March 2017 Wrap-Up

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So…I’m been on a bit of a wild reading spree this month. I DON’T KNOW WHAT HAPPENED. This wrap-up is going to be a bit intense, I suppose. It’s the post I’ve ever read in a month, which kind of explains why I’m behind on a few reviews for books I’ve already read.

This month started off fantastic with a book signing with V.E. Schwab as part of her book tour for A Conjuring of Light. I also got to go to Benjamin Alire Sáenz’s book signing for The Inexplicable Logic of My Life!

Some fun non-bookish events I got to go to was SXSW, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, and the Game of Thrones: Live Concert. I’m such a nerd for orchestra music, and just hearing Ramin Djawadi’s score played live at the AT&T Center (where the Spurs play btw) was AMAZING and the best birthday a girl could ask for! Yes, I totally turned *gasp* 26 this month. Do I feel 26? NOPE. Although, I suppose my reading choices say I’m adult enough. 😀 Pictures and book wrap-up below the cut! <333

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Review: Dirty Filthy Rich Men (Dirty Duet #1) by Laurelin Paige

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Author: Laurelin Paige
Publication Date: March 27, 2017
Format: E-Book
Page Length: 300 pages
My Rating: 1 / 5 stars

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SUMMARY

When I met Donovan Kincaid, I knew he was rich. I didn’t know he was filthy. Truth be told, I was only trying to get his best friend to notice me.

I knew poor scholarship girls like me didn’t stand a chance against guys like Weston King and Donovan Kincaid, but I was in love with his world, their world, of parties and sex and power. I knew what I wanted—I knew who I wanted—until one night, their world tried to bite me back and Donovan saved me. He saved me, and then Weston finally noticed me, and I finally learned what it was to be in their world.

And then what it was like to lose it.

Ten years later, I’ve found my way back. Back to their world. Back to him.

This time, I’m ready. I’ve been down this road before, and I know all the dirty, filthy ways Donovan will try and wreck me.

But it’s hard to resist. Especially when I know how much I’ll like it.

I just want to express that my deepest regret is that I even read this book. It’s not like the prequel novella, Dirty Filthy Rich Boys, wasn’t without its problems. I wanted that book to be a fluke and for this book to be better. But alas, this book truly is just as terrible, if not worse, than the novella. I will say that Laurelin Paige writes an addictive story and I flew through this book. However, reading Dirty Filthy Rich Men is more akin to watching a train wreck. I knew nothing good was going to come out of reading this the further along I got, and yet, it was impossible to put down.

I would like to start off with a recap of all the problematic stuff that happened in the novella that I reviewed here. Our cast of characters primarily consists of Sabrina, Donovan, and Weston. In the prequel, Sabrina was 17-years-old attending Harvard on a scholarship, was sexually assaulted at a college party, was rescued by her TA (Donovan) who then practically forced her to have sex with him (then 22-years-old) in order for him to change her grade in her class. There’s definitely an illegal age difference here that I was already not comfortable with. And all these events lead up to this book, Dirty Filthy Rich Men, set 10 years after the events in the prequel.

If you, like me, thought this story couldn’t get any worse, you would be so wrong.

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ARC Review: The Demon Prince (Ars Numina #2) by Ann Aguirre

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Author: Ann Aguirre
Publication Date: March 23, 2017
Format: ARC
Page Length: 278 pages
My Rating: 3/ 5 stars

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SUMMARY

Charming. Irreverent. Haunted.

Alastor Vega is the sole challenger in a brutal battle for succession. Against all odds, he must stop his power-mad brother, Tycho, before he destroys the Numina. Though he never wanted to rule, he must claim the throne and liberate his people, or the consequences will be calamitous. Yet only the surprising support of a beautiful Animari doctor gives him the fortitude to fight.

Focused. Analytical. Solitary.

Dr. Sheyla Halek has always been more interested in research than personal contact, but family ties—and the needs of her pride—keep her in Ash Valley, deferring her dreams. Brusque and abrasive at the best of times, she never expected to bond with anyone, let alone Golgoth royalty. Strangely, Alastor seems to need her as no one has before, and not only for her medical skills.

Their attraction is forbidden, likely doomed beyond the wildness of wartime, but these fires burn too hot and sweet to be contained…

This is the second book to the Ars Numina paranormal romance series. I enjoyed reading the first book, The Leopard King, and I was looking forward to reading this book as well! The romance storyline focuses on different characters for each book, but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend these as standalone novels. The overarching plot about the shifters and the war that’s building up isn’t really something that works without reading the previous book.

The Demon Prince focuses on Prince Alastor Vega, a Golgoth royal vying to gather support with his Exiled followers to take back him home from his older brother Tycho. Tycho is the “big bad” in this story and the Golgoth are shifters that everyone fears the most, due to their size after they shift and because no one knows much about them. Alastor is also sick with an incurable disease and the best anyone can do is to give him medicine to slow down his sickness. This is where we meet Dr. Sheyla Halek, a doctor who has always seemed a bit odd to her pack because she always had an interest in the sciences and not something the other Animari would find normal.

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ARC Review: The Valiant (The Valiant #1) by Lesley Livingston

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Author: Lesley Livingston
Publication Date: February 14, 2017
Format: ARC
Page Length: 384 pages (Hardcover)
My Rating: 2/ 5 stars

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SUMMARY

The youngest daughter of a proud Celtic king, Fallon has always lived in the shadow of her older sister Sorcha’s legendary reputation as a warrior. But when Fallon was a young child, the armies of Julius Caesar invaded the island of Britain and her beloved older sister was killed in battle.

On the eve of her seventeenth birthday, Fallon is excited to follow in her sister’s footsteps and earn her rightful place in her father’s royal war band. But she never gets the chance. Instead, Fallon is captured by a band of ruthless brigands who sell her to an exclusive training school for female gladiators—and its most influential patron is none other than Julius Caesar himself. In a cruel twist of fate, Fallon’s worst enemy, the man who destroyed her family, might be her only hope of survival.

Now, Fallon must overcome vicious rivalries, chilling threats and the dangerous attention of Caesar himself to survive the deadly fights that take place both in and out of the arena—and claim her place in history among the Valiant.

I feel oddly disappointed in this book. The Valiant promises so much, but fell flat for me about halfway through the book. I can usually finish YA books about this size in about two days, but this? It’s taken me a month-and-a-half to read. It was almost painful to read the last third of this book, even though that was where most of the action took place. I just didn’t connect enough with any of the characters to really care if they died or not in the story. I think the beginning is actually exciting. But this is probably why my attention waned for the rest of the book. After an action-packed beginning, it was like taking a step backwards to reintroduce everything.

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Review: Daily Grind (Takeover #4) by Anna Zabo

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Author: Anna Zabo
Publication Date: February 21, 2017
Format: E-Book
Page Length: 342 pages
My Rating: 4 / 5 stars

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SUMMARY

Brian Keppler, owner of Ground N’At, the coffee shop beneath SR Anderson Consulting, doesn’t have time for a relationship. His most recent girlfriend broke up with him because he’d become married to his shop, which is falling apart without his favorite barista, Justin.

As he struggles to stay afloat, the arrival of handsome British high-tech whiz Robert Ancroft becomes another complication. Rob quickly becomes a fixture at the shop with his sharp wit and easy charm, and Brian soon finds himself looking forward more and more to Rob’s visits—to the point where his heart skips a beat when he walks in.

But will Brian be able to come to terms with his previously unexplored sexual identity and find happiness now that he has a chance?

Do you ever just find yourself reading a book very slowly because you didn’t want the story to end? This is exactly what I did while reading this book. I didn’t want this to be the end of a series and I guess you could say I’m still in a bit of denial? Yes, I’ve already started re-reading this series. And this book, Daily Grind, is about two lovely, adorable men, Brian and Rob.

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Review: Due Diligence (Takeover #3) by Anna Zabo

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Author: Anna Zabo
Publication Date: June 21, 2016
Format: E-Book
Page Length: 277 pages
My Rating: 5 / 5 stars

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SUMMARY

After Fazil Kurt breaks up with his girlfriend, a business trip to Seattle offers some much-needed time away. Sent by S.R. Anderson Consulting, Fazil is there to help audit Singularity Storage, a company they are trying to save. His first discovery is intriguing to say the least: One of Singularity’s engineers is Todd Douglas, Fazil’s first love.

He knows better than to get personally involved on a job like this. Back in high school, Todd broke Fazil’s heart more times than he could count, but both men have grown so much since then—and Fazil never could say no to Todd…

I’m just going to start off with saying that I really enjoyed reading this book. Fazil and Todd are a total swoony, heart eyes couple. Because, (excuse me while I awkwardly scramble to hide in shame) I almost put down this book because I didn’t connect with the story at first? Due Diligence is a perfect romance that builds up to a grand finale. You know the saying. You can’t see the forest for the trees? Directly coming off of reading Just Business, I was missing that intensity that plowed through my emotions and having to relearn the setting and the characters again took some getting used to. The turning point for me was around the 17% mark. This was where the story came into focus for me and I realized I was going to love Fazil and Todd and I knew I was going to finish the rest of the book.

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Review: Just Business (Takeover #2) by Anna Zabo

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Author: Anna Zabo
Publication Date: June 16, 2015
Format: E-Book
Page Length: 266 pages
My Rating: 5 / 5 stars

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SUMMARY

Justin White may not look like an up and coming corporate superstar, but his new boss knows he has the smarts, grit, and determination to succeed. Now he just has to convince his company’s CFO, Eli Ovadia. Unfortunately, Justin can’t seem to keep his cool around the domineering Eli—and soon he finds himself taking their heat from the boardroom into the bedroom….

Still haunted by a tragic accident that left him with a wounded leg and broken heart, Eli has a need to be in control. But his desire for Justin makes him want to lose that control—and push them both far beyond their limits. But will his need to dominate Justin drive him away—or will Eli find a way to be the man he needs for both of them?

This book is INTENSE. There’s no other way to describe it. If you thought Takeover was hot, this was FIRE. We have two new characters in Just Business, Eli Ovadia and Justin White. Eli is the CFO to Sam’s (one of the main characters from the first book, Takeover) new company. The company consists of Sam, Eli, and four people working in engineering. Eli was hurt in a car accident when he was 15. The accident hurt his leg and he walks with a cane (not regular ol’ canes either, but he has a collection of them, including a steampunk cane). All these years later, Eli is still haunted by the night of the accident.

Justin is a barista who works in the coffee shop, Grounds N’at, located beneath Sam’s offices. Sam is looking for a personal assistant, or at least an assistant for the office, and Justin is near his MBA graduation. Justin needs the money, because he’s seriously in debt and feels like he should send money back to his family after all they’ve done to help him. He dresses in all black clothes, hair dyed black, and wears black nail polish on his fingers and his toes. Basically, Justin looks nothing like a promising MBA student should look like. I think it’s mentioned that Justin’s only younger than Eli by two years, which would put them both in their thirties, I think? There are some serious sparks flying between Eli and Justin the moment they’re in the same room together.

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