Thursday, February 7, 2019

Don't Bait Me Review

Don't Bait Me (Nora Jacobs #3)
By: Jackie May

Now that Nora has been outed as an underworlder, all she wants to do is lay low, figure out how to hide her fey heritage and decide if she wants to date any of the men in her life. Unfortunately, fate has other plans.

Just one week after the werewolf fiasco, Terrance is nearly killed by an unknown attacker. He's not the only victim. Fey all around the city are being murdered and with Nora's reputation for solving cases, they're looking to her for help. What choice does she have but to get involved? Not only does being fey maker her a target, but the killer went after her troll. He's going to pay for that.

This is the third installment of the Nora Jacobs series. These books must be read in order.
Reading order:
Don’t Rush Me
Don’t Cheat Me
Don’t Bait Me

 I both love and hate when I find out that a book I have been waiting for has already come out. Case in point: Don't Bait Me. I happened across a review for this book and almost peed from excitement (hey, mom bladders are a real-life problem). I had no idea this book had come out. It was a good wake up call for me that I really need to get more serious about following the progress of authors I like, and series' I am dying for. I am now planning on spending the better half of tomorrow making sure I am signed up for every dedicated author newsletter and social media account that I can find so that I don't miss anything anymore. Where I plan to find the time to live my life between reading updates from authors as well as reading their actual books, I have no idea. Sorry, family.
 If you have had the time to go back and read some of my other reviews, or you've been following all along (shout out to you, Aunt Bev!) you may have come across my reviews for the other two Nora Jacobs books. To summarize, I love them. They have a bit of a darker, more adult feel to them without being too graphic. And they fall firmly into my preferred genre of fantasy, or Urban fantasy if you prefer. Each book has a stand-alone quality to it, however you definitely need to read the first two as there are some running complexities throughout them all. 

 My favorite thing about this book in particular is how much time is spent on Nora's personal issues vs the major dilemma that the characters are facing. As Nora's story unfolds and her powers are revealed the story evolves into something so much better than I could have anticipated. With each new book another set of new characters are introduced and I swear I have a whole new bevy of book-boyfriends just from this series alone. My favorite - in case you're wondering - is Wulf, and he isn't even one of Nora's love interests. That's how fantastic these male characters are! 

 Something that I really enjoy about Don't Bait Me is that even though it's the third book in the series, and some time has passed between the release of it and the release of the first book, it still ring's true to the first book. All of the characters undergo some sort of evolution but their personalities stay the same. The issues that the characters face are new and fresh within each book but they somehow all tie into each other. I liken reading the Nora Jacobs series to watching the first season of Supernatural. Every episode is something new, something interesting and you find out more and more about the characters and start to form a bond with them. You never want it to end, which is probably why Supernatural is in it's billionth season. It's a refreshing break from series' with cliffhanger endings and dragged out conflicts. I really can't think of one thing that I didn't like about this book, or the series as a whole. 

I am excited to read more Nora Jacobs and find out where her story goes.

Final Rating:
Probability of Rereading:

Thanks for Reading!

Opinionated Bookworm

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Operation Fit-ish Review

Operation Fit-ish
By: Shannon Myers

What’s a comic book nerd to do when she’s dumped by her not-quite-a-superhero fiancĂ© just weeks before the wedding? Tempting as it is to drown her sorrows in ice-cream, Dakota decides that maybe she’ll keep that appointment with the personal trainer who was going to help her squeeze into her dress after all. 

She soon realizes that while she’s not quite ready to ditch her Avengers T-shirt for a Spandex crop top just yet, being at the gym does have some perks. Like semi-stalking Zane, the cute blond guy who looks a lot like Thor… 

But while Zane may not be a Norse god, he does have a secret. One that brings him closer to Dakota, and brings Dakota closer to danger. 

Is Zane the superhero she’s been waiting for her whole life? Will he swoop in and save the day? Or is he the villain whose superpower is the ability to break her heart? 

Oh my goodness, this book killed me. I was stuck in a near-constant state of dying from laughing and feeling awkward to the point of blushing throughout the whole novel. When the main character can make you feel such an array of emotions right from the get-go you know it's going to be a damn good book. 

Dakota is like every woman I've ever known. Loves cupcakes, hates working out, works her ass off to succeed in her chosen career and wants to find her very own prince charming, or in her comic book loving mind, her very own superhero. Like all great love stories this one begins in heartbreak, when Dakota gets dumped by her fiance, who is a total asshole, and has to come to terms with being single and living for herself, instead of constantly trying to please her ex and his family of assholes.

I've become so accustomed to these feel-good romances that follow the same simplistic formula and fully expected the same from this book, so I was surprised and impressed when Operation Fit-ish varied and had more drama than I had anticipated. Usually the conflict in these types of books is drawn out throughout the book, then quickly and seemingly easily resolved at the end, leaving the two characters who had been attracted to each other to finally get together and live out their happily ever after. I always thought that as long as the characters get their happily ever after I don't much care how they get there. Operation Fit-ish showed me how wrong I was. I've always felt that romance novelists either focus more on the conflict and less on the relationship drama or more on the relationship drama and less on the conflict. Either way something always gets pushed to the wayside and underdeveloped, and since we all know these books are created for die-hard romance lovers like myself, the authors tend to focus more on the relationship side of things more often than not. In this case both the relationship between Dakota and Zane and the conflict they faced, together and individually, were well developed and kept my attention the whole time. The conflict was more complex than you usually find in romance novels and I appreciated the extra effort the author put in to keep her audience's attention.

I loved that the author, Shannon, created Dakota's character in a unique way that I had not seen before. She created her to be a nerdy, comic book, Marvel Universe loving girl, who belonged to a comic book club and owned an extensive comic book collection. Female comic book lovers are pretty rare, and to see one take center stage in a novel is fantastic. I also loved that Dakota's character is described as having, what I consider, an average body type. Meaning that she has a few extra pounds that she could stand to lose, but isn't at any point described as being overweight or plus sized. Of course, I also loved that while she has an average body type she attracts the attention of a man who is described as being perfectly muscled and looks like Thor (to those of you who are unfamiliar, picture Chris Hemsworth), and he thinks she is the sexiest woman he's ever seen. 

The only read drawback for me with this book came with all the familial  discoveries that Dakota makes in regards to her parents and her grandparents. We find out that her mom has been sending her grandmother thousands of dollars every year for the upkeep and education of both Dakota and her sister. Neither girl knew about this money and were led to believe by their grandmother that there was no money for their education so they worked their asses off to be able to provide for themselves all while their grandma drove around in a BMW or some such luxury vehicle. I wish there had been some sort of confrontation in that regard with their grandma, because to not deal with the issue felt like their grandma was getting away with stealing from them, and that doesn't sit well with me. She was supposed to love them and provide for them, she had the means to give them the best of everything, so why did she not do that? Maybe I'll get those answers in the next book in the series, Operation Annulment, which is the story of Dakota's sister. Hopefully it's every bit as fantastic as Dakota's story.

Final Rating:
Probability of Rereading:

Thanks for reading!

Opinionated Bookworm

Sunday, January 27, 2019

The Wicked King Review

The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air #2)
By: Holly Black

You must be strong enough to strike and strike and strike again without tiring.
The first lesson is to make yourself strong.

After the jaw-dropping revelation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her younger brother safe. To do so, she has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were easy to control. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.

When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her own life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a Faerie world.

Oh my goodness, it took me forever to get this book! The Wicked King was released on the 8th of this month and I only just got my hands on it today (shout out to Manticore Books for ordering it in for me!). I have been dying to read it. In the meantime, it's been so difficult not to read every reader review and spoiler I could find. It's been the definition of torture. Once I finally got the book (which is really beautiful, by the way) in my hands this morning I devoured it within hours. I absolutely loved The Cruel Prince and having to wait for months for this book to come out to find out what would happen next only made my anticipation build more and more. 

I finished The Wicked King just a few minutes ago and I feel a very real sense of despair. I love it when books give me real-life feels! In this case, I realized halfway through the book that my chest was tight and my body was clenched in response to all the things that were happening in the book. Holly Black is one of those authors who always has you guessing as to what is going to happen next, and no matter what happens it's always better than you had expected. Which makes her books that much more amazing.

However, I feel the need to tell you that by the time you're done reading this book as much as you will love Holly Black for creating this magical world and complex situations, you will also be pretty upset with her. We all know by now that I'm all about the love, so in this series I am seriously rooting for Jude and Carden, as unlikely as they may be together. Holly Black threw me a pretty big bone at the end of the book, as far as Jude and Carden are concerned, and then as soon as I felt a slight bit of hope she took it away in the cruelest way possible. And in such a resolute way that I really don't see how Jude will come back from the set-back dealt to her. 

The Wicked King was absolutely everything you could hope for in a sequel. There was character growth for even the smallest of characters, new characters were introduced, the main characters evolved as their situations changed, and the conflict was relevant and interesting. At no point during this book was I bored or left wanting for anything. This is probably one of my favorite sequels, which isn't something I say lightly as sequels are often the bane of my existence.

I read on Goodreads that the next and final book in this series is coming out next year. Next Year. Seeing as how it's only January right now, that feels like a lifetime away. Given Holly Black's genius at weaving beautifully heartbreaking stories I have no doubt that the ending of this series will be more amazing than I can begin to imagine. No pressure though Holly.

Final Rating:
Probability of Rereading:

Thanks for reading!

Opinionated Bookworm

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Queen of Air and Darkness Review

Queen of Air and Darkness (The Dark Artifices #3)
By: Cassandra Clare

What if damnation is the price of true love?

Innocent blood has been spilled on the steps of the Council Hall, the sacred stronghold of the Shadowhunters. In the wake of the tragic death of Livia Blackthorn, the Clave teeters on the brink of civil war. One fragment of the Blackthorn family flees to Los Angeles, seeking to discover the source of the blight that is destroying the race of warlocks. 

Meanwhile, Julian and Emma take desperate measures to put their forbidden love aside and undertake a perilous mission to Faerie to retrieve the Black Volume of the Dead. What they find in the Courts is a secret that may tear the Shadow World asunder and open a dark path into a future they could never have imagined. Caught in a race against time, Emma and Julian must save the world of Shadowhunters before the deadly power of the parabatai curse destroys them and everyone they love.

Cassandra Clare's books have become such a hard sell for me. Her Mortal Instruments series was my second excursion into the paranormal young adult genre, my first, of course was Twilight. And at the time, I thought Mortal Instruments was amazing, well, the first three books anyway. As time went on and I read more and more of the same genre I kept going back and rereading Mortal Instruments to see if I still felt the same way. Honestly, the more time went on and the more I reread those books I came to realize that I really don't like the entire back half of the series. I then read Cassandra's Infernal Devices series and absolutely loved them. They were and still are, in my opinion, her best series. I read the Shadow Hunter Academy book and loved it and then read The Bane Chronicles and couldn't finish it because it was so dull. So, my over-all opinion of her books was pretty mixed. Until I began The Dark Artifices series. 

I was under the impression, for whatever reason, that The Dark Artifices was meant to be a trilogy. Which confused me a little as I came to the end of this book because new story line's began and some weren't resolved. So is Cassandra continuing on with this series, or beginning a new one? However, I can honestly say that I don't really care enough to look into it. The characters at the heart of this series are not my favorites, I actually don't like them at all. Their conflict bored me. Their relationships amused me, but not in a way that made me care what happened between any of them. This series is probably going to go down in my mind as the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back. I have become completely uninterested in any of Cassandra's future books even if they do include the characters from the Mortal Instruments series. 

The Shadowhunter books are beginning to look like a cash grab to me. The story is no longer exciting, the characters no longer warm and relatable, the enemies no longer formidable. It's all coming across as rehashed, unimaginative and, quite frankly, an insult to Cassandra's book-loving fans. 

Queen of Air and Darkness was a very large, very long book that I had a hard time reading. I wasn't able to get into the book until the original characters from MI were brought into the book, and then only they could hold my interest for the rest of the novel. And it seemed like Cassandra knew she was writing about characters nobody cared about because she included the MI characters so much that towards the end of Queen of Air and Darkness it almost seemed like it was becoming another MI book and veered so far away from the Dark Artifices characters that they weren't all that involved anymore. Which is probably why I was able to finish the book at all, now that I think about it. 

There were some aspects of this book I did enjoy, such as the final scene between Clary and Jace; I loved the throwback to the very first book, it was very sweet. I also loved the wedding at the end of the book as well, it was well-deserved and I always love a good reunion scene between past and present characters. I liked that Diana Wrayburn's character is transgender, she is the first trans character I've seen in any Paranormal book and was written in a very empathetic way. However, at one point it felt as though Cassandra went a little too far in trying to include different minorities in her book when she created a romantic relationship between two men and a woman. I get wanting to be inclusive but the relationship between those three felt forced, unauthentic and uncomfortable for everyone. I think we all could have gone without that particular relationship. 

I want to end this review by reiterating the fact that some of Cassandra's books are favourites of mine, even still, and I will continue to love them because they are great books. She creates some fantastic characters and injects enough humour into them to make them personable and likeable. Even though I have admittedly lost faith in her writing I have no doubt that while I won't be busting down doors on book release days, I will most likely still be buying her new books at some point just to catch up with some of my old favorite characters. Losing faith in an author's ability to weave new and diverting stories does not take away from the fact that that person may still be a good author. They can still create loveable characters, beautiful settings, warm relationships and conflict that you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy. No matter what I think of Cassandra Clare's newest books, based on her earlier work I still think she's a great author. 

Final Rating:
Probability of Rereading:

Thanks for reading!

Opinionated Bookworm

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Hellion Review

Hellion (Relentless#7)
By: Karen Lynch

Jordan Shaw is one of the Mohiri’s best young warriors. Fearless and bold, she’s passionate about completing every job and living life to the fullest, even if that means breaking all the rules.

When Jordan encounters a demon believed to have been killed off centuries ago, her discovery sends ripples up to the highest levels of the Mohiri. While they discuss how to face the biggest threat to humanity yet, she prepares herself for the mission of her life. She’s not afraid of danger or dying, and she’ll fight to the last breath to save her family.

There’s just one problem – the frustratingly fierce male warrior who calls to her demon. In her heart, Jordan knows he’s her perfect match, but she has things to do before she’s bound to a mate. Like saving the world.

I was pretty apprehensive going into Hellion, which stems from my mixed feelings about Karen's last book, Fated. If you've taken the time to read my reviews you already know that Karen has become one of my most favorite authors. She weaves some amazing stories and is also very caring when it comes to her readers. Case in point: my other half ordered me all of her books (5 in total, at the time) for my birthday but there was an issue with delivery, so Karen herself corresponded with him and re-sent him 5 personally signed books along with some other fantastic book related bits. On top of that she is accessible to her readers and speaks to them herself on social media. Furthermore, she's Canadian. I love reading a book that I enjoy and then learning that the author is Canadian, it happens far fewer times than I would like it to. All that aside, I have read and re-read those original 5 books so many times they're starting to look almost as old and raggedy as my Harry Potter books. And I've only owned them a little longer than a year. I absolutely love the Relentless series.

I was practically salivating when Fated was released last year. I was so excited to get another glimpse into the Relentless world to see what else Karen cooked up for us. I wasn't so much excited to read about Chris' character, because I had never taken much of an interest in him, but I had high hopes for whoever his mate would be and for the conflict that they were bound to run into, being supernatural demon hunters. Unfortunately I was pretty underwhelmed with his story. My impression of Fated tainted my original feelings about Hellion, in that I was not overly excited to read it. I have not been counting down the days until release day this time. I was reading the monthly teasers put out by Karen, but although I liked them I was trying very hard not to get my hopes up. I did plan on buying the book on release day, but was in no real rush. However, fate intervened and my kids are home sick today which turned out to be the perfect excuse to buy the book from Kobo and dig in. 

Sorry kids, but mommy is kinda glad you weren't feeling well today; because I fucking love this book. This is a book I would not have put off reading if I had known how true to the rest of the Relentless series it would be. Karen, I will never doubt your amazing abilities again. Hellion completely renewed my love of the Relentless series. 

I have loved Jordan's character since Relentless and before reading the book I was concerned that no matter who Karen matched her up with no man would be able to handle her fierce independence. I was afraid that to fall into the soulmate way of life of the Mohiri, Jordan would have to sacrifice who she is to accommodate her mate. Which is exactly what I felt happened with Chris in Fated. I was beyond happy with both who her mate is and how he handles being with her. They are both undeniably independent and seeing them compromise to include the other person without changing their personalities that we've come to know and love was so satisfying to read. 

Hellion was the perfect story for Jordan and the perfect ending for Relentless. I already know that this is a book that I will read time and time again. And I am adding it to the ever-growing list of books I want to buy in hardcopy to add to my library. Thank you Karen for one of my all-time favorite series. I am excited to see what other projects you have in store for your readers.

Final Rating:

Probability of Rereading:

Thanks for reading!

Opinionated Bookworm

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

The Day I Stopped Falling For Jerks review

The Day I Stopped Falling For Jerks (Jerks #1)
By: Max Monroe

I’m Luciana Wright.

Everyone calls me Lucky, but when it comes to love, I’m anything but.
I have a long history of dating the wrong men.
You know the ones I’m talking about.
The beautiful, charming guys who are quite literally too good to be true.
The ones who are impulsive in love and prefer short flings over long-term relationships.
I’m talking about the jerks.
The guys who taste so good, but are so very bad.
After going through the most ridiculous breakup in the history of breakups, I thought I’d learned my lesson. I officially put myself into jerk rehab and committed to changing my ways.
But, let’s be real here, love is never that easy.
Especially when an arrogant, charming, he-devil of a sexy alpha man gets involved.
Aussie accent.
Tanned skin.
Muscular, surfer bod.
Gorgeous brown eyes.
And the kind of sexy smile that brings women to their knees.
Oh, did I mention that he’s also my best friend’s brother?
Yeah. This story, my story, it’s a real doozy you guys.
The day I stopped falling for jerks, I met Oliver Arsen—the biggest jerk of all.

Everyone who knows me knows that I love a good Hallmark movie. I love that cheesy, over the top, predictable, simple folk kinda love story. I just love love! And this book was a Hallmark move in book form. The familiarity, warmth and comfort of reading this book was like a slice of home-made apple pie; irresistible. Seriously Hallmark, get your people on this; you need to turn this book into a movie, ASAP! 

I'm not going to lie and say that I fell into the book from word one, I did stumble on the formatting of it a little at first. It's told from Luciana's point of view as a narrative for a podcast, which I thought I would hate. But so much of her personality shines through her narrative that you can't help but wish it actually really was a podcast just to hear it told in her voice. Still, it was a little slow going in the beginning. 

Once I got into it though, I never wanted it to end! I had the whole book read within a matter of a couple hours. Literally. The characters were so great, funny, relate-able and fun to read about, and there really aren't any characters that aren't like-able. I, of course, especially enjoyed the dynamic between Ollie and Luciana. Their back and forth banter and her resistance to seeing him in a romantic light was both endearing and humorous. Ollie's character isn't shown in any great depth in this book, (presumably because you get to see his personality showcased more in the second book in the duet) but I still somehow managed to crush on him. Seriously though, do Aussies really say "yeah?" at the end of most of their sentences because if they do, that's fucking adorable, and that alone made me open to having his babies. 

For the most part this book had a feel-good quality to it that kept up throughout the story. The book ended on a bit of a cliffhanger, so I am about to dive into the second book to see how the story ends. Even though I'm 99% sure I know what will happen, I need to know all the details that bring Lucky and Ollie together. 

Final Rating:

Probability of Rereading:

Thanks for reading!

Opinionated Bookworm

Sunday, January 6, 2019

When I grow up I wanna be Sara Ney blog

*Disclaimer- there were so many feels in this blog that I couldn't stop the swear words from popping out- sorry!

Guys, I feel like I need to tell you, when I grow up I wanna be Sara Ney. 

For any of you who are like "who the hell is Sara Ney?", three weeks ago I was you. I had no idea who she is. Had never before heard of her or any of her books. She doesn't write in the Paranormal Romance genre so I guess it makes sense that I may not have heard of her, but it makes it glaringly obvious to me that sometimes I really need to get the fuck out of my PNR box and hit up some different genres! I am seriously missing out on some amazing books by amazing authors, Sara Ney being one of them.

I recently subscribed to Kindle Unlimited, and wholly fuck do I ever love it. It compiles lists of "recommended for you" books based on what I've read/searched on Amazon and this is where I found Sara Ney's books. Sara writes young adult romance, and adds just the right touch of humour to her novels to make her characters endearing without being too cheesy. I fucking love her books. I began with Jock Rule, which is the second in the Jock Hard series, which sounds a little odd since I had not read the first book, but the beauty of her books is that while they are almost all part of different series' they are stand-alone stories. So you can start any damn place you want and not be missing anything. And I personally recommend you start with Jock Rule like I did, because I loved loved loved that book! 

Sara has written two books in the Jock Hard series, four books in the How to Date a Douchebag series (I believe the fifth book in this series is coming out this year), three books in the Kiss and Make up Series and three novella's in the #ThreeLittleLies series. There are a couple other stand alone books that she has written that I have not yet read, but definitely plan to. And I have yet to read a book of Sara's that I don't love. That's right, I love them all. That almost never happens to me. I have a track record of loving one or two books in a series and finding the others mediocre as they never live up to the hype of my favorites. Of course, there are two books by Sara that I absolutely love (Jock Rule from Jock Hard series and Kissing in Cars from Kiss and Make Up series) and plan on buying signed copies of first (eventually I will buy them all), but there were literally no books of hers that I have read and felt disappointed by. 

I am always in awe of people who have found their talent, their niche, and find a way to make it into an amazing career. I believe it's everyone's dream to do what they love for a living and to be phenomenal at it. Sara Ney is exactly that. I wish that I lived with these incredible characters and their stories coming to life in my head. I wish I had the imagination and the talent to not only dream these things up but to also bring them to life on paper in a way that allows other people to connect with them too. Honestly, novelists have such an admirable talent that never fails to blow my mind, and I will never stop being in awe of them. In Sara's case I am in awe of how consistent and immersive her writing is. All of her male characters are written in the same vein in that they're all sexy, muscled athletes. Most of their stories consist of some romance specific hesitance on one or both behalf's of the MC's. There is a formula that Sara uses to create her books and her characters and a common theme throughout them, but somehow all of her stories are fresh and different from the others. That is talent.

Which is why I wanna be Sara Ney when I grow up. For now though, I'll just happily spend my time devouring her books over and over again. Thanks for sharing your gift of storytelling with the world Sara, I for one really appreciate it and you!

Thanks for reading!

Opinionated Bookworm 

Don't Bait Me Review

Don't Bait Me (Nora Jacobs #3) By: Jackie May Now that Nora has been outed as an underworlder, all she wants to do is lay low, figure...