Saturday, October 8, 2016


Confession: it took me a while to figure out what to call this post. I didn't think I should call it a series review since there are other books/novellas in the series (like Made—Corrado's story [which I la-la-la-loved dearly]). Most of my reviews are quite short too, so calling these 'mini reviews' didn't seem right either hah. So, I'm taking a page out of Siiri's genius book and doing a dual review! Warning: Be prepared for a lot of nonsensical flailing and gushing because I love these books so much. They were truly my perfect blend of drama and romance, with a hint of action and suspense!

Title: Sempre
Author: J.M. Darhower
Forever #1
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: February 25, 2014

Haven Antonelli and Carmine DeMarco grew up under vastly different circumstances. Haven, a second-generation slave, was isolated in the middle of the desert, her days full of hard work and terrifying abuse. Carmine, born into a wealthy Mafia family, lived a life of privilege and excess. Now, a twist of fate causes their worlds to collide. Entangled in a web of secrets and lies, they learn that while different on the surface, they have more in common than anyone would think. In a world full of chaos, where money and power rule, Haven and Carmine yearn to break free, but a string of events that began before either of them were born threatens to destroy them instead.

Murder and betrayal are a way of life, and nothing comes without a price—especially not freedom. But how much will they have to sacrifice? Can they escape their pasts? And, most of all. what does it mean to be free?
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"Don't let them break you. Don't let them win. 
Fight the fight. It's the only way to be free."

Where do I even start? I actually read this book back in 2014. Two years later and it still has my heart racing. Sempre was filled with sooooo many great and memorable characters. I am fighting the urge to write my very own SparkNote analysis of this novel hah. No worries, I'll spare you that pain, but I will tell you a bit about Sempre's fantastic four: Haven, Carmine, Vincent and Corrado. These four will burrow their way into your heart whether you'd like them to or not. Especially, Vincent and Corrado (my absolute fave in this series).

Although this series is mafia-themed, Sempre focused more on Haven and Carmine—their innocence and their budding romance. You should see the number of tabs I used for all the cute shippy scenes (I almost used up an entire sheet of pink ones!). Haven and Carmine are opposites that attract. She's soft-spoken. He's short-tempered. Their relationship growth was a glorious slow burn. It started as curious interest to an unlikely friendship to more. My cheeks hurt because of how much I smiled or grinned from their interactions.

Freedom is continually brought up in both Sempre and Sempre: Redemption. Despite the fact that she was bought by Vincent (Carmine's father), she's freer than she was before entering the DeMarco household. You can imagine how incredibly complicated Haven and Vincent's relationship was throughout the novel. There were times I wanted to punch Vincent while screaming 'HOW COULD YOU DO THAT?'. Is he a good guy? A bad guy? He's always kind of walking the line and blurring it. It's evident how loyal he is to his true family though. He's stuck in the life but he'll do everything it takes to keep his two sons from going down the same path he did. It's this characteristic that made me sympathize and come to love him. What can I say, I always fall for the bad guy hah. I found myself comparing Vincent to Corrado (brothers-in-law) countless times too. To me, they seemed like two sides of the same coin. They're so similar and yet so different. Corrado prides himself in being a respectable made man whereas Vincent almost seems reluctant to follow orders. It's a strange dynamic, but one that works incredibly well.

To summarize, the characters of Sempre, both the main and secondary characters, were phenomenal. And story-wise. I was hooked from start to finish. Yes, Sempre is a beast of a book [a little over 500 pages with the paperback] but every moment is worth it! READ THIS BOOK, YOU ARE MISSING OUT.

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Title: Sempre: Redemption
Author: J.M. Darhower
Forever #2
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: April 1, 2014
In this thrilling and sexy follow-up of Sempre, two young lovers struggle to keep their relationship intact after they become deeply enmeshed in the dangerous mafia-run crime ring they once tried to overthrow.

Haven Antonelli and Carmine DeMarco have been through a lot. Haven was taken in by Carmine's father, and with his family's help, she escaped a gruesome fate. However, saving Haven from the dark intentions of a mafia family cost Carmine a steep price: he was forced to swear loyalty to them.

Now, still passionately in love, Carmine and Haven must face the fall-out of Carmine's forced service, as Haven discovers terrifying secrets about the family that enslaved both her and her mother—and why she matters so much in this intricate web of lies.

"None of us really know what we're doing. 
We just go out there and do it and have faith it'll turn out okay."

I'm going to start off with why I've deducted half a star before going into my review so SPOILER ALERT (this happens quite early on in the book but still...). Although I really enjoyed the character development of both Haven and Carmine in Sempre: Redemption, my heart hurt over mainly one fact: [highlight to view spoiler] my ship was apart for a good 60/70% of the novel. Besides that, wow was this book all kinds of amazing! Where book one focused on the two darlings and romance, the sequel was a complete 180. Sure, there are still really emotional scenes and cuteness but after the events in Sempre, we fall deeper into the dark, mafia lifestyle. Many questions from the first book are answered and I loved that the plot came full circle.

A character I came to love dearly in Sempre was Dominic, Carmine's brother. I had my fingers crossed for some more bromance in this book but nada. Well, at least not as much as I had hoped! Aside from the fantastic four, there were very few secondary characters that really stuck and left a mark with me. In Haven's case, she couldn't be completely honest with them and that stopped her (and me) from getting attached. In Carmine's case, the people he met were of the not-so-good-for-him variety so no way was I liking them (and I didn't)! I loved seeing Haven embrace her talent in art and becoming more of her own person. I hated seeing Carmine spiral and turn to bad things, trying to numb his pain. My emotions were all over the place regarding these two.

Vincent and Corrado played larger roles in this book and we even get their povs every now and then. I loved that we got to be inside their heads for a change. Corrado is like a silent puppeteer. Although he's not the boss, he still held a lot of power and respect within the organization. Him and his wife, Celia, are such a power couple. #Marriagegoals! Then there's Vincent, the arrow embedded in my heart. I felt like there was a lot of reading inbetween the lines with this book. And I had a feeling he was up to something 'behind the scenes'. AHHHH just thinking about his decisions make me hurt all over ;_________; *clutches heart* I'm still not over it, thanks.

Last PSA: if you love NA with a dark edge [no worries, it's not the pitch black, wtf, my mind is blown to smithereens kind], this duology is for you. Even if you don't like NA, but you like some romance with action/suspense, this duology is for you. Even if you don't like any of that but you like to read, this duology is for you. All in all, READ SEMPRE AND SEMPRE:REDEMPTION *drops mic*

Extras: Sempre picspam + Character Casting

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday (15)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine
for sharing upcoming releases we're highly anticipating.

Slow Burn (Colorado High Country #2)
by Pamela Clare
Release Date: September 20, 2016
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
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Victoria Woodley is done with men. Fresh off a dating nightmare, she flies from her home in Chicago to Scarlet Springs to take part in her best friend's wedding. Who picks her up at the airport? Eric Hawke. Of course. She made a fool of herself over him last time she was here. He's cocky, charming, and sexy as sin. But the fact that she's attracted to him is all the proof she needs that hes bad news. She would ignore him if she could. But he's the best man, and she's the maid of honor. She can't just tell him to jump in a lakeespecially not when her lips are locked with his.

Eric isn't looking for a relationship. Between running the firehouse and volunteering for the county's search and rescue team. he has enough on his plate/ He doesn't need to get tangled up with a woman from the big city, especially one whose idea of roughing it is going without designer coffee. Yet from the moment he looks into Victoria's big brown eyes. the attraction he feels is too strong to deny. Faster than he can imagine, the spark of desire that has smoldered between them since the first day they met will flare into full-blown passion.

But can Eric convince Victoria to set aside her doubts and trust him with her heart before their time together runs out?
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Why? Is it getting hot in here or is it just that cover because wow *fans self*. Pamela Clare stole my heart with her I-Team series. Although this series is definitely not romantic suspense, her writing is still great in this new contemporary romance series. Eric was my favorite from the first Barely Breathing so I'm incredibly excited for this book!! 

Bright Smoke, Cold Fire 
by Rosamund Hodge
Release Date: September 27, 2016
| +Goodreads |
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Retelling, Romance,
Publisher: Balzar + Bray
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When the mysterious fog of the Ruining crept over the world, the living died and the dead rose. Only the walled city of Viyara was left untouched.

The heirs of the city's most powerfuland warringfamilies, Mahyanai Romeo and Juliet Catresou share a love deeper than duty, honor, even life itself. But the magic laid on Juliet at birth compels her to punish the enemies of her clanand Romeo has just killed her cousin Tybalt. Which means he must die.

Paris Catresou has always wanted to serve his family by guarding Juliet. But when his ward tries to escape her fate, magic goes terribly wrongkilling her and leaving Paris bound to Romeo. If he wants to discover the truth of what happened, Paris must delve deep into the city, ally with his worst enemy...and perhaps turn against his own clan.

Mahyanai Runajo just wants to protect her citybut she's the only one who believes it's in peril. In her desperate hunt for information, she accidentally pulls Juliet from the mouth of deathand finds herself bound to the bitter, angry girl. Runajo quickly discovers Juliet might be the one person who can help her recover the secret to saving Viyara. 

Both pairs will find friendship where they least expect it. Both will find that Viyara holds more secrets and dangers than anyone ever expected. And outside the walls, death is waiting...
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Why? That synopsis! I NEED. I haven't read any of Rosamund Hodge's book yet but I do own hard copies of Crimson Bound and Cruel Beauty which were both major cover-buys. What is up with her book covers?! They are always so beautiful and on point! I'm definitely adding this one to my tbr heheh.

What are you waiting on this week?
I'd love to stop by and see your pick(s), just leave a link in the comments :)

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Review: BUTTERFLY DREAMS by A. Meredith Walters

Title: Butterfly Dreams
Author: A. Meredith Walters
Publisher: Loveswept
Publication Date: November 24, 2015
She's waiting to die... Corin Thompson is paralyzed by her obsession with mortality. Having lost both of her parents, she is terrified by the idea that she too will die young, and she loses control at any sign of illness. But when Corin connects with someone who has survived a very real brush with death, she begins to see the world in a whole new way.

He's learning to live... As Corin struggles under the weight of her neuroses, Beckett Kingsley is attempting to rebuild a life that feels all too temporary. With the ever-present threat of heart failure never far from his mind, he just wants to make the most of whatever time he has left. And that means pursuing the girl he never expected to find.

Together, Corin and Beckett finally learn to let go of their fears and take solace in everyday pleasures. Who knows what the future holds? After all, nothing lasts forever—the only promise they have is right now.
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"Stop thinking about your life in increments. Seconds. Minutes. Days.
Look at the bigger picture and embrace whatever time you have."

Let's start with the cover because, you know I'm a sucker for the pretty ones. I love the blue and purple (my fave colors!), and that gorgeous font. The cover has a kind of hazy, dream-like feel to it that I find reflects the story well. I really, really enjoyed this book! Butterfly Dreams left me wanting to run outside to soak in the sun—happy to just be. It's inspiring and heart-warming. I wasn't the biggest fan of Corin but man, oh man, did I fall head over heels for Beckett.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

On a personal note: this bluebird is flying the nest

Hello, how have you been? I've been neglecting my blog these past months... *hugs laptop and pets screen* I'M SORRY MY PRECIOUS. Life has engulfed me during my hiatus. Lots of boring stuff, to be honest. Work. Work. Work. *plays 'Heigh Ho' from Snow White and the Seven Drawfs* On a more fun note, I went pretty wild with my hair this summer! I went from black to silver/ ice lilac pastel which faded to a blonde, then to multi-colored streaks like a mermaid hah. Although I haven't posted anything, I've been sneaking around and blogging behind the scenes. I actually finished two/three reviews [Can you believe it?!?! *roars*] which I'm going to schedule later on. I'm going to stockpile some reviews since I'm so prone to last minute posts. NO MORE I SAY.

Now onto the reasoning behind this post's title. No, you can't get rid of me so easily ;). It's moving day for me! I'll be going into a four-year nursing program in a different city starting in September. Pro: I'll get to see my niece and nephew basically everyday. Con: I can't take Tidus with me so I won't see my fur-king as often. It's a huge step for me towards being more independent, so I'm quite nervous/proud/excited/scared. Luckily, my brother Michael and his family live in Sarnia. I'm just moving into their basement guestroom heheh. One of the hardest thing about moving away from home is deciding which books to leave behind and which to take with me. I've read about 10% of my ever-growing collection. How am I suppose to choose?? Addicted series books, check. Sempre duology, check. Under the Never Sky series and Maybe Someday, double check. Everything else is up in the air. Whether or not I get time to read anything besides textbooks is another story.

I'm hoping to post every now and then regardless of school. I've been preparing a few review posts and others so I won't go AWOL for as long as I did this summer. I have many blogs to stop by and get the 411 on as well. I haven't read much but I haven't stopped altogether so that's good, right? Jumping back and forth between NA/A and YA has helped. Getting deeper into the kpop hole and watching kdramas, plus catching up on tv shows, has not. I've been putting off ebooks for a bit too because I can't focus very well recently. I'm waiting for the mojo-lightning to strike again *looks up at the sky* COME AT ME. There's a very cute independent bookstore called The Book Keeper very close to my brother's place that I look forward to spending time in. I've already gotten my Lambton library card the last time I visited, so I'm all set hah. And they had so many romance books that weren't available in my hometown. Needless to say, I'll be spending a lot of time 'studying' there. Life update complete! Phew *wipes sweat*. Until next time xx