Far Turn (North Oak: Book 5) by Ann Hunter


Far Turn (North Oak Book 5)

Title: Far Turn

Author: Ann Hunter

Publisher: Rebel House Ink

Date of publication: May 4th, 2017

Genre: Young Adult

Number of pages: 184

POV: 3rd person

Series: North Oak

Born to Run – Book 1 (review here)

Yearling – Book 2 (review here)

Morning Glory – Book 3 (review here)

To Bottle Lightning – Book 4 (review here)

Far Turn – Book 5

Where you can find Far Turn: Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

A silent killer has come to North Oak.

EHV is taking the lives of the farm’s best and brightest. Alex, Brooke, and Dejado must team together to save Promenade and Morning Glory, or be devastated by the virus.
Already rocked by Carol’s absence over the summer, Alex’s time with Dejado kindles first romance. But when Carol returns at summer’s end, she’s grown up and Alex is forced to question her own feelings for her.
Furthermore, Brad Hopkins is still up to no good, and after a close friend of the girls’ commits suicide from his bullying, it’s up to Alex to bring him down once and for all.
Or will Brad uncover her own secret and send Alex into a dark, downward spiral where Carol and Dejado cannot follow?

Find out in Far Turn

My review:

Far Turn is one of those books that left me going “Wow” at the end of it. I was warned, by Ann, that this book was a bit darker than her other ones but I wasn’t expecting what I read. When I finished the book, last night, I turned to BK and went “This book just blew my mind“. I actually couldn’t get this book out of my head for the rest of the night, it affected me that much.

Alex had kind of a rough start to the book. Promenade was brought home from his last race and almost immediately fell ill with a deadly virus called EHV (click for definition). EHV spreads through North Oak like wildfire, taking horses out left and right. Alex lived at the stables, leaning on Hilary and Dejado for support when he was struck with a different strain of the virus that was brought back by Morning Glory (aka Mags). Horses are dying from this virus and both Alex and Brooke are willing to do anything to help their horses survive. I was so upset when Chauncey was put down and when  Venus Galaxies foal died.

Alex’s friendships with Katie, Carol, Brooke, Laura, and Dejado were put to the test also. Her friendship with Katie because of Katie’s confession that she liked Alex in a romantic way and there was another confession that honestly made me very mad…considering the events later in the book. Alex’s friendship with Carol because of Carol visiting her grandmother over the summer and again, another confession that actually took me by surprise because I didn’t see it coming. Her friendship with Brooke because of Prom getting better and Mags was doing bad but that righted itself. Her friendship with Laura because well, Laura was being emotional and there was other stuff going on that I can’t get into without revealing stuff (read the book). And lastly, her relationship with Dejado because of his feelings for her.

The whole bullying situation with Brad, which goes back to book 2, gets worse in Far Turn. I do admire that Alex was secure enough with herself to not let Brad’s bullying affect her. I also thought that school’s handling of Brad was very realistic. I have 2 kids, one which was relentlessly bullied from 1st grade to 3rd grade and I can tell you, the school did jack and actually made excuses for my daughter’s bullies (it was a group thing)….like the principal did for Brad. Her bullying ended when we moved but in Alex’s (and Carol and Katie’s) case, moving wasn’t an option. And unfortunately, his bullying and harassment of Katie took a very tragic turn. I will include a link to an antibullying site at the end of the blog (if you are reading this on Amazon….sorry it won’t show and just google).

I also liked how Alex’s sexuality was handled. For the last couple of books, I did have questions if she was a lesbian or if she liked guys. Her summertime romance with Dejado and her feelings for Carol now point at maybe her being bisexual. And like I said with the other books, her sexuality is not the focus of the book. The focus is on the horses, Alex, and her friendships. That she has strong feelings for Carol and Dejado is just another aspect of the story that actually flushes Alex out as a character.

Alex’s jockeying journey was never its end. I can’t wait to see if/when she’ll get her license and I can’t wait to read about her riding. The training sounded very painful (this is coming from an overweight, middle-aged woman….lol) but it was worth it for her. She lived and breathed horses and jockeying was a natural next step.

The ending of the book was very unexpected and to be honest, I cried. Now, I was warned by the author that something was going to happen but I wasn’t expecting that. While it was very dark, it actually fit with this book and I can’t wait to see where the books go from then on. The only small complaint that I had was that the book ended on a cliffhanger. Like I said above, I closed my Kindle and said “Wow” because the ending just blew me away.

I never do this but the author’s note at the end of the book took my breath away. Again, to reiterate what she said, no one deserves to be bullied. Please, if you are being bullied, tell someone. A friend, a parent, a teacher or a trusted adult. You are not alone and you do not deserve to be treated that way. No one does. If you witness bullying, do not stay silent. Tell a trusted adult what is going on or report it. You can make a difference!!

StopBullying.gov

How many stars will I give Far Turn: 4

Why: Relatable characters and great plotlines.

Will I reread: Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends: Yes

Age range: Older Teen

Why: Violence. This is a dark book that has some triggers in it: Bullying and suicide are the two main ones.

**I received a free copy of this book and volunteered to review it**

Surrender the Dark (The Dark: Book 1) by Tibby Armstrong


Surrender the Dark (The Dark, #1)

Title: Surrender the Dark

Author: Tibby Armstrong

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Loveswept

Date of publication: May 23rd, 2017

Genre: Romance, LGBQTIA

Number of pages: 251

POV: 3rd person

Series: The Dark

Surrender the Dark – Book 1

Taste the Dark – Book 2 (expected publication date: December 12th, 2017)

Claim the Dark – Book 3 (expected publication date: May 8th, 2018)

Where you can find Surrender the Dark: Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

As a provocative series of paranormal temptation begins, a vampire king seduces the supernaturally gifted man hunting him. But when the stakes are literally life or death, their struggle for control is no game.

Benjamin Fuller is a hunter, born and bred. Blinded as a child by the vampire who slaughtered his family, he’s blessed with a second sight that allows him to catch and kill his quarry. What his gift can’t help him see coming is his fierce, almost carnal attraction to the mystery man who claims to be a fellow hunter and whose touch triggers both lust and revulsion. When he gains the upper hand, Benjamin vows to bring his enemy to his knees.

After many years spent in exile, the only one who can help restore Tzadkiel Dragoumanos to his rightful place as War King is a blind hunter with golden curls, a lithe dancer’s physique, and distinctive facial scars—scars Tzadkiel gave him two decades ago. The mere scent of Benjamin Fuller provokes an unwelcome rush of insatiable desire. Yet to win an all-out supernatural war, Tzadkiel must resist the ravenous hunger to possess his prey—for now.

My review:

Hunter born, hunter bred

Kill the vampires or you’ll be dead

I really didn’t know what I was getting into by reading Surrender the Dark. I knew, from the blurb, that the book was going to be dark but I really wasn’t expecting how dark it got during the book. Not that I minded because that darkness made the book so good to read. Also, take a look at the cover. Normally I don’t comment on the cover of books but I had to on this one. It fits the book perfectly. The half-naked man standing, with his back to the reader, his arms out at his side and looking up at whatever is beyond the cover. Love it!!

Benjamin was a very interesting character to read. The book actually starts off with a prologue when he was 8 years old and taking “lessons” from his uncle. What lessons is he taking? How to kill vampires and these are lessons that Benjamin do not enjoy. On that particular day, his Uncle decided it was the time that Benjamin made his first kill and left him in the dungeon with an incapacitated vampire. Which was a mistake, of sorts, because Benjamin, in a moment of sympathy for the vampire, decided to give him some water and that set off a series of events that ended with his parents and uncle getting killed, Benjamin losing his eyes and the vampire escaping. So to say that he has some issues is a huge understatement.

Fast forward 20 years and Benjamin is avenging his parents and uncle’s murders by taking out vampires one by one with the help of his friends: Nyx: a half faery, half witch and in hiding from her parents, The Morgan who is the powerful head of the coven and Lady Morgana, who is the queen of the fae, and Akito: a regular human who Benjamin met while in the psych ward and who wanted to be a superhero. While Benjamin is blind (acid in the eyes can do that to you), he can see auras. Which does come in handy while fighting vampires.

Tzadkiel is the vampire who Benjamin’s parents and uncle had in their basement all those years ago. After murdering Benjamin’s parents, Tzadkiel goes into what I can only describe as hibernation mode for 20 years. The last thing that he thinks about is Benjamin and has a thirst for revenge. He finds Benjamin in a bar, drinking away the memories of his family and the vampires that he killed. His thought of revenge is put on the back burner when a greater threat is revealed that threatens every single supernatural being in Boston.

The world building and character building were fantastic. I love it when an author is able to suck me into a story right from the get go and when I finish the book, leave me wanting for more. The fact that this book is set in Boston cemented the deal for me. I grew up around Boston and it thrills me to no end when an author makes an effort to actually get the geography and the feel of a city right off the bat and this book did that. And the character building….oh my god. Each character, even the secondary ones, had layers to them and it was wonderful to see Tzadkiel and Benjamin’s layers pulled back and their true selves revealed.

Now the all important sex scenes. The author let the sexual tension build in the book until the characters couldn’t take it anymore and then the fireworks happened. What I loved is that Tzadkiel and Benjamin had sex only a few times in the book and so much was conveyed with a look and a touch. The sex was off the pages hot. I had to fan myself after the first scene because it was so steamy. But what got me even more into it was that the feelings that both characters started having for each other. I think I fell in love with Tzadkiel before Benjamin did.

The end of the book was a bit of a surprise. I felt awful for Akito and actually can’t wait to read his story. The HEA with Tzadkiel and Benjamin was fantastic.

How many stars will I give Surrender the Dark: 4

Why: Great world and character building, great subplots and a romance that took my breath away.

Will I reread: Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends: Yes

Age range: Adult

Why: Language, violence, and sex. There is a pretty horrific scene where Benjamin loses his eyes.

**I received a free copy of this book and volunteered to review it**

Devil’s Own (The Devil’s Keepers: Book 3) by Megan Crane


Devil's Own (The Devil's Keepers #3)

Title: Devil’s Own

Author: Megan Crane

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Loveswept

Date of publication: May 16th, 2017

Genre: Romance

Number of pages: 202

POV: 3rd person

Series: The Devil’s Keeper

Devil’s Honor – Book 1 (review here)

Devil’s Mark – Book 2

Devil’s Own – Book 3

Where you can find Devil’s Own: Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

From the bestselling author of Devil’s Honor and Devil’s Mark, this seductive novel of the Louisiana bayou kicks into high gear as a dangerously sexy biker takes a no-nonsense teacher on the ultimate thrill ride.

Lara Ashburn hates bikers. She watched a motorcycle club destroy her hometown, bringing her brother down with it. That’s a life she put far in her rearview. So the last person she wants to see walking into her classroom is the top enforcer of the Devil’s Keepers. Big, mean, and gorgeous, all tattoos and leather, Chaser is everything Lara should avoid. Yet the insane chemistry sparking between them tempts her to break all the rules.

Ryan “Chaser” Frey has his hands full with a teen daughter in need of tough love, and he doesn’t have time for prissy teachers who want to tell him how to raise his kid. But Chaser never could resist a chick who gives as good as she gets. Lara is sexy as hell, and she’s not afraid of him. Plus, her links to a California club could provide the Devils with leverage against their enemies. But that would mean mixing business with pleasure—and risking the one woman Chaser can’t afford to lose.

My review:

I am going to come across as a prude here but sometimes there are sex scenes that really make me uncomfortable. I have read and been reviewing romance novels for a long time (since 2011 on another blog and 2014 on this one), so I like to think that I have a good feel for these types of book. Plus, I really like MC romances. Something about a guy, a girl and the danger of the club gets me. Unfortunately for Devil’s Own, I couldn’t get it. To be honest, the book makes me feel slightly dirty, and not in a good way, while reading it.

Let’s start with what I liked about the book:

The plotline and the subplot line: I actually was really intrigued by all 3 plotlines and I do wish that more info was given about Lara’s uncle and his club (but I have a feeling that they will be factored more in other books).  Kaylee’s storyline broke my heart. That poor girl had been through the wringer and back with her mom. Plus add in that her dad was an enforcer for the club and she was basically on her own because her aunt Liz could care less, I felt awful for her. She was screaming for attention and fortunately, for her, Lara cared enough to try to help. The last storyline, which started in Devil’s Mark, looks like it is going to come to a head in another couple of books.

Chaser: I love a man that exudes dangerousness and Chaser definitely did that. I thought Lara was brave for speaking to him the way she did during their parent/teacher meeting but then again, remembering how that meeting ended…I’m not too sure about that. Put it this way, I wouldn’t want to meet him in a dark alley.

Kaylee: She didn’t show up much in the book but I loved the scenes she were in. She was definitely trying her father with her choice of clothing, her decisions to drink before going to school and just being a pain in the butt. But there was a reason behind her acting out and when it was revealed, it was devastating. I felt so bad for her when she revealed it to Lara and I wanted to give her a huge hug.

Now, onto what I didn’t like about this book:

Sex within the first chapter of the book: Ok, I am not a prude, far from it. But to have the two main characters have sex within the first couple of chapters of the book just doesn’t do it for me. Especially when they don’t know each other and the sex is in Lara’s classroom. Just didn’t do it for me. Also what didn’t do it for me was the fact that, with the exception of one night, Lara and Chaser only had sex in public places. Let’s see: the clubhouse, on the stairs to her apartment and one memorable scene where they had sex at the clubhouse while watching an orgy. Made me feel kind of dirty reading it.

Lara: She couldn’t make up her mind if she wanted to be a biker babe or an uptight teacher and there was literally no middle ground with her. She drove me nuts seesawing back and forth between the two stereotypes. Heck, even I knew, pretty early in the book, which was she was going to go. Honestly, it shouldn’t have been dragged out the way it was but I can appreciate why it was done.

The end of the book was pretty predictable and I was able to call certain events pretty early in the book.

How many stars will I give Devil’s Own: 2.5 (rounded up to 3 for Amazon and Goodreads)

Why: Like I said above, this book made me feel dirty. As much as I liked Chaser, I really couldn’t see him and Lara being a couple. Lara drove me nuts with her seesawing back and forth (like I said above).

Will I reread: Maybe

Will I recommend to family and friends: Maybe

Age range: Adult

Why: Sex, language, and violence

**I received a free copy of this book and volunteered to review it**

Royal Affair (Royals in Exile: Book 2) by Marquita Valentine


Royal Affair (Royals in Exile, #2)

Title: Royal Affair

Author: Marquita Valentine

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Loveswept

Date of publication: April 18th, 2017

Genre: Romance

Number of pages: 230

POV: Alternating 1st person

Series: Royals in Exile

Royal Scandal – Book 1 (review here)

Royal Affair – Book 2

Royal Chase – Book 3

Royal Duty – Book 4 (expected publication date: September 26th, 2017)

Where you can find Royal Affair: Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

A sheltered princess goes wild—and makes the best mistake of her life—when she falls for a roguish reporter in this fun, sexy romance from the bestselling author of Royal Scandal.

Online muckraker Brooks Walker has a reputation for exposing the political élite. Now he’s set his sights on the Sinclair siblings, who’ve been embroiled in their fair share of drama ever since their exile to North Carolina. But Brooks has never been afraid to get his hands dirty—until he meets a royal wallflower at a charity ball who makes him reconsider everything. Is Brooks feeling guilty because he knows all the sordid details of her family’s history? Or because he’s putting their relationship first, before his journalistic integrity?

As the “spare” twin, Princess Charlotte has always been the responsible one. So when her sister finally agrees to fulfill her duty as queen, Charlotte gives herself permission to break a few rules by flirting with the very off-limits CEO of Walker Media. Brooks is the worst sort of man to start an affair with, but Charlotte just can’t help it. The trouble is since she’s no good at playing games, soon she’s tiara over heels in love. And when Brooks comes clean, Charlotte must decide whether his confession is worth a royal pardon.

My review:

Have you ever wanted to read a book where the villain got his happily ever after and he got it with one of the fairytale characters? Well, read Royal Affair because that is exactly what happens here. Starting off hot and steamy and ending with a very surprising happily ever after, Royal Affair made me run the gauntlet of emotions while reading it. I went from being insanely happy to almost depressed within the same chapter. Now, normally that would throw me off a book, but in this case, it made me like it more.

Royal Affair is also one of those books that eclipse the first book in the series. Now, don’t get me wrong, I loved it when I read Della and Colin’s romance. It was just that it was missing something and I couldn’t put my finger on it. Then I read Royal Affair and went, “Ahhhh, that’s what’s missing.” What was missing was genuine feelings that developed between Brooks and Charlotte. Della and Colin didn’t have that (read my review on Royal Scandal….it is linked above).

I really liked Charlotte. She was so sweet and had an innocence that just made you want to shelter her even more than she had been. She has been through a lot. From the deaths of her parents to finding out who her biological father was (read the book if you want to find out) to being outed by Brooks. she has been through the wringer. It left her with anxiety issues and honestly, as a person who suffers from anxiety, I really liked that the author chose not to make her issues go away. Instead, they were right out in the open and she was dealing with them as a regular, real life person would do.  There are a couple of huge secrets that aren’t revealed until halfway through the book. Both I didn’t see coming….at all and both made me go “No way” when they were revealed. So, slow clap to the author for doing that!!

Brooks, who was made out to be a jerk in the first place, really wasn’t that bad of a guy once you got to know him. He had a razor-sharp wit and he knew how to negotiate a bargin….which is what he did when he first made that deal with Charlotte. He was a business person up until David contacted him with an envelope and some damning information about Charlotte and Imogen. He just couldn’t open that envelope. It was then that I knew he had serious feelings for her.

Besides that two plot twists that I named above, there is one that I saw coming from a mile away. It is my only complaint about the book is that. I really wish that it didn’t go there.

The sex between Charlotte and Brooks were very, very hot and they did the nasty in some pretty interesting areas. Just read the book to find out where 🙂

The end of the book was pretty bittersweet. It was sweet because Charlotte did get her heart’s desire but bitter because Brooks had to take such a personal hit. I loved the epilogue and can’t wait to read Theo’s story!!

I did have a couple of questions:

Was Briggs accident truly an accident? Because with everything that was going on I wouldn’t have been surprised if it wasn’t.

Who sent that text to Brooks? If it wasn’t Charlotte and if it wasn’t Imogene….then who was it?

Why is Davis so darn slippery? He is seriously starting to annoy me

How many stars will I give Royal Affair: 4

Why: Great characters, an engaging plot and hot sex equal a fantastic read

Will I reread: Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends: Yes

Age range: Adult

Why: Sex, violence, and language

**I received a free copy of this book and volunteered to review it**

Sex in the Sticks (Love Hurts: Book 1) by Sawyer Bennett


Sex in the Sticks (Love Hurts, #1)

Title: Sex in the Sticks

Author: Sawyer Bennett

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Loveswept

Date of publication: May 2nd, 2017

Genre: Romance

Number of pages: 225

POV: Alternating 1st person

Series: Love Hurts

Sex in the Sticks – Book 1

Jilted – Book 2 (expected publication date: July 11th, 2017)

Where you can find Sex in the Sticks: Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Wake up and feel the wood! In the first of a series of irresistible standalone romances from New York Times bestselling author Sawyer Bennett, a city girl rediscovers love and lust in the Alaskan wilderness.

Valentine French may be the sassiest dating columnist in New York City, but the abundance of metrosexuals in her adopted metropolis is seriously cramping her style. Where are the beefy all-American boys? Hoping to find some inspiration, Val heads to Alaska, where the men outnumber the women fifteen to one and wrestle grizzly bears for sport. Or so she can only imagine. Suddenly the most eligible bachelorette in a town full of horny lumberjacks, Val is writing her best columns ever. But if she doesn’t get her nose out of her laptop, she just might miss out on Mr. Right.
 
Logan Burke is the sheriff of the little podunk town that Val finds so charmingly backward. He’s not that different from the guys she’s using for her little experiment; it’s just that one date would never be enough for Logan. As he listens to Val complain about love over beers in the local tavern, he realizes that she can’t see the forest for the trees. Because if she would ever give up her Prada bags and fourteen-dollar martinis, Logan would give her the only luxury that matters: his heart.

My review:

This is my first book that I have read from Sawyer Bennett and I am going to say this now, it will not be my last. I will admit that I was a little put off by the blurb when I read it on NetGalley but decided that I should give this book a try. I am glad I did because this book was a great read. It had humor, drama and let’s not forget lots and lots of hot sex.

I really didn’t care for Val at the beginning of Sex in the Sticks. She came across as a poor little rich girl who was bored of her life in New York City. And when I mean bored with her life, she was bored with the metrosexual men that she was dating. She was a well-known blogger who wrote about her escapades and her dates, lately, were boring her. Actually, if it wasn’t for her hair color and that she was über rich, she reminded me of Carrie Bradshaw from Sex in the City:

Carrie Bradshaw opening credits.jpg

Photo credit

Val needed a change of scenery and when her cousin suggested Alaska, where the men to woman ratio are 15 to 1, she jumped on it and planned on blogging about it. All I could do is shake my head and laugh because I knew that she would be out of her element. Which she was. From the minute she landed in Alaska, I was giggling when she got herself into predicaments. Except for the one with Sassy, her dog. I didn’t giggle at that because it was dangerous. But, by the end of the book, I liked her. She totally shed her poor little rich girl skin. I will go as far to say that she found herself in Alaska.

Logan exuded hotness from the minute he appeared in the story and he seemed to be immune to Val’s charm. Actually, he was kind of put off by her deciding to date her way through town. His immunity to Val was worn down after he was called to the local bar because according to a jealous woman, she was drunk, naked, and dancing on tables. When he arrived to arrest her, he discovered that she was two out of the three. That’s when, in my eyes, he gave in…haha. But it was when she was lost in the woods, that the magic happened and you could see him falling in love with Val.

Let’s talk about the sex. I loved that Val was sexually confident. She knows what she liked when she liked it and how she liked it. Having a sexually confident woman in these types of books is pretty awesome. I also think it was pretty awesome that Logan was willing to go along with what Val liked. What also cracked me up was how shocked she was over Logan’s size. I thought to myself “Val, you are a sexually active woman and it is hard for me to believe you have never seen one as big as his”.  Every, single time. Made me giggle during scenes that I shouldn’t because I just had a mental image of her doing something like this when she saw it.

 

I loved the end of the book. Everything was done on Val’s terms and Logan, well, let’s just say that it took him a while to go along with her plans. The epilogue had to have been my favorite part of the book. I love happy endings!!!

How many stars will I give Sex in the Sticks: 4

Why: Relatable characters, a plotline that was pretty funny and page burning sex scenes.

Will I reread: Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends: Yes

Age range: Adult

Why: Sex and language

**I received a free copy of this book and volunteered to review it**

Walk of Shame by Lauren Layne


Walk of Shame

Title: Walk of Shame

Author: Lauren Layne

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Loveswept

Date of publication: April 18th, 2017

Genre: Romance

Number of pages: 218

POV: Alternating 1st person and 3rd person

Where you can find Walk of Shame: Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Sparks fly between a misunderstood New York socialite and a cynical divorce lawyer in this lively standalone rom-com from the USA Today bestselling author of Blurred Lines and Love Story.

Pampered heiress Georgianna Watkins has a party-girl image to maintain, but all the shopping and clubbing is starting to feel a little bit hollow—and a whole lot lonely. Though Georgie would never admit it, the highlights of her week are the mornings when she comes home at the same time as her uptight, workaholic neighbor is leaving to hit the gym and put in a long day at the office. Teasing him is the most fun Georgie’s had in years—and the fuel for all her naughtiest daydreams.

Celebrity divorce attorney Andrew Mulroney doesn’t have much time for women, especially spoiled tabloid princesses who spend more time on Page Six than at an actual job. Although Georgie’s drop-dead gorgeous, she’s also everything Andrew resents: the type of girl who inherited her penthouse instead of earning it. But after Andrew caps one of their predawn sparring sessions with a surprise kiss—a kiss that’s caught on camera—all of Manhattan is gossiping about whether they’re a real couple. And nobody’s more surprised than Andrew to find that the answer just might be yes.

My review:

I had to giggle at the title of this book. Everyone knows what a “Walk of Shame” is but I will refresh those who don’t know. The definition is taken from Urban Dictionary:

“Walk of Shame

The walk from another person(s) house, apartment, condo, dorm, van, bar, park bench or other; to your place of residence wearing the same clothes you had on the night before.

Typically used when someone leaves the home of a sexual escapade (quite possibly with someone you met the night before) in the morning; hair sticking out in all directions, lines on your face, and missing at least one article of clothing.

In the event that your “Walk of Shame” did include sex, you may be wearing your partner’s clothes. If you did not have sex you probably did get into a fight, damaged property was escorted off someone’s premises, or in some way embarrassed yourself. In any case, you will need to check yourself for injuries.

Still half-drunk, I began the walk of shame to my room and made a futile attempt to recall all that I had done on Friturday.”
Now there are other more to the point on the Urban Dictionary website but I chose the more reader friendly. If you want to read the slightly raunchy, totally not PC definition, just click on the link above.
So, based on the definition I put up and my own personal experiences with walks of shame, I really was expecting a book that started and ended with sex and didn’t really have a plot. But what I read, instead, really surprised me.
Georgi was a sweetheart….once you got past her party girl exterior. I was actually kind of put off by that at first because she was rolling in as most people were getting up and going to work. But her sweetness and her positive outlook on life won me over. Plus, she knew how to dish it and take it, like a pro. Her interactions with Andrew had me laughing my butt off and I loved the Wizard of Oz references.
I couldn’t get a handle on Andrew at first. Because the story is mainly told from Georgi’s perspective, I really didn’t know what he felt about her. Actually, I felt the vibe I got from him is that he thought she was annoying. So, I was pretty surprised when the author turned to 3rd person to tell his part of the story and when I learned that he had feelings for Georgi and had feelings for her since he met her. I did a “Whaaa” when I read that because it did kind of blindside me (and yes, I knew they were getting together….I can still be blindsided).
I loved the romance between Georgi and Andrew because it was more real life (forgetting that she was an heiress and he made money hand over fist). They were frenemies first, then true friends and then the romance kicked in. I loved it!!
What I liked, even more, was that the sex was put off on in the book. The author allowed for her characters to develop feelings for each other before they bumped uglies. It was refreshing to read that because the sex didn’t take over the book.
I did figure out the plot twist that added drama to the book. I actually figured it out as it was happening but still, it was sad to read and I felt bad for all involved.
The end of the book was great and I loved the happy endings for everyone involved!!
How many stars will I give Walk of Shame: 3.5 (rounded up to 4 for Goodreads and Amazon)
Why: Written wonderfully with a good plot line and great characters
Will I reread: Yes
Will I recommend to family and friends: Yes
Age range: Adult
Why: Sex and language
**I received a free copy of this book and volunteered to review it**

Tales from Ara: Into The Unknown by Irena de Wardin and Isabella de Wardin


Tales From Ara: Into the Unknown

Title: Tales from Ara: Into The Unknown

Author: Isabella and Irena De Wardin

Publisher: AFNIL- ISBN (International Standard Book Number)

Date of publication: March 9th, 2017

Genre: Fantasy, Romance

Number of pages: 451

Where you can find Tales from Ara: Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Single and hopelessly romantic, Harlette is your everyday girl who dreams only of two things: falling in love and finding her place in the world.
Her relatively uneventful life takes an unexpected turn when she is transported into another world, Ara, without so much as an explanation or even a decent pair of trousers.
Wearing nothing but underwear and stilettos, she finds herself in Nimrod’s forest, just to be captured by the elven king Karayan and his guard. Nimrod is Ara’s strongest kingdom, and Karayan is the most powerful of elves.
Despite developing a keen interest in her, humans are a rare sighting in Ara and usually a bad omen; this makes Karayan suspicious of Harlette and even, disagreeable…
Thrown into the middle of a rising interdimensional war, marked as a trespasser and with no way of returning home, Harlette is dragged into a series of adventures and soon finds out that this fairy tale – no matter how cruel or beautiful – is no longer the fruit of her imagination. Love is not as easy as it is in romance novels and she will need to harden her heart and mind if she wishes to survive the upcoming whirlwind of events that will befall her.
Will Harlette discover the purpose behind her sudden arrival in Ara, and will she be strong enough to face the challenges thrown at her?

My Review

I enjoyed reading Tales from Ara. The overall plot, which reminded me of Alice in Wonderland, was great at first. Young, innocent girl falls through a mirror into a strange land and ends up having the adventure of a lifetime while trying to figure out why she ended up in Ara. I loved it and couldn’t read those chapters fast enough. Then Karayan found her and the plot started to get a little less great. By the end of the book, I was a confused mess because the plotline did so many switches that my head was spinning.

While Harlette was one of my favorite characters in the book, she also kind of annoyed me. She came across, in some scenes, as amazingly immature and she kept getting herself into situations that made me go “Seriously why didn’t you listen!!”. She was also very naïve and didn’t heed the advice of Karayan or Bernard, her cat. But, like I said, I did enjoy her character. She was kind and she believed the best in people. She also brought out the best in her companions….mainly Karayan.

Oh, let’s talk about Karayan. Honestly, I thought he was a controlling jerk who kept jerking Harlette around by her emotions. But there were some glimmers of a decent elf underneath all of that. He cared about his people/kingdom and would do anything to keep them safe and I also think that he did care for Harlette, even though she was a human. Again, glimmers and if the author could extract those out, I think the next book would be 100% better.

The whole storyline with Christine was well weird and I couldn’t get into it. I wish that more was given into Christine’s background, other than being Harlette’s foster-sister. I mean, it is revealed that she is a witch, that has almost no powers, and she is the one who sent Harlette into Ara. When I say that the storyline is weird, it is almost like it was put in there to fill in space because, to be very blunt, other than revealing the identity or Harlette’s mother and father, it added nothing to the storyline. Also, she and Harlette’s parents kept referring to Harlette as “The Daughter” but no explanation was given, which drove me absolutely nuts.

The main storyline with Harlette and Karayan really threw me for a loop. I loved it up until they stumbled upon the beanstalk. Harlette and Karayan were actually getting along until she decided to take the giant queens challenge to defeat the spirit and had to get Karayan out of the chains. Which they did by sharing an amazing kiss. It was after that when Karayan decided to teach Harlette what she was missing, that the book kind of went sideways and backward. Not going to get into it but I didn’t like the total idiot Karayan became to Harlette. It bothered me on so many levels.

The ending of the book was a cliffhanger and you all know how I feel about that.

I do have some questions and a repeat of one already asked above that I hope will be answered in book 2:

*Why are the mantises so bad? I know that it was touched upon in the book but I am beginning to think that there is a more personal reason that Karayan doesn’t like them

*Why did Harlette’s parents leave her on Earth? Just saying, because now, my opinion of them isn’t that great.

*Who is Christine, really?

and the burning question that I really wanted to be answered:

*Why is Harlette called The Daughter!!

How many stars will I give Tales from Ara: 3

Why: While I did say that I liked the story (I did), what brought my rating down from the 4 that would have given it to a 3 is this: I couldn’t relate to Harlette or Karayan. Also, I was left very confused by the end of the book. Not because of the cliffhanger but because of the 180 Karayan did with Harlette. It confused the heck out of me.

Will I reread: Maybe

Will I recommend to family and friends: Maybe

Age range: Adult

Why: Violence and one very explicit sexual scene

**I received a free copy of this book and volunteered to review it**