Book Review: A Road Paved In Copper

review-cover-a road paved in copperTitle: A Road Paved In Copper

Author: Angela Christina Archer

Genre: Historical, Western, Romance

Rating: 3 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Armed with her six-shooter, Ava De La Vega dips the pen into the inkwell and etches her name on the Esmeralda County tax record book. A formidable force, that’s what her peers have called her. The woman in a man’s world, what did she know of mining ore, silver, and copper? Plenty. And it’s this knowledge that makes her of the richest miners in Nevada in 1903. Of course, it also makes her a target.

Traveling back and forth from Tonopah, Nevada and San Francisco, Ava blazes the trail from the dirt and grime of her mines to the fanciest hotel rooms, enjoying the finest wines, the most decadent meals, and the company of attractive young men.

Unfortunately, for Ava, she doesn’t see Craig Harrison coming.

A miner from the snowy Klondike, Craig has traveled from the harsh Canadian mountains down to city streets of San Francisco. Not looking for work, he’s happy with the comfortable life away from the deep mines, the dirt, and the ever sought-after gold.

Unfortunately, for Craig, he doesn’t see Ava coming.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I was a little on the fence with how to rate A Road Paved in Copper by Angela Christina Archer. As I first delved into the book, I was a bit thrown by the style in which the narrative was written. There was a lot of description—beautiful description—but it tended to come off as telling more often than showing. For all the words used to describe Ava De La Vega’s world, none of them had quite the impact I wanted to really sink into the world building.

As far as the characters are concerned, Ava was a very strong, very competent main female lead, and in contrast, Craig often came off as a bit of a beta male. He had a tendency to sit back and let Ava do whatever she wanted rather than striving to push her into facing her faults. Between the two, I definitely liked Ava a lot more.

As for the romance… I had a few problems with it. Ava had a lot of past lovers, which is absolutely fine and didn’t bother me in the slightest, but what did bother me is the fact that she had both a relationship with Billy Jack, one of the “villains” of the story, Craig—the main male lead, as well as her foreman. It felt weird and unneeded to have the foreman’s relationship with Ava pointed out at the same time that she’s dealing with her past with Billy Jack, and her new lover, Craig. It felt like a bit of overkill.

That being said, It also felt like Ava’s relationship with Craig went a little too fast to be convincing. I think a large part of this is due to the fact that despite seeing the chemistry between the two lovers right off the bat, the majority of their relationship was played out off-screen on the trail back home, which realistically would have taken days, maybe even weeks. It was skimmed over and then they were home, and the readers were supposed to accept their budding relationship and keep moving forward. It didn’t feel convincing to me. I wish we’d gotten more time to actually see their relationship develop ourselves.

All of that aside, I still liked the book. Despite its flaws, I’d still say it was pretty well written. I liked the characters, the plot, the world building… Tonopah felt real to me, and it was definitely a different twist on an old western trope where the roles of the story were reversed a bit. Ava was everything I’d expect from a  strong female lead. In the end, I gave the book 3 stars because it wasn’t a bad book, but it also wasn’t the greatest I’ve ever read. It had its flaws and it’s great points, overall, I liked it. If you’re looking for a historical western-themed romance with a  strong female lead, I’d recommend you check this out—that part of the book was very well done. If you prefer Alpha males and simpering ladies, you might want to pass this one up.

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Book Review: A Connecticut Fashionista in King Arthur’s Court

cover-review-a connecticut fashionista in king arthur's courtTitle: A Connecticut Fashionista in King Arthur’s Court [Twisted Time 1]

Author: Mari Macusi

Genre: Romance, Historical, Fantasy, Time Travel

Rating: 3 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Once upon a time there lived an outspoken fashion editor named Kat, who certainly was not your typical damsel in distress. But when a gypsy curse sent her back in time to the days of King Arthur, she found she’d need every ounce of her 21st century wits (and pop culture references) to navigate the legend. After all, surviving a magical plot, an evil prince, and a case of mistaken identity – all without changing history or scuffing your Manolos – takes some doing!

Luckily, she’s got her very own knight in shining armor, Lancelot du Lac, on her side. The honorable-to-a-fault and devastatingly handsome champion insists on helping her out, even though she’s not quite sure she wants him to. After all, shouldn’t he be off romancing Queen Guenevere or something? Will Kat manage to stay out of trouble long enough to get back to her beloved lattes, cosmopolitans and cashmere? And what will Lancelot’s forbidden love mean for the kingdom of Camelot?

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

It took a long time for me to decide what rating to give A Connecticut Fashionista in King Arthur’s Court by Mari Mancusi. This was the fun, sometimes silly, often thrilling adventure of Kat—a fashion editor who’s all about Starbucks and her Manolo’s, and not so much about medieval life—but it wasn’t without its snares.

Technically speaking, the writing was pretty decent. I found a small handful of typos throughout the book, but nothing terribly jarring. The writing overall was fluid, clear, and fast-paced. I didn’t feel like I was stumbling through awkward word choices or grammar issues. The romance between Lancelot and Kat was believable and steamy, and I rooted for them throughout the book. The world building was familiar and stuck pretty true to the core tale of Arthur and Camelot, and I enjoyed the idea behind the plot.

The problem for me, unfortunately, was Kat herself. I found it very difficult to like Kat. Honestly, she was kind of obnoxious and definitely more than a little self-centered. Her words and choices throughout the book were made with little forethought, often resulting in misunderstandings and trouble for the people around her, and instead of outright apologizing, most of the time she just pouted in her head about how no one liked her because she made bad first impressions. She certainly did at that—I hated her personality and found her more than a little annoying.

Still, the book was fun and a certainly interesting mash-up of an old classic tale and modern day drama.  Overall, I rated the book a “meh”. I liked it, I’m glad I read it, but I would have liked it a lot more had Kat not been as obnoxious, and had her actions had more realistic consequences. She just wasn’t my idea of a fun heroine to follow around for the entirety of a book.

In The Mail #17

inthemailbookhaul17Hello ladies and gentlemen of blogland! It’s been awhile since I’ve posted an In The Mail, and I figured it was about time. I’ve gotten quite a few new books lately as long with a few bits of swag, and I wanted to let you take a sneak peek!

So with no further ado, let’s take a look at what I’ve received lately. Most of these are books won in Good Reads Giveaways, obtained through the Kindle Scout program, or were sent directly to me by authors/publishers.

You’ll find book descriptions and links to where you can find them below if any of them sound interesting to you!

itm-1Your Body Is My Prison by Oksana Leslie

Science Fiction->Horror, Young Adult

Humanoids from Cassiopeia don’t feel pain and they have chose Earth as a perfect place for punishment of their perpetrators. Cassiopeians call that process “the rehabilitation”. A soul of a criminal has to suffer and die with its human host in order to learn about the pain and appreciation of a life. The bloodshed measures the sentence.
An eighteen-year-old girl from Florida, Michelle, really enjoys fiction and UFO footage videos. Her biggest dream is to meet an alien from another world and feel connected to the universe.

Tavy used to be a healer in his world. However, jealousy turned him into a murderer. He is sentenced to suffer in Michelle’s body.

Tavy feels everything she does; her personal path lies with Tavy’s as she tries to help the alien prisoner to get his freedom back. They both have to experience different executions and deaths in other people’s bodies when Michelle is asleep. Tavy found many weird things about the Earth. Michelle was wondering before, why aliens do not contact humans? She finds the answer during bloody rehabilitations, when she and Tavy learn about creepy rituals and traditions people of the modern day still practice.

I received my copy of Your Body Is My Prison through a Good Reads Giveaway. The author was a gem and signed, dated, and personalized my copy, as well as sending me a photo greeting card along with it. I can’t wait to start reading it!

itm-2The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan

Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Science Fiction->Dystopian

As a Gracekeeper, Callanish administers shoreside burials, sending the dead to their final resting place deep in the depths of the ocean. Alone on her island, she has exiled herself to a life of tending watery graves as penance for a long-ago mistake that still haunts her. Meanwhile, North works as a circus performer with the Excalibur, a floating troupe of acrobats, clowns, dancers, and trainers who sail from one archipelago to the next, entertaining in exchange for sustenance.

In a world divided between those inhabiting the mainland (“landlockers”) and those who float on the sea (“damplings”), loneliness has become a way of life for North and Callanish, until a sudden storm offshore brings change to both their lives–offering them a new understanding of the world they live in and the consequences of the past, while restoring hope in an unexpected future.

This was another book I received through a Good Reads Giveaway. The cover is so gorgeous!

5x8TemplateDiscovering April by Sheena Hutchinson

New Adult, Contemporary Romance

April Landau thinks she has everything she’s ever wanted. Her high school sweetheart, a house she can’t afford, her bipolar tabby cat, and she’s all set to begin her Junior year of college. Just when she least expects it, her life gets thrown for a loop. When things between her and her long time boyfriend unravel, she becomes stuck in a downward spiral of emotion. Finally, opening her eyes to the fact that she may have given up more than she ever could have imagined in this relationship. She finds herself struggling to keep her head above water.

Enter April’s next door neighbor— Jared Hoffman. He’s her complete opposite. A high school drop out who was forced to take over his parent’s business after their untimely death. It’s no surprise this tragedy affected him greatly, causing him to recede almost completely from society.

But he has one secret. A secret he’s been carrying around for years.

What happens when their worlds collide? Can an old friendship be the one thing that brings these two back to life?

Yet another book obtained through a Good Reads Giveaway. The author was nice enough to sign the book, and also sent along a bookmark and a post card with a personal message attached. So nice!

itm-4Trusting Liam [Taking Chances 2] by Molly McAdams

New Adult, Contemporary Romance

When Kennedy Ryan moves to California, she never expects to come face-to-face with Liam Taylor—the intriguing man who has haunted her thoughts for a year. A man who led her to breaking every one of her rules for a single night of passion that ended up meaning more than it was ever supposed to. Accustomed to disastrous experiences with men, Kennedy shields herself before he can break down more of the carefully built control she’s clung to for the last four years. But every time she sees Liam, she feels her resolve weakening.

Liam Taylor has been asked to help socialize his boss’s nieces. But what he thinks sounds more like a babysitting job ends up leading him to the only girl who ever slipped away before morning—a girl he thought he’d never find again. And now that she’s within reach, Liam’s determined to never let her go.

But when a secret from her past tests their relationship, will they be able to cling to the trust Liam has worked so hard to build?

…And again, I obtained this book through a Good Reads Giveaway. I haven’t read the first book in the series, but I’m looking forward to giving this once a chance. It’ll be released June 9, 2015.

itm-5Weakest Lynx by Fiona Quinn

Fantasy->Paranormal, Adventure, Romance

20-year-old Lexi Sobado is a woman with a psychic gift caught in the middle of a sinister web of crime and corruption. The victim of a stalker, Lexi finds herself romantically entangled with the special agent charged with protecting her. Thing is, Lexi herself has worked for the intelligence community in the past. What she hides, what she reveals and what she keeps trying to uncover become the juggling act our heroine deals with as she tries to save her own life and stop the killer.

This is one of many books I’ve recently received through the Kindle Scout program—which I adore at this point. If you haven’t checked out the Kindle Scout program, you should. Basically, you get to nominate up to three books at a time that Kindle’s press is evaluating for print… the more nominations the books get, the more likely they are to be accepted into the program. At the end of a brief waiting period, each nominated book is reviewed by staff, and if it’s chosen for print, anyone who nominated said book gets a free e-book copy once it’s published. It takes awhile for each book to go through the process, but I’ve gotten quite a few books through this program already. It’s completely legit, free, and you get the warm fuzzies for helping an independent author get published.

itm-6The Billionaire’s Bodyguard Bride by Lisa Weaver

Contemporary Romance

Bodyguard Lauren Reynolds grew up lying to survive, while billionaire Rafe Dimitriou was raised to uphold a strict code of honor. The sexy billionaire’s most formidable competitor, Milton Payne, isn’t as scrupulous.

Both Rafe and Milton are vying to gain control of Gracious Living. In order to make an offer, the company requires the buyer to be married.

Knowing Lauren will do anything to protect brother, Rafe threatens to destroy her only sibling’s career if she doesn’t agrees play the role of his wife. Lauren accepts his proposal, but her motivation is far more compelling than family loyalty. She’s been assigned to covertly protect Rafe in the wake of threats made against the Dimitriou family. As his wife, Lauren knows she’ll have the perfect opportunity to watch over him without arousing his suspicion.

She’ll guard him with her life, but who will protect her heart?

I obtained my copy of The Billionaire’s Bodyguard Bride through the Kindle Scout program!

Book Review: The In Between [The In Between 1]

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Title: The In Between [The In Between 1]

Author: Catherine Converse

Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy, Urban, YA/Teen, Thriller

Rating: 3 Stars (the lower spectrum)

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Description/Synopsis:

Two girls with opposing backgrounds join a secret intelligence agency located deep in the earth located deep in the earth to remain hidden from society, where their psychic dreams are used to prevent murder. As the girls form a unique friendship, they begin to dream about the same serial case, triggering a chaos that spirals through the agency tunnels. They discover that the agency may not be all that it seems, and the lives they need to save are their own.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I have luke-warm feelings about this book. This book is about a girl, Adie, whose entire life has been over-shadowed by her secret ability to dream murders before they happen. She learned at a very young age that these dreams were prophetic—real—but she never dreamed she could keep the murders from happening. That is until one day she gets an invite to a secret facility where she learns there are others like herself, and together, she teams up with this secret organization to help stop her dreams from ever coming true.

It’s a great plot. Unfortunately, the execution fell flat. Right from the very beginning I knew things were going to go wrong. The author seemed to put a little too much effort into pushing certain details and events forward, and it quickly became evident that I was going to be force-fed any important information I needed to know – rather than letting me figure things out for myself. The story lacked subtlety.

To make matters worse, the story was rushed. Large sections of time were leaped over without any real filler information to help ease the gap, relationships were instant to an absurd degree, and when anything went wrong, the characters seemed to instantly know how to fix any situation. The whole thing felt plotted, and rather than sinking into the story and the lives of the characters, I felt like I was watching a an almost cartoon-esque caricature of life.

The “evil” characters were laughable and went into long explanations of their evil plans like any cartoon villain. The “good” characters seemed to always know what to do and came to brilliant realizations without having put forth any effort. The clues of the plot felt like they were being displayed in front of my eyes by Vanna White. It got old quickly.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the book, and I managed to finish from one end to the other, but it wasn’t more of doctor’s office read for me. It’s not something I would have spent an afternoon on had I known where it was going. I think given some time and effort on the author’s behalf, this could have been cleaned up into a very decent YA novel, but it fell short. The story, and the characters in it, never felt real to me,

Also, there was an abundance of technical issues; words were left out of sentences, punctuation was miss-used, words were misspelled. Would I read it again? No. Would I recommend it? I’d like to say yes, but honestly, I don’t think I would. I didn’t dislike the book (which is why this got a 3 star rating) but I have to say, it was rather “meh”.

Book Review: In Heat

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Title: In Heat

Author: Felicity Heaton

Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy, Romance

Rating: 4 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

A heat wave isn’t the only thing making London too hot for lawyer Kim. She’s been spending each night with a man who sets her body and heart on fire. The problem? He’s a man that always sprouts black fur and purrs, and he’s only a dream. Walking into work on the hottest day of the year, the last thing she expects is to meet Erik, a man who sends her temperature soaring and who resembles her dream guy exactly.

A black panther shape-shifter, Erik Blackwell has been searching for his mate for twenty-seven years. The visions they share each night are getting hotter but finding her is proving impossible as he’s never seen her face. That is, until it turns out she’s working as his lawyer on his contract negotiations with his brother, Alistair.

Kim can’t deny her attraction to Erik. The heat she feels with him is intense and it’s only a matter of time before they surrender to their carnal desires.

When Kim discovers Erik’s secret, will she turn her back on him, or will she complete the mating and become like him so they can be together forever?

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I really liked this book. I wasn’t expecting to. You have to understand that shape-shifter romances tend to tread a very thin line. There’s always the chance that the author will push it a little too far and stray into bestiality, or towards violence. Both are a rather icky subject area for me (don’t even get me started on characters that have animal faces… yuck.) So going into a book like In Heat, I’m always a little hesitant, and maybe even somewhat afraid that things may go horribly wrong at any point in time.

I’m happy to report, that despite my initial misgivings about what this story might entail, I actually found it to be a very decent read. The narrative was jam-packed with steamy sex scenes, tentative encounters, and moments where we whirled around the character’s brains, trying to get glimpses at the driving force behind their actions. The characters were likeable, and the narrative was clean and easy to follow.

There are only two—okay, maybe three—gripes I had about the entire story. A) Skillful was misspelt at least once. Author: You forgot an L. B) The author had a tendency to repeat certain words a terrifying amount. Ghosting was one of those words, the other was an alternate name for a woman’s vagina. I wasn’t a huge fan of having the word shoved in my face six times on one page. Buy a thesaurus please. C) I was so sad about the ending.  It wasn’t a sad ending per se, or even a bad one, but I wanted it to end another way. Maybe that’s not so much of a complaint as a fan girl pleading for fan service—but it dropped the star rating nevertheless.

Other than that? I loved the story. It was a quick read, easy to follow, and in the end I was glad I’d read it. I’d happily recommend it to anyone who wants a more steamy shape-shifter romance. The sex scenes are plentiful (if a bit… bluntly worded at times) but they’re well written, just like the rest of the story. It may not have been horribly genre-breaking or an original in plot, but that certainly didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the story. I’ll definitely be looking to pick up the second book in the series soon.

In The Mail #14

I tend to post these a little late, trying to get more than one book in my “in the mail” posts, so I’ve had these for awhile now, but here are my recent accumulations.

ImageThe Reason is You by Sharla Lovelace:(Contemporary, Paranormal, Romance) In the small town of Bethany, Texas, Dani never fit in. Being different pushed her to the fringes of society, and even leaving town for two decades didn’t stop the talk. Now she’s back, trying to settle in with her daughter and have a normal life. But the men in her life might not make it that simple. First, there’s her old friend Alex. He’s mischievous, sexy, and still hot enough to melt her shoes. And he’s a ghost—a real one, who’s always been there for her when she most needed him. Of course, there are actual men in Bethany, too. Like Jason with his hard body. Dani seems to have a habit of running into him—literally. Now she must decide between a man who long ago touched her heart and a man she can actually touch.

ImageTo Stand Beside Her by B. Kristin McMichael: (Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance) To be the best courier in the world, eighteen-year-old Benét Leila follows three simple rules: always work alone, never stay in one place too long, and never fall in love. Too bad she didn’t follow her own advice.

Leila is a courier. To the people she takes from, she is seen as a common thief; to the people she helps, she is a savior.

Nalick is your typical king. He’s rich, powerful, and always assumed to be right. When Leila crosses paths with King Nalick, she finds herself trapped. In a rush to save her best friend Kay from a prison sentence for a crime Leila committed, Leila trades her hand in marriage in exchange for Kay’s freedom.

Tomboy Leila does not want to grow up, but in three months’ time, she will be married to King Nalick, if Nalick can keep his end of the bargain. First, Nalick must make Leila fall in love with him, a hard task since Leila is not ready to love again after losing her first love to a greedy king. Second, Nalick must keep her safe. He is not the only king trying to hold onto her. Leila has made many enemies over the years, and even more admirers that want her as a prize. Lastly, Nalick must convince Leila that ten years of love is better than a lifetime without. Unless Leila can trust her destiny, she might not reach her wedding day at all.

ImageStranded, Stalked, and Finally Sated by Amelia Rose: (Western, Romance) Clara Roberts has found herself forced to flee across country, pursued by a madman who seems to have access to every aspect of her life. Consequently, she is off the grid and under the radar when her truck breaks down in a small corner of Southwestern, Oklahoma, and she finds herself at the mercy of a local cowboy. While she knows that she will eventually have to keep running to stay one step ahead of her stalker, she begins to find herself drawn to this man. With his support she decides that her life is something worth fighting for.

Shad Brandt wasn’t sure what to expect when he pulled over to help out the girl on the side of the road, but it isn’t long before he realizes that she was a lot more than he bargained for. He knows that she is running from something, but he can’t quite place his finger on what it is. However, he cannot turn his back on this woman in need and when he opens his home and his heart to her he finds something else entirely. So when danger comes to lay claim to Clara, he finds that he is willing to sacrifice everything to make sure she stays safe.

in The Mail #13

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I was completely floored today when I checked the mail. Sitting outside on my porch was a rather large box – too large for just one book, I thought. I knew I had some books coming in the mail soon that I’d won in various Goodreads Giveaways, but it still struck me as rather strange. Nevertheless, it was marked “Media Mail” and my name was scrawled across it in beautiful cursive, so I took it inside, and after several minutes of wrestling with the tape, managed to get it open.

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ImageThe box weighed a TON, and when I popped open the cardboard lid, inside I found not one, not two, not three, but FOUR signed books by the lovely Caroline Clemmons along with a very pretty post card. I’d won Blue Bonnet Bride in the goodreads giveaway, but had no idea just how generous Ms. Clemmons was planning to be.

Anyways, the books are:

I’m so excited to start reading these, they’ve all gotten great reviews on Goodreads. This may have made my week. :3