Review: Fighting Silence by All Martinez

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Fighting Silence

Author: Aly Martinez

Publication Date: 2/23/2015

Sound is an abstract concept for most people. We spend our lives blocking out the static in order to focus on what we believe is important. But what if, when the clarity fades into silence, it’s the obscure background noise that you would give anything to hold on to?

I’ve always been a fighter. With parents who barely managed to stay out of jail and two little brothers who narrowly avoided foster care, I became skilled at dodging the punches life threw at me. Growing up, I didn’t have anything I could call my own, but from the moment I met Eliza Reynolds, she was always mine. I became utterly addicted to her and the escape from reality we provided each other. Throughout the years, she had boyfriends and I had girlfriends, but there wasn’t a single night that I didn’t hear her voice.

You see, meeting the love of my life at age thirteen was never part of my plan. However, neither was gradually going deaf at the age of twenty-one.

They both happened anyway.

Now, I’m on the ropes during the toughest battles of my life.
Fighting for my career.
Fighting the impending silence.
Fighting for her.

Every night, just before falling asleep, she sighs as a final conscious breath leaves her.

I think that’s the sound I’ll miss the most.

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My Thoughts

I’m thinking I need to start watching boxing or UFC or something. That’s definitely my type of Alpha Male…

Fighting Silence is the first book in a trio of companion novels. It focuses on the relationship between Till and Eliza. Most of the book is spent with Till denying the obvious by trying to keep Eliza in the friend zone. He’s afraid to lose her. I can understand why since neither one of them have good examples of loving relationships, not to mention they both end up responsible for Till’s younger brothers, Flint and Quarry. (Hence the companion books..)

It was interesting reading about Till’s hearing loss and his coping with his harsh reality while still providing for his family. This guy is the ultimate provider. Really the only problem I had with him is when he kept Eliza at arms length.

This was my second Aly Martinez book, I loved the first one just as much as this one, she definitely knows how to write in a way that keeps me engrossed. From the tension of Till’s home life, to Eliza and Tills chemistry, to the unknown of his hearing loss there wasn’t a dull moment. I finished the book in one sitting because I just had to know what was going to happen.

I know I say this about most series but I’m serious when I say I can’t wait to read Flint’s story. We get a taste of what’s going on in his head towards the end of Fighting Silence and it left me beyond intrigued.

5star

Review: Asking For It by Louise O’Neill

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Asking For It

Author: Louise O’Neill

Publication Date: 4/5/2016

Emma O’Donovan is eighteen, beautiful, and fearless. It’s the beginning of summer in a quiet Irish town and tonight she and her friends have dressed to impress. Everyone is at the big party, but all eyes are on Emma.

The next morning Emma’s parents discover her in a heap on the doorstop of their home, unconscious. She is disheveled, bleeding, and disoriented, looking as if she had been dumped there in a hurry. She remembers nothing from the party.

That day several devastating photos from the party are posted online and go viral, eventually launching a criminal investigation and sending the community into tumult. The media descends, neighbors chose sides, and people from all over the world want to talk about her story. Everyone has something to say about Emma, whose life has been changed forever by an unthinkable and all-too-common act of sexual violence, but all she wants is to disappear.

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My Thoughts

Wow. This book. It was infuriating, frustrating, heartbreaking, and so so so true.

I have never understood victim blaming. I guess I’m the type of person that finds it so easy to believe the worst in people so even if the most good looking, community helping jock is accused of rape, I’m going to believe that he’s capable. To call a woman a slut/whore for what she wears seems so backwards to me.  Oh yes, she wore a short skirt, she definitely is asking for you to rape her.  But even though I don’t understand people’s backward logic, I’m not naive enough to think that everyone thinks the way I do and that’s a shame. A crime really.

Asking For It is such an important book. And it delivers it’s message in such an unorthodox way.  You see, I hate Emma.  I think she’s a stuck up snob who only gets enjoyment if people notice her.  If they aren’t looking at her then there’s something wrong.  Yet even though I hated her, I mourned for her. Her world gets changed upside down in the most horrific, gruesome way. She won’t ever heal from these acts.  How can she when everyone around her believes it to be through some fault of her own that this rape has occurred. I had the sickest feeling in my gut the entire way through the last half of the book only to turn the last page and feel such profound emptiness.  I still feel it.  I just want to break down and cry for this fictional character who represents way too many innocent individuals who have been told that they are guilty.

I will be saving this book.  I will give it to my daughter, and then to my son.  I will make sure they know about it’s subject.  I will make sure they know where I stand.

5star

Review: Surviving Raine by Shay Savage

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Surviving Raine

Author: Shay Savage

Publication Date: 5/19/2013

As the captain of a schooner catering to the elite on the Caribbean Seas, Sebastian Stark does his best to avoid any human encounters. Interacting with people isn’t his thing, and he prefers the company of a bottle of vodka, a shot glass, and maybe a whore. There’s no doubt he’s hiding from a checkered past, but he does well keeping everything to himself…

…until the night his schooner capsizes, and he’s stuck on a life raft with one of the passengers.

Raine’s young, she’s cute, and Bastian would probably be into her if he wasn’t suffering from alcohol withdrawal. As the days pass, DTs, starvation, and dehydration become the norm. Even the most closed person starts to open up when he thinks he’s going to die, but when she realizes their traumatic pasts are connected, it’s no longer the elements that have Bastian concerned.

He has no idea how he’s going to Survive Raine.

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My Thoughts

Man. Bastian is an arrogant asshole.

Good lord was it hard to listen to him. It was non stop bitching/whining on his part, I have no idea how Raine saw past it.  Really, I have no idea since Surviving Raine is told solely from Sebastian’s POV.  I really don’t like male only POVs, I usually end up missing the female emotions and as a result, have a hard time connecting.  Luckily though, even with Sebastian’s personality flaws and Raine’s lack of voice I found myself submerged in the story.

I love survival stories, especially when it involves an uninhabited island. I know I would never survive in a situation like what Raine and Bastian find themselves in but I can’t help thinking how nice it might be to have my own private island.

There is a lot that goes on in Surviving Raine but none of it feels forced or rushed, instead it moves along at a decent pace with enough interaction to keep things enjoyable.

There are a few things left unanswered which makes for a nice lead into Bastian’s Storm, the second book in the series. I wonder how Bastian will do in the real world and if he and Raine will survive the pressure of his wounded ego.

4star

Review: Whispers and The Roars by K. Webster

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Whispers and The Roars

Author: K. Webster

Publication Date: 12/6/2016

THIS STANDALONE IS BEST ENJOYED WHEN YOU DON’T READ ANY REVIEWS OR SPOILERS BEFORE READING. GOING IN BLIND IS BEST. TRUST ME.

When my eyes are closed, the monster can’t ever see me.
When I sing a song in my head, the monster can’t ever hear me.
When I pretend my bedroom is a playground where I play hide and seek, the monster can’t ever find me.

The darkness should frighten me.
I should worry I’ll find more monsters…monsters scarier than him.
But I’m not afraid.

It’s safe here.
When I’m inside of my head…

He. Can’t. Ever. Touch. Me.

Warning:
Whispers and the Roars is a dark romance. Strong sexual themes and violence, which could trigger emotional distress are found in this story. The abuse written in this story is graphic and not glossed over which could be upsetting to some. Proceed with caution. This story is NOT for everyone.

 

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My Thoughts

I’m actually not going to really review this one.  Why? Because I like to respect the author’s wishes…especially when they say to go in blind. And so I don’t want to ruin that for you.  What I do want to do is let you know that this was an EXTREMELY  hard book for me to read.  I actually couldn’t finish it.  Not because it was badly written, or boring, or hard to connect with… it was none of those things.  But because it pushed my limits on the ugly things in life that I expose myself to.  Does that make me weak? Maybe. But I escape in books and while I was able to submerge myself in this story I came out feeling the need for a shower to cleanse myself of the emotions I was feeling and that’s just not the type of reading I prefer to do.

By this point you can kind of get a hand on the types of books I read, I don’t often shy away from subject matter and trigger warnings don’t usually bother me.  But in this case I should have listened.  Hopefully that helps you judge whether or not you should give this one a shot.

ARC Review: Freeks by Amanda Hocking

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Freeks

Author: Amanda Hocking

Publication Date: 1/3/2017

Welcome to Gideon Davorin’s Traveling Sideshow, where necromancy, magical visions, and pyrokinesis are more than just part of the act…

Mara has always longed for a normal life in a normal town where no one has the ability to levitate or predict the future. Instead, she roams from place to place, cleaning the tiger cage while her friends perform supernatural feats every night.

When the struggling sideshow is miraculously offered the money they need if they set up camp in Caudry, Louisiana, Mara meets local-boy Gabe…and a normal life has never been more appealing.

But before long, performers begin disappearing and bodies are found mauled by an invisible beast. Mara realizes that there’s a sinister presence lurking in the town with its sights set on getting rid of the sideshow freeks. In order to unravel the truth before the attacker kills everyone Mara holds dear, she has seven days to take control of a power she didn’t know she was capable of—one that could change her future forever.

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*I received an advance copy of this book through Netgalley and the Publisher.*

My Thoughts

I haven’t read anything by Amanda Hocking since her Trylle trilogy, which I loved, but I’ve her Kanin Chronicles series on my shelf for a while and really need to get to it.  I usually have to reserve her books for when I’m in the right mood but luckily I was able to dive right in with Freeks and not reemerge until the story was over.

I absolutely loved the traveling side show setting.  I think I could learn to love traveling with a group of people that consider the entire team a family of sorts.  The book has an assortment of side characters each with their own eccentricities creating a diverse group of people.  And while we don’t get a huge amount of background on ever single individual, we get enough to make them seem fully formed.

It’s not long into the story that we are hit with the feeling that something is “off” in Caudry though it’s not til the end that we get the whole story. But the feeling of unease creates an excellent pacing that had me turning the pages quickly in hopes of solving the mystery. Overall events unfold in a timely manner, helping to create a sense of drawed out urgency (if that makes sense?) but it’s the ending that left me feeling a little underwhelmed.  Like I said we don’t find out the whole story til the last couple of chapters and everything unfolds in a way that left me saying “That’s it? It’s over?”.  Had the ending been a little more developed in resemblance of the rest of the book I probably would have given this an extra star, as it is it fell a little flat.

3star

Review: Heat Wave by Karina Halle

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Heatwave

Author: Karina Halle

Publication Date: 11/16/2016

They say when life closes one door, another one opens.
This door happens to lead to paradise.
And a man I can never, ever have.

~~~

Still grieving the loss of her sister who died two years ago, the last thing Veronica “Ronnie” Locke needed was to lose her job at one of Chicago’s finest restaurants and have to move back in with her parents. So when a window of opportunity opens for her – running a kitchen at a small Hawaiian hotel – she’d be crazy not to take it.

The only problem is, the man running the hotel drives her crazy:
Logan Shephard.
It doesn’t matter that he’s got dark brown eyes, a tall, muscular build that’s sculpted from daily surfing sessions, and a deep Australian accent that makes your toes curl.
What does matter is that he’s a grump.
Kind of an asshole, too.
And gets under Ronnie’s skin like no one else.

But the more time Ronnie spends on the island of Kauai, falling in love with the lush land and its carefree lifestyle, the closer she gets to Logan. And the closer she gets to Logan, the more she realizes she may have pegged him all wrong. Maybe it’s the hot, steamy jungles or the invigorating ocean air, but soon their relationship becomes utterly intoxicating.

There’s just one major catch.

The two of them together would incite a scandal neither Ronnie, nor her family, would ever recover from.

Forbidden, Illicit, off-limits – sometimes the heat is worth surrendering to, even if you get burned.

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My Thoughts

A quick read full of drama, family expectations, and sexual tension. Heatwave is the ultimate romance, perfect for a casual read. It has the most amazing location being that it takes place in Hawaii so it really combats the cold weather that we’re experiencing currently.

I really felt for Veronica, not only do her parents look down on her but she also has the shadow of her sister constantly hanging over her. A shadow that doesn’t vanish after Juliette’s early death. But that doesn’t deter Ronnie, even though she’s disappointed that she never seems to please her parents, she still finds a way to follow her dreams of becoming a chef.

Veronica and Logan’s story centers around the fact that they meet first at a party for Veronica’s mother. But before they even get a chance to test the waters Juliette comes in and steals Logan away. It’s not till after Juliette’s death that Ronnie and Logan get their second chance.

Honestly I had a hard time forgiving Logan for doing the same thing to Veronica that everyone in her life has done to her. Choosing Juliette first. Even if he does say he realized his mistake early on, it’s not like he did anything to change the situation. I also didn’t understand everyone’s big deal with Veronica and Logan’s relationship.  Obviously it’s a little weird for a sister to fall in love with her sister’s widower but it’s really no different than someone’s best friend growing closer to the best friend’s widower. Because of my feelings on that I didn’t really consider Heatwave to be a “forbidden romance”.

A classic Karina Halle romance, Heatwave proved to be just the right amount of steam to keep the winter chill away.  It felt like a tropical getaway on my couch.  Definitely worth the read!

4star

Review: Broken by Willow Winters

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Broken (A Dark Romance)

Author: Willow Winters

Publication Date: 10/7/2016

 

Heartless. Ruthless. Stone Cold Killer.

That’s me. I destroy anything in my path to get what I want.

Then she showed up. Olivia Bell. She’s sweet and innocent, and in the wrong place, at the wrong time.

Now she’s mine. My property. I own her. Given to me as a bargaining chip.

She’s not a part of my plans, but plans change. Her pouty lips and gorgeous curves beg me to break her.

Taking her lush curvy body, and ravaging it for all its worth would be easy, but I want to earn her submission. It’s addictive. I want it. I want her.

They wanted me to break her. I am. And I’m enjoying it. Now they want to take her from me.

Over my dead body.

Let them come for us. I’ll kill them all.

By the time I’m done, everyone will know. She belongs to me.

 

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My Thoughts

BDSM. I just don’t get it.

The relationship between Olivia and Kade is what drove me crazy the most.  The book starts with Kade kidnapping Olivia.  I mean, he has reasons… technically good ones… but yet he breaks her anyways. Against her will obviously.  At least with Fifty it was a mutual understanding so I could get behind it.

Olivia has a lot of internal monologue about whether or not she’s broken for finding herself enjoying what Kade puts her through, but the story takes place over three months and while he isn’t a complete animal to her, she is still his prisoner… meaning she has no choice but to do what he wants her to do.  But he is also her protector from all the other men around her, so it’s really no wonder that she starts to feel the need to please him and love him.  That’s the very definition of Stockholm syndrome.

Overall the writing and delivery was well done.  And I did enjoy reading Broken as long as I kept myself from thinking about the logistics of it.  Sometimes you just need to suspend reality to enjoy fiction.  So go into this and try to keep yourself from judging Kade as harshly as I did… If I look at it from Olivia’s pov I really can see why she would love him.  But I still consider it Stockholm’s and have a hard time accepting the ending.

3star