40 – Love (There’s Something About Marysburg #2) by Olivia Dade

40 love


official blurb
This match is no game.  When a rogue wave strips Tess Dunn of her bikini top, desperate, half-naked times call for desperate, please-cover-me-kids-are-coming-closer measures. Enter Lucas Karlsson, AKA that flirty Swede in the water nearby. When he prevents her bare buoys from being exposed to fellow vacationers, even an ocean can’t drown the sparks that fly.  Lucas, a former top-level tennis pro now giving lessons at the resort, fled there after the abrupt, painful end to his injury-plagued career. But he’s finally ready to move on with his life—and after a few late-night, hands-on sessions with Tess, he’s eager to prove he’s the ace she wants.  But this match comes with challenges: She’s forty, and at twenty-six, he’s barely old enough to rent a car. Worse, they only have two weeks together before Tess returns to her assistant-principal life in Virginia. During that brief time, they’ll have to play hard, take a few risks, and find out whether their chemistry is a one-shot wonder…or whether they’re meant to be doubles partners for life.

4 out of 5

🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥  out of 5 steam level

40 love


what i liked
I really enjoyed this book!  It featured a lot of body positivity that was very enjoyable to read!  I would describe the tropes in this book as: age gap, vacation romance, and plus size heroine.
I’m honestly not sure if I’ve read a plus size heroine book that I’ve enjoyed this much before!  Some of the previous ones that I’ve read had a lot of the guy liking the girl despite of her size.  That was not the case with this book.  Our main man, Lucas, is totally into Tess and there is no “despite of” involved!
Another major pro for this book (no pun intended… but also I’m now proud of that pun) is that Lucas was a former pro tennis player. I’ve never read a tennis book before, but I LOVE tennis!!!  It is a bucket list item for me to attend every major tennis open.  So far I’ve done the US Open and it was amazing.  Oh… what’s that?  This is a book review and not me fangirling about Roger Federer?  Fine.  Well, lets just say that I loved that this book had a tennis storyline in it and I now want to read 210982083 other books that feature tennis!  (Let me know if you have any recommendations!)
This is my first Olivia Dade book but it sure won’t be my last.  I laughed out loud multiple times when reading this book.  The banter between the two characters was amazing.  I should also mention that i rarely root for a couple when they fall in love in a really quick time frame in a book.  I was rooting for Lucas and Tess! I think that just says something about Dade’s writing of the couple in general that you want to root for them.
As you can see, this is the second book in a series.  I actually didn’t even know that and it didn’t affect the flow of reading this book at all.  So it is safe to say that it is a stand alone book within a series!  (Btw, how cool is it that so many romance books do that? Why don’t other genres do that as often?)

what i didn't like
Tess talks about her goal to be the principal at her school. She talks about it a lot.  Too much.  Did I convey that point enough? Haha.  I liked that she had a professional goal but it was driven home too much for me.
Also, at one point in the book I lost steam a bit.  The dialogue slowed down and I found myself skimming a bit to try to reach some dialogue.  That doesn’t necessarily say anything about the writing style of the book because it could honestly have been my attention span while reading it.  But I feel it must me mentioned in my review!

while reading you should
Do: Play tennis.  It’s okay if you suck at it, it’s still fun!
Eat: a cupcake.  Preferably after you play tennis as a reward.
Watch: Borg vs McEnroe

when to read
This book is a total vacation read.  Summertime is even better.

arc review


Obsidio (The Illuminae Files_03) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff


official blurb
Kady, Ezra, Hanna, and Nik narrowly escaped with their lives from the attacks on Heimdall station and now find themselves crammed with 2,000 refugees on the container ship, Mao. With the jump station destroyed and their resources scarce, the only option is to return to Kerenza—but who knows what they’ll find seven months after the invasion? Meanwhile, Kady’s cousin, Asha, survived the initial BeiTech assault and has joined Kerenza’s ragtag underground resistance. When Rhys—an old flame from Asha’s past—reappears on Kerenza, the two find themselves on opposite sides of the conflict. With time running out, a final battle will be waged on land and in space, heroes will fall, and hearts will be broken.

my blurb!
The exciting conclusion to the Illuminae Files trilogy, featuring new characters and challenges.

4 out of 5
There are potential spoilers of the FIRST TWO books in this review- as this is the third and final book of the trilogy.

So the first book came out 2015- so three years later I’m reading the conclusion. For the life of me I can’t remember what happened in those first two books! Characters? Nope. Plot points? Nope. Luckily they do give hints of the previous books to reacquaint you with the characters.  It’s not a full rundown of the first 2 books, but I’ll take it.

what i liked
I liked getting a better view into the main characters lives- what was going on with them pre invasion.  I liked seeing their lives after the peak of drama in their respective books!
I liked the crazy layout that kept up with the previous two books.
I liked the crazy plot (I was never surprised by the “twists” BUT there was still plenty going on and I enjoyed the progression).

what i didn't like
I didn’t love the two new characters introduced in this book. Their story didn’t get me, they were afterthoughts to me and I think they could’ve been developed better.  I was about 150 pages into this 615 page book and it felt a little slower than I was expecting- but I think that was because I didn’t connect with Rhys and Asha.
What I REALLY didn’t like was AIDEN’s super weird relationship with Kady- that wasn’t one sided.  It was creepy and weird to me and reminded me a little bit of stockholm syndrome.  It took personification to a whole new level and I didn’t like it.

Overall, this is a great conclusion to the trilogy. In a world where the third book always lets down – this one doesn’t.  I still like the first book the best, but this one was an exciting conclusion to a fun sci-fi out-of-the-box trilogy!

If you would like to buy this book click here

when to read
Winter! There are a LOT of mentions of being freezing cold on Kereneza IV in this book. So icy cold weather would be the perfect reading companion to this book.

DuxSignature smallercopy

Starflight by Melissa Landers

Solara Brooks needs a fresh start, someplace where nobody cares about the engine grease beneath her fingernails or the felony tattoos across her knuckles. The outer realm may be lawless, but it’s not like the law has ever been on her side. Still, off-world travel doesn’t come cheap; Solara is left with no choice but to indenture herself in exchange for passage to the outer realm. She just wishes it could have been to anyone besides Doran Spaulding, the rich, pretty-boy quarterback who made her life miserable in school. The tables suddenly turn when Doran is framed for conspiracy on Earth, and Solara cons him into playing the role of her servant on board the Banshee, a ship manned by an eccentric crew with their own secrets. Given the price on both Doran and Solara’s heads, it may just be the safest place in the universe. It’s been a long time since Solara has believed in anyone, and Doran is the last person she expected to trust. But when the Banshee’s dangerous enemies catch up to them, Solara and Doran must come together to protect the ship that has become their home–and the eccentric crew that feels like family.

4 out of 5

I came across Starflight randomly when I was looking through available e-books at my library (or, rather, Dux’s library, since hers is so much better stocked than mine). The first line of the blurb on Amazon hooked me. Engine grease and felony tattoos? I thought. This chick sounds cool!

So I checked out the book, proceeded to zip through it, and then scoured the Internetz for the second book in the duology. I still haven’t read that because I am a slacker.

Solara is a daring character, who’s just trying to make a life for herself after she gets caught up with the wrong crowd. When her tenuous freedom is threatened, she takes a risk and forces Doran to help her. The two of them end up on a ship with some interesting crew members. But as they make their way to the outer rim of the system, they encounter obstacles that make them question everything they thought they knew.

Things I liked: That Doran stopped being a tremendous jerk. That Solara was an ace mechanic and kept the ship together when necessary. That not everyone immediately trusted everyone (with good reason, it turns out, but also because that’s unrealistic given the somewhat questionable day job of this ship and its crew). The growth of Solara and Doran’s friendship.

Things I didn’t like: The fact that this book is the only one about Solara and Doran specifically (the second one focuses mainly on different characters, though everyone comes into play). That sometimes people were really stupid, and didn’t pay attention to obvious signs that people were bad.
This book is definitely not a MUST read, but it was a good read. If you’re into an adventure story set in space, check this out. It reminded me of a less-developed Fortune’s Pawn in terms of the interesting cast of characters. Definitely a good rainy-day read (it’s currently pouring out and the book I need to read is not what I want to read on a rainy day). I will get around to reading and reviewing the second book, as well, and tell you more about Cassie and Kane!


Amazon: http://amzn.to/2Fn29ih

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21793182-starflight?from_search=true

Melissa Landers books: http://melissa-landers.com/

Artemis by Andy Weir

Official blurb- Jazz Bashara is a criminal.
Well, sort of. Life on Artemis, the first and only city on the moon, is tough if you’re not a rich tourist or an eccentric billionaire. So smuggling in the occasional harmless bit of contraband barely counts, right? Not when you’ve got debts to pay and your job as a porter barely covers the rent.
Everything changes when Jazz sees the chance to commit the perfect crime, with a reward too lucrative to turn down. But pulling off the impossible is just the start of her problems, as she learns that she’s stepped square into a conspiracy for control of Artemis itself—and that now, her only chance at survival lies in a gambit even riskier than the first

My blurb- moons worst bandit encounters catastrophes while on the job.

3 out of 5

I really enjoyed  The Martian so I was rooting for Artemis to be a good sophomore novel from Weir. It fell short but wasn’t terrible. The protagonist, Jazz, was likable and dripped sarcasm – unfortunately she had the humor of a middle school boy. (Don’t believe me? Here’s a little snippet: “Billy, I’ve swallowed better-tasting stuff that came out of people.”) I actually gave this book a bit if a head start over The Martian because Jazz is a girl- and I generally enjoy reading from a girls perspective vs a boys. Overall it was the plot that fell short for me and the excessive scientific jargon was unnecessary.

It seems so silly to say this but The Martian was more realistic than Artemis! I know, I know, we’re not living on Mars and at least we’ve been to the moon. But read this and then tell me you disagree! I think Weir did a decent job of “world building” in the book, but there was just something about it that didn’t line up with reality.  It was almost as if he was trying to hard to make it believable.  Like Jazz scientifically explaining welding… over and over and over again.  Got it, Jazz, while I have never personally welded, I own a television and get the general concept.

Also, fair warning – Jazz is the WORST criminal. I mean, she’s awful. I cannot believe she was the best Artemis had to offer for this super secret elite job. So you may find yourself thinking that repeatedly while you’re reading. (if only Artemis had Oceans 11…or 8… but I guess story would’ve been anticlimactic).

Svoboda. I know you just reread that word. Jazz’s love interest…. I hope by now you guys know how I feel about main characters having names I can’t easily pronounce. I definitely found myself saying his name totally differently halfway through the book. I couldn’t picture him in my head at all but he was funny.


Maybe my biggest pet peeve was the “mayor” of Artemis who was some sort of mega world builder. (I would hate to play against her in Settlers of Catan). She kept giving Jazz an “out” and knew all about her life- I thought FOR SURE there was going to be a “twist” and she was actually Jazz’ s mom. Well, that twist never came….(so I guess that was its own surprise?) I have no idea why this powerful lady was so gung-ho about Jazz, so if you figure it out let me know!

When to read it:

I wouldn’t buy this, or readily recommend it, but it’s enjoyable for a slow cold day. There’s literally no reason the weather would need to be cold when you’re reading this, but outerspace is cold so I feel like that fits the vibe well.

Happy reading,

The Forever War by Joe Haldeman

4.5 out of 5

The Earth’s leaders have drawn a line in the interstellar sand–despite the fact that the fierce alien enemy they would oppose is inscrutable, unconquerable, and very far away. A reluctant conscript drafted into an elite Military unit, Private William Mandella has been propelled through space and time to fight in the distant thousand-year conflict; to perform his duties and do whatever it takes to survive the ordeal and return home. But “home” may be even more terrifying than battle, because, thanks to the time dilation caused by space travel, Mandella is aging months while the Earth he left behind is aging centuries…

The Forever War is a military science fiction novel set in the future. It tells the story of an intergalactic war that is fought over millennia. But for the soldiers actually fighting, the war lasts only years. Every time they come home for a little R&R (rest and relaxation), they find their world completely changed. Even the language isn’t the same. William Mandella’s journey is both inspiring and heartbreaking, and I could not put this book down.

While this story is fiction, Joe Haldeman wrote it for a purpose. The Forever War is widely perceived to be an account of Haldeman’s experience in Vietnam. As with Spencer Quinn’s The Right Side, Haldeman’s account of Mandella’s time in service evokes similar feelings in the reader as perhaps Haldeman felt on his return home after Vietnam. The seemingly dramatic span of time in this novel allows us as readers to understand the alien feel that home had for many. The Vietnam War occurred during a time of tumultuous change in the United States, and while we back home may not have been speaking a language quite so literally foreign as Mandella’s fellows in The Forever War, those who served in Vietnam returned to a place in which they didn’t seem to belong anymore.

I highly recommend this book to everyone, even those who are not fans of science fiction or space operas. It’s a short novel, and while it clearly introduces new technology and a new society, it’s not heavily focused on those things. It is definitely more about the individual experience than about advanced societies. You don’t need to buy this book, but you should definitely pick it up at your local library.



The Paradox Series by Rachel Bach

4 out of 5

Devi Morris isn’t your average mercenary. She has plans. Big ones. And a ton of ambition. It’s a combination that’s going to get her killed on day–but not just yet. That is, until she gets a job on a tiny trade ship with a nasty reputation for surprises. The Glorious Fool isn’t misnamed: it likes to get into trouble, so much so that one year of security work under its captain is equal to five years everywhere else. With odds like that, Devi knows she’s found the perfect way to get the jump on the next part of her Plan. But the Fool doesn’t give up its secrets without a fight, and one year on this ship might be more than even Devi can handle.

If you love stories set in space, but you’re not a fan of space operas or long, dramatic stories that take books to cover one day-in-the-life, then this series is for you.

One of my least favorite things about many sci-fi books and space operas is the overly-technical language and back story. I do not want to read a technical manual for a spaceship when I’m just trying to zone out after work. My brain will not pay attention for that long. Rachel Bach strikes a great balance between a traditional space opera and a fun adventure novel. Bach creates an exciting world complete with a rich history. I felt like I knew what was going on in this fictional society without needing to spend hundreds of pages on it.

Continue reading “The Paradox Series by Rachel Bach”