Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Do You Think I'm Odd?

"You're my fate."
--Lisa Kleypas, Mine Til Midnight

Genre: Adult Historical Romance
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Pages: 376
Publication Date: October 2nd, 2007
Source: Bought
Previous Books in Series: First book in series
Find on: Goodreads | Amazon
Goodreads Description 

When an unexpected inheritance elevates her family to the ranks of the aristocracy, Amelia Hathaway discovers that tending to her younger sisters and wayward brother was easy compared to navigating the intricacies of the ton. Even more challenging: the attraction she feels for the tall, dark, and dangerously handsome Cam Rohan.

Wealthy beyond most men’s dreams, Cam has tired of society’s petty restrictions and longs to return to his “uncivilized” Gypsy roots. When the delectable Amelia appeals to him for help, he intends to offer only friendship—but intentions are no match for the desire that blindsides them both. But can a man who spurns tradition be tempted into that most time-honored arrangement: marriage? Life in London society is about to get a whole lot hotter...
Mini Review
When I started the much-loved and frequently-talked about Hathaway series by Lisa Kleypas, I was super excited. What I DIDN’T know was how much my beloved Wallflowers would be making an appearance AND the main hero was Cam Rohan! Eeeeep! This book was everything I love about Lisa Kleypas. Quirky and real heroines, swoon-worthy heroes, and secondary characters that will keep you turning the pages in order to get their book. This book focuses on Amelia, the eldest sister of the Hathaway family. She encounters Cam Rohan several times by, dare I say it, fate. He is Roma, aka a Gyspy, and has been the adopted son of Evie St Vincent’s father before he passed. We met Cam in the Wallflowers and now he gets his love story. I loved him. Oh. My. Gosh. Swoon. He is so self-assured and confident in who he is and I find this ridiculously sexy. Amelia is the same way. She has accepted her spinster title and wants nothing more than to take care of her family. She sacrifices so much and this was one of the things I loved most about her. She is selfless and quirky and just the perfect amount of odd. Cam’s gyspy heritage drives his desire to wander and leave London but of course, he rethinks this once he meets Amelia. I absolutely LOVED their ‘courtship’ and how they came together but I loved even more, what happens after. Ameila refuses to be seen as weak or vulnerable and watching her come to trust Cam and look to him for a shoulder to lean on was the best thing ever!!!! It made me so, so, SO happy!! His protective and possessive nature was also amazing. *le sigh* This family is already in my heart and I cannot wait to get to know them more, quirks and all, and see them all fall in love.

Reserved Seating

"I will follow you...whatever your fate is"
--Lisa Kleypas, Seduce Me At Sunrise

Genre: Adult Historical Romance
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Pages: 360
Publication Date: September 30th, 2008
Source: Bought
Previous Books in Series: Mine Till Midnight
Find on: Goodreads | Amazon
 Goodreads Description 

He has tried hard to forget her.

Kev Merripen has longed for the beautiful, well-bred Winnifred Hathaway ever since her family rescued him from the brink of death when he was just a boy. But this handsome Gypsy is a man of mysterious origins—and he fears that the darkness of his past could crush delicate, luminous Win. So Kev refuses to submit to temptation... and before long Win is torn from him by a devastating twist of fate.

Can she remember the man he once was?

Then, Win returns to England... only to find that Kev has hardened into a man who will deny love at all costs. Meantime, an attractive, seductive suitor has set his sights on Win. It’s now or never for Kev to make his move. But first, he must confront a dangerous secret about his destiny—or risk losing the only woman he has lived for...
Mini Review
Swooooooon! Oh, my gosh! I didn’t think I coul swoon more than Cam but I was WRONG! Merripen guts me and punches me in the heart at the same time. He is JUST the kind of hero I LOVE to read about. Brooding. Closed-off. Uncivilized. Barbaric. Protective. Beast. Like, hell yes. Win is back from France after two years at a clinic to improve her health and she comes back radiant. I loved seeing this transformation in her was so happy to see her being able to participate and be normal. I never would have suspected Win to be so aggressive in her procurement of Merripen. She is so vocal with her feelings and what she wants and I LOVED it! I couldn’t get enough of openness and ability to be vulnerable with him and tell him exactly what she was feeling. Merripen fights all his feelings and urges in fear of hurting her. This poor man grew up to be no better than a wild animal and his hesitation in all in his mind for fear of harming Win. *le sigh* It’s frustrating at times but understandable. Merripen’s joinery was my favorite. His struggle to open up and verbalize his feelings was beautiful not only with Win but with Cam, the newest member of the Hathaway family as well. This story was reminiscent of Beauty and the Beast and I FUCKING loved it. Favorite of the series so far because of the arc of Merripen. Love this beast of a man. Love love love.

Backstage Pass

Monday, November 23, 2015

Request a Motion For Southern Hospitality

"Most stories finish at the end.
But not this one.
This one finishes with a whole new beginning."
--Emma Chase, Overruled
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Gallery Books
Pages: 288
Publication Date: April 28th, 2015
Source: Gifted to me by Steph--thanks, bitch!
Other Books in Series: Sustained
Goodreads Description 

Emma Chase, New York Times bestselling author of the Tangled series, returns with the first installment of the Legal Briefs series!

A Washington, DC, defense attorney, Stanton Shaw keeps his head cool, his questions sharp, and his arguments irrefutable. They don’t call him the Jury Charmer for nothing—with his southern drawl, disarming smile, and captivating green eyes, he’s a hard man to say no to. Men want to be him, and women want to be thoroughly cross examined by him.

Stanton’s a man with a plan. And for a while, life was going according to that plan.

Until the day he receives an invitation to the wedding of his high school sweetheart, the mother of his beloved ten-year-old daughter. Jenny is getting married—to someone who isn’t him.

That's definitely not part of the plan.


Sofia Santos is a city-raised, no-nonsense litigator who plans to become the most revered criminal defense attorney in the country. She doesn’t have time for relationships or distractions.

But when Stanton, her "friend with mind-blowing benefits," begs her for help, she finds herself out of her element, out of her depth, and obviously out of her mind. Because she agrees to go with him to The-Middle-Of-Nowhere, Mississippi, to do all she can to help Stanton win back the woman he loves. Her head tells her she's crazy...and her heart says something else entirely.

What happens when you mix a one-stop-light town, two professional arguers, a homecoming queen, four big brothers, some Jimmy Dean sausage, and a gun-toting Nana?

The Bourbon flows, passions rise, and even the best-laid plans get overruled by the desires of the heart.
The Characters
I recently read Sustained, the second book in the companion series, first and fucking fell in love with it. It was hilarious, heart-warming, and all things sexy. I knew I had to go back and read Overruled, the first book, Stanton and Sofia's story. I was a little hesitant because the premise is Stanton taking Sofia home as a friend so that he can woo his high school love and mother of his child back and not get married to another mean.

*Phew* exhausting, right? But Emma Chase handled this very complicated emotional situation SO WELL. How she writes Stanton and Jenny--the teenage love and woman getting married to somebody else--is perfect. While Stanton has his head up his ass about what emotions are really present, it is clear to see their friendship and love runs deep but not romantically and I thought it was handled so fantastically.

Stanton is charming and a total douche at the same time. He has his head so far up his ass he doesn't see what is right in front of him and the dumbass doesn't even know his own emotions. It's endearing in a totally idiotic way but I love him nonetheless. Sofia is incredible though. She knows she and Stanton and friends with benefits and truly wants what is best for him/what he wants. He wants to be with Jenny and his daughter, she respects this and helps him while breaking her own heart and while he continues to come to her for *ahem* help. I truly loved how much Sofia valued her friendship with Stanton and didn't play the jealous other woman when she went home with him. It was incredible.

The Setting
Speaking of home, home for Stanton is Sunshine, Mississippi. It was your run-of-the-mill middle of nowhere and I loved every second of it. The horror Sofia has over the lack of amenities and no wi-fi, no 'business district', one stoplight, it was too funny. The barbecues, the trailer park party, racing tractors, I'm not kidding you, I was DYING laughing my ass off at these fucking hicks. It was too endearing for words and I wanted to take a trip to this town and have some fun and drink some moonshine. I just could not with how much I enjoyed reading about this town. Stanton's other siblings...DYING. The under the age of legal consent sister hitting on Brent, the nudist hippie older brother, all of it.

I am a city girl who loves the outdoors so I feel like I got the best of both worlds in this book. It was the extreme end of small town and I love reading stories taking place there. It makes you feel a part of something unique and special and small, in the best way. I just couldn't get enough of Sunshine, Mississippi.

The Romance
While I thought it would be hard to root for this story, I found it just the opposite. As I said above, Chase writes this story so perfectly balanced that while Stanton is a clueless moron, the reader knows what's up and I enjoyed it immensely because of it. Just because he couldn't see what was clearly right in front of his face doesn't mean the rest of the world couldn't. Don't let the premise fool you, it's an amazing and heartfelt story to root for. I was surprised by the feels I had while reading because Sofia's acute disappointment just pulled at my heart strings. I felt connected to her feelings and the emotions that followed. It was weird because the page kept blurring and shit kept getting in my eyes. Seriously. 

Backstage Pass
If you love small towns, hilarious banter, and good ole' fashion fun...this book is for you.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Tempted By An Author // An Interview with Lauren Smith {And Giveaway}

As many of you know, I am a huge fan of Lauren Smith. Hugh. Massive. The Gilded Cuff series is a fav! Her historical romances are also freaking fantastic. On the historical romance note, she has a new novella that just recently released, Tempted By A Rogue. In honor of that, myself, Alexa, and Rachel--also big historical romance fans--are celebrating by having a quick fire Q&A with Lauren! 

Welcome to Belle of the Literati, Lauren!! Thank you so much for stopping by and I am SO excited to ask you some burning questions!! If you could time travel to a time in history to live out your own romance novel, when would it be?

I would love to go to the late Victorian era, the 1880s because they were relatively modern, but old school enough to be fun! I especially love the gowns. I’m a big fan of the shape and colors that bustle gowns come in. I think I may have lived in that period of time in a past life *wink.

You have a LOT of amazing heroines and equally hot heroes between all your books, both historical and contemporary. Which two of your characters who aren't in the same book/series could you see (or would want to see) having the potential for a romantic relationship? (Part of your answer better not be Emery because that ass is mine ;) ) 

Now that is a really fun question! I think Lucien from His Wicked Seduction, my Regency bad boy with a hint of a dominant side would really go well with Hayden, the sassy submissive heroine from my contemporary The Gilded Cage. A couple of redheads would make a fire in bed, don’t ya think?

One of the things I love most about your books are your heroines and how real you make them. They have positive yet realistic body images and are not size zeroes. First of all, thank you. Second, was there ever a particular reading moment that inspired you to ensure your female characters were real women with real curves and real flaws but still loved themselves?

The reading moment I had that probably inspired me to write realistic female characters was actually reading a lot of books where the heroines were thin with boy-like figures. I remember reading that and feeling a little frustrated because first of all, a lot of women have curves, we’re sort of built that way genetically in order to make childbirth easier. And a lot of men like those curves, so we shouldn’t be ashamed of them. I’m not saying women with beautiful willowy thin figures shouldn’t be happy with their bodies, they totally should because they look great in clothes! But I think that us curvy girls deserve some love too, especially with hot heroes on the pages of our favorite books! So I write to give every girl a voice, no matter what size, because we’re all beautiful and we all deserve to be loved by a sexy, wonderful man.

This is the home of Book Bangin' so I ask every author who graces my blog with this question...who is your number one book boyfriend?

Knight from Kristen Ashley’s Knight. Man, he’s a fine hunk of man. He’s just dominate, possessive, jealous, and oh so perfect! If you have read about Knight, you need to. He’ll be your next crush! 

Thank you SO much for your time Lauren! I loved having you and your answers are amazing! Don't forget to check out Tempted By a Rogue!
The rogue’s temptation would be her undoing…

Gemma Haverford knows exactly who she will marry: James Randolph, the man she’s had a secret understanding with for the last eleven years. With every letter written between them while he's been off at sea, their love has grown. Now they will be reunited with his return to England.

There’s just one problem. The man whose words she'd fallen in love with isn’t James at all…

Jasper Holland, a gentleman rogue of the first order, is trapped. Talked into a scheme by his best friend, he pretended to be James for eleven years as he wrote to Gemma, even though he'd promised James he’d break it off. But now with his return to England, his secret will come out—and he’ll lose the one woman he can’t live without.

What began as a game of words, now becomes a game of hearts, and Jasper will pay any price to call Gemma his.
If you haven't already make sure you check out Rachel and Alexa's interviews as well!!
AND don't forget the giveaway below!! May the odds be ever in your favor!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, November 9, 2015

Double The Fun

"Choosing between Ian and Connor was not an option."
--Lauren Smith, The Bite of Winter

Genre: Adult Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Pages: 113
Publication Date: November 24th, 2015
Source: eARC provided by publisher via NetGalley
Previous Books in Series: First in series
Goodreads Description

She is theirs to claim. They are hers to save.

Zoey Blake is about as far down on her luck as she can get. A car crash took her parents, leaving her destitute and on the street. When she’s attacked by another homeless person, her lifeblood drains away as her fading vision is filled with the face of a handsome stranger.

Ian Kennedy, a century old Irish vampire, never could resist rescuing a stray. As a few drops of his blood heals Zoey’s wounds, he realizes she’s a sweet, tempting, flesh-and-blood woman. But there’s one problem. Connor, who made Ian promise decades ago: no more mortal lovers.

After another vampire murdered his soulmate, Connor O’Shea swore never to let amortal woman pay the price for loving him. Until he feels Zoey’s skin and tastes her lips.She makes him want to break that vow.

Zoey finds herself caught in their web of seduction. But as Christmas draws near andher grief deepens, happiness seems far out of reach. And Ian and Connor join forces to prove their love is sacred, special…and forever.

Warning: This book contains two scorching-hot Irish vampires, one lady with plenty of pluck but zero luck, naughty lingerie, and enough Christmas cheer to redeem even the darkest creatures.

I have yet to read a Lauren Smith book that I haven't loved. Truly. It's not just because I know Lauren and adore her, her writing and romances are delicious. This story is short but it packs a, bite? Zoey has been living on the streets after losing her parents almost a year ago. She is attacked and found by Ian, a Vampire, who heals her and brings her home with him. He lives with his best friend, and fellow Vampire, Connor. After losing a woman they both loved and shared 80 years ago to a jealous ex-friend, they vowed to never love a mortal again. Zoey surprises them in the best way. She makes them feel human again, long of things they once had, and not to mention turn them like crazy.

Because this is a novella length story, there isn't a ton of conflict rather the story focuses on the budding relationship between Zoey, Ian, and Connor. I am so impressed by how much emotion Lauren can pack in 113 pages. I adored Ian's protectiveness and soft heart and I was swooning over Connor's actions in taking care of her. His gruff attitude juxtaposed with Ian's softer side was perfection. And while I'm not usually a fan of polyamory, this just totally worked for me. There wasn't obvious preference for one guy over the other, it was written in a way that made you believe she wanted to pursue relationships with both of them. I just really, really liked it! Seriously, it was so well done and there is almost always one guy I am rooting for more or one guy we are led to believe means more and I did not get that with this story.

I'm excited to see where the rest of this series takes us. The threat of a villain is very present even if we didn't meet him in this book. I would definitely read more from this series and I look forward to seeing what happens next! OH! Also, the Christmas vibe was fantastic. Loved the warm and fuzzy feelings I got while reading about holiday shopping and decorating the house with festive ornaments. Love love love. 

Reserved Seating
If you love vampires, holiday cheer, and threesomes....this book is for you.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

The Beauty and the Feels

"Love is a force unto itself, sayyidi
For love, people consider the unthinkable...
and often achieve the impossible. 
I would not sneer at its power."
--Renee Ahdieh, The Wrath and the Dawn

Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Putnam
Pages: 388
Publication Date: May 12th, 2015
Source: Finished copy gifted to me by Alexa, thanks love!
Previous Books in Series: First book in duology
Goodreads Description

A sumptuous and epically told love story inspired by A Thousand and One Nights

Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi's wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.

She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.
won't lie. I was a bit nervous to start The Wrath and the Dawn after hearing pretty polarizing opinions about it. But the lovely Alexa gifted me a finished copy and I was in the mood for some fantasy and forbidden love. It also helps that Alyssa wrote a beautiful post highlighting her favorite quotes and I won't lie, that really sold the book for me.

The Writing
Anyways. I opened the book with high hopes but low expectations...and I was almost immediately sucked in. The writing is on another level, you guys! I won't lie to you, it won't be for everybody but it was definitely for me. It was elegant without being too over the top. And it was subtle in the way that it hits you in the face with beauty when you least expect it. It is a bit straightforward in a way that I can see people reading as disconnected but it didn't feel that way to me at all. I was blown away by the feels this writing was giving me and it made me LOVE the book. While I'll discuss the characters and plot, it was the eloquence of the writing that made my experience while reading. I was distraught and so sad I didn't have the next book on hand immediate. The struggle was real.

The Plot
I loved the story that Andieh gives us. This retelling of A Thousand Nights, from the little I know of the original story, was done so well. I loved the parallels and how it was weaved into the plot. I loved the actual stories Shazi told. I was equally engaged as BOY was. I loved the morality behind them and how relevant they were to the story at large.

The Characters
Omg I looooooooved Shazi and Khalid. we see our story through Shazi 's eyes and she is a badass. I loved her strength in the face of certain death. I loved her intelligence and cleverness and her ability to see things both rationally and emotionally. The struggle she had was very much pulling her in two opposite directions. I liked seeing her weigh the options of each choice and eventually what was best for HER. Khalid was an enigma for most of the book. I both liked and disliked this. Dislike only because I wanted to know more about him. Like because I thought that the reader felt in the same sort of limbo as Shazi as the story played itself out. Their romance is not of the norm. Based on what you know as a reader, you shouldn't be rooting for the relationship but I found myself choosing to. My one 'Beast' on this book ties into this in that I would have liked *more* from Shazi in regards to her emotions because I felt invested but not as much as I could have been. I wanted to root for them and because of that I let myself fall into the slightly stunted emotions we got from Shazi . With that said, when feelings do come to the surface, watch the fuck out. The moments between them are so acutely romantic and emotional that my heart was just bursting with overwhelming love for this story and these characters. Their struggle to not only accept the love of the other but accept love of themselves for their choices was beautiful and difficult. The dialogue of Khalid was like puddle of goo on the floor, wake me up I'm dead kind of swoon. Not even joking. The wait was worth every second of delicious denial.

The Communication
I can't say too much about this because I don't give spoilers but let's just say unnecessary drama need not apply. The foundation of solid relationships is trust and communication and these two--eventual and realistically--is so on point. I can't tell you how much I loved and appreciated this. Swoons came to a maximum at this also.
Backstage Pass
If you love forbidden romances, beautiful writing, and a fantastic plot...this book's for you.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Oh, Calamity

"Champagne is never a mistake."
--Liane Moriarty, Big Little Lies

Genre: Adult Contemporary
Publisher: G.P. Putman's Sons
Pages: 460
Publication Date: July 29th, 2014
Source: Borrowed
Previous Books in Series: Standalone
Goodreads Description

Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads:

Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?).

Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay.

New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.

Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.

Books like Big Little Lies remind me why I love reading. It’s the kind of book I randomly picked up at the library because 1. the cover got my attention and 2. the summary sounded intriguing. I’m not going to go so far as to say I have as sixth sense about my reading choices but I kind of do. There was nothing particularly unique or shocking about the summary but as I was reading it I just had a feeling I would like this book. I checked it out and oh, shit it’s all of the sudden my last week in San Francisco and I have 3 library books unread. Because I refuse to accept defeat, I made these a priority. I’m a mood reader and while I wasn’t exactly ‘feeling’ Big Little Lies, I decided to start it on morning before work just to see if it would spark my interest…oh and spark it did, more like an inferno. I. Could. Not. Put. This. Down. Let me tell you why…

The Writing

This is my first Liane Moriarty book and I know I will obsessively seek out and read all her backlist books. There is nothing particularly unique about her writing style except that it’s amazing. Its the effortless quality that engages you immediately and before you know it you’re 100 pages in and there’s no looking back. The flow and pacing is fantastic and she makes you care about the story and the people in it. Hand in hand with the writing…

The Characters

…are her characters. Her characters MAKE the book for me. Madeline, Celeste, and Jane are three very different women who all have children in the same kindergarten class. Circumstance, coincidence, or fate brought them all together on the orientation day and from those perfectly orchestrated moments in destiny, these women will forever be changed by one another. They form a bond of friendship that shouldn’t make sense but it just does. They support one another and their dynamic is everything that is right with female friendships. They are all so unique and different, they have their quirks and flaws and Moriarty’s writing makes you fall in love with every aspect of their personalities. And let’s go one step further…


Celeste lives the ‘perfect’ life from the outside. She is beautiful, her husband is rich and equally good-looking, and she has two adorable twin boys. But nothing is as it seems within the walls of Celeste’s home. She is seen from others as a little flighty but her inner thoughts are anything but. She is intelligent and stronger than most and she is a dark horse of depth that you never see coming. Celeste is similar in this respect to…


…Jane. Jane is a young mother, new to town, and almost immediately ostracized as her son Ziggy is accused of bullying another child. A lot of the plot derives from this conflict and did he or didn’t he but the silver lining of this conflict is that we get to see Jane. Really see her as a person and mother and how fucking fantastic she is. She is so strong in the face of adversity, she does not back down or cower to the ‘popular’ moms, and she does everything in her power to help her son and find out the truth. Her struggles had my heart breaking and yearning to help her. Which brings us to…


…Madeline is good and bad where I see myself in 15 years. She is outspoken, takes no shit, and gives zero fucks. She is fiercely protective of her friends and I admire this so much in her. She goes to bat for the people she cares about and it gets her into trouble most of the time but she doesn’t care. She knows its the right thing to do to stick up for people who are being picked on and have her friends back. She loves her children and husband immensely and is a little over the top at times but that’s why I love her. She has an ex-husband who abandoned her and their child at birth who now has a new family and the anger I felt on her behalf was palpable. I hated reading about her pain because it was all so unfair. Can we tell I connected with Madeline? Seriously though, I loved her. I loved ALL of them. And while the characters made the story for me.

The Plot

…What I did not know going into this book was that there was going to be an underlying secret/mystery we weren’t privy to. Somebody is killed at a school function and the secret is figuring out 1. who died and 2. was it murder and 3. who did it? Oh! It was deliciously twisted and I could not stop reading because I HAD to figure out who it was! I wont’ lie, I kind of figured out small parts and I was able to give myself a small pat on the back. It wasn’t obvious at all but I’m a sleuth at figuring out plot twists.

The Experience

I loved this book so hard. While the secret kept me turning the pages, the characters drive this story and made my reading experience what it was which was amazing. I would recommend this book to any and all people because the women of this book are each so phenomenal I want everyone to meet them.

If you love amazing characters, well-written stories, and a plot that is beyond engaging…this book’s for you.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Following Your Heart In A World of Deception

"I will always come back for you, mi corazon."
--Laura Andersen, The Virgin's Spy
Genre: Adult Historical Fiction, Alternate History
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Pages: 336
Publication Date: November 10th, 2015
Source: ARC provided by publisher
Previous Books in SeriesThe Virgin's Daughter
Previous Books in Companion Preceding Series: The Boleyn King & The Boleyn Deceit & The Boleyn Reckoning
Goodreads Description

For those who just can’t get enough of the scandalous Tudors, the author of the popular Boleyn King series offers the second in an enthralling new saga of the royal family, set in Elizabethan England. Perfect for fans of Philippa Gregory and Alison Weir.

This captivating continuation of her award-winning Boleyn King trilogy breathes immerses the reader in the dazzling Tudor court. Realistic period-details, genuine historical figures, and a stunning sense of atmosphere add depth and complexity to the seduction and glamour of the Tudor court in this spellbinding and imaginative sequel to The Virgin’s Daughter.
Most of you know my absolute obsession I have with these books because, duh, Anne Bolyen. I was extremely fortunate (re: lucky/thankful as a mother fucker who may or may not have danced around her living room upon receiving this mail) to receive THE VIRGIN'S SPY about 5 months before publication. What did I do? The only logical thing, of course. I dropped everything I was doing, re-read the entire Boleyn King series as well as the previous Tudor Legacy novel in prep for this book. I think we can all agree that was really the only option. So let's move on. It was a great few days of reading might I add.


So THE VIRGIN'S SPY picks up a short while where we leave THE VIRGIN'S DAUGHTER. Lucette and Julien are getting married--*squee!!!!*--but all is not settled with our other favorite players. Anabel continues to try and assert her independence and, like her mother before her, she really grows in this second book. I thought that she really started to see the bigger picture and manipulated as she could to get her way for what she thought best for her. Her options are obviously limited in that she is Princess but her mother is Queen Elizabeth. Y'all know your history? No? She's not one to mess with. While she couldn't always do what she wanted, my favorite part of her growth was that she was able to see the flaws of the ruling around her. Her mother is brilliant, I'm not debating that, but we all have flaws that we let dictate our decisions and Elizabeth is not exempt from this. Anabel knows her duty but also starts to see how she wants to run things. Who run the world? Girls.

Where you find Anabel, Pippa is not too far. However, this book brings Pippa more independence and this girl has some secretive problems she's not telling anyone about. It worries me. I love Pippa. She is passionate and sensitive beneath that ethereal demeanor and I want her to be okay. She is one of those people who bears the weight of the world on her shoulders and never asks for assistance. Things are brewing with her that we as readers still do not know but it all is going to come to a head in the final book. Oh-em-gee I cannot wait.

While we have an alternate history going down, some things remain constant. The war in Ireland is bloody and brutal and my *cough our cough* boy Stephen is right in the thick of it. Stephen many beautiful things. His demeanor is similar to that of Dominic but he has this fire that can only be Minuette. Stephen is a man you want on your side. He is loyal, steadfast, and he does what is right rather than what is easy. And his choices are anything but easy. If any one character takes a more prominent lead role in this book I think it's Stephen. He goes through a lot of change and my heart breaks for him at so many moments. He has moments of triumph as well but if there is one single characters I need to be okay and happy at the end of this, it's Stephen. He is so strong, and like Pippa, thinks he alone has to solve all of life's problems. And when he doesn't live up to his own expectations? Well...prepare to shed a few I'm doing right now as I write this review. My heart is invested, you guys!

Speaking of Stephen, the threat of Ireland is a constant like I said. Much plot happens in this land of greenery and I loved this aspect. I personally did not know any of this conflict so it was a fantastic change of scenery and pace from what we are used to in previous books. Kit also plays a role in Ireland as well as abroad in Spain and hot damn you guys, this kid can bring the swoon, too. He is so very clearly a child of the love Minuette and Dominic share. He struggles with his feelings for Anabel and he is so damn adorable about it I wanna jump in the book and hug him.

Ok, I realize I just flailed about all the characters but I also talked about plot, too so it's a fairly decent review so far, right? Ok, fine. I suck but I love these people!! These books are my people, okay!?! Ok...moving on. The plot in itself moves steadily and takes us to Ireland and Spain, where Anabel's father and Elizabeth's ex-husband Philip is causing his own mischief with Mary, former Queen-ish of Scots. This part of the story is so deliciously intriguing to me. I'm anxious and excited to see how this plays out!

The writing of Laura Andersen continues to impress me and she just knows how to write historical fiction. There is that fantastic balance of history and character development with a huge side helping of character investment. You want to root for these people and see them succeed. Your emotions are completely tied into their feelings and I think that is so very hard to do with historical fiction. She has this way of writing that tugs at your heart strings--yes, I cried multiple times--but at the same time you trust in her writing and her vision that it is all worth the pain in the end. Same goes for The Boleyn King series and I have great feelings for the final book of this series. I cannot wait!!

The fact that I have to wait months for the next book is not cool...but ya know...I get it.

Backstage Pass
If you love the Tudors, strong characterization, and historical fiction in general...this book's for you.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Challenge Check-Up--October

All my Challenge goals have been met but my re-reads are slacking! Eep! When I go home I have plans to re-read ALL the books :)

October Re-Reads-- 0 Books
Year in Total: 43

Don't forget to add your link-up! 

October Fantasy Books- 1 Book
Year in Total: 30

October 'Real' Books- 18 Books
Year in Total: 145

Friday, October 30, 2015

Chain Me, I'm Yours

"I don't just want to belong to someone.
I want someone to belong to me."
--Lauren Smith, The Gilded Chain
Genre: Adult Romance, Erotica
Publisher: Forever Romance
Pages: 297
Publication Date: November 3rd, 2015
Source: ARC provided by publisher via NetGalley
Previous Books in Series: Gilded Cuff & Gilded Cage
Goodreads Description 

Explore a hidden world of erotic fantasies, where the greatest pleasures are stolen and the fiercest passions are untamed. . .

For years, Callie Taylor has been obsessed with two things: a man she can never have and escaping to Paris where she can follow her artistic passions. But everything changes when Callie meets Wes Thorne, a wealthy, mysterious art collector and famous dominant. Despite all the nights she's spent dreaming of another man, it is Wes's predatory gaze that suddenly consumes her every thought and sets her body on fire. One touch from him promises unforgettable passion, but Callie knows that passion often comes with a price...

From the moment he sets eyes on Callie, Wes is intrigued by her artistic talent and her delightful innocence of all things erotic. A stolen kiss leaves him aching and desperate to claim her in a way he's never wanted any woman. But first he must convince her to surrender her control. And what better place to seduce an artistic soul like Callie's than Paris?
*sigh* Before I started this book I had previously DNF'd two books in a row. I needed something that would get me out of this bad book funk. Lauren Smith, Wes, and Callie got me back into my groove. Here's why..

The Setting
Circumstances bring our main duo, Wes and Callie, to Paris. This. Was. Amazing. The sights, the food, the art, it all came to life in my head. I loved walking the streets of Paris and reading about the meals they ate, it was completely brought to life. Reading about Callie experience this city and all it has to offer was beautiful.

The Romance
Reading about her seeing Wes in a whole new light was even more beautiful. Her vulnerability was my favorite part. Combine that with her fiery nature and it makes for some great plot points. My favorite part of the entire book is after a very poignant and important moment and things happen, words are exchanged, and this bitch hauls back and slaps the shit out of Wes. It is legit my favorite part of the book. What she says to Wes at this moment is some of the most honest and best communicated words to her feelings I have ever read. She doesn't let the gray area invade and intimidate her actions, she says exactly what she's feeling and tells it like it is. It's fucking amazing. I loved every second and I read that part approximately 5 times.

Beyond that, their courtship is fantastic. I loved how Wes knew her heart was with another but waited patiently for her to realize that what she felt for Fenn would be nothing compared to requited love with a partner who loves her. The journey isn't smooth and isn't easy but it is so worth it in the end. I loved how devoted he was to her and made it his job to make her feel comfortable in her new surroundings. Another favorite part of mine is when he takes her on a shopping trip in Paris. Oh, holy fucking swoon. I was so hearts in eyes at this moment. It was amazing. Not to mention that Wes is protective as all fuck and it is so freaking hot. When people try to put their relationship down, he goes ape-shit and it's freaking brilliant. Hot hot hot.

The Mystery
Mystery/thriller books are not something I really gravitate towards but when I do find one that works for me, I absolutely love it. Lauren has the amazing ability to weave in a mystery without overpowering the story or making it seem unrealistic. I had no idea this would even be an element with how the second book ended and this one was integrated perfectly. She is the Mistress of my thriller heart in that she gives me exactly what I need without me even asking for it...see what I did there?

The Sex Frequency
My only complaint is that I felt the sex was a little excessive. I KNOW! Who am I right now?! I love the sexy times but with Callie being a virgin, the number of times she and Wes copulate seemed a bit over the top. They were hot, don't get me wrong but it seemed to overpower that section of the book.

Backstage Pass
If you love accurate BDSM, Parisian settings, and protective alphas...this book is for you.