Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Early Review of Disorderly Conduct (Academy #1) by Tessa Bailey

Title: Disorderly Conduct
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: The Academy (Book 1)
Format: Paperback; 384 pages
Publisher: Avon (August 29, 2017)
ISBN-10: 0062467085
ISBN-13: 978-0062467089
Author's Website: https://www.tessabailey.com/
Notes:  All quotes need to be checked against final copy as they are subject to change. I received an eARC loan from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I am also an Avon Addict which means I love the books that Avon publishes enough to volunteer to read as many ARCs and books as they can send my way. So you'll be seeing a lot of books reviewed by me from this publisher. Please note, however, that if I don't like a book, it will be truthfully reflected by a low rating.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
Ever Carmichael has been told from little on that you can have anything you want in this world, but don't you dare believe a man when he says he can give it to you. You see, Ever comes from a long line of mistresses. Unlike her predecessors, however, she has scruples. She doesn't go for married men only those married to their jobs. When she spies Charlie at a bar he appears to holds all the right signs of being married to his law enforcement career. So she puts him through a series of questions to find out if he fits her criteria. He answers all of them correctly save one...

"Which part of the movie Titanic did you cry over?"(...)
"When the old people are holding each other in the bed..all the water rushing around them. I might have gotten a little misty."

Charlie Burns is not like the other men she's known. Is he a relationship guy disguised a s a casual fling? She just can't figure him out. When she decides to throw caution to the wind and give in to the attraction she'll get more than she ever bargained.
This was a traditional romance disguised as an erotic read. Thankfully, Charlie and Ever introduced themselves (yes, my friends have laughed at me for complaining about this not being the case in an erotic read) before going at it like rabbits. I found myself in equal measures laughing and shaking my head at this couple. Charlie is a bit full of himself at the start and Ever manages to keep him on his toes and, surprisingly, makes him prove he's worthy of her love. He's never too sure of his standing with her and she kind of likes it that way.

Ever is convinced that after a month she'll drop Charlie like a brick and never look back. Charlie has other ideas. There is a lot of fun wrapped up in this small story, and some of the things Charlie does to win Ever over are hilarious. I couldn't help but come away from this story with a huge grin on my face.

Overall, I gave this one 4 1/2 out of 5 roses. Usually I don't go above 4 with erotic reads, but I loved these two as a couple enough to forgo that rule. The only thing that slightly annoyed me was his nickname of 'cutie' for Ever. It kind of rubbed me kind of the wrong way--think nails on chalkboard--although for the life of me I have no idea why. I guess it's just one of those unexplainable things. While the speed dating episode could have come off a little creepy I found it rather charming, if a little devious. The image it conjured in my head left me laughing all day. On the Romance Rating Scale, this one earned a SHOWER rating--a cold shower is necessary (need I say more?). Some books should come with a warning--make sure your significant other is handy or your shower is in working order. This was a truly enjoyable read. lol

Monday, August 14, 2017

Early Review of Invictus by Ryan Graudin

Title: Invictus
Classification: Young Adult
Genre: Science Fiction
Format: Hardcover: 464 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (September 26, 2017)
ISBN-10: 031650307X
ISBN-13: 978-0316503075
Author's Website: http://www.ryangraudin.com/
Notes: I received an eARC loan from the publisher via NetGalley. Thank you.

Once upon a time a boy was born out of time. His mother was a time traveler from 2354 AD sent to accurately record history when it happened as it happened. His father was a gladiator hailing from ancient Rome in the year 95 AD. There are rules about such liaisons, but one can't always choose whom one will fall in love with. The transgression alone did not cause reason for alarm. What did, however, was that while traveling between times Far's mother, Empra, gave birth. At first things appeared to be just fine, but then strange and unexplainable things began to happen...

This is Farway 'Far' Gaius McCarthy's story.

Out of the night that covers me, 
 Black as the pit from pole to pole, 
I thank whatever gods may be 
For my unconquerable soul. 

In the fell clutch of circumstance 
I have not winced nor cried aloud. 
Under the bludgeonings of chance 
 My head is bloody, but unbowed. 

Beyond this place of wrath and tears 
  Looms but the Horror of the shade, 
And yet the menace of the years 
      Finds and shall find me unafraid. 

It matters not how strait the gate, 
   How charged with punishments the scroll, 
I am the master of my fate, 
I am the captain of my soul. 


Far is about to graduate from the Academy. He's top in his class and doesn't make mistakes only calculated risks. When he takes his final exam, however, something goes amiss. He's convinced someone sabotaged his examination simulation program, but no one will believe him. They say that's just not possible and "final exams are final." The result is him not graduating and instead of becoming a cadet who travels through time, he's grounded with no possibility of the decision ever being reversed. So instead of earning a spot of the coveted Central Time Machine as he'd hoped, he's offered the illegal, yet much more lucrative position of commander of his own ship. He'll lead a crew of essentially time bandits and they'll travel through time rescuing historical artifacts, documents, books, etc. before they're destroyed forever by the ravages of war, natural disasters, fire and time. Did his potential future employer or someone else sabotage his Sim module or is something much more nefarious underfoot? He'll eventually get to the bottom of things. It'll just take some time. Luckily, he appears to have all the time in the world.*smirk*

Overall, I gave this one 4 1/2 out of 5 roses. It was a fun story that dealt with time traveling and multiverses. It also deals with the butterfly affect and how one seemingly small and insignificant change can bring about large unforeseeable consequences. Additionally, it inspires one to question what things could go wrong if people could time travel, and if you could change one decision in your life how would your life be different? Surrounded by a crew of his best friends I enjoyed watching this merry band of traveling companions travel through time and uncover a few treasures and mysteries along the way. I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

Friday, August 4, 2017

The Driver by Hart Hanson

Title: The Driver: A Novel
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Format: Hardcover; 336 pages
Publisher: Dutton (August 8, 2017)
ISBN-10: 1101986360
ISBN-13: 978-1101986363
Author's Website: n/a
Notes: I received an eARC from the publisher through Netgalley. Thank you.

Michael Skellig is a highly decorated war veteran. When he left the military he pursued a career in politics hoping to make a difference that would benefit injured and returning veterans. When he learned it would be years before anyone would reap the benefits of what he was doing, he quit politics, opened a limo service, and employed veterans who needed a hand up and not a hand out. To date he has three employees two of which are veterans. One is nicknamed Tinkertoy who is dealing with psychological issues among them PTSD and the other is Ripple, a double amputee dealing with the loss of his limbs and, subsequently, his wife. The third employee is an illegal immigrant whom Michael somehow managed to smuggled into the country from Afghanistan. All three depend on him and together have formed an unlikely bond for better or worse.

At first running a limo service seemed fairly simple and straightforward until one day, while waiting for a client, he heard trouble (literally and figuratively) whispering on the wind. When he goes to make sure his latest job isn't cut short by a killing, he stops an assassination attempt and, in doing so, gets caught in the middle of one deadly game. This is that story.
I wasn't sure what to expect when I started reading this one. A skateboarder hip-hop mogul? A limo driver? It seemed like a strange mix. Michael Skellig did not impress me all that much at first, but he sort of grew on me as the story progressed. He's a man who does what needs to be done and, unlike many, takes everything into account before acting.  He's also haunted by the ghosts of those he's killed so while he may have no regrets over what he's done, he's not totally unaffected either.

Bismarck Avila reminded me of a black rough and tough street punk version of Tony Hawk. I would have liked him to have had a little more depth to his character because I felt it would have enhanced and solidified the story more. He was portrayed as the stereotypical jerk who has more money than he knows what to do with who 'wants what he wants' and will do everything in his power to manipulate those around him to get it. While he held a major role in what was happening, he felt a little one dimensional to me.

Overall, I enjoyed the story and gave it 3 1/2 out of 5 roses. It was loaded with plenty of twists, turns, suspense, and drama. The main character was flawed but very likeable with his heart in the right place. The secondary characters were interesting and I look forward to getting to know them better and seeing them grow as the series--I'm assuming and hoping this is the first in a series--progresses. I have to confess, however, I would have liked to have seen this limo company be used as a sort of undercover capacity. Perhaps used to take down corrupt individuals/groups throughout the city? Possibly hired in a consultant type of manner to spy on subjects of interest? Since the employees are all former military with Michael having been part of a Special Ops unit I'm thinking he could have some mad skills in that area? I have a feeling, however, the author will make him into a hero/vigilante reminiscent of  the character Windsor Horne Lockwood III, aka "Win", from Harlan Coben's Myron Bolitar series. I guess we'll have to wait and see where this author will take this motley crew. I, for one, am looking forward to it.

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