First Star I See Tonight by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

First Star I See Tonight by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

I feel like a big old idiot. I almost didn’t read this book, then I decided I would give it a go and then dnf it. Yep idiot. The reason? I thought it would just be one of those sugary sweet romance books that follow every trope known to man. The truth? This book is full of sarcasm and some lovey-dovey stuff at times…. but I loved each and every second.

It starts with private detective Piper being under-cover with her many disguises. (She really isn’t very good at them) and she gets busted when she is caught following former star quarter back Graham Cooper.
She doesn’t tell him she is following him. She explains that she is off her meds and is stalking him. But that she is harmless.
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“I assure you. I’m only a bit of a nutter,” she said breathlessly. “Absolutely harmless. You don’t have to worry about violence.”
“Only that I have a stalker.”
“I don’t want to see you anywhere near me again. Got it?”
“I’m afraid that will be impossible.” She paused. “Until my new medication kicks in.”

She won’t tell him who hired her to follow him and ends up ticking him off. She twists it and ends up getting hired by him to take a look at the security and staff at his new night club.

Piper is a force to be reckoned with though and she gives no crap about who she ticks off with her quest for saving her dead father’s struggling PI business. If it means kicking a big wig star quarterback’s butt..then so be it.
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This is a smexy times book and it’s not the usual porny times that I usually go for but dang if I didn’t get the lady boner going for both these characters. (My lady boners usually go something like this)
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These two characters have several adventures during this book and every single page made me like both of them more and more. There is even a realistic twist to their ‘first time’ that I don’t think I’ve ever seen in a romance book.
I don’t even know who I am right now because I’m usually more of this type of girl.
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And then body bags being brought into play.

I liked this sucker so much that I need to hunt down some of the other books in this series. (PS>this book is completely fine as a stand-alone…even though you are gonna want more.)

The only bad thing about this book is that cover sets the reader up for expecting something that this book is not and this little book deserves better.

Booksource: I received a copy from the publisher on this one. I liked the book anyways.

 

Stroked by Meghan Quinn

Stroked by Meghan Quinn

I’m late to the party on reading a smexy times book with an athlete in it. Most likely because my idea of exercising would probably go something like this.
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Ain’t nobody got time for that. BUT this was a Meghan Quinn book. And I found this.
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So I decided I had some time. Kelly and I have decided that Meghan Quinn should be our real life friend but we haven’t stalked her enough yet for it to happen. This chick writes some funny stuff. (Check out The Virgin Romance Novelistand The Mother Road if you don’t believe me)

This story is the story of a production assistant named Paisley who kinda blew her chance at a decent job with a little boo-boo and now her room-mate and best friend Jonathan has gotten her a job as a personal assistant to reality star Bellini Chambers. (Think Kardasians times a million)
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Bellini is freaking awful! And of course I loved it. She is the pampered daughter of a guy who made his fortune from getting humped by a pig (I want that whole story!) and money is no object…nor is her be-littling everything and everyone. She has Paisley who she calls Mauve (can’t be bothered with learning her name) feeding her tic-tacs and waiting on her hand and foot.
Bellini is doing a new reality show because she is that giving and lovely, (cough) in the show she is in a relationship with Olympic swimmer Reese King. The public doesn’t know that their relationship is fake. Bellini also keeps herself busy with asking her pampered dog questions about life because he is so close to Jesus. (She is starting a religious clothing line for dogs).
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Reese is hawt of course and sets Paisley to drooling as soon as she meets him. He is off limits though because girlfriend needs this job assisting Satan’s mistress.
You know that is not going to last don’t you?

She is tired of seeing the room-mates wanker and needs to branch out on the penis front.
But please note: it’s not God’s gift to all women, it’s not the amazing thing to look at. It’s a rod of skin hanging between your legs. Unless it’s erect, supercharged, and ready to burst, cover that shit up because a flaccid penis is just a soggy meatball sub, balls sagging behind, and hopefully devoid of parmesan cheese.

Amen sister.

So Paisley and Reese are struggling with wanting to do the thangie thing and having to put up with the queen of crazy. WHO BY THE WAY RUINED MY CHEERIO LOVING!
Pope Francis (The dog) prays for them every night, as it’s on his list of sinners, along with chefs, people who live with more than four cats, and individuals who enjoy eating Cheerios-no one should eat a bowl of vaginas.
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I loved Paisley and queen Bellini. Reese got on my nerves at times with his over the top Alpha male stuff but it’s a fun ride to see if he wins the girl, the gold metal and does he escape Bellini’s clutches?
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I buddied up with my friend Kathleen to read this one. She leads me into smexy time books more often than not.😀

Booksource: Netgalley in exchange for review

Marked in Ink by Megan Massacre

Marked in Ink by Megan Massacre

This book is very, very pretty. So pretty in fact that my mean butted husband has laid claim to it.
The pages in this one are super thick and don’t have printing on the back so that you can tear out the pages and display your masterpieces.

If you don’t have a book hogging husband.

The cover has the fuzzy kind of feel and it just so pretty.
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(Excuse the crappy photos that you will encounter in this review. My phone totally sucks.)

If sugar skulls are your thing you will love this one. This one of of the prettys.
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(They totally look better than that in real life)

It has a tattoo to color that advertises the fact that you might get sorta stabby at times. (I NEED this one)
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It goes mermaidy.
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Then fairyish.
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It even has one for my friend Dan 2.0 to practice up his skills with before becoming that butterfly collecting serial killer that he so admires from the last book I read.
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Then if you get tired you can always fall back on old faithful after watching too many cat videos.
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Booksource: Blogging for books in exchange for review.

The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchinson

The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison

Suppose you woke up and wasn’t at home? You are in a very strange new place. You are disoriented from being drugged and then a girl with a huge butterfly tattoo on her back tells you that this is your new home. A garden that is overseen by The Gardener. The Gardener has chosen you to be one of his “Butterflies.”
Before we go farther let’s discuss what exactly that means. The Gardener is a sick, sick man. He captures women and brings them to this garden so that he has his own little weird harem. He rapes them whenever he feels like it, tattoos their backs as another way of making them his, oh and as an added bonus? If they piss him off, get pregnant, turn the age 21 or any other multitude of sins…he kills them and places them is a resin case so that he can still admire his butterfly collection.

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Now the FBI has came in and stomped his little dream life. The story is told by one of the “Butterflies” as she is being interrogated about the whole shebang. The girl Maya grew up pretty rough so the FBI agents aren’t exactly sure how much truth they are getting from her especially as she seems to like provoking one of them. She does tell her story though and this part of the book is fascinating.
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Her voice tells her story even before the garden and I became attached to her character. The author makes you become attached to all of these girls and their stories. Even my cold heart hurt at some of their fates.

Then the Gardener’s two sons get involved with play time. One is a nutjob and one is a bit more sensitive. I thought they both were jerks and had a hard time finding any belief in the good one especially after the way he wanted to be daddy’s boy.

Daddy is a turd.
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There is soooo much to discuss in this book but I don’t want to spoil. It’s very readable since I’ve been book slumping and haven’t wanted to read a thing for weeks. I finished this in almost one sitting.

But.

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There were some things that just didn’t add up. I usually don’t post any spoilers for books intentionally but this one is driving me batty. I wanted to give this sucker all five stars just because it made my dark heart beat faster..but some funky stuff happened.

Don’t hit the spoiler thingie if you are going to whine about me spoiling.
(view spoiler)

I want people to read this one and discuss..because I’m frustrated and have some blue balls! (That does NOT mean I want trolls to come here and tell me how stupid I am.)

Booksource: Netgalley in exchange for review.

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch


Blake Crouch is a very tricky guy. *Warning-this is a mostly gif review because I have no clue on how to review it without spoiling.*

You really can’t review his books without giving them away. A buddy and I were talking about him last night, it feels like HE isn’t even sure where the story is going. But you better hang on because it’s always a bumpy ride.
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This one starts out just like a normal book. (I’m not spoiling for this part) Jason Dessen is just an average guy. He is married to his long time love, has a teenage son, isn’t really rich, his life would be classified more around average. Then he gets taken at gunpoint and taken to an abandoned warehouse and injected with a drug.

When he wakes up his whole life has changed…and it’s some freaky stuff.
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I don’t know how much of the sciencey stuff is correct, but who cares? I couldn’t put this book and it FELT real…and it’s so very good.

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You are going to have to read it to find that out.

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Pop Manga Coloring Book: A Surreal Journey Through a Cute, Curious, Bizarre, and Beautiful World by Camilla d’Errico

Pop Manga Coloring Book: A Surreal Journey Through a Cute, Curious, Bizarre, and Beautiful World

I readily admit to loving these adult coloring books. Sometimes you get a winner and sometimes not with them. I liked this one.
Let’s see why.
I haven’t ever really gotten on the whole Manga thing because I’m totally boring and it takes too much energy lately for me to decide what pants to wear.
But this is cute.
There is a melting Queen or King. I can’t figure out which but it is my favorite.
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One of those pages that must be a rule that is included of a food collage. (Thank the goodness of books that this one is not full of them!)
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Then I started really looking at these cute little pages…and my mind went there. (This could go as horror. Little creatures trying to get the girlies ice cream. Then they must have done something to her mind. Because now she has a tree head.
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Then she cries because the butterflies want to eat her brain.
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There must be some hungry critters..because now the birds want to eat her brains. I’m terrified of stupid birds so this one is pure horror.
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They took her soul.
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And then ended up having tentacle sex.
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I’m going to color the heck out of this book.

Booksource: Bloggingforbooks in exchange for review

News of the World by Paulette Jiles

News of the World by Paulette Jiles

The Civil War is just ending and Captain Jefferson Kidd is traveling through Texas reading the newspapers to people. He won’t read them local news because everyone gets riled up and the shooting might start. He tells the stories of what is going on in Europe and other countries.

He is offered a 50 dollar gold piece from someone he trusts to take a 10 year old orphaned girl to her relatives. She had been taken by the Kiowa when she was six years old..so she is a tad bit wild to everyone’s eyes.
So begins the adventure of a road trip in a wagon across Texas.

These characters. Wow.
Captain Kidd is the older cranky sort of man that is perfect in this type of book. I completely had him pictured in my head.

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Then Joanna-full of spunk for a ten year old. Her character is now one of my favorite children ever in a book.
Their journey includes a “Ten cent shootout” that was perfection.
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This book is a small thing, but the author does an amazing job of putting so much into the story that you don’t feel short changed at all.
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Booksource: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a review.

Big Ass Shark by Briar Lee Mitchell

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I have to admit. This book is getting one star just for that title alone.

Misty is minding her own business one day. Shooting a video for her mom about how things are going in California. She hasn’t gotten that acting job yet, but the weather is great. She smokes a bit of weed, kicks back and is enjoying the ocean.
Until she sees it.
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A Big damn shark comes at her and she takes off running. It’s headed towards a near-by beach. Full of tasty people!
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She warns the lifeguards and people really don’t believe her. She is saying that a shark that big is out there? Yeah whatever.

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But one thing she has is one of it’s teeth. It chomped down on her lawn chair and some rocks when she was scrambling to get away from the sucker.

She gets some help finally after proving that the shark is in fact real…and kinda might get hungry. Like most books involving huge animals that might eat us..the humans in this book act normally and decide to either capture or kill the big ass shark.
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I wish it had eaten all of them up.

Wolf Road by Beth Lewis

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All I know is that one day all the maps became useless and we had to make our own. The old’uns called the day the Fall or the Reformation. Nana said some down in the far south called it the Rapture. Nana was a babe when it happened, said her momma called it the Big Damn Stupid. Set everything back to zero.

An event has happened that set the world back to a time with no technology. Mother Nature is boss and seven year old Elka learns the hard way when her Nana is ‘lost’ during a strong storm. Elka ends up in the woods alone and starving. She gets taken in by a reclusive man she calls Trapper. Trapper teaches Elka all he knows about hunting, trapping and survival. He makes sure she knows to stay away from any person that she might run across out in the woods.
He never lets her go with him on those late night wolf hunts though.

One day after Elka has lived with him for years she finds out that the man she calls Daddy is a serial killer. She takes off into the woods with just a knife to escape from him. Her parents had gone North when Elka was a baby to get rich from a gold rush. She heads toward North to find them.

Told in the first person the book is completely inside Elka’s head. You might think that sounds boring but this book is anything but that.

Along the way Elka picks up a shadow in the form of a wolf that shows up when she seems to need him the worst.
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She also falls for a man’s pretty face..
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She learns quickly to trust only herself.
Men got one hell of a weakness, and when it ain’t their arrogance, it’s the dangling bits.

She saves a woman from a bad fate and they tag up. Agreeing to try and keep each other alive.
Penelope didn’t have no fat on her, no reserves for her body to live off ‘tween meals. If that was the price for beauty and the desire a’ men, well hell, you can keep it. Alive and ugly is better than pretty and dead.

They are followed by a woman law officer that is determined to bring in Elka and Trapper (who is following Elka on her journey.)

Elka’s character is haunted by demons but you can see that she does what she needs in order to survive. She knows what she wants and goes about getting it.
Smell a’ bacon.
Ain’t nothing in this world like it. Salt-cured, sliced thick, line a’ juicy fat crisping up in the pan. Anyone what tells you they don’t like bacon is either stupid or lying. Either way that ain’t no one you can trust.

This book is extremely dark and sometimes mystical. (There is my warning for the readers that are going to yell about how gross it gets)..Crap I loved this book! 4.5 stars!

Monsters ain’t real ‘cept in kids’ imaginations, under the beds, in the closets. We live in a world a’ men and there ain’t no good come out of tellin’ them they monsters. Makes ’em think they ain’t done nothin’ wrong, that it’s their nature and they can’t do nothin’ to change that. Callin’ ’em a monster makes ’em somethin’ different from the rest of us, but they ain’t. They just men, flesh and bone and blood. Bad’uns, truth, but men all the same.
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(Booksource: I received a copy of this book for review from Netgalley and Bloggingforbooks.)

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood

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This book won’t be for everyone..and I get that:
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My thing is: I read a ton of books. After a while I’m begging for something, anything that is fresh and new. This book is that with big brass balls.

Wavy’s story is not a pretty one. We first meet her when she ends up at her Aunt Brenda’s door. Her mom is in prison, no one can take her, she doesn’t really talk, and she hates to be touched. It’s enough to drive anyone crazy. Brenda can’t deal with Wavy. She sneaks out at night and wanders and Brenda is scared that she will drag her daughters down the wrong road with her. She ends up with Grandma but even that doesn’t last.

Mom comes to pick her up and now she has a new brother Donal to look after also. They return to their life at the “ranch”. The Ranch is a meth cooking hideout. Her dad Liam is leader of the den. He uses a different woman each time he drops his pants.
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But Wavy’s mom Val is his wife, what time she isn’t lying in filth or stoned out of her mind. She tells Wavy her thoughts on men and food. And passes on her fear of germs. (They will get in you)
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It’s no wonder Wavy is so messed up.

Then one day Kellan shows up on his motorcycle bringing them some groceries. He wrecks his motorcycle that day and Wavy gets him help. Kellan is not your typical guy that you imagine a girl looking at twice. He’s big. He’s wooly. He gets told at one point in the story that he needs to use deodorant. But that’s the start of it. Wavy is eight years old. (Not the romance part you pervert-the friendship.)

I totally saw him as a younger version of this:
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Kellan is one of the only people that Wavy can bring herself to say any words too. They talk about the stars and he just completely understands her.

As she grows up Kellan stays by her side. He is the person she goes to when she can’t get registered for school because neither of her parents can get their act together to make sure she is going. He stands in when she needs someone. He is the one that protects her.

The relationship between Wavy and Kellan changes over time. With Wavy there is no questioning. She knows he is the only one for her. Ever.

Then something bad happens and both their lives are torn apart. I KNOW that those ages of these two should have made me want them to be apart. But fuck that. Who am I to judge someone else’s life?

Wavy’s life is messed up. Kellan is one of the only good things in the whole thing. I completely rooted for these two characters.

I liked learning things. How numbers worked together to explain the stars. How molecules made the world. All the ugly and wonderful things people had done in the last two thousand years.
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This book is going on my favorites list. Characters that aren’t cookie cutters. Amazing story-line. Some great writing. If it doesn’t win some kind of award I’m going to be all ticked off because I loved every single word.
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There was only one thing that was sorta wonky for me in this book and honestly it’s not a biggie because I didn’t even notice until I was half-way though the book. The time period was the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. I don’t remember meth being the drug of choice during that time period. See the thing is…My dad was a drug dealer during that time period. I think this book got into my heart and head so much because some of my past was similar to Wavy’s. I remember being at school and the police officer’s bringing in some drug paraphernalia and it being some of my dad’s stuff. Raids and a fear of the police were nothing new at that house. (Relax-my dad served his time later and my family went even more nuts into religion-but that’s a whole nuther story) My family is a total Jerry Springer wet dream.

Does that mean that I was in a thing with an older guy? Nope, it means I get where this character is coming from. Real life is not the rich guy sweeping in with his red room. This story is more real life. It’s dark. It’s dirty. Life ain’t always pretty.

Booksource: Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press in exchange for review. THANK YOU!