≡ Menu

On a Book Bender

Tangled plot with too many characters.

The Tower’s Alchemist (The Gray Tower Trilogy #1) by Alesha Escobar

Genre: Historical paranormal fantasy
Alesha Escobar | @The_GrayTower | Facebook
Amazon – Paperback | Kindle
Add The Tower’s Alchemist on Goodreads


Wizard Vs. Nazi Warlock Vampires.

It’s a very different World War II.

The Nazis have unleashed occult forces throughout Europe and the Allies are forced to recruit and employ wizards to counter their attacks. Among them is the battle weary spy, Isabella George, a Gray Tower dropout trained in Alchemy. Longing for retirement and a life of peace, she accepts one final job-extract a deadly warlock from Nazi occupied France and prevent him from unleashing an alchemical weapon that will devour the continent.

But France is crawling with the Cruenti, vampiric warlocks who feed off other wizards. When things don’t go according to plan, one Cruenti sets his deadly eyes on her.

Betrayal is everywhere. Even some of her closest allies cannot be fully trusted. Worse still, she finds, she can’t even trust herself. She becomes a woman torn between her charismatic spy lover who offers her what she desires most, and one of her closest confidants, whose soft seductive eyes hold deadly secrets about her past, and the Gray Tower itself.

Plans within plans. Plots versus counter plots. Heists gone wrong, sword-wielding Catholic priests, and the greatest manipulation of history that has ever been seen, is just a taste of what Isabella George is in for, in her final mission.

Thoughts The Tower’s Alchemist

On the surface, this is exactly the type of book I’d enjoy. I mean… NAZI WARLOCK VAMPIRES, people! I was REALLY looking forward to meeting those guys. Unfortunately, while the Nazi warlock vampires pulled their weight (as much as Nazi warlock vampires do, that is), the book fell flat for me until the final confrontation at the end.

In large part, I think this was due to the somewhat extraneous characters introduced who would stick around for a couple pages before disappearing. That part wouldn’t have been so bad, but these characters would pop up again later in the book and I’d have to really wrack my brain trying to remember who they were. And how they were important. While some of that could be explained by Isabella’s transient and secret life as a spy (speaking of which, she goes by several different names in the book. I have a hard time wrapping my head around when main characters have multiple names.), following along with who was who and what part they played in her life was exhausting.

I will say, the ending really picked up. ‘Splosions! Death! Secrets revealed! The underlying reasoning for why Isabella had become such a focus for so many different groups really amped up the intrigue. If the beginning of the book had the intensity of the end, I would have devoured it in one sitting. Alas, I had to content myself with the occasional sighting a Nazi warlock vampire instead.

Not going to lie, that doesn’t get old to type.

Kelly Loves Books... and you!


Top Off Tuesday, Almost Something…

in Top Off Tuesday

It’s that time again — Tuesday! — which means I attempt to brighten your day with half-naked men. Read on at your own risk.  Top Off Tuesdays was started by FeliciaChristi and me.  It is where we (and you!) share the book covers that make us swoon.  Head over to Felicia’s blog to share your Top Off Tuesday link or to see what everyone has posted.

When Margot signs on to pose as one half of a married couple for the cloning company she works for, she doesn’t expect her partner to interest her in the slightest. It’s just a job—albeit one that comes with a fake marriage. To an undeniably sexy fake husband.

Sergei is an immense stone fortress, cold and calm and—worst of all—so compelling Margot can hardly stand it. She’s supposed to be protecting and maintaining the labs, but all she can think about is unearthing the man beneath the controlled façade and wrapping herself around him.

Even if the man she uncovers is far more than she ever bargained for
-from Goodreads

The Making of a Gentleman by Shana Galen {Amanda’s Review}The Making of a Gentleman by Shana Galen
Series: The Sons of the Revolution #2
Published by Sourcebooks, Incorporated on 2010
Genres: Historical, Historical Romance, Regency, Romance
Pages: 373
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
Add to Goodreads
Twelve years in prison has stripped him of his humanity…

Armand, Comte de Valère has lost the ability to interact with polite society, until his family hires him a beautiful tutor, and he starts to come alive again…

Saving him is her only chance to escape a terrible fate…

Felicity Bennett vows she'll do whatever it takes to help Armand fight back the demons that have held him captive for so long…

With Felicity's help, Armand begins to heal, until a buried secret threatens to destroy their growing passion…

Not completely believable, but still awesome.

Thoughts on The Making of a Gentleman

Sooooo. Let me just begin by saying that I liked this book. We’ll get that out of the way right now. I think book 1 was probably my favorite, and that’s likely because of some… aspects that were relatively unbelievable in THIS book.

The picture we get of Armand in The Making of a Duchess is one of an extremely… stunted(?) man. He can’t talk, doesn’t appear to understand what’s going on, and is pained by touching. That’s how The Making of a Gentleman starts off, so suffice to say, Armand went through some SERIOUS transformations in this book.

I just don’t know how much of that transformation I can believe. It kind of makes me want to go out and research psychological issues like this, where someone goes mute after a traumatic experience. You know, rather than read the book or write my review.

I chose to suspend my belief instead of getting annoyed or questioning the logic behind it because I was looking for an escape, and Shana Galen provides that. And it was kind of cool to see how Felicity managed to break through Armand’s defenses and walls.

And, of course, this book sets up the next in the series and I can’t wait to dig in.



Here’s a frequent scene at my house:

Me, sitting (or standing) in front of the shelf of books that I have to read. Or, perhaps it’s me staring at the computer screen of my Goodreads to-read page, scrolling aimlessly up and down the 200+ titles. I pick up one book (or click on one title). Interesting, but not what I’m in the mood for right now. I select another . . . eh, too heavy. I want something lighter.

Ten to twelve selections later, I heave a heavy sigh, close my eyes, shoot out my hand (or cursor) and grab the first one my fingers (or mouse) touch and hope for the best. After all, I have the book (or have the book marked as “to-read”) so I’m sure I’ll enjoy it, right?

If this is in any way familiar, you, like me, probably want someone to point you in the right direction . . . set you up, as it were. Well, I’m here to help! If you’re looking for a hot new read, a book in a particular category, or just something you haven’t tried before, let me tempt you to your next read!

This month’s bachelor/ette books are:

Book #1:

  • First of a series
  • Cozy mystery
  • Estates and antiques

Book #2:

  • Contemporary
  • Literary fiction
  • Debut novel

Book #3:

  • Young adult
  • Fairy tale retelling
  • Fantasy

Want to go on a reading date with one of these books? Or, think you’ve met one of these eligible catches already and want to guess as the titles? Here’s what you can do:

  • Leave a comment to request a date. Let me know which bachelor/ette you’d like to spend a little time with and I’ll email you back privately with the title of the book and the author. (NOTE: I’ll only respond via email, so don’t came back to this post looking for my response, okay? Okay!)
  • If you want to hazard a guess at the title of one (or more!) of the books, you can leave a comment to do that, as well. Once again, be sure to let me know which bachelor/ette you think you’ve unmasked. Just to be sure we don’t spoil the fun for other readers/dates, I’ll contact you privately to let you know if your right – or wrong!
  • Finally, do you have a book that you know On a Book Bender readers will love? Leave a comment – something along the lines of Date My Book, Jenna! – and I’ll get in touch to see when we can feature your Blind Date With a Book contender!


Girl with Book Lungs


A steamy story that ultimately misfires.

Tied & Bound by K.M. Liss

Tied & Bound by K.M. Liss

Genre:  Romance, Erotica
Format: E-book
Read: July 14-15, 2014
K.M. Liss | @KatrinaMiaLiss | Facebook
Tied & Bound on Goodreads 



Talented chef and entrepreneur, Chloe Redmond, is recovering from disappointment and betrayal in love. Seeking a new life, she leaves London for the Cotswolds, a place of charm, beauty and hopefully a place for healing. Romance is not on her mind, but then she meets him.

Tall, dark, mysterious and very sexy, Max. He is unimaginably hot, and possibly hers. Suddenly, she’s caught up in a whirlwind relationship, but things are not what they seem. She knows he has secrets, things he won’t tell her. But, can they survive or could another man rival Max for her affections. Could Martyn, a cocky, gorgeous, womanizing man-whore, be the one to provide love long term for Chloe?

Life and love can be confusing and overwhelming, but sometimes waiting can be worth the pain. Sometimes waiting can bring healing, love, happiness.

18+ for sexual content and language

–from Goodreads

My Thoughts

Every genre has its fans and followers, as well as dabblers and detractors. Erotica has been a growing genre for several years, perhaps more so recently thanks to a shot of scintillation thanks to so-called “mommy porn.” (Fifty Shades of Grey, I’m looking at you!) As a reader and a blogger, I am an advocate for books, whatever gets your reading! That said, I don’t read erotic fiction as much or as often as I read other genres. But, if a book is intriguing and has a captivating story, I’m willing to read and, hopefully, enjoy. Unfortunately, I didn’t really enjoy K.M. Liss’s Tied & Bound. Not because of any failure or missed mark by the author; just because it simply wasn’t my cup of tea.

Tied & Bound is the story of Chloe Redmond. After walking in on her boyfriend and her best friend having sex, Chloe retreats to the Cotswolds from London. She starts a catering company and sets about mending her broken heart and re-building her life. Sort of. It’s while setting up for a catering event when she meets Max, the kept man of an eccentric older artist. Chloe is immediately and strongly in lust with the good-looking guy. Soon (too soon in my opinion) Max and Chloe fall into a frenzied sexual affair. It’s intense and possessive and, to me, largely unbelievable.

I think that is the crux of my trouble with the story. The sex seemed contrived and gratuitous. (Though, admittedly, the scenes are sizzling!) I’m not a prude; I don’t oppose sex in stories. I simply prefer when a story establishes an emotional connection that fuels a physical connection. To men, that connection was missing in Tied & Bound.

Chloe’s story is about discovering and rediscovering herself. But the story felt forced down a purely physical path, leaving Chloe behind while a caricature of Chloe Redmond experience a sexual spring awakening.

This review is purely the opinion of this reader. I was provided with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


Girl with Book Lungs


It’s that time again — Tuesday! — which means I attempt to brighten your day with half-naked men. Read on at your own risk.  Top Off Tuesdays was started by FeliciaChristi and me.  It is where we (and you!) share the book covers that make us swoon.  Head over to Felicia’s blog to share your Top Off Tuesday link or to see what everyone has posted.


Even better than the first book.

Tempting Fate by Alissa Johnson

Tempting Fate by Alissa Johnson (Providence, #2)

Genre: historical romance
Format: ebook from library
Read: 5/29/2014
Alissa Johnson | @alissajohnson2
Tempting Fate on Goodreads


Providence Series Order

1. As Luck Would Have It
2. Tempting Fate
3. McAlistair’s Fortune
4. Destined to Last


Whittaker Cole, Earl of Thurston, is every debutante’s dream come true. Handsome, rich, and a prime catch on the Marriage Mart, Whit is also reputed to be one of the most unflappable gentlemen in all England. Nothing ever puts him in a temper. Until… 

He comes within twenty feet of Miss Mirabelle Browning and loses all control. The women in his household believe divine providence sent Mira to live on the estate adjoining theirs. After the hellion breaks his nose, Whit decides that the divine has nothing to do with it. Until… 

He kisses her. After all, it was either that, or wring her neck. But when sparks fly, he’s forced to admit that there might be something to this destiny thing after all. If he can just convince Mirabelle to give fate—and love—a chance.
-from Goodreads

Thoughts on Tempting Fate

I’m rather glad I went in order here—from book 1 to book 2—because there’s setup between Whit and Mirabelle that I would’ve missed. And that would have made their romance a little less sweet than it really is.

Is there anything better than a haters-to-lovers story? Not that Whit and Mira ever really hated each other, but they didn’t really like each other, either. And that’s likely what I loved so much about this one. (Also, Whit was less overbearing than Alex from book 1.)

It was rather adorable watching both of them realize that all those sparks they’d created over the years were not because they couldn’t get along. And oh, the antics of matchmakers.

Tempting Fate has a bit of a setup for book 3 (just like book 1 had for book 2), but having read it already, it didn’t do much for me. And I’m not sure it really adds much to their book, come to think of it, but… I enjoyed this book. And seeing Sophie and Alex from book 1 was nice.

Rather liking this entire series. If only I could get my hands on the final book…


Very hard to describe this book.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Genre: suspense, YA
Format: hardcover from library
Read: 6/15/2014 — 6/16/2014
E. Lockhart | Blog | @elockhart
We Were Liars on Goodreads



A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.
We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart. 

Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.
-from Goodreads

Thoughts on We Were Liars

This is one of those rare cases where my enjoyment scale doesn’t really cut it here. I didn’t enjoy this book. It was intriguing. I had to know what Cady was heading toward. But enjoyment doesn’t quite cover it. It’s not a book I enjoyed, but it is a page turner.

We Were Liars plays on your sympathies. I knew going into the book that Cady was an unreliable narrator, but man. There’s unreliable, and then there’s unreliable. Cady is the latter. It makes sorting through everything that much more difficult.

And the ending is… an ending. Make of that what you will. It’s hard to talk about this book without messing with the suspense aspect (which is well done, mind you).

If you like a little mind-fuckery in your stories, We Were Liars is going to work for you. I still have no idea if it did for me.


Mmm. Werewolves. Love these feral beasts!

The Wolf Within (Purgatory #1) by Cynthia Eden

Genre: Paranormal romance
Cynthia Eden | @cynthiaeden | Facebook
Amazon – Kindle
Add The Wolf Within on Goodreads

Book order

1. The Wolf Within
2. Marked by the Vampire
3. Charming the Beast


FBI Special Agent Duncan McGuire spends his days–and his nights–tracking real-life monsters. Most humans aren’t aware of the vampires and werewolves that walk among them. They don’t realize the danger that they face, but Duncan knows about the horror that waits in the darkness. He hunts the monsters, and he protects the innocent. Duncan just never expects to become a monster. But after a brutal werewolf attack, Duncan begins to change…and soon he will be one of the very beasts that he has hunted.

Dr. Holly Young is supposed to help Duncan during his transition. It’s her job to keep him sane so that Duncan can continue working with the FBI’s Para Unit. But as Duncan’s beast grows stronger, the passion that she and Duncan have held carefully in check pushes to the surface. The desire that is raging between them could be a very dangerous thing…because Holly isn’t exactly human, not any longer.

As the monsters circle in, determined to take out all of the agents working at the Para Unit, Holly and Duncan will have to use their own supernatural strengths in order to survive. But as they give up more of their humanity and embrace the beasts within them both, they realize that the passion between them isn’t safe, it isn’t controllable, and their dark need may just be an obsession that could destroy them both.

Thoughts The Wolf Within

Good gravy, I like werewolves. At the top of my “werewolves are awesome” list are the ones who fight against the desire to hurt others just because they’re stronger and faster than those around them. GUESS WHAT? Duncan is totally one of those protectors. His desire to keep Holly safe is driven in part by his wild attraction to her, but he’s also a genuinely  good man at heart and he does everything he can to use his strength for good– including allowing himself to be locked up.

Things I liked: Holly and Duncan. Duncan has some issues (most of them revolving around his new werewolf status), but Holly has a few secrets of her own. As things begin to be revealed, we see that secrets, lies and half-truths have been piling up for a long time around these two. Not by their choice, either.

By the by, Pate, the commander of the Para Unit, has some seriously jacked up ideas and he’s WAY dedicated to his job. While I can understand he’s trying to protect innocents from a very serious threat, the path he chooses to take makes him a hard man to like. That said, given the backstabbing, frontstabbing, and otherwise cutthroat goings on, I do understand why he didn’t feel he could trust people. BUT STILL. There’s a line, man, and you keep crossing it.

What were we talking about again? Secrets. Lies. Family dynamics that are seriously screwy. Oh, and hot sex. ALL FUN TO READ ABOUT. *thumbs up* all around.

Kelly Loves Books... and you!


It’s that time again — Tuesday! — which means I attempt to brighten your day with half-naked men. Read on at your own risk.  Top Off Tuesdays was started by FeliciaChristi and me.  It is where we (and you!) share the book covers that make us swoon.  Head over to Felicia’s blog to share your Top Off Tuesday link or to see what everyone has posted.

Big thanks for Kelly for this one.

An eccentric Dallas millionaire who collects medieval artifacts hires a modern-day Seer to locate an ancient chalice rumored to be the Holy Grail. Little does Brianna Frazier know she’s in a deadly race with Balor, the revengeful, l fallen-from-grace god of the Celts who wants the Grail’s power to destroy civilization. Only an immortal knight from King Arthur’s court can save her—but Troy Sutton doesn’t remember who he really is or how he landed in the 21st century.
-from Goodreads

%d bloggers like this: