Black Swan Affair October 17, 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance
I’ve loved him as long as I can remember.
The gangly boy with big brown eyes and unruly hair who grew up into an intoxicating man. He wears scruff like he invented it and ambles with a swagger that makes panties drop.
We grew up together. We played Ghost in the Graveyard. Had our own rock band. It didn’t matter that he was five years older than me. It didn’t matter that he looked at me as a kid sister even as I grew into woman. It didn’t even matter when he left me behind to go to college and start his adult life.
He’d be back.
He was always meant to be mine.
He came back, all right. But instead of smelling of promises, he stunk of betrayal. And he destroyed me—us—the day he married my sister instead of me.
So I did the only thing a girl like me in my position could do.
I got my revenge.
I married his brother, Kael.
Now we’re one big happy f*cking family.
I’m not sure I’ve ever read a more convoluted story. I’m absolutely sure I’ve never read one with more nicknames.
Maverick (Mavs, Mavericky, Small Fry, Swan) has always been in love with Killian (Shep). He’s in love with her too, they have plans together, until he leaves town to become his ‘own man’ and when he returns it’s with the announcement that he will be marrying Mav’s sister, Jillian (Jilly, half of the “Illians” – yes…she shipped her characters). Killian won’t say why he’s marrying Jillian and in her own childish, snitty, revengeful ways, Maverick decides to to accept a marriage proposal from Killian’s brother Kael, (one of the few characters in the book who is sans a nickname) who has been in love with her for forever.
Got that? Settle in, we’re just getting started.
I think this was supposed to be a story about Maverick finding out what love really is. It was not that for me. What this was for me, was a story about a bunch of selfish and ridiculous people. So, let me break it down for you a little.
Maverick grew up with Kael and his older brother Killian. As said, she has been in love with Killian since she was a girl. However, Kael is her best friend. Always been there for her, no matter what. Here lies my first problem with the story. You don’t marry your best friend, knowing you are in love with someone else. Especially, his own brother. In my opinion, that makes you a horrible person. Kreig writes the story in a way to try to make you see that Kael wooed her, which he did attempt to do. But Maverick is constantly reminding the reader that she still loves Killian. Horrible person. I can’t get past that.
Adding to this horrible person theory, the first time she interacts with her best girl friend, she’s not kind to her either. Thinks about MaryLou’s (ML) voice as being grating and saying she needs a makeover. I had immediate unkind feelings toward Maverick as a character, which makes it very difficult to sympathize with her.
Furthermore, Kael is amazing. Kael seems to be the kind of man everyone should wish for. He was kind and caring and sexy and would do anything for Maverick. This makes Maverick even less appealing.
As the story progresses, so do her feelings for Kael. Yet, she still continues to remind us that she loves Killian. Something I could never understand. There were no scenes in this book that gave me that ‘Aha!’ moment of understanding WHY she loved him. Not one. Again, how am I supposed to sympathize with her?
Then, after a really long time and whole lot of nonsense nicknames, you get to the big reveal. The ultimate betrayal. The reason why Killian left her for her horrid human of a sister. If you asked me to pick one word to describe the big reveal, that would be easy. It’s a word in the first sentence of this review, it’s a word I will always associate with this book. It’s convoluted. Incredibly convoluted.
The kicker for me though, is that after the big reveal, Maverick still doesn’t seem to get things. She was still concerned about picking a man and in my head, there was no choice there. One man did everything to protect her, one didn’t.
Aside from all the things I just listed that bothered me, there was something else I couldn’t get over. It’s the way I felt manipulated as a reader by some silly scenes. Scenes that didn’t need to be there, they had really nothing at all to do with the story. One is very early on in the book, one is very late in the book. I say manipulated because the one early on is only there to keep you wondering but later you realize it was not at all what you thought it was and was actually completely pointless.
Now, let’s get to the nickname thing. I have no problems with a nickname. A. One. This book is full of them. I’ve given you some already. We learn about a childhood friend, they call him “The Hole”. Sam is also Hamhock. The karaoke DJ in this small town of 5k people where everyone knows everyone is Johnny Littleton, let’s call him J Ton when he’s actually hosting karaoke though. The restaurant they eat at is The Red Rooster, aka The Bloody Cock – sounds appetizing, eh? There is a dude called One Nut. Patsy, a waitress, but we call her Pat. Sally, called Sal. Get the point? I sure don’t.
While I see the appeal of this story in the synopsis, it did not deliver for me what so ever. I’d like to give it a couple of stars just because I made it to the end, but I think I can contribute that to the manipulation. Kudos to the author for carefully plotting the chapters the way she did. I can concede that one thing. I guess it can have a star for that and a star for ultimately picking the right guy, even if it was for the wrong reasons.
by T Gephart
Sunday Brunch is where we ask an author a series of ridiculous questions that have little or nothing to do with books or reading, all in an attempt for you to get to know the person behind the books and maybe, just maybe…pick up one of their titles. Hope you enjoy!
BHR: If you could be any animal in the world, what animal would you be and why? name be?
T.G.: My dog. My husband says I have “ruined” our dog because he is so spoilt. He has the best life and doesn’t have to deal with any responsibility.
BHR: We come to your house for dinner, what are we eating?
T.G.: Italian food. I’m actually a good cook. Make it all from scratch. If even thought of buying jar sauce my Nonna would haunt my ass until the end of time.
BHR: If there was a movie produced about your life, who would play you and why?
T.G.: Oooooooo maybe Kate Beckinsdale? Not for any other reason in that she looks like a badass in Underworld and I want to pretend I look that freaking hot. Other than that if we could not focus on age, maybe Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
BHR: Who would you let punch you directly in the face?
T.G.: Say what? I’m from an Italian background. You want to punch me in the face, you’re going to end up with a horse head in your bed.
BHR: You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?
Carmen: ThisBitchIsCrazy Red. It would be a deep red with blue under tones, and tendency to not colour in between the lines.
BHR: Where would you go in a time machine?
T.G.: Tough question. Maybe the 1920’s – the fashion was BADASS and the era has a romantic decadence about it.
BHR: Who’s your favorite Spice Girl?
T.G.: Posh, for no other reason than David Beckham.
BHR: Who do you just hate the most? 😉
T.G.: I have a list and top place changes sometimes hourly. Kayne features heavily, as do the Kardashians. Bieber gets a mention. And basically anyone who is generally being an ignorant asshole. Don’t be an asshole, it’s not hard.
BHR: What’s the weirdest place you’ve ever unintentionally vomited?
T.G.: A trash can, backstage at a concert. I tried to be discreet but I don’t think I succeeded. Those shots I drank at the bar weren’t so fun a few hours later.
BHR: What is your favorite quote?
T.G.: “She stood in the storm, and when the wind did not blow her away, she adjusted her sails.” – Elizabeth Edwards.
BHR: If you were an ice cream flavor, what would you be?
T.G.: Ben and Jerry’s The Tonight Dough. It’s a mix of everything crazy and somehow it just works. Try it. It is delicious.
T. Gephart’s newest title, The Fall, releases today!
Salvation doesn’t exist.
It’s a lie people tell themselves in the dark, alone so their conscience might be eased. To give them hope that, in the end, we can all be forgiven.
Except we can’t.
And no amount of praying will change that.
For me there will be no redemption, and I will leave this world with the same black heart I entered it with.
The comfort in knowing who I am and what I am capable of keeps me warmer than any lie of having my soul saved.
Because I know the truth.
Because I know there is no Heaven.
And there is no Hell.
There is only the fall.
Michael has no one. No family. No Friends. And not a soul in the world cares about him, only a system that tried to break him.
With a strong dislike for establishments and conformity, he has lived his life as a rogue. A hired thug with no allegiances except to his own word.
Sofia has grown up in the shadow of her father—one of the most powerful drug lords in the city. She has vowed to bring him to justice, moving through the ranks of the Chicago PD in an effort to be as far removed from her father’s lifestyle as possible.
Two worlds collide when Michael shows up at her door, a gun in his hand and a look in his eyes that terrifies her. Suddenly, Sofia has a price on her head and Michael is the only one who can keep her out of the crossfire.
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Punk 57 by Penelope Douglas
October 21, 2016
Genres: New Adult, Young Adult
Source: Copy for Honest Review
Also by this author:
“We were perfect together. Until we met.”
I can’t help but smile at the words in her letter. She misses me.
In fifth grade, my teacher set us up with pen pals from a different school. Thinking I was a girl, with a name like Misha, the other teacher paired me up with her student, Ryen. My teacher, believing Ryen was a boy like me, agreed.
It didn’t take long for us to figure out the mistake. And in no time at all, we were arguing about everything. The best take-out pizza. Android vs. iPhone. Whether or not Eminem is the greatest rapper ever…
And that was the start. For the next seven years, it was us.
Her letters are always on black paper with silver writing. Sometimes there’s one a week or three in a day, but I need them. She’s the only one who keeps me on track, talks me down, and accepts everything I am.
We only had three rules. No social media, no phone numbers, no pictures. We had a good thing going. Why ruin it?
Until I run across a photo of a girl online. Name’s Ryen, loves Gallo’s pizza, and worships her iPhone. What are the chances?
F*ck it. I need to meet her.
I just don’t expect to hate what I find.
He hasn’t written in three months. Something’s wrong. Did he die? Get arrested? Knowing Misha, neither would be a stretch.
Without him around, I’m going crazy. I need to know someone is listening. It’s my own fault. I should’ve gotten his number or picture or something.
He could be gone forever.
Or right under my nose, and I wouldn’t even know it.
Punk 57 delivers exactly what you’ve come to expect from Penelope Douglas. Amazing angst. An exciting and volatile love/hate/love romance. And characters that actually have depth and layers. If there is another author out there writing teenage angst as well as Douglas does, I’ve not found them.
Misha and Ryen are long time pen pals who purposefully never meet in real life. The friendship they’ve developed over the years an important part of each of their lives, for very different reasons. But a chance encounter and a tragic turn, inserts Misha into Ryen’s world and they find out that what they thought they knew of each other on paper might be vastly different than reality.
The real heart of the story is not the push and pull romance between the two main characters, though. At least, not in my mind. There is quite a deep underlying message to Punk 57, it’s just wrapped up in an steamy romance. The message is one I loved. While I adored Misha and was very rapt by Ryen’s character development, I was in love with Douglas’ theme for this story. Anyone who didn’t have a stellar high school experience will find something to relate to in this book.
Punk 57 is very much in the same vein as Bully, but the message is more pronounced. It’s also maybe delivered in a bit of an over the top way. There were a few things I found to be a little too unbelievable and too harsh, that’s what drops my over all rating down a tad. However, I never found myself focusing on those things while reading the story. Those feelings came later, after I finished the book and really started thinking about my overall feelings for it. There is something to be said about an author who can keep you turning the page like that.
Tonic Published by Promise Socks Publishing October 13, 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Source: Copy for Honest Review
Joel Anderson doesn’t take anything seriously.
Not his relationships, which have been few and far between since his brutal divorce. Not the drama of working in a tattoo parlor, which seems to be around every corner. When things get him down, he smiles and cracks a joke. But he’s not the kind of man you cross, or you’ll find yourself at the wrong end of his fists.
Annika Belousov takes everything seriously.
Like her job as a reality television producer, given that she typically has something to prove. Or her love life, which is defined by a series of requirements — affluent, ambitious, accomplished, to name a few. Definitely her family, who worked their whole lives to afford her every opportunity, a sacrifice she doesn’t take lightly. When she’s tapped to produce a reality show at Joel’s shop, she doesn’t think twice, just goes in for the kill, as if there were any other way.
The second Annika walks into Joel’s shop, he makes it his mission to crack her open, but she’s not having it. He’s all wrong — too crass, too hairy, too un-serious. But it doesn’t take her long to find out there’s more to him than smirks and tattoos. And what she finds could put her career and his heart on the line.
Not that Joel cares. Because for the first time in a long time, he’s found his tonic.
*** A standalone Romantic Comedy ***
Let me start by saying if I read a romantic comedy romance novel usually like to go into it without knowing it its a romantic comedy. There’s just too much pressure associated with it for me… Like what if it isn’t funny during the parts it’s supposed to be funny and I just roll my eyes and then that leads me to think that the author thinks their funny but they really aren’t. I’m not saying I don’t like to laugh I just don’t like knowing when I’m supposed to laugh. Also… This is going to sound bad but PLEASE UNDERSTAND I do not mean it to be meant in a bad way but sometimes I shy away from the genre too because I think there won’t be enough story in it like it’ll be more shits and giggles than storyline. I know, I know that isn’t fair it’s just that I’m usually on a scale that goes from makes me cry a few tears or makes me cry enough to sail Noah’s Ark and the books that make me cry usually don’t make me laugh that much.
With that prefaced let me go on to say that I FUCKING LOVED TONIC by Staci Hart. I really did laugh so much but more than that I loved the STORY. Joel and Annika rocked my world, I seriously was so sad once it ended, I did not want to let these characters go! Annika was this ice queen to everyone who knew her and she took no shit and gave no fucks. Except for with her family she was this soft woman who would do anything to make them happy. Joel was this sexy big beast bear just a really good fucking guy like good to the point where you’re just like damn he’s pretty GREAT! I loved that he was more than 10 years older than her, it was just so attractive. These two together are completely explosive…
Joel’s tattoo shop just agreed to sign on with a tv network to begin filming a reality tv show and and Annika is the show runner, the instant they meet she hates him and he is intrigued by her.
MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN.
Filming begins and Annika’s feelings for Joel take on a life of their own and the irritation she once associated with him turns into heated moments that become harder and harder for her to ignore. He challenges her at every chance he gets and is dead set on getting her in his bed but he wants more from her beyond that. He catches these small glimpses of her when she isn’t completely uptight and he finds himself enamored with this woman. When Annika does give in it’s like everything that should seem so wrong is completely right. Joel doesn’t hold back with her body and he gives her everything she didn’t know she needed but more so than that he feeds a deeper connection that only leaves them both hungry for more. But Annika knows she can’t involve herself with this man any further than she has, she has a job to do and cannot let her judgement be clouded in anyway. In fear of not being able to have Annika the way Joel wants, which turns into every way, he makes her a bullshit deal. The only problem is that deep down they both know the deal they’re making is a LIE.
Their arrangement is going well until it isn’t… Shit gets REAL and the foundation crumbles beneath them. My emotions went haywire and I couldn’t help it I may have let my eyes leak a little. I couldn’t stop saying “FUCK!” really it was the only word I was capable of. Oh and another thing I loved is that when they argued with one another it was a free for all they didn’t say things to purposely hurt each other but things they had to purge like it would more so hurt them to keep it in. I’m sure that made absolutely no damn sense but I keep thinking back to the argument they have and Joel tells Annika fuck you, not to be malicious but because in that moment she deserved that and he told her.
All in all though this is my first book from Staci and I wish I had more eyeballs to read all of her books. This story had depth and so many more emotions than I planned for. If all romantic comedies could make me sad than I will read them all!
I feel like one more time I need to talk about Joel, I loved him so damn much. I love how old he was, how mature he was, how hairy he was, how tattooed he was, his sheer size (he seriously is size beast bear), oh and his heart, his heart was a million sizes bigger than him. But more than all of that he was so real in his way of life just upfront and honest.
Is it too early to re-read this again?!
Breast Cancer Awareness Month is celebrated in October of each year to raise awareness for the disease that will affect approximately one in every eight U.S. born women in their lifetimes. Breast cancer is by far the most common cancer in women worldwide, both in the developed and developing countries. Most of us know someone who has been diagnosed with breast cancer, some of us may be patients ourselves and others may have a worrisome family history of breast disease.
Think Pink is a campaign that promotes breast cancer awareness and early detection. Early detection is the best defense against breast cancer – when caught and treated early, breast cancer has a 98% cure rate.
While we are not medical experts and surely don’t know everything about breast cancer, we wanted to give you a few reminders about what you can do to keep yourselves healthy.
[Know You Risks] Talk to both sides of your family to learn about your family history. Talk to your doctors about your risk of breast cancer if breast cancer is in your family history.
[Get Screened] Screening tests can find cancer early, when chances for survival are highest. Talk with a doctor about which screening tests are right for you if you are at higher risk. Schedule a mammogram every year starting at age 40 if you are at average risk. Have a your doctor perform a clinical breast exam at least every 3 years starting at age 20, and every year starting at age 40.
[Pay Attention to Your Body] Perform monthly self-checks! Contact your doctor if you notice any of these breast changes:
- Lump, hard knot or thickening inside the breast or underarm area.
- Swelling, warmth, redness or darkening of the breast.
- Change in the size or shape of the breast.
- Dimpling or puckering of the skin.
- Itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple.
- Pulling in of your nipple or other parts of the breast.
- Nipple discharge that starts suddenly.
- New pain in one spot that doesn’t go away.
To see illustrations of these warnings signs, please visit Susan G. Komen’s breast cancer Warning Signs & Symptoms page.
[Make Healthy Lifestyle Choices] Limit alcohol consumption. Don’t smoke. Maintain a healthy weight. Breast feed. Add exercise into your routine.
For more information on breast cancer and breast cancer awareness tips, please visit one of the following websites or talk to your doctor.
BreastCancer.org – http://www.breastcancer.org/
National Breast Cancer Foundation – http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-cancer-awareness-month
Susan G. Komen – http://ww5.komen.org/
American Cancer Society – http://www.cancer.org/healthy/morewaysacshelpsyoustaywell/breastcancer
In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we are giving away this “Think Pink” prize pack which includes: Pink VW Bus makeup bag, O.P.I. and Essie nail polishes, Apple & Cinnamon candle, Breast Cancer awareness knee socks, signed paperback copy of Paper Heart by Claire Contreras, signed paperback copy of Sidebarred by Emma Chase, paperback copy of Lady Luck by Kristen Ashley and other goodies.
Giveaway is open to U.S. RESIDENTS ONLY.
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