Saturday, September 5, 2015

Review | Taking The Heat by Victoria Dahl - with Audiobook Notes

Taking The Heat by Victoria Dahl
Series: Jackson: Girls' Night Out #3
Published by Harlequin
Publish Date: July 28, 2015
Source: Book - Publisher, Audiobook - Bought
Find it here:  Goodreads / Amazon 

Passion this hot can't be faked… 

All revved up for bright lights and steamy nights, writer Veronica Chandler chased her dreams to New York City. When she hit a dead end, reality sent her back home to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Saving her pride and her new gig—writing a relationship advice column!—requires some faking. No one can know the truth about her big-city flop or her nonexistent sex life. But the town's irresistibly rugged librarian is determined to figure her out… and give her hands-on lessons in every wicked thing she wants to know. 

Gabe MacKenzie's heart might be in Wyoming, but secretly his future's tied up in his family's Manhattan legacy. Getting down and dirty with Veronica is supposed to give him a few memorable nights—not complicate his plans. But the thing about heat this scorching is there's just no going back… and it might be too hot for either of them to take. 

Taking The Heat by Victoria Dahl

My Thoughts:  Veronica's relationship advice bit, Dear Veronica, is growing more successful, which is great. She should be happy about this, and she kind of is, but she's also a little bit freaked out that someone will find out that she has been lying - she doesn't really know all that much about relationships. People just think that she does because she lived in New York City for a while. Truth is, her time in New York wasn't all that great, she hated it, and that's why she came home. Faking her way through Dear Veronica is exhausting. And it could be embarrassing if anyone finds out. 

Gabe is the new librarian in town. He only signed a one-year contract with the library, planning to live it up in the mountains while he can, before he has to head back to New York City to take over his part of his family's business. 

Gabe meets Veronica while out one night. She doesn't make the best first impression on him, but she quickly grows on him. She eventually shares her secrets with Gabe, who decides that he can help her. Gabe doesn't count on falling for her in the process and having to decide what to do about working with his family in New York (Veronica hates it there) or staying in Wyoming where Veronica is happy.


You guys know that I love Victoria Dahl because of her take-charge, empowered, independent-women leading characters, right? 

Veronica is not really one of these women, which makes Taking The Heat a little bit different than the other books in this series. At first, I thought that maybe I didn't like the book because I missed that strong-woman aspect, but Veronica began to grow on me in the second half of the book. After I thought about her for a little bit, I realized that I liked her (and the story) more than I originally thought. Veronica's insecurities over her "relationship" secrets did not define her, and she didn't let herself get too dragged down by these things. This is important because she had to make a decision to make some changes to herself, her career, etc and then actually DO them. It took courage to trust Gabe enough to tell him her deepest and darkest things, and then to let him help her out like he did. (It probably would have been much easier to just keep lying.) 

(Also I'm not sure I could have done what she did. I'm not that great at faking things. I wouldn't be able to keep the secrets long enough.)

Veronica's character is not super strong, but she isn't weak either. She has just had different life experiences than the other women in her circle of friends. 

Gabe's character is also a little different than the other guys in this series. Yes, he's outdoorsy and rugged like the others, but he doesn't have a "manly" job like the rest of them do. Also, Gabe is sensitive. Gabe felt very nerdy-is-sexy because of how he is written and I really liked that. 

Veronica and Gabe go together well. They made me laugh, which is very true to a Victoria Dahl story. I think that the comic relief is particularly great in this book because things could have gotten a little awkward with certain parts of the story. Their ease with one another made things much better. 

As usual, I love the setting. And I love the cameos from the secondary friends. I love how their romance grew and how they only had eyes for one another. I ended up loving this book and will likely reread/relisten to it even though it isn't my favorite from the series. 

I recommend Taking The Heat by Victoria Dahl to readers that enjoy adult contemporary romance with great chemistry in the romance and some humor. 

Audiobook Notes: The audiobook format of Taking The Heat by Victoria Dahl is published by RecordedBooks and is 11 hours and 8 minutes, Unabridged. It is narrated by Celeste Ciulla, who narrated the other books in this series. I've enjoyed listening to this series on audiobook and I'm glad that I bought these audios so I can re-listen. I plan to. They aren't my very favorite audiobooks, but I would certainly recommend them to first readers or for rereads. 


Taking The Heat will appeal to fans of:

Adult Contemporary Romance
Romance: No triangle. 
Great Setting: Jackson, Wyoming
Strong female characters
Great friendships

Taking The Heat by Victoria Dahl
is currently available for purchase.


The Jackson: Girls' Night Out Series: 


Taking The Heat wasn't my favorite from this series but I still liked it! 
I want more from Victoria Dahl!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Review | Firewalker by Josephine Angelini

Firewalker by Josephine Angelini
Series: The Worldwalker Trilogy #2
Published by Feiwel & Friends
Publish Date: September 1, 2015
Source: Publisher
Find it here:  Goodreads / Amazon 

"You think I’m a monster, but my choices, as ruthless as they seem, are justified."

Lily is back in her own universe, and she's ready to start a new life with Rowan by her side. True, she almost died in the Pyre that fueled their escape from New Salem, and must hide her magic for the safety of everyone she cares about, but compared to fighting the Woven, the monstrous creatures inhabiting the alternate Salem, life is looking pretty good.

Unfortunately, Lillian, ruthless ruler of the 13 Cities, is not willing to let Lily go that easily. If she can’t persuade Lily to return to her world, she will force her to come back by doing away with the ones she loves. (summery excerpt from Goodreads) 

Firewalker by Josephine Angelini

My Thoughts:  Firewalker by Josephine Angelini was one of my top-anticipated fall 2015 books. So often I find myself saying "I should have read this book sooner! I don't know why I waited so long!" but with Firewalker, I wish I would have waited until the final book's release so I could binge-read. While some of the things that I loved about the first book only got better in the second book, others became really painful, and it's gonna be a very, very long wait for me.

Like before, this book mainly takes place in both worlds: our world and the other world. I particularly loved the world-building in the other world. I had a brilliant time building the visuals in my head to go along with whatever the characters were doing at any given time. In fact, that world felt a little bigger this time around, and and more fully-described, which just made it better. The second half of the book had a quicker pace than the first half, and when I reached a certain point I found that I couldn't put the book down. As far as the fantasy aspect of this story, I think that this is a fitting sequel. The story here is unique, I think, and the mixture of witch mythology and parallel universes is cool. 

So what was so painful? The romance. What I wanted to happen and what actually happened couldn't have been possibly been any more opposite. This broke my heart. (Days after finishing this book, I'm still obsessing about this.) 

Early in the story, secrets crept into this relationship. Also, both Lily and Rowan had someone from their pasts hovering in the background. [Highlight the middle of this paragraph for spoilers related to the romance: There is no real love triangle in this installment, but this book set it up nicely for a potential triangle showdown in the finale. THIS BROKE MY HEART. Lily and Rowan seemed determined for a portion of the book to make their relationship work, but each knew about the other's past love hovering around in the background and neither did anything to shut this down. Also, the secrets were just a mess that ended with some bad, bad behavior. The romance is up in the air at the end of the book.] All of this made the romance between Lily and Rowan a little tense, in my opinion, and I felt throughout the entire book like I was waiting for something bad to happen. 

After finishing Firewalker, I feel like I'm treading water while I'm waiting for the third book to come and rescue me with answers to a bunch of questions and unresolved issues. If that sounds dramatic, it's because that's how I feel after wanting this book so much and then the romance and then - 

- a cliffhanger ending. Cliffhanger city

The final book has the potential to bring either the joy or the pain - I have no clue! What I do know is: Lily is more powerful than I originally realized, I don't trust Lillian's reasons for anything even though she insists they are good (because, whoa), and the book ended with some very adventurous, action-filled scenes. I'm excited to see what will happen with some of the characters and I want to see more of Juliet (she's awesome!) and I'm really, really nervous about what will go down with this romance. I have FEELINGS that I can't really share here because NO SPOILING but my word, I don't even know what to say about what I even WANT to happen in the last installment. (I put quite a bit of emphasis in that sentence-don't let that get lost on you.) My last impressions of some of these characters is not good; I do not like the bad behavior that some have shown throughout the course of this book. Still, I'll be reading the finale to see how everything ends. 


I recommend Firewalker by Josephine Angelini to readers that enjoy great world-building and fantasy, and to those that enjoy stories about witches. 


Firewalker will appeal to fans of:

Young Adult Fantasy/Paranormal
Alternate Universes
Great World-Building

Firewalker by Josephine Angelini
is currently available for purchase.


More by Josephine Angelini: