Tuesday, January 31, 2017

ARC Review: Falling for the Higlander by Lynsay Sands

Series:     Highlanders #4
Pub. Date:Jan. 31, 2017
Length:384 pages

I have a lot of fun with Lynsay Sands' historical romances. The characters are engaging and likable, and she throws in enough laugh-out-loud moments to keep me amused, without being over-the-top or trying too hard.  The Highlanders series has followed four friends, marriageable young ladies who are a bit unconventional and unique. While you can likely read these books out of order without much problem, you will have more fun following the characters from the first book, An English Bride in Scotland

Friday, January 27, 2017

Audiobook Review: Slightly Wicked by Mary Balogh

Series:     Bedwyn Saga #2
Pub. Date:Dec. 20, 2016
Publisher:Tantor Audio
Narrator:Rosalyn Landor
Length:11 hrs 28 min

Slightly Wicked is the second book in the Bedwyn Saga, and takes place not long after the end of Slightly Married as Rannulf Bedwyn is on the road to his grandmother's house when he comes upon a carriage accident and a beautiful maiden that he simply must "rescued." 

Judith Law is one of four daughters of a country vicar whose son is causing the family financial ruin. To lessen the financial burden of having so many mouths to feed, they send Judith to live with wealthier members of the family, where Judith will be an glorified servant and companion to her grandmother. And man, was her (extended) family absolutely horrid. Snobby and jealous and self-important and smarmy. With one look at Judith's gorgeous red hair and voluptuous build, her aunt orders her to wear dowdy hats and dresses, perpetuating the idea that Judith is offensive to the eye. I felt so bad for Judith. She had horrible self esteem but was a genuinely good person. The only bright spot in that viper's den was her grandmother, who was somewhat eccentric and needy, but treated Judith like a beloved member of the family.

Rannulf Bedwyn is a younger brother of the Duke of Bedwyn, a third son who shirked the duty to join the church as is expected of most third sons. As the selected heir of his grandmother, Rannulf's future is fairly secure but he has been drifting through life without applying himself to anything in particular. After spending a passionate night with a woman he thought to be an actress, he is surprised to find her installed next door to his elderly grandmother. But Judith is a good influence on Rannulf, he starts to take his responsibilities seriously, even if that means he must court her cousin instead of the woman he really wants. I think Rannulf went through a nice period of personal growth and I enjoyed seeing his character transition from bachelorhood to thinking of family and future.

While Judith and Rannulf were intimately acquainted early in the story... this was not an instalove situation. They do not fall back into one another's arms on their next meeting, and their interactions are much more distant and standoffish for the bulk of the book. I felt bad for Judith having to watch Rannulf court her cousin, then felt bad for Rannulf in turn when Judith kept him at arm's length. But all the strife was worth it by the time the HEA rolled around.

This plot had a lot of arcs and I enjoyed that aspect very much. The villains were cast well, ranging from slight villain to smarmy baddy whom you really wanted to see get his just desserts. The narrator also did a good job with the characterization and performance of this story. Each character had their own distinct voice and personality, and the cadence and inflections helped keep my attention and interest for the duration of the audiobook.

I voluntarily reviewed an advanced copy of this audiobook from the publisher, Tantor Audio.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

ARC Review: The Forests of Dru by Jeffe Kennedy

Series:     Sorcerous Moons #4
Pub. Date:Jan. 24, 2017
Length:180 pages

The Forests of Dru is the fourth installment of Jeffe Kennedy's Sorcerous Moons series, a fantasy romance saga involving two races - the magical Bara and the barbarian Destrye. You should start reading this series from the beginning, with Lonen's War, where the majority of the world-building occurs. The story follows the same arc in the following books, so I don't recommend that you skip any. This review may contain spoilers for earlier books in the series.

Guest Review by Julie: Spider Game by Christine Feehan

Series:     Ghostwalkers #12
Pub. Date:Jan. 26, 2016
Length:464 pages

I liked Cayenne. She's a quick learner, very open and honest with those around her, intelligent, and a strategic fighter. Having mixed DNA with an arachnid gives her very unusual abilities. My least favorite, and creepy, ability was crawling/hanging from the walls, but spinning silks with her hands turned out to be convenient and kind of cool! 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

ARC Review: The Devil's Daughter by Katee Robert

Series:     Hidden Sins #1
Pub. Date:Jan. 24, 2017
Length:316 pages

I have been wanting to try Katee Robert for a while now, and I'm so glad I finally got her on my calendar. I was in the mood for a good suspense read and this book really hit the spot. This one is more on the suspense end of the spectrum, but it has just enough romance to satisfy most romance fans.

Monday, January 23, 2017

ARC Review: His Undeniable Secret by Shayla Black

Pub. Date:Jan. 23, 2017
Length:45 pages

Man... how to review such a short story. Let's try this... smut smut smut smut smuuuutttty smut smut. My smutty friends will jump right on this little story. It's hard to call it a story because, let's face it, there just wasn't a lot of meat to grab on to. Well, there was. But it wasn't the meat of the story. This was a super quick read, only about 15 minutes, that is perfect if you are looking for some inspiration before hitting the sheets.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Culinary Cavewoman: Shrimp and Spaghetti Squash in Tomato Cream Sauce

Hey y'all!

Welcome to the introduction of Culinary Cavewoman: Bambi's Adventures in Paleo. Now I have no idea how this blog feature is gonna go for a couple of reasons.

  1. I'm not the best cook. I can do it, but I'm never gonna be Rachel Ray. 
  2. I'm a messy cook! My kitchen looks like a disaster zone when I'm in the midst of the culinary chaos.
  3. I'm not the best photographer. So when that is paired with my messy kitchen... just don't expect to be looking at masterpiece dining.

That being said... we are gonna have us an adventure. I am going to try to include one recipe per week on the blog. They may be recipes that I have tried from Pinterest, or something I cobbled together, or a regular ol' recipe that I have paleo-fied by substituting some ingredients. The recipes may be a great success or they may be a huge fail, but we will find out together.

This first recipe is a winner - one that I will be making again and again and again! So let's get started.

Friday, January 20, 2017

ARC Review: Surrender by Lisa Renee Jones

Series:     Careless Whispers #3
Pub. Date:Jan. 9, 2017
Publisher:Gallery Books
Length:320 pages

I really appreciate Lisa Renee Jones and the fact that she has put a series recap at the beginning of these books. It really helps job my memory about what happened in the earlier books as I can't include a lot of that info in a review because I try to avoid spoilers. So if you have not read the earlier books in this series, you may want to hold off on this review. It may contain spoilers for those earlier books... and you really need to read these in order anyway so you have the entire story arc.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Bambi Turns TWO! Let's Celebrate with a Giveaway!

Hey y'all!
I can't believe its been two years since I started this venture. You may have noticed that I have slowed down a bit lately... don't worry, I'm not going anywhere. I just got bogged down with the holidays and with an eye issue (still getting that needle every month, ugh). Things should be back up and running on a regular basis soon - with a few new additions!

First, I am adding a cooking feature to the blog. One of my new years resolutions is to go back on the Paleo diet and try to stick with it. I feel so much better when I am eating non-processed organic foods, but I tend to get lazy and get tired of cooking. So I am hoping to hold myself accountable this year!

One of the biggest obstacles to paleo for me is that you HAVE to cook all the time. And cooking for one person is hard! Especially when you aren't a huge fan of leftovers. They just never taste as good to me. So I will be trying a number of Paleo recipes this year and I hope to add one per week to the blog. They may be a big success or a total pinstrosity, and many will be recipes that are non-paleo that I have adapted with paleo ingredients. I should have my first success by this weekend... and it is super yummy. So stay tuned!

Second, my goal this year is to get crafty! I have been turned onto the world of paper planning and papercraft, so I hope to include some of that on the blog. I will likely throw up a Plan With Me feature on Sundays in combination with the Stacking the Shelves meme. Much like the cooking feature, this will be full of projects and fails with the planner and my newly purchased Silhouette! 

I also have a number of pieces of furniture that I bought for the purpose of refinishing, and they have been sitting here sad and ugly without being beautified. So my goal is to get started on that this year as well, and it's sure to make for some entertaining and profanity-laden blog posts!

So please let me express my gratitude for everyone that stops by my corner to read my nonsense! My book reviews will continue as I remain a reader at heart, and you will also be seeing some guest reviews from Julie as well! I will cut back on the books just a smidge so that I can complete all these projects and goals, but you will still see regular reviews from me and I hope to have them on a specific schedule soon.

So to express my appreciation for everyone who has stuck around, and all you new people dropping by Bambi's corner... LET'S HAVE A GIVEAWAY! I have to limit this giveaway to US residents due to the insane shipping costs out of the country. Enter via the Rafflecopter below, and tell your friends!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

ARC Review: Dirty Money by Jessica Clare

Series:     Roughneck Billionaires #1
Pub. Date:Jan. 17, 2017
Length:198 pages

I am totally excited about this new series from Jessica Clare. I don't read a ton of contemporary romance, but this one piqued my interest. Roughneck Billionaires, y'all! Not the polished hoity toity money bags born with silver spoons in their mouth... but good ol' country boys that work hard and play hard and aren't afraid to get down and dirty in the boardroom or the bedroom. Yes, please!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Audiobook Review: Skinwalker by Faith Hunter

Series:     Jane Yellowrock #1
Pub. Date:April 13, 2010
Narrator:Khristine Hvam
Length:14 hrs 34 min

I'm late to the game on this series and author. I was first introduced to Faith Hunter through her new Soulwood series, a spinoff of this one. I fell in love with the unique characters so hard that I knew I had to go back to the beginning and find out about Jane Yellowrock, and Faith Hunter's brand of supernatural.

I should mention that I didn't realize there were seven prequels to the series before I started listening to this audiobook. There were numerous references to past events so I thought I missed a book... which led me to investigate. Looks like I missed seven short stories. But it didn't kill enjoyment of this first full book, just made me feel like I was out of the loop sometimes.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Audiobook Review: How the Duke Was Won by Lenora Bell

Series:     Disgraceful Dukes #1
Pub. Date:December 20, 2016
Publisher:Tantor Audio
Narrator:Beverley A. Crick
Length:9 hrs 46 min

I've heard a lot of good things about Lenora Bell, so I knew I had to give her a shot. When it was time for my holiday road trip, I grabbed her debut novel - How the Duke was Won. I had not read the synopsis prior the listening, so I have to say that I was surprised (pleasantly so) and the circumstances surrounding our two main characters.

Monday, January 9, 2017

ARC Review: On Broken Wings by Chanel Cleeton

Series:     Wild Aces #3
Pub. Date:January 3, 2017
Publisher:Berkley Romance
Length:319 pages

WARNING! This review contains spoilers for the first book, Fly With Me. If you have yet to read Fly With Me, what's wrong with you? Go read it and come back to this review once you are done wiping your eyes from a soul-cleansing ugly cry that will result from that book. 

I have been itching to get my hands on this book from the minute Fly With Me ended. I knew it was going to be a tearjerker in the best possible way. On Broken Wings takes place approximately a year after the end of Fly With Me. The squadron is still flying, deploying overseas, and playing hard when they are stateside. The guys and their families are still dealing with their grief over the loss of their squadron leader, none more so than the hero and heroine of this book.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Audiobook Review: Turbo Twenty-Three by Janet Evanovich

Series:     Stephanie Plum #23
Pub. Date:Nov. 16, 2016
Publisher:Random House Audio
Narrator:Lorelei King
Length:6 hrs 16 min
Source:One Click Digital

Sigh, I don't know what happened with this book. I am usually such a sucker for Evanovich's slapstick comedy, and I have loved the Plum audiobooks from the beginning. But I felt pretty ambivalent about this one. I do think it started before I even got the book... and it had to do with the price tag. Seriously - $14.99 for a Kindle book and $18 for a paperback? The audio was only 6 hours so I know the book isn't that long. What is going on with this pricing? I didn't pay that for my holy grail Outlander books and they are like 1,000 pages! So I was happy to pick up this audio from my library an save myself some cash. But I was grumpy about the price and that may have bled over into my thoughts about the book.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

ARC Review: Rock Chick Reawakening by Kristen Ashley

Series:     Rock Chick #0.5
Pub. Date:Jan. 3, 2017
Publisher:Evil Eye Concepts
Length:120 pages

So I'm starting off the new year with an ugly cry... thanks so much Kristen Ashley! But hey, in like a lion and out like a lamb, right? This story has been so long awaited and anticipated, and I couldn't have been more excited when the book and characters were announced. I had to know the story behind the castle, the man who built in, and the woman who deserved it.

Monday, January 2, 2017

ARC Review: The Edge of the Blade by Jeffe Kennedy

Series:     Uncharted Realms #2
Pub. Date:Dec. 27, 2016
Length:400 pages

In this latest installment of the Twelve Kingdoms spinoff, we are off to the Uncharted Realm of Dasnaria, where men are self-important and women are seen and not heard. I was very much looking forward to this book to see how Jeffe's strong-willed heroines fared in such a misogynistic society. This book takes place somewhat contemporaneously with The Pages of the Mind, and I do not recommend reading any of these as a standalone. Read them in order to the full continuing story arc.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Bambi's Top Books of 2016

Hello readers!
I hope everyone is starting off to a good New Year. I am ready to rock 2017! There are some changes coming to the blog, so stay tuned for those. However, before we can officially say goodbye to 2016, I need to pick my top reads for the year.  As you can see from my Goodreads spread below, I had an exceptional reading year. 

Bambi's 2016 Reading Challenge / 295 of 250 books

I do hope 2017 is as bountiful... having a hard time picking favorites is a first world problem that I love to encounter. Because its so hard for me to pick, I list my picks a little differently. Instead of doing a countdown style list, I recognize why each book made it to the top of my pile. So take a gander below at my cream of the crop for 2016!