Beating the Odds by Sherrod Tunstall

I received this book for free from the Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Beating the Odds by Sherrod TunstallBeating The Odds by Sherrod Tunstall
Published by Urban Books on August 29, 2017
Pages: 288 pages
Format: Paperback
Source: Author
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Brad Carter is down on his luck. He loses his job, catches his woman in bed with another man, and he’s days away from being booted out of his home. Wanting to get away from his problems, Brad and his boys go to a nightclub, where they meet a wealthy stranger who offers them each $50,000 to go to Rio de Janeiro and traffic cocaine back to the U.S.

They jump at the opportunity and have the time of their lives in Rio, but when it’s time to return to the U.S. with the drugs, all hell breaks loose. Brad and his friends are caught, and being in jail is not anything they could have imagined. With the help of a fellow prisoner with powerful connections, they plan an escape.

Brad is determined to find his way back to the U.S., but not without Diamond, the beautiful woman he met before things went awry in Rio. Can he rescue her from the clutches of Armand, the sick crime boss who’s been holding her captive for years? He soon discovers that the web of criminal connections between Armand, his wife, and his associates are deep and dangerous. With the obstacles he faces, Brad’s journey to freedom may be impossible.

Beating The Odds by Sherrod Tunstall was unlike any other urban fiction story I’ve read. It’s just something about knowing that the story is literally written in a male’s perspective that just offers a new look to whatever story I’m reading, I feel this way when I’m reading a Scott Hildreth or Leo Sullivan’s story as well.

The synopsis of Beating the Odds really pulled me in because it made it appear as if there would be quite a few struggles that our main characters would have to go through, which translates to me as DRAMA lol.  Before I entered into Tunstall’s story I have to speak on the cover. I’m definitely a reader who will look at the book cover first determining if I would give the book the time of day, with the rating, synopsis, and reviews afterwards. The book cover really didn’t match how I envisioned the main male character based on how Tunstall described him so that really confused me and somewhat made it hard for me to connect to the visual that Tunstall had in mind for Brad’s character.

While reading Beating the Odds I felt like a fly on the wall during everything that was happening with the characters within this story, which I really ended up liking because it showed that Tunstall gave adequate description while speaking through the experiences and observations of Brad’s character, as well as the narrator’s voice.

The flow of Beating the Odds was what really sold me on this story. From the very beginning I found myself glued to its story, not so much because of what was happening but because of the hypnotizing and poetic flow of the words used to create each scene, page, and character’s character. Furthermore, Tunstall did an amazing job in balancing all the different character’s page time, I didn’t’ feel as if I needed to create my own chart to stay abreast of all the drama that each character was having to deal with throughout this story. Tunstall’s transitions were definitely on point.

Will I jump feet first into another Tunstall story, well that definitely depends on the story and the mood I’m in – y’all know I’m picky as heck. But if this story seems interesting to you I really do recommend it, it’s definitely a story that can be finished in one sitting.

The Wardrobe Mistress by Meghan Masterson

I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Wardrobe Mistress by Meghan MastersonThe Wardrobe Mistress by Meghan Masterson
Published by St. Martin's Griffin Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
three-half-stars

I will admit that I was skeptical about my chances of liking The Wardrobe Mistress, but I really fell for the spy, suspense, and romantic elements within its story.

Early on Meghan Masterson introduced some of the main players, Marie Antoinette and her outspoken wardrobe mistress, Giselle. So the players and the playing field, or the political smoldering fire that’s waiting to erupt in France, had been laid out. At this point I wanted to be was all in, but the disconnect I had with Giselle’s character, with quite a few characters, throughout The Wardrobe Mistress held me back.

It seemed like all the attention was placed on the events taking place and the political games being played that I found myself not really caring about Giselle’s character, but I for some reason instantly connected with Leon.

Leon really fit into all the chaos that was going on. In scenes with Giselle and him I would feel some type of connection but more so to his character than hers. There was just something magnetic about his presence that I found enjoyable to read.

All in all The Wardrobe Mistress surprised me. I didn’t think that a period piece about my least favorite time period and monarch would work for me. Dang, I can’t stop thinking about Leon!

Shards of Hope by Nalini Singh

Shards of Hope by Nalini SinghShards of Hope by Nalini Singh
Series: Psy-Changeling #14
Published by Berkley on December 29, 2015
Pages: 500 pages
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Goodreads
five-stars

Awakening wounded in a darkened cell, their psychic abilities blocked, Aden and Zaira know they must escape. But when the lethal soldiers break free from their mysterious prison, they find themselves in a harsh, inhospitable landscape far from civilization. Their only hope for survival is to make it to the hidden home of a predatory changeling pack that doesn’t welcome outsiders.

And they must survive. A shadowy enemy has put a target on the back of the Arrow squad, an enemy that cannot be permitted to succeed in its deadly campaign. Aden will cross any line to keep his people safe for this new future, where even an assassin might have hope of a life beyond blood and death and pain. Zaira has no such hope. She knows she’s too damaged to return from the abyss. Her driving goal is to protect Aden, protect the only person who has ever come back for her no matter what.

This time, even Aden’s passionate determination may not be enough—because the emotionless chill of Silence existed for a reason. For the violent, and the insane, and the irreparably broken…like Zaira.

Just like with Shield of Winter I didn’t know what to expect with Shards of Hope. I also didn’t want to get my hopes up if it by chance ended up turning out like Heart of Obsidian. When I read the synopsis my eyebrows raised in wonder and a little bit of shock that Aiden and Zaira were the focal couple of Shards of Hope. My wonder and trust in Nalini Singh’s writing, and the fact that she hasn’t let me down and I didn’t think she would start with Aiden’s story, was enough for me to dive in.

Both Zaira and Aiden’s characters, story, and background pulled at my heart stings. From their childhoods, training situations, and struggles in trying to navigate through of this new area of life all Arrows are having to experience my emotions were totally invested. But since Zaira and Aden, along with Vasic, reside as the face, or head, of the Arrows, it was particularly tough to see them struggle and still have to put forth a strong front.

There was a time when reading in series installment order wasn’t a priority, but I have to say that in going in order with the Psy-Changeling series I am gaining so much more insight than I know I would’ve if I would’ve continued out of order starting with Kiss of Snow. If I had just jumped into Silver Silence when I received it I would’ve been completely lost, and would’ve either given up or missed the entirety of its story and what it contributed to the Psy-Changeling world.

With all that said I can’t wait to jump into Allegiance of Honor and see how Singh closes out this chapter of the Psy-Changeling series.

About Nalini Singh

I was born in Fiji and raised in New Zealand. I also spent three years living and working in Japan, during which time I took the chance to travel around Asia. I’m back in New Zealand now, but I’m always plotting new trips. If you’d like to see some of my travel snapshots, have a look at the Travel Diary page (updated frequently).

So far, I’ve worked as a lawyer, a librarian, a candy factory general hand, a bank temp and an English teacher and not necessarily in that order. Some might call that inconsistency but I call it grist for the writer’s mill.

I’ve been writing as long as I can remember and all of my stories always held a thread of romance (even when I was writing about a prince who could shoot lasers out of his eyes). I love creating unique characters, love giving them happy endings and I even love the voices in my head. There’s no other job I would rather be doing. In September 2002, when I got the call that Silhouette Desire wanted to buy my first book, Desert Warrior, it was a dream come true. I hope to continue living the dream until I keel over of old age on my keyboard.

Shield of Winter by Nalini Singh @NaliniSingh @BerkleyRomance

Shield of Winter by Nalini Singh @NaliniSingh @BerkleyRomanceShield of Winter by Nalini Singh
Series: Psy-Changeling #13
Published by Berkley on December 30, 2014
Pages: 442 pages
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Goodreads
five-stars

Assassin. Soldier. Arrow. That is who Vasic is, who he will always be. His soul drenched in blood, his conscience heavy with the weight of all he’s done, he exists in the shadows, far from the hope his people can almost touch—if only they do not first drown in the murderous insanity of a lethal contagion. To stop the wave of death, Vasic must complete the simplest and most difficult mission of his life.

For if the Psy race is to survive, the empaths must wake…

Having rebuilt her life after medical “treatment” that violated her mind and sought to stifle her abilities, Ivy should have run from the black-clad Arrow with eyes of winter frost. But Ivy Jane has never done what she should. Now, she'll fight for her people, and for this Arrow who stands as her living shield, yet believes he is beyond redemption. But as the world turns to screaming crimson, even Ivy’s fierce will may not be enough to save Vasic from the cold darkness…

Shield of Winter was everything I was looking for from the newer releases of Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling series. There’s so much yes that I want to shout at this story, but I’ll refrain and try to encompass my thoughts within the parameters of this review.

I’m not ashamed to admit that I was iffy about how Shield of Winter was going to be executed. It’s no secret that I’ve struggled with a few of the previous stories within this series by Singh, but I realized that I need to stop being such a worry wort because it sours the great relationship I have with Singh’s writing. Plus, I’m also finding out that my worrying is for naught because Shield of Winter turned out to be so freaking good!

Just like with the other characters in Shield of Winter, I had a hard time believing that Vasic would be able to grab on to the same happiness and life that Kaleb and Judd were able to find. The character development and story progression in which Nalini Singh implemented in both his character and relationship with Ivy, and this series with this installment was as perfect as I could’ve ever hoped to come from the continuation of the Psy-Changeling series.

I loved that with each installment in this series the character(s) featured are placed in a new and totally authentic light that either changes your perspective of them or makes you fall more in love with their story. This was definitely the case with Shield of Winter for Vasic and Aden, although Aden’s story hasn’t been told.

Other than the beautiful and one-of-a-kind romance between Vasic and Ivy, the Psy-Changeling world was again rocked. I found myself semi-permanently stuck to the end of my seat because I really didn’t think that things would work out for the better. Things would happen and my assumption and premonition device would malfunction because there is possibly no way that your mind would be able to come up with the things that Singh had in Shield of Winter. Just like the romance was one-of-a-kind, the story of Shield of Winter was so unique from the others in this series that nothing can prepare you for what’s to come.

Shield of Winter single handedly made me fall deeper love with this Psy-Changeling series, especially with all the issues I found with the last two full-length stories.

About Nalini Singh

I was born in Fiji and raised in New Zealand. I also spent three years living and working in Japan, during which time I took the chance to travel around Asia. I’m back in New Zealand now, but I’m always plotting new trips. If you’d like to see some of my travel snapshots, have a look at the Travel Diary page (updated frequently).

So far, I’ve worked as a lawyer, a librarian, a candy factory general hand, a bank temp and an English teacher and not necessarily in that order. Some might call that inconsistency but I call it grist for the writer’s mill.

I’ve been writing as long as I can remember and all of my stories always held a thread of romance (even when I was writing about a prince who could shoot lasers out of his eyes). I love creating unique characters, love giving them happy endings and I even love the voices in my head. There’s no other job I would rather be doing. In September 2002, when I got the call that Silhouette Desire wanted to buy my first book, Desert Warrior, it was a dream come true. I hope to continue living the dream until I keel over of old age on my keyboard.

Rock Chick Revolution by Kristen Ashley @KristenAshley68

Rock Chick Revolution by Kristen Ashley @KristenAshley68Rock Chick Revolution by Kristen Ashley
Series: Rock Chick #8
Published by Self Published on August 13, 2013
Pages: 530 pages
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Goodreads
five-stars

Ally Nightingale has secrets. Secrets she doesn't even share with the Rock Chicks. But two men know what she's up to. One has her back. The other has her heart, but he doesn't know it.

As Ally rewinds the last year of her life, she knows two things. One, she’s never going to get what every Rock Chick should have—her own Hot Bunch guy. And two, she’s a Nightingale through and through. She just isn’t sure what to do about that.

But as her secrets are revealed, the men in her life react. Darius Tucker, a lifelong friend, as usual takes her back. Ren Zano, the man she loves, isn’t quite so sure. The Rock Chicks, Hot Bunch and the entire gang at Fortnum’s weigh in, and a Rock Chick Revolution starts brewing.

It’s up to Ally to control it and prove what she knows down to her bones.

She’s a Rock Chick, she deserves her hot guy and she’s going to keep the one she wants…

Because she’s a Nightingale.

I was so ready to skip over Rock Chick Revolution because just from the little I’d read of its story at the end of Rock Chick Regret I was not feeling the shenanigans I thought were going to take place. Also, it was from that little that I read that I easily got a distaste for Ally’s character, maybe because I thought that she was going to play games with Ren, I’m not entirely sure why now that I think about it.

But color me shocked that I not only enjoyed Rock Chick Revolution but Ally might be my favorite Rock Chick! I seriously didn’t think that another heroine in the Rock Chick series would be able to top Jules and Sadie as my favorite but them and Ally are fighting for that number one position.

Just like what I seem to be doing for Nalini Singh and her stories, I need to go in to each Kristen Ashley story without any expectations or assumptions and just follow where the story leads. I thought that I would’ve already learned my lesson with the number of Ashley books I have under my name but I guess not.

Additionally, I didn’t expect Ren to grow on me as fast and as good as he did. I think my hesitancy towards his character had more to do with the fact that he wasn’t officially a member of the Hot Bunch so I was iffy about my likability of him. With the way Ashley delivered his storyline and background I’m kind of hoping that in the future she chooses to do a mafia series or something of the sort because Ren was so smooth and he seriously gave me heart eyes.

Rock Chick Revolution was so much more than just Ally and Ren’s story because we finally get closure to Darius’ story as well as what the after contains for a Rock Chick that has gotten her guy and the drama is over. So much was going on, but not in an overwhelming way, that you literally have to experience all that Rock Chick Revolution has to offer, it was the perfect finale.

There wasn’t one moment of Rock Chick Revolution that I would change because this was the greatest conclusion to the most unique and diverse romantic suspense, contemporary romance, and comedic romance series I’ve ever read!

With that being said, when are the L.A. stories coming out?!

About Kristen Ashley

Kristen Ashley was born in Gary, Indiana, USA. She nearly killed her mother and herself making it into the world, seeing as she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck (already attempting to accessorise and she hadn’t taken her first breath!).

Kristen grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana but has lived in Denver, Colorado and the West Country of England. Thus she has been blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her posse is loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write.

Kristen was raised in a house with a large and multi-generational family. They lived on a very small farm in a small town in the heartland and existed amongst the strains of Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon and Whitesnake (and the wardrobes that matched).

Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music, clothes and love was a good way to grow up.

And as she keeps growing up, it keeps getting better.