Strong and Sexy – book review

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Strong and Sexy
by Jill Shalvis
Release Date:  January 1, 2007
Publisher:  Kensington Books
Book #2 of the Sky High Air series
Number of pages:  337
Kindle Edition
Source: MCL
Contemporary Romance/Suspense  M/F
Rating: XXX
Read 7/31/17 – 8/3/17

This story was a marked improvement over the first book in this series, Smart and Sexy.  It’s still not of the caliber I expect from Jill Shalvis, though.

Both main characters, Shayne and Dani, are super likeable.  As with the first book, I wish there was a bit more fleshing out of their pasts.  But the chemistry between them is well written and a lot of fun.  The intense situations Dani ends up in are brief but enough to keep up the suspense of the story.

Through both of these first two books the pairing of Maddie and Brodie has kept me curious.  Although the author’s writing isn’t top tier in these stories, it is good enough to keep me reading through the end so I can see how those two turn out.  If you’re a die-hard Shalvis fan this series may be worth a read, if she’s a new to you author than skip ahead to her newer stuff.

3 stars

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Lead – book review

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Lead
by Kylie Scott
Release Date:  July 29, 2014
Publisher:  St. Martin’s Griffin
Book #3 in the Stage Dive series
Number of pages:  318
Kindle Edition
Source: MCL
Contemporary Romance M/F
Rating: XXX
Read 7/25/17 – 7/31/17

It probably won’t surprise readers of this series that I was never a fan of Jimmy’s.  He’s not really the nicest guy, even to those he’s closest with.  I thought maybe we’d see his lovable side in this story.  Yeah, not so much.  But by the end he still got under my skin and made me care about him.

Sometimes I have a hard time figuring out if certain books aren’t engaging enough or if I’m just too busy, tired, and/or distracted for anything to engage me.  If you follow my blog you know my youngest son was on leave from the Army and in town for his wedding.  His “simple” backyard wedding that I baked about 11 dozen cupcakes for as well as many other things.  So yes, I’ve been all of the above: busy, tired, distracted.  So although this story did not have the jump-start I’m used to with other Kyle Scott books I’ve read, I think I was the problem on the being engaged front – not the book.  It took me longer than usual to read but I still enjoyed the story immensely.

The back and forth between Jimmy and Lena sometimes felt a bit much, but on the other hand it seemed realistic.  The same with Jimmy’s mood swings, for lack of a better way to describe his attitudes.  They sometimes got on my nerves and I wanted to scream “Enough already!”, but then I’d think of how important it was for the reader (me) to see how messed up Jimmy really was.

Lena’s situation broke my heart.  I wish there was a little bit more closure with her family toward the end though.  She is such a strong character in so many ways.  Yet her heart makes her weak in certain situations.

This was probably my least favorite book by this author so far but, again, it was still great.  Maybe it was a bit too gritty and raw for the mind frame I was in at the time I was reading the book.  Either way, I’m looking forward to Ben’s book.  I really love this series and this author.

3.5 stars

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Today!

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Staying For Good – book review

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Staying For Good
Catherine Bybee
Release Date:  January 24, 2017
Publisher:  Montlake Romance
Contemporary Romance M/F
Book #2 in the Most Likely To series
Number of Pages:  322
Kindle Edition
Source:  Kindle Lending Library
Rating:  NC-17
Read 7/16/17 to 7/21/17

Oddly enough, I loved the friendship between the Luke and Jo so much in this story.  I really enjoyed the actual love story between Luke and Zoe so it surprised me that the kinship Luke and Jo had stuck with me so much.  Maybe because they were the ones that stayed in town?  I’m not sure, but it felt real to me.

Zoe’s story made me sad and very angry.  Without giving too much away, there is a small spiel a pastor has in this story that I was blown away by.  It was so spot on to Zoe’s family’s situation and I wish more people in real life had the cajones to speak (and live) that truth.  Zoe fought to get out of her bad situation and even tried helping her family make their way out of it, too.  I have nothing but admiration for her.

Luke is the epitome of the boy next door.  Loyal, handsome, friendly, caring, protective…all the things a man should be.  He’s so patient with Zoe and I love how much freedom he gives here even when parts of him fight against that.  It’s the right thing to do and he does the right thing always.

Once again, I enjoyed the friendship of the three ladies as well as the other friendships that were already established or just getting established.  I am so looking forward to Jo’s story and to see her get closure on her father’s death.

4 stars

 

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Housekeeping & Book Club

Hello ladies and gents.  I’m just popping in to throw some info your way.  For those who don’t know (or don’t remember), my son is getting married on Friday.  It’s a small outdoor wedding that we are doing ourselves.  No caterer, no florist, no bakery (well, kind of but not really), and no staff to help out.  (My family is awesome and has stepped up in so many ways, so by “we” I mean Kirsten, my family, and me…not just me.) Please forgive me as my reading has slowed down significantly.  Plus, some administrative things have fallen by the wayside.  We also have some health issues with a close family member that we’ve been dealing with the last few weeks so my time is at a premium right now!

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First, I know I owe you a book club post.  Since it’s going to be another week or two before I can truly give such a post justice I figured I should at least give you a heads up on the next book we’re reading.  If you like to read along with us, grab yourself a copy of The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman.  We don’t have our date yet, but it will be in September.

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Also, I want to let you know about the book I’m currently reading.  As noted above, my reading habits are quite different right now so my timing is off.  The book I’m reading right now is actually celebrating its publication day today!  I’m not even halfway through but I’m loving it so far.  That’s why I didn’t want to wait to tell you to go and grab yourself a copy of Gather the Daughters by Jennie Melamed.  Hopefully I don’t regret recommending a book before I even finish, and I don’t think I will.

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That’s all for now.  I know I have some reviews I still haven’t published so you can still check in and find new material here.  I just won’t be super up to date until I can play catch up with my reading after this wedding. Wish me luck!

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Stud – book review

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Stud
by Jamie K. Schmidt
Release Date:  July 25, 2017
Publisher:  Loveswept
Stand Alone
Number of pages:  203
Kindle Edition
Source: ARC from Net Galley
Contemporary Romance M/F
Rating: XXX
Read 7/21/17 to 7/22/17

I’m finding that I really love this author.  I’ve read all of the books she’s written in the Sentinels of Babylon series so far and enjoyed both immensely.  This story sucked me in right away and I didn’t want to put it down.  I was surprised because the title and cover were not my cup of tea.  I asked for an ARC of the book based solely on my prior experience with this author.  (FYI: I ended up liking the title by the end of the book…there’s a reason.)

Just like Mick was intrigued by Terri’s sass, so was I.  She kept him on his toes and challenged him and I enjoyed reading that.  Especially about a guy who is rich and good-looking so is not lacking for females throwing themselves at his feet.  And then Terri shocked me even more the first time she was in a car with Mick.  Whoa!  The girl knows what she wants and isn’t going to pussyfoot around.  I honestly don’t know if I’ve read such a scene before.  While it startled me, it really did a great job of helping flesh out Terri’s personality.  She is not shrinking violet!

Mick is also a take charge type of personality, but somehow it works with the two of them.  It’s like he innately knew when to be commanding and when to be softer.  Mick likes to come across as a hardass…it’s the nature of his position in his family and his company.  But he’s not as hard-hearted as he thinks he is, especially when it comes to those less fortunate.  I’m sure he’d like to keep it a secret but he’s really got a soft center.

One of the things I really enjoyed about this story is the unpredictability.  Nothing really shocked me or blindsided me, but I would be convinced I knew something was going to happen and then it wouldn’t.  Or something similar would happen to what I thought would happen, but not exactly how I thought it would play out.  So it kept me on my toes a little bit.

I never seem to be at a lack for books to read, but I think I need to start seeking out some of this author’s earlier books.  I really have enjoyed all that I’ve read so far.

4.5 stars

**I received an ARC of this book courtesy of Net Galley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review**

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The Gender Agenda – book review

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The Gender Agenda: 
A First-Hand Account of How Girls and Boys Are Treated Differently
by Ros Ball and James Millar
Release Date:  July 17, 2017
Publisher:  Jessica Kingsley Publishers
Stand Alone
Number of pages:  186
Kindle Edition
Source: ARC from Net Galley
Nonfiction
Rating: G
Read 7/11/17 to ???

I don’t do this often, but I’m going to write a review of this book before I’ve finished reading the book.  Don’t worry, I’ll explain my reasons.  It’s also not very often a book ends up in my DNF pile, and this one interests me enough to stay out of that pile…so far.  But today is its publication day and with everything I have going on in my life right now I really don’t know how long it will take me to finish the book.  I know it takes me longer to read a nonfiction book than my usual contemporary romance, but this one really is not moving quickly for me at all.

I’m getting ahead of myself.  I don’t want you to think this is a bad book.  My problem with this book is partly my reading style and partly the writing style.  The book is set up in three sections.  I’m still in the first section (which is by far the longest section), which is called The Diary.  This section is a diary of the pair’s Twitter account (@GenderDiary) they started shortly after their second child, a son, was born to document how he was treated in comparison to their older child, a daughter.  While I find the snippets of their daily life and observations interesting, I feel it’s lacking in substance.  I love Twitter, but tweets are not books.  Sometimes I felt I was missing some background information.  That perhaps a particular tweet was in reference to another tweet that wasn’t mentioned.  I don’t know, it just didn’t feel fully fleshed out to me.

The second section is called The Blogs.  While I haven’t gotten to this section yet, I jumped over to take a gander.  The section starts with an explanation that in the summer of 2012 the authors were asked to contribute a series of blogs to an online magazine.  So again, it’s a rehashing (from what I can tell, word for word) of previously published work they did…on a blog this time instead of Twitter.

The final section is titled Dad Diaries.  From what I can tell, it’s another section of previously released work.  This time from only James Millar as he becomes the primary childcare giver of the children and observes how he’s viewed by the outside world.

So as you can see, this book is a compilation of a Twitter account and two blogs that have all previously been out there for public consumption.  That in itself is not really a problem if you go into it knowing this.  The description of this book does say it’s adapted from tweets and blogs, so if you read the description you cannot be mad about that.  It’s more that I don’t know how well these formats (tweets and blogs) translate to a whole book.

That all being said, I found the subject matter interesting.  I found the authors very observant of the world around them as well as their own actions.  I will be finishing this book (and will update my review if needed) and hope once I get out of the Twitter section I will find the reading a bit more smooth.

3 stars

**I received an ARC of this book courtesy of Net Galley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review**

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