future. I was hoping for a miracle for Patrick. They were each wonderful characters with beautiful hearts. There was no drama in this book other than the roller coaster of emotions that they each cycle through. They are each trying to be strong for each other but at times it is impossible for each of them to accomplish that. I was so happy that they had Gage and family to support them through everything. He was a great character too albeit different from Patrick because we don't get his point of view until later on in the book. Gage is a character that the author never really gives a lot of background on so I wasn't able to form as deep of a connection with him. One of my first thoughts while I was reading this book was of excitement because I thought that this would be a book I would give 5 stars to. The book began so phenomenally!
I was do disappointed to read on in the book and realize that the tone had changed so much that it felt like the second half didn't completely fit with the first half of the story. I love Gage but his place in Sawyer's life just didn't feel believable to me on an emotional level. I found it to be odd and out of place. I'm not sure if it's because of the strong connection that was already established between Sawyer and Patrick at the beginning or if it was because it was too easy and there wasn't enough time taken in order to establish the new connection and chemistry between Gage and Sawyer. I tried so hard to love the rest of the book as much as the first but it just didn't happen. I wanted Patrick back. I wanted to feel those strong emotional connections and heartache again but it just didn't happen. 

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Blackwood by Celia Aaron

🌟🌟🌟 out of 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

I dig. It’s what I do. I’ll literally use a shovel to answer a question. Some answers, though, have been buried too deep for too long. But I’ll find those, too. And I know where to dig—the Blackwood Estate on the edge of the Mississippi Delta. Garrett Blackwood is the only thing standing between me and the truth. A broken man—one with desires that dance in the darkest part of my soul—he’s either my savior or my enemy. I’ll dig until I find all his secrets. Then I’ll run so he never finds mine. The only problem? He likes it when I run.
I think that another reviewer summed this book up best by saying that it was far more tame than was to be expected. I thought that this book would have been more dark and gritty than it turned out to be especially with the subject matter. I wish that the author would have taken it father because I think that the book would have been even better than it was. 
I didn't really like Elise. She seemed to be so fixated on finding the truth that she ran into situations without any regard for herself or others. I thought that she made so many poor choices throughout the book and I couldn't understand how anyone would want to be with her. Garrett was another story entirely. He was an intriguing character from start to finish. I craved more information about him. I know that he may not appeal to everyone who reads this due to his particular sexual interests {WARNING: this book has violence and explicit/intense sex that may be triggers for people} His particular kink just made him even more interesting to me because I haven't read about a character that had that kink before. He seemed like a contradiction to me in a way. He was a gentleman outside of that and cared about others but was very intense when he was interested in someone. 
I thought that the mystery was interesting and it seemed as if the author wanted readers to suspect one of the characters as the villain but I wasn't convinced. I was able to figure it out fairly easily but still found it to be enjoyable. Blackwood was a good book but I think that it would have been even better had Elise been a more likable character and had the mystery been explained more thoroughly. I don't feel like the conclusion was hinted at well enough. It was a great idea but it wasn't taken full advantage of by the author.