Monday, December 21, 2015

Early Review of Caught by You (Love Between the Bases #2) by Jennifer Bernard

Title: Caught by You: A Love Between the Bases Novel
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Love Between the Bases (Book 2)
Format: Paperback; 384 pages
Publisher: Avon (December 29, 2015)
ISBN-10: 006237219X
ISBN-13: 978-0062372192
Author's Website:
Notes:I received an eARC from the publisher for review purposes.

Donna and Mike have been flirting all season with it never going beyond. That suited both of them just fine. Everyone knows Mike takes a Vow of Celibacy at the start of every season and Donna, well, her life is complicated enough without adding a relationship into the mix. The attraction between the two is strong, and Donna likes nothing better than to tease the handsome young catcher for the Kilby Catfish. Knowing Mike always keeps Vow has made Donna a little more daring and reckless with her flirtation than she would otherwise be. Things, however, are about to change...

'"I've got news for you, Red." he whispered (...) "Season's over. The Vow of Celibacy has expired."

Donna's entire body, including her suddenly dry mouth, reacted to that piece of information. With a strangled squeak, she hurried toward the desk. (...)

"I'm going back to Chicago tomorrow, But before I go, I'd like to do something."(...) "We've been dancing around each other all season. Don't you want't to see if there's anything to this chemistry?"

Her eyes widened, "Here? Are you trying to add public indecency to all those fines?"

"Just a kiss. One kiss. There's nothing indecent about a Kiss."(...)

"There is if you do it right." And she lifted her mouth to his.' 

This was a fun story showcasing Ms. Bernard's hilarious brand of humor which keeps me chuckling, and looking forward to each new book she writes. Her stories give me that warm fuzzy feeling that puts you in a good mood long after you've read. This is the second book of the Love Between the Bases series and while I recommend you read 'All of Me' first, you won't feel lost if you don't. The reason for the recommendation is that this romance truly starts in 'All of Me', so if you want to see this one from start to finish, you'll want to read the first book in the series.

Donna is the kind of person people flock to. She's fun, good-looking, and the type of person who stays with you through thick or thin. While she looks like someone who is carefree, her life hasn't been all rainbows and fairy tales. She's got problems and her philosophy in life is you can either let things get you down and cry or, as she prefers to do, laugh at what life throws at you, and never let it get you down. That philosophy has worked great until now. Four years ago, at the age of 18, she got pregnant and had a child. While he's been living with his grandparents, the goal she's been working towards is standing on her own two feet and taking care of him full time. Suddenly that plan is put into jeopardy when her ex-boyfriend, her son's father, decides after years of having nothing to do with his child that he wants full custody.

Mike Solo is an all around nice guy with a grin that promises every kind of fun. He's also a talented baseball player who's been working towards getting himself into the major leagues. He's the kind of guy you expect to go places and do big things. His position on the team is catcher and he's got a reputation for being able to help pitchers become better. He has a knack for boosting their confidence and assisting with their pace. Many of the pitchers he's worked with have moved on to the majors. He's hoping his time has finally come.

What I liked about this story is these two seemed perfectly suited for each other. They each had been burned by someone they trusted which is one of the reasons why taking things slow during the season worked out well for each of them. They got to know each other's character prior to entering an actual relationship. The book does delve into some heavy material, so it's not as lighthearted a read as Ms. Bernard's The Bachelor Fireman of San Gabriel series, but it was well done and added some drama.

Overall, I gave this one 4 out of 5 roses. The heat between these two radiated off the pages. The flirty banter and teasing that went on between the two was grin worthy. Mike Solo is definitely one of Ms. Bernard's more swoon worthy characters. The only thing that bothered me is that Donna told no one, not ever her best friend, about her son. I wondered how often did she see him? I'd think keeping a child a secret for four years would be a hard thing to do in a town like Kilby. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating this one gets a STEAM rating--too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed.

Order of the series:

Friday, December 18, 2015

Seveneves by Neal Stephenson

Title: Seveneves
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Science Fiction/ End of the World
Format: Hardcover; 880 pages
Publisher: William Morrow; First Edition ~1st Printing edition (May 19, 2015)
ISBN-10: 0062190377
ISBN-13: 978-0062190376
Author's Website:
Notes: I borrowed this one from the library.

It happened like a thief in the night with only one stargazer seeing it seconds before impact. Something, most likely a meteorite, hit the moon shattering it into several pieces scattering its debris throughout the atmosphere. Most seemed unconcerned about the division until one scientist understood the full extent of what had just happened. After careful calculations and restless nights, he found his assumptions to be correct. and unleashed his finding upon the world. Life on Earth was about to end. Humanity had one or two years tops to figure out a way to survive the events that would surely come to pass. Bringing together the best minds of the time to solve the dilemma, the conclusion drawn was to expand the international space station and send a fraction of the population their to hang out for several hundred years until the Earth would once again be able to sustain life. This is the story of what happened.

According to Murphy's Law. anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. The question is how do you plan for it on such a large scale?

Seveneves was an interesting book that, in my humble opinion, went a little crazy, but I liked anyway. This was the third book I've read by Neal Stephenson. I didn't make it through Snow Crash, and while I may attempt to read it again, the first go around didn't impress or keep my interest. I made it through Anathem, but if I hadn't been listening to the audio, I probably wouldn't have made it through. It wasn't until the second half of the book that things picked up and started getting interesting. Seveneves, however, was full of things which would make ones inner techno geek squee, and kept a fairly good pace. If I hadn't known who the author was going into this book, I could have easily identified the individual as being male. (Just read it and I think you'll understand why I say this.)

The book is broken up into three parts. The first part focuses on the Moon's destruction, and the first year on Earth thereafter. The second part focuses on the cloud ark and the survival of the human race in space. The third portion is set 5,000 years into the future with the survivors' descendants attempting to terraform and repopulate the planet.  

The main concern during the first part of the book was 'How the heck do we survive this?'  The second portion was more focused on 'How do we have sex in a place without gravity, and who can I hook up with?' Yes, I'm exaggerating a bit, but I actually chuckled because I didn't expect quite so much of this in a science fiction book. I guess living in a place where there isn't much else to do would lead to amorous activity. The whole sex dilemma was rather ironic because in the end no men ended up surviving. Only Seven women do, hence the title Seveneves which refers to the seven woman who end up "mothering" the new world. Luckily one of the survivors was well versed in science of genetics. The third, and final part focused on going back to Earth, making it habitable, and repopulating it while dealing with problems many of which were unforeseeable and unexpected.
I liked how Stephenson went in depth into how and why the world as we know it ended. It's rare that an author explains this. Many just don't bother to go into detail about such things. What I liked most was the way the author seemed to really capture the temperaments, personality conflicts, and power struggles that would occur when a large group of people are stranded together in a small confining space. This element of the story was well written and very believable.

Overall, I gave this one 4 out of 5 roses. It was well written, had a nice pace, and was a fresh take on the end of the world scenario. The author carefully seeded the story with well crafted twists and turns which kept me surprised and entertained. The survival of only females was an interesting twist. The third part of the book is where Stephenson let his imagination and creativity soar. It was by far my favorite part of the book. The ending, however, was not all neat and tidy and left me wondering could a sequel was in the mix? I personally hope so.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Red Rising (Red Rising #1) by Pierce Brown

Title: Red Rising
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Science Fiction
Series: Red Rising (Book 1)
Format: Paperback; 416 pages
Publisher: Del Rey; Reprint edition (2014)
ISBN-10: 034553980X
ISBN-13: 978-0345539809
Author's Website:
Notes: I borrowed this one from the library.

'My life is a lie. So many times has Octavia au Lune told us of Lykos that we are the pioneers of Mars, that we are the brave souls who sacrifice for the race, that soon our toils for humanity will be over. Soon the softer Colors will join us, once Mars is habitable. But they have already joined us. Earth has come to Mars and we pioneers were left below, slaving, toiling, suffering to create and maintain the foundation of this … this empire. We are as Eo always said—the Society’s slaves. (...)

“They told us we were man’s only hope,” I say quietly. “That Earth was overcrowded, that all the pain, all the sacrifice, was for mankind. Sacrifice is good. Obedience the highest virtue …”(...)

“Reds were sent to Mars five hundred years ago. The other Colors came to Mars about three hundred years back, while our ancestors still toiled beneath the surface. They lived in the paraterraformed cities—cities with bubbles of atmosphere over them—while the rest of the world terraformed slowly. Now the bubbles are coming down and the world is fit for any man.

“HighReds live as maintenance workers, sanitation, grain harvesters, assembly workers. LowReds are those of us born beneath the surface—the truest slaves. In the cities, the Reds who dance disappear. Those who voice their thoughts vanish. Those who bow their heads and accept the rule of the Society and their place in Society, as all Colors do, live on with relative freedom.”

He exhales a cloud of smoke.

I feel outside my body, as though I’m watching the colonization of worlds, the transformation of the human species, through eyes that are not my own. The gravity of history drew my people into slavery. We are the bottom of the Society, the dirt. Eo always preached something of the like, though she never knew the truth. If she had known this, how much more passionately would she have spoken? This existence is worse than she ever could have imagined. It is not hard to understand the conviction with which the Sons of Ares fight.

“Five hundred years.” I shake my head. “This is our bloodydamn planet.”

“Through sweat and toil it was made so,” he agrees.

“Then what will it take to take it back?”

“Blood.” Dancer smiles at me like a township alleycat. There’s a beast behind this man’s fatherly smiles.

Eo was right. It comes to violence.'

This is the first book in the Red Rising trilogy and I cannot wait to read the final book. February cannot come soon enough and I've already got this one on pre-order. Of all the books I want to read in 2016, Morning Staris at the top of the list--not second, not third, but numero uno. I read this one and immediately devoured the second all in the span of two days. If you liked the The Hunger Games, you will probably like this series as well. It's like the grown up version of The Hunger Games meets the vision of Adolf Hitler's perfect world. (Scary, I know.)

The book takes place in the future on Mars after a group of humans has terraformed the planet and established their own rule over it. The division between societies is more than just economic based. Golds are stronger, taller, faster, and  thought to be smarter than the people of the other tiers. They've been bred to be so, although the details of how this was accomplished aren't mentioned. They are also vicious cut throats who have been born and raised into a dog eat dog world where only the strongest survive.

Darrow is a strong, smart, and charismatic individual who people tend to listen to and follow. He's a low red who has been chosen to be the person to infiltrate the Golds and bring them down. Think of David versus Goliath, but instead of taking down one individual he needs to bring down the whole of the society. Ironically, he isn't a violent or vengeful individual, and what sends him over the edge is the death of his wife, Eo. Had they left Darrow and his wife alone, nothing would have inspired him to attempt to go against the Golds. It is Eo's dream that gives Darrow's life purpose and spurs him to do what he normally wouldn't. Eo dreamed of a world in which their children could be born free to be who and what they'd like to be. To be able to own land and not live off the scraps that Golds throw their way. The opportunity to be more. 

One of the most significant hurdles Darrow must overcome is the differences in his physical appearance to the Golds. He's significantly shorter than the average Gold, has different coloring (hair and eye color), and doesn't have the surgical implants which identify a person as a Gold. I couldn't help but wonder if  his transformation was inspired, in part, by that of the Ethan Hawke character in the 1997 movie Gattaca where a genetically inferior man goes through extreme measures to take on the identity of another in order to become part of a team to travel into space. The film definitely came to mind while I read the transformation scenes, and both the film and this book made me cringe.

I ended up giving this one 4 1/2 out of 5 roses. The story managed to capture my attention from start to finish. At times it was a little slow, but I felt this was done as a means to emphasize the enormity of the transformation Darrow had to go through. It also afforded us our first glimpse of how the society works as we observe how some of the different casts interact. The task that Darrow is taking on is huge. Can one man make a difference? Well, I believe it was Joe Walcott who once said, "The bigger they are, the harder they fall." The question being once they've fallen, will they stay down for the count? I look forward to seeing what this author has up his sleeve. I just hope he can deliver what his first two books seemingly promise is coming. No pressure Mr. Brown. No pressure at all. *SMIRK*

Order of the series:

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Early Review of The Rogue Not Taken (Scandal & Scoundrel #1) by Sarah MacLean

Title: The Rogue Not Taken: Scandal & Scoundrel, Book I
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Scandal & Scoundrel (Book 1)
Format: Paperback; 432 pages
Publisher: Avon (December 29, 2015)
ISBN-10: 0062379410
ISBN-13: 978-0062379412
Author's Website:
Notes: I received an eARC loan from the publisher for reviewing purposes.

Lady Sophie looks down her nose at society. Growing up the daughter of a self made man who gained the title of Earl a decade earlier, she's straddled both sides of the tracks and found the ton lacking. She hates the snooty attitude of those who truly aren't any better (and sometimes far worse) than those they consider beneath them. When she comes across her brother-in-law (a Duke) at a garden party tossing up the skirts of someone who isn't her sister, she lets her fury loose, and pushes the cad into a fish pond. If the ton hadn't been present with a front row seat at the evening's soon to be most talked about event things may have ended differently. With her fury still fully engaged, she turned it upon the spectators and gave the ton, in its entirety, a piece of her mind for which they immediately, as one, returned by giving her the cut direct. Left with no immediate way to get home, she makes the rash decision to leave the party in the carriage of the only conveyance presently leaving. A carriage which happens to be owned by one London's most notorious rogues, the Marquess of Eversley. It's a decision that will change everything...

Once upon a time, Lady Sophie Talbot was considered the plain, least interesting and unfun one of the Talbot sister (aka Dangerous Daughters).Those days are gone.
Whenever I open up a book by Ms. MacLean, I get the same feeling as when I visit with a good friend I haven't seen in a long while and.catch up on the latest gossip, Granted, I don't personally know Ms. MacLean, but I think anyone who has ever read a book will agree that the personality of the author shines through, and I can't help but feel that if I ever had a long and meaningful conversation with her I'd find I like her very much. When I pick up one of her novels I know from experience that I'll be amused and entertained for a good number of hours, and be left with a smile on my face, and extra bounce in my step, and a feeling that all is well with the world. Her novels are well thought out, skillfully crafted, and oozing with charm, humor, strong heroines,witty banter and   heroes that have a habit of stealing their way into your heart. If I was single and could choose any author to craft my perfect match for me, Ms. MacLean would be among those at the top of my list. I started reading her stories with the publication of her second book, 'Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake' and a friend tipped my off that she had written another book, 'The Season', which I immediately read and devoured. Since then, I've eagerly awaited the publication of each and ever one of  the book she's written since. I am definitely a huge fan.

Lady Sophie is a woman who is caught between two worlds--the one she longs to go back to and one she doesn't feel she fits into. Despite what Eversly says, she is a fun character who is down to earth with no misgivings about the ton. The treatment that Sophie and her sisters receive at the hands of the ton tugged at my heartstrings and endeared her to me. For years she's been following the rules and its gotten her and her sisters little more than the title of "Dangerous Daughters" and the scrutiny of the scandal sheets. While her sisters like the attention, Sophie loathes it. She hates the falsity of the ton and all that goes with it. She's trying to find her place in the world. She just isn't convinced it's with the aristocracy.

Initially the Marquess of Eversley (aka King) seems as big a cad as Sophie's brother-in-law, but we quickly see there is more to him than initially meets the eye. King is a self proclaimed career bachelor haunted by events that took place fifteen years ago. He's been called home by his father who reportedly is on his death bed. Years ago King and his father had a major argument which led to King vowing never to return. He's never gone back and is only going home now to give his father a piece of his mind before he passes. When Lady Sophie ends up in his carriage, he reluctantly feels obligated to see her safely home, but things have a way of happening around Sophie and nothing goes as planned. As the two spend more and more time together, they slowly get to know one another and feelings start to develop. King becomes torn between what he now wants and what he thought he did.

Overall, I gave this one  5 out of 5 roses. A wonderful story about two misfits who may not be perfect, but are perfectly suited for each other. I loved seeing these two open up to each other, and understand exactly where the other was coming from. Both are romantics at heart who find love when they least expect it. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one earned a STEAM rating - too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed. If you haven't guessed, I highly recommend this book and author. If you've not yet read one of Ms. MacLean's books, now is the time to treat yourself to a special read.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Most Anticipated New Releases for December 2015

The following list is comprised of books, short stories, and novellas my friends, family, and I are most looking forward to reading in December. It also consists of books by popular authors and other authors or books I've heard a lot of hype about. I am not flawless in my endeavors and sometimes I'll accidentally leave one or more books off the list that I shouldn't. Let me know if one of your favorites is missing. Sometimes my search techniques just don't work as well as I wish they did.

The list is divided into weekly releases. If you'd like to read a book's description, just click on the cover photo and you'll be magically transferred to Goodreads. Remember, a book a day keeps the boredom at bay! Happy reading.

December 1st - Bane (The Westmorelands) by Brenda Jackson
December 1st - The Best Goodbye (The Rosemary Beach Series) by Abbi Glines
December 1st - Blood, Ink & Fire by Ashley Mansour
December 1st - Blood Kiss: Black Dagger Legacy by J.R. Ward
December 1st - Blood, Salt, Water: An Alex Morrow Novel by Denise Mina
December 1st - Commander in Chief: A Jack Ryanz Novel (Tom Clancy) by Mark Greaney
December 1st - Dead to the Last Drop: A Coffeehouse Mystery by Cleo Coyle
December 1st - Drawing Blood by Molly Crabapple
December 1st - A Dream of Ice: Book 2 of The EarthEnd Saga by Gillian Anderson and Jeff Rovin
December 1st - Every Crooked Path: The Bowers Files by Steven James
December 1st - Fat Tuesday Fricassee (Biscuit Bowl Food Truck) by J. J. Cook
December 1st - Ghost in the Wind (A Haunted Guesthouse Mystery) by E.J. Copperman
December 1st - Give Up the Ghost: A Haunted Home Renovation Mystery by Juliet Blackwell
December 1st - Glow by Beth Kery
December 1st - Guilty as Cinnamon: A Spice Shop Mystery (Spice Shop Mysteries) by Leslie Budewitz
December 1st - Here Today, Gone Tamale: A Taste of Texas Mystery by Rebecca Adler
December 1st - House of the Rising Sun: A Novel (A Holland Family Novel) by James Lee Burke
December 1st - Indirect Lines by Dana Marie Bell eBook version ONLY
December 1st - Make Me Stay (A Hope Novel) by Jaci Burton
December 1st - A Murder in Mohair (Black Sheep Knitting Mysteries Book 8) by Anne Canadeo
December 1st -Nevermore: A Cal Leandros Novel by Rob Thurman
December 1st - Oblivion (A Lux Novel) by Jennifer L. Armentrout
December 1st - Ornaments of Death: A Josie Prescott Antiques Mystery (Josie Prescott Antiques Mysteries) by Jane K. Cleland
December 1st - The Painter's Daughter by Julie Klassen
December 1st - Pouncing on Murder: A Bookmobile Cat Mystery by Laurie Cass
December 1st - Precious Gifts: A Novel by Danielle Steel
December 1st - The Readaholics and the Poirot Puzzle: A Book Club Mystery by Laura DiSilverio
December 1st - Resolution (Swept Away) by J.S. Cooper
December 1st - Santa Sleuth (Zoe Donovan Mystery Book 18) by Kathi Daley
December 1st - Scorched Eggs (Cackleberry Club series Book 6) by Laura Childs
December 1st - Shadow's End: A Novel of the Elder (A Novel of the Elder Races) by Thea Harrison
December 1st - Sweet Ruin (Immortals After Dark) by Kresley Cole
December 1st - Their Fractured Light: A Starbound Novel by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
December 1st - Thunderbird by Jack McDevitt
December 1st - To Brew or Not to Brew: A Brewing Trouble Mystery (Brewing Trouble Mystery Series) by Joyce Tremel
December 1st - What She Knew by Gilly Macmillan

December 8th - Ashley Bell: A Novel by Dean Koontz
December 8th - Before (The After Series) by Anna Todd
December 8th - Coming Back by Lauren Dane
December 8th - For the Heart of Dragons by Julie Wetzel eBook version ONLY
December 8th - The Forgotten Recipe (An Amish Heirloom Novel) by Amy Clipston
December 8th - The Lady Who Lived Again by Thomasine Rappold
December 8th - Secret Sisters by Jayne Ann Krentz
December 8th - Tipping Point: The War With China-The First Salvo (Dan Lenson Novels) by David Poyer

December 15th - The Bone Labyrinth: A Sigma Force Novel (Sigma Force Novels) by James Rollins
December 15th - Broken Promises (Trystan Scott Novel) by H.M. Ward
December 15th - Bryant & May and the Burning Man: A Peculiar Crimes Unit Mystery by Christopher Fowler
December 15th - Frozen Tides: A Falling Kingdoms Novel by Morgan Rhodes
December 15th - License to Quill by Jacopo della Quercia
December 15th - Untamed: A Splintered Companion by A. G. Howard

December 22nd - A Chance of a Lifetime by Marilyn Pappano
December 22nd - Maybe Not: A Novella by Colleen Hoover
December 22nd - My Kind of Wonderful (Cedar Ridge) by Jill Shalvis
December 22nd - See How They Run (Embassy Row, Book 2) by Ally Carter

December 29th - After She's Gone (West Coast Series) by Lisa Jackson
December 29th - Anything for You (The Blue Heron Series) by Kristan Higgins
December 29th - Caught by You: A Love Between the Bases Novel by Jennifer Bernard
December 29th - Chasing a Brighter Blue by Gerri Hill
December 29th - Dukes Prefer Blondes (The Dressmakers Series) by Loretta Chase
December 29th - The First Hostage: A J. B. Collins Novel by Joel C. Rosenberg
December 29th - The Forgotten Soldier: A Pike Logan Thriller by Brad Taylor
December 29th - The Hunting Trip: A Novel of Love and War by William E. Butterworth
December 29th - The Lady's Command (The Adventurers Quartet) by Stephanie Laurens
December 29th - Mastered (The Enforcers) by Maya Banks
December 29th - Point Blank (Sisterhood) by Fern Michaels
December 29th - The Rock (Highland Guard) by Monica McCarty
December 29th - The Rogue Not Taken: Scandal & Scoundrel, Book I by Sarah MacLean
December 29th - Shameless: A Bitter Creek Novel by Joan Johnston
December 29th - The Short Drop by Matthew FitzSimmons
December 29th - Untouchable Darkness (The Dark Ones Saga Book 2) by Rachel Van Dyken (eBook only; shorter than your average book;189 pages)
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...