While I enjoyed the following books - a few little quirks stopped me short of loving them. I would recommend them all with a few reservations.
When two young Amish men find love, will they risk losing everything? In a world where every detail of life—down to the width of a hat brim—is dictated by God and the all-powerful rules of the community, two men dare to imagine a different way. At 18, Isaac Byler knows little outside the strict Amish settlement of Zebulon, Minnesota, where there is no rumspringa for exploration beyond the boundaries of their insular world. Isaac knows he’ll have to officially join the church and find a wife before too long, but he yearns for something else—something he can’t name. Dark tragedy has left carpenter David Lantz alone to support his mother and sisters, and he can’t put off joining the church any longer. But when he takes on Isaac as an apprentice, their attraction grows amid the sweat and sawdust. David shares his sinful secrets, and he and Isaac struggle to reconcile their shocking desires with their commitment to faith, family and community. Now that they’ve found each other, are they willing to lose it all? Note: Contains explicit sexual situations and graphic language. This is not an inspirational/Christian romance ~ Goodreads
My thoughts: I love a good forbidden romance and I can’t think of anything more forbidden than a gay, Amish romance. I loved the couple, the exploration and questioning of religion and the sense of choosing duty to family vs. love (the whole thing was heartbreaking from all sides) but I also was a little turned off by how negatively the Amish were portrayed (although this was a particularly strict & real Amish group) and how certain resolutions seemed to conveniently present themselves at just the right time.
Twenty-two-year-old historical romance writer Nicole Blake, or N.S. Blake to her readers, hasn't taken an official poll, mind you, but she is convinced she may be the only romance author on the planet who is still a card-carrying member of the virgin club.Not that she hasn't tried to end her membership. Life just keeps finding pesky ways to interfere. With no prospects on the horizon, Nicole begins to feel like the closest she will ever get to experiencing a man is within her own stories. Opportunity presents itself in the form of hot-as-sin-on-a-lollipop-stick bartender/premed student Alec Petropoulos, who agrees to be the cover model for her upcoming book. Sparks fly instantly between them, and Nicole begins to entertain the possibility that she's finally found the right guy to hand over her tattered V-card. Alec has all the makings for a perfect one-night-stand candidate except, much to Nicole's surprise, he seems to be the only man in existence not interested in bagging a virgin. Stuck between a rock and a stubborn male, what's a virgin to do? Seduce him, of course. How hard could it be? If it works for the characters in her stories, why wouldn't it work for her? After all, what happens under the cover…stays under the cover. ~ Goodreads
My thoughts: This is a super cute take on the trying to lose the v-card trope. Indie author Nicole falls for her smoking hot cover model Alec. And who wouldn’t! Nicole, is bumbling, shy and adorably normal. Although it’s explained, I wasn’t 100% buying Alec’s reason for his aversion to virgins (aversion to virgins – hehe…but I digress) I get it but any random hook-up could cause a similar problem.
There is a lot of page time given to the indie author experience. Attending cons, handing out swag, hosting blog tours, beta readers. I don’t know – it felt odd to me. But in a *wink* *nod*, insular kind of way I guess. Like the book was written for indie authors and bloggers. Not bad – just odd.
Although Nicole gained confidence over time, I wish she still wasn’t so dependent on others at the end. But still – overall a really fun book.
A new adult title from Entangled’s Embrace imprint… Love doesn’t conquer all…does it? Priyanka Patel is the epitome of an obedient daughter. She’s finishing up her medical residency at one of Houston’s busiest emergency departments, and has agreed—albeit reluctantly—to marry the man her family has chosen for her. The only thing that can derail the “perfect” life laid out before her is the sexy musician down the hall who wants into her life…and into her bed. Tyler O’Connor has been infatuated with Priya since she treated his sprained ankle in the ER, and after saving her from a brutal attack, he can't get her out of his head. When Priya puts her family's wishes before their relationship, agreeing to an arranged marriage with another man, Tyler is devastated. But love is fierce and unreasonable and clashes with the carefully sculpted life her parents want for her. Is going after her heart such a big deal, or will it truly unravel Priya’s world? ~ Goodreads
(Source: received from the publisher for my honest review) My thoughts: I loved how this book started out. Priya and Tyler meet cute when he hurts his ankle and she treats him in the ER. He actually lives in the same building as her (unbeknownst to Priya) & has been crushing on her hardcore. He’s all in and it was adorable. However, Priya is conflicted between her Indian culture, an arranged marriage and loving Tyler.
I enjoyed the portrayal of Indian customs and the respect paid to Priya’s beliefs. While all of Pryia's friends are Indian and have a sense of obligation to culture, they don't all live the same way. It wasn't cookie cutter, which was nice.
By the end though, I was emotionally drained and wasn't sure if I even liked anyone anymore. There’s some major drama that causes a lot of pain & heartache in the family. I get it but I was angry at how infantile everyone was acting. Every time Priya and Tyler fight he calls her a whore and says he’s going to hook up with his ex. He was so damn cute in the beginning and then turned into a douche bag. I enjoyed the end – but getting Tyler’s pov would have gone a long way to helping me see how much he really did to get back into Priya and her families good graces. The family…why bother? They were all jerks. Customs or not.
And Priya – she was literally going to die from heartbreak. Like – she just couldn’t function at all – throw away your career – and die. Cute premise – I liked it overall & I would still recommend it but I had quite a few hell no – grrr moments.
A SEXY STRANGER Flirting with danger is reporter Grace Grainger’s modus operandi. But she’s learned the hard way not to grow attached to the soldiers she’s embedded with in Afghanistan. To escape from her pain and loneliness, she fantasizes about the hot night she spent with a gorgeous stranger three years before in D.C. Grace never thought she’d see him again—let alone need him to rescue her . . . AN EXPLOSIVE NIGHT Air Force Master Sergeant Josh Travers knows journalists are nothing but trouble. So when he has to risk his team’s lives to save some reporter who’s been separated from her patrol, he’s not happy—until he recognizes her stunning eyes and delicious curves. Josh has never wanted a woman like he wants Grace. He needs her—even in an Afghan cave with a sandstorm and enemy troops closing in. This might be the end for both of them—or one hell of a beginning. ~ Goodreads
(Source: received from the publisher for my honest review) My thoughts: Not bad. I loved all the military jargon and background more than the romance though. That part was done really well.
I really wish this was a full length story. The author did a good job introducing the characters and romance but the sexual tension and resolution felt a little off (Having sex in a cave or a small village while the Taliban might show up at any second isn't exactly an aphrodisiac for me lol) & rushed.
Despite the few flaws, I found it to be quite enjoyable and I'll be picking up the full length novel when it releases.
Note:Dangerous Territory was a novella that acts as an introduction to the upcoming Alpha Ops series.
I know EVERYONE is watching Outlander (Starz) and since The Knick premiered the same week it kind of fell under the radar. I also think Cinemax didn’t do a very good job promoting it. I didn’t even know what it was about until I actually saw the first episode. From the previews I thought it was about serial killers. I only watched because of my Clive Owen obsession.
Here’s what it’s really about:
The Knick is a television drama series on Cinemax directed by Steven Soderbergh and starring Clive Owen. It looks at the professional and personal lives of Dr. John W. Thackery (played by Owen) and the staff at a fictionalized version of the Knickerbocker Hospital ("the Knick") in New York during the early part of the twentieth century. Source: Wikipedia
I hope more people give it a try. It’s understated as far as premium cable shows go. It is slowly developing the characters and isn’t overflowing with sex, violence or nudity (although it has all of those things).
This is one of the smartest and fascinating shows I’ve seen though. It explores class, race, addiction, women's rights, religion and corruption all against the backdrop of the birth of modern medicine. Electricity is just being invented, there are no antibiotics - most patients don't survive treatment or surgery. Syphilis is sweeping through impoverished communities while hospitals compete for patients to experiment on. Back alley abortions are common.
There is this one brilliant scene where all the various hospital staff wake up and go to work. The wealthy, privileged female head of the hospital's Social Welfare Office, the black surgeon and a young nurse. It just captures everything about class and race without bashing you over the head with it.
The Knick is unflinching in it's portrayal of the reality in 1900 NY but it never panders or tries to force sentimentality on the viewer.
I’m not really a squeamish person but watching some of the procedures/treatments makes me thankful that I wasn’t alive and in need of medical help in those days! If you catch the Post-Op’s after each episode they go into a little more detail about each episode and the history making things that were going on in that era.
Another thing I love about this show is the music. Even though the show takes place in the early twentieth century, the music is very modern/techno. It ads an originality and urgency to every scene.