The title immediately caught my attention and I absolutely love the cover.
Geeky, videogame player, Dahlia is down on her luck. Jobless and boyfriendless, Dahlia doesn’t seem to be able to get her shit together. Until one night, she has a strange proposition. This guy in a sailor costume asks her to solve a crime for him. Someone has stolen his spear and wants Dahlia to find it. Even though Dahlia is no private investigator, she might be more qualified for the job than you think. See, the spear is a virtual spear. The spear was stolen in a VIDEO GAME. Even though Dahlia is suspicious of this job she still goes ahead and takes it, inadvertently becoming entangled in a real crime.
This book was quirky, funny and charming. The characters are over the top ridiculous and hilarious. For those of you looking for a geeky, video game mystery, this book is a quick and fun read.
Ahh historical romances, one of my many guilty pleasures. The covers are horrible and super cheesy, the plots are usually very similar and the main dumb goal, in most cases, is to marry a high ranking noble man. Yet, I still love these suckers. Suffering through tons of really bad ones has been totally worth it when I come across gems such as Love and Other Scandals. I love the characters developed by Caroline Linden, they’re smart, funny and very well developed. The heroine in this story isn’t some simpering idiot, she is strong minded and outspoken. I also loved the simplicity of the story. There’s no unnecessary conflict or insurmountable problem to overcome. While I still enjoy mystery romances and complicated plots, it’s nice to have just a straightforward romance.
I’m really happy to have come across a new historical romance author. I can’t wait to read the rest of Caroline Linden’s books.
This book was such a pleasant surprise! I initially got it because it was featured on Book Perks and it was $1.99. I’m always a sucker for the underdog/bullied storyline. I thought this book was going to be a subpar romance novel (I blame the generic stock image they have for the American cover, I prefer the UK illustrated version) and it ended up being an amazing, deep, bullying-survivor story. There were several times this book had me in tears. It also has great, witty dialogue and the characters are very well developed.
I will admit that it did take me a minute to get into the rhythm and banter of British humor. I’m glad I muddled through because it’s a big part of why this book is so good. Right after this book, I read all of Mhairi McFarlane’s books and she has quickly become one of my favorite authors. I can’t wait for her latest book to come out, Who’s That Girl?, on September 6, 2016.
Where DID you go, Bernadette? That question did not let me put down the book until I found out what happened to the kooky/crazy genius, Bernadette Fox.
Bernadette’s husband, her daughter, a Russian identity theft ring, the FBI and the PTA are looking for her.
Bernadette is this kooky, super smart lady that used to be a world-renowned architect genius. However, she goes through a very traumatic event early in her career. This event leads her to abandon her career and move with her tech genius husband to Seattle to raise their only child. All her energy is focused on raising her smart and adorable daughter, Bee.
Along the way, 12 years later, Bernadette has become reclusive and abhors to leave her house or interact with other people. Her behavior quickly worsens (due to an impending cruise to Alaska) and finally attracts the attention of her oblivious husband. At this point he thinks she needs to be admitted into a mental institution. And this is where her daughter puts together all the evidence in forms of emails and interviews to find her mother and prove to everyone that she isn’t crazy nor dead.
What I loved:
Bernadette is hilarious! And whip smart. Even though she hates going out and talking to people, she has the best interactions via email with her virtual assistant from India.
Bernadette’s 12 year old daughter is awesome and also very smart. She always has Bernadette’s back and is loyal to her no matter what. I loved their mother/daughter relationship, it was sweet and endearing.
Bernadette’s war against the petty and nosy moms at her daughter’s school.
The cult like status that Bernadette has in the world of architecture. Rare sightings of her is like bumping into Elvis Presley.
What I wasn’t crazy about: (SPOILER ALERT)
I can’t believe her husband cheated on her! Ughhhh. However, don’t let this stop you from reading this book. The husband’s character is very interesting and believe it or not, charming. In the end, he does redeem himself.
That’s it’s. There wasn’t anything I didn’t like about the book. I loved it! I laughed out loud so many times and just absolutely adored Bernadette and her daughter, Bee.
Why did I love this book so much? It has: a kick-ass, super trained merc as the heroine, aliens, a sexy cook that is suspiciously too well trained at handling a gun, a trader ship that gets into WAY too much trouble for a trading ship, a dodgy and cranky captain, a giant bird that pilots the ship, and most importantly, ROMANCE! The romance is not that big of a role in the first book but it does get developed loads more in book 2 and 3.
If you’re looking for a good Sci-fi romance, this series will not disappoint!
Coco: It’s in the future and a sci-fi book. It’s about this kick-ass girl, Devi, who is a mercenary and she fights in her own suit. She’s got this suit that gives her extra powers and she can jump really high and fight and has all these weapons. She is in love with her suit, which is really cool.
Izzie: I love that part. She adores that suit, modifies it, keeps adding components to it. She really has survived because of her suit.
Coco: That time in the future, soldiers, mercenaries and people who fight have these suits so they were like super soldiers. Her goal in life is to be a Devastator who is a type of soldier for the king.
Izzie: Yeah. It’s the best job you can get if you’re in the military. Devastator is the highest rank you can get so that’s Devi’s goal. Devi is young and a woman, but she still has risen through the ranks of a mercernary company really quickly.
Coco: She’s been promoted super quickly but she wants to become a Devastator as soon as possible. So her friend tells her “If you are a security detail in this spaceship called “The Fool,” with this captain called Caldswell, then in just one year should give you enough experience to become a Devastator. “
Coco: So Devi signs up with this ship and it turns out to be super adventure. It is not just a trading ship, it’s an undercover operation that’s actually trying to save the universe from all these monsters. So the book is about her adventures as she is going through fights in this spaceship and how she falls in love with a guy in the spaceship.
Izzie: What I really loved, is the romance. And there’s three books – it’s a trilogy. It was so good. I think I read all three books in a week. I loved even more the second and the third books because the romance is more prevalent.
Coco: I also, absolutely, fell in love with the series. I was so in love with the series that the next five books I read I was like, “This is garbage compared to The Paradox series.”
Izzie: Yes. You kept complaining about the books and like, “I don’t like it.”
Coco: “That’s not good enough.” But Fortune’s Pawn was amazing. I fell in love with the characters and I’m a sucker for strong female characters that are mechanics.
Coco: Devi was a mechanic who is fixing her suit all the time.
Izzie: Upgrading it.
Coco: She was super was strong warrior. And just the relationship – so spoiler alert – we’re going to talk about the book now.
Izzie: Yeah, a little bit.
Coco: What I love about her relationship is that she falls in love with the cook in the spaceship – let’s start there. Supposedly he’s just a cook, but it turns out he’s not just a cook. He’s a Symbiont?
Coco: Symbiont. He’s got an alien –
Izzie: Kind of like a parasite alien that makes him super strong. He’s kind of like a half human, half alien. And the alien side, when he’s fighting, it turns into a black scale suit.
Coco: I was imagining something very similar to the alien they portrayed in the movie, “Aliens” with Sigourney Weaver. Something similar like that but not as ugly because it’s supposed to look kind of like a lizard with those black scales that give him something like strong armour – very strong, and he’s very smart.
Izzie: He’s like an undercover agent. He’s really not just a cook.
Coco: He’s in a government program. Because there are these monsters that use the energy in the universe and in the galaxy and they’re eating up worlds.
Izzie: They’re like these black holes coming in. They’re just sucking in and they’re destroying whole planets. So the cook, Rupert, is part of the government agaency that is fighting against this. But the way they’re fighting against it is morally, ethically wrong because they’re using these poor children.
Coco: It’s little girls. If a little girl has this power to control a force in the universe called “Plasmex” then they are candidates for this program. Obviously you’re taken by force, they don’t get to volunteer.
They’re taken from their families and then these people, they can erase the little girls. The girls just become these weapons that the govenrment uses to try to save planets from getting devoured by these monsters.
Anyway, all this develops in the second and the third book.
Izzie: In the first Paradox Series book you don’t really realize what the fight is. They just say the ship doesn’t seem what it is, the captain is not who he seems to be and the cook is suspiciously good at weapons. The author explains it more in the second and third book.
But what I really like about the main character, Devi, is that she’s not a whiny character. She does what she has to get done. “I have to fight. Am I going to die? Who cares? I got this. I’m going into battle. This is what I’ve been training all my life for.”
She is very black-and-white “This is good. This is bad.” She is certain that “Using kids this way is bad.” She’s doesn’t agree that the ends justify the means. She always sticks to her guts. I really like that.
Coco: That sounds like such a convoluted plot. But when you’re reading Fortune’s Pawn and the rest of the Paradox Series, you’re really on board. It’s not complicated. It’s the way she sets up the world.
Izzie: And the world building is not complicated.
Coco: The conflict and all that. You’re like “I’m on board,” and I can see how the other people in the government program felt that “Well, we don’t have any other choice. We can’t just let these monsters devour our planets.” They actually think that they’re doing something right so she’s fighting people who think they are fighting for a just cause.
It reminds me a little bit of “Firefly”, how the assassin that was going after them thought that he was doing the right thing until the very end when he sees the video how the government destroyed the world and created monsters called Reavers.
Izzie: Yes, exaclty. Devi, finally she convinces everyone like this is not the way –
Coco: Not until she saves the world. Everyone was against her all the way ‘til the end that she finally saves the world.
Izzie: Everybody’s fighting her all along.
Coco: And then they’re like, “Okay we see it but we can’t take the risk. What if you were wrong?” Whatever. It was awesome.
Izzie: Very cool.
Coco: I fell in love with the book. We keep trying to get into and get distracted about the relationship between Rupert and Devi. It is amazing.
Izzie: You know what’s funny? While I was reading a couple of good reader comments and some people were complaining, “Oh I didn’t like the second and third because there are so much romance,” and I’m like, “I’m going to love it!” “Yes!”
Coco: “That’s why I love it!”
Izzie: Well, I’m looking for it to get even more.
Coco: I know, I loved it. I also like the way it ends in the second book, Honor’s Knight. Because Rupert thinks that he’s doing the right thing by protecting the program that’s saving all these worlds from getting destroyed. He actually was going to kill her or take her in to just be used as a weapon. He was going to sacrifice Devi for the greater good.
I was like, “How could he betray her like that?” Then on the third book he’s like, “You know what? Screw everything.” He’s, “Screw everything. I’m in love with this woman and whatever happens, happens and I’m just going to help you do what you think is right.” I was like, “Oh my god. I love this book so much.”
Izzie: He betrayed her in the worse possible way. He was willing to kill her, sacrifice her and you think you would never –
Coco: He was never going to kill her.
Coco: He was going to take her into the program.
Izzie: There’s the simulation where they asked Rupert to kill Devi and he did.
Coco: Oh, that’s true.
Izzie: He didn’t really kill her. It was a simulation.
Coco: It was a hologram.
Izzie: But he thought it was her. He was willing to kill her. Devi has seen all these and I’m like, “You just can’t forgive that.”
But the way the author develops it and how Ruper later behaves, you are on board with forgiving him. You’re like, “No. This guy’s got to go down.”
Coco: I love the way she was decisive – because that’s something that bothers me in books. The characters keep flip flopping, “I don’t know if I love you.” I hate that.
Izzie: Yes. I find that annoying and you keep going on and on about it. It’s so frustrating.
Coco: That whining over and indecisiveness is so annoying. But this Deviana is, “No. I’m not going to forgive you,” and “I’m not even debating this.” But then once the Rupert proves himself she’s a pragmatist.
Izzie: Yes, she was very practical, I loved it. She thought, “You know what? Obviously I’m going to be dying soon.” Because in her line of work and the other stuff that’s going on. So she decides, “I love this guy. I need to trust him and I don’t want to spend my last couple of days away from him.”
Coco: Because she’s always about to die.
Izzie: Yeah. She’s always on the verge of dying.
Coco: I don’t know. I really love the Paradox Series. I recommend it to anybody who likes sci-fi and romance. It’s just awesome. Actually I have warning that when I started it, just the very first pages I was hesitant, “I don’t know about this lady.”
Izzie: Oh god.
Coco: “Devi had too much attitude. She was too sassy.” Her personality of “I’m the shit, I’m the best,” was hard to get on her side.
Izzie: She was a shit. She was ridiculous.
Coco: But once you get into the book you understand, “Oh no, I can see this person has that attitude because they really have been kicking ass over and over again.” And you kind of need to be that type of mercenary to make those decisions work.
If you read the first couple of pages and you’re like “Oh I don’t know…” Keep going! Because you’ll love it!
Izzie: I think you’ll end up loving her. You’ll end up loving Devi.
I remember you telling me and I’d urge you, “This book is really good. Keep reading, you’ll see.” I was so disappointed because we disagree in a lot of books, but Fortune’s Pawn I just really like. I really like this book.
Coco: You’re right. I am so glad I kept going because I love this book.
Izzie: I don’t know why. It just never really caught my attention but this book had been picked for the Vaginal Fantasy book club. There was one of the months it was picked and I didn’t read it. It just didn’t catch my attention but I see why. It was a great pick.
Coco: It was a great pick so we loved Fortune’s Pawn and the rest of the Paradox Series: Honor’s Knight and Heaven’s Queen by Rachel Bach. You go check it out. Let us know what you think in the comments and subscribe to our channel.
Hello! Hello! Today we had the pleasure of shooting a video with the lovely Lyanne Manzanilla. Lyanne is also a fellow YouTuber and you should check out her adorable videos at YouTube.com/LyanneManzanilla.
We had a great time following this Pinterest tutorial from I Spy DIY on how to dip dye planters and give them an ombre effect.
Below is a list of items you will need for this project:
Dye tinte (we used the brand Rit, you find this at Michael’s or the grocery store)
We actually found this project to be very easy and fun. We weren’t sure if we were going to end up with a Pinterest fail on our hands. We do you recommend you use longer dipping times than suggested in the tutorial and just pour the whole packet in your 2 cups of hot water.
I happened to be at my favorite local bookstore, Books & Books, this last Saturday for the South Florida Bloggers’ Februrary meetup. My favorite things in one place, books and bloggers! This is where I found out from Ketsia, Books & Books’s children’s book buyer, that Truthwitch author Susan Dennard would be there in person! I’d heard a lot of buzz about Truthwitch and Ketsia was kind enough to give me a copy so I could see it for myself. Trust me, Truthwitch is worthy of all the buzz surrounding it.
Truthwitch hooks you in with it’s very first sentence, “Everything had gone horribly wrong.” It’s quite the first sentence and I find some books don’t live it up to such powerful statements but I’m happy to say that Truthwitch totally delivered! By pg 29 I was already charmed by the main characters, Safiya and Iseult. As you may already know by now, I love stories with strong female characters and this book did not just have one but two leading ladies. Safi and Iz are trained bad-ass warriors and witches. I love their loyal sister-like relationship and their witty banter.
I also liked that the world building was easy to follow. I have a hard time with intricate world building, to me, it ends up detracting from the storyline. I didn’t have that problem at all with Truthwitch. The characters, feuding empires and great destined heroes were all woven beautifully in this book. I also liked the heavy tension romance that prevailed through the whole book.
My only complaint is that books 2, 3 and 4 are NOT out already. This book is SO good I read it in a day. Had the rest of the series already been out, I’m pretty sure I would’ve not left my house the whole weekend.
I had the pleasure of meeting Leydy (Once Upon a Twilight) at a South Florida Bloggers event at Books & Books. It was book love at first site 🙂 We were discussing one of our favorite genres, Young Adult Fiction, and I mentioned that one of my issues with this genre was the lack of sex. Lo and behold, Leydy whips out a blue paperback book out of her tote bag and gives it to me. The book was an ARC of Wild Cat by Christine Feehan. She said if I wanted to, I could guest post a review about Wild Cat on Once Upon a Twilight. I was honored and excited to read this new ARC. Specially since it seemed to be a shifter book and I love me some shifter romance action.
After a couple of pages into Wild Cat the saying, “Be careful what you wish for”, quickly came to mind.
The book started off with a BANG! As in banging. The main characters were already getting it on in the first 20 pages. I happened to start reading this book during my lunch break and trust me, I did not want to go back to work. I just wanted to keep on reading! The storyline started strong and reeled me in.
Leopard shifter, Siena, does not know she is a shifter or part of a leopard crime boss family. Siene is used, unbeknownst to her, as a decoy to kill the family’s enemies. Her latest target is Elijah, who happens to be her childhood crush. She has also been promised to her grandfather’s sadistic second in command.
These premises could have made for a great book. Unfortunately, the book sizzled out after the main character’s got together which is pretty much at the beginning of the book. There’s no tension or chemistry between the characters. The characters are flat and one dimensional making them boring and not likable. Also, the heroine has no backbone and lets herself be bossed around all the time by her alpha mate.
Believe it or not, I also had an issue with the sex scenes. I know, I know! I’m of the camp that believes the more sexy time there is in a book, the better. This book went way overboard with the sex scenes. I think they were trying to hide the fact that the book has no good storyline/plot. It got to a point that I was bored with the sex scenes, mainly because I didn’t care about the characters and was not emotionally invested. Also, there was A LOT of oral action going on. A LOT.
If you’re looking for an erotica book where the main female character is submissive in every way and not just in bed, then this might be the book for you. If you are looking for a good shifter romance novel, then I would not recommend you pick this book. Specially if it’s your first time reading this genre. I would recommend Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series for a strong and kick ass heroine and Nalini Singh’s Psy-changeling series for loads of steamy sex scenes.
Thank you Leydy for letting me guest post and for giving me this ARC! I really wanted to like this book and get hooked on another shifter romance series. This wasn’t the book for me, but if you’re still interested in reading Wild Cat it is available for purchase on November 24th, 2015.
Hello! Just got back from our October Geek Girl Brunch meetup and I’m still giddy from all the fun we had. We had a fantastic time and was lovely to see so many of the attendees in costumes. Each time we go, we always meet great new people 🙂 This month’s meetup was held at Earls Kitchen + Bar in Dadeland Mall. Below are more pictures of this awesome event.
Elsie and Aurora, thank you again for organizing such a great event. I’m always look forward to the next one <3
p.s. Meli, we missed you! Congrats on your beautiful baby girl, Luna 🙂