Thursday, May 21, 2015

ARC Review | TAMING LILY by Monica Murphy

Taming Lily by Monica Murphy
Adult Romance published July 7, 2015
Published by Bantam
Author's website  |  Goodreads  |  Buy the Book on Amazon

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Perfect for fans of Christina Lauren, Emma Chase, and Maya Banks, the anticipated finale in New York Times bestselling author Monica Murphy’s sexy contemporary romance series about three fiery and determined sisters with their own ideas about life and love.
I’m in trouble. Again. And instead of facing my problems head on, I’ve run away. Far away this time, and no one can catch me—not my two younger sisters, Violet and Rose, not my father, my grandmother, or that witch Pilar who wants to take control of my family’s cosmetics company. Now I’m in Hawaii, enjoying the sun and the sand and water, where nobody knows the hot mess known as Lily Fowler.  And I’m loving every minute of it.
But someone is watching me. Following me. He’s gorgeous. And soon we’re talking, and against all my instincts, I reveal bits and pieces of myself to Max. It feels good, though I know he can’t be the man for me. These sudden feelings we share are way too complicated, too fraught, too intense.
Then everything explodes and I’m forced to return home. My intentions have always been true, but now everyone’s mad at me. I don’t know who to turn to anymore . . . except to Max. He’s who I want to trust. But I’m not so sure I should. Maybe it’s worth the risk—and what-ifs be damned. . .

my thoughts...

This is the finale in this series and it may have been my favorite of the three books.  I was intrigued by Lily from the beginning and she ended up being the sister that I liked the most in the end.  This story starts out with Lily on a plane to Hawaii on the run from something, but she's not exactly alone.   Lily is running with a laptop full of someone else's secrets and Max has been hired to take them back.

If you have read the other books in the series then you know that Lily is the oldest of the Fowler sisters and the only one who doesn't have a real interest in the Fleur company.  She's the wild child, the one that always seems to be causing problems for the family in the press.  What we didn't know about her is that she's pretty brilliant with computers and she has hacked her way into Pilar's email and discovered enough to make Forrest think twice about marrying her.  The problem is, she tipped her hand to Pilar and now shes running with the information instead of giving it to her dad.

Max is a PI hired by Pilar to steal back the laptop.  Unfortunately for Pilar, Max spends a little too much time with Lily and starts to develop feelings for her.  This complicates his job considerably.  I really liked Max, he was my favorite of the male leads in this series.  He's a little more real, I think.  The chemistry between the two of them is pretty intense and you can't help but root for them.

I think that this book was a nice wrap up for the series and I like that it gave Lily a purpose other than just being the black sheep, if you will.  I really enjoyed this series and I am looking forward to reading more of Monica Murphy's work in the future.  This is an adult romance so there is some profanity in this book as well as some steamy love scenes. 

XOXO, Shelly

*Disclaimer: I was provided with an ARC copy of this book courtesy of the publisher in exchange for my honest review.*

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Blog Tour | BLOOD TIES by Nicholas Guild

Blood Ties by Nicholas Guild
Thriller / Murder Mystery published May 12, 2015
Forge Books
Author's website  |  Goodreads  |  Buy the Book on Amazon

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Homicide detective Ellen Ridley of the SFPD is tracking a serial killer terrorizing young women in the San Francisco Bay Area. Ridley is sure she's cornered her most likely suspect: Stephen Tregear, a hacker and code breaker who works for U.S. Naval Intelligence. But Tregear is not the killer... he's the killer's son.

Ridley and Tregear team up to look for Tregear's father, Walter, in an elaborate game of murderous cat and mouse. As the body count rises, Ridley must race against the clock to stop Walter before he kills any more women--and Tregear must finally confront the father who has been trying to kill him for twenty years. Blood Ties is an elegant and frightening thriller from Nicholas Guild.
My Thoughts...
I just finished this book this morning and it was a pretty quick read for me.  Once I got started I didn't want to put it down.  I am not sure where to start my review.  There isn't really much in the way of spoilers as it's pretty cut and dry on who the killer is, etc... Most of it is just a psychological maze of piecing together the reasons why.

Ellen is great as the female detective on the case and equally likable is her partner Sam.  Sam is the veteran cop who is more or less teaching her how to be a better homicide detective, but she's smart and it's not long before she's the one leading the charge.  Stephen Tragear is the son of the killer they are trying to catch and he proves to be invaluable to their investigation.  Stephen is brilliant despite his upbringing and he bears a huge amount of guilt for what his father has been doing over all these years. 

This story is one that isn't easily read at times because of the level of violence that takes place, but it's not overly graphic like some that I have read.  The characters are well developed and the story is very well paced.  There is a nice romance thread weaved in that helps to balance out some of the more violent scenes.  I would maybe criticize the "insta-love" that happens amidst all of this turmoil, but I liked that part of the story so I won't!  The only thing I had any real issues with, and really it didn't bother me overly much, was the killers reason for why he did what he did.  It felt a little too familiar, it's something that's been done and more than once.  Other than that, I really enjoyed this book and wouldn't hesitate to pick up more of this author's work.

XOXO, Shelly

*Disclaimer: I was provided with a copy of this book courtesy of the publisher in exchange for my honest review.*

Friday, May 1, 2015

Blog Tour | BLACK IRIS by Leah Raeder

Black Iris by Leah Raeder
New Adult Romance published April 28, 2015
Atria Books
Author's website  |  Goodreads  

Synopsis from Goodreads

It only took one moment of weakness for Laney Keating’s world to fall apart. One stupid gesture for a hopeless crush. Then the rumors began. Slut, they called her. Queer. Psycho. Mentally ill, messed up, so messed up even her own mother decided she wasn't worth sticking around for.

If Laney could erase that whole year, she would. College is her chance to start with a clean slate.

She's not looking for new friends, but they find her: charming, handsome Armin, the only guy patient enough to work through her thorny defenses—and fiery, filterless Blythe, the bad girl and partner in crime who has thorns of her own.

But Laney knows nothing good ever lasts. When a ghost from her past resurfaces—the bully who broke her down completely—she decides it's time to live up to her own legend. And Armin and Blythe are going to help.

Which was the plan all along.

Because the rumors are true. Every single one. And Laney is going to show them just how true.

She's going to show them all.
My Thoughts...
As with my review of Leah Raeder's last book Unteachable, I am going to keep this review rather short.  Partially because this book wasn't my favorite and partially because it's hard to review without giving too much away.  As I stated in my other review I think that her writing is fantastic, but with this book it got a little mixed up in an abundance of pop culture references, quoted poetry and a somewhat convoluted story line.  I gave this 3 stars on Goodreads and that last star is because I do like the way she writes...for the most part.

For me, Laney was never a likable character and her story was just a little too dark for me. I really didn't identify with any of the characters so that was probably one of the reasons that I didn't enjoy the book overall.  A lot of it read like a preachy message about bullying gay/queer (her term, not mine) teens and that wasn't what I was expecting when I read the blurb.  Don't get me wrong this is a message that's important and one that everyone needs to hear. For me, the issue was all in the execution of that message.  I also had a harder time following the time line.  Each chapter is back and forth and it's not even linear in how it does it.  There no then and now, it's April this year, October last year, January this year, July last year, and so on and so forth.  There are chunks of it that are hard to read through because Laney is, as she describes herself, an unreliable narrator.

There is heavy (under 21) drug and alcohol use, lots of profanity, descriptive sex between f/m, f/f and f/m/f as well as suicide and a plethora of other psychoses in this story line.  I just finished reading it in just 2 sittings today so it did keep my attention long enough to finish it, but I have to be honest and say that the story just wasn't my cup of tea, if you will.  This will not deter me from reading more of Raeder's work and if you like a dark, sexy, psychological thriller/romance then this may be something you would like.  I will say that Raeder can write a nice love scene, even if her characters are a little bit out there sometimes.

XOXO, Shelly

*Disclaimer: I was provided with a copy of this book courtesy of the publisher in exchange for my honest review.*

BLACK IRIS by Leah Raeder

Atria Books Paperback | 384 pages | ISBN: 9781476786421 | On sale: April 28, 2015 | $15.00 
eBook: Atria Books | 384 pages | ISBN: 9781476786438 | On sale: April 28, 2015 | $5.99


Friday, April 10, 2015

Blog Tour | WHEN I'M GONE by Abbi Glines

You Were Mine by Abbi Glines
Adult Romance published December 2, 2014
Atria Books
Author's website  |  Goodreads 

Synopsis from Goodreads:

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Abbi Glines comes the next new adult novel in the Rosemary Beach series, in which we meet Mase, a Texas heartthrob first introduced in Take a Chance who comes to Rosemary Beach to stir things up.

I had an urge to fix all her problems. Which was stupid. She was doing fine without me. But something about those big eyes…

Mase Colt-Manning has always preferred his humble life as a Texas rancher to his birthright as the son of a legendary rock star. In fact, he rarely visits his father’s rarefied world in Rosemary Beach, especially if it means bunking at his vile half-sister Nan’s house—until one visit leads to a chance encounter with a young, gorgeous house maid who awakens him with her off-key but spirited imitation of a country music star…
Reese Ellis finally has her freedom. After escaping a lifetime of abuse from her parents and classmates for an undiagnosed learning disorder, she seizes the opportunity to be a house maid to some of the richest families in Rosemary Beach. But her job is in jeopardy when she causes an accident at the home of her most important client, Nan Dillon. When a hot, half-naked stranger with a cowboy’s swagger comes to her rescue, she’s intrigued—then afraid once he shows his own interest. Reese has never met a trustworthy man in her life. Will Mase be any different?..

my thoughts...

I finished this book at nearly midnight last night.  I pretty much read it in one sitting as it's a fairly quick read.  I have been waiting for a book featuring Mase since she was first introduced into the series and I did enjoy this one quite a bit.  I think that Mase is a strong and very masculine character, but that's probably because he's a cowboy.  

**There is a bit of a spoiler here, but it's not a major plot spoiler.** 
I also really liked Reese, she's a girl who comes with baggage and it's not just one thing holding her back, there are multiple things going on with her.  This brings me to my one main problem with this book.  Having worked pretty closely with kids in the school system and studying to be an English teacher currently, Reese having made it to her age without being diagnosed with dyslexia was a bit unbelievable.  I get that her mother was not really an active parent, but all those years of teachers....someone would have figured out that there was something going on.  Granted, she didn't graduate, but I still don't think that teachers would have kept passing a child that couldn't read or write, not in this day and age.  Anyway, I do think she was a strong character and I was very sympathetic to her situation (all of them) and I loved that Mase was so careful with her.

There isn't much else I can say about the plot overall without spoilers.  I did feel that the "insta-love" was maybe a little too quick, but that seems to be a theme with this series.  Another thing I have gotten used to, but still don't care for is the ridiculous misunderstandings or pre-conceived ideas that cause tension between the main characters right from the beginning.  I love that we got to see the other Rosemary Beach couples and Jimmy especially.  He is one of my favorite minor characters in this series. 

 I don't like that the Mace/Reese story line isn't over, but that's how I've felt about every couple in this series and if you read this blog you already know that.  This is a story that I feel could have been finished in one book without a doubt.  There really was no set up for the next couple, whoever they may be, but no doubt that will be part of the next Mase/Reese book.  All I know is that I still hate Nannette and if the book is about her I will not read it, even if she's paired with Major... He's probably perfect for her, but she is SO unlikable that there is nothing Abbi Glines can do at this point to make me want to read a story with her at the center.  NOTHING!!

This is an adult series so there are a few steamy love scenes in this book.  This book was quite a bit more tame in that department compared to the other books in this series.  I do always feel the need to add this disclaimer though!

XOXO, Shelly

*Disclaimer: I was provided with a copy of this book courtesy of the publisher in exchange for my honest review.*

WHEN I’M GONE by Abbi Glines
Atria Books | Paperback | On-Sale: 04/07/15 | 272 pages
Paperback ISBN: 9781476776095, $15.00 | eBook ISBN: 9781476776101, $7.99
Audio ISBN: 9781442376670, $17.99

about the author

Abbi Glines is the New York Times, USA TODAY, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of the Rosemary Beach, Sea Breeze, Vincent Boys, and Existence series. A devoted booklover, Abbi lives with her family in Alabama. She maintains a Twitter addiction at @AbbiGlines and can also be found at and

connect with abbi online

Twitter: @AbbiGlines
Instagram: @AbbiGlines
Rosemary Beach Club Buzzroom: (will be updated with YWM and holiday content by 12/1)

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