JoRead

Writers write. Storytellers feed your imagination. My imagination has a hunger that can't be satiated.

Forbidden Song (Hearts of Metal Book 5) by Brooklyn Ann

Forbidden Song (Hearts of Metal Book 5) - Brooklyn Museum

This is the fifth book in the Hearts of Metal series but I promise it can definitely be read as a standalone. I know this because I’ve only read the previous book yet I never felt lost. 
I love how the author was able to weave so many characters into one book without making it feel convoluted. All of them felt true to their nature, including “slutty” Cliff, who can still be a jerk at times but now that we start seeing things from his POV it’s impossible not to have feelings for the guy. Christine’s independent spirit causes more trouble than not but even so she was a lovable character because it was not mischief what drove her but an honest will to live her own life. 

I felt this book centered more around the dynamics of the band’s members and their personal struggles, but even so it did not lack in the romance department. Christine and Cliff’s relationship may take a backseat at times but it’s always present throughout the book. Their emotions are all palpable and when they were together it was all but fire on the pages! The mix of drama and funny, laugh-out-loud moments made this book pretty enjoyable. And the fact that we get to visit with all of the other bands, including Rage of Angels (from the Bride of Prophecies series) makes it a memorable one as well. In short, I think this story is the perfect tease because if anyone picks this one up before the previous books in the series will want to get them all and start reading them asap. 

***I received this book at no cost to me and I volunteered to read it; this is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.***

No Earls Allowed (The Survivors #2) by Shana Galen~ 4 of 5 stars

No Earls Allowed (The Survivors) - Shana Galen

Neil is sent on a new mission: bring Lady Juliana back home after she’s spent months away taking care of orphan children. What was supposed to be an in-and-out kind of mission turned out to be the life changing event that neither Neil nor Lady Juliana had planned on. 

The story was a riot and a half. Neil is the kind of man that may seem reserved but in reality is pretty laid-back. I liked that he knew what to do, when to do it, and best way to go about facing a new challenge. Even though Juliana was pretty inexperienced in everything she set her mind to, she was no simpleton and faced everything with as much mettle as she could muster.

The plot itself was unpredictable and unique. I mean, I don't think I've read about ladies accepting rats for pets of their children (ee-ew, eewww, EEEWWWW!). The children were sweet and good-natured, even those that rebelled and may had caused some trouble because of their circumstances showed great character. I for one don't like reading much about children but when they are written with as much heart and wit then I will take them any time! Juliana and Neil simmered in passion for each other but didn't take their relationship to the next level until they knew for sure that's what they both wanted. And when it happened it was sublime, real, and oh, so sweet. I always complain about authors creating this far-fetched, earth-shattering event when the couple makes love for the first time because although nice to read, is it really like that in real life? I thought the author did a great job here giving me a more realistic, couple-in-love moment. 
I also loved that all the survivors made an appearance. We dug farther into the lives of some of them and we get to see more of Ewan, my boyfriend from the first book-- I mean the hero from the first book in the series. The story had a villain that didn't get to play much of a villain however his presence gave the survivors plenty to do and caused Juliana lots of headaches and heartaches. If anything I would have liked Juliana's growth to be more palpable but it was more on paper than in her character. All in all it was a great read that left me wanting more. 

** I was gifted a copy of this book and I volunteered to read it; this is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher. **

The Pirate & I (Devil's Duke #2.5) by Katharine Ashe

The Pirate and I: A Novella (Devil's Duke) - Katharine Ashe

Despite the name of the book there wasn’t really any swashbuckling or much presence of pirates yet the story included a bit of adventure and plenty of romance. 
I had trouble following the storyline when it started and it wasn’t until way past the middle part of the book that everything started to make sense. I think some of that had to do with the fact that this novella is part of a series and that to fully enjoy it other books in the series will need to be read first. 

All in all it was still entertaining and different what with Esme’s unique talent, the theft of a dog, and a rogue trying not to fall again for the woman he once thought lost to him. 

The Ones Who Got Away (The Ones Who Got Away #1) by Roni Loren

The Ones Who Got Away - Roni Loren
Finn and Olivia are part of a group of students that survived a school-shooting on prom night known as The Ones Who Got Away. He has been working as a cop for the past few years but returns home to take part in a documentary that will mark the anniversary of that fateful day. Once back home, he gets reacquainted with Olivia and other friends, but it’s definitely Olivia who’s never far from his thoughts and for whom he still has deep feelings.

I really liked their relationship. The traumatic event they went through helps them form a very unique bond since not many people around them are capable of understanding what their lives are like. At first they are a little hesitant to start any kind of relationship but then they realize that it’s in each other’s company that they will find the courage to move forward and live the lives they always wanted to live. I also liked how realistic and relatable the characters felt. I can honestly say I’ve never related to a character as much as I did to Olivia. Someone would say something to her and my mind would wander to a response and sure enough, that’s how she had responded in the book! I thought that was terrific and funny! Finn was such a perceptive and lovable man what with him being a cop trying to atone for past mistakes, and also being a regular man facing the same kind of problems any other person in his situation would. I thought the author did a great job in making such authentic characters. 

The story itself was different and even a bit gritty. While it has dark themes and deals with some PTSD issues it never falls into the extremes of angst or revenge, and it keeps the humor on the lighter side without being comical. In short, it was an endearing story about friendship, survival, leaving the past in the past, and above all, love. 

** I won a copy of this ARC through BookishFirst. This is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.**

The Rogue Is Back in Town (The Wayward Wallflowers #3) by Anna Bennett

The Rogue Is Back in Town - Anna Bennett

First of all, look at that pretty cover! Yes, I know, I’m shallow and I like pretty covers and that cover is so pretty and purple and it’s just so O-M-G! So pretty that even though I read an ARC of this book I had to buy the print book because yes, pretty cover!

 

Moving on, Sam is known by everyone as a womanizer and a rake. His brother is done with him and is ready to disown him unless he does one thing for him: remove Miss Juliet Lacey, one of the Wilting Wallflowers, and his uncle Alistair from one of his properties.

Sam was a really fun character. He was a rake alright but a the same time he was endearing and oh, so sweet. He knew it was time to stop living a life of debauchery if he wanted to repair the rift between his brother and him, whom he clearly cared for more than money itself. When he met Julie, it seemed he was not going to miss the chance to behave roguishly but he quickly realized Julie was no wilting wallflower and he would have to change tactics if he was going to convince her to leave.
I have a thing for stories with feuds between siblings. I think it’s one of the saddest things that can happen in real life and if an author can make me feel such sadness through the pages I just feel like “yes, this is how it should feel like!”

I truly enjoyed this book from beginning to end, and although at times I rolled my eyes at the naivete of Julie, I also found myself remembering she was the youngest of the trio and had never had to deal with any huge problematic issues in her life. She was just a girl trying to find her place in a world that had only recently accepted her and her sisters and only because her sisters had married well. In the end she found her HEA in the least expected man in the least expected way and I think they were perfect for each other.

***I received this book at no cost to me and I volunteered to read it; this is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.***

Manga Classics: The Count of Monte Cristo (Manga Classics) by Crystal S. Chan (Story Adaptation), Alexandre Dumas, Nokman Poon (Art by)

Count Of Monte Cristo Manga Classics - Alexandre Dumas

This is my first attempt at reading the classic and I was really excited at the chance of reading this adaption. Unfortunately it did not meet my expectations. 
The cover is spectacular and it caught my eye right away. The artwork was lovely and it pretty much covered all my requisites for manga, but when it came to the actual adaption of the story… sorry but no. 
The narrative is hard to follow and there were so many characters in the first few chapters that were introduced without proper explanation that I wasn’t able to tell them apart or tell where the heck they had come from. I usually read a book before I gift it to my younger peers to make sure they will be able to understand it, and being that I had a hard time following this one I sincerely think it’s not something I will be giving away any time soon, at least not to anyone that hasn’t had a crash course on the classics. 

** I received this book via Netgalley at no cost to me and I volunteered to read it; this is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.***

Review: The Bad Girl and the Baby (Cutting Loose #3) by Nina Croft

The Bad Girl and the Baby (Cutting Loose) - Nina Croft

Darcy has a painful past. She thinks she failed her sister and now she’s trying to make it up by making sure her sister’s daughter, Lulu is living a happy and safe life. The only problem is that Lulu’s guardian, uptight, ultra-organized, ex-SAS, Capt. Matt Peterson won’t allow her to even visit her. Now Darcy needs to find a way to convince him that being a tattooed ex-con is not as bad as it seems. 

I loved Darcy’s kick-a$$ character! I think the author did an excellent job of portraying the true nature of her character. She was tough and protective yet showed glimpses of vulnerability at exactly the right moments. Even when she was unsure or feeling susceptible, she still went ahead and made the tough decisions. 
Matt on the other hand cracked me up half of the time. He was supposed to be this stiff, uptight, almost super-soldier but when it came to Lulu and Darcy… well, let’s just say he became someone else entirely different but not in a bad way. He and Darcy formed some kind of bond, that as much as they tried to deny it existed, or not give it a name, worked excellent for me because it was that openness and honest attitude from both of them that made their nameless relationship work; as long as their meddlesome friends were not trying to dictate their lives. 
Argh! That really annoyed me, though! Darcy and Matt’s friends were always telling them how bad they were for each other and how much damage each would cause to the other. I mean, seriously, consenting adults? At least in the end, friends served their purpose and proved that without them life would not only be boring but also so much harder and lonely. 

It’s not very often I connect this well with characters but this book was something else. Even Lulu was a delight to read. Those that have dealt with little kids will immediately understand and chuckle at what the characters had to go through with little Lulu. 
It’s not very often I give 5 stars to books either but I think this one warrants it. There simply was nothing I didn’t like; if anything I could re-read this book just for the sheer pleasure of reading it again. 

** I received this book at no cost to me and I volunteered to read it; this is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.***
 (less)

Review: Romancing the Scot (The Pennington Family #1) by May McGoldrick

Romancing the Scot (The Pennington Family) - May McGoldrick

The story wasn’t bad but I had a few issues that didn’t let me fully enjoy this story.
It was a good romance story, not to mention the suspense sub-plot indeed kept me turning the pages. The thing is, I think there were too many things this book could have done without and it still would have been a good story. 
It all started with lots of heart-pumping action. Someone murdered Grace’s father and now she’s trying to escape the same fate. Miraculously, she ends up in the land of a well-placed family that takes her as one of their own. After that initial encounter and Grace’s convalescence, the pace starts slowing down. 

The characters were charismatic and complex. Hugh was smart and charming; stern when needed yet wicked when he wanted to be. Grace was also smart with the gift of a super memory, although it took forever to get to why it was so important she had such a gift. Jo, Hugh’s sister had a tragic past, something that I also think we spend too much time on. I think they were setting ground for future books but again, I think it was not needed. The writing was impeccable and the historical accuracy was on point. The problem with that was that we spent too much time reading about history and not enough time with the main characters as people. Even the suspense that was so good at the start ends up being kind of a let down because I felt some things about Grace’s father were more guesswork than actual answers. 

** I received this book at no cost to me via Netgalley and I volunteered to read it; this is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.***

Review: Maid of Ice (Blood and Silver, #3) by Shona Husk

Maid of Ice (Blood & Silver) - Shona Husk

Finley and Alina are part of an ancient magical civilization called Albah. Some call them elves, others call them witches, but in truth no one truly knows what they are or where they are from. The only thing they are certain of is that because their race is capable of creating evil creatures they are being hunted to extinction. 
This is the third installment in the series but it can be read as a standalone. As I started reading the book I had the impression that one had to read the first two books in order to get the gist of this one but as the story progressed it was pretty obvious that was not necessary. 
Finley is an adventurous and one could almost call cynical man that wants nothing to do with the magical family he was born into and couldn’t care less if they truly went extinct. The thing with Finley is that even though he gave up the responsibilities that came with being part of that family, he never gave up his magical gift as he always considered it an intrinsic part of himself. So, when he meets a long lost Albah that never before had the chance to experience life in the magical sense, he realizes what could be lost if all that magic is completely gone, and worst, what would happen to the family and friends he hardly gave himself a chance to meet. 

Of all three books this one is by far my favorite. Not only did the author tell us more details of the world of the Albah, their Guardians, Albanex, and Keepers; but the story also gave us a more expanded view of how they interact with regular humans. I also thought there is a bit more humor in this one but that may be due to the interaction between the two main characters (there is also more sexual content so, fair warning) who are young and free and trying to survive a fight neither one of them asked to be a part of. Overall it was a great read with a unique world-building, just as the previous two books, and I do recommend it to anyone that likes PNR/UF with a different twist. 

** I was gifted a copy of this book and I volunteered to read it; this is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.**

Reading progress update: I've read 72%.

The Bad Girl and the Baby (Cutting Loose) - Nina Croft

In which the heroine gets more likable the more I read about her. So much so that I had to write about her. Also, if anyone needs to know what's it like to live with a two-year old child, this is the book to read! 

 

Review: Tempting Danger (Retribution #2) by Katie Reus

Tempting Danger - Katie Reus

We met Alina and Andre in the first book (Retribution) when she and her sister were trying to avenge their parent’s murder. This book was not as fast-paced as the first book nor did it have any paranormal elements but it was still an entertaining read. It was cute to see the things a hormonal pregnant woman has to go trough and how the people around her deal with the situations.

The thing I didn’t like much was that I was expecting more of a struggle in the romantic department. It went from “enemies” to “I want you back in my life” in the span of a millisecond (not quite literally but it sure felt that way) which I feel didn’t allow me connect to the characters that much.

 

** A copy of this book was provided to me by the author. I voluntarily read this book and my comments here are my honest opinion. **

Opression: 0 Freedom:+1

The Hate U Give - Angie Thomas

I was truly saddened and disappointed when I read that the book THE HATE U GIVE was banned from a school in Katy, TX. But after reading all the pouring love and support the author received by her followers and then finding out this morning that she won the 2017 Goodreads award for Debut Author and the book won the award for Best YA Fiction, I feel hopeful and much happier already ;) <3 

 

... and yes, a little bit gleeful too =D 

 

 

Here is more about the ban: https://bookriot.com/2017/12/01/the-hate-u-give-banned/

Review: Maid of Ice (Blood and Silver #3) by Shona Husk

Maid of Ice (Blood & Silver) - Shona Husk

Finley and Alina are part of an ancient magical civilization called Albah. Some call them elves, others call them witches, but in truth no one truly knows what they are or where they are from. The only thing they are certain of is that because their race is capable of creating evil creatures they are being hunted to extinction. 
This is the third installment in the series but it can be read as a standalone. As I started reading the book I had the impression that one had to read the first two books in order to get the gist of this one but as the story progressed it was pretty obvious that was not necessary. 
Finley is an adventurous and one could almost call cynical man that wants nothing to do with the magical family he was born into and couldn’t care less if they truly went extinct. The thing with Finley is that even though he gave up the responsibilities that came with being part of that family, he never gave up his magical gift as he always considered it an intrinsic part of himself. So, when he meets a long lost Albah that never before had the chance to experience life in the magical sense, he realizes what could be lost if all that magic is completely gone, and worst, what would happen to the family and friends he hardly gave himself a chance to meet. 

Of all three books this one is by far my favorite. Not only did the author tell us more details of the world of the Albah, their Guardians, Albanex, and Keepers; but the story also gave us a more expanded view of how they interact with regular humans. I also thought there is a bit more humor in this one but that may be due to the interaction between the two main characters (there is also more sexual content so, fair warning) who are young and free and trying to survive a fight neither one of them asked to be a part of. Overall it was a great read with a unique world-building, just as the previous two books, and I do recommend it to anyone that likes PNR/UF with a different twist. 

** I was gifted a copy of this book and I volunteered to read it; this is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.*

Review for: Mistletoe Me, Baby (O'Connor Family #4) by Katie Reus

Mistletoe Me, Baby (O'Connor Family Series) (Volume 4) - Katie Reus

Nolan and Miranda have been friends for a long time but now circumstances help Nolan take the first step into moving their relationship to a brand new level, a level that he’d been hoping to get to for the longest time. 
This story had the perfect mix of sweetness, spicyness, and emotions to keep me turning the pages. I specially liked to read how family dynamics change from person to person however in the end if a family is close, they will be there for each other, supporting one another in times of need. I also liked the way Nolan continued helping Miranda even when she was too distracted to ask for his help. He truly was the perfect hero with not a flaw in sight. In short, I’d call this story a comfort read perfect for this time of year and I recommend it for anyone looking for a Holiday read. 

 

** I was gifted a copy of this book and I volunteered to read it; this is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.** 

Review for Third Son's a Charm (The Survivors #1) by Shana Galen

Third Son's a Charm (The Survivors) - Shana Galen

This story has the best love declaration I have ever read! It had me having all the feels, specially for Ewan, the most alluring non-Viking Viking I've read. 
Lorrie is a young, passionate, spirited woman that has gone as far as try to elope because her parents won’t allow her to marry the man she loves. Seeing how his daughter will not be dissuaded from marrying the wrong man, her father hires Ewan Mostyn, the third son of an earl and an ex-soldier that’s mostly known for knocking heads together at a gambling club than for appearing at a dance ball. 
Ewan is a taciturn man, rejected by his father because he considers him an unworthy son, and judged by society because he is considered nothing more than a brute. Ever since he was a child, he was told he was stupid due to a learning disability and it wasn’t until he joined the army and later some sort of “suicide unit” that he finally felt he belonged somewhere. I fell in love with his honesty and quiet way of communicating. He had this genuine way about him that made him both charming and alluring in a very unique, gentle way. The author made a fabulous job conveying his emotions because to me they all felt real and relatable. 

People tend to forget that historicals include debutants and most heroines are barely of age when they are thrown into the marriage market. Lorrie is young so yeah, she’s going to act recklessly at times, but in my opinion she was not stupid but naïve. She was also determined, curious, and true to herself. She was capable of seeing in Ewan what he was not able to see in himself and that in turn gave him the strength to fight for what he wanted. If that’s not a worthy heroine then I don’t know what is. 

We get a secondary love story between Lorrie’s parents that I would have loved to see more of but at least it gave me more of an insight of why Lorrie and Ewan’s closeness was allowed. Oh, and let's not forget the other Saviors! There was such a brotherly banter and comradery among them that my heart melted a little bit every time I got to read about them. I was a little off put with something towards the end but other than this was a great book and a great start to a new series. 

** I was gifted a copy of this book and I volunteered to read it; this is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.**
 

Review: Risking It (Stolen Moments #2) by Angela Quarles

Risking It: A Romantic Comedy (Stolen Moments Book 2) - Angela Quarles

This story was delightfully sexy, quirky, and so much fun! It’s the second book in the Stolen Moments series but it can totally be read as a standalone. 

In short, Aiden and Jane had a fun night together, but strange and great thing, they only netflix’ed and chill, literally, and to them it was enough to know there could be more between them. However and apparently because no one taught them how to communicate, and because you know, pride and prejudice before getting to know people, they parted ways and ended up not talking after that one night. 

I thought the way those two went from strangers to friends to lovers was managed in a super fun and brilliant way. They obviously liked each other physically but they knew that jumping into the “sex” wagon at the first chance was going to lead nowhere but heartache. Jane had serious self-doubt issues and Aiden had a history of relationships ending badly. Their friendship was handled in an incredibly gratifying way and at the perfect pace and their playfulness made them more relatable. 
I had some problems with the way Jane’s generalized bookworms solely based on her own lack of confidence however I was ruined for life with the way Aiden opened up to her and the way he behaved during the road trip and afterwards. I think he became one of my favorite BBF ever! Overall this was a great love story and I’m looking forward for more books by this author.


** I was gifted a copy of this book and I volunteered to read it; this is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.**
 (les

Currently reading

The Captain of Her Fate: A Regency Romance (The Other Bennet Sisters Book 1)
Nina Mason
Challenge Participant Professional Reader