Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Getting Naked: The Dating Game by Tamra Mercieca

Title: Getting Naked: The Dating Game
Author: Tamra Mercieca


Published Date: November 13, 2012

Buy on Amazon: Paperback & Kindle

Author Website: http://www.gettingnaked.com.au/wardrobe.html


Unzip those fashionably worn figure-hugging jeans, slip off your beautifully laced French knickers and join Tamra in Getting Naked as she bares all in this provocative memoir. This manicured manuscript tells the sweet yet seductive tale of a woman's search for love, and what to do when the elusive desire for that all-encompassing heartfelt connection turns into a string of piercing heartbreaks. 
You will not find a typical love story with a happy ending inside the covers of this tantalising text. The Dating Game reveals the honest truth about modern love; the dating landscape of games, relationship faux pas, and the unspoken rules of technologically enhanced communication we must embrace in order to line up our next romantic rendezvous. 
Tamra strips back the layers in order to navigate her way through the racks of vulnerability and ill-fitting threads that have collected dust and stopped her opening her heart to love. As she clears out the wardrobe, she soon discovers that the truly unique garment she was looking for has been with her all along.
My Thoughts:

Tamra Mercieca's Getting Naked: The Dating Game is a biography/memoir that centers around Tamra's love life and finding happiness.  Getting Naked begins after Tamra gets out of a five year relationship.  She then begins a journey of self-discovery and finding Mr. Right.  Along the way, Tamra begins learning all she can about relationships, men, and what makes them tick.  

I really enjoyed how open Tamra was with readers throughout her book.  She was not one to shy away from controversial topics or embarrassing moments.  She faced her past head on and let readers experience what she was feeling.  It was very refreshing to see how the dating world is for single woman during this day and age in Australia vs America. Tamra led readers on her journey through online dating, blind dates, one night stands, friends with benefits situations, speed dating, and more.

Tamra is an extremely talented woman living in Australia.  During Getting Naked, Tamra is a successful news anchor on Australian radio, a drummer, author, and journalist.  She also shared how she was working on receiving her credentials to be a Relationship Therapist (which she now is.) 

Tamra Mercieca's Getting Naked: The Dating Game really opened my eyes to how many guys tick.  They can be just as body conscious, shy, and affectionate as women.  At the end of Tamra's memoir, she had gone full circle with most of the men in her life and was happily single.  I would love to see a part two to Getting Naked somewhere down the line to see if she every found 'the one.'  If you are looking for insight into relationships, men, or finding your self worth, Tamra Mercieca's Getting Naked: The Dating Game is for you!   

Tamra Mercieca
The author has provided me a complimentary copy of her book, Getting Naked: The Dating Game, for the purpose of review.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Sweetest Taboo by Eva Marquez

Title: Sweetest Taboo
Author: Eva Marquez

Publisher: Terra Mia Press

Published Date: October 14, 2012

Buy on Amazon: Paperback & Kindle  

Author Website: http://www.eva-marquez.com/


Isabel Cruz was fifteen years old when she met Tom Stevens. She was 15 when they started dating, and 16 when she lost her virginity to him. By the time she turned 18 and went to college, everything had fallen apart. 
This hadn’t been an ordinary love, though. Not a love between two dear friends, or even high school sweethearts. This had been the most taboo sort of love there was: a relationship between a student and her teacher. Isabel started her high school career as a normal student, but set her sights on Tom Stevens as soon as she met him, and pursued him with an intense – and sometimes reckless – fascination. When he finally approached her after swim practice and told her that he shared her feelings, it was the start of a forbidden and dangerous relationship.
My Thoughts:

Sweetest Taboo, by Eva Marquez, is a controversial book that takes a very close and personal look at a sexual relationship between a teacher and a student.  Marquez is able to tackle the forbidden, or 'taboo', relationship in a respectful and classy way.  However, that doesn't make the subject matter any less shocking to read about.  Marquez does a great job in creating a story where the reader has to think, reflect on his/her beliefs, and then think some more.

Sweetest Taboo takes place over the span of four years. When it begins, Isabel is a fifteen year old high school student who is just coming into her body.  She is finding that she likes the attention she receives from boys and looks forward to a fun sophomore year.  

After joining the swim team, thoughts of teenage boys are soon put on the back burner as Isabel finds herself fantasizing about her handsome swim coach, Tom Stevens, who also happens to be a teacher at her school.  At first Isabel believes her dreams are delusions since Mr. Stevens is in his late thirties, married, and has children.  However, Isabel soon realizes that there may be hope of a relationship when she discovers that Mr. Stevens is looking at her, finding ways to have their touches linger, and makes excuses to get her alone.

What starts as a somewhat innocent flirtation turns into a sexual relationship that lasts from Isabel's Sophomore to Senior year.  Their relationship has its ups and downs, as well as close calls.  Isabel is in a constant state of worry.  She is afraid her parents will find out, along with her peers, Tom's family, the school administration, and the police.  Isabel also worries that someone will walk in on them in a compromising position.  She never feels safe and is always looking over her shoulder.  Many times Isabel tries to break things off with Tom, but he is always able to draw her back to him.  There is something about Tom that Isabel can't resist.  He definitely has a power over her.         

I constantly found myself with two opposing viewpoints while reading Sweetest Taboo.  Marquez starts off her novel by writing, "Sometimes, regardless of the ages of the participants, it is just that.  Love.  True and pure as it can be between two people, and strong enough to lat through the years." (Marquez ix)  This opening set me up to think that maybe, just maybe, the relationship that I was beginning to read about was pure and both parties were on the same page.  However, throughout the novel there were many times when I felt myself cringing over Tom and Isabel.  Was I uncomfortable because student/teacher relations are a taboo, the major age difference, or was it because Tom wasn't who he seemed to be?  Was he truly the honest and caring man that fell in love with Isabel, or was he a man that got off on having power over young, influential girls?  Never in a novel have I battled back and forth with myself as much as I did in Sweetest Taboo. 

Eva Marquez has written a thought provoking and controversial novel.  It is hard to read Sweetest Taboo without having some kind of emotional reaction.  Sweetest Taboo is the first novel in a 3 book series.  The second book in the series is called Tainted Love and takes place while Isabel is in college.  I'm curious to read this book to see if the last opinion I formed of Tom and Isabel's relationship will change now that she is of age.      

Eva Marquez

Eva Marquez has provided me with a complimentary copy of her book, Sweetest Taboo, for the purpose of review.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Shadow on the Crown by Patricia Bracewell

Title: Shadow on the Crown
Author: Patricia Bracewell

Publisher: Viking Adult

Published Date: February 7, 2013

Buy on Amazon: Paperback & Kindle 

Author Website: http://www.patriciabracewell.com/


A rich tale of power and forbidden love revolving around a young medieval queen

In 1002, fifteen­-year-old Emma of Normandy crosses the Narrow Sea to wed the much older King Athelred of England, whom she meets for the first time at the church door. Thrust into an unfamiliar and treacherous court, with a husband who mistrusts her, stepsons who resent her and a bewitching rival who covets her crown, Emma must defend herself against her enemies and secure her status as queen by bearing a son.

Determined to outmaneuver her adversaries, Emma forges alliances with influential men at court and wins the affection of the English people. But her growing love for a man who is not her husband and the imminent threat of a Viking invasion jeopardize both her crown and her life.

Based on real events recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Shadow on the Crown introduces readers to a fascinating, overlooked period of history and an unforgettable heroine whose quest to find her place in the world will resonate with modern readers.
My Thoughts:

Reading Patricia Bracewell's Shadow on the Crown made me realize how much I have missed reading historical fiction.  There was a time when all I wanted to read was historical fiction; I couldn't get enough of it. However, as different genres of books were recommended to me by friends I unknowingly found myself drifting away from historical fiction.  Reading Shadow on the Crown has definitely renewed my historical interest, if you will.

Bracewell's Shadow on the Crown has everything that I look for when reading historical fiction.  She literally transported me back to 1001-1005 England where I was able to easily visulize the landscape and get a feel of the social and political atmosphere.  Many of the events that Bracewell writes about are documented and most of her characters are based on true historical figures.  However, much of the plot has been made up for entertainment purposes.     

Shadow on the Crown centers around a real person from history: young Emma, the sister to the Duke of Normandy and Queen of England.  Due to political unsteadiness with Denmark, Emma's brother promises her hand in marriage to King Athelred of England, an older royal with grown children of his own.  Emma must leave her home in Normandy and everything she has ever known, including her native tongue.  However, she is a quick learner of language and surprises everyone with the speed at which she picks up England's language.  

Emma's marriage to King Athelred is not one of passion, friendship, or respect.  Athelred felt forced to marry again when his previous wife passed.  He is not happy about having to name Emma as the Queen.  Emma finds Athelred can be cruel and is only worried about himself.  She feels quite alone in England and fears her brother, the Duke of Normandy, will enter into an agreement with England's enemy Denmark that will place herself in danger.  In order to secure her future safety, Emma must give the King a son.  Throughout the novel, Emma finds herself besotted with King Athelred's eldest son, Athelstan.  Making a promise to herself to remain loyal to her vows, Emma curses the fact that she was betrothed to the father and not the son.    

Shadow on the Crown takes place between the years of 1001-1005, a very dangerous time in England's history when it was ruled by the Anglo-Saxon King Athelred and pillaged by Vikings.  Bracewell's novel is the first in a series about Emma, the strong and intelligent Queen of England.  I was not familiar with Emma before reading Shadow on the Crown and I look forward to learning more about her in Bracewell's next book.  If you are a lover of historical fiction, Patricia Bracewell's Shadow on the Crown is definitely a book you should place on your To-Be-Read list. 

Patricia Bracewell

The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of the book, Shadow on the Crown, for the purpose of review.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Entwined with You by Sylvia Day

Title: Entwined with You
Author: Sylvia Day

Publisher: Penguin Publishing

Published Date: June 4, 2013

Buy on Amazon: Paperback & Kindle

Author Website: http://www.sylviaday.com/


From the moment I first met Gideon Cross, I recognized something in him that I needed. Something I couldn't resist. I saw the dangerous and damaged soul inside--so much like my own. I was drawn to it. I needed him as surely as I needed my heart to beat.

No one knows how much he risked for me. How much I'd been threatened, or just how dark and desperate the shadow of our pasts would become.

Entwined by our secrets, we tried to defy the odds. We made our own rules and surrendered completely to the exquisite power of possession...
My Thoughts:

As a book reviewer I receive many books from authors and publishers to read.  I always enjoy discovering novels that I would not have normally known about as it has definitely broadened my literary world.  I have been lucky enough to discover many great authors and novels and I enjoy sharing them with you.  With this said, while reading the novels that are sent to me only a few have found themselves a revered spot on my bookcase, which is for my very favorite books.  On my 'special' shelf are three books in the Crossfire Series by Sylvia Day: Bared to You, Reflected in You, and Entwined in You.  

I first read Bared to You in May of 2012 and was literally blown away.  I was pretty obsessed with the Fifty Shades books and was on the hunt for anything that would compare.  I didn't realize when I picked up Bared to You that I was about to find a series that would put Fifty Shades to shame.  I quickly read Day's novel revolving around the dangerously sexy Gideon Cross and his equally damaged love interest Eva and couldn't get enough (my 2012 review of Bared to You can be found at http://endlessdaysofbooks.blogspot.com/2012/05/bared-to-you-by-sylvia-day.html).  

I have had a countdown to the release of each new book in the Crossfire Series.  Entwined with You, the third book in Day's series, came out on June 4th and I have literally been counting the days since I finished Reflected in You in OctoberI don't quite know what it is about Gideon and Eva that grabs me and won't let me go, but Sylvia Day's Crossfire novels have 'it.'  And yes, for those wondering I am already anxious to read what is next for Gideon and Eva in the fourth book, Captivated by You, which does not yet have a release date.  If you have never read Day's novels please be warned that they are intended for MATURE audiences due to the graphic sexual scenes and adult language.            

In Entwined with You, Eva and Gideon have found themselves back together but must keep their relationship quiet until everything that happened in Reflected in You is straightened out.  Don't worry though, Eva and Gideon find many ways to be together and together they are.  However, the duo still has their fair share of problems as Brett, Eva's Rock Star ex, and Corinne, Gideon's obsessed ex, remain in the picture.  Also adding to the controversy is a reporter/spurned one night stand of Gideon's that is determined to make him pay for humiliating her. 

If you have not yet read Sylvia Day's books and you like hot romances, you MUST get your hands on Bared to You, Reflected in You, and Entwined with You.  I would be willing to bet that the Crossfire novels find a special place on your favorite bookshelf as they have mine!  Don't waste another minute!

Sylvia Day

The publisher has provided me a complimentary copy of the book, Entwined in You, for the purpose of review.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Year of the Great Seventh by Teresa Orts

Title: The Year of the Great Seventh
Author: Teresa Orts

Publisher: Drayton Press

Published Date: July 6, 2013

Buy on Amazon: Paperback 

Author Website: http://www.teresaorts.com/


Sophie has always felt out of step—an outsider, even amongst friends in her high school with all the hype about celebrity culture. Her life in L.A. seems to have been already written for her, but when her junior year starts, it all takes a drastic turn. When she crosses paths with the school's heartthrob, Nate Werner, they fall for each other in a way neither can understand. What they don’t know is that by giving in to their desires, they are unlocking an ancient Egyptian prophecy that threatens to return Earth to the dark ages. 
To undo the curse, Nate and Sophie embark on an adventure that takes them across the country. But their quest is not only to save the world as they know it. It is also a fight for their very survival. Behind the scenes, there are those that are counting on them to fail.
My Thoughts:

The Year of the Great Seventh, by Teresa Orts, is an exciting Young Adult novel with a bit of a paranormal theme thrown in.  The Year of the Great Seventh is the first book in the Tropic of Cancer series.  As a lover of all YAL, I can say that The Year of the Great Seventh has it all.  Romance, mystery, suspense, high school angst, witty dialouge, and touches of pop culture throughout.

The Year of the Great Seventh revolves around Sophie, a student at West Hollywood High who has dreams of moving to New York, going to college, and getting a job at the Metropolitan Museum.  Sophie is a lover of history, unlike her peers at school who eat, sleep, and dream about Hollywood.  Both of Sophie's best friends, Emma and Megan, are up and coming actresses.  In fact, in the beginning of the book Megan has landed a high profile role in a popular movie.  While she is happy for her friends, Sophie prefers to stay invisible at school.  That, however, all changes when Nate, one of West Hollywood High's rich and popular students, suddenly takes a notice in Sophie.  What happens next know one would have guessed.

The Year of the Great Seventh has an unexpected paranormal element to it when it comes to Nate.  Sophie realizes that something is off about Nate but he refuses to acknowledge her questions.  As the two grow closer, Nate admits that he has what doctors classify as a debilitating mental illness that has no cure.  However, as Sophie and Nate dig deeper into his illness in hopes of buying him time, they soon start to realize that something much more serious is going on.  They find themselves on an adventure researching ancient Egyptian history and a long ago prophecy.        

I definitely recommend Teresa Orts' The Year of the Great Seventh to all fiction, paranormal, romance, and YA lovers.  It has a great storyline that will keep your interest from the first page until the last.  I am very much looking forward to seeing what happens next for Sophie and Nate in Orts' second book in Topic of Cancer series.  If it is anything like The Year of the Great Seventh I know I will be on the edge of my seat the entire time! 

Teresa Orts
Teresa Orts has provided me with a complimentary copy of her book, The Year of the Great Seventh, for the purpose of review.