November 28, 2015

Black Widow: Forever Red by Margaret Stohl Review!

Natasha Romanoff is one of the world's most lethal assassins. Trained from a young age in the arts of death and deception, Natasha was given the title of Black Widow by Ivan Somodorov, her brutal teacher at the Red Room, Moscow's infamous academy for operatives.
Ava Orlova is just trying to fit in as an average Brooklyn teenager, but her life has been anything but average. The daughter of a missing Russian quantum physicist, Ava was once subjected to a series of ruthless military experiments-until she was rescued by Black Widow and placed under S.H.I.E.L.D. protection. Ava has always longed to reconnect with her mysterious savior, but Black Widow isn't really the big sister type.
Until now.
When children all over Eastern Europe begin to go missing, and rumors of smuggled Red Room tech light up the dark net, Natasha suspects her old teacher has returned-and that Ava Orlova might be the only one who can stop him. To defeat the madman who threatens their future, Natasha and Ava must unravel their pasts. Only then will they discover the truth about the dark-eyed boy with an hourglass tattoo who haunts Ava's dreams. . . .
Black Widow: Forever Red features all the heart-pounding adventure readers expect from Marvel, written by #1 New York Times best-selling author Margaret Stohl. Uncover a new side of the Marvel Universe that will thrill loyal fans and newcomers alike, as Stohl reveals the untold story of Black Widow for the very first time.

                Before I even start this review, I have to give Stohl a virtual bear hug for writing this book because Black Widow has to be one of my favorite comic book/fictional character ever. So of course I was going to pick up Black Widow: Forever Red simply because it had Natasha in it. I was so glad I picked this book up too not only because it featured Natasha herself, but also two other characters who I quickly began to like.
                Black Widow: Forever Red was told from 3 changing POVs: Ava, Alex, and Natasha’s. Now, had I known that fact before buying the book, I might have been a little apprehensive about it because as some of you may know, multiple POVs is a huge turn off for me. However, I loved the way Stohl wrote all three POVs. There was no pattern to the change in POVs so it was always fun to start a new chapter and see whose view it was told from. Personally, I loved Ava's POV because she was an amazing character filled with a lot of emotion. She was the kind of character that you instantly gravitated towards because her story was so sad that you couldn't help but get attached. Ava was also a really strong character mentally. She could have been in the middle of a war zone and not run away screaming like I would have. I really admired that about her, and the fact that she had a free and loving side of her that showed up less often than the stoic side.
                Alex was also a really interesting character. I immediately got the sense that he was special somehow and it created a mysterious atmosphere about him that I wanted to uncover. He was a huge goofball sometimes, but also a scary fighter when he had to be. I loved reading about him interacting with the other characters in the book because he always seemed to make everyone love him. I know I did.
                Then we have the special characters (AKA the other Avengers) who everyone is wondering whether they show up in the book and the answer is yes. Some of our favorite characters associated with Black Widow made an appearance, and I loved it. It was also hilarious seeing Alex, who happened to be a superhero/Avenger fan react to meeting said characters. They were true to their original comic book characters as far as I am concerned, and it basically felt like I was reading another really long comic book. I would tell you who made an appearance, but that would totally ruin the surprise. However, I can talk about the plot!
                The plot of Black Widow was a really complex and interesting one. Some may say that the pacing in the beginning was a little slow, but I liked that about this book. First, we got to know a little about the characters, which was really important, then we got to the action. This book was full of action, mystery, and twists that will have you holding this book to your chest with your mouth dropped open in shock. I only know this because it happened to me. I was NOT prepared for the surprises and twists that this book had in store for me. I honestly did not see them coming, and I loved every minute of it because it had my attention focused solely on the book. The twists and mysteries aren't the only thing that had me hooked, the action had me on the edge of my seat too. I knew this book would be full of badass fighting scenes and awesome moves worthy of the Black Widow, but I wasn't prepared when Ava and Alex started acting like super spies too. Reading Ava's fighting scenes was exhilarating and fun. I loved reading about her fighting like Black Widow. Then I got to the part of the book that crushed my heart and left me in tears. Literally. That twist was one I did not see coming and it hit me like the Hulk. I wanted to cry and rant about it here, but I can't spoil it. Just know that the ending will leave you either hopeful that that certain event didn't happen or broken because you realize that event did happen and there is no going back. I'm in the latter category, and my eyes are leaking. THIS BOOK WAS NOT SUPPOSED TO MAKE ME CRY, AND I LOVE AND HATE IT FOR THAT, Damn it. *walks off crying hysterically*
                You guys really need to read this book because it will satisfy every part of you and leave you wanting, no, needing more. I cannot tell you how much I love this book. Ava, Alex, and Natasha were amazing and so was the plot. Those of you who love anything Marvel related, superhero related, or fans of mystery, action, and twists will adore this book. Black Widow: Forever Red has earned its rightful place on my favorites shelf. I give it five out of five stars!
I also had the pleasure of meeting Margaret Stohl at YALLFest 2016 in Charleston, SC and she was so awesome! It made my day meeting her.

November 23, 2015

Royal Marriage Market by Heather Lyons Cover Reveal!


            I am so excited to reveal the cover of Heather Lyons’ newest contemporary romance novel today! I jumped up and down when I saw that one of my favorite authors of all time was releasing not only a contemporary romance but one about royalty too! Now that I have seen the cover, I am immediately ordering when it releases on December 15th! I absolutely LOVE this cover. It looks elegant, eye-catching, and gorgeous all around. Daniela Conde Padron did an amazing job on it!

            Now check out what Royal Marriage Market is all about!


Every decade, the world’s monarchs and their heirs secretly convene to discuss global politics and social issues—and arrange marriages between kingdoms.

Elsa may be the Hereditary Princess of Vattenguldia, but she finds the entire situation archaic and unsavory. While she wants what's best for her country, she isn't about to jump into an unwanted relationship—let alone a marriage—with a virtual stranger. Of course, her feelings matter little to her parents, whose wheeling and dealings over trade pacts and alliances achieved at her expense begin the moment they set foot in California for the Summit. So when a blindingly handsome royal runs into her, she doesn't hesitate to tell him there's no way she's marrying him.

Christian is all too happy to agree: no marriage. As the Hereditary Grand Duke of Aiboland, his main goal is to get through the summit without a bride being foisted on him. Which is why he suggests they help each other field potential intendeds. As Christian slowly gets to know Elsa, though, he realizes they have a lot more in common than just their feelings about the Royal Marriage Market. Only he can't fall for her, because royal or not, they're not meant for each other.

Elsa and Christian will have to evaluate matters of the heart verses those of state and crown, and decide whether or not tradition trumps love. 

            I cannot tell you how excited I am to read this. Christian and Elsa’s story seem to be one that will be explosive and entertaining all around, and I am so excited to experience it! This seems like a book that is right up my alley!
            Check out an excerpt from the Royal Marriage Market below and see if you might like it too! I can already tell from the excerpt that I will highly enjoy this book.


“You go by Chris?”

             “It’s an acceptable nickname for Christian.” The owner of the name snatches his glass of champagne back, chugging the rest of the drink. Naturally, this promptly sets off another round of coughing.

            Parker is now the one to smack Christian’s back, and I am grateful because I most certainly do not need to be touching him again, even if in a life-saving gesture.

“Maybe so,” I murmur as Christian, rapidly turning redder from what surely must be embarrassment more than alcohol down the wrong pipe, shoves his friend’s hand away. “But it doesn’t fit.”

“If I might be so bold to ask, Your Highness, how so?” Parker inquires at the same time Christian wheezes, “What does that mean?”

            I side skirt the men to claim a chocolate covered strawberry from the dessert table. “Chris is a boring name.”

            “I believe you’ve just issued an unforgiveable insult to all the Chrises in the world,” Christian says flatly while Parker struggles to hold in his mirth.

            “Of course I haven’t. I simply said Chris is a boring name. Look at Elsa; it is a hopelessly old-fashioned name you find in old women who bake streusel. My parents aged me the moment I came out of the womb.” I point the zebra-striped berry at my sparring partner. “Now that is unforgiveable. You were given a nice name and have elected to make it boring when it doesn’t suit you one bit.”

            Too much silence expands between us; I am tricked into looking up at him once more. One of his dark eyebrows arches upward. “Are you saying you don’t find me boring?”

            Did I? Oh, bollocks. I did, didn’t I? I clear my throat and smile winsomely. “Just because I don’t wish to marry you doesn’t mean I find you boring as a bag of rocks.”

            Both of his eyebrows shoot up, as if I informed him grass is blue and sky is green. As if he doesn’t already know he’s interesting. Please. Must I remind him of all the glossies dedicated to his comings and goings?

“When we were children, His Highness was teased quite a bit about his name,” Parker tells me.

            I toss the strawberry stem back onto the table; it’s whisked up by a passing waiter in less than a second. “What! Why?”

            “I’m named after a religion,” Christian grinds out. “There was Prince Jew. Prince Muslim. Prince Buddhist. Prince Hindu. Prince Zoroastrian. There were lots of choices, you see.”

            Another moment I want nothing more than to just laugh and laugh. “How delightful. Now, those nicknames aren’t boring. Sacrilegious, yes, but definitely not boring.”

            “You have a seed in your front teeth,” is Christian’s response.

            “You are a veritable Prince Charming, publically pointing out women’s flaws. How chivalrous of you.”

It is annoying how much I like that he refuses to appear properly chastised.

It was great, wasn’t it?!
You can preorder the book now, which I highly recommend you do! It can be an early Christmas present to yourself!

Pre-order links:
                        Amazon               iBooks               kobo

About Heather Lyons:

Heather Lyons writes epic, heartfelt love stories and has always had a thing for words. In addition to writing, she’s also been an archaeologist and a teacher. She and her husband and children live in sunny Southern California and are currently working their way through every cupcakery she can find.

Check out Heather’s social media links! She is such a nice and cool person to follow.



November 16, 2015

Joyride by Anna Banks Review!

A popular guy and a shy girl with a secret become unlikely accomplices for midnight pranking, and are soon in over their heads—with the law and with each other—in this sparkling standalone from NYT-bestselling author Anna Banks.
It’s been years since Carly Vega’s parents were deported. She lives with her brother, studies hard, and works at a convenience store to contribute to getting her parents back from Mexico.
Arden Moss used to be the star quarterback at school. He dated popular blondes and had fun with his older sister, Amber. But now Amber’s dead, and Arden blames his father, the town sheriff who wouldn’t acknowledge Amber's mental illness. Arden refuses to fulfill whatever his conservative father expects.
All Carly wants is to stay under the radar and do what her family expects. All Arden wants is to NOT do what his family expects. When their paths cross, they each realize they’ve been living according to others. Carly and Arden’s journey toward their true hearts—and one another—is funny, romantic, and sometimes harsh.

     The beginning of Joyride really pulled me in. We obviously get to know a little about the characters before we see where the plot is going, and these characters are strong and interesting enough to pull you into the story. Carly was so awesome. Right from the beginning, I was fascinated by her and rooting for her. She seemed shy and reserved but she was a spitfire behind all that! She was also a hardworking and driven girl that anyone would cheer for. Carly had to work nonstop just to raise money for her family, and it really pulled my emotions into the story.
     Arden's story also pulled at my heart strings. Arden was trying to deal with what happened to his sister, and he slowly started opening up about it. That wasn’t the only thing about Arden that sparked my interest. He was also likeable, funny, and awkward. It was hard not to like him.  He is the kind of character that had a magnetism about him from the very start, and you just want to know more about him. Him and Carly were polar opposites and that's what made this book so fun and interesting. Plus, when he said "Do I have you like you have me?" I swear my heart melted.
     Then there was Sheriff Moss, who I hated with a fiery passion. A character as sinister and underhanded as him was easy to hate. But his character was important because he showed that sometimes, people in positions of power can let it go to their head and corrupt them. He was an interesting and complex bad I didn't like him.
     The plot of this book was another plus for me. We get to see both sides of how two different people live and it's really interesting and true. Joyride is also about how unfair life can be. Carly was running herself ragged day and night to make ends meet and sometimes not even that, and then Arden was letting his grades go down the toilet and going out at night pulling pranks. Of course, this book was also about the fact that no one is ever without trouble, tragedy, or issues and it's nice to see a book acknowledging that. There are so many surprises and shocking events that happen in this book that I just had to set the book down and think about what happened. I loved how Joyride wasn’t just about normal teenage problems; it was about the unique problems that some teens like Carly have to go through. It was about striving to provide for your family, being under the thumb of dirty cops, and dealing with the rest of the world working against you.
     Joyride allowed us to look into the lives of a semi-normal American and a semi-normal Mexican-American and the struggles that they had to go through separately and together. This was the kind of book that appeared to be a light and fluffy read, but once you got into it more, you began to realize that the book wasn’t so light and fluffy. With Joyride, the book you started with seems completely different from the one you ended with because the events that occurred in the book changed not only the character’s tone and attitude, but yours as well. I wish I could explain how great this book and its plot is, but you just have to read it for yourself.
     Also, the romance in this book will melt your heart. Arden was the kind of guy that protected those he loved and Carly was the kind of girl that loved with all her heart and did what she could to help those she loved. The little scenes between them where they opened up about their feelings kept me going in this book and their chemistry was great. Plus, the pranks were hilarious.
     I love books that make me laugh, make my heart melt, make me angry, and change my view on certain things and this book definitely did that. I give Joyride five out of five stars.