Saturday, April 30, 2016

Food and Abs | Must Love Cowboys by Cheryl Brooks | #Review

MUST LOVE COWBOYS | Cheryl Brooks 
Rating: 4 Stars 
Goodreads | Amazon
ARC via Netgalley and Publisher in exchange for honest review
Sourcebooks Casablanca 


Shy computer specialist and amateur chef Tina Hayes travels to Circle Bar K ranch to scatter her father’s ashes in the Tetons of Wyoming. Once there, her father’s old army buddy and his cast of cowboy ranch hands persuade her to stay on as the ranch’s cook for a while. It’s not a hard decision, especially when she meets Wyatt McCabe, a man who makes her heart gallop like no one else. But with so many cowboys to choose from, can Wyatt show Tina that he’s the only one for her?

Oh swoon, swoon, swoooooooon.

Oh somebody HOLD MEEEE.

In order to show y’all how darling this book is, I’m going to do a top three.

ONE- The hot guys galore. Let’s talk about how guys look in jeans when they’ve been working real hard on the ranch. Or at least how they stereotypically look. Because that toned-ness is so what is in MUST LOVE COWBOYS. And y’all, do I love me some cowboys. The ones in this book are sweet and eat a lot and are protective. They’re a family. And they’d do anything to keep their own safe, and have then feel safe. One of them specifically is Wyatt.

Isn’t that name fun to say?

TWO- The food. OOOOOOOH THE FOOOOD. Tina’s grandfather just died and his wish was for her to scatter his ashes in a place that meant something to him. So on she goes on a trip to do just that. While her grandfather was sick, he was a picky eater. Tina didn’t complain. But she has this dream to cook for a group of firefighters. This is so she can cook a whole lot and none of it will go to waste.

Instead of firefighters she got cowboys (fair trade, yes?) and goodness, can this girl cook. I was drooling for two reasons this entire book. And the food was most certainly one of them. Mmmm. I like pie and potato salad and all that other stuff too. When can I come visit?

THREE- The mystery (that’s left out of the summary? What?). WHY YES THERE IS AN INTRIGUING MYSTERY. It’s filled with attempted murder and money and long lost humans. It’s a delight and a half. Truly.

MUST LOVE COWBOYS is just what I needed. Cute with a touch of tension. Fun with a flair of the dramatic. I’ve been reading heavy books of late, and this book felt like a breeze. Now if I could just hunt me down one of those cowboys, I’ll be set.

Well, that’s not completely true. I want him and a that potato salad.

Monday, April 25, 2016

This Cover May Be Swoony, but the Book? || #Review

Five Boroughs Series
Santino Hassell
Goodreads || Amazon

New York City—home of soaring skyscrapers, concrete boulevards, and the hopes and dreams of millions. A city where opposites attract and romance is found in unlikely places. From the glittering penthouses of Manhattan to the blue collar neighborhoods of Queens, values get tested, cultures clash, and connections are made. Men of diverse backgrounds examine their lives, test their sexual boundaries, and seek success in an unforgiving urban landscape that moves fast and stops for no one. Despite the odds, there's love to be found in the five boroughs as long as they're willing to work for it.

I think one of my main issues with these first two books is that I went in with insane expectations* I mean I wanted everything to be just as beautiful as I was hoping and wanting. (I mean, have you seen those covers) (seriously, have you? Have you?)

*adorably heroic and muscle-ridden guys, dirty situations with unusual solutions, maybe a few tangles and snares

Unfortunately, a few similar issues arose within both of the books. I sort of feel bad that I’m so completely unable to love the book as much as I want to. What were these issues? Let’s just say that one of the main characters in both Sutphin Boulevard and Sunset Park annoyed the ever-living daylights out of me.

The plot was good (I’m giving each book 3.5 Stars) and I didn’t hate all of the characters, but I really didn’t like either David or Michael. My dislike for both characters snapped over both books. Since this is a series with repeating characters, even though the main characters of the books aren’t the same, we see old friends (the kind we’d rather not see) again. And again.

Book One is all about Michael and Nunzio. They’re all about being friends for 20 years, sharing lusty (okay, maybe it’s just Nunzio) stares, and overcomplicating being together. That last one was allllll Michael. It is all Michael. I wanted to like him. I even did like him for the first part of the book. Then things went down. Lots of things. I just felt so bad for him, and I don’t want to pity him, and I can’t tell him to pick him up by the bootstraps. I found his attitude frustrating.

Much like how I found David frustrating (Granted in a different way).

However, like I mentioned earlier, I liked the plot was good. I mean, y’all, I finished them both in the same day. That counts for something? However much I liked the plot (and the scenes that did have me fanning myself/ swooning) (I MEAN RAY WAS HELLA CUTE….SOMETIMES) I just did not like David or Michael.

Overall, while I did like the book, I just don’t like it enough.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Beautiful, but Disappointing || #Review: The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

Goodreads || Amazon
April 26, 2016
ARC via Andye @ ReadingTeen

Cursed with a horoscope that promises a marriage of Death and Destruction, sixteen-year-old Maya has only earned the scorn and fear of her father's kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her world is upheaved when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. But when her wedding takes a fatal turn, Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Yet neither roles are what she expected. As Akaran's queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar's wife, she finds friendship and warmth.

But Akaran has its own secrets - thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Beneath Akaran's magic, Maya begins to suspect her life is in danger. When she ignores Amar's plea for patience, her discoveries put more than new love at risk - it threatens the balance of all realms, human and Otherworldly.

Now, Maya must confront a secret that spans reincarnated lives and fight her way through the dangerous underbelly of the Otherworld if she wants to protect the people she loves.

Inspired by Indian mythology.

“I wanted a love thick with time, as inscrutable as if a lathe had carved it from night and as familiar as the marrow in my bones” (ARC). 

The best part of the book was all the endearing things Amar said to Maya. In fantasy books, I sort of expect the weirdly poetic phrasing (I’m not lovely? Oh, I’m like thunder and lightning and I’m a star-touched queen, and you’re going to rip the stars from the sky for me? Please, do tell me more) and bright worlds. I loved the inter-weaving of Indian stories and religion and myths. I love the splash of culture and spices and saris and magic. I love the grotesque—it’s my favorite kind of beautiful. One thing I didn’t love? The main character. I was not a fan of the star-touched queen, Maya.

Let’s chat about the plot, first off. Maya has a dark horoscope, and even with her royal background, it has put off potential suitors. Just when she is about to sacrifice herself for her father-the Raja- Amar comes swooping in like a super hot, smooth worded Dark Knight (I love the 1001 Nights, stories, and this book definitely had the same aura) and marries her. The entire rest of the story is a journey of self-discovery in a vibrant, shadowy world.

The culture is gorgeous. As a general thing, I really enjoy reading about Persian, Indian, and Middle Eastern cultures. I wish those were in YA more. And if y’all have any suggestions, please let me know! The Indian culture in this book was my favorite part, and Amar was a close second. Maya, she fell last.

I felt like she was supposed to be strong, but I just though she was annoying. I do understand her hope and desire for freedom. And I understand that she didn’t get the answers she was searching for immediately. However, in this life and any others to follow, instant gratification isn’t really up for grabs. Waiting to see what happens is how power is gained. I thought that Maya’s character was flimsy and that there was an unrealistic change in her once she got married. Power isn’t something you are immediately given, even by a marriage such as hers. I found myself annoyed with her unwillingness to compromise. She dealt with. She was given a pretty good hand, and she refused to recognize it. Of course, that was a part of her journey.

Overall, this book was pretty beautiful but I just didn’t like Maya. I love the bright colors and demons, and almost everything that had to do with Amar and the night sky and edible jewels. Unfortunately, it fell flat of my expectations overall.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

#BookLook || Beast by Brie Spangler


Goodreads || Amazon

Tall, meaty, muscle-bound, and hairier than most throw rugs, Dylan doesn’t look like your average fifteen-year-old, so, naturally, high school has not been kind to him. To make matters worse, on the day his school bans hats (his preferred camouflage), Dylan goes up on his roof only to fall and wake up in the hospital with a broken leg—and a mandate to attend group therapy for self-harmers.

Dylan vows to say nothing and zones out at therapy—until he meets Jamie. She’s funny, smart, and so stunning, even his womanizing best friend, JP, would be jealous. She’s also the first person to ever call Dylan out on his self-pitying and superficiality. As Jamie’s humanity and wisdom begin to rub off on Dylan, they become more than just friends. But there is something Dylan doesn’t know about Jamie, something she shared with the group the day he wasn’t listening. Something that shouldn’t change a thing. She is who she’s always been—an amazing photographer and devoted friend, who also happens to be transgender. But will Dylan see it that way?

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Love and Murder | Hold Your Breath by Katie Ruggle | #Review

Rating: 4.5 Stars
Goodreads // Amazon
ARC via Netgalley + Publisher for an honest review
Sourcebooks Casablanca
Published: April 5, 2016


In the remote wilderness of the Rocky Mountains, rescue groups—law enforcement, rescue divers, firefighters—are often the only hope for the lost, the sick and the injured. But in a place this far off the map, trust is hard to come by and secrets can lead to murder.

That’s why Callum, the surly and haunted leader of the close-knit Search and Rescue brotherhood, finds it so hard to let newcomer Louise “Lou” Sparks into his life. But when these rescue divers go face-to-face with a killer, Callum may find that more than his heart is on the line ...




I am loving Casablanca’s April publications. And this is another one you have got to add to your TBR- pronto. I’m so serious. Lou is a scream. She’s got a fire burning bright inside of her and our main love, Callum, can’t resist her if he tried. Of course, he did try for a little bit. After Lou kicks up a dead body from the icy cold lake water, he just can’t seem to let the magnet for danger and death out of his sight.

And I’m really not complaining. I mean, he’s serious and never really smiles, but he’s so dang protective but doesn’t get all me-man and their relationship is just so freaking cuuuute I just can’t.

This book should be read with fuzzy socks and hot chocolate.

Okay- so what were some things I loved beside the killer characters? (no pun intended) (just kidding, the pun was intended)

One thing I though was really well done was the flow of HOLD YOUR BREATH. I’ll be honest, I thought it was going to be rushed with everything that was going on: relationship development, murder to solve, almost getting murdered, self discovery and all that jazz. But- surprise- this book was the perfect pace. Things kept moving and I kept reading and I wanted to know what was going to happen next. But it wasn’t jammed packed in a way that caused a total headache.

Another thing that I thought was really well done was the build up of the town in general. I could tell that there were more books to come just by reading the first book. I was really able to tell what characters were going to get their own little stories filled with danger and romance.


I really like danger and romance. Those are my favorite.

If I had one thing to complain about, it would be Lou. I loved her (really, I did), but I also wanted her to be a bit more mature. She does a few things where I’m just sort of shaking my head and wanting to slap her. I mean, I also want to hug her pretty much the entire book- so obviously this isn’t a ginormous complaint. And it builds her character and all so that’s pretty snazzy.

Love, murder-- what's not to love, y'all? For real?