Book Review: Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti by Genevieve Valentine

MechaniqueMechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti by Genevieve Valentine

Published by Prime Books on May 10, 2011

Genres: Adult, Fiction, Fantasy, Steampunk

Pages: 284 Format: Paperback Source: Gift

4.5/5 Stars

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

Come inside and take a seat; the show is about to begin… 

Outside any city still standing, the Mechanical Circus Tresaulti sets up its tents. Crowds pack the benches to gawk at the brass-and-copper troupe and their impossible feats: Ayar the Strong Man, the acrobatic Grimaldi Brothers, fearless Elena and her aerialists who perform on living trapezes. War is everywhere, but while the Circus is performing, the world is magic.

That magic is no accident: Boss builds her circus from the bones out, molding a mechanical company that will survive the unforgiving landscape.

But even a careful ringmaster can make mistakes.

Two of Tresaulti’s performers are entangled in a secret standoff that threatens to tear the circus apart just as the war lands on their doorstep. Now the Circus must fight a war on two fronts: one from the outside, and a more dangerous one from within.

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Mini Reviews: Forbidden Hearts & NOLA Nights

Recently I’ve been consuming a bunch more romance than I typically pick up and these two new to me authors are definitely mini review worthy. Check out my thoughts on these steamy reads below!

HatetoWantYouHate to Want You by Alisha Rai

Published by Avon on July 25, 2017

Genres: Adult, Fiction, Romance, Contemporary

Pages: 384 Format: Paperback Source: Purchased

4.5/5 Stars

Image and Description Credits: Goodreads

One night. No one will know.

That was the deal. Every year, Livvy Kane and Nicholas Chandler would share one perfect night of illicit pleasure. The forbidden hours let them forget the tragedy that haunted their pasts-and the last names that made them enemies.

Until the night she didn’t show up.

Now Nicholas has an empire to run. He doesn’t have time for distractions and Livvy’s sudden reappearance in town is a major distraction. She’s the one woman he shouldn’t want…so why can’t he forget how right she feels in his bed?

Livvy didn’t come home for Nicholas, but fate seems determined to remind her of his presence–and their past. Although the passion between them might have once run hot and deep, not even love can overcome the scandal that divided their families.

Being together might be against all the rules…but being apart is impossible.

Hate to Want You by Alisha Rai is the first book in the Forbidden Hearts series. A story of rival families and star crossed lovers, this one packs an unending emotional punch. Livvy and Nicholas are childhood sweethearts torn apart by terrible circumstances. The only problem is that they could never give each other up. Honestly how could this not be a hit.

Livvy is an amazing tattoo artist just returning home to rebuild familial bonds. Nicholas on the other hand hasn’t left, and is running the family business. Holy wow though! The tension in this one is just off the charts! It’s ridiculously clear from the start that these two still have deep feelings for the other but the obstacles in the way make it all the more steamy.

There’s a lot of underlying story in this one and I loved how the layers were peeled back at every turn of the page. It’s definitely not a sunshine and daisies book, but that makes it all the more impactful. Dealing with depression, loss, and grief are all just the tip of the heavy iceberg, and Rai handles it all with excellent writing and careful plotting.

Thank you book world for hyping Hate to Want You! It totally deserves all of it!

LadyofRoyaleStreetThe Lady of Royale Street by Thea De Salle

Published by Pocket Star on August 21, 2017

Genres: Adult, Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Erotica

Pages: 252 Format: eBook Source: Purchased

4.5/5 Stars

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

Alex DuMont is everything his brother Sol isn’t: regimented, serious, and devout. Between twelve-hour workdays, service to the church, punishing daily workouts, and bi-weekly therapy sessions, Alex is, as Sol once put it, “a kettle perpetually whistling as it boils itself to death.” So when Sol announces his marriage to Arianna Barrington, heiress and society sweetheart, Alex is the absolute worst choice to be his best man. Sol asks anyway and Alex reluctantly agrees. It’s only a week, after all, and Alex should be able to stop himself from throttling his big brother for a meager seven days. Probably. Maybe.

Theresa Ivarson is Arianna’s best friend and the maid of honor. A decorated photojournalist who interrupts her globetrotting to stand beside her friend, Theresa is beautiful, witty, and unafraid to speak her mind. So when she is faced with working with the best man from Hell, a Viking who doesn’t know how to smile, is bossy, and about as pleasant as a cactus, the sparks are bound to fly—and not in the good way. To make matters worse, Sol and Rain’s wedding planner was hit by a bus the week before their special day, and Alex and Theresa find themselves at the center of a list-ditch effort to pull the wedding together. But when you can’t decide if you want to kiss or kill someone, something’s bound to break.

I honestly didn’t think I could love The Lady of Royale Street as much as I did the two previous NOLA Nights books, but Thea De Salle proved me extremely wrong. With wedding preparations at The Seaside in full swing, there was bound to be hijinks galore and chemistry at every turn. Honestly I just love these characters and getting to know more about each one of them has been great (Nash needs his own book ASAP!)

In this one, the reader is treated to a delightful romp between the best man and maid of honor after a wedding planner meets her maker. Alex is ridiculously uptight, devout, and completely awkward around others while Theresa is constantly moving, snarky, and always speaks her mind. The two of them together make for an interesting pairing especially as they keep butting heads.

I thought De Salle did a wonderful job weaving faith/Catholicism into an extremely sexy book. There’s a lot of internal conflict, questioning desire when there’s such a strong attraction. It’s typically a plot point that gets swept aside and I’m glad to see it brought to the fore front. Plus all the religion still doesn’t take away from ridiculous hot scenes between Alex and Theresa.

NOLA Nights is must read romance!

 Are you interested in either of these series? Want to be swept up in sexy times?

Let me know in the comments below!

Book Review: The Painted Queen by Elizabeth Peters & Joan Hess

ThePaintedQueenThe Painted Queen by Elizabeth Peters & Joan Hess

Published by William Morrow on July 25, 2017

Genres: Adult, Fiction, Historical, Mystery

Pages: 352 Format: Hardcover Source: Library

2.5/5 Stars

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

Egypt, 1912—Amelia Peabody and her dashing archeologist husband, Radcliffe Emerson, are once again in danger as they search for a priceless, stolen bust of legendary Queen Nefertiti and Amelia finds herself the target of assassins in this long-awaited, eagerly anticipated final installment of Elizabeth Peters’s bestselling, beloved mystery series

Arriving in Cairo for another thrilling excavation season, Amelia Peabody is relaxing in a well-earned bubble bath in her elegant hotel suite in Cairo, when a man with knife protruding from his back staggers into the bath chamber and utters a single word—“Murder”—before collapsing on the tiled floor, dead. Among the few possessions he carried was a sheet of paper with Amelia’s name and room number, and a curious piece of pasteboard the size of a calling card bearing one word: “Judas.” Most peculiarly, the stranger was wearing a gold-rimmed monocle in his left eye. 

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Mini Reviews: NOLA Nights 1 & 2

Thanks to the wonderful online book community I was lucky to discover Thea de Salle’s NOLA Nights series. Even though I’m not a huge romance reader, these two titles had me intrigued. Check out my short thoughts below!

KingofBourbonStreetThe King of Bourbon Street by Thea de Salle

Published by Pocket Star on February 13, 2017

Genres: Adult, Fiction, Romance, Erotica

Pages: 304 Format: eBook Source: Purchased

4.5/5 Stars

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

Hotel chain mogul Sol DuMont is about to learn that some of life’s biggest surprises come in deceptively small packages—namely a petite heiress named Rain who’s hell-bent on upsetting her family’s expectations—in this first book in the all new series by Thea de Salle, set against the sultry backdrop of New Orleans.

Thirty-seven-year-old Sol DuMont is a divorcee and the owner of a mid-sized hotel chain in New Orleans. Since Hurricane Katrina, his father’s death, and the decision that he and his ex-wife Maddy are far better off friends than lovers, he’s lost interest in almost everything he held dear—parties, people, and pushing limits.

All his limits.

Then Arianna Barrington checks into his hotel.

Twenty-four-year-old Arianna “Rain” Barrington could have been society’s sweetheart. Her family is moneyed, connected press darlings, and make sweeping headlines from coast to coast for reasons both good and bad. But when her mother shoves her at Charles Harwood—the obnoxious, entitled heir of Harwood Corp—to cement a billion-dollar business merger, Rain does the only thing she can think of to escape: she creates a scandal so big Harwood doesn’t want her anymore before fleeing to New Orleans for much-needed rest and relaxation.

All she wants is jazz piano, beignets, and to sail the Mississippi. What she gets is Sol DuMont, a whirlwind affair, and a hands-on education in sex, power play, and pushing limits.

All her limits.

The King of Bourbon Street has quickly risen to the top of my romance faves. It’s hot and sexy with emotional depth and delicious characters. I’d never read a romance with BDSM before but Thea de Salle shows all the intricacies of this type of relationship. The consent, the care, the boundaries. It’s all there. And it’s just as steamy as you’d think it would be. Sol was a bit of a mess but I loved him dearly. He’s unapologetic in his bisexuality and cares deeply for those close to him. Rain was adorable and I loved seeing fat representation like hers on the page. I’d definitely recommend this to all romance readers out there.

QueenofDauphineStreetThe Queen of Dauphine Street by Thea de Salle

Published by Pocket Star on May 15, 2017

Genres: Adult, Fiction, Romance, Erotica

Pages: 236 Format: eBook Source: Purchased

4.5/5 Stars

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

Madeline Roussoux has it all: money, a dozen houses, a private jet, a cruise ship, even a tiger. Everyone knows her name. Her every move is watched, absorbed, adored, and abhorred by the public. She’s a dazzling spectacle on the society scene—a beautiful, flamboyant poster child for American privilege and Hollywood celebrity.

And she’s broken.

All the wealth in the world can’t make up for Maddy’s losses. Her father’s suicide and her mother’s ensuing breakdown left her orphaned as a teenager. She survived, but barely. From stints in rehab to a string of failed marriages, her dazzling smile hides deep scars. Finally, losing Sol DuMont, the one person she ever truly loved, has her wondering what is the point of being surrounded by people when you’re perpetually alone?

Enter Darren Sanders. He’s a beautiful Texas boy with a big heart and a bigger smile; the type of man women go crazy for. Literally. When Darren’s ex stalks him and then makes an attempt on his life, circumstances find him off to New Orleans with none other than Maddy Roussoux. He thought he knew everything there was to know about her, but there’s more to the woman whose image graces the covers of magazines worldwide, and Darren finds himself drawn into a world of excess he never imagined possible.

Since I fell head over heels for the first one I just had to pick up The Queen of Dauphine Street. Maddy is the in your face sex positive heroine this world deserves and I loved delving into her back story as well as seeing her current escapades. Darren on the other hand is the biggest dork with ridiculous jokes and a sweet demeanor. Really, who wouldn’t fall for him? The heat was just as intense as the first one but it’s more of a slow burn. There’s added layers between the love interests with both of them dealing with PTSD, anxiety, and a whole host of other issues. Definitely pick this one up!

Overall the NOLA Nights series has gotten off to an amazing start and I cannot wait to read each new installment. Thea de Salle does romance right with nuanced relationships, plenty of hot and heavy encounters, and wonderful writing that is flirty, fun, and oh so much more. Highly, highly recommend these books!

Are you a romance reader? Enjoy erotica? Already picked up the NOLA Nights series?

Let me know in the comments below!

ARC Review: The Dragons of Nova by Elise Kova

perf5.500x8.500.inddThe Dragons of Nova by Elise Kova

Published by Keymaster Press on July 11, 2017

Genres: Adult, Fiction, Fantasy, Steampunk

Pages: 488 Format: eARC Source: NG

4/5 Stars

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

I acquired this ARC from the publisher through NetGalley. This does not impact my thoughts and opinions in any way.

Cvareh returns home to his sky world of Nova with the genius crafter Arianna as his temperamental guest. The mercurial inventor possesses all the Xin family needs to turn the tides of a centuries-old power struggle, but the secrets she harbors must be earned with trust — hard to come by for Ari, especially when it comes to Dragons. On Nova, Ari finds herself closer to exacting vengeance against the traitor who killed everything — and everyone – she once loved. But before Ari can complete her campaign of revenge, the Crimson Court exposes her shadowed past and reveals something even more dangerous sparking between her and Cvareh.

While Nova is embroiled in blood sport and political games, the rebels on Loom prepare for an all-out assault on their Dragon oppressors. Florence unexpectedly finds herself at the forefront of change, as her unique blend of skills — and quick-shooting accuracy — makes her a force to be reckoned with. For the future of her world, she vows vengeance against the Dragons.

Before the rebellion can rise, though, the Guilds must fall.

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Book Review: American Gods by Neil Gaiman

AmericanGodsAmerican Gods by Neil Gaiman

Published by William Morrow on February 5, 2013

Genres: Adult, Fiction, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Mythology

Pages: 541 Format: Paperback Source: Purchased

3.5/5 Stars

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

A storm is coming…

Locked behind bars for three years, Shadow did his time, quietly waiting for the magic day when he could return to Eagle Point, Indiana. A man no longer scared of what tomorrow might bring, all he wanted was to be with Laura, the wife he deeply loved, and start a new life.

But just days before his release, Laura and Shadow’s best friend are killed in an accident. With his life in pieces and nothing to keep him tethered, Shadow accepts a job from a beguiling stranger he meets on the way home, an enigmatic man who calls himself Mr. Wednesday. A trickster and rogue, Wednesday seems to know more about Shadow than Shadow does himself.

Life as Wednesday’s bodyguard, driver, and errand boy is far more interesting and dangerous than Shadow ever imagined—it is a job that takes him on a dark and strange road trip and introduces him to a host of eccentric characters whose fates are mysteriously intertwined with his own. Along the way Shadow will learn that the past never dies; that everyone, including his beloved Laura, harbors secrets; and that dreams, totems, legends, and myths are more real than we know. Ultimately, he will discover that beneath the placid surface of everyday life a storm is brewing—an epic war for the very soul of America—and that he is standing squarely in its path.

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Lost Stars & A New Dawn: Star Wars Mini Reviews

I’ve fallen into a Star Wars black hole recently and have been consuming so much related media that I may never find my way out. In terms of books I’ve picked up Lost Stars by Claudia Gray and A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller so I thought I’d share brief reviews on both.

SWLostStarsLost Stars by Claudia Gray

Published by Disney Lucasfilm Press on September 4, 2015

Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Science Fiction

Pages: 551 Format: Hardcover Source: Library

4/5 Stars

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

Eight years after the fall of the Old Republic, the Galactic Empire now reigns over the known galaxy. Resistance to the Empire has been all but silenced. Only a few courageous leaders such as Bail Organa of Alderaan still dare to openly oppose Emperor Palpatine.

After years of defiance, the many worlds at the edge of the Outer Rim have surrendered. With each planet’s conquest, the Empire’s might grows stronger.

The latest to fall under the Emperor’s control is the isolated mountain planet Jelucan, whose citizens hope for a more prosperous future even as the Imperial Starfleet gathers overhead…

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