Thursday, April 30, 2015

His Name is Killian

So, this review has taken me awhile to draft because I've got some varying opinions.

His Name is Killian - Ella Adamian

Killian Stone paints harpies.

Killian Stone is not into vanilla sex.

Killian Stone suffers from mood swings.

Killian Stone has done something very bad.

The day the painter approached her on the bridge and asked her to pose for him was the beginning of a lust Melissa wouldn’t be able to bridle. When he offers her a month of submission, she’s already too captivated to turn him down. His unhinged sexuality lets her explore her own dark fantasies, but his anger outbursts are scary and devastating. As the time goes by, Melissa realizes there’s something more than just irritability and anger. He has done something which doesn’t let him rest.
 


So first and foremost, you know that I will read basically anything. There isn't much that freaks me out and I've read some fairly dark material. This is maybe the first book I've read with a BDSM story line in which I was genuinely scared for the female and I genuinely felt uncomfortable. Whereas when people read things like Fifty Shades they say, "that's not a love story" whereas I see it as one. I get exactly what the author was trying to portray and I think she did it well. This book, this book very much is NOT a romance. When it says it has explicit scenes, it's not messing around. There were points in this book where I felt so uncomfortable I seriously debated on putting it down all together because it's beyond what even I am comfortable with. 

BUT. 

I really wanted to know what the hell was up with this guy. Because he goes from nice guy, c harming, and seemingly normal to incredibly angry and terrifying in no time. 

Then we have Melissa, who is seemingly naive to basically everything. She agrees to model for Killian for two weeks and once that's over, she finds herself missing him. So he comes back and basically tells her it's a D/s relationship or nothing and she blindly agrees. The first thing that struck me as odd was at no point was a safe word established so right away I'm scared for her. Because hello, you need a safe word. But she very much wants to learn more about Killian and she finds herself craving him although she at times is also very scared of him. 

I really questioned whether either one of them were right in the head but for very different reasons. I think he opens something up in her she didn't know was there and I think he clearly has disturbing things in his past that prevent him from chilling out. So Melissa starts investigating him because it's clear something isn't right and I won't tell you what she finds but I can say there is a sequel to the book coming. So the story isn't totally over. There's more to come and to be frank, I'm a little scared .

If you think you are up for a challenge, I really want to hear what you think about this. The book is available on Amazon and you can connect with the author on Google+. I am giving this book a reluctant 3 stars. Mostly because if the point of the book was to push the boundaries of what is acceptable of BDSM or to give you a hard limit of what is acceptable to read, it absolutely succeeded. If you haven't read any other BDSM books I do think this will turn you off of them all together and scare you proper. So if you know that going in, you will likely come away from it differently than I did. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

39 weeks: Fake outs and freak outs.

Well lambs, here we are. Week 39 of what feels like the Longest Pregnancy Ever. I can't even believe we are in the last few days of April, it really feels like April just got started but no. We're at the end, which means we're also at the end of this pregnancy. Technically my due date is May 6, but at every doctor visit I hear the hopeful lie of "any day now". I've basically stopped resting these last two weeks because I feel pretty exhausted and anxious. I don't want to wish for the pregnancy to be over because it very well could be my last, but I think every woman hits a point where you are physically, mentally,and emotionally done.

39 weeks. Moo. 

So this week I've been walking quite a bit. The downside of being home all day is that Twinky believes I am at his beck and call all day every day. Which is not going to happen once Penelope is born. But him having to pee all of the time means it gives me incentive to get out and not only walk around but to get some fresh air and sunshine, both of which I'm in desperate need of. So that's been kind of nice. 

The biggest excitement actually came yesterday. Actually, it started in the morning. After I dropped the kids off at school, I came home and had kind of a big breakfast. I'm on a breakfast kick right now. So I eat that, got some blog work done, book review stuff organized, checked my emails, and then Twinky began his daily whining and acting as if his little bladder is going to explode. So I decided that while I normally walk him at lunch time, I'll go a little earlier and maybe get a nap in before picking the kids up from school. So we head out. Almost immediately I realize that what has become my normal two mile walk was not going to happen, I mentally tell myself it's going to be a one miler. So we start off. I get to the point where I am about eight blocks from my house when I realize that the side cramps that were annoying but not bad were quickly turning to worst-cramps-I've-ever-had. And not contractions, but more like the cramps you'd get if you drank a ton of soda and thought you could run a 5K with no issues. So I end up sitting on some stranger's front steps for about 10 minutes all the while calling and texting Matt because I didn't think I'd make it home and I figured he works a mile away, he could take a break and come get me. 

Except he DOESN'T ANSWER HIS DAMN PHONE. Like not at all, folks. NOT AT ALL. 

So after 10 minutes I decide I can't sit here all day and now I had to pee, so I start hobbling. And by hobbling? I mean I looked like one of those Weeble toys (weebles wobble, but they don't fall down) making my way down the street. It takes me almost a half hour to go eight blocks. By the time I get home I think to myself I might actually be starting labor. 

But I wasn't. 

So I decided an hour later to go shopping with my mom and run to the bank. Nothing notable or exciting happens, no cramping, all is well. 

I get home and realize I have zero energy. I have literally done nothing all day and the act of getting up to pee feels like it's just too much. To the point where I wonder if peeing my pants is acceptable. I went to pick the kids up from school and I feel basically like crap. Like every ounce of energy I had was gone. 

By 6pm, I started getting those weird cramps again though I was doing nothing but laying on the couch. They progressively got worse and I could feel them in waves and I think- holy shit, I'm having actual contractions. So I start timing them. They end up being an average of 4 minutes apart, lasting anywhere from 45-60 seconds. But they aren't horribly painful, I can talk through them, I'm not feeling like I really need to take action. But I manage to fold some laundry, move my bag to the door, start the dishwasher, and I figure I'll take a shower and lay down and rest. I knew that they'll either go away or get exponentially worse. 

Well I fell asleep and they apparently went away. I woke up at 4 am to pee and it was then that I realized that nothing had happened and they were gone. Cue disappointment and irrational rage, and possibly some swearing that wakes Matt up. 

I ended up going back to bed and I woke up at 6 and when I went to pee again, my pad had a brownish goo in it and when I wiped it was a light brown. Like the color of a tan crayon, but no blood. But I haven't had anything since. I have had super random contractions and I'm now debating on taking Twinky for a short walk around a block or two or just resting. I did manage to eat breakfast, so I'm waiting until my orange juice needs to be peed out, which should be any minute. 

So that's the fake out portion. 

The freak out portion is where I realized last night my floors are in a terrible state so I also have plans to mop it today. I figure between that and a short walk, if that doesn't get labor going I don't know what will. I'm scheduled for my 39 week appointment tomorrow.... so we'll see if it's an office visit or her delivering baby Penelope. 

Keep your fingers crossed! 

Welcome to Sara's Organized Chaos

Narvla's Celtic New Year

I've been on a roll with reading, can you tell? Lots more to come!

Narvla's Celtic New Year - Therese Gilardi
Narvla's Celtic New Year
Narvla’s life is as precisely choreographed as the routines that have made her a national step-dancing champion. She has a loyal best friend, a devoted boyfriend, and a lock on admission to her dream college, the University of Notre Dame. Until her mother is named U.S. Ambassador to Ireland, and her life unravels. First Narvla receives a disturbing picture of her boyfriend and her best friend. Then she struggles to qualify for the Irish elite step-dancing squad, and her grades plummet.

But the biggest obstacle in Narvla’s new life is Dublin Boy, a cheeky musician with a disdain for academics and a distrust of Americans. Although Narvla is upset when she’s paired with Dublin Boy for the most important semester of her life, her real concern is the growing attraction she feels toward him. As the Celtic New Year unfolds, Narvla is pushed to abandon her lifelong need for control and embrace the charm of the unexpected.
 


When I started reading this book, I wasn't totally sure how much I was going to love it. It starts kind of slow for me, but it does pick up, so don't give up so quickly on it. Narvla basically has the perfect life. She's a dance champion, she has great friends and an even better boyfriend and she's super smart. Then it all basically goes to crap when her mother's job forces them to relocate to Ireland, which let's be honest, not the worst place to be relocated to. At least you have a rich culture and history to take it and countless opportunities to be a tourist where you live. But the move is the catalyst for everything previously great about her life going to crap. And it does. In big ways. But then she meets Colin. Who is a bit of a jerk. He's that kid in high school who is too cool for school and comes off as an arrogant asshole because that's basically what he is. He is the complete opposite of the boyfriend she had at home, but since that's clearly not working out, she develops a romance with Colin, though reluctantly .

The really great thing is the author does a great job with character development because we obviously see Narvla growing into the young woman she's meant to be and we see all of these internal changes in her, the real challenge in this story is Colin. He is introduced as a character that is VERY hard to like or even root for, but the author really does a bang up job developing him. He goes from asshole to someone you find endearing once you realize how his start in life sets him up for shutting others out. And I really did not want to like him, I didn't want to root for their relationship and then I was forced to agree, it's kind of adorable. 

Dammit. 

The only gripe I have with the book is that some of the conversations are a bit too teenager for me. Which I understand sounds ridiculous considering this is a YA geared book. I know. But I wonder if because I've read quite a few YA books that sound more adult that it was hard for me to look past that? But overall? Solid book. You can pick this one up on Amazon. But as always, if you want to learn more about the book and the author, head over to Therese's website

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Re Jane

I'm kind of on a roll with books considered to be "re-telling's" of classic literature, aren't I? Well this one is a re-telling of Jane Eyre, which I realize is going to make you love it or hate it.

Re Jane - Patricia Park
Re Jane: A Novel
Journeying from Queens to Brooklyn to Seoul, and back, this is a fresh, contemporary retelling of Jane Eyre and a poignant Korean American debut
 
For Jane Re, half-Korean, half-American orphan, Flushing, Queens, is the place she’s been trying to escape from her whole life. Sardonic yet vulnerable, Jane toils, unappreciated, in her strict uncle’s grocery store and politely observes the traditional principle of nunchi (a combination of good manners, hierarchy, and obligation). Desperate for a new life, she’s thrilled to become the au pair for the Mazer-Farleys, two Brooklyn English professors and their adopted Chinese daughter. Inducted into the world of organic food co-ops, and nineteenth–century novels, Jane is the recipient of Beth Mazer’s feminist lectures and Ed Farley’s very male attention. But when a family death interrupts Jane and Ed’s blossoming affair, she flies off to Seoul, leaving New York far behind.

Reconnecting with family, and struggling to learn the ways of modern-day Korea, Jane begins to wonder if Ed Farley is really the man for her. Jane returns to Queens, where she must find a balance between two cultures and accept who she really is. Re Jane is a bright, comic story of falling in love, finding strength, and living not just out of obligation to others, but for one’s self.


I'm going to be honest, the first group of people I think that will enjoy this book are people who are Asian and have family who identifies with the old country more than they do America. Because the entire book kind of circles around that with Jane being half-Korean and half-American, but living with her very Korean uncle and his family since her parents are long gone. I also have to be honest that I am not a huge Jane Eyre fan and I can't even lie and tell you I finished it. There was a summer a few years ago where I planned on reading several classics to say I did it and I failed miserably and decided maybe it was a good thing I didn't go to college to study literature after all. But this book? I enjoyed. It's funny, there are a lot of one-liners in it that made me laugh and I kind of felt sorry for Jane. 

Her uncle is kind of a jerk to her but it's hard to tell if it's because he doesn't actually like her and only took her on in his family out of familial duty versus wanting to make sure she grew up OK, or if his personality is such that he's just that way with everyone. She's kind of like Harry Potter in a sense. Sure, they take care of and provide for her but they don't really want her there and they hold her mother's indiscretions against her, though her mother has been dead for years. So it comes as no surprise that as soon as an opportunity to leave her uncle's house comes up, she takes it despite not being totally sure she wants to do it. 

Which is how she becomes an au pair for a Brooklyn family who recently adopted a daughter from China. Her "interview" and the discovery that not all Asian looking people hail from China, is kind of hilarious and then you immediately feel bad for laughing because it feels like you're laughing at a minority. But I wasn't! I promise! 

The book itself is very chick-lit and modern, something that would appeal more to a younger generation versus the original Jane Eyre. I can't draw comparisons between the two obviously, but I think even if this wasn't being marketed as a re-telling, it would be a great read for anyone. It's engaging, it keeps you wondering what's going to happen to Jane, and the family dynamics of her uncle's home versus the Mazer-Farley family (who she is an au pair for) are so completely different and seeing Jane navigate the two is kind of hilarious. I mean it's like being in two totally different countries though you're only really in different boroughs. And of course, Jane meets a guy. I can't tell you what happens with said guy because it's a major spoiler, but it really is refreshing for an author to say, "You know what? I'm not going with the obvious, and I'm not going the easy route because every one else does." and ends up doing something that makes you want to high five her. THANK YOU for not going the obvious route. 

You can get your very own copy of Re Jane either on Amazon or Barnes & Noble. And of course, if you want to know more about Patricia Park, head over to her website

Monday, April 27, 2015

Still Pregnant. Maybe she's stuck.

Oh yes, with only nine days until my due date, each and every day feels like it should be a "Yes, I'm still fucking pregnant." post. Clearly, it's a good thing she's still incubating if she feels she needs to do so a little bit longer. Obviously I don't want her born before she is fully baked. But I do know that my pelvic region hurts a whole lot right now and that third babies are no joke.

I can't even tell you how many times I've searched Google for ways to induce labor. We've done sex, I've done copious amounts of walking, I've eaten spicy foods, and I even tried raspberry leaf tea. I had two sips and called it good because I don't like hot drinks in general and tea is foul anyways. I also didn't do castor oil because that sounds horrific and then I think, meh- what's a few more days? The only promising thing at this point is that I can tell things are happening. Kind of. I'm a teensy bit dilated (as of last Wednesday, maybe I'm more now?), I've lost my mucus plug and one evening it was streaked with brown so I got hopeful. Yesterday I had ONE drop of blood. I mean, nothing major but at this point I feel like anything is something and worth getting excited and anxious about. Then Saturday and Sunday evening I had some light cramping. To the point where I thought I had better get to bed early in case I'm awoken at 2am with real awful contractions, but nothing. It's totally disappointing to get up in the middle of the night to pee and realize the cramping is totally gone. Lame.

So at this point, I'm cursing my mandated "rest". My doctor made it seem like I absolutely had to make it to 37 weeks and t hat she wanted me to take it easy. And I hate taking it easy, so I really struggled but then I thought well, I don't want a premature baby if I can  help it. But now here we are and nothing. It's like she's decided she's just fine in there and who cares if I feel like my pelvic bone is going to shatter. No big deal.

In the meantime, I'm just making sure everything is ready. The house is as clean as it gets. I could and should mop the kitchen floors and the bathroom ones as well. Maybe I'll do that this evening once the kids are in bed. A lot of the projects I wanted to get done are done. I just didn't get to do my South Dakota vacation scrapbook, but that's because I haven't had money to get the photos printed. So that'll get done when it gets done. I am caught up with book reviews and that's always a good feeling, for sure!

This weekend I had the kids help me pack the hospital bag for Penelope. Here's what we came up with:
1. A package of wipes. 
2. A couple of newborn diapers. 
3. Two receiving blankets. If she's anything like her siblings, she'll be a spitter at every feeding. YAY. 
4. A thicker, fluffier blanket to cover her up in the car seat. 
5. Jackson gave her his blue dog toy. That was his car seat toy when he was a baby, loved it. 
6. Olivia insisted we bring two cute rattles in case Penelope gets bored and wishes to be entertained. 
7. Her going home outfit, of course. It's hard to see, but it's a cream outfit with little gold hearts all over it, with a mint green cardigan and mint green headband. And of course, super cute warm booties. 

That bag is in the van, ready to go, along with her car seat. My hospital bag is far less exciting, but that also is ready to go. We even have a third bag ready to go full of kid activity things should we have to go and don't have a sitter readily available. Olivia and Jackson will have snacks and things to do in the family room until someone is able to come sit with them or take them home. 

So we patiently wait. Still. 

*sigh*
Welcome to Sara's Organized Chaos

Pleasures of the Night (Dream Guardians #1)

It's always fun when you find clearance books at Barnes & Noble. This was one of my more recent finds, totally buried underneath lame yoga books. So it pays to dig, folks.

Pleasures of the Night (Dream Guardians #1), Sylvia Day
Pleasures of the Night (Dream Guardians, #1)
There are sensuous pleasures that can only be tasted in the night . . . 

He comes to her in the twilight between sleep and consciousness to fulfill her secret desires. Lyssa Bates has never experienced such ecstasy, brought to her by a man whose deep, soul-penetrating blue eyes hold the promise of tempting intimacies and decadent pleasures. But this stranger, this lover, this immortal seducer is only a dream—a phantom of her nocturnal fantasies—until he appears, inexplicably, at her door in the flesh!

Lyssa aches for the reality of him, but there is grave danger in surrender. Because Captain Aidan Cross is on a mission, and the passion that consumes them both, body and soul, could have dire consequences in a world of dreams . . . and in the waking one as well.


I didn't even realize this was going to be a series until I was maybe 50 pages from the end and I realized there wasn't a chance in hell the author was going to finish this story up in those few pages. Which, can I just say? I'm getting tired of. Does EVERY book need to be a series? What ever happened to crafting a story to fit into one volume? I keep complaining of this and nobody listens. Jerks. 

Basically, this is about Aiden, who is a Dream Guardian. He comes to people in their dreams, usually engages in a sexual fantasy, in pursuit of keeping the Nightmares away. And the Nightmares, for me, are basically like demons from other paranormal novels. At least that's how I pictured them as being. But Aiden meets his match when he is sent to Lyssa, who has built a formidable door that most Guardians can't get to. Something about Aiden's voice convinces Lyssa to reluctantly open the door, and in walks in a hunk. He's walking sex and she doesn't give a second thought to the fact that she's going to indulge in a sexual fantasy with a stranger. But Aiden soon realizes something about Lyssa is different, and that's alarming. 

Once back "home", Aiden is starting to think Lyssa might be The Key, someone the Elite (a team kind of like Special Op's in modern  military terms) was created to kill. They believe whoever The Key is, they would be the ones to unlock the door that lets in the Nightmares and it would end the world as they know it. So though Aiden is trained to locate and kill The Key, he's skeptical of the entire premise, even more so when his gut tells him Lyssa is The Key. So he basically risks his life keeping her alive when it becomes apparent that everything is not as it seems and there's an ulterior motive going on. I can't even give you any hints on the ending because there really wasn't one. We have no real conclusion in this book, we just know that both Aiden and Lyssa are willing to risk their lives for the other in the name of love. 

But let's talk about two things that I took away from this book, in comparison to other Sylvia Day books. First, she writes a damn good sex scene. She just does. I liked Aiden and Lyssa as characters and I liked how she doesn't paint Lyssa as a totally helpless heroine with no personality. She's funny, she's sarcastic, she's mindful, and she seems like a totally normal person. And Aiden is walking sex, which I believe I've covered. Secondly, this is the first book outside of Sylvia Day's Crossfire Series that I've read and I have to be honest, I see why she is riding the coat tails of Fifty Shades of Grey  there. Nobody can say that Fifty Shades and Crossfire share no similarities when the stories are nearly identical, which is a huge issue I have with the Crossfire series, though I love Gideon. But this book is a paranormal romance, no getting around that, and maybe she's gotten better since (this was published in 2007), but you can tell this is out of her comfort zone and she really struggled. I think she tried to get on the paranormal romance bandwagon as it became hugely popular. I honestly don't know how interested I am in reading the others in this series, but I suppose if I found them in the discount bin at Barnes & Noble, I'm not going to skip it completely. I just don't know that I'll go out of my way to find book two. 

Overall? It was a good book. It's a fast read, and it's pretty solid if you are looking for a paranormal romance with solid sex scenes in it, along with a budding relationship. So don't dismiss it entirely. 

Friday, April 24, 2015

Running Fire

Guess who all of a sudden is on a hunt for Lindsay McKenna books because I was a Lindsay McKenna virgin, and now I'm not, and I am probably going to end up a super fan?

This chick.

Running Fire - Lindsay McKenna
Running Fire (Shadow Warriors, #8)
He was a haven in the midst of Hell…

Temporarily assigned to the Shadow Squadron in a troubled region of Afghanistan, Chief Warrant Officer and pilot Leah Mackenzie is no stranger to conflict—even if most of her physical and emotional scars are courtesy of her vicious ex. Still, she's got a bad feeling about picking up a team of stranded SEALs. A feeling that's all too justified once enemy fire hits their helicopter and all hell breaks loose…

SEAL Kell Ballard's goal was to get the injured pilot out of harm's way and find shelter deep in the labyrinth of caves. It's a place of dark intimacy, where Leah finds unexpected safety in a man's arms. Where prohibited attraction burns brightly. And where they'll hide until the time comes to face the enemy outside…and the enemy within their ranks.
 


If you know nothing else about me, you need to know that I am a romantic suspense JUNKIE. When I say junkie, I really mean it. If the book also has a super hot military guy as a lead? All in. The plot could be 100% ridiculous and so far fetched and it doesn't matter because I am all the way in. (I could make a super inappropriate sexual pun here but I won't because I'm trying to keep it classy.)

The only thing that could be construed as negative in this review is that Leah is super annoying. I mean, I appreciate that when things basically go tits up, she can do what needs to be done. She's not falling apart during a crisis. But when it comes to her personal life? Oy vey. Kind of a hot mess. And yes, she has legitimate reasons considering her ex-husband was a total abuse douchebag. Understandable. But I think even if she hadn't been married, she'd still be kind of a needy mess when it came to Kell. 

And Kell. *swoon* Kell sounds delicious. I'm just putting that out there. I like how despite his own divorce, he's not this hardened nobody-can-love-me guy. He thinks there is someone out there for him he just doesn't know how to reconcile that with his career as a SEAL. Which is understandable. 

The story overall was good. It was everything I wanted out of a military romantic suspense novel. Sure, the story seems a little not plausible with a romance going from zero to sixty in a matter of days given the stressful situation, but who cares. That's part of what I love so much about books like this. I also love the side drama with Leah's ex-husband. Yes, we have them weaving their way through Taliban infested territory, dealing with Leah's intimacy issues, but then we have Leah's ex-husband basically trying to ruin her life for his own benefit and that has it's own super great ending. I also love that we have some follow up/ending with Leah and Kell. It feels like their story is squarely finished and you're left wanting to pick up another book by Lindsay McKenna, which is what any author can hope for. 

Running Fire can be purchased on Amazon, and I highly suggest you pick it up. It's pretty yummy. But you can also connect with Lindsay McKenna through her website, Facebook page or Twitter!



Wednesday, April 22, 2015

38, 1.5 and come ON already.

Well, this is week 38 folks. I had my 37 week check last Friday and at that time, I was dilated to 1.5 cm. My cervix is still posterior, but it typically always is right until I give birth. One thing I've learned is that my cervix is shy and my ovaries like to hide during every exam I've ever had for anything, ever.

So the fact that's still hanging out where it hangs out wasn't a surprise. The doctor could very much feel Penelope's head so she's down where she needs to be, which is good. Today my visit didn't bring much change. I'm still only 1.5 cm and to be honest? That's disappointing.

38 weeks

Mostly because I've been feeling like absolute crap as of late. I feel like I'm constantly on the verge of getting the flu, though I'm not. Generally it hurts to move around at all from all of the pelvic pressure. I've been walking the dog after lunch trying to get my pelvis to just open up a little more or do something to relieve the pressure but so far no luck. But hey- I'm down a pound! I have started to lose my mucus plug and I have to think almost all of it has come out, I've had quite a bit come but so far it's all clear and not blood tinged or anything to get me excited about things maybe starting up soon. 

Sleeping is basically not happening anymore again. It's now painful to walk to the bathroom in the middle of the night and considering I have to do that several times, it's safe to say I don't look forward to bed time. I'm at the point where I am strongly considering sleeping on the couch, though I'm sure my back would then hurt like a mother fucker so who knows. It's basically a no-win situation up in here. 

The other thing? I go from being super excited, can hardly wait for labor to start so I can meet baby Penelope to being scared shitless and not wanting any of it to happen. And this isn't a daily thing, this could change by the hour so Matt's had a ton of fun trying to keep up with it. Poor guy. I do know physically I feel drained already and that's a little alarming considering I haven't even done anything so it makes me worried about actually being in labor let alone delivering. 

So cross your fingers something happens soon because my poor pelvic bone feels as if it's on the brink of falling apart. YAY. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Prophecy's Language

I only have two book reviews for you this week, the rest of my posts will be other stuff. Including... baby things. Yes, shocker, I know. But I think things are moving along, so I have some posts I want to get done should I go into labor. It's only 15 days until my due date, I believe.

Prophecy's Language - Brenda Dyer
Prophecy's Language (Prophecy, #4)
She’ll need persistence to break through to his heart 

Author Eleanor Donavon’s life is finally going her way. She kicked her mentally abusive ex-husband to the curb, and her writing career is taking off. But her contented world changes when a stranger, who’s the spitting image of one of her fictional vampire warriors, appears in her home on the pretense of whisking her away on a vacation. Believing him to be a cover model sent by her agent, Eleanor takes him up on his offer in hopes of getting to know him better. When she learns the truth about who he is, and the reason behind her imprisonment, her existence is rocked to the core. Now caught in the brutal politics surrounding the vampires, her only hope of surviving is to trust Sin. To complicate matters, she’s spellbound by the fierce warrior and falling for him hard. With her heart at stake, she must somehow break through his icy defenses to the man inside or forever lose him to his haunted past.

Her love gives him the faith to live again

Sin lives by his own code: don’t care for anyone and you won’t let them down. His past actions taught him that valuable lesson. When he receives the mission to abduct Eleanor, a beautiful author writing about the Vampire Prophecy, his heart jolts awake. For the first time in years he yearns to go against his principles and make her his forever, but fear won’t allow it. When she becomes a target of the Sacred Order, Sin risks his career to save her, but the real danger lurks when he realizes he can’t stop his head-on collision with love.


I am an absolute JUNKIE for Brenda Dyer's books, specifically this series. If you remember my review from book three, you'll remember I was pretty sure Sin was the next vampire to be romanced and I was TOTALLY RIGHT. I am putting my prediction that Black is next. Ace will be last because I think he has a few screws loose and he's going to be a very tough character to win readers, let alone a heroine over. But we'll see. I'm just putting that out there. 

Here's what I loved about this book: we didn't focus a whole lot on the prophecy. Which, I know, you're thinking it's book four and we should be getting to the nitty gritty, but surprisingly, we aren't and I'm absolutely OK with that. We're getting bits and pieces with each book and we learn what Eleanor's role in the prophecy is and why she was chosen. We also don't have as much interaction with the other characters like we have in the previous books, but that actually works out for this story because a lot happens in this book as far as the Sacred Order (they are total douchebags and I see them making an appearance again), Eleanor's ex-husband being mixed up with a demon, and the visit from Vampier. So though we don't learn a lot more about the prophecy, it's totally OK because there is enough other stuff happening that keeps you entertained and busy. Not to mention the budding relationship between Sin and Eleanor. 

I wanted to not like Sin, I was so worried I was going to really hate him as I followed Brenda's post on her Facebook page as she wrote, but surprisingly, I kind of loved him. He's so damn clueless about women and he's kind of an asshole, but he's very much that guy a girl wants to fix. Eleanor is a fixer (welcome to club, girl, we have cupcakes in the corner) so of course she sees Sin not so much as a project, but THE project. The one that will matter the most and who needs it the most. I also loved how while he is an alcoholic and uses it to cope with stressful things, she doesn't nag him. It's like her silence is enough to help convince him he can, and should, do better. Which I love. 

I even loved Eleanor. Maybe because she seems a lot like me and that makes her more interesting? I didn't like the heroin from book three, but I totally got why she was developed the way she was. But Eleanor... Eleanor is kind of a moron in her own right and she basically lets people walk over her until she grows a pair of balls and takes charge of a situation. She's a bit of a diffuser, she's the calm in the storm that can take everyone down a notch and help them see the larger picture. 

I flew through this book and I'm so glad there is more. I'm going to have a dark void in my life once this series is done, I assure you. This book is available on Amazon and it's super inexpensive. You don't have to read the previous ones to get into this story, it's not like you won't have a clue what's going on, but the books are so good and you'll fly through them so just get them at the same time and read away. And to keep up with Brenda and what she is working on next, go to her website. I'm there kind of a lot. Don't judge, it's better than being in her bushes. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

37 Weeks. Sweet Jesus, let the end be near.

I can't even believe I'm already 37 weeks pregnant, yet I feel like I've actually closer to 57 weeks pregnant. My pelvic bone and vagina agree with me. As does my belly button, who feels like it's ready to wave the flag and give up any minute now.

This is the look of 37 weeks pregnant. 

Last week at my OB appointment nothing super exciting  had happened. Penelope has dropped, and I could have told anyone that from the amount of pain I'm in down there. It really does feel like a bowling ball is sitting precariously on my pelvic bone to see how long it can stay before the bone breaks into a million pieces. A few weeks ago it would hurt, feel fine, hurt, and then feel fine again. Now it's hurting all of the time. I really thought that meant that I'd be effacing and dilating but no. 

No, because Penelope will not come quietly into the night. I've already mentally prepared myself for that. 

I go for my check again this Friday so here's hoping for something

I've been walking every day after lunch, not just because I want action to start, but because it's really super nice out. I really need to get fresh air and sunshine, so Twinky and I go on walks around the 'hood, armed with my cell phone in case my water were to break in a random stranger's yard. I don't really have a plan if that were to happen because god knows Matt never hears his damn phone anyways, but having the phone makes me feel less crazy. 

Let's see... what else? 
  • Belly Button or Bust: Oh yes, the belly button pain. To be honest, I've never been an outie, I'm strictly an innie. I was never an outie with the other two so when Matt pointed it out a few days ago I rightfully called him a liar. Then promptly went to the bathroom to investigate and woah- he's right. That sucker is sticking out and it hurts. Like it hurts to touch the damn thing, let alone put lotion on it. 
  • It's like I botoxed my belly: The skin is as tight as Nicole Kidman's forehead. It really cannot get any more stretched out, I refuse to believe it. The fact that people pay a lot of money for this kind of thing but on their face blows my mind. This is horribly uncomfortable. Sometimes when I roll over in bed at night, I have a real fear it's going to just split open. 
  • Let us pray she's a good sleeper: I really hope the fact she doesn't move much at all anymore is a sign she enjoys long hours of sleep like her brother. Jackson got super lazy towards the end and didn't move much and he sleeps a lot. Olivia never stopped moving and consequently, she hardly sleeps at all. So if there is any kind of justice in this world, Penelope was a bear in utero early on and will be the best sleeping baby EVER. 
  • I don't feel super crazy and anxious: Unlike the last few weeks, mentally I feel far more prepared. I don't know if it's because I'm in the home stretch or what, but I feel very calm about labor and delivery. I've decided I'm just going to wing it and see what happens. I'm going to go with the flow and I really don't give a damn how it turns out, so long as she comes out and all is well. Selfishly, I'd like to not tear super badly, but I'm realistic enough to know I probably will. I'm already going in preparing to not be able to sit for 6 weeks minimum again. I figure the whole "plan for the worst, hope for the best" method is the best at this point. That way I can't really be disappointed, can I? 
So that's where we are. Penelope is just chilling, apparently the size of a winter melon though I don't know what the hell that is. Even the picture on my pregnancy app doesn't look like anything I've seen so who knows. 

I've got my hospital bag pretty well packed, hers is set to go. Someone said they wanted to see what I packed and maybe I'll do that post tomorrow. I've got all of this time now during the day to do photos and stuff. So stay tuned. 

The Bookseller

I promise you, later tonight I will have a pregnancy update/non-book review post for you. Swearsies. But for now, book review!

The Bookseller - Cynthia Swanson
The Bookseller
A provocative and hauntingly powerful debut novel reminiscent of Sliding Doors, The Bookseller follows a woman in the 1960s who must reconcile her reality with the tantalizing alternate world of her dreams

Nothing is as permanent as it appears . . . 

Denver, 1962: Kitty Miller has come to terms with her unconventional single life. She loves the bookshop she runs with her best friend, Frieda, and enjoys complete control over her day-to-day existence. She can come and go as she pleases, answering to no one. There was a man once, a doctor named Kevin, but it didn’t quite work out the way Kitty had hoped.

Then the dreams begin.

Denver, 1963: Katharyn Andersson is married to Lars, the love of her life. They have beautiful children, an elegant home, and good friends. It's everything Kitty Miller once believed she wanted—but it only exists when she sleeps.

Convinced that these dreams are simply due to her overactive imagination, Kitty enjoys her nighttime forays into this alternate world. But with each visit, the more irresistibly real Katharyn’s life becomes. Can she choose which life she wants? If so, what is the cost of staying Kitty, or becoming Katharyn?

As the lines between her worlds begin to blur, Kitty must figure out what is real and what is imagined. And how do we know where that boundary lies in our own lives?


Yes, it's reminiscent of Sliding Doors, but it also reminded me of The Other Life by Ellen Meister. I will say that I am so split on this book. I've had a hard time figuring out what I'm going to write as far as a review because there are aspects I absolutely love and others where I'm just left feeling like... it's been done. I have a hard time enjoying something that's been done. Yes, there are elements that are different than things it can be compared to, but there weren't enough for me to feel like it's a fresh idea. Of course, if you haven't read anything else like this, then this entire paragraph is meaningless to you and you'll find the book absolutely fascinating. The premise of being able to live two lives, simultaneously, is interesting. It's like seeing what your life could have been. Though it then begs, would you love your "normal" life less because you know what you could have had? 

Also I had to keep reminding myself that this is set in the 1960's, so there is some language that was a little alarming in regards to a child with autism who was aggressive. Now, back then I get autism wasn't totally a well known thing but man, it made me pause while reading it for sure. For me, that was the most exciting thing in the entire book. The other thing with it being set in this particular time period is that you also are thinking about a woman's role in society. Back then, it was kind of unheard of to not actively look for marriage and start a family. Instead, Kitty and her best friend open a book store to be their own bosses and both kind of let dating go to the wayside for various reasons, and it leads them to look like spinsters, basically. And maybe it's that perception that leads Kitty into fantasy land and explore what her life would have been like if she had continued on with Lars? I'm not sure, to be honest.  Overall, it was a bit boring compared to other books in my reading list as of late. I think between that and me comparing it to The Other Life, and being reminded on how frustrated I was with the main character of that book, I really struggled to love this book. 

But I absolutely cannot stress enough- if you have not read a book with a similar premise, give this one a shot. I wished I had read this years ago before I read anything else like it because I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more. 

The Bookseller is available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble. You can also learn more about the author, Cynthia Swanson, on her website as well as her Facebook page

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Demon's Vengeance: The Complete Final Asylum Tales

I really love it when I can read a chunk of books together and put it all in one review. Such is the case here.

DEMON'S VENGEANCE: THE COMPLETE FINAL ASYLUM TALES - Jocelynn Drake
Demon's Vengeance: The Complete Final Asylum Tales
The complete novel that comprises Demon’s Fury, Demon’s Vow and Inner Demon.

Powerful warlock and tattoo artist Gage has managed to escape the magical Ivory Towers who terrorize the rest of humans and monsters—but at a price. Now he must join forces with his nemesis, Gideon, to stop an entity that is using forbidden Death Magic to commit gruesome murders across the nation. And if that’s not keeping him busy enough, an investigator recruits Gage to help her track a killer … who might be targeting tattoo artists.

When Gage discovers a demon locked away, it offers him access to dark magic in exchange for its freedom—a dangerous opportunity, but one that could save his loved ones. Gage must choose between what is right and what is easy.

I'm going to be honest, I wanted to review this solely based on the cover. But here's a pro-tip, make sure you've read the first three books. I had assumed this was books 1-3 so I figured I'd be fine. I was not fine because this starts with book 3.1 and I had zero idea what was going on for the first half of the book. Yes, the author does an amazing job of weaving in a quick synopsis in case you're an idiot who doesn't know what she's doing and starting in the middle of a series, but until you get all of the details straight, the story doesn't make sense. So admittedly, this is completely my own fault.

But with that- I kind of loved it anyways. I love that Gage does tattoos and totally plays into the bad boy image. I love that Gideon is a hard ass who has a sensitive side with his wife and daughter, but can totally turn around and kill someone within a second because he's very alpha male. I love all of the paranormal elements in this book (seriously, I may have snickered at unicorns being more bad ass than dragons? WHAT?), and I liked the romance elements throughout all three stories. Here's what I hated: the ending. I know, it's terrible when you hate the ending to a series. But seriously- if ever there was a time to give a final resolution for a series, and more specifically a character, it's now. We're left hanging in the worst possible way. To say I finished this feeling frustrated and a bit annoyed is a complete understatement. The only reasoning I can think is that maybe the author will revisit Gage in maybe a novella or something later on? Or maybe he comes back as himself in a totally different series and maybe he isn't the main character but he's in the book enough where we find out what happens with his story line more? I don't know, but that's enough of a boo boo to not let me give this 4 stars. Which is a shame because there were so many good things in these books to warrant a 4 star review, despite not having read book one and two to see how far these characters had come, but that ending. Terrible. Totally terrible. It almost feels like she just gave up, ran out of ideas, was sick of writing about these people, something.

BUT.

If you are a fan of paranormal romance, if you like the bad boy trying to be a good boy but being tempted to make terrible decisions which would make him end up looking like martyr, this is for you. Easily. You'll love it. I did enjoy Jocelynn's story telling and her writing, so I would absolutely check out other books by her simply because the story line and how she was able to weave so many different types of creatures into it with ease was pretty damn impressive.

Jocelynn is everywhere, you can find her on Facebook, Twitter, her blog, and her website. And finally- you can purchase this book on Amazon at a really great price!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Hotelles & Elle

YOU GUYS.

I have had some of the best reading I've had in awhile happen this weekend and I'm basically bursting at the seams to tell you all about it. And some of you are going to be all, "Oh man, Sara- these look LONG" and to that I say, shut your mouth and listen to me for once. I always end up being right anyways. This is actually a trilogy but only books one and two are available and that's why this review is only covering those two. Obviously.

HOTELLES - Emma Mars
Hotelles: A Novel
Paris, a hotel room, the middle of the afternoon . . .

So begins the story of Annabelle, a young escort in Paris who has accepted her final proposition before marrying the powerful and generous man of her dreams, media mogul David Barlet. But the mysterious handwritten notes she has been receiving—notes that detail personal fantasies no one could possibly know—don't prepare her for the fact that her new client is her fiancĂ©'s brother, Louie. Through visits to the Hotel des Charmes, where each chamber is dedicated to one of French history's great seductresses, Louie awakens Annabelle's body and her psyche, delivering her to heights of ecstasy and fits of passion.He pushes her beyond her limitations to tap into her deep seductive power—and she discovers that true freedom comes only when you fully surrender to desire.

Funny, sensual, candid, and revealing, Hotelles is a titillating novel of mysteries and surprises by a radiant new voice.


Initial thoughts were absolute intrigue because this trilogy is penned as an Erotic Romance, so right off the bat if that kind of thing scares you, just calm down. To be honest, this first book isn't super erotic, at least not compared to things I have read before. Which admittedly, makes me sound like a total book slut, but that's alright. While there are parts of the story that talk about masturbation, and it gets a little kinky once Elle starts receiving clues for her "assignments", it wasn't as erotic as I thought it was going to be. 

Instead, it's a piece of literary loveliness. It's an entire relationship forming in the slowest way possible. Yes, the book clocks in at 579 pages and I am the first one to tell you that there are some sections that could be completely cut out to at least get this thing down to 400 pages. With that said, please don't give up on the book. Yes, it's wordy. Yes, there are parts of it that you think, "My life is wasting away right now reading this.". Yes, there are points where you wish the author would just get to the damn point already. But in the end, when I got to the last couple of chapters and I'm seeing how all of the sweeping story line, all of the back history, all of the psychological warfare is playing out, I rushed to the end. So much so that I went back and re-read the last three chapters just to be sure it really was everything that I was hoping it was eventually going to be. And it was. And I about died when in the last two pages, Elle discovers she's only gone through room one. 

579 pages = room one?! That's it?! 

Oh yes. Because it is a trilogy and you know that there is so much more for Elle. She'll not get a happily ever after just like that. Nope. 

Another note I want to make is that this book reads very similarly to the book Vox by Nicholson Baker, which I read when I was 16. Totally not appropriate reading material for a 16 year old, let alone a virgin. But the handwritten notes within Hotelles reminded me of Vox, which is essentially a transcript of sorts between two strangers who start out having phone sex but turns into a telling of fantasies and such. It's very strange, but the entire time I'm reading Hotelles, that's what I'm thinking of. Also, it reminded me of L. Marie Adeline's book S.E.C.R.E.T. in which the main character goes on "adventures", each one pertaining to a lesson to further her sexuality. Which is very much what is happening to Elle in this book. So if either of those were good books for you, you'll probably enjoy this book on that alone because it's the same basis, essentially. You can get Hotelles on Amazon and Barnes & Noble right now. 

ELLE - Emma Mars
Elle: Room Two in the Hotelles Trilogy
A spellbinding, erotic, and revealing love story full of drama and poignancy--the sequel to Hotelles-in which a young French woman continues her carnal education in a mysterious Parisian hotel.

In a hotel room in Paris, a young woman named Elle experiences the most exquisite freedom and sensual pleasure she has ever known, thanks to Louis, the man who has conquered her completely.

So many things in life have changed since they first met. Her engagement to Louis's deceptive brother, David, has been broken. Her mother has died. Yet Elle is wholly fulfilled with Louis, the master who heightens her senses and unleashes her deep, seductive power.

In the alluring Hotel des Charmes, Louis takes Elle beyond her wildest fantasies. Exploring the boudoirs devoted to other courtesans--Mademoiselle Josephine, Deschamps, Kitty Fisher, Cora Pearl, and Valtesse de la Bigne--Elle willingly opens herself further. In sublime self-abandonment she discovers absolute ecstasy, absolute sweetness, absolute desire.

Then David unexpectedly returns, stirring up painful memories and threatening their bliss. Elle fears her education may soon be over. . .

She does not understand that it has only just begun.


If you have not read the first book, Hotelles, do NOT read this book. I repeat, do NOT read this book. It will ruin the first book for you and you won't fully understand this book. Sure, you'll get through it and it's still a great story, but if you don't know the journey Elle had been on leading her to this, a lot of things will be lost on you and you won't understand the importance of a lot of it. So just do yourself a favor and read the first book first. 

Now. 

This book. *sigh* I have to say, even from book one I was Team Louie. I don't know if it's because he seemed like a hot mess looking to be fixed by the charms of a woman, or because he reminded me of things in favorite characters from other novels I've enjoyed and he kind of sums them all up. He's smart, he's engaging, he's mysterious, he's attractive in what I picture to be an unconventional way, I think he's a sucker for romance at heart but doesn't want to be, he's a bit of a black sheep/bad boy. Once Elle comes around and sees all of this in Louie and comes willingly to him, I have to admit I was absolutely thrilled. 

Here's the thing though, while in the first book I kind of liked Elle because she seemed kind of naive, almost to the point of blindingly stupid. Lots of red flags in her relationship with David seemingly go unnoticed and you have to literally hit her with facts before the wheels in her head tell her to look around, all is not what it seems and it's completely freaking obvious. In this book, it's like a totally different person. Again, my comparison to L. Marie Adeline's S.E.C.R.E.T. trilogy is still going strong. In that trilogy, the main character becomes this confident sex pot in book two, has everything going for her, has this great guy giving her what she needs to be satisfied and then she does things that make you think she's self sabotaging. Which kind of makes you wonder, is there a point where a person can be too sexually confident? 

Some unfortunate things happen to Louie in this book which seem... I guess I can understand how they came about given what we know about him, but they still seem like a weird book filler. David is a total asshole in this book and though I saw it in the first book, a lot of his unfavorable characteristics come out in full force in this book. Elle absolutely hates him and I feel like she kind of needs to let that relax. I mean, she's the moron who agreed to get married after a whirlwind courtship, proceeds to do her "adventures" with Louie instead of saying, "Hey- your brother is sending me horribly inappropriate messages", and when she finds out the spider web that had become her life? She places all blame on David instead of saying, "Alright, so I need to do a better job at learning about someone before I get engaged". I'm just saying Elle is kind of irrational and nuts. 

Which makes me worry for book three. I obviously need book three in my life. It makes me think this trilogy will end like L. Marie Adeline's, where everything goes to shit and the relationship I've come to adore goes to hell and I'm left hating the female lead because she's a selfish, terrible person. So I am begging the author to not end this trilogy like that. Absolutely begging. 

Elle can be purchased on Amazon and Barnes & Noble as well. I wish I could give you contact information for the author, Emma Mars, but this is an author who lives in France  writing under this pseudonym. Which adds a bit of mystery, doesn't it?