February 29, 2016


Wolf Bite (Wolf Cove #2), by Nina West
Publish Date:
February 29, 2016
Publisher: self-published
Format: ARC, provided by Inkslinger PR
Genre: adult contemporary/erotic
To Buy: Amazon

Rating: 4 STARS

(Synopsis) Isolated in the luxurious Wolf Cove Hotel in Alaska, Abbi Mitchell is thousands of miles away from her family and friends.

In the hands of a predator. Potentially.

After discovering condemning information about the mercurial man who controls her day-to-day work life and, now, her most intimate private life as well, Abbi's not sure she can continue on with... whatever is going on between her and Henry Wolf. Especially when he's about to be thrown into a fiery media circus ring, and she, along with her reputation, will undoubtedly get dragged into it with him.

But breaking things off with the Big Bad Wolf now likely means losing her job and her summer of freedom, and going back to the farm and her controlling mother.

She's not doing that.

Abbi does have something to hold over Henry's head. If he forces her hand. If she has the guts to do what amounts to blackmail.

But will the all-powerful Henry Wolf concede, or will she finally feel his bite?

Wolf Bite continues the story of Abbi Mitchell and Henry Wolf as they navigate new snags in their quasi-relationship. Henry has to decide if he's capable and willing to give Abbi more than what they already have. But, most of all, this is the story of how Abbi Mitchell cut the apron strings that were threatening to strangle her.

To say that there are new snags in Abbi's and Henry's relationship is putting it mildly. The presence of his father and brother, together with his prior indiscretions with his assistant, are all cards stacked against them. The thing is, Abbi's short time with Henry and the things he's taught her have changed her. She's not the same mousy girl that first arrived in Alaska.

The changes in Abbi have never been more glaringly obvious as they are in Wolf Bite. Thanks to Henry, it's like Abbi's inner sex kitten has been unlocked from her cage and now she wants to play. The whole time I was reading this, I was thinking that if her douchey ex had just stuck with her, he would've gotten one helluva wife.

But, for Abbi, it's more than just dealing with her new found sexual freedom. She is also realizing that there are feelings that go along with all this sex. And that these feelings can be... conflicting. The most conflicting of all are her feelings for Henry. She loves him, but she's also a little bit afraid of him and completely unsure of his feelings for her. It has all made her time in Alaska just as stressful and emotional as it was back in Pennsylvania, but for different reasons.

An unexpected turn of events at the end lead Henry and Abbi to yet another crossroads in their relationship where a choice has to be made. It's sure to make for an interesting finale.

That’s when my personal phone starts ringing. The one sitting inside my purse.

I stifle the urge to hiss with panic as I fumble for it, the strap of my purse slipping off my shoulder in the process. It hits the floor with a soft thud. I dive for it, cursing under my breath as I root through the pocket with frantic hands, finding it and flipping the silence button on the side. Hoping the noise will go unnoticed.

I’m still on my knees with my head bowed when the door creaks open wider and Henry’s polished black shoes appear in front of me.

“I’ve gotta go. Call me when you’re in my office and I’ll give you the code to the safe,” Henry demands, his voice unnaturally calm as compared to a moment ago, though no less hostile.

I take my time collecting the few items that spilled from my purse while I decide what to do. What should I say? Do I play dumb? Do I say I just got here? Do I pretend I don’t know a thing, and smile and wait expectantly for him to kiss me?

Tell me to strip?

F*ck me on his desk? In his bed?

Even as appalled as I am with him right now, I’d be lying if I said the thought of having him touch me doesn’t spark heat between my thighs. He’s turned me into some sort of sex deviant. But I can’t just sit here on my knees as if I’m waiting for him to unzip his fly. I finally dare look up, in time to see his hand stretch out in front of him, palm out.

It could be considered a gentlemanly offer, and yet from Henry Wolf I hear the command.

Sliding my fingers over his calloused palm—he must have earned those splitting wood—I ease to my feet. I take a deep, calming breath before I let my gaze climb his firm, hard body, his charcoal designer suit as perfect and out of place in the wilds of Alaska as on any other day, before meeting his eyes. The cold, steely blue in them instantly creates knots in my stomach.

“You have a bad, bad habit of eavesdropping, Abigail,” he whispers.

He knows I hate being called Abigail, but now’s not the time to remind him of that. I clear my throat to avoid sounding weak and fearful. “I didn’t want to interrupt.”

“Liar.” His lip twitches with amusement, but it falls off so quickly. “What exactly did you hear?”

Here’s the moment of truth. Lie and smile, or confront him with what I know. Which is it?

Nina West lives in the city but spends her summers in the wilderness with her husband. She loves having a steaming cup of cocoa in one hand and a steamy story full of angst in the other. Follow her on Facebook or on Twitter.

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I am so ridiculously excited to show you the cover of J.A. Huss' latest twisty romantic suspense novel, ROCK. Check it out, read the blurb, and then enter to win an awesome prize of a $50 gift card, a signed copy of ROCK, a Kate Spade Wristlet, a Victoria Secret Lip Gloss Kit, and a Brighton Notepad with Pen. You ready to meet RK?

Rock, by JA Huss
Publish Date:
March 7, 2016
Publisher: self-published
Genre: adult romantic suspense

(Synopsis) Welcome to RK’s rock star life.

I was living the dream, I was full throttle, all in, one hundred percent on top of the world. But it’s a hell of a long fall back down when you finally crash and burn.

Welcome to the delusions, the final act, the coming-to-Jesus moment when there’s nothing left to do but look yourself in the mirror and ask… How did I get like this?

I am RK’s living nightmare. I am RK’s empty soul. I am RK’s unchecked fantasy world that makes no sense to anyone.

I only have one thing left. Just one girl holding my broken pieces together.

And even she might be a lie.

Rock is a standalone rock-star romantic suspense by the New York Times bestselling master of twist, JA Huss.

JA Huss is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than twenty romances. She likes stories about family, loyalty, and extraordinary characters who struggle with basic human emotions while dealing with bigger than life problems. JA loves writing heroes who make you swoon, heroines who makes you jealous, and the perfect Happily Ever After ending.

You can chat with her on Facebook (www.facebook.com/AuthorJAHuss), Twitter (@jahuss), and her kick-ass romance blog, New Adult Addiction (www.newadultaddiction.com).

If you're interested in getting your hands on an advanced release copy of her upcoming books, sneak peek teasers, or information on her upcoming personal appearances, you can join her newsletter list (http://eepurl.com/JVhAr) and get those details delivered right to your inbox.

Author links:

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Every day this week JA Huss is giving away FIVE ROCK super swag packs on her Facebook page. Enter HERE ➔ http://on.fb.me/1MXMGHG

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February 27, 2016

LEAP INTO BOOKS GIVEAWAY HOP - Pick a YA Book of Your Choice

Happy Leap Year, everyone! Sidebar - if you haven't seen the movie Leap Year, you SO need to. Amy Adams and Matthew Goode are so adorable in it.

Anyway, back to the very important matter at hand. It's time for the Leap Into Books giveaway hop again, and I've declared this year to be the year I get back into YA again. I've read a few really awesome ones so far, and hope to continue on that path.

To help get you in the spirit as well, I'm going to give away one YA book, published March 1, 2016 or earlier, as long as you live somewhere where The Book Depository ships to. So, start thinking about the book you want, and enter below. Then, keep on hopping!

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February 26, 2016

PROMO BLITZ: Never Say Never

Never Say Never, by Carly Phillips and Lauren Hawkeye
Publish Date:
February 21, 2016
Publisher: CP Publishing
Genre: adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks 

(Synopsis) Bound by a vow with his friends, hotel tycoon Nathan Archer refuses to settle down and tie the knot. His only commitment is to bachelorhood. Granted, that contract was made when he was 15 years old… and in a treehouse. Still, a promise is a promise. And Nate takes his promises seriously. 

But when cute little Eleanor Marshall walks back into his life, this blast from the past is no longer the timid little girl he used to know. When Ellie propositions him for a night of sizzling, unattached sex, Nate can’t refuse. Besides, it’s only one night. And Nate is never going to settle down.

Never say never…

Carly Phillips
After a successful fifteen-year career with various New York publishing houses, and over 40 sexy contemporary romance novels published, N.Y. Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Carly Phillips is now an Indie author who writes to her own expectations and that of her readers. She continues the tradition of hot men and strong women and plans to publish many more sizzling stories. Carly lives in Purchase, NY with her family, two nearly adult daughters and two crazy dogs who star on her Facebook Fan Page and website. She's a writer, a knitter of sorts, a wife, and a mom. In addition, she's a Twitter and Internet junkie and is always around to interact with her readers.

Website: http://www.carlyphillips.com/
Newsletter: http://www.carlyphillips.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/carlyphillips
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CarlyPhillipsFanPage
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/10000.Carly_Phillips

Lauren Hawkeye
New York Time and USA Today bestselling author Lauren Hawkeye never imagined that she'd wind up telling stories for a living… though when she looks back, it's easy to see that she's the only one who is surprised. Always "the kid who read all the time", Lauren made up stories about her favorite characters once she'd finished a book… and once spent an entire year narrating her own life internally. No, really. But where she was just plain odd before publication, now she can at least claim to have an artistic temperament.

Lauren lives in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta, Canada with her husband, two young sons, pit bull and two idiot cats, though they do not live in an igloo, nor do they drive a dogsled. In her nonexistent spare time Lauren can be found knitting, reading anything she can get her hands on, or sweating her way through spin class. She loves to hear from her readers!

Website: http://www.laurenhawkeye.com/about/
Newsletter: http://www.laurenhawkeye.com/about/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LaurenHJameson
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2736926.Lauren_Hawkeye

February 25, 2016


I am so excited to participate in the TITANS tour, organized by Rockstar Book Tours. Thanks for checking out my review and entering the giveaway to win a copy of Titans (5 winners - US only). Don't forget to visit all the stops on the tour for excerpts and other information.

Titans, by Victoria Scott
Publish Date:
February 23, 2016
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Format: ARC, provided by the author
Genre: young adult contemporary/fantasy/sci-fi
To Buy:  Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks

Rating: 5 STARS

(Synopsis) Ever since the Titans first appeared in her Detroit neighborhood, Astrid Sullivan’s world has revolved around the mechanical horses. She and her best friend have spent countless hours watching them and their jockeys practice on the track. It’s not just the thrill of the race. It’s the engineering of the horses and the way they’re programmed to seem so lifelike. The Titans are everything that fascinates Astrid, and nothing she’ll ever touch.

She hates them a little, too. Her dad lost everything betting on the Titans. And the races are a reminder of the gap between the rich jockeys who can afford the expensive machines to ride, and the working class friends and neighbors of Astrid’s who wager on them.

But when Astrid’s offered a chance to enter an early model Titan in this year’s derby, well, she decides to risk it all. Because for a girl from the wrong side of the tracks, it’s more than a chance at fame or money. Betting on herself is the only way she can see to hang on to everyone in the world she cares about.

The wind tears through my hair the way I always imagined, whispering for me to close my eyes, but I won't. I don't want to miss a single second of this. I've never felt so free. So fast. So bold. So beautiful.

Titans isn't my usual fare - there's no kissing, no great romance, no relationship angst. But there IS love - the love a girl has for her family, her friends, and for her horse. Victoria Scott is absolutely at her best when she's writing about the very special bonds that humans have with their animals - if you've read her Fire & Flood series, then you know what I'm talking about. Titans recaptures that magic and lends its own unique fantasy and sci-fi aspect when you consider the fact that Astrid's horse isn't actually... alive.

Astrid is a character that all girls can rally behind. She might only be 17, but she's willing to make hard choices and make big decisions, all to help pull her family out of the crushing debt that is threatening them. Astrid defies her parents in order to ride a mechanical horse in a series of races - races that grown people have died in in the past. This girl is very nearly fearless. 

I say "nearly" because Astrid is most definitely afraid of some things - losing and letting her family down, for one. Trusting her horse, which she names Padlock, is another. Astrid trusts precious few people in this world. She knows it's something that must be earned, and she's convinced that there's no way a hunk of metal can do that. 

But, come on. This is VICTORIA FREAKING SCOTT. Which means, this horse is special with a capital 'S'. Padlock might be an old model, but he has something no other horse on that track has. He has a bond with Astrid that flies in the face of science. And THAT is truly the best part of this whole book. 

"Padlock, I want to tell you something." My voice is barely a whisper, and already my throat is thick with lingering emotion. "I'd never be disappointed in you. No matter what happens this season, I'm proud to call you my Titan."

There are a host of colorful side characters - there's Astrid's artistic BFF Magnolia, her manager Rags and his work partner Barney, her sponsor Lottie, and her biggest competition Hart. I developed an affection for each of these characters as they help Astrid and Padlock in their own unique ways. And then there's the deliciously awful villain Arvin Gambini. I promise, you will burn with the desire to see him pay in the most humiliating way possible. 

The world building in Titans was done beautifully. We're given the picture of this downtrodden Detroit neighborhood, beaten back by layoffs and a sluggish economy. There's a very definitive line drawn between the haves and the have-nots. Astrid is the poster child for the have-nots, and her efforts to beat back the rich people who taunt and oppress her and her family will have you cheering for her along with everyone else in the book. She is most definitely the underdog in this race, so every victory is super special, and every defeat will squeeze your heart. 

"Strength is forgetting everything I've taught you and becoming a machine. It's reaching inside yourself and finding you are not someone to be toyed with. It's taking every doubt you have and crushing it beneath your heel."

Victoria Scott is a teen fiction writer represented by Sara Crowe of the Harvey-Klinger Literary  gency. She’s the author of the FIRE & FLOOD series, and TITANS published by Scholastic, and the DANTE WALKER trilogy published by Entangled Teen. Her books have been bought and translated in eleven foreign markets including the UK, Turkey, China, Poland, Israel, Germany, Australia, Brazil, Taiwan, New Zealand, and the Netherlands.

Victoria lives in Dallas with her husband and hearts cotton candy something fierce.

Find Victoria: Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook |Instagram | Goodreads

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February 24, 2016

EARLY REVIEW: Midnight Marked (Chicagoland Vampires #12)

Midnight Marked (Chicagoland Vampires #12), by Chloe Neill
Publish Date:
March 1, 2016
Publisher: NAL
Format: e-galley, provided by the publisher
Genre: adult PNR/urban fantasy
To Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Rating: 5 STARS

(Synopsis) Merit is one of Chicago's most skilled vampire warriors; these days, she doesn't scare easily. But she and Master vampire Ethan have made a new and powerful enemy, and he won't give up until he owns the Windy City.

With his last plan thwarted, he's more determined than ever to watch Cadogan burn. Ethan has put the House's vampires on high alert, but their enemy will stop at nothing, including pitting vampire against vampire...

In this deadly game of cat-and-mouse, the stakes are life or death—and winning might mean sacrificing everything...

The Chicagoland Vampires series has been a staple on my TBR for a long time. It is one of a precious few go-to series whenever I need a paranormal romance or urban fantasy fix. So, it's hard for me to believe that, after this one, I will only be reading one more new book in this series before we have to say goodbye to these beloved characters for good. 

It's a good thing that Chloe Neill does not go quietly into the night. 

Things are, by no means, winding down for Merit and Ethan. In Midnight Marked, they continue to lock horns with the odious Adrian Reed who has hatched a new plan for Chicagoland's supernatural population. He's made this battle personal by threatening Merit and goading Ethan. And, I can honestly say, I've never hated a bad guy in this series more than this one. 

In addition to getting to the bottom of Reed's plan, there are a lot of other side stories playing out in Midnight Marked. Things between Merit and the Red Guard - and particularly her partner Jonah - are still not great, since she refused to spy on Ethan for them. I absolutely LOVE that Merit refuses to compromise her morals and her relationship with Ethan for anyone or anything. 

Reed's activities put the tentative alliance between Gabriel's shifters and Ethan's vampires to their greatest test yet. Any CLV book that includes a lot of Gabriel Keene is a good one, and there is plenty of him in Midnight Marked. Gabriel and Ethan both have good reason to be angry at one another in this case, and their situation is evidence that sometimes you have to make hard choices when you're in charge of so many others. I don't envy either of them (but I still love both of them).

The two biggest questions that fans have been dying to know answers to are, Will Ethan finally propose to Merit? and When will the prophecy about Ethan and Merit's child come to pass? Of course, I can't tell you if either of those questions are answered in Midnight Marked - you'll just have to buy the book and find out for yourself. But, I will say that both topics are discussed at length, both between Merit and Ethan and Merit and Mallory. 

Mallory - "My God, do I want to see Ethan facing his first loaded diaper. And, can you imagine him dealing with milk puke?"

Merit - "I think he'll be a good dad. I mean, for a four-hundred-year-old pretentious master vampire."

So, yeah - there's a lot going on. But, there's tons of action, lots of mystery solving, some awesome fight scenes, and - the best part - Ethan "Darth" Sullivan. For a vampire who was originally so hell bent on fronting for people in regards for his feelings for Merit, he certainly has gotten over all that. His words are so heart-meltingly romantic, it is impossible to not be reduced to a puddle of goo every time he opens his mouth.

"Fear, my Sentinel, is inevitable. It is one of our more important instincts. It keeps us alive. Fighting through the fear is a choice. That's the choice you've made since that April night one year ago. That's the choice you'll continue to make, because that's what's inside you. I love you, and I believe in you, more than I have ever believed in anyone. And it is absolutely terrifying."

I have my theories on what will play out in the final Chicagoland Vampires book. Waiting for it to come out is so bittersweet. I can't wait to find out what happens, and yet, I don't want it to get here, because then it will truly be all over. 

February 23, 2016

REVIEW: Walk on Earth a Stranger (The Gold Seer Trilogy #1)

Walk on Earth a Stranger (The Gold Seer Trilogy #1), by Rae Carson
Publish Date:
September 22, 2015
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Format: ARC, provided by the publisher
Genre: young adult historical fiction
To Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Rating: 5 STARS

(Synopsis) Lee Westfall has a strong, loving family. She has a home she loves and a loyal steed. She has a best friend—who might want to be something more.

She also has a secret.

Lee can sense gold in the world around her. Veins deep in the earth. Small nuggets in a stream. Even gold dust caught underneath a fingernail. She has kept her family safe and able to buy provisions, even through the harshest winters. But what would someone do to control a girl with that kind of power? A person might murder for it.

When everything Lee holds dear is ripped away, she flees west to California—where gold has just been discovered. Perhaps this will be the one place a magical girl can be herself. If she survives the journey.

The acclaimed Rae Carson begins a sweeping new trilogy set in Gold Rush-era America, about a young woman with a powerful and dangerous gift.

Well, this was an unexpected surprise. I thought I was getting something different from Walk on Earth a Stranger than what I got. I thought it was a fantasy book with a bit of history woven in. What I got was exactly the opposite. 

Now, before I read a word, I would've said that was a bad thing. I love fantasy. Historical fiction isn't really my jam. I'm really glad I didn't know all this before I started, because then I may not have read this amazingly incredible book. 

Leah Westfall is a 15-year-old girl who leaves her native Georgia after the death of her parents and sets her sights on California and the promise of gold. It's early 1849, the California Gold Rush is just getting started, and women's lib is decades in the future. If Leah has a prayer of making it, she needs to become Lee McCauley, a boy willing to work his way west. 

If Leah can make it, she has a better shot than most at striking it rich. She has the uncanny ability to sense gold. I thought that this would be the main focus of the story, but in actuality, it was only a very small part to it. On the way to Cali, she doesn't have much of an opportunity to use her power, so there were many times I even forgot she had it. I have a feeling her ability will come into play a lot more in the next two books. 

Despite the low fantasy aspect, I loved this book. I never really understood what reviewers meant when they described a book as "sweeping" and "epic" until now. Walk on Earth a Stranger spans nearly a year, crosses 3,000 miles and introduces dozens of secondary characters. It highlights a lot of the hardships of the time - the difficulty everyone had traveling long distances, the inequality between men and women, the tension with the Indians, and the ineffectual means of treating sickness and injuries. 

Leah is an incredible character. She's unbelievably strong and so brave. To set out on such a journey alone - not to mention female - would have been considered suicidal back then. But, her parents let her be who she was when they were alive, and she refuses to be used and abused by her horrible uncle after they die. She's prepared to set out to make her own life or die trying. She does what she has to in order to survive, and it's not always easy, and it doesn't always make her feel good. 

Her best friend from home, Jefferson McCauley, joins her on her journey, and he too is an awesome character. His father was a drunken abuser and his mother was an Indian, so he has his own difficulties to face in this time. But, his constant and loyal companion has always been Leah, and I loved the way he protected her, and yet allowed her to be the only girl she knew how to be at the same time. 

I can't wait for the second book in this series to come out so that I can see what happens next. I suspect that Leah's mysterious gold-finding abilities and her manipulative horrible uncle will both feature more prominently in it and she, Jeff and the rest of their group settle in California and try to make a new life. This series certainly started with a bang, so I have high hopes for the rest of it. 

February 19, 2016

REVIEW: Reign of Shadows (Reign of Shadows #1)

Reign of Shadows (Reign of Shadows #1), by Sophie Jordan
Publish Date:
February 9, 2016
Publisher: Harper Teen
Format: ARC, provided by the publisher
Genre: young adult fantasy
To Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Rating: 4.5 STARS

(Synopsis) Seventeen years ago, an eclipse cloaked the kingdom of Relhok in perpetual darkness. In the chaos, an evil chancellor murdered the king and queen and seized their throne. Luna, Relhok’s lost princess, has been hiding in a tower ever since. Luna’s survival depends on the world believing she is dead.

But that doesn’t stop Luna from wanting more. When she meets Fowler, a mysterious archer braving the woods outside her tower, Luna is drawn to him despite the risk. When the tower is attacked, Luna and Fowler escape together. But this world of darkness is more treacherous than Luna ever realized.

With every threat stacked against them, Luna and Fowler find solace in each other. But with secrets still unspoken between them, falling in love might be their most dangerous journey yet.

It's been a long time since I've had a burning desire to read YA. I'd read one here and there, but it wasn't like it used to be for me. But, recently, I had that niggling burn again to lose myself in some good YA fantasy. And so, I picked up Reign of Shadows. 

I have to tell you, it was everything I wanted. There was a lush world with an intriguing back story and fearsome creatures. There was a princess in disguise and a roguish bad boy (who isn't really all that bad, of course). There were secrets and misunderstandings and a crazy cliffhanger in the end. 

I'd never been given a taste of anything else. I'd certainly never confronted a boy that smelled of ferocity and life and vitality. A boy with a deep, rumbling voice that made everything in me tighten in a way that I couldn't comprehend. It was new. Different. It was feeling.

I flew through this book. From the very beginning, Luna's story captivated me. This 17-year-old girl who has never known anything but the tower in which she lives is suddenly thrust into the big, bad, dark world with a boy she only just met and a vague destination. It sort of reminded me of the Disney movie Tangled - without all the hair. 

I wasn't afraid of death.

It's that I would die with so little to show for my life. A long stretch of days spent trapped in a tower. 

I was afraid that was all I'd ever have.

Luna is an awesome heroine. Even though she's been sheltered her whole life, her guardians have done their best to prepare her for a life outside. But, nothing could protect her from the harsh realities out there. The scarcity of food, the danger from The Dark Dwellers, and the crap for company in the form of Fowler. But, Luna presses on and never gives up. She makes hard choices and deals with the consequences. 

Then there's Fowler. He's been making hard choices for years, and the effects of him NOT dealing with the consequences are eating him up inside. Luna is an unexpected complication to his plan to reach the only alleged place on the planet where there is real sunlight. But, there's still plenty of good and noble things left in him, and he proves it over and over again. Even though he was difficult sometimes, it was still impossible not to love him. 

The Dwellers, the 4 foot tall bats - the darkness itself - this world is full of scary and awesome dangers. I'm sure there's still more to come. After all, we have yet to meet the evil Chancellor in person. 

Reign of Shadows was an incredible beginning to what is sure to be an exciting series. I can't wait to see what happens next.  

February 18, 2016

REVIEW & EXCERPT: Fade Into You (Shaken Dirty #3)

It seems like I've been waiting forever for the next Shaken Dirty book, and it's finally here! Even better - it's Wyatt's story. Check out my review and an awesome excerpt that gives you a glimpse into Wyatt's incredible talent.

Fade Into You (Shaken Dirty #3), by Tracy Wolff
Publish Date:
February 15, 2016
Publisher: Entangled Brazen
Format: ARC, provided by the author and TRSOR Promotions
Genre: adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Rating: 5 STARS

(Synopsis) Wyatt Jennings has been called a lot of things by the media. Bad-boy rocker. Intense drummer. Addict.

Finally out of rehab and desperate for a fresh start, Wyatt rejoins his mega-platinum rock band Shaken Dirty as they prepare for their world tour. But Wyatt’s demons are never far behind, always nipping at his heels for one. More. Fix.

Enter Poppy Germaine, the band’s new social media consultant. A beautiful bombshell who somehow manages to get underneath Wyatt’s skin, Poppy’s an addiction Wyatt can get behind. And even though she’s with the label—and therefore off-limits—he craves her. Needs her.

Except Poppy isn’t actually a social media consultant. She’s the daughter of the label’s CEO, sent undercover to babysit Wyatt and keep him from falling off the wagon again. Proving herself to her father is Poppy’s only goal—until she finds herself in Wyatt’s bed. But if Wyatt discovers the truth, it could send him spiraling all over again…

Tracy Wolff's Shaken Dirty series just gets better and better. I love all the band members and how close they are to one another. I also like how the integration of their women, one by one, makes the group dynamic more fun and interesting. 

Wyatt has been painted as the troubled member of the group in previous books. He is also the heart of the group. So, when the heart gets sick, the entire whole suffers. Wyatt's drug use came to a dangerous head in the book prior to this one, and he was sent off to rehab. And it was clear that this weighed heavily on all the band members. 

And now Wyatt is back, and the record label is understandably worried. So, they send in the owner's daughter (incognito) to make sure he's not in danger of falling off the wagon. But, Poppy sees much more than she thought she would. She sees the love these friends have for one another, and the struggle that Wyatt goes through every day to stay clean, and the brilliance each of these guys have at music.

"Jared might be the leader of the band, Quinn might be the heart, and Ryder might be the soul, but you, Wyatt, you are the backbone of this band. You give them their shape, their sound, you hold all of them together. If you break, they all break."

I think my favorite thing about Fade Into You is that Wyatt is far from perfect... and Poppy is perfect for him. I was worried that Wyatt's return to glory would be too easy. And, getting over something like a heroin and alcohol addiction is ANYTHING but easy. But, Tracy Wolff did a wonderful job portraying the constant struggle that Wyatt goes through in order to stay on the right path. 

He is also constantly riddled with guilt. His additions cost his friends millions of dollars. No one trusts him anymore. He's considered a liability by his record label, and it's not hard for Wyatt to see himself the same way.

And yet, here they were. Jared, Ryder, Quinn. Backing him, even knowing it was a sure bet that he was going to fuck up again. Standing by him even though it had already cost them more than they should ever have to pay.

But, Poppy changes everything. She doesn't change the difficult job he has ahead of him, but she makes the road a lot more bearable. She gives him love and affection and acceptance. And, she's totally in love with his mad drumming skillz. And, who wouldn't be? Wyatt is BRILLIANT. 

This was the best Shaken Dirty book yet. And now with a new member, we still have a few stories to go. 

For a man who’d spent years, decades, running from his emotions, it was a strange place to find himself. It scared him.

She scared him.

Eyes still closed, he laid down the first of the drum fills, adding a few extra flourishes because that’s how he was hearing it in his head. Played through the whole song from memory, then did it again and again, embellishing it a little more each time through.

It didn’t take long for his arms and pecs to start aching—it had been too long since he’d played the drums on a daily basis—but he played through it, pounding away at the skins with everything he had in him.

Fourth time through the song, he switched to “Closer,” then to “In the A.M.,” then to “Deified.” By the time he’d run through those a couple of times, his biceps were burning, his hands throbbing. And still he didn’t stop.

Instead, he switched on the recorder he always kept next to his drum kit and started wailing away, playing the beat that had been in his head since he’d seen Poppy waiting for him in her doorway last night, arms open and face welcoming. The melody had started then, in the back of his head, and by the time he’d had her up against the wall it had been a towering crescendo of drumbeats that he couldn’t ignore even if he’d wanted to.

Which he hadn’t. It had been too long since music had burned inside him like that.

He played the song through the way he heard it, keeping a fast thirty-two-beat rhythm on the hi-hat while he worked the snare, the bass, and the floor tom in alternating rhythms. It sounded good, really good, and as he banged out a long, elaborate fill on the toms and crash cymbals, he knew he was onto something.

Though all he was doing was laying down the beat, he could hear the song in his head so clearly. Jared coming in with a quiet but pure guitar presence while Quinn took front and center with his keyboards. Bass—whoever the fuck that turned out to be—would hang back with Wyatt, playing low to underscore. And Ryder…fuck, Ryder’s voice would own this song. He would destroy it. Just the thought sent excitement rioting through him.

Usually, Wyatt and Quinn were the music guys, while Ryder and Jared did most of the lyrics. Every once in a while, though, a song would come to him fully formed, like “Seventeen Again” had, an early version of the lyrics tearing through his head even as he pounded away at the drums.

This song was like that, the words running through his brain like a rain-swollen river, pouring out of him as fast and powerfully as the music had. Even knowing they weren’t perfect, he sang them aloud, let the recorder get every syllable.

When it was over, he ran through the song over and over again while everything was still fresh in his mind. Playing and singing, singing and playing, until his shirt was drenched in sweat and his arms felt like they were going to fall off.

And still he played. Still he wailed away at the drums like the demons of hell were after him. Or worse, like the sins of his past had finally caught up to him after all the years he’d run and all the drugs he’d used to keep them at bay.

And maybe they had. Maybe they had.

Since he couldn’t do anything about it, he played instead.

Long after sweat rolled into his eyes and poured down his face.

Long after his shoulders and biceps and pecs cramped up.

Long, long after blisters formed between his fingers.

He played and played and played, like these drums were the only thing standing between him and hell. And like getting this one song right was his only chance at salvation.

At one point, the blister on his right index finger cracked open and started to bleed. He grabbed one of the clean towels he always kept next to the kit, tore a strip off it, and kept playing. When his left index finger followed suit a couple of minutes later, he did the same thing. And then he played through that, too.

The pain was there, his nerve endings sending agonized alerts to his brain, but he ignored them. Compartmentalized them. Put them in a part of his brain he didn’t need to access to play, and then concentrated on the music. On the beat. Right now, it was the only thing that mattered.

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Tracy Wolff collects books, English degrees and lipsticks and has been known to forget where--and sometimes who--she is when immersed in a great novel. At six she wrote her first short story--something with a rainbow and a prince--and at seven she forayed into the wonderful world of girls lit with her first Judy Blume novel. By ten she'd read everything in the young adult and classics sections of her local bookstore, so in desperation her mom started her on romance novels. And from the first page of the first book, Tracy knew she'd found her life-long love. Now an English professor at her local community college, she writes contemporary romance and erotic romance as Tracy Wolff, paranormal romance and urban fantasy as Tessa Adams and young adult novels as Tracy Deebs.

Stalk Her: Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

February 16, 2016

EARLY REVIEW: The Power (Titan #2)

The Power (Titan #2), by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publish Date:
February 23, 2016
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Format: ARC, provided by the author and Inkslinger PR
Genre: new adult paranormal/fantasy romance
To Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Rating: 5 STARS

(Synopsis) With any great change, there is always strife, and the Covenant University has become the frontline between pure-bloods who want the Breed Order reinstated and the half-bloods who want the right to control their own destinies.Fate has other plans.

The violence is escalating and war between the races seems inevitable, and it couldn’t come at a worse time. Hyperion may be out of commission, but Josie and Seth know they have only earned a reprieve. Seth must get Josie fully prepared, which means controlling her newfound abilities, and they need to find the other demigods before the Titans do.

But the gods are sensing a greater threat.

Only one thing is more dangerous than a bunch of starved Titans, and that’s an out-of-control Apollyon. The aether in Josie is drawing Seth in deeper, and when lust mixes with love and gives way to power, he knows being close to her is not only dangerous to her, but to everyone around them, but letting her go requires a level of selflessness that just isn’t Seth’s style.

The paths taken in the past are becoming the roads of the future.

Just as chaos breaks out, familiar faces from the past return, complicating the already strained bond between Josie and Seth, and when the danger from the Titans erupts with devastating consequences, the dark allure of power calls to Seth again, but this time Josie might not be able to pull him back.

And when the struggle between power and love becomes the deadliest battleground, there may be no salvation.

I really think Jennifer Armentrout is at her best when she's writing paranormal. Don't get me wrong - I love her contemporary books too. But, there's just something about they way she can capture a completely fantastical concept and make it seem totally real. Like, it's totally possible that Apollo could just wink into existence on my La-Z-Boy or that I could catch a glimpse of a shirtless Seth taking down a daimon army in the cornfield behind my house. 

Oh wait - that last one was actually my dream last night. 

In the Power, Jennifer Armentrout marries the very best part of the paranormal/fantasy genre with the very best part of new adult genre - you get creepy monsters and awesome super powers coupled with angst and feels so strong that I promise your tears will be real. Oh - and there WILL be tears. 

Seth and Josie have hit their stride as he's training her to use her powers by day and being her cuddle bunny by night. But, they have a dangerous mission on which they must soon embark. And old friends are scheduled to arrive that will only serve to complicate matters even more. 

Seth broke my heart in The Power. Into. A. Million. Pieces. He has never dealt with the guilt he still harbors over his actions in the past. And, now Josie looks at him with her heart in her eyes, and it's making him feel even more unworthy. And, he knows she's full of aether now that her identity has been unlocked, and he's tempted every minute by it. Which, of course, only makes him feel worse. 

Seth has trouble recognizing his positive presence in the lives of those around him. He only sees the bad, and every time Josie does something nice for him, it hits him like a ton of bricks. I wanted to give him a hundred hugs. From the very beginning of The Power, you got the feeling that Seth was nearing his breaking point, and we were just waiting for that other shoe to drop.

My heart went out to Josie too. She is flat out totally in love with Seth, and because of his issues, he's running very hot and cold with her. Those hot moments are SCORCHING. But, the cold moments brought tears to my eyes. And things only get more complicated for her when Alex returns with Aiden for their six months topside. It is not easy to be around Seth and Alex with their connection and their history when you're trying to be the new woman in his life. Talk about odd woman out.

Despite how awful all that had to be for her, Josie has no problem stepping up when she needs to and putting her new skills to use. This chick is totally my hero. She's fighting for everything - her man, her life, the whole world.

The Power is feels upon feels upon feels. It's also crazy awesome action and a creative blend of Greek mythology and that certain something that can only come from Jennifer L. Armentrout. You will laugh. You will cry. You will root for the good guys and yell at the bad guys and bemoan the end when it comes, because it will be a whole year until we find out what happens next. But that's okay - that just gives us plenty of chances to re-read.

February 15, 2016

RELEASE DAY REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Strong Signal (Cyberlove #1)

Strong Signal (Cyberlove #1), by Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell
Publish Date:
February 15, 2016
Publisher: self-published
Format: ARC, provided by the author
Genre: adult m/m contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Rating: 5 STARS

(Synopsis) I was counting down the months until the end of my deployment. My days were spent working on military vehicles, and I spent my nights playing video games that would distract me until I could leave Staff Sergeant Garrett Reid behind.

That was when I met him: Kai Bannon, a fellow gamer with a famous stream channel.

I never expected to become fixated on someone who'd initially been a rival. And I'd never expected someone who oozed charm to notice me—a guy known for his brutal honesty and scowl. I hadn't planned for our online friendship to turn into something that kept me up at night—hours of chatting evolving into filthy webcam sessions.

But it did. And now I can't stop thinking about him. In my mind, our real life meeting is perfect. We kiss, we fall into bed, and it's love at first sight.

Except, like most things in my life, it doesn't go as planned.

This book - holy smokes. It was one of those books that stays with you for awhile. You know what I mean? Even after I moved on to other books and other characters, I still found myself thinking about Garrett and Kai.

Maybe it was because Garrett and Kai were so different, and yet they just... worked. And, when I say different, I mean DIFFERENT. Garrett is this big, buff stoic military dude currently serving his second tour in Afghanistan. Kai is this slender, cut personable gamer dude who entertains thousands of Twitch feed viewers every night from the safety and security of his apartment in Philly.

Despite their differences, Garrett sees something in Kai that causes him to reach out - something that is completely out of character for Garrett. And, Kai sees something in Garrett's e-mail that causes him to respond - something that is completely out of character for Kai.

One would think that a relationship that starts via the Internet between two drastically different people would never work. But, one of the great things about Garrett and Kai is that, from the very beginning, they are real with one another. There's no games, no lies, no false pretenses. And yet - how real can you get when you only communicate with the assistance of computers?

Garrett and Kai learn the hard way that, in real life, things are harsher, more complicated... and so much better than they imagined. Kai's reluctance to leave his apartment becomes the source of some real problems. Garrett's inability to find work locally is an issue as well. And, Garrett has yet to officially come out of the closet to his family. It seems that the deck is stacked against these to guys who started to fall in love online

Except, when they are together, whether it's electronically or physically, they are incredible. The little things they do for one another are so sweet. The passion they share is ridiculously off the charts. And the depth of their feelings for one another is bigger than either of them had ever bargained for.

Strong Signal was sexy and rugged and so, so good. The journey that Garrett and Kai take together will stay with you - I promise.

Megan Erickson is a former journalist who switched to fiction when she decided she liked writing her own endings better. She likes to pretend she has control now, but usually her characters are the ones who hold the reins. Her romance novels have a touch of humor, a dash of nerdy, and always a happily ever after.

She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, two kids, and two cats named after John Hughes characters. She's still waiting for the party she was promised when she grew to five feet... maybe because she never got there.

Website: http://meganerickson.org/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authormeganerickson
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MeganErickson_
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Megan-Erickson/e/B00AWD8MHS/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1454466025&sr=8-2-ent

Santino Hassell was raised by a conservative family, but he was anything but traditional. He grew up to be a smart-mouthed, school cutting grunge kid, then a transient twenty-something, and eventually transformed into an unlikely romance author.

Santino writes queer romance that is heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, his belief that human relationships are complex and flawed, and his own life experiences.

Website (www.santinohassell.com)
Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/santinohassellbooks)
Twitter (https://twitter.com/SantinoHassell)
Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/santino_hassell)
Amazon (amazon.com/author/santinohassell)

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February 12, 2016

What's On?: Doctor Who

I'm a huge sci-fi/fantasy/paranormal fan. Like - MASSIVE. I cut my teeth on Wonder Woman and the Incredible Hulk, and then later when I got older, I watched all things Buffy, Charmed, Firefly and Farscape-like.

So, it only seemed natural that, when all my bestest of friends started singing the praises of Doctor Who, that I would love it as well. Why would I not? A dude rides around through time in a spaceship fighting aliens and all kinds of other weird stuff.

Except... I kinda thought it was stupid. I didn't get it. I know! Don't lynch me! I made it to the second episode, and the talking piece of skin did it for me. Drop the mic - I'm outta here.

Maybe it was the fact that it was British. Maybe it was just too weird, even for me. I don't know, but I tried twice, and both times I just couldn't get past the second episode. And, so, I gave up.

Except, my friends wouldn't let me forget that I gave up on this seemingly awesome show. They kept suggesting episodes that I should try to activate some deep-seeded love of this series. Then, we finally decided to give it one more shot, and went with Blink, an episode from the middle of the third season. 

And... it wasn't bad. It was actually pretty freaking entertaining. So, we backed up and suffered through some rough episodes in the first season (farting aliens and pig men??), and eventually gained a measure of appreciation for the series. I, personally, started really getting into it once David Tennant, a.k.a. the 10th Doctor, came onto the scene. I think he's completely adorable. 

So, we currently find ourselves on Season 3, Episode 8, and at this point I can safely say that I'm glad we went back and tried again and again. Although I still find myself scratching my head on some episodes, for the most part, I'm really enjoying the show now.

So, do you love Doctor Who? What is your favorite episode? Did you miss Rose as much as I am right now?

February 11, 2016

REVIEW: Wicked Sexy Liar (Wild Season #4)

Wicked Sexy Liar (Wild Seasons #4), by Christina Lauren
Publish Date:
February 2, 2016
Publisher: Gallery Books
Format: paperback, purchased
Genre: adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Rating: 5 STARS

(Synopsis) London Hughes is very content to surf daily, tend bar, hang out with her group of friends, and slowly orient herself in the years after college. Everything’s going great and according to the non-plan.

But when a wave knocks her for a loop one morning, then Luke Sutter’s flirtatious smile knocks her for another that evening, she veers slightly off course…and into his path. Sure, he’s a total player, but the Why not—it’s only one night is a persistent voice in her ear.

For his part, Luke’s been on hookup autopilot for so long that he rarely ever pauses to consider what he’s doing. But after an amazing time with London, he realizes that he hasn’t been moving on from a devastating heartbreak so much as he’s been drifting to wherever—and whomever—the current takes him. With London he wants more.

Every relationship involves two people…plus their pasts. And as much as she enjoys her fling with Luke, when London learns about his past—more specifically, who’s in it—everything becomes the brand of complicated she strives to avoid. It’s up to Luke then to change some things in order to try and ensure he’s not something she’ll outright avoid as well.

I have a confession to make. 

*whispers* I think I like Luke more than Ansel.

I know - I didn't think it was possible either. After reading Sweet Filthy Boy, I thought it couldn't get any better than playful French hottie Ansel. In that book, Luke was really only a sidebar - Mia's ex who wasn't there for her after her accident. And, in that book, it was hard not to paint him as a douchebag. But, in Wicked Sexy Liar, we got to SEE Luke. And, when I got the whole, pretty picture, I was all...

We've met London before this book too. While Mia, Harlow, Lola and Luke have been BFFs since they were kids, London only recently joined this eclectic group when she became Lola's roommate. Wicked Sexy Liar talks a lot about London's past and how it shaped her present-day hangups about commitment, monogamy and faithfulness in relationships. And, really, Luke is the poster-boy for the antithesis of all those qualities.

London had the potential to go either way for me, into love or hate territory. She's an incredibly strong and independent woman. She has strongly held preconceived notions about Luke, which are not altogether incorrect. She could've been a huge bitch to him because of them and become the slut shamer to beat all slut shamers. But, the incredible Christina Lauren duo kept me firmly on Team London. They made her hard, but not so hard that she didn't have real feelings and express real emotion when the situation called for it. London was never awful to Luke, and in fact formed a sweet friendship with him, in spite of his overflowing little black book.

But, really - this was Luke's book. It was all about his come-to-Jesus moment - which was the moment that London pigeon-holed him and his friends for being Heineken-drinking, womanizing, water polo playing former frat boys, and he decided he didn't like her thinking that about him. You've heard the phrase, "It's all about perception"? Luke learns that the hard way. No matter how badly he wants to change London's view of him and convince her he isn't the player she thinks he is, it's harder than he thought. Some playful banter over the bar and a few nights of smoking hot sex isn't enough.  And that's a bitter pill for Luke to swallow when he realizes that London is THE ONE.

I want someone who makes me laugh, who challenges me, who listens to me. I want that leg within reach while I drive. I want to wait until someone is done futzing around the house before we head to bed. I need to be someone a woman can respect and trust enough to spill the details of her day. 

And, that's not even taking into consideration the Mia factor. Luke and London have her in common, and Luke's former relationship with Mia is a hard limit for London for awhile - sisters before misters, and all that. So, not only has London given Luke a chance to right his manwhoring ways, but she has also given him the push he needed to get some closure with Mia, make friends with Ansel and reconnect with Lola and Harlow.

Wicked Sexy Liar was an incredibly fun book. Luke and London's banter had me laughing out loud nearly every time they were together. And, don't get me started on Luke's family. His relationship with his sister Margot is so awesome. And his Gran - seriously. Just read the book. Luke's grandmother steals the show.

There was so much to love in this book. We got lots of time with Mia, Harlow, Lola and their men. There were a lot of laughs and some serious moments too. There was hot sexy and romance and that grand gesture that makes your heart totally melt. Luke was IT for me - I bet he'll be it for you too.

February 9, 2016

AUDIOBOOK REVIEW: Caressed by Ice (Psy-Changeling #3)

Caressed by Ice (Psy-Changeling #3), by Nalini Singh
Publish Date:
September 4, 2007
Publisher: Berkley Publishing
Format: audiobook, purchased
Genre: adult paranormal romance
To Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Rating: 5 STARS

(Synopsis) Nalini Singh explores new heights of sensuality, returning to the world of the Psy - where two people who know evil intimately must unlock the good within their icy hearts...

As an Arrow, an elite soldier in the Psy Council ranks, Judd Lauren was forced to do terrible things in the name of his people. Now he is a defector, and his dark abilities have made him the most deadly of assassins - cold, pitiless, unfeeling. Until he meets Brenna...

Brenna Shane Kincaid was an innocent before she was abducted - and had her mind violated - by a serial killer. Her sense of evil runs so deep, she fears she could become a killer herself. Then the first dead body is found, victim of a familiar madness. Judd is her only hope, yet her sensual changeling side rebels against the inhuman chill of his personality, even as desire explodes between them. Shocking and raw, their passion is a danger that threatens not only their hearts, but their very lives...

Paranormal romance doesn't get any better than this. Not only is there some awesome shifter goodness, but the Psy-Changeling series continues to be one epic Romeo and Juliet story after another, which in my opinion, makes the best ships EVER. 

We met Judd and Brenna previously in the first two books. At first glance, Judd is the typical cold, emotion-less Psy - except, he's not. He's an Arrow, which is an elite assassin Psy. Being who he is, he has a whole host of new problems when it comes to his abilities that make it nearly impossible to break from his Psy conditioning like Sasha and Faith were able to do before him. But, there's enough humanity in Judd to recognize that the things the Psy want to do to further their kind are not remotely humane, so he's willing to do what he can from outside the Net to bring them down.

Brenna is still reeling emotionally and physically from the brutal attack on her by the former Psy council member. Strangely, despite being surrounded by her pack and her brothers, it's Judd that appears to be the only one she feels comfortable talking to. But, breaking through his layers of icy self-preservation is a challenge that she might not be up for. 

Although I loved Sasha's and Faith's stories, I think Judd's may be the best yet. Mostly, because it was the most challenging. His abilities definitely complicated things in a way we haven't seen yet, and it made me wonder how Nalini Singh was going to get him out of the box in which she had put him in to begin with. 

I loved how Judd's transformation was extremely gradual. It made it much more believable. And it made those moments of progress so much sweeter. Every moment he had with Brenna was fascinating and sweet and so very swoon-worthy - and that has to do with the fact that in those moments, he's very far from the Psy we know he was and can still be at times. 

Brenna's in a precarious place. She's trying to find her way back to "normal," but everyone is coddling her, and she's not sure how to get back to where she was before. I felt so awful for her so many times. Nalini Singh did an excellent job making Brenna both vulnerable and strong, scared and brave, fearful and commanding. It was like Brenna was trying to fight who she is with only the knowledge of who she WAS as a weapon. It's an impossible battle, but with Judd there to help her, she's unbeatable. 

We get to see plenty of our favorite cat shifters in this book, as well as Sasha and Faith. The wicked Psy council also plays a major role, and new mysteries are begun that, I'm sure, will play out in future books in the series. The world building and the mythology that Singh has created continue to be phenomenal. I love this complex world and all the cool things the different races can do and how they all interact together. It's a brilliant series, and the coupling of two completely incompatible people make it even better. 

About the Audio Version
Once again, I listened to the audio version. I think I may continue doing this as I work my way through the series. Although it means it will take me much longer to get through all the books, the production makes it totally worth it. Angela Dawe is an incredible narrator, and I love what she has done with the characters. I definitely would recommend the audio version to anyone. It has enhanced the story lines for me and made the experience that much more enjoyable.