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Review: "Corliss" by VC Andrews

"Corliss"
by V.C. Andrews
Publisher: Pocket Star Ebooks
Release Date: June 12, 2017

Source: sent by publisher

My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Summary from goodreads.com:

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Flowers in the Attic and My Sweet Audrina series, now Lifetime movies, comes a haunting new novella featuring a mysterious, highly intelligent teenaged girl as she struggles to survive high school and understand her place in this complex, sometimes dangerous world.

Corliss is not like other girls at her Los Angeles high school. Incredibly intelligent, shy, and a loner, she has difficultly in fitting in. What’s worse, a clique of girls is out to get her after she refuses to take drugs with them, leading to a violent confrontation. When Corliss is unknowingly drugged, her entire life is turned upside down and no one—not even the handsome valedictorian who had agreed to go out with her—looks at her the same way. Will she be able to return to her high school or is there another path she can take? And where will it take her?
My Review:

I enjoy a good VC Andrews book, they're a nice guilty pleasure. Nothing too hard to digest here, but also a lot of dark, gothic fun for an afternoon read. Yes, some awful things happen, but the way that it's written, it never feels hopeless. It may be a tale that his been told before, high school girl is bullied, but it's told in that special VC Andrews way.

This ebook is very short, but that works great for this short tale. Anything else would have felt dragged out. This ebook is  part of a four part prequel for the Andrews' book "Bittersweet Dreams." I haven't read the full novel yet, but I believe I would have enjoyed Corliss even more if I had.

The novella ends with Corliss being accepted to Spindrift, the school for special teens. I think the book serves as a great teaser for "Bittersweet Dreams," or as complementary reading for those who have already read the novel. For me personally, it made me want to read Bittersweet Dreams so I can find out what happens and who Corliss will meet there.
 
Main Characters: 4/5
Supporting Characters: 4/5
Setting: 5/5

Romance: 3.5/5

Uniqueness: 4/5
Cover: 5/5
Writing: 5/5


Bottom Line: I found the story quite interesting, and I think it will appeal to fans of VC Andrews' work. I will definitely be reading "Bittersweet Dreams" and the additional four "Girls of Spindrift" novellas.




Disclosure: I received an e-copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

"Wildly Into the Dark" Review

"Wildly Into the Dark: Typewriter Poems and the Rattlings of a Curious Mind"
by Tyler Knott Gregson
Publisher: Tarcher Perigree
Release Date: March 28, 2017

Source: sent by publisher

My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

Summary from goodreads.com:

The most intimate and eclectic poetry collection yet from bestselling author and online sensation Tyler Knott Gregson

With loyal fans around the world and across the internet, Tyler Knott Gregson is reinventing poetry for a new generation, using Instagram and Tumblr to reach readers where they are.

Tyler’s third collection includes more of his popular Typewriter Series poems (featured in his first book, Chasers of the Light) as well as never-before-published scenes that paint the world as only Tyler sees and experiences it. Filled with vivid photographs and even more vivid emotions, Wildly Into the Dark is a must-have for longtime fans as well as newcomers to Tyler's unique brand of passionate, intimate, and playful words and images.
My Review:

This book is just gorgeous, gorgeous to look at, to read, and to feel. Tyler Knott Gregson's poetry is bound to make you feel whether you want to or not. I thought I was just going to look at this book on a lazy afternoon, but I was mistaken. I was taken through the wringer of life and death, with lots of love and romance along the way.

For those of you familiar with Gregson's poetry, he actually types out the poems on a typewriter on scraps of paper, and the book includes photos of these. This gives such personality and dimension to each poem. It also makes for a fabulous book to look at.


Bottom Line:
This book is definitely on my keeper shelf, I know I will keep going back to it and learning something new each time that I read it. This would be an excellent gift book to anyone who loves poetry and romance.



PRE-ORDER DETAILS:
$1 from EVERY pre-ordered book will be going directly to To Write Love On Her Arms, a wonderful charity that presents hope for people struggling with addiction, depression, self-injury and thoughts of suicide while also investing directly into treatment and recovery. Plus, the first 1,500 people who pre-order the book and send in their proof of purchase, will receive a free signed print. See more about the Pre-order campaign here: http://tylerknott.com/wildly

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review and Giveaway: "The Dare and the Doctor"

THE DARE AND THE DOCTOR
Kate Noble
Pocket Books
Pub date: November 22, 2016
ISBN: 9781476749402
Price: $7.99
Mass Market Paperbound
A Winner Takes All Novel (#3)

 

A thrilling and absorbing tale about two people who find so much safety in each other that they’re able to take the biggest risk of their lives. Not to be missed.”
Kirkus Reviews (STARRED REVIEW, The Dare and the Doctor)

“Noble asks “Can men and women just be friends?” in the third Winner Takes All installment, and the answer is an enchanting tale filled with poignancy and wit…readers will be caught up in the plot as the hero and heroine’s letters reveal more and more about themselves and their relationship…secondary characters enhance the storyline and propel the romance. Noble crafts a lovely, easy-to-read story.”
—RT (FOUR STAR REVIEW, The Dare and the Doctor)

About the book

National bestselling author Kate Noble’s THE DARE AND THE DOCTOR lures readers back to the dazzling, irresistible Winner Takes All Regency Romance series. Margaret Babcock has always been content with her quiet life in the country. But every now and then, she feels the urge to spread her wings. Her late mother used to whisper, “What’s the worst that could happen?” at the start of an adventure, and now Margaret’s continuing the tradition. So when Dr. Rhys Gray, her longtime correspondent on matters botanical, invites her to speak to the London Horticultural Society about her new rose hybrid, she accepts. She’s excited about her first visit to London, but even more so about getting to see her friend Dr. Gray. When she arrives, Rhys is eager to show her the wonders of the city, and the two spend many happy hours together just as friends, of course! But would friends miss each other quite as fiercely when they’re apart; or feel such a spark when they’re together? Margaret finds that friendship with Rhys is much more complicated than she’d imagined…especially when it turns out her friend has forgotten that he may be promised to another woman.

About the author

Kate Noble is the national bestselling author of The Lie and the Lady, The Game and the Governess, third in the witty, sexy Winner Takes All Regency Series, and the critically acclaimed, RITA Award-nominated Blue Raven series. Under the name Kate Rorick, she writes for television, as well as novels based on the Emmy Award-winning web series The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, for which she is also a writer and producer. She lives in Los Angeles. Visit Kate at katenoble.com, Facebook, and Twitter.

Praise for the Winner Takes All Series

With her usual witty writing and exquisite flair for characterization, Noble offers [The Lie and the Lady]. The effortless manner in which she wrote. The Lie and the Lady as a separate love story while at the same time gracefully connecting it to The Game and the Governess and cleverly hinting at what is to come in the series is nothing less than brilliant.”
Booklist (STARRED REVIEW, The Lie and the Lady)

“After a scandalous escapade with John, a commoner she thought was the Earl of Ashby. Letitia returns to England as the fiancée of a somewhat older, titled widower- only to find out that her new home is right in John’s backyard . . . heartwarming.”
Publishers Weekly (The Lie and the Lady)

“The Earl of Ashby trades places with his friend and secretary in order to prove he can win a woman without the benefit of his title in The Game and the Governess…It’s a delicious treat to watch Ned grow from earl to man, and see the stalwart Phoebe get everything she deserves.”
Bookpage (TOP PICK IN ROMANCE, The Game and the Governess)

“The subtle development of romance between the devil-may-care earl and the proper governess is the impetus behind this winning novel, complete with rich characters and a multi-dimensional plotline.”
—Publishers Weekly (STARRED REVIEW, Best Summer Romance pick, The Game and the Governess)


My Review:

Rating: 4 Stars

"The Dare and the Doctor" is the first book that I've read in this series, and I feel it can be read as a standalone title. I'm such a fan of books with different characters than what we normally see in historical romances, and this one definitely hits it out of the park with its original leads. It's not often that we see a hero who has a job, instead of being a peer, so seeing history through eyes other than the aristocracy is always refreshing. The heroine, Margaret, is shy and bookish, and it's fun to read about these two avid 'learners' falling in love. 

The book also treats us to another of my favorite tropes of the genre - the friends to lovers plot. I love seeing characters who fall in love over time instead of insta-love. Sometimes love at first sight is great, but it's easier to believe when we know the characters have a back-story. Margaret and Rhys start the book as pen pals who write letters to each other. We get a nice glimpse into their relationship through the letters. In modern times, this would probably be like meeting someone online and then realizing that you have great chemistry when you meet! It's fun to see how their relationship progresses after meeting in person.
 
Bottom Line: This is a fun, light friends-to-lovers tale that is sure to please fans of unconventional historical romances!

 


WINNER TAKES ALL GIVEAWAY!
To celebrate the third in the Winner Takes All series, The Dare and the Doctor, we are hosting a giveaway and the WINNER will TAKE ALL books in the series: The Game and the Governess, The Lie and the Lady and The Dare and the Doctor! Please note, you can enter at all participating blogs but you can only win once. U.S. only. 


Blog Tour

REVIEWS:
BOOKPAGE: GUEST POST NOVEMBER 21ST!

FEATURE POSTS:
THOUGHTS IN PROGRESS

"Just Fine with Caroline" Review

"Just Fine with Caroline"
by Annie England Noblin
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Release Date: Oct 11, 2016

Source: sent by publisher

My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Summary from goodreads.com:

From the author of Sit! Stay! Speak! comes a tender, terrific novel complete with long-buried secrets, a three-legged pot belly pig, and an irresistible dog—an unforgettable story about love, friendship, and community. Perfect for fans of Mary Kay Andrews and Mary Alice Monroe.

Caroline O’Connor never dreamed she’d be back home in Cold River, Missouri, the Ozark Mountain town where everyone is ‘up your business.’…they mean well as they drive you crazy. She thought she’d left town for good, but now she’s back, helping to care for her New York born mother—struck with Alzheimer’s, and prone to saying and doing anything—and her father, the beloved local doctor frustrated he can’t cure his own wife.

As for Caroline, she’s doing ‘just fine’ coping with her parents, her brazen cousin Ava Dawn’s marital disasters, her mostly-deaf dog…and with Noah Cranwell, far-flung relative of a local family mostly infamous for running moonshine, an ex-veteran who’s come to Cold River with troubles of his own.

Caroline believes she knows everything about Cold River and the people who live in its hills and hollers … but sometimes life’s greatest surprises happen closest to home.
My Review:

"Just Fine with Caroline" is the first book in the author's new Cold River series, set in a small town in the Ozarks. The small town setting and quirky characters are the main attraction in this story. The romance is there, but it's really all about those characters, relationships, and interactions that you can really only find in a small town.

I think a lot of people can identify with Caroline. She's a very likable character, and she really always tries to do the right thing for everyone she cares about. This includes her mother, who has Alzheimer's, her doctor father, her trouble-finding cousin, Ava Dawn, her childhood friend, Court, and her fur friend, Yara. Then comes Noah, the long lost grandson of one of the town's most notorious and mysterious citizens. Family secrets are unravelled as new relationships grow.

I loved the town and characters, but sometimes the story meandered off track a bit. I perfer a tighter story, but that's a matter of personal preference. The family mystery was a bit predictable from the start, it wasn't a shocking revelation at the end. There was an interesting sub-story about Caroline's fascination with prohibition era, I would have loved for that to have been developed even more to mirror the current story.

The author has an authentic small town, Southern voice, which I appreciate. Sometimes this type of voice can come off forced and fake, but Noblin's characters come across so natural. This made the story believable and highly readable at the same time.
 
Main Characters: 4/5
Supporting Characters: 5/5
Setting: 5/5

Romance: 3.5/5

Uniqueness: 3/5
Cover: 4/5
Writing: 5/5


Bottom Line:Overall, this is a nice read for fans of small town fiction. The story could have been fleshed out a bit more, but fans of quirky characteres and small town comraderie will not be disappointed.

disclosure: I received an E-ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review


Disclosure: I received an e-copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review and Giveaway! "The Groom Wore Plaid" Blog Tour

To celebrate the release of Gayle Callen's newest historical romance, "The Groom Wore Plaid", I'm happy to participate in the blog tour with my review and a tour-wide giveaway of FIVE print copies of the book!!

"The Groom Wore Plaid"
by Gayle Callen
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: Feb 23, 2016

Source: sent by publisher

My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

Summary from goodreads.com:

Falling in love means tempting fate in this passionate new novel in USA Today bestselling author Gayle Callen's Highland Weddings series.

Maggie McCallum's dreams about her new fiancé aren't the romantic sort. It's not just that she was bartered to Owen Duff like a piece of property to end a clan feud. She's also haunted by premonitions of his death on their upcoming wedding day. Yet the exasperating Highlander won't let her call it off, even though his life and his clan are both in jeopardy.

Owen has wanted Maggie in his bed since he first glimpsed her years ago. If their union restores peace between their clans, so much the better. But while lusting after another chief's sister had its risks, growing to trust Maggie is far more dangerous. Owen is falling deeply in love with the one woman he cannot hope to claim . . . and survive.
My Review:

Books like this are why I love historical romance novels. I lost myself for an entire morning reading this book as quickly as possible. The story and the writing flowed along so nicely, the pages just kept turning almost of their own accord. I've read romances were the actual romance between the leads might have been stronger or more star crossed, but I loved the way this book had balance. The supporting characters and side mystery really drew me in as much as the romance story.

The romance was much more of a slow burn between the hero and heroine but it was quite believable that way considering the circumstances. Maggie and Owen had met and actually had a bit of a romance when they were teenagers. But Own was betrothed to another woman, and dismissed Maggie's visions of the death of his bride as a jealous ploy for his attention. Flash forward ten years, and Maggie's vision had come true, and the couple finds themselves betrothed as part of a contract between their two families.

Maggie has a vision of Owen dying this time, and she devises ways to keep him at arms' length and even make him think she is an unsuitable bride. Of course, he wants to marry her anyway and it's so cute to see him immune to all of her plots to make herself both unattractive and disagreeable.

The leads are strong, Owen is so serious and tries to make himself unaffected by any emotions. He comes along nicely though, and his attraction and affection for Maggie is always apparent. Maggie is somewhat funny in her attempts to keep Owen away. It does become just a bit tiresome to hear her always referring to her dream of his death, but it shows how seriously she takes her visions.

The supporting characters are so much fun and keep the story lighthearted. Kathleen, Maggie's maid is so sweet and genuine. Cat, Owen's sister, is refreshing in that she is always on Maggie's side even though their family's don't get along.

Main Characters: 5/5
Supporting Characters: 5/5
Setting: 5/5

Romance: 5/5

Uniqueness: 4/5
Cover: 4/5
Writing: 5/5


Bottom Line: Gayle Callen hits it out of the park with this historical romance. There is a little something for everyone and the romance, the storyline, and the characters all tie together for a seamless, page-turning read.



Purchase Here:

THE GROOM WORE PLAID –

http://www.harpercollins.com/9780062268006/the-groom-wore-plaid


THE GROOM WORE PLAID on Goodreads

HIGHLAND WEDDINGS series on Goodreads



About the Author

After a detour through fitness instructing and computer programming, GAYLE CALLEN found the life she’d always dreamed of as a romance writer. This USA Today bestselling author has written more than twenty historical romances for Avon Books, and her novels have won the Holt Medallion, the Laurel Wreath Award, the Booksellers’ Best Award, and been translated into eleven different languages. The mother of three grown children, an avid crafter, singer, and outdoor enthusiast, Gayle lives in Central New York with her dog Uma and her husband, Jim the Romance Hero. She also writes contemporary romances as Emma Cane.

Visit her website at www.gaylecallen.com.


Connect with Gayle Callen

Website - www.gaylecallen.com

Twitter – https://twitter.com/GayleCallen

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/GayleCallen

Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/46974.Gayle_Callen


Tour-Wide Giveaway!

The publisher is giving away FIVE copies of "The Groom Wore Plaid" during the blog tour! Enter for your chance to win below!

This contest and Rafflecopter widget is run by the publicist, not In the Hammock, the info you submit, prizing and emails will be handled and administrated by the publicist.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Disclosure: I received an e-copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

"Lady Killer" Review

"Lady Killer"
by Joelle Jones
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: Sept 15, 2015

Source: sent by publisher

My Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars

Summary from goodreads.com:

Josie Schuller is a picture-perfect homemaker, wife, and mother—but she’s also a ruthless, efficient killer for hire! A brand-new original comedy series that combines the wholesome imagery of early 1960s domestic bliss with a tightening web of murder, paranoia, and cold-blooded survival.

* New original series by Jo?lle Jones!

* Dark comedy, gritty action, and killer laughs!
My Review:

This graphic novel casts a 1960s housewife as a trained killer, and not even her perfect husband and children know about her secret life. The art in this book is gorgeous and will appeal to anyone who loves that mid-century style and doesn't mind the blood and gore. The book doesn't take itself too seriously, and fans of dark comedy and campy-ness will love this tale.

I love the contrast of Josie's life at home with her family up against her spot-on precision at killing the bad guys. I liked seeing the "helpless" 60s housewife played against the intelligent and strong woman that Josie is in her professional life. It's a constant internal struggle for her, trying to decide if she wants to cut ties with her profession.

The story held my interest until the end, but the real star here is the artwork. It's just gorgeous! The artist captures the era perfectly and creates a beautiful and strong heroine.

Main Characters: 5/5
Supporting Characters: 4/5
Setting: 5/5

Art: 5/5

Uniqueness: 5/5
Cover: 5/5
Writing: 5/5


Bottom Line: This is the unexpected tale of 1960s housewife turned killer, with a captivating story and superb art!


Buy from Dark Horse Comics: https://www.darkhorse.com/Books/26-356/Lady-Killer-TPB


Disclosure: I received an e-copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

"The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall" Review

"The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall"
by Katie Alender
Publisher: Point
Release Date: Aug. 25, 2015

Source: sent by publisher

My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

Summary from goodreads.com:

In this asylum, your mind plays tricks on you all the time…

Delia’s new house isn’t just a house. Long ago, it was the Piven Institute for the Care and Correction of Troubled Females—an insane asylum nicknamed “Hysteria Hall.” However, many of the inmates were not insane, just defiant and strong willed. Kind of like Delia herself.

But the house still wants to keep “troubled” girls locked away. So, in the most horrifying way, Delia gets trapped.

And that’s when she learns that the house is also haunted.

Ghost girls wander the halls in their old-fashioned nightgowns. A handsome ghost boy named Theo roams the grounds. Delia finds that all the spirits are unsettled and full of dark secrets. The house, as well, harbors shocking truths within its walls—truths that only Delia can uncover, and that may set her free.

But she’ll need to act quickly, before the house’s power overtakes everything she loves.

From master of suspense Katie Alender comes a riveting tale of twisted memories and betrayals, and the meaning of madness.
My Review:

This one took a long time before it really grabbed me, but once it did, I couldn't put the book down! What a  perfect creepy read for this time of year! The author takes a big risk and I really think it payed off and made for a very interesting and unique take on a ghost story. This story is super spooky at times, but in addition to the ghost story, there is a heartfelt message about the bond between families.

Since I love historicals, I love that even though this is a contemporary story, some of the ghosts lived 100 years ago. The storytelling really ties the past into the current story. There is interesting commentary on what it means to be 'troubled' both today and in the past, especially for women.

I loved the recurring theme of "everything is not always what it seems." I feel like this applied to the story over and over again. It was really eye opening and reminded the reader be open minded about everyone and everything, and not to take anything at face value.

You really have to read this one for yourself to truly understand the core of the book. I don't want to give any spoilers here, but know that this one really picks up speed around 20% into the book!


Main Characters: 5/5
Supporting Characters: 5/5
Setting: 5/5

Romance: 4/5

Uniqueness: 5/5
Cover: 5/5
Writing: 5/5


Bottom Line: The perfect read for a dark and stormy October night!


Grab this one right now for Kindle for only $2.99!! I'm not sure how long this price will last, so double check the price before you click buy!!


Disclosure: I received an e-copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

"Wonder Woman Vol. 7: War Torn" Review

"Wonder Woman Vol. 7: War Torn"
Writer: Meredith Finch, Artist: David Finch
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: Sept. 8, 2015
Source: sent by publisher


My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Summary from goodreads.com:

Please welcome the new superstar creative team of writer Meredith Finch The new creative team of writer Meredith Finch and artist David Finch takes over! A mythological force seemingly tied to Wonder Woman’s role as War has attacked the Amazons, and as her own people lose faith in her, a new queen arises to take her place! Guest-starring Superman, Swamp Thing, Aquaman and more. Collects WONDER WOMAN #36-40 and ANNUAL #1.
My Review:

With excitement building for Gal Gadot's portrayal of Wonder Woman in the upcoming Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Film, now is the time to do your homework and study up this fantastic superhero! Wonder Woman struggles with both external and internal battles in this graphic novel, both of which keep the pages turning!

Diana is finding it difficult to balance her role in the Justice League with her roles as Queen of the Amazons, and The God of War. Some of the Amazons think she is spending to much valuable time as a superhero and not enough time as their queen, so a new, and evil, queen is created to take her place. When she's not dealing with this supervillain, Diana struggles with how being the God of War is affecting her decisions. She doesn't want to be so aggressive but becoming The God of War has undeniably changed her. Never fear, because Wonder Woman is still driven by her desire to help those in need, always putting others first.

The issues in this collection tie together seamlessly. You're never left missing part of the story. I love that the other members of the Justice League show up to help Wonder Woman on her journey. It's always great to see Superman, Aquaman, The Flash, and others. The art is beautiful, and can also be at times gruesome as well.  

Main Characters: 4/5
Supporting Characters: 4/5
Setting: 4/5

Art: 4/5

Uniqueness: 4/5
Cover: 4/5
Writing: 4/5


Bottom Line: This graphic novel finds Wonder Woman moving a new direction in her life, and I think it's successful as a set up for future volumes!

Buy from DC Comics: http://www.dccomics.com/graphic-novels/wonder-woman-vol-7-war-torn

 
Check out Entertainment Weekly's feature on the upcoming Batman V Superman film!


Disclosure: I received an e-copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

"New Suicide Squad Vol. 1: Pure Insanity" Review

"New Suicide Squad Vol. 1: Pure Insanity"
by Sean Ryan, Illustrated by Jeremy Roberts
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: July 21, 2015
Source: sent by publisher

My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Summary from goodreads.com:

Setting the world’s most dangerous super-criminals against the most insidious threats to national security: that’s the idea behind the elite black-ops unit officially designated as Task Force X. It’s perfect…on paper.

But the real world rarely goes according to plan. Threats evolve. Teammates turn on each other. Blood and betrayals flow like rivers. And that’s why Task Force X is better known as the Suicide Squad.

Vic Sage aims to change the equation. Replacing Amanda Waller as the puppet-master of Suicide Squad’s motley crew, he’s introducing wild cards like Deathstroke and the Joker’s Daughter to whip the existing team-Deadshot, Harley Quinn, and Black Manta-into shape. But the world’s deadliest assassin and the Clown Princess of Crime have ideas of their own…and no explosive implants to keep them in line.

Can this new Suicide Squad survive-or will it implode before it even begins?

Collects issues #1-8
My Review:

I think I was the same as a lot of people, and I wanted to read this graphic novel out of curiosity for the new movie, Suicide Squad, coming out next year. This book, which includes comic books #1-8, was a great way to get a feel for the characters and set up of the film, but I didn't think it all tied together extremely well. I definitely still got caught up in the action, and I became invested in some of the characters so I had to see how it ended. But there were still some holes and disjointedness in the overall story.

I would have loved to have gotten to know the characters a little better. Especially the actual Suicide Squad instead of having so much of the narrative devoted to those who pull the strings in the office. I became especially attached to Manta, Harley, and Reverse Flash. I was really pulling for them, and I would have loved seeing more fleshing out of their characters. Joker's Daughter, Deathstroke, and Deadshot were all in and out so fast my head was spinning. They weren't able to add much to the story.

I'm sure I will continue this series, because I became invested in the characters. The action was great and kept me turning the pages as fast as I could. But I think I will try to read some of the other incarnations of the Suicide Squad, just to see the story from a different angle. I really liked the idea of the team up of villains, and all of the characters have an interesting story to tell. This one focused just a bit too much on the red tape of the missions instead of the motivation of the characters for me.


Main Characters: 4/5
Supporting Characters: 2/5
Setting: 4/5

Art: 4/5

Uniqueness: 4/5
Cover: 4/5
Writing: 4/5


Bottom Line: This graphic novel is a great primer for the upcoming Suicide Squad film. It's a nice step-off for some interesting characters and a unique premise.



Disclosure: I received an e-copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

"Just Add Watercolor" Review

"Just Add Watercolor"
by Helen Birch
Publisher: Watson-Guptill
Release Date: March 3, 2015
Source: sent by publisher

My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Summary from goodreads.com:


A beautifully illustrated, easy-to-navigate guide to creating contemporary watercolors, pairing full-page paintings with insights and tips for artists.
     Featuring 200 of the best works of young, modern watercolor painters, paired with bite-sized painting tips and art instruction, Just Add Watercolor gives aspiring artists access to information about--and examples of--top work in the medium. Artist and instructor Helen Birch breaks down each painting by techniques, subject matter, and tools, providing art enthusiasts and painters with a one-stop resource and gallery of the best that modern watercolor has to offer. Its small trim size with one painting per spread provides a bold, but user-friendly alternative to traditional, process-heavy painting instruction texts. Just Add Watercolor shines the spotlight on featured paintings, while still giving readers all the insights needed to get started painting in this popular medium.
My Review:

This is just such a lovely little book! The size is small, perfect for adding to your bag to read while out and about. Honestly, even if you don't read the advice on watercolor painting, the wonderful illustrations alone are worth picking up this book to see!

There are no step by step instructions, its more of a compilation of advice, techniques, and tips for a watercolor artist. The tips come from many different artists, which gives such a great range of styles. If one artist isn't your style, there are many others that may right up your alley!

The format of the book is perfect for paging through. There is a grid at the front of the book with all of the artwork contained inside. So you can pick and choose that way or you can just page through. There are 200 watercolor artworks to choose from, each with a full page of tips and techniques from the artist.

Bottom Line: This book is the perfect gift for the watercolor artist of any skill level. It's small in size, but packed with info and beautiful paintings.

More info about the book here

Author bio

Disclosure: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

"A Heart fo Copper" Review

"A Heart for Copper"
by Sharon Lynn Fisher

Publisher: SilkWords
Release Date: May 9, 2014
Source: NetGalley

My Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars

Summary from goodreads.com:

An automaton created by an inventor's son, Copper has finally been given a heart by her young master. Her choice of whether to keep the key or give it to him will determine what happens next in this "pick your path" steampunk fairy tale.

Will she join his family in their English country manor, where she'll be forced to consider the question of whether she's really human? Or will she search out the quirky alchemist responsible for giving her life? Will her master hold onto her heart, or will she be tempted by the charms of an automaton man?
My Review:

"A Heart for Copper" is an interactive short story, it's done in the style of the "Choose Your Own Adventure" books. As the reader, you get to choose Copper's path, including romance! The story was very well-written, and I instantly felt for Copper. How difficult it would be to be silently in love with someone, unable to tell him or show him how she feels. When she does get her heart and she becomes human, she faces more questions than she ever dreamed of. She's so different from anyone else, what kind of life should she choose to lead now that she has the choice?

I found this story to be really fun and fast-paced. It's short, but I found myself going back and choosing all of Copper's different paths, in order to see how things could have come out differently. I really enjoyed the steampunk world that the author built. I could really see all of the characters living in this alternate history. The character of Copper is a great blend of vulnerable and strong, and she actually changes depending on what choices you make as the reader. 

This particular story is very sweet and appropriate for an adult or YA reader in my opinion, but be advised that there are a lot of varying heat levels in the stories featured on the Silkwords website, so be sure to choose your book accordingly! You can find the "Sweet" stories here.

Main Characters: 5/5
Supporting Characters: 5/5
Setting: 5/5

Romance: 4/5

Uniqueness: 5/5
Cover: 4/5
Writing: 4/5


Bottom Line: The reader decides Copper's fate in this fast-paced steampunk adventure and romance.




Disclosure: I received an e-copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

"Her Highland Fling" Review

"Her Highland Fling"
by Jennifer McQuiston
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: Jan 27, 2015
Source: sent by publisher

My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Summary from goodreads.com:

Let the Games Begin …

William MacKenzie has always been protective of his Scottish village. When Moraig's economy falters, he has the perfect solution to lure wealthy Londoners to this tiny hamlet: resurrect the ancient Highland Games! But for this to work, William knows he needs a reporter to showcase the town in just the right light.

A female journalist might be a tolerated oddity in Brighton, but newly minted reporter Penelope Tolbertson is discovering that finding respect in London is a far more difficult prospect. After receiving an invitation to cover Moraig's Highland Games, Penelope is determined to prove to her London editors just how valuable she can be.

Penelope instantly captures William's heart, but she is none too impressed with the gruff, broody Highlander; however, as she begins to understand his plans, Penelope discovers she may want more from him than just a story. She's only got a few days … but maybe a few days are all they need.
My Review:

This novella is a quick, fun, historical romance. I think the 'fling' in the title is very fitting. It's nothing too deep, just a really fluffy, quick romantic tale. The characters are sweet, but nothing extraordinary. Just a fun afternoon read.

I think I was drawn in the most by the heroine's stuttering. The first time we meet Penelope, we learn that she has a stutter, and she even feels like William is making fun of her (he isn't, don't worry!). Seeing that vulnerability right off the bat, just made me really pull for her as a character.

William is a fun leading man, but at first, I had trouble differentiating him from his brother (I haven't read any of the other books in the series, but I assume his brother was the lead in another book). It was difficult for me to keep them straight at first and I think that hampered my understanding of William's character for the rest of the story.


Main Characters: 4/5
Supporting Characters: 3/5
Setting: 4/5

Romance: 4/5

Uniqueness: 3/5
Cover: 4/5
Writing: 4/5


Bottom Line: This short and sweet novella really is a Highland Fling! What are you waiting for? Kick your feet up and enjoy a lighthearted Highland romance!




Disclosure: I received an e-copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

"Nightbird" Review

"Nightbird"
by Alice Hoffman
Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books
Release Date: March 10, 2015
Source: sent by publisher

My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

Summary from goodreads.com:

An enchanting novel from bestselling author Alice Hoffman: a charmed New England village, a family secret, and a friendship destined to defeat a witch.

"Some things could only be found in Sidwell it seemed: pink apples, black owls, and my brother, James."

Twelve-year-old Twig's town in the Berkshires is said to hide a winged beast, the Monster of Sidwell, and the rumors draw as many tourists as the town's famed pink apple orchards. Twig lives in the orchard with her mysterious brother James and her reclusive mother, a baker of irresistible apple pies. Because of a family secret, an ancient curse,Twig has had to isolate herself from other kids. Then a family with two girls, Julia and Agate, moves into the cottage next door. They are descendants of the witch who put the spell on Twig's family. But Julia turns out to be Twig's first true friend, and her ally in trying to undo the curse and smooth the path to true love for Agate and James.
My Review:

"Nightbird" is simply a lovely story. Written for middle grade readers, I think it can be read and enjoyed by all ages. The author's writing is superb, and the atmosphere in Sidwill is almost dreamlike. It was easy to get swept away in this world. The mix of fantasy and realism is blended exquisitely.

Twig is so lonely at the beginning of the book. Her loneliness practically melts off the page. She still has hope and great attitude, but the tone at the start of the book is pretty melancholy. It's not long before we learn why she and her brother and mother isolate themselves from the rest of the town, and friends are hard to come by for Twig. But that is before sisters Julia and Agate move in next door. The sisters show Twig what true friendship is, as they work together to help her brother, James.

I love that Julia and Agate love Twig and James with the unconditional love of true friends. No matter how much Twig and James push them away (as they do with everyone in town), Julia and Agate just keep coming back with their support and friendship.

The witch's curse just adds the perfect amount of magic to this tale. I love that no one is shocked by the presence of magic in the book, it just exists.

Main Characters: 5/5
Supporting Characters: 5/5
Setting: 5/5

Romance: 5/5

Uniqueness: 5/5
Cover: 5/5
Writing: 5/5


Bottom Line: I loved this magical tale of a lonely girl finding friendship and strengthening her family bond at the same time. The lush atmosphere and writing made this book a joy to read.




Disclosure: I received an e-copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

"Mayhem" Review

"Mayhem"
by Jamie Shaw
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Release Date: Jan 20, 2015 
Source: sent by publisher

My Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars

Summary from goodreads.com:

When college freshman Rowan Michaels meets gorgeous, up-and-coming rock star Adam Everest, she knows a player like him is the last thing she needs after her ex-boyfriend shattered her heart. But she can't stop thinking about the kiss they shared on his tour bus.

On the first day of school, Rowan is stunned when Adam saunters into her French class. He's soon failing miserably, and, on a whim, she offers to tutor him. But Adam doesn't recognize her as a makeup-free, glasses-clad college student—a far cry from the beautiful, mysterious "Peach" he met at his concert.

During a wild weekend on tour with the band, Rowan can't help falling for the sweet guy buried beneath Adam's rocker persona. Yet she knows she could never compete with the girls constantly throwing themselves at his feet. She'd just end up hurt … again.

Peach is all Adam thinks about, though, and when Rowan realizes this, she has a decision to make: stay just friends to protect her fragile heart … or reveal the truth about the night they met and admit she's fallen completely, hopelessly in love with him.
My Review:

"Mayhem" is a really fun, and also really sweet take on the New Adult rock star romance. The writing flows so well, and I found myself caught up in the story really quickly. Sure, the subject matter is a total fantasy, and a bit cheesy at times, but I love that type of escapism in books, especially romance! I loved that the book is fun and doesn't get caught up in a lot of sex scenes like some books in the New Adult genre.

It took awhile for me to warm up to Adam, at first I was thinking he was too aloof and a stereotypical rock star. But as soon as Rowan goes on her weekend getaway with the band, I started to really like Adam. He actually does some really sweet things and treats Rowan really well. It was just the initial stage when Rowan was worshipping him from afar in which I didn't really care for his character.

Rowan was a great lead heroine. I love love love that she spent most of the book in her glasses and dressed down so that Adam wouldn't recognize her as Peach. And Adam fell head over heels for her even without all the fancy clothes and makeup! Of course, Rowan becomes complete BFF with most of the band, which is a bit far-fetched but totally fun. Why not just embrace the escapism, it's fun!


Main Characters: 5/5
Supporting Characters: 5/5
Setting: 5/5

Romance: 5/5

Uniqueness: 5/5
Cover: 4/5
Writing: 5/5


Bottom Line: For a fun, light-hearted, and sweet romance with a rock star, look no further! Jamie Shaw is a great new voice in New Adult romance!



Disclosure: I received an e-copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

"An Affair Downstairs" Review

"An Affair Downstairs"
by Sherri Browning
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Release Date: Jan 6, 2014
Source: ARC sent by publisher

My Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars

Summary from goodreads.com:

The Countess of Aberford is determined to make a match for her sister, Lady Alice Emerson, but each man she brings to Thornbrook Park only inflames Alice's improper interest in unsuitable Logan Winthrop, a rugged man once accused of murdering his great rival.

Logan's determined to shelter himself from the pain of unrequited love—he knows the feeling all too well—but something about Alice stirs his desire to start living again. Though they fight their urges, the pair can only resist for so long; eventually they must choose between bowing to society's rules or breaking them...

My Review:

As a Downton Abbey addict, I really wanted to love this book. However, it was just ho-hum for me. Logan was likable, but Alice came across as a little bit spoiled in my opinion. I think I was also a little bummed that the story doesn't fully commit to an affair 'downstairs.' Logan is the manager of Thornbrook Park, hardly a lowly position, and he is from a titled background. I was hoping for some actual conflict between the classes, but it didn't really seem to be that way. I really wanted to see more about the servants' side of life and how two people might be able to make a relationship work between classes.

Sometimes a slow read can be fun and a great escape, and I did feel like I was having a lazy day rambling around a huge estate as I was reading. So the overall mood and tone of the book was enjoyable. I think I just wanted a little more excitement.


Main Characters: 3/5
Supporting Characters: 3/5
Setting: 5/5

Romance: 3/5

Uniqueness: 4/5
Cover: 4/5
Writing: 4/5


Bottom Line: I know I'm not the only reader starved for more books similar to Downton Abbey, so please, publishers and writers, keep this type of book coming! But this one just need a bit more intrigue and excitement for me, and more of a look at life 'downstairs.'

Disclosure: I received an e-copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

"Say Yes to the Marquess" Review

"Say Yes to the Marquess"
by Tessa Dare
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: Dec 30, 2014
Source: sent by publisher

My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

Summary from goodreads.com:

Your presence is requested at romantic Twill Castle for the wedding of Miss Clio Whitmore and . . . and . . . ?

After eight years of waiting for Piers Brandon, the wandering Marquess of Granville, to set a wedding date, Clio Whitmore has had enough. She's inherited a castle, scraped together some pride, and made plans to break her engagement.

Not if Rafe Brandon can help it. A ruthless prizefighter and notorious rake, Rafe is determined that Clio will marry his brother—even if he has to plan the dratted wedding himself.

So how does a hardened fighter cure a reluctant bride's cold feet?

● He starts with flowers. A wedding can't have too many flowers. Or harps. Or cakes.

● He lets her know she'll make a beautiful, desirable bride—and tries not to picture her as his.

● He doesn't kiss her.

● If he kisses her, he definitely doesn't kiss her again.

● When all else fails, he puts her in a stunning gown. And vows not to be nearby when the gown comes off.

● And no matter what—he doesn't fall in disastrous, hopeless love with the one woman he can never call his own.
My Review:

This is definitely one of the best historical romances that I have read for a really long time! I'm sad to say this was my first book by Tessa Dare. What took me so long?? Now I know that all the rave reviews are 100% deserved. The main characters are so lovable, and add to that an engaging plot, a well-rounded supporting cast, and fantastic writing, and you have the perfect romance novel!

Clio is a wonderful heroine. She has just the right amount of vulnerability along with an independent side. She has inherited a castle, and she no longer wants to bother with a husband. Definitely not the husband she has been waiting on for 8 years. Rafe is the complete opposite of his straight-laced brother, also known as Clio's perfect-on-paper fiance. He rejects any societal norms and wants to make his own way as a prizefighter. Clio and Rafe were inseparable as children, and now they are realizing that their feelings are deeper than friendship.

I loved the secondary cast of characters as well. Rafe's friend, Bruiser, was hilarious in his disguise as a 'gentleman'. He had it all figured out down to the monocle.  Clio's sister and her somewhat bumbling husband fit their roles to a tee, not quite mean-spirited, but always saying the wrong thing and hurting Clio.

This is just the perfect romance, historical romance fans are bound to be swept into Tessa Dare's story and the historical world of these characters. The characters will probably find a way into your heart like they did mine.

Main Characters: 5/5
Supporting Characters: 5/5
Setting: 5/5

Romance: 5/5

Uniqueness: 4/5
Cover: 4/5
Writing: 5/5


Bottom Line: A wonderful historical romance, sure to satisfy fans of the genre.


Disclosure: I received an e-copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

"Monstrously Funny Cartoons" Review

"Monstrously Funny Cartoons"
by Christopher Hart
Publisher:  Watson-Guptill
Release Date: Oct 14, 2014
Source: sent by publisher

My Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars

Summary from goodreads.com:


Learn to draw the silliest and scariest monsters, zombies, vampires, witches, mummies, and other creepy cartoon favorites.

Cartooning master Christopher Hart teaches aspiring artists all the drawing tips and tricks they need to create laugh-out-loud renditions of their favorite monsters and scary creatures. This jam-packed cartooning guide shows readers how to capture the lighter side of these creepy creatures by combining them with Hart's incredibly popular cartoon drawing style! Taking readers step-by-step through each monster type, Hart demonstrates how to draw everything from terrifyingly silly heads to wacky comic strip-like scenes of monstrous menace. Chockful of hints, humor, and horror, Monstrously Funny Cartoons is guaranteed to be a real scream for aspiring and professional artists, as well as all fans of things that go bump in the night.
My Review:

What a fun book! This instructional cartooning book, has it all-easy to follow how-to advice, and background information, as well as a fun writing style. The author blends his drawings of fun cartoon monsters with funny descriptions as well as the reasons why the characters are drawn the way they are. He doesn't just tell you to draw a zombie with an open jaw, he tells you WHY zombies have open jaws. This is such a great teaching style. The artist learns why they are drawing a certain way, not just copying what another artist has done. This method really helps you develop your own style instead of copying the instructor's style.

The book is divided into section by type of monster. Zombies are first, followed by vampires, mummies, aliens, etc. I really enjoyed the vampire and zombie monsters the most, but I liked all of the monsters. There is a good variety  of types to draw, some are cute like the zombie cheerleader on the cover, and some are more silly and icky. All of the monsters are in good fun though, there's nothing scary in the book. It's perfect for children, teens, and adults in my opinion.

I think the author achieved his goal of providing information for both beginning artists, and for experienced artists who want to develop their craft and learn how to draw a new category in order to stay current.

Bottom Line: A monstrously fun cartooning book, suitable for all ages and skill levels. Let's get drawing those zombies, vampires, and mummies!


Disclosure: book sent by bloggingforbooks.com in exchange for an honest review
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