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On a Book Bender

Blind Date with a Book

in Blind Date with a Book

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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:

  • Chick lit
  • Humor
  • Romance

Book #2:

  • Historical fiction
  • 19th century
  • Romance

Book #3:

  • Cozy mystery
  • Produce
  • Amateur sleuth

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

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Life After Life by Kate Atkinson {Jenna’s Review}Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
Published by Little, Brown
Genres: Fiction, Historical, Literary, Mystery & Detective, Suspense, Thrillers, War & Military
Pages: 544
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
five-stars
Add to Goodreads
What if you could live again and again, until you got it right? On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born to an English banker and his wife. She dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual. For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, in a variety of ways, while the young century marches on towards its second cataclysmic world war. Does Ursula's apparently infinite number of lives give her the power to save the world from its inevitable destiny? And if she can -- will she?Darkly comic, startlingly poignant, and utterly original -- this is Kate Atkinson at her absolute best.

A hauntingly compelling wartime historical fiction

My Thoughts

The concept of Kate Atkinson’s novel was intriguing to me from the first:

“During a snowstorm in England in 1910, a baby is born and dies before she can take her first breath.

During a snowstorm in England in 1910, the same baby is born and lives to tell the tale.”

Whether or not you believe in reincarnation, Life After Life makes a hauntingly memorable case for the possibility of second, third, fourth, and more chances at living one’s life.

Over the course of the story, Ursula Todd is born and dies multiple times. Each rebirth and subsequent life carries a touch – a smudge – of memory (or foreshadowing?) from the last go-round. An inexpiable fear when visiting the beach with her family as a five-year-old child. A terror that leads her to push the family’s maid, Bridget, down the stairs in a vain effort to prevent her from visiting Armistice Day celebrations. Bone-chilling terror at the sound of a particular man’s voice. It all seems the same . . . but different, too.

It’s the subtle details that weave in the various incarnations of Ursula Barrisford Todd that really show the masterful nature of Kate Atkinson’s work. The slight bits and pieces that remain buried in Ursula’s memory that change the course of each of her lives; it is, in a word, fascinating to read.

It’s funny, when I finished listening to the novel – read extremely well by narrator Fenella Woolgar – I was slightly ambivalent. I think, now, it was just a reluctance to let go of the story and the Todd family. As I write up my thoughts about Life After Life I realize that it’s not a four-star book, but a five-star book. One I can see myself going back and revisiting often.

 

Girl with Book Lungs

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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.

[Amanda’s note: We’ve got a SUPER SPECIAL Top Off Tuesday this week that only Christi can explain. Ready?]

Christi Snow here from Smitten with Reading. No, don’t worry….you’re at the right place. Amanda and Felicia have just been gullible enough kind enough to let me do a mass takeover today on their blogs with my triple cover reveal. They know that my first requirement for my designer on my covers is that they are Top Off Tuesday worthy.

All three of us are still hostessing Top Off Tuesday. We’re all just featuring different covers from my triple cover reveal. You see how that worked out so nicely there?? Thank you, girls!!

So, let’s get to it. The gorgeous Male Model Chronicles covers…

Lance by Christi Snow

Lance by Christi Snow

coming Spring/Summer, 2015
Goodreads Link

 The Model: Lance Jones
The Photographer: Kruse Images & Photography

Lance…

As the owner and CEO of Lancer Industries, Matthew Lancer spends his days in three piece suits and conducting meetings that affect the world financial markets. What the world doesn’t know is that Matthew Lancer has a deep, dark secret. He’s actually super-hot, super-sexy, and covered in tattoos. When he can, he spends his free time letting loose as bad-boy male model, Lance Jones. No one knows and it has to stay that way or Lance will lose the one thing that’s keeping his high pressure life sane.

Andi Kelly writes erotic romance. Day in and day out, she imagines a world filled with bondage, multiple partners, and just a few whips and chains. But that’s the fantasy life in her novels. In the real world, she’s an introvert who spends her days at home living out her fantasies through her laptop. Andi’s finally worked up the courage to ask Shauna Kruse if she can sit in on the photoshoot for Andi’s next novel…with her model-crush, Lance Jones.

But Lancer Industries has a mole and it’s put both Andi and Lance in danger. Lance’s two worlds collide and when corporate espionage meets erotic romance, there’s no telling what might happen.

The second in a new series of novellas inspired by Shauna Kruse’s photography and her beautiful male models.

 

The Male Model Chronicles.

(Disclaimer: While the names (the male models and Shauna only) used in the stories signify real people, the stories are completely fictional. They in no way reflect true events, incidences, or beliefs by these people in real life. Besides the names, everything else is from the author’s imagination and should be taken as such.)

The series order (although every installment is a complete stand-alone work):

  • Justin (Justin James Cadwell)- releasing Jan 21, 2015
  •  Lance (Lance Jones)- coming Spring/Summer, 2015
  •  Joshua (Joshua Scott Brown)- coming Fall, 2015

There’s a bit more information and a fun excerpt from the first book, Justin, on Christi Snow’s author website…www.Christi-Snow.com

4 comments
Secrets of a Summer Night by Lisa Kleypas {Amanda’s Review}Secrets of a Summer Night by Lisa Kleypas
Series: Wallflowers #1
Also in this series: Scandal in Spring
Genres: Historical, Romance
Pages: 384
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
three-stars
Add to Goodreads
Four young ladies enter London society with one common goal: they must use their feminine wit and wiles to find a husband. So a daring husband-hunting scheme is born.

Annabelle Peyton, determined to save her family from disaster, decides to use her beauty and wit to tempt a suitable nobleman into making an offer of marriage. But Annabelle's most intriguing--and persistent--admirer, wealthy, powerful Simon Hunt, has made it clear that while he will introduce her to irresistible pleasure he will not offer marriage. Annabelle is determined to resist his unthinkable proposition . . . but it is impossible in the face of such skillful seduction.

Her friends, looking to help, conspire to entice a more suitable gentleman to offer for Annabelle, for only then will she be safe from Simon--and her own longings. But on one summer night, Annabelle succumbs to Simon's passionate embrace and tempting kisses . . . and she discovers that love is the most dangerous game of all.

Experienced weird reading deja vu feeling.

Thoughts on Secrets of a Summer Night

My “thrown back to the library gods” shelf was created for books like Secrets of a Summer Night. Not because I didn’t finish it — I did finish. No, because I spent a good chunk of the book experiencing reading deja vu.

Because I had read the book except Goodreads said I hadn’t. And that poses problems. For my sanity. It created all sorts of questions.

“Did I read this book in some past life?”

“Have I read so many historical romances they’re all blurring together?”

“Am I thinking of a different historical romance book with similar characters and circumstances?”

“Did I read it and not mark it in Goodreads?”

Quite the dilemma I had, especially since this isn’t the first time I’ve experienced something similar. Near I can figure, I have read Secrets of a Summer Night before — at least about half of it — but for some reason, never finished. Because the ending, I am quite sure, is not anything I remember.

And I remember the endings. Because the endings are why you read. Well, most of why. Okay, part of why. You get the idea. I suspect I gave up (if I’m not going crazy and really have read part of this book before) because there was a lull in the second half and I wasn’t sure why the book had to continue for so long.

I’ve done this before when the marriage isn’t the end of the book. There’s always a change in the tension and I probably got bored, set the book down, and didn’t pick it up. In case it’s not obvious, I powered through this time.

I’m glad I did because the ending was EXPLOSIVE. Yeah, I’m punning here. Anyway! Annabelle. And Simon. I was kind of disappointed we didn’t get more Simon’s POV, because I liked him, standard historical romance hero that he was. Annabelle I was less enamored of, mainly because she struck me as rather snobby even though things like character development happen.

Annabelle just gets a lot of page time. And sometimes, I like witnessing the man’s downfall from his perspective. It’s so much more delicious that way.

Secrets of a Summer Night is definitely a “read in one day” sort of books, purely for pleasure, that you don’t put a lot of critical thought to. I’m determined to plow forward with this series because, as everyone has told me, Devil in Winter is worth it.

8 comments
A Tale of Two Lovers by Maya Rodale {Amanda’s Review}A Tale of Two Lovers by Maya Rodale
Series: The Writing Girls #2
Also in this series: Seducing Mr. Knightly
Genres: Historical, Romance
Pages: 384
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
four-stars
Add to Goodreads
He is notorious.

Lord Simon Roxbury is a godsend to gossip columnists everywhere. This notorious rake has recently been caught in an extremely compromising position by none other than The London Weekly's Lady of Distinction. Rumor also has it that Lord R received an ultimatum: be wed or be penniless.

She is scandalous.

As A Lady of Distinction, Lady Julianna Somerset typically reports on other people's scandals, but soon she finds herself embroiled in a very public battle with an irate Lord Roxbury—one that leaves her reputation in tatters and her position at The Weekly on the line.

Together they're... respectable?

With no other choice available, these two enemies unite in a marriage of convenience to rescue both their reputations and secure his fortune. With their rivals intent on revealing the charade, Lady Julianna and Lord Simon inevitably surrender to temptation. It may just be a love match after all . . .

I had concerns, but liked it.

Thoughts on a A Tale of Two Lovers

I had… CONCERN for this book. Because Roxbury was such a rake, in every sense of the word, and I didn’t really like him much at the beginning. And Julianna had been burned badly by a rake — her late husband — and the last thing I wanted to see was her getting burned by Roxbury.

But. BUT. Everything worked out okay. (I mean, obviously, besides all the DRAMA that has to happen in the course of a romance novel because that’s what’s expected of a romance.) And I came to like Roxbury, especially when he put all his rake knowledge to good use to love Julianna.

Pause a second: I’m starting to get bored of the “I’ve had many women and I’m an accomplished lover” hero. Not enough to disturb my enjoyment of this book, but man, it’s there. Can’t we get a less suave hero?

And Julianna. Man. I liked her. She’s been dealt kind of a crap hand what with a terrible husband who left her with so little to live on that she had to take up a job as one of the Writing Girls. But she’s pulled herself up and turned herself into a respectable widow, and you’ve got to admire that.

When they finally come together, though, it was good. My concern about how the characters would butt heads — not unfounded — never came to pass in a way that made me want to throw something. In fact, it was rather enjoyable, and I like the way Roxbury came up to scratch. And I’m glad Julianna got a second chance at love. (And that she’s a good shot. For reasons.)

6 comments
No Test for the Wicked by Julie Moffett {Kelly’s Review}No Test for the Wicked by Julie Moffett
Series: Lexi Carmichael Mystery #5
Also in this series: No One Lives Twice
Published by Carina Press
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
four-half-stars
Add to Goodreads

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Kindle
A Geek's Worst Nightmare: Going Back to High School

Returning to high school is not something I ever wanted to do over—it was awful the first time around. So why do I have to go back as part of a new undercover assignment? Because the universe loves playing jokes on me, obviously.

I've been ordered to go all 21 Jump Street and track down the students who are breaking into the computer system, changing grades, and causing all kinds of havoc. Although I'm not thrilled about my new gig, at least it gives me something to do other than worry over the fact that I now have a boyfriend. And no freaking idea what to get him for Christmas.

Or it did give me something else to worry about, until I stumbled across a more sinister threat. I was shocked to find distinct traces of a group of international hackers inside the network. Why would dangerous cyber mercenaries be interested in a high school in the middle of Washington, D.C.? What exactly have I gotten myself into?

Fast paced, sexy fun with Lexi!

Thoughts on No Test for the Wicked

Sooooo. I’ve only read book 1 in this series. That would be the one where the bevy of potential love interests for our geeky girl were introduced. There was plenty of hot man-flesh to go around in that book, but clueless Lexi wasn’t quite ready to dive into the uncharted (for her) waters of indiscriminate dating. Between books 1 and 5, Lexi has found her groove. Sort of. One of her dudes is now her boyfriend. This is a good thing and I LIKE the guy, but… I kinda might feel like there’s a little something between her and one of the other guys that REALLY needs to be explored. (and I hope hope hope it is because he sort of stole my heart.)

Anyway. Lexi, resident geek girl, goes back to high school to find the hacking masterminds who are mucking up the computer system at a posh private school. Figuring out who did it isn’t all that difficult (for her or us), but convincing them it would be in their best interests to stop before they cross a line they can’t come back from is another story. And of course, there’s that pesky problem of international terrorism to deal with. That problem is a little more physically dangerous than finding some genius high schoolers and talking them down from ruining their future.

Meanwhile, there’s the relationship issue. I really do like her dude, but he seems almost too worldly for her. Lexi’s kinda relationship-clueless and someone a little less…umm, experienced seems more her speed. On the other hand, Lexi’s smart and quick-thinking. If she wants it to work, I’m sure she’ll find a way. (but I’m still rooting for her and the other guy to explore what’s between them. Just so we’re clear.)

Fun, quirky (because Lexi’s friends are a crack up!), and nicely entertaining, I just might have to go back and catch up on everything I missed. You know why? GIRL POWER!

Kelly Loves Books... and you!

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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.

And no, that’s not a typo! It’s M/M/M/M, y’all!

[Ménage Amour ManLove: Erotic Alternative Sci-Fi Ménage a Quatre Romance, M/M/M/M, with Multiple Partners, Public Exhibition, sex toys]

Dale despised the Terran military. He was drafted, not a volunteer. He never expected to get captured by the Algonquans and sold as a breeder pet, either. He only prays his new owner is kind and doesn’t eat him. Then he meets fellow pet, Mark, who informs him getting captured was the luckiest day of their lives. Mark also hated the military and now spends his days in a life of sexual leisure, enjoying poetry and totally at peace with his fate.

Dale settles in and finds not only does he enjoy this life, he loves Mark, too. Despite tragedy striking too close to home in their protected world, they find room to love their Master’s newest pets, Cooper and Nate.

When the war ends and the Terran pets are granted their freedom, the men are faced with a choice: return, or stay with the owner they’ve grown to love?
-from Goodreads

10 comments
Dukes to the Left of Me, Princes to the Right by Kieran Kramer {Amanda’s Review}Dukes to the Left of Me, Princes to the Right by Kieran Kramer
Series: Impossible Bachelors #2
Also in this series: When Harry Met Molly
Genres: Historical, Regency, Romance
Pages: 404
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
three-stars
Add to Goodreads
Most women would not be pleased to be labeled a spinster. But Lady Poppy Smith-Barnes isn’t most women. In fact, Poppy has invented an imaginary fiancé, the Duke of Drummond, to deter unwanted suitors. A very useful fellow, this duke, until the real Drummond turns up and uses Poppy’s ploy to trap her in a betrothal.

A good spy flies below the radar. Which is why being named one of the Prince Regent’s “Impossible Bachelors” is so inconvenient for Nicholas Staunton. Every society female will be out to ensnare him. Nicholas needs a fiancée—and Poppy’s ruse is the answer. How could he have known she’d be a brazen, sensual siren with an irresistible taste for adventure? Now nothing less will do than to convince his fiery Poppy to revoke her spinster status…for good.

Remarkably similar to the first book.

Thoughts on Dukes to the Left of Me, Princes to the Right

While circumstances and characters are different than book 1, When Harry Met Molly, Dukes to the Left of Me, Princes to the Right was remarkably similar.

I’m not sure how I feel about this.

I adored Poppy, even though she had that tendre for Sergei (who was obviously all wrong). Of course, Nicholas’s kisses go a long way of convincing her to look at him… just like Harry’s kisses convinced Molly. Huh. (Probably not in my favor that I read the books back to back.)

Anyway. For being an impossible bachelor, Nicholas wasn’t very much of a bachelor. o.O But! I liked him and Poppy together, even though he seemed a little… lost at times. (Is that a good way of explaining it? Probably not. But he was forever placing duty above everything else.)

The shenanigans those two get into together was amusing, however. Poppy’s friends were awesome. And there were plenty of fun twisty twists (totally a thing) at the end that I didn’t see coming. Except… except, just like When Harry Met Molly, the big climax happens in the ballroom.

Hmmm. I still don’t know how I feel about the similarities between books. But as for thisbook, it was good. Ridiculous and fun. Perfect for a Saturday afternoon when you need something light and fluffy to escape into.

4 comments
Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover by Sarah MacLean {Amanda’s Review}Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover by Sarah MacLean
Series: Rules of Scoundrels #4
Also in this series: A Rogue by Any Other Name, One Good Earl Deserves a Lover, No Good Duke Goes Unpunished
Genres: Historical, Romance
Pages: 384
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
four-stars
Add to Goodreads
By day, she is Lady Georgiana, sister to a Duke, ruined before her first season in the worst kind of scandal. But the truth is far more shocking—in London’s darkest corners, she is Chase, the mysterious, unknown founder of the city’s most legendary gaming hell. For years, her double identity has gone undiscovered . . . until now.

Brilliant, driven, handsome-as-sin Duncan West is intrigued by the beautiful, ruined woman who is somehow connected to a world of darkness and sin. He knows she is more than she seems and he vows to uncover all of Georgiana’s secrets, laying bare her past, threatening her present, and risking all she holds dear . . . including her heart.

Sad to see the Scoundrels end.

My Thoughts on Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover

Pretty sure Sarah MacLean is an evil writing genius. If you’ve somehow managed to remain unspoiled about who Chase is, I highly recommend to not read this review or the book’s synopsis. Because Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover’s synopsis wasn’t even available when I found out (it’s in the epilogue of book 3, No Good Duke Goes Unpunished), I had a huge jaw-dropping moment.

Because I didn’t see it coming. I also adored MacLean’s final comment in her acknowledgments, since it goes along with her evil genius-ness: And finally, to the woman who accosted me in a bathroom in Texas in early 2012 and announced, “I think Chase is a woman!,” I’m very sorry I lied you to.

Kudos to that woman for guessing.

If you’re new to Sarah MacLean, don’t start with this series. Because this book is powerful in the way it wraps up the entire series… and Chase — Georgiana — appears first in MacLean’s Love by Numbers series. All those characters make an appearance in Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover. And it’s glorious.

(This is why I wanted to do a reread of the entire series, but could only find Ten Ways to Be Adored When Landing a Lord, which is when she first really makes her appearance, though her brother’s book, Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke’s Heart is likely even more relevant to her story. Still, Georgiana’s premise that people only see what they want to is something she learned from Isabel in Ten Ways. These series overlap in the best of ways.)

Georgiana is, quite simply, brilliant. Ruined at the tender age of 16, she’s built a life for herself that’s beyond the comprehension of the ton. She is, perhaps, the most powerful person in London. Or Chase is. And if there’s a single word I could use to describe her position, it would be: SECRETS. And probably also precarious, but alas, that’s the nature of a book. Of course her position would unravel.

Especially with Duncan West, the man with multiple newspapers and a brilliant reporter’s nose. Duncan West played a role in No Good Duke Goes Unpunished, and I wanted his story, and I’m so glad we got it. He’s driven and he wants to uncover Chase’s secrets, and he’s also overwhelmingly intrigued and attracted to Georgiana/Anna.

But seriously. These two. The secrets they had to keep were powerful and led to lots of lying, which led to lots of negative feelings and blowups and normally that stuff drives me crazy, and it wasn’t untrue here, but the secrets were so entangled with each character that to give them up was to put themselves in an unthinkable position. So even though you wanted the Duncan and Georgiana to spill their secrets to each other, you understood, mostly, why they didn’t. Which was good. Otherwise you throw the book across the room, and no one wants that.

And I can’t complete this review without mentioning Caroline, Georgiana’s daughter, for whom she does much of what she does in this book. Caroline is… well, precocious, as she’s described in the book, but in the very best way, and I adored the role she played in the end.

Never Judge a Lady be Her Cover is everything this series ender needed to be. Bourne, Cross, Temple, and their wives were back, and it was gratifying to see their relationship with Georgiana. (Also quite amazing considering the times and how the other scoundrels and Georgiana bonded like family.) I pretty much wanted to reread this book (and all the others) after finishing this one.

11 comments
The Last Challenge by Sharon Karaa {Jenna’s Review}The Last Challenge by Sharon Karaa
Series: Northern Witches #1
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Genres: Erotica, Fantasy & Magic, Fiction, Love & Romance, Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 300
Format: eBook
Source: Author
two-half-stars
Add to Goodreads

I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I thought I was normal, I really did, aside from the fact I had a penchant for naming the many facets of my personality. I was unlucky, I'll grant you, but other than that, just your average twenty-five year old virgin. Then my long dead ancestor turned up with a four-hundred year appetite, a passion for G-strings, and a scorching hot, male witch in tow. Throw in an unadulterated bitch of a familiar, three spirits baying for my blood, a six inch tall Geordie man, and my best friend Selina, and before you could say

A wickedly feisty read with potential

 

My Thoughts

Sharon Karaa’s The Last Challenge has potential. The story is a mix of elements that range from humorous to sexy to straight-up odd. Some parts didn’t quite work out, in my opinion, while others I quite liked.

Lauren is a twenty-five-year-old computer programmer who hasn’t found Mr. Right – or Mr. Right Now, either. She is a virgin, a fact that apparently makes Lauren feel lesser than other woman, judging by the amount of times she brings it up. She and her best friend Selina are at a party one evening with mutual friends have a fight. Lauren takes off after one friend to offer consolation when she suddenly finds herself attacked by someone – or something – unseen.

Rescued by a handsome and sexy stranger whom Lauren had glimpsed both earlier that day and at the party only moments before, she finds her seemingly normal life turned upside down before daybreak. As it turns out, Lauren’s a witch, and a hunted one at that. And that sexy stranger? A very powerful witch who is, and has been, protecting her from the demons that want her dead.

The scenes and story conjured up by Sharon Karaa range from romantic to ridiculous, peppered with a heavy hand of humor. The text would benefit from a good edit and polish. I personally don’t like when dialogue is written in a dialect or phonetically, but that’s a preference issue specific to every reader (and writer). I did enjoy the relationship between Lauren and Daniel; I think it was the strongest and best part of the book. It develops well and featured a strong romantic thread. Later plot developments, particularly scenes depicting Satan in a raunchy, almost comical way, broke my suspension of disbelief and had me rolling my eyes a little.

All in all, The Last Challenge is a fun and feisty read, perfect for the days leading up to Halloween!

Girl with Book Lungs

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