Saturday, August 12, 2017

After Dark Date Night: Series Review of Compass Brothers Series by Mari Carr & Jayne Rylon

I have been trying to figure out a way to share all these books I read with you but still include other non-review posts on the blog.  One method I have come up with was to share the reviews for an entire series (or pair) of books in one post.  I will do my absolute best to keep spoilers out of these posts in case you plan to read the books, but there is a slight chance that even the synopsis of a book can give away the result of the previous book. So if you don't want to know anything at all about the later books in a series that might giveaway something in the first book STOP READING NOW!

So I read the series Compass Girls last year by the same authors, it is actually a companion series that takes place after the Compass Boys series.  I really loved it last year so made a point to read this series this year.  This is an erotic romance series and does have a lot of explicit scenes in a variety of flavors but it also has great stories of finding the one, your home and most importantly about family, loyalty, hard work and a lot of love.

 Synopsis: "All roads lead home when that s where you ve left your heart.

"Compass Brothers, Book 1"

Silas Compton always had his eye on Lucy, the veterinarian s daughter. He was even content to wait for the girl of his dreams to grow up before getting anywhere near her with his family s double-edged legacy.

Waiting around led to fooling around with his best friend and an impulsive eruption of desire that Lucy s innocent eyes weren t meant to see. Figuring Compton Pass wasn t big enough for either the three of them or the pain he d caused, Silas let loose his tightly reined wanderlust and headed for Alaska.

Ten years later, when an oil rig accident sends him home, he braces himself for the reopening of old wounds. Instead he finds himself in the care and welcoming arms of Lucy and Colby, whose marriage has plenty of room for the man they both still love. And forgive with all their hearts.

As things start to unravel at Compass Ranch, Silas must dig deep for the strength to assume his rightful place in the Compton family and lay the foundation for a future with his lovers. If he can forgive himself.

Warning: This book is overflowing with sexy cowboys who like to saddle up and ride each other as well as the woman of their dreams. The likelihood of becoming addicted to their ranch family is high. With three more stories yet to come, beware. You won t be able to read just one!"

My Review: I originally read the Compass Girls series a couple of years ago and loved it, but when I went to purchase this series they weren't available. Luckily they just were re-released so I was able to pick them up. I love all of the characters in this series and it was great to read the beginnings of the family a little more. I of course love the setting of a ranch in Wyoming. I also like the way that each of the characters works hard, is dedicated and loyal, but above all family comes first. It reminds me so much of home where hard ranch life is it and family is what matters most. With that said, the steam pouring off the pages of this book makes it almost too hot to handle, but the sex scenes do not take over the story, they are nicely integrated. The development of Silas is great along with Colby and Lucy, though with a little communication everything could have been easier, but it is a classic romance trope and easy to use. This book is a fast, easy read with great characters and loads of heat.

My Rating: Boy this series did kick off with quite a bit of steam, and it already started jerking on the heart strings.  You can't help but fall in love with all the characters, especially side characters. I give this one a rating of Four Paws!


Synopsis: "Caught between desire and a promise…

Seth Compton knew from the first that his boss’s daughter was all wrong for him. She was too feisty, too damned independent and, at seven years his junior, too damned young. When she comes home with a college diploma and fiancĂ© on her arm, though, he can’t quite remember all the reasons he held her at arm’s length.

It’s not just his jeans-tightening reaction to her all-grown-up curves. Something doesn’t feel right about her impending marriage, and he won’t rest until he’s stopped her from making the biggest mistake of her life.

The morning after her wild bachelorette party, Jody expected a hangover. The surprise? Waking up tied to a bed with sexy-as-sin Seth. He’s got some wild idea about proving they belong together, but she’s not buying it. Besides, she has a promise to keep that’s too close to her heart to risk, especially not with a man who, until now, made his disinterest plain.

No one ever said Seth backed down from a challenge. She’s going to make him work for it? No problem. Luckily for him, he has plenty of rope…

Warning: This story contains a bondage lovin’ cowboy who kidnaps and hogties a cowgirl to his bed and does all sorts of naughty things to her. Fun, right?"

My Review: I really like how this second book is integrated with book one, you get bits and pieces of the other books, just from Seth's perspective. While this book yet again has the poor communication wedge trope of romance novels, it has a fun way of resolving the issue. I adore Jody and her head strong and yet loyal ways, she fits in perfect with the rest of the family. I also really liked how Seth had a much softer side than you see in the other brothers of the series (at least so far). The steam is still rolling off the pages, but like in the first book they mesh well into the story and don't feel out of place at all. These books are working out to be perfect summer reads.

My Rating: I love how these books integrate the same scenes but with the different brother's perspective.  I don't know but I think Jody might be one of my favorites and Seth is certainly right up there with my favorite brothers. This is definitely a solid Four Paw book for me!


Synopsis: "He’s lost everything. Can he win her heart?

Compass Brothers, Book 3

Sam Compton never liked getting his hands dirty, at least not on Compass Ranch. Armed with a business degree, he’s about to become the youngest VP at an illustrious Wall Street investment firm. Until his partner in an office romance turns into an ultra-refined snake in the grass.

Staggering from the punch of betrayal, another blow threatens to level him. His father is dying. He races home to lend his brain to his brothers’ backs at the ranch, and finds something he never expected. A sophisticated yet playful woman stimulates his mind…and parts below the belt.

Compass Ranch gave Cindi Middleton’s wounded soul everything it needs: a home, acceptance, and respect—not to mention unlimited sex—from the ranch’s sexy cowboys. Despite their instant and intense sparks, Sam’s defection to the bright city lights she left behind is a big red flag. She’s been there, done that, burned the T-shirt.

Yet the heat of their attraction brings them circling back to each other’s arms…until a certain snake reappears, threatening to endanger the acquisition of the one thing Sam has realized is truly priceless.

Warning: Tissue alert! The authors recommend you have a few on hand while reading this book. To make up for any sniffles, a host of cowboys with open arms await to console you, distract you or make your wildest dreams come true"

My Review: This was probably my least favorite of the series so far but it was still really good. I just wasn't a fan of Sam's life in the East and rich lifestyle. He is full of excuses and assumptions, while we do get to see him develop as a character, he only does so after learning a couple of Cindi's secrets. Cindi certainly has some spunk to her and I like the way she handles situations around her, tough yet caring. Again this works with the other books so you get some of the same scenes but from Sam's perspective and a little more of the overall story development. There are definitely some very hot scenes in here and may not be to everyone's liking, somethings did catch me off guard but this is a fictional erotic romance so to each their own.

My Rating: While I still loved this book and the series as a whole, I wasn't really thrilled with Sam.   I did drop my rating in this one to Three Paws and a Stump Wag because of Sam's character flaws that stand out against the rest of the books.


Synopsis: "How strong are the ties that bind?

Leah Hollister’s sex life needs a swift kick in the pants. Small-town Compton Pass, though, isn’t the place to explore her need for bondage. When she gets an invitation to a BDSM party out in LA, she wastes no time booking a flight. Her plan to play anonymously is shot to hell when she runs into high-school crush Sawyer Compton—and he lays immediate claim to her.

Sawyer Compton commands total control, in and out of the bedroom. He never thought Leah could handle his darker urges, but one look at the white bracelet that marks her as a sub ripe for the picking, and he knows exactly how this night is going to end. With Leah in his bed.

Leah didn’t expect to enjoy the comfort Sawyer’s familiarity brings, even as his touch takes her to unimaginable heights of pleasure. When bad news from home sends him reeling, she’s more than prepared to offer him anything he needs: her body, her friendship. Even her heart—if Sawyer can loosen the reins over his own to accept her love.

Warning: Invest in tissues. Lots and lots of tissues. Between spicy, set-the-sheets-on-fire bondage romps and the last Compass brother coming home, you'll need them."

My Review: That little warning at the end of the synopsis was not a joke, you will need lots of tissues! I enjoyed this book quite a bit, the series long story arc was drawing to a close and while you knew what was coming it still was heart-wrenching and yet beautiful in the way that family comes together to support one another. I enjoyed Sawyer's story, being the baby of the family he already had a chip on his shoulder and then to be kept in the dark gave him every reason to be angry. Again family can bring out the best and the worst in us. The relationship between Sawyer and Leah was an interesting one, I like the background you got and the way they developed together. This was a great conclusion to this series, I am however glad that there is a branch off series for the next generation and you get to spend more time with this family.

My Rating: Boy was this book a finale or what?! Lots of emotions, more great characters and it really brings the series all together. I loved this book and Sawyer might be in the running with Seth to be my favorite Compass brother.  I give this book a rating of Four Paws and a Stump Wag.


Full Series Review:  While these books might not be at the top of the literary quality pile, they definitely serve a purpose and serve it well. This was a great contemporary western erotic romance series.  I loved all of the characters, each individual was so well created that they jump off the page.  The setting is near and dear to my heart so I loved the authentic descriptions of small town Wyoming ranch life.  The series long story arc is one that will grab your heart and take it on quite the ride, with family being at the core of it all.  All in all this is definitely a solid Four Paw series and one that I will re-read to revisit these beloved characters.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Bedtime Story: What Do You Do With a Problem? by Kobi Yamada

Read for: Children's Book Challenge

Synopsis: "From the same author and illustrator as our #1 nationally best-selling What Do You Do With an Idea? comes a new book to encourage you to look closely at problems and discover the possibilities they can hold.

What do you do with a problem? Especially one that follows you around and doesn't seem to be going away? Do you worry about it? Ignore it? Do you run and hide from it?

This is the story of a persistent problem and the child who isn't so sure what to make of it. The longer the problem is avoided, the bigger it seems to get. But when the child finally musters up the courage to face it, the problem turns out to be something quite different than it appeared.

This is a story for anyone, at any age, who has ever had a problem that they wished would go away. It's a story to inspire you to look closely at that problem and to find out why it's here. Because you might discover something amazing about your problem… and yourself.

What are problems for? They challenge us, shape us, push us, and help us to discover just how strong and brave and capable we really are. Even though we don't always want them, problems have a way of bringing unexpected gifts.

So, what will you do with your problem? Now that's up to you."

My Review: I picked this book up for Munchkin because I got it on a good sale and it sounds like a good idea. I loved the artwork in this book, an interesting combination of dark and light with simple color scheme. Like I said the idea behind this book is a great one, figuring out what to do with a problem. While I like the idea of figuring things out for yourself and facing the problem down head on, I would have liked there to be a little bit about it being okay to get help from someone else when the problem gets to big. Munchkin also had a really hard time grasping what a problem is, and with it being so generalized in the story it took longer to discuss this with him than it did to read the story. It is great to start these conversations but I would have preferred a little more explanation in the book itself.

My Rating: I had really high hopes for this book and while it had a good intention behind it, the message goes over little kids heads and it doesn't have anything about asking for help when overwhelmed with a problem.  I must admit I was a little disappointed with this one.  We give it a rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag.

Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Early Reader Review of Dory's Story by Random House Disney

Read for: Early Reader Challenge

Synopsis: "Disney/Pixar Finding Dory reunites the friendly-but-forgetful blue tang fish with her loved ones, and everyone learns a few things about the true meaning of family along the way. This Step 2 Step into Reading leveled reader based on the film is perfect for boys and girls ages 4 to 6. Step 2 Readers use basic vocabulary and short sentences to tell simple stories. For children who recognize familiar words and can sound out new words with help."

My Review: We picked this book up because we adored the movie. This book basically recaps the movie in a very, very abbreviated way. While the familiarity of the characters and story help a young reader decipher the words and sentences, I would have preferred to have less of the movie crammed into one book. We didn't to see much of favorite characters. It is still a very good level 2 book and if you are struggling to find something to grab interest, this is definitely one to try.

My Rating: This is one that will grab young readers interest and the knowledge of some of the details will give them confidence with the words. I do find to be a little too condensed from the movie and kids might be disappointed if a favorite part got left out.  I give it a rating of Three Paws.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Review of Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller

Read for: Requested Review/ Netgalley 
(Look at that cover! Don't you want to read it too?)

Synopsis: "Sallot Leon is a thief, and a good one at that. But gender fluid Sal wants nothing more than to escape the drudgery of life as a highway robber and get closer to the upper-class and the nobles who destroyed their home.

When Sal Leon steals a poster announcing open auditions for the Left Hand, a powerful collection of the Queen's personal assassins named for the rings she wears -- Ruby, Emeral, Amethyst, and Opal -- their world changes. They know it's a chance for a new life.

Except the audition is a fight to the death filled with clever circus acrobats, lethal apothecaries, and vicious ex-soldiers. A childhood as a common criminal hardly prepared Sal for the trials. But Sal must survive to put their real reason for auditioning into play: revenge."

My Review:  Excitement has been building for this book for some time, and even though I was approved for this book on Netgalley several months ago, I wanted to wait until close to release day before picking it up. I am glad I waited so that I would be able to rave about it and discuss it with other readers while it was still fresh in my mind. Now please bear with me, even though I finished this book last week I still have had a hard time putting my thoughts (and there are a lot of them) about this book in to some kind of understandable order and concise statements. I must admit that I was originally attracted to Mask of Shadows because of that stunning cover (I am looking forward to it gracing my shelves) and the synopsis drew me in with it's high fantasy element yet the brutality of a Hunger Games like battle to the end, sounds about perfect to me. And it was exactly what I was expecting in that aspect, there was a lot of brutality, stabbing, plotting and scheming. The world building was fantastic, it was developed throughout the story but in a way that you weren't confused until things were explained, it was well integrated with the plot. The only thing that would have made it better would have been a map, which I am sure will be included in the final versions. Now on to the characters, I did not notice or think twice about the gender fluid main character until I got closer to starting this book. I started to worry that this would be a book that is about making a statement that it looses its story or was possibly just going to be banking on the current push for more books with LGBTQ+ characters. I shouldn't have worried, Sal is Sal and their orientation just fit the personality and the story so well that you didn't even really notice the statement of it. With that said I did learn some interesting things about gender fluid and how they should be referenced, and I am hoping that this is accurate information. The Left Hand were fantastic! I want to hang out with their crew but yet I am somewhat terrified of them. I did find the romance element with Elise to be a little forced, it didn't seem to fit fully into the story and felt like a bit of a side note or a plot device for the next book, but honestly that was the only real draw back for me and it wasn't that big of a deal. The romance if read by itself was beautifully done, and slow to develop but it just didn't feel right in with the development of the rest of the story. All in all this was a great book and I can't wait to read the next book! When does it come out? Oh and also, the marketing of this book by Sourcebooks is brilliant and I am enjoying every moment of it!

My Rating: Yup, another really long review there, sorry.  I really enjoyed this book, it had so many elements I enjoy and even some new to me that I discovered I enjoyed.  I will admit that this story does have a slow start, but I promise it is worth it to continue! I can't help but give this book a rating of Four Paws and a Stump Wag!

I received this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

You can find out more about Linsey Miller and her debut book on her Goodreads Page or Website.

Mask of Shadows will be released August 29th but you can pre-order it in print or digital format from Amazon  or Barnes & Noble or check with your local book supplier.
(I also happen to know that if you pre-order Mask of Shadows you can enter to win a special box HERE)

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Review of Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

Read for: Recent Purchase

Synopsis: "The only daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has always known she’d been raised for one purpose and one purpose only: to marry. Never mind her cunning, which rivals that of her twin brother, Kenshin, or her skills as an accomplished alchemist. Since Mariko was not born a boy, her fate was sealed the moment she drew her first breath.

So, at just seventeen years old, Mariko is sent to the imperial palace to meet her betrothed, a man she did not choose, for the very first time. But the journey is cut short when Mariko’s convoy is viciously attacked by the Black Clan, a dangerous group of bandits who’ve been hired to kill Mariko before she reaches the palace.

The lone survivor, Mariko narrowly escapes to the woods, where she plots her revenge. Dressed as a peasant boy, she sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and hunt down those responsible for the target on her back. Once she’s within their ranks, though, Mariko finds for the first time she’s appreciated for her intellect and abilities. She even finds herself falling in love—a love that will force her to question everything she’s ever known about her family, her purpose, and her deepest desires."

My Review: I read this for the Summer Biannual Bibliothon readathon and I am glad I had a reason to pick it up. I think a lot of people have been disappointed because they were expecting a Mulan re-telling, it is important to differentiate that this book is Mulan inspired but a complete different story. I really enjoyed Mariko as a character, you do get to see her struggle to learn a new way of living but then see her flourish. I also enjoyed the play between the characters in the Black Clan, they are each unique and have individual personalities. I am not sure about the historical accuracy but while it is reserved, it does seem a little more liberal than I would expect. There is a fantasy element with one of the side characters (who may become more prominent in the next book) that I felt was not really needed, I would have been happy with this being a simple historical fiction book. I also didn't realize that this was going to have a sequel, I am pretty satisfied with this ending and almost wish there wasn't another book coming.

My Rating: I was rather excited about this book, like so many others as well.  I had not read the author's other series, Wrath & The Dawn, so wasn't sure what to expect.  There are some pacing issues, it starts out very slow and the suddenly moves quickly.  Some of the events throughout seemed a little pointless, though that may be clarified in the next book, and like I said the magical element really didn't seem to be needed.  I give this one a rating of Three Paws.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Monday Reading List

Its Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Shelia at Book Journey. Share what books you have finished in the last week, are currently reading and what might be coming up next!

Reviews Posted Last Week:
Links will take you to my review

Geekerella by Ashley Poston
Planet Earth by Leonie Pratt (Early Reader)
Can I Play Too? by Mo Willems (Bedtime Story)
Wonder Woman Vol. 2: Year One by Greg Rucka, et. al. (Graphic Novel)

 Books Finished Last Week:
Reviews will be posted at a later date

Dinotrux: Dare to Repair
Mask of Shadows
Western Ties
Monstress Vol. 2
Robin Hill School: Summer Treasure

Currently Reading:

Scythe by Neal Shusterman - Print - on page 265 of 435
American Street by Ibi Zoboi - Audio - 83%
The Kingmaking by Helen Hollick - Print - on page 62 of 574
Captive Prince by C.S. Pacat - Ebook - 57%

 Books to be Read Soon:

Pages Read/ Time Listened
131:35 Hours Listened (NONE listened this week)
36,278 Pages Read (810 this week)

Books Added to Shelves Recently TBR
Beauty and the Beast by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve
Samurai Rising by Pamela Turner
Dawn Study by Maria V. Snyder
Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
Saga Vol. 7 by Brian K. Vaughan
Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
Dragon Teeth by Michael Crichton
Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh
How to Tame a Willful Wife by Christy English
New World: Rising by Jennifer Wilson
The Sandcastle Empire by Kayla Olson
And I Darken by Kiersten White
Finding Wonders by Jeannine Atkins
World Mythology in Bite Sized Chunks by Mark Daniels
Eliza and Her Monster by Francesca Zappia
Turning Pointe by Katherine Locke
When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
Truthwitch by Susan Dennard
Windwitch by Susan Dennard
Done Dirt Cheap by Sarah Nicole Lemon
Frogkisser by Garth Nix
Lawn Boy by Gary Paulsen
Code Talker by Joseph Bruchac
Princess Leia: Royal Rebel by Calliope Glass
Northern Exposure by Jayne Rylon & Mari Carr
Southern Comfort by Jayne Rylon & Mari Carr
Eastern Ambitions by Jayne Rylon & Mari Carr
Western Ties by Jayne Rylon & Mari Carr
American Street by Ibi Zoboi
Pax by Sara Pennypacker
This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton
The Beast's Garden by Kate Forsyth
Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee
The Misfits by James Howe
Totally Joe by James Howe
Addie on the Inside by James Howe
Also Known as Elvis by James Howe
Viking Warrior Rebel by Asa Maria Bradley
New Leash on Love by Debbie Burns
Puss Without Boots by Shari L. Tapscott
Monstress Vol. 2 by Marjorie M. Liu
Everyone is an Aliebn when ur are an Aliebn too by Jomny Sun
The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman
Saints Blood by Sebastien de Castell

Books Read From My Shelves

Interesting Tidbits on the Web:


Well the first week of August is in the books and it was an okay week. A lot going on in the office, a lot going on at home and not much reading done.  We finally made some progress on the house and I am one room closer to my full house purge (only 4 rooms left to go).   My Tome Topple hasn't been going great, as predicted The Kingmaking is a very dense read, it is one of those oversized paperbacks and the print is tiny. The story is interesting so far but I am only on page 62! I had hoped to read about 75-100 pages a day but that is definitely not happening with this book.  I am going to start shooting for 50 pages though and maybe when I hit half way I will take a break and pick up my other tome.

How was your first week in August?

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Tome Topple Readathon Sign Up & Updates

I participated in the Tome Topple Readathon early this year and it was a lot of fun to challenge myself to reading those chunky books on my shelf that I put off sometimes.  I still have some pretty big books to read this year so thought I would join up again.

 I discovered the Tome Topple Challenge through Sam at Thoughts on Tomes on Youtube and the Readathon is hosted as a Goodreads Group. The goal for this challenge is to tackle the Tomes on your shelf, books over 500 pages.  There are a few challenges to help you along, but are not a requirement.  Those challenges are A) read 2 or more tomes, B) read a Graphic Novel, C) buddy read a tome, D) read a tome that is part of a series, and E) read an adult tome. The readathon takes place from August 4th at midnight until August 17th.    (There is also a photo challenge this time around on Instagram, check it out @ThoughtsonTomes)

I will try to post updated at the bottom of this post every few days but I will also be posting on Instagram @EasternSunset9

So here is my Tomes to be Toppled:

The Kingmaking - 574 pages

Are you participating in the Tome Topple? If yes what are you reading? If not what would be your tome choice? What chunky book do you find intimidating?


Mid-Readathon Update:

It has been very slow going, as I expected it would.  I started out with The Kingmaking since this is a book that has been on my shelves for years and I have been intimidated by it.  I had planned on reading until about half way and then taking a break with The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue.  But now I am on page 357, nearly 2/3 of the way through and I am really enjoying the story and don't want to put it down.  I hope to continue at the recent pace of about 75-100 pages a day to finish over the weekend and give myself time to read my second book, but we will see.

Oh and I hope you have been following along on my Instagram as I have been participating in the photo challenge every day and I am super proud of keeping up with it!

How is your readathon going?