Sunday, June 28, 2015

Book Review: American Gods by Neil Gaiman

Title: American Gods
Author: Neil Gaiman
Reading Level: Adult
Genre: Science Fiction; Fantasy
Length: 624 pages
Binding: E-book, Paperback, Audiobook
Published: April 2002 (Reprint)
Buy: Amazon


A storm is coming . . .

Locked behind bars for three years, Shadow did his time, quietly waiting for the magic day when he could return to Eagle Point, Indiana. A man no longer scared of what tomorrow might bring, all he wanted was to be with Laura, the wife he deeply loved, and start a new life.

But just days before his release, Laura and Shadow’s best friend are killed in an accident. With his life in pieces and nothing to keep him tethered, Shadow accepts a job from a beguiling stranger he meets on the way home, an enigmatic man who calls himself Mr. Wednesday. A trickster and rogue, Wednesday seems to know more about Shadow than Shadow does himself.

Life as Wednesday’s bodyguard, driver, and errand boy is far more interesting and dangerous than Shadow ever imagined—it is a job that takes him on a dark and strange road trip and introduces him to a host of eccentric characters whose fates are mysteriously intertwined with his own. Along the way Shadow will learn that the past never dies; that everyone, including his beloved Laura, harbors secrets; and that dreams, totems, legends, and myths are more real than we know. Ultimately, he will discover that beneath the placid surface of everyday life a storm is brewing—an epic war for the very soul of America—and that he is standing squarely in its path.

Relevant and prescient, American Gods has been lauded for its brilliant synthesis of “mystery, satire, sex, horror, and poetic prose” (Michael Dirda, Washington Post Book World) and as a modern phantasmagoria that “distills the essence of America” (Seattle Post-Intelligencer). It is, quite simply, an outstanding work of literary imagination that will endure for generations.

My Rating:

My Review: American Gods was one hell of a labor of love. I've had the book sitting on my bookshelf ever since it was in talks with the big guns in Hollywood that someone might pick it up. Well, a couple of weeks ago it was confirmed that STARZ got the rights and will be making it into a television series. So I decided it was time to read the book rather then let it keep collecting dust.

 I really enjoyed the story, even the stories within the story, the mythology on how "gods" weren't born in America, but traveled over with the people that came here. And how those gods slowly were forgotten and how new gods, created by the age of technological advancement, started taking over. American Gods is deep, heavy, thought provoking. I enjoyed the variety of colorful characters, gods of old (Egyptian, Norse, Biblical, Indian etc.) in disguise as humans and had fun figuring out who they were with the subtle and sometimes not so subtle hints Gaiman dropped along the way. Shadow, the main protagonist, was a very interesting study that I originally thought was kind of dull but ended up becoming a very well rounded character by the end of the novel.

 My problem, thus the reason for the 4 star rating, is because, as I stated above, it was a labor of love. There is no doubt that Gaiman is a great storyteller, however, the story got bogged down with tedious details. There were parts I wanted to skip, but then I feared I would miss something big if I did. There were just details within the scenes that could have been cut out. For example, I didn't need to know that someone cooked Shadow bacon and eggs and how it was placed on the plate, and how it was placed on the table and what he poured himself to drink and how he sat down, and how long it took him to eat, etc., etc. Where the hell was his editor?

 On the flip side to all the unnecessary details, this will, no doubt, be a great thing for the creators of the television adaptation. They have so many details at their fingertips to work with. I will also say that I look forward to seeing how they bring some scenes to life on screen. My favorite part of the story (slight spoiler) is when Shadow rides on the "World's Largest Carousel" and some of the magical creatures that are on this Carousel come to life. How are they going to show him riding a griffin? Or how will they portray some of the gods in their natural form, such as Ganesha (Hindu god, half elephant, half man) or the Egyptian gods Horus & Anubis? I definitely can't wait to see how they make these things come to life!

American Gods is a unique tale of gods, those that have been forgotten and those who are fighting not to be. If you have a nice chunk of time set aside to get lost in a story, I definitely recommend it. Even better, this may be worth an audiobook listen. Rest those eyes and let someone else take you on the journey.

best wishes,mia

about the author

Neil Gaiman's work has been honoured with many awards internationally, including the Newbery and Carnegie Medals. His books and stories have also been honoured with 4 Hugos, 2 Nebulas, 1 World Fantasy Award, 4 Bram Stoker Awards, 6 Locus Awards, 2 British SF Awards, 1 British Fantasy Award, 3 Geffens, 1 International Horror Guild Award and 2 Mythopoeic Awards. Full list here. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: Duplicity by N.K. Traver

Author: N.K. Traver
ASIN: B00N046Z48
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Theme(s): computer hacking, technology
Length: 253 pages
Binding: E-book, Hardcover
Published: 17 March 2015
Buy: Amazon, B&N, Kobo


A computer-hacking teen. The girl who wants to save him. And a rogue mirror reflection that might be the death of them both.

In private, seventeen-year-old Brandon hacks bank accounts just for the thrill of it. In public, he looks like any other tattooed bad boy with a fast car and devil-may-care attitude. He should know: he’s worked hard to maintain that façade. With inattentive parents who move constantly from city to city, he’s learned not to get tangled up in things like friends and relationships. So he’ll just keep living like a machine, all gears and wires.

Then two things shatter his carefully-built image: Emma, the kind, stubborn girl who insists on looking beneath the surface – and the small matter of a mirror reflection that starts moving by itself. Not only does Brandon’s reflection have a mind of its own, but it seems to be grooming him for something—washing the dye from his hair, yanking out his piercings, swapping his black shirts for … pastels. Then it tells him: it thinks it can live his life better, and it’s preparing to trade places.

And when it pulls Brandon through the looking-glass, not only will he need all his ill-gotten hacking skills to escape, but he’s going to have to face some hard truths about who he’s become. Otherwise he’ll be stuck in a digital hell until he’s old and gray, and no one will even know he's gone.

My Rating:

My Review: I have been extremely lucky in the past month or so to have had the opportunity to read YA novels with unique male protagonists. As an educator working with mostly reluctant readers, it is very difficult to find Young Adult books with interesting male leads that will keep teenage boys engaged. After having read The Tragic Age by Stephen Metcalfe and now Duplicity by the brilliant N.K. Traver, it almost feels like I hit the jackpot.

Without adding the science fiction element, the story is quite simple. Brandon Eriks is a 17 year old tattooed bad boy that gains pleasure out of hacking into bank accounts and credit cards for a nefarious organization. Of course he gets his cut, however he doesn't really need it since his parents have plenty of money. Brandon seems to fit the stereotype that comes with being tattooed and pierced-- he isn't doing well in school, he treats everyone with disdain, and is in constant dispute with his parents who start to think drugs might be the reason for his attitude and lack of motivation. Brandon doesn't care what anyone thinks; in fact, he has everyone thinking EXACTLY what he wants them to. Well, except for one anomaly-- Emma. Emma is the one person that sees beyond the attitude, beyond the tats and piercings. And for awhile, Brandon allows it. For once, he lets someone get close. But it can't last. Not with how his parents pick up and move every year. No, it's better for a clean break now rather than heartbreak later.

Then things get a little...crazy. One night while running a program to begin another "hack" job, his computer starts sending him messages. Personal, scary messages:


Thinking someone has messed with his computer, Brandon tries to brush it off until he starts to notice strange things happening to his reflection in mirrors-- his reflection doesn't follow his every move, instead it moves on its own, leaves messages through the glass, and starts to make physical changes to his appearance. Tattoos and piercings are removed (somewhat painfully), clothing replaced with a completely new "preppy" wardrobe, until finally, one day, it is HE that is replaced by his "duplicate". Now Brandon is on the other side of the mirror, watching this "replica" of himself take over his life. What's worse is the fact that Obran (the name Brandon gives his duplicate) appears to be mending the relationship with his parents, getting better grades in school, and getting a little too close to Emma. Why was he pulled into the mirror? Most importantly, how will he get out? That's something you'll have to figure out by reading this suspenseful cyberthriller!

If you like anti-heroes, then you will enjoy Brandon. He definitely isn't perfect and from the very first page you know he is partaking in illegal activities and makes no apologies about it. Bank accounts, credit cards-- he hacks into them all and is looking forward to moving on up to social security numbers very soon. So why should teenage boys pick this book up when the male lead is a slacker and on his way to becoming a criminal? Because despite his less than role model qualities, he is relatable. How many kids do you know have parents that work extra hours to keep their million dollar homes, brand new cars, their lake house but spend absolutely no time with their children? Parents that move every year, yanking their kids out of school, never staying long enough to lay down roots? That is Brandon's life. Despite his standoffish appearance and front he puts on, all he really wants is to be noticed by his parents. He wants to be able to stay in one place long enough to make long lasting friendships and relationships, however, keeping people at arm's length, especially Emma, is the only way to guard himself from being hurt when it is time to move.

Another aspect of Duplicity I liked is that Brandon and Emma's relationship is already established at the beginning of the story. I thought this was a unique twist to the book and allows us to get right into the action.

While there are not too many secondary characters in the book, the one that stood out to me was Seb. Once Brandon is pulled through the mirror into this alternate "landscape",  he eventually meets Seb, an androgynous, mysterious hacker that wants to work with him to get out and back to the real world. Seb has a particular set of skills that Brandon definitely needs to attain their goal, but he is unsure if Seb can be trusted. I'll admit-- I was just as wary about Seb as Brandon was. However, Seb was hilarious and definitely serves as the comic relief in Duplicity. And as the story unfolds, you learn there is more to Seb then meets the eye, things that will have your eyes widening in shock and pulling on your heart strings.

The science fiction element of the story was fascinating and the technology aspect of the story will grab teenage readers and keep them invested since we live in a world where our kids are more technologically inclined then us adults. But even less tech savvy people can enjoy this fast paced thriller even with the introduction of supercomputers and nano chips, etc.

Duplicity is an engrossing piece of literary genius-- from the concept to the plot, to the flawed anti-hero who wants to be seen but is terrified to get attached-- it is hard to believe this book was written by a debut author. The ending will leave you wanting more--is it open ended, left for you to draw your own conclusions or did the author subtly set it up for a possible sequel? I guess we all will have to wait and see. I have no doubt we will be seeing more of N.K. Traver.

best wishes,mia

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: TAKE by Nashoda Rose + Giveaway

Title: TAKE (Scars of Wraiths, #1)
Author: Nashoda Rose
Reading Level: Adult
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Length: 208 pages
Binding: E-book, Paperback
Published: 21 February 2015
Buy: Amazon, B&N, KOBO



Feelings are a luxury I can’t afford. Hidden behind a shield of quiet placidity, I keep my secret safe from those who’d use it against me. Until him—the tatted up, self-centered Scar assassin hired to protect me.

He takes pleasure in tormenting me, chipping away at my defenses as if I’m a toy to be played with. I hate that he continuously reminds me that I’m nothing more than a job. I hate that my body responds to his touch. I hate him.


I’m not a good guy and I don’t pretend to be. Condemn me if you want, I don’t give a fuck. You’re nothing to me. No one is … except her—Max. She’s my target. And I was hired to do a hell of a lot more than protect her … I was hired to kill her.

It should’ve been simple, but it was complicated as hell.

Full-length novel. Come meet the Scars.

My Rating:

My Review: I have read just about every book by Nashoda Rose so I was pleasantly surprised when I got offered a chance to read and review her newest novel TAKE. The reason for my surprise? Because TAKE is a paranormal romance and Rose--up to this point--has written only contemporary erotic romance. Paranormal romance used to be one of my top go-to genres. However, it didn't take me long to get tired of stories that lacked any kind of originality. Don't get me wrong, sometimes reading a book with a similar formula can be great when you just want to shut your brain off and enjoy a few hours of mindless entertainment. But when stories from completely different authors start blurring together, that's when you know a break is in order. And this is why I typically buy only from my constants in the paranormal romance genre, like J.R. Ward and Lara Adrian.

However, Nashoda Rose hasn't failed me yet and I'm not going to lie, there is really nothing in the synopsis that gives away this story is a paranormal romance. So I was curious-- what were the paranormal elements that made up this story?

What we have are Scars, immortal warriors that live in the human world but have heightened senses. For example, our hero, Jasper, is known as a Sounder, the ability to hear noises, voices, etc. from miles away. There are also Trackers, Healers, Tasters, Visionaries and the rare Reflectors. Each of these warriors has a tattoo, or what they call an "Ink" that can be called to life.

I absolutely loved the concept of the Scar warriors, especially their "Ink" that they can summon off of their bodies to manifest into...creatures? Monsters? We only get two examples of "Inks" in the book. Jasper's "Ink" is named Groar, a boar-like monster with silver skin covered in tattoos. Totally bad ass. While immortal warriors with heightened senses and tattoos that come to life are not completely original ideas, Nashoda Rose took the concept and made it her own.

Jasper was the ultimate bad boy alpha male. But he is more then just a Scar Sounder. He is a highly respected hired assassin who crosses paths with our heroine Max in the beginning of the story and then meets up with her again 6 months later when her life is threatened. Jasper is crass, a major smart ass, and hides his emotions behind a thick wall to protect himself from growing attachments to anyone because of a tragedy that happened years ago. This is also why he doesn't belong to a Talde, or a group/band of Scar warriors. A complete loner and he likes it that way, well, until Max starts messing with his head and emotions.

Max was an intriguing character and perhaps is one of the only heroines that I can remember in a romance where I walked away liking her more than the hero!
Not that I had any issues towards Jasper-- that man was HOT with a capital H and his tragic past was heartbreaking. But Max's back story is horrific and it takes an extremely strong person to endure what she has. Max is a Scar Healer, only she has a unique ability that no other healer can do-- and that is the ability to heal a Scar's "Ink" once it has been destroyed. Max has endured years of imprisonment, torture, rape by the twistedly evil Drake. Once a Scar Tracker, he is even more powerful now that he is a vampire. At first, Drake enslaves Max and keeps her close so that she can constantly heal is failing lungs which started to occur once his "Ink" had died. At this point, he does not know Max's other ability-- and she will take it to her grave before she lets him find out. After years of imprisonment, she is rescued by Xamien, the leader of his own Talde of Scar warriors. He gives her safety, a place to call home. And while she is forever grateful and has a soft spot for this fierce warrior, she can't completely trust him and remains tight lipped about her time with Drake.

And then Jasper enters her life and all the walls she spent years erecting to keep herself safe start to crumble. He constantly baits her, saying outrageously sexual things that stirs a fire in her blood that she thought long dead. Her body riddled with scars from her time with Drake, Max wants to hide them, but Jasper isn't having any of it. He finds her beautiful, scars and all (even though the thought of someone putting them on her makes him want to hunt down the evil bastard responsible). Jasper and Max have off the charts chemistry and couldn't be more perfectly matched. When Jasper's true motives for taking her on as a "job" are revealed towards the end of the book, I felt a twinge in my heart for both characters-- how would Max ever be able to trust Jasper again and get over feeling betrayed? It took almost losing her for Jasper to realize how important she has become in his world-- how will he ever gain her trust? Well, you'll just have to read to find out!

It is really no surprise how much I also enjoyed the introduction to the secondary characters, especially Jasper's brother Holden (a Scar Tracker) and their friend Guise (a Visionary, ability to see very far). If you've read any of Nashoda Rose's previous novels, then you already know she has an amazing ability to create some of the hottest male secondary characters that will leave you panting for more. I know that TAKE was a bit of an experimental book in that reader reaction will play a huge role on whether Nashoda decides to expand on this series. And I am praying to the gods that she does because Holden, Guise, even Xamien need their own books. It totally has to happen!

So what held me back from giving TAKE a perfect 5 star rating? While I absolutely loved the concept of the Scars, the story lacked world building and mythology. At the very beginning of the book, the author gives us a glossary of terms which I found interesting. I thought wow, okay, Nashoda is trying to prepare us for this unique new world. Well...many of the terms in the glossary weren't even mentioned in the story. For a first novel in a series, there definitely lacks a bit of foundation. We really have no mythology, meaning we don't know where or how Scars came into existence. Oh, and how/where do vampires fit into all of this? I also feel like there was a ton of repetition throughout the story, a lot of Jasper and Max repeating themselves, their thoughts over and over which could have been extra pages spent giving us background.

Despite this, TAKE is a refreshing paranormal romance that will make a great new addition in the overly saturated genre. If you like dirty talking alpha males and strong heroines that aren't easily intimidated, then this is a must read.

best wishes,mia


How long since you fucked a guy?”

“What?” Her arms moved as if she was about to cross them over her breasts and then decided against it and put them back at her sides. “What does that have to do with anything?” 

“Because when I fuck you, it will be hard. I need to know if you can take it.” I’d expected her to grab her shirt and put it back on. That was what I had intended. To scare her. Instead, she stared at me as she undid her bra and let it fall to the floor. 


I was a guy. A guy that didn’t give a shit if a woman hated me in the morning, but they never did. I may be a selfish bastard but I never left a woman unsatisfied. And it was more a self-serving reason as I could always get seconds when I wanted. But this was different. Everything about it was different. Max was different. 

And that should’ve scared me enough to walk away. 

But Max … staring at her milky white naked skin … her handful of breasts with nipples erect and waiting for my mouth to be sucking on them. I should’ve walked back into the bathroom, shut the door and jerked myself off in the shower. 

I didn’t.

about the author

Nashoda Rose lives in Toronto with her assortment of pets. She writes contemporary romance with a splash of darkness, or maybe it’s a tidal wave. Her novella "With You" is the first in the Tear Asunder series, followed by the novel "Torn from You" and "Overwhelmed by You". When she isn’t writing, she can be found sitting in a field reading with her dog at her side while her horses graze nearby. She loves interacting with her readers on Facebook and chatting about her addiction—books.

Connect With Nashoda


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Book Review: The Tragic Age by Stephen Metcalfe + Giveaway

Title: The Tragic Age
Author: Stephen Metcalfe
ISBN: 1250054419
Genre: Young Adult, Coming of Age
Length: 320 pgs
Binding: Hardcover, E-book
Published: 3 March 2015
Buy: Amazon, B&N, BAM, Indiebound


This is the story of Billy Kinsey, heir to a lottery fortune, part genius, part philosopher and social critic, full time insomniac and closeted rock drummer. Billy has decided that the best way to deal with an absurd world is to stay away from it. Do not volunteer. Do not join in. Billy will be the first to tell you it doesn’t always work— not when your twin sister, Dorie, has died, not when your unhappy parents are at war with one another, not when frazzled soccer moms in two ton SUVs are more dangerous than atom bombs, and not when your guidance counselor keeps asking why you haven’t applied to college.

Billy’s life changes when two people enter his life. Twom Twomey is a charismatic renegade who believes that truly living means going a little outlaw. Twom and Billy become one another’s mutual benefactor and friend. At the same time, Billy is reintroduced to Gretchen Quinn, an old and adored friend of Dorie’s. It is Gretchen who suggests to Billy that the world can be transformed by creative acts of the soul. 

With Twom, Billy visits the dark side. And with Gretchen, Billy experiences possibilities.Billy knows that one path is leading him toward disaster and the other toward happiness. The problem is—Billy doesn’t trust happiness. It's the age he's at. The tragic age.

Stephen Metcalfe's brilliant, debut coming-of-age novel, The Tragic Age, will teach you to learn to love, trust and truly be alive in an absurd world.

My Rating:

My Review: I'm hoping to keep this review short and sweet as there are so many wonderful layers to this unique, coming-of-age novel by the visionary Stephen Metcalfe. The Tragic Age is packed with themes and life lessons-- so much so that I can see this being a novel that should be read in the classroom (although language and sexual situations may be an issue; more about that later).

The story is told through Billy's perceptive yet cynical eyes. He explains how his father won the lottery which puts them in a whole new social bracket. He constantly compares his pre-lottery life to his new one. Before the lottery, his twin sister had been alive and his parents seemed to have been much happier (at least they were able to communicate better) among other things. After the big win, they buy a big house, move to a rich gated community, and appear to have everything that money can buy. We quickly come to the same conclusion that Billy has cleverly come to-- money can't buy happiness. It can't bring someone back from the dead and can't stop people from drinking-- a really bad habit his father has picked up.

I've read quite a few Young Adult novels with female characters that have Hemangiomas (red facial "birthmark") but have never come across one with a male protagonist. I was curious to see things through Billy's perspective. How does a young man deal with it?

Cancer is another topic that is laced throughout the story. Billy's not over the loss of his sister and his own mother is a cancer survivor. The Tragic Age is actually the first book I've read that deals a bit with the topic of cancer since learning my own father has it.

So here are some other things I enjoyed about the novel. The chapters are short-- ranging from just a paragraph to a couple of pages. This obviously leads to quick and addictive reading.

Billy is funny and quirky, especially when he goes off on one of his fact lectures. What's really cool about this is just when you start to wonder what in the hell does this have to do with the story, Billy always finds a way to relate it back to the topic at hand which is truly brilliant. Here is one of my favorite examples, when Billy tries to describe and deny his attraction to Gretchen:

"It's just not fair.
Norepinephrine, phenylhydrazine, and dopamine, which act like amphetamines, hit my brain's pleasure center like a locomotive. My pupils dilate. My heart pumps faster. The chemical oxytocin floods my body, creating intense feelings of caring, attraction, and warmth. Physical contact produces endorphins and continued high doses of ocytocin. These chemicals are all natural opiates that create a druglike dependency.
I am so screwed."

Things really pick up when Twom (pronounced "tomb") Twomey enters the picture. I absolutely found Twom intriguing. Perhaps it's the mysterious bad boy thing he has going on. I loved how he shows no fear, the way he deals with the school bully John Montebello (one of my favorite parts), how he can be violent one minute but be sensitive enough to give some attention to the "fat girl". Billy can't help but gravitate toward him, perhaps because they both use facades to cover who they really are inside. I also found Twom's star-crossed love with Deliza interesting

With Billy and Twom becoming best buds, others start joining their little group. Ephraim, the introverted "nerd" who can hack into pretty much anything and the popular, gorgeous Deliza (who surprisingly falls for Twom)-- they start breaking into houses. Their purpose is not to steal anything-- Ephraim does it for the rush and cred since he loves tech stuff, it gives Twom and Deliza a place to make out among other things and Billy...well, he sleeps. You learn pretty early on that Billy also suffers from Insomnia. He can't sleep at home which is why he is basically a walking encyclopedia. But for some reason, in other people's homes, he can finally rest peacefully.

While some may find the culmination of the story startling (I won't lie, I had to go back and reread it a few times and then sit on it a few days until I figured out whether I liked the direction the story took me) I have to say the title says it all. As a teacher, I deal with kids from ages 11-18, five days a week and it never ceases to amaze me how they can take something so small and completely blow it out of proportion. Or if they had just taken the time to think things through, they would have come to a completely different conclusion or outcome. That is really all I can say without giving away the ending of the story.

I also must add that after doing a little research on author Stephen Metcalfe and finding out that while this is his debut novel, he is not new to the field. He is an accomplished screenwriter and playwright which explains why The Tragic Age feels like it can easily be turned into a film.

The Tragic Age is a true gem in a sea of coal. A breath of fresh air that follows its own formula, it is the type of novel that can be enjoyed by teens and adults alike. Stephen Metcalfe is a strong writer that cleverly intertwines many themes and topics without making the story feel convoluted. Lastly, while this novel would be an excellent addition to the high school classroom and would open up discussion on a variety of different topics, I must warn that there is adult language (cursing) and sexual situations. However, I hope that this does not deter educators from experiencing The Tragic Age and somehow find a way to incorporate it into the classroom. As a reader, you will find this coming-of-age novel funny, eye-opening  and told through the eyes of one of the most unique male characters in Young Adult literature.

best wishes,mia

about the author

Stephen Metcalfe wrote the production drafts for Pretty Woman, Dangerous Minds and Mr. Holland's Opus, among others. His stage plays have been produced in New York and at theaters throughout the US, Europe and Japan. He is an Associate Artist at The Old Globe Theatre in San Diego and has been an adjunct professor in dramatic writing at University of California at San Diego, University of San Diego and San Diego State University.

Connect With Stephen Metcalfe
Website | Facebook | Goodreads


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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

*BOOK REVIEW* Perfect Chaos (Unyielding, #1) by Nashoda Rose + Giveaway

Title: Perfect Chaos (Unyielding, #1)
Author: Nashoda Rose
Reading Level: Adult
Genre: Contemporary Dark Romance
Length: 248 pgs
Binding: E-book, Paperback
Published: 24 November 2014
Buy: Amazon, B&N, iTunes, KOBO



I lie to survive.

Have since I was sixteen and my world fell into chaos. But I found a way to endure, or rather it found me. Now I’m a prisoner of my own doing, hiding behind a false mask so no one sees the truth. Not even the man I want but can’t have—Deck. But I messed up and the lies are spilling over, out of control.

Deck is unrelenting and will settle for nothing less than the truth. He demands everything from me—EVERYTHING—even if it rips me apart.


I kill for a living.

Unyielding—It’s how I survive in my line of work. I bend people to my will…except Georgie. But that ends now. I've played her game for far too long, but not anymore. Now I think it's time we play mine.

*18+ due to sexual content, strong language and violence.

My Rating:

My Review: After being introduced to Deck in Overwhelmed by You, book 2 in the Tear Asunder series, I was just about frothing at the mouth for his and Georgie's story to be told. (You can read my review of Overwhelmed by You which includes my first impression of Deck HERE). The man just oozes sex appeal with his possessive, alpha male characteristics and strong, silent, take charge, take-no-shit attitude. Georgie, on the other hand, is his complete opposite in every way--an outgoing, outrageous flirt with a penchant for a bottle of hair dye. My curiosity was piqued-- how were these two going to work as a couple?

That being said, the best word to describe how I felt by the time I reached the last page of Perfect Chaos is...underwhelmed. It's been a couple of weeks since finishing the book and I'm still having trouble pinpointing exactly what bothered me. I was so sure this was going to be an easy slam dunk, 5 star rating kind of story. Imagine my frustration at only being able to rate it a 3.5 at best.

Here is what I did like. The first thing I noticed was the alternating perspectives between Deck and Georgie. I was so ecstatic and relieved to learn this because in Overwhelmed by You, the whole book was in Kat's perspective except for the Prologue. I thought the author was going to do the same with Perfect Chaos. Thankfully, the author must have realized the importance of giving Deck a voice. He's the type of character you definitely want to get inside his head.

I also thought the chemistry between Deck and Georgie was off the hook. The man was like a block of ice and only Georgie's fiery spirit and personality could thaw him out. I absolutely loved the way she would bait Deck by making him jealous. She would say some of the most outrageous things to get him riled up, whether it be her joking about being sexually involved with one of his men (Tyler) or pretending to be an out of control party girl heading down a bad road. She knew how to push his buttons and when she poked him too far, it was really fun (and hot) to see Deck finally claim her.

Nashoda Rose also writes in some great secondary characters which is one of the first things I admired about her Tear Asunder series. While we do get glimpses of Crisis and Kite-- two band members that still need their own books for that series, we are introduced to a new set of males, men that follow under Deck's leadership. Tyler, Vic, Kai-- Nashoda did a pretty good job giving these secondary characters just enough page time to pique your interest for future sitings as the series progresses.

While I still struggle to pinpoint some of the things that bothered me about the story, there were two problems that were quite clear. The first thing that bugged me was the lack of characterization for Deck. The author was on the right track by giving us his POV throughout the book, However, we barely scratch the service as far as getting to really know him. While we get flashbacks of Georgie, all we are told about Deck is that he had a troubled childhood. Key word TOLD. It would have been nice to be SHOWN which could have been easily done by giving us a few flashback scenes to a younger Deck. His character felt all surface, not enough depth and sadly, this was a huge turn off for me.

I was also bothered by an uncharacteristic choice the author made towards the end of the story. Deck is supposed to be the best of the best when it comes to security, safety-- especially when it has to do with Georgie. When he is out of the country on a mission, he either leaves a man behind to keep an eye on her or sets up cameras everywhere or has a tracker on her phone, etc. He's almost a bit OCD about it. Yet for some ungodly-- and uncharacteristic reason, Deck drops Georgie off at her apartment and leaves her alone. He doesn't have eyes on her or anything set up for her protection after learning that this terrifying organization known as VAULT is after her (well, not exactly after HER, but still she is in danger). Of course something bad happens because he left her which I won't get into further because of spoiler territory. My point is, this was just a very unbelievable part of the story-- as if the author couldn't come up with a better way to get Georgie alone. It just doesn't fit Deck's character at all which really bothered me.

Perfect Chaos definitely had its highs and lows. It started out strong with a heart wrenching opening and great alternating POV between hero and heroine. The chemistry between Deck and Georgie was HOT, the sex scenes were scorching, and the author does a good job setting us up with strong secondary characters to look forward to in future books. What seems to be lacking is a story that felt rushed and mediocre characterization and depth which makes it hard to fully relate and connect with that character. While I still plan to give this new series another shot, I find myself more looking forward to book 3 in the Tear Asunder series than I do for book 2 in this one.

best wishes,mia

about the author


Nashoda Rose lives in Toronto with her assortment of pets. She writes contemporary romance with a splash of darkness, or maybe it’s a tidal wave. Her novella "With You" is the first in the Tear Asunder series, followed by the novel "Torn from You" and "Overwhelmed by You". When she isn’t writing, she can be found sitting in a field reading with her dog at her side while her horses graze nearby. She loves interacting with her readers on Facebook and chatting about her addiction—books.

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Friday, July 18, 2014

*BOOK BLITZ* Tapout by JC Valentine + Giveaway


History brought them together. Circumstances may them apart.

Alyson Blake’s past left her with scars. Scars that she tried to fix the only way she knew how—by helping others. But actions have consequences, and Alyson is about to find out that being naïve is no excuse.

Fighting is Jamison Weston’s passion. Alyson is his obsession. Despite the past and a few lingering concerns, their relationship is as solid as ever. Until a shocking lie is uncovered and all of his plans begin to unravel. Now, Jami is rushing to pick up the pieces, but as relationships are put to the test, will he be strong enough to keep it together, or will it all just fall apart?


book info & buy links

Title: Tapout (Wayward Fighters, #2)
Author: JC Valentine
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Organized by: Book Enthusiast Promotions
Release Date: 5 July 2014

Buy Links

about the author

Best selling author J.C. Valentine is the alter-ego of Brandi Salazar, whose enjoyment of tales of romance spurred her to branch out and create her own. She lives in the Northwest with her husband, their wild children, and far too many pets. As a university student, she studies literature, which goes well with her dream of becoming an editor. Brandi entertains a number of hobbies including reading and photography, but her first love is writing fiction-in all its forms.

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good luck,mia

Thursday, July 3, 2014

*BOOK BLITZ* In Your Corner (Redemption, #2) by: Sarah Castille


A Publishers Weekly Best Summer Book 2014!

"You have to go. I won't be able to control myself. I've wanted you so bad for so long and after I've been in the cage...I can't think straight." He gives a guttural groan and his fist clenches on my hip.

Primitive. Primal. His need speaks to me. I tighten my grip on his neck and rock up to kiss him. He takes over. His kiss is hard and demanding.

"Mine." His voice is raw, savage and for a moment I truly believe he may lose control.

He rules in the ring

Two years ago, Jake and Amanda were going hot and heavy. But when Jake wanted more, Amanda walked away. Jake immersed himself in mixed martial arts, living life on the edge. But that didn't dull the pain of Amanda's rejection-until a chance encounter throws them together.

A high-powered lawyer, Amanda was a no-strings-attached kind of girl. But two years after her breakup with Jake, she still hasn't found anyone who gets her heart pumping the way he did. And then he shows up in her boardroom, hot as sin and needing help...

But can he rule her heart?

Jake is darker, sexier, and impossible to resist. As their chemistry builds, Amanda's not sure if she can stay in control, or if she's finally willing to let him claim her body and soul.



A few minutes later, we’re pressed up against the bar, a temporary wooden structure that looks like it could collapse at any moment. If not for Jake’s strength and determination, we would never have made it through the crowd. Even now he has one hand braced against the counter and his back to the heaving mass of people to give us breathing room.

The bartender shoves two cups of beer—the only item on offer—in our direction and I wrinkle my nose.

Jake laughs. “Still not a fan?”

“Not really. Especially if it’s warm, which I’m guessing it is.” I dip my finger in the cup and pop it in my mouth. The beer is indeed warm and very bitter, but the heat in Jake’s eyes as I slide my lips over my finger makes it easy to swallow.

“Again,” Jake murmurs, his voice husky and filled with sensual promise.

“You like that?”

“Yeah, baby, I do.” His hand tangles in my hair and he yanks my head back so hard my eyes tear. With his other hand around my waist, he pulls me tight against his body. I sense a shift in the crowd around us, and then people surge toward the stage, leaving us alone at the bar.

“You drive me fucking crazy.” With a nip, he parts my lips, and his tongue sweeps inside, searching, possessing, teasing, until my knees tremble and my body turns liquid.

“Remember that night we met?” He whispers against my lips. “We watched ourselves in the mirror, and you told me it was exciting to imagine we were in a crowd?”

“That was a good night.”

“The night I met you was the best night of my life.”

Before I can respond, he deepens the kiss. Tongues tangle, teeth clash, lips bruise. Lust, raw and ragged, tears through me, and I can only cling to his shoulders and hold on for the ride.

“We’re gonna do it now.” His voice deepens to a growl. “We’re gonna make that fantasy come true.”

book info & buy links

Title: In Your Corner (Redemption, #2)
Genre: Adult, Erotica, Romance
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Organized by: Xpresso
Release Date: 1st July 2014

Buy Links

about the author

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author, Sarah Castille, worked and travelled abroad before trading her briefcase and stilettos for a handful of magic beans and a home near the Canadian Rockies. She writes erotic contemporary romance and romantic suspense featuring blazingly hot alpha heroes and the women who tame them.

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Blitz-wide giveaway $50 Amazon giftcard (INT), 10 mini boxing glove keychains (US/CAN), 5 ecopies of Yield to Me (INT). a Rafflecopter giveaway

good luck,mia