Wednesday, November 26, 2014

In The Fire (In The Kitchen #2) by Nikka Michaels and Eileen Griffin

I was so excited to get a copy of In The Fire through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.  I really enjoyed the first story in this series so I dove right into In The Fire.  Here's the cover and Goodreads blurb:

Because the way to a man's heart…

Eight years ago, the world was their oyster. Until, that is, competing chefs Ethan Martin and James Lassiter's hot and heavy relationship fizzled after Jamie left for an internship in Paris. Even though Jamie's career has taken off since his return to the States, with his own television show and a lot of fame, his feelings for Ethan have never quite gone away.

Ethan's culinary career has developed more slowly, but he's almost saved enough to buy the restaurant where he works and re-open it as his dream spot, Bistro 30. If only he could get the sexy chef who loved him and left him out of his mind.

But when someone starts sabotaging the restaurant and a fire threatens to take away everything Ethan holds dear, his only option is to rely on Jamie for help. Back in close quarters, the two men will have to find a way to work through their past if they hope to save the restaurant and their future.

See how Ethan and Jamie's romance began in In the Raw.

In this book I felt like I do often when reading romance- like I want to strangle the characters. They are both acting so stubborn and stupid that you just want to thrash them. But in the end, it makes it so rewarding when you get to the end of the story and the characters FINALLY get it all together. I was really mad that Jamie and Ethan let their relationship fall apart like they did. But I loved that they let each other go and they then came back to one another- as if they were meant to be. It reminded me that our happily ever afters aren't worth as much if we don't have to work for them. The more we go through in our relationships, the more meaning that they have. I love the way that Michaels and Griffin create their characters. Their realistic story telling style is wonderful as well. I highly recommend their works.

You can find author Nikka Michaels on her website and on Twitter. Author Eileen Griffin can be found on her blog, on Twitter, and Facebook. I gave In The Raw 4 Fairies for a wonderful story of a love that was meant to be.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

dr.a.g. by Christopher Logan

I received a copy of the book dr.a.g. through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  I am so excited to share this book with you!  Here's the cover and the Goodreads blurb.

The book 'dr.a.g.', for dressed as girl is a photographic celebration of the top drag queens from around the globe, shot by fashion and celeb photographers. From New York drag icons Lady Bunny and Joey Arias, Vegas headliners Mr. Kenneth Blake and Frank Marino, and cast from multiple seasons of RuPaul's Drag Race, dr.a.g. shows the spirit and passion of drag, and inspires with it's images.

I love Rupaul's Drag Race, Drag Race All-Stars and Drag U. I love to see how these amazing artists are able to do so many amazing things. Many of them make prettier women than I do and I've been one all 32 years of my life. Chad Michaels is easily my all time favorite. He is just so talented, so kind and so beautiful. I also love to watch Manila Luzon. She is funny, gorgeous and so humble when it comes to explaining her craft to others. I adore Ben de la Creme as well, her style is just fantastic. So many great artists have been featured on Rupaul's shows and many of them are included in this book. Courtney Act, Shannel, Chad Michaels and more are featured in the pages of this book. It's mainly photos but this book is an amazing compilation of all of the styles of drag. You can flip through it over and over and see something different every time. I highly recommend this gorgeous art book.

You can find this book from Amazon and Barnes and Noble. You can click here and add it to your Goodreads. I give this amazing coffee table book 4 Fairies.

Monday, November 24, 2014

In The Raw (In the Kitchen Series #1) by Nikka Michaels and Eileen Griffin

I received a copy of In The Raw from Carina Press through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.  I have to say that I really enjoyed this book and was so glad to see that it was going to be part of a series.  Check out the cover and the Goodreads blurb:

If you can't take the heat…

James Lassiter has had a crush on fellow culinary student Ethan Martin for three years, but has never had the guts to make a move. Putting himself out there is hard, especially when under the thumb–and wallet–of his overbearing parents. Now that bad boy chef Ethan–who is always vying with Jamie for best in class–is struggling with the pastry course, Jamie suddenly has a reason to reach out.

Ethan doesn't mean to be an ass–okay, so mostly he does–but even though he's secretly hot for Jamie, he sure as hell doesn't want help with pastry. Ever since his dad walked out, Ethan has been the one to hold things together and he's done fine on his own. Except that he can't get his cake to rise.

Jamie could be the answer to what Ethan's been missing his whole life–someone to depend on. But with the two competing for the same scholarship, things suddenly get too hot to handle. And if Jamie finds the strength to go for what he wants, he isn't about to settle for what he needs.

I love Jamie and Ethan. They are adorable! I love that they are so different but they fit together so well. Ethan and Jamie each thinks that the other has everything that they could possibly want but they both feel like they are fighting an uphill battle. Ethan comes from the street and has no money to buy all the advantages that Jamie has. Jamie wants to follow his dream of being a chef and not the dream that his parents have for him. They come together and create amazing things. Ethan just has to let Jamie in and Jamie has to reach out to Ethan. I loved this book. It was a sweet and romantic read while still being realistic.

You can find author Nikka Michaels on her website and on Twitter. Author Eileen Griffin can be found on her blog, on Twitter, and Facebook. I gave In The Raw 4 Fairies for a great romance that I just loved.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Stand by You (Belonging #3) by A. M. Arthur

I loved A. M. Arthur's writing.  I really do.  It is so visceral and so real.  Every one of the stories in the Belonging Series has made me emotional.  When I was given the chance to review the newest book in the series through NetGalley, I jumped at the chance.  Check out the the cover and Goodreads blurb:

Three months after his rescue from an abusive boyfriend, twenty-two-year-old Romy Myers has landed his first legitimate job—bussing tables at his friend's new coffee shop. The job has brought him some stability after years of abuse have left him feeling damaged and broken. He's working hard on his panic and social anxiety, and those things are often tempered by the big, burly presence of Brendan Walker.

From the moment ex-football player Brendan helped rescue Romy from his ex's abuse, he's wanted to protect him. And he does, from a distance, with joking text messages, a new gym routine to toughen him up and a genuine friendship. So far it's been easy—but Brendan's feelings aren't just friendly anymore…

When an argument spirals out of control, a hot and heavy make-out session causes Romy's friendship with supposedly straight Brendan to reach a new level. The last thing Romy wants is to fall for another guy who could potentially shatter him, but Brendan also wakes up a part of him he thought had been destroyed by violence—his heart.

I enjoyed this book. I loved getting to see Romy begin to heal. He has been through so much. No one should ever have to go through what he has been through. But Romy is making it through his ordeal and his healing. Brendan is just such a sweet and strong man. I loved how he could be what Romy needed. I think that sometimes it is hard for us to find the one for us because we aren't properly paying attention. Brendan has his own demons and his own issues to over come but he and Romy help each other through. This is just such a sweet and heart warming story of love, friendship and family. I will remind you that this is an adult romance so it is not suitable for those who have issues with explicit works. Also there is some talk of Romy's previous abusive situation, including descriptions of rape so be aware if these are triggers for you.

You can click here to find Stand By You on Goodreads. A. M. Arthur can be found on her blog, Twitter, Tumblr, and on Facebook.  I gave Stand By You 4 Fairies for a lovely story of friendship, love and opening up to those who love you.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Blood Entwines By Caroline Healy Blog Tour Guest Post


Blood Entwines by Caroline Healy is a YA Urban Fantasy published by Bloomsbury Publishing (Sparks). The tour runs October 20th- November 16th with reviews, interviews & guest posts. Check out the tour page and schedule.

Guest Post: Author Caroline Healy's Top Ten Books

The number ten…dix…Roman numeral X. Ten is a lovely round number, the first decade of life, the number of digits possessed by the average person, the perfect score in gymnastics. Ten is a nice easy number. Right?
Picking your top ten can’t-possibly-live-without books is not for the faint hearted. It was a struggle and the list has altered many times but for now (caveat – that I may change my mind at any second), here are the books that make my top ten.
Jane Eyre – the first classic I ever read. You always remember your first. The fact that Jane as a character still rings true today for so many readers is a feat that many writers could only dream of. The moral conviction, steely nature of her personality makes her the first kick ass feminist in 19th century literature. And her story is still readable and relevant today.
Since I am in the gothic period, I will stick with the classics. Pride and Prejudice, the heroine who kicks butt in the age of poise and decorum; what’s not to like about Elizabeth Bennet? The best part of this book is that Elizabeth is an excellent example of a flawed heroine, one that, even with all her faults, we still want to read about.  And Mr. Darcy is kinda hot too.
Harry Potter (Notice how I’m not saying which one. Is it cheating to put in a series in your top ten list of can’t-possibly-live-without books?).
Throne of Glass by S. J. Maas was unputdownable….
Crown of Midnight by S.J. Maas… see above. (currently waiting for her third book)
Geek Girl by Holly Smale made me laugh out loud, snorting my breakfast cereal down my nose at the kitchen table. I haven’t laughed out loud because of a book in a long time. It was the character of Wilbur that made me crack up. Books have that kind of power; to affect your mood and this definitely is a book that makes you smile. (adult version…the Rosie Project is a great read too…laugh out loud).
The Liveship Traders Trilogy by Robin Hobb is one of my all-time favourite fantasy series. I loved the premise of pirates and live ships and Hobb is skilled at creating whole lands populated with interesting characters. These books are over ten years old, written well before The Game of Thrones appeared to be the only high fantasy series in existence. An added bonus, this book is written by a female, helping to shift the gender balance of writers who produce epic fantasy.
Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman was one of the most important books I have read in a while and I think that everyone should read this series. It gives a whole new understanding to being difference and what it means to be accepted.
Patrick Ness’s More Than This, apart from the fact that in hardback, this is the best book cover I’ve seen in ages, was a really gripping book, dealing with modern issues, challenging stereotypes and populating Y.A. literature with a cross section from all walks of life. I loved the mixing of genres in this book too. Messing with your main character in the first page (I won’t give the story away); some brave authorial choices.
Divergent by Veronica Roth. I had gone off books for a while about dystopian worlds. I’m sorry to say that the Hunger Games didn’t do it for me. And I had just read Sarah Crossan’s Breathe which I enjoyed but wanted something a bit different. Divergent reignited my love of dystopian and Four is a hottie…so what’s not to like?
That’s my top ten…for now…but I still have so many books to read…So many books…so little time!

Blood Entwines cover july 2014
Blood Entwines by Caroline Healy

A dark compelling story of love and its more sinister elements…possession.

 In the aftermath of a blood transfusion that saved her life, Kara feels different. Her senses are stronger ... she can hear whispered comments not meant for her ears ... she can hear the person following her.

When Jack, her stalker, reveals himself and insists that Kara has something that belongs to him, she does her best to avoid him. But he’s determined to talk to her, convinced that they’re linked through the blood she received during her transfusion.

Jack is struggling against a dark and dangerous demon. His body is host to the evil power that wants Kara’s blood and will stop at nothing to get it. If Jack is able to gain control he can warn Kara. But which is stronger, the power of the blood they share or the force for evil. How can Kara help save Jack without risking her own life?

About the Author:
Caroline Healy is a writer and community arts facilitator. She recently completed her M.A. in
Creative Writing at the Seamus Heaney Centre, Queen’s University, Belfast.

She published her first, award winning collection of short stories, entitled A Stitch in Time in August 2012. Her work has been featured in publications such as Wordlegs, The Bohemyth, Prole and the Irish Writers’ Centre Lonely Voice.
She writes literary fiction and young adult fiction, with her Y.A. book Blood Entwines released with Bloomsbury Publishing in August 2014.
Caroline loves drinking tea from mis-matched china, doing yoga, as well as reading, writing, talking and thinking about all things bookish. She also has a penchant for cake and dark chocolate.

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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Fair Play (All's Fair Series) by Josh Lanyon

I love Josh Lanyon's work.  The first story that I ever read by him was like an Agatha Christie flavored re-imagining of the Lindberg baby kidnapping with a mostly happy ending.  Mr. Lanyon paints beautiful pictures with his words.  Stranger on the Shore was a gorgeous story of a mystery solved and featured lovely vingettes of flash back to another time period.  I jumped at the chance to read his new work, Fair Play.  Here is the cover and the Goodreads blurb:

Setting up house with his new lover was tricky before arson landed his former radical father in the guest bedroom. Now ex-FBI agent Elliot Mills has to figure out who is willing to kill to keep Roland's memoirs from being published.

Meanwhile, a serial killer insists he will only make his confession to Elliot, putting added strain on Elliot's still fragile relationship with Tucker.
I fell in love the moment that I started reading this book. I loved the amazing trip back through time that Elliot takes us on. He works to rebuild his father's mysterious past as a member of a group of activists during the tumultuous 1960's. It reminded me of an episode of Cold Case that was so realistic that it took you straight back to that time and made you feel as if you were experiencing it all for yourself. I loved seeing how each of the members of the group was changed by their experiences in the group and how they grew and changed in the years moving forward. Each member really seemed to go their own way. Roland keeps most of his beliefs intact and gets only more sure that he is right over the years (causing problems with his son on occasion). The others become rich political leaders, uber feminists, supposedly dead folks, and an organic farmer. Elliot solves so many mysteries as he works his way through the group to solve the problem of who would want his father dead. He finds missing persons, solves decades old crimes and stops an unexpected killer before they can truly take aim at Roland. It gives such a clear view back into the 1960's and the culture of the day. I loved every moment of this book and could not fall asleep until I had finished reading it. It was a book that you could not put down. I look forward to reading more from Josh Lanyon. He is definitely a new favorite author. I highly recommend his works. So well written and such amazing imagery. This book is M/M and adult in nature. But I think you'd be greatly missing out if you let that sway you from reading it.

You can find Fair Play on Goodreads. Josh Lanyon can be found on his website, his blog and on Twitter. You can purchase his works on Amazon. I give Fair Play 5 Fairies for a book that I absolutely loved every moment of. I can not overstate how much I loved this book. It led me to bring out my college textbooks on the 60's to revisit the era that seemed so much like magic to me as a teen. I plan to read all of Mr. Lanyon's works.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Chasing the Rebel by Tyler Flynn

I received a copy of Chasing the Rebel by Tyler Flynn through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.  I love a good historical romance and this will turn everything that you think you know about historical romance novels around.  Check out the cover and Goodreads blurb:

France, 1791

Marcus, Lord Rothbury, is on the run. Part of a foiled plot to help King Louis and Queen Marie Antoinette escape to Switzerland, he's searching for the jewels the rebels stole from the queen—jewels that, when sold in England, will buy the monarchs' freedom and restore the aristocratic order Marcus holds dear.

Pamphleteer James Lockhart publicly condemns the monarchy and has his own plans for the jewels—selling them to help the Parisian poor. But when the two are thrown together against a common adversary, Marcus finds himself increasingly attracted to the impetuous American.

As they hunt for the jewels, Marcus begins to suspect his companion isn't all he seems. Secretive and changeable, James could be playing a double game, and Marcus can't be sure who James is fighting against—the enemy, or the man who's fallen in love with him.
This book is a wild ride across the French countryside as the world tumbles into turmoil in the first days of the French Revolution. Marcus believes that he can find the lost jewels and that it will be relatively simple to save Marie Antoinette and Louis. We all can see how impossible that would have been. Marcus is more than a little naive to believe that the French would suffer the aristocracy any longer. It has not returned to France since. They celebrate the fall of the monarchy every year. I think that poor Marcus is just as naive as he feels that James is. The jewels can't solve the hunger in France anymore than they can buy Marie and Louis' freedom. The acts of men will always be greater than money. The jewels can be sold once and feed a few people for a short time but changing behaviors of the country is what will save the starving masses. I tend to agree more with James' feelings that we have to do more to protect the least and the lost, the poor and the poor. But I can see some of Marcus' points as well. And Marcus doesn't know any different. He doesn't know how what he does can change the lives of the less fortunate. He believes what he is meant to believe. I loved watching the two men play against each other and not know when or how to trust each other. It was so much more than an historical romance novel. It had a deep historical backdrop, it had a lovely character development going on, and it had a very strong story of love and life. I really enjoyed it. I will warn that it does contain gay characters and explicit descriptions of physical acts. If that is not something that you can handle, then this is not the book for you. I do think that this book is lovely and well written. I enjoyed it thoroughly.

You can find Chasing the Rebel on Goodreads. Chasing the Rebel can also be found on Amazon. Tyler Flynn has a great guest post on the Carina Publishing blog. I give Chasing the Rebel 3 Fairies for an exciting romp across the French countryside.