Book Review: Mistress of Rome by Kate Quinn

Mistress of RomeTitle: Mistress of Rome
Author: Kate Quinn
Publication Date: April 6th, 2010
Publisher: Berkley
Source: Bought
Format: Paperback
Pages: 472
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Historical Fiction


Thea is a slave girl from Judaea, passionate, musical, and guarded. Purchased as a toy for the spiteful heiress Lepida Pollia, Thea will become her mistress's rival for the love of Arius the Barbarian, Rome's newest and most savage gladiator. His love brings Thea the first happiness of her life - that is quickly ended when a jealous Lepida tears them apart. 

As Lepida goes on to wreak havoc in the life of a new husband and his family, Thea remakes herself as a polished singer for Rome's aristocrats. Unwittingly, she attracts another admirer in the charismatic Emperor of Rome. But Domitian's games have a darker side, and Thea finds herself fighting for both soul and sanity. Many have tried to destroy the Emperor: a vengeful gladiator, an upright senator, a tormented soldier, a Vestal Virgin. But in the end, the life of the brilliant and paranoid Domitian lies in the hands of one woman: the Emperor's mistress.

It has been awhile since I've read a historical fiction novel and even longer since I fell completely into a book, such as I did with Mistress of Rome. The cover and title make this book sound like a light, fluffy book filled and focused on a romance, but the truth is that it is so, so much more than that.

Throughout the book we follow multiple perspectives, which I felt gave a very rounded story. Quinn did a fantastic job of keeping the perspectives separated in a way that there was no confusion and it became very easy to fall into the story and know what is going on between characters and their own stories. I really enjoyed seeing all the different characters change and grow throughout the story. I was surprised to find that the story spans years throughout the characters lives, but that made the story seem real and the characters develop in a natural way.

I thoroughly enjoyed Kate Quinn's writing and story-telling. Her writing was fanastic; just the right amount of description to make the setting seem real without going overboard and adding too much descriptions to the story. The vividness of the setting and characters brought the story to life for me. There were some hard parts to read - the brutality in the arena that gladiators were put through, the harsh and terrible treatment of slaves, and the horrific treatment of some of the women by men in this book was hard to read, but I appreciated the way that Quinn handled it delicately and the way that she gave enough details to understand the seriousness of the situation without giving all the gory details.

I'll admit when I read the synopsis, I didn't know what could take up nearly 500 pages when the story sounded so simple. However, there is so much that happens and so many twists and turns that I couldn't stop reading. There is so much complexity that there's always something happening, but I want to emphasis that there isn't too much that I couldn't keep track or didn't remember something. It was just the right amount.

I absolutely loved this book. I couldn't stop thinking about it when I wasn't reading it. I didn't want to put it down. I immediately wanted more when I finished it. If you like historical fiction, or if you like stories with fantastically developed characters and a story with twists and turns, then this is the book for you.

I do want to warn about some triggers. This book is very hard to read at times. There is brutality in many forms throughout the book. Brutality within the arena of gladiator fights. Abuse, both physical and mental, between men and women. Adultery. Sexual Assault. A romance that begins between a 14/15 year old girl and a 25 year old man (I understand that this was normal for the times that this is set, but to some that may not matter).

Book Review: Down by Contact (The Barons #2) by Santino Hassell

Down by Contact (The Barons, #2)Title: Down By Contact
Series: The Barons #2
Publication Date: January 16, 2018
Publisher: InterMix/Berkley
Source: Netgalley/Publisher
Format: eARC
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Contemporary Romance/ MM (LGBTQ)


Two rival football players begin a game with higher stakes than the Super Bowl in this steamy romance from the author of Illegal Contact. 
Simeon Boudreaux, the New York Barons’ golden-armed quarterback, is blessed with irresistible New Orleans charm and a face to melt your mama’s heart. He’s universally adored by fans and the media. Coming out as gay in solidarity with his teammate hasn’t harmed his reputation in the least—except for some social media taunting from rival linebacker Adrián Bravo.
Though they were once teammates, Adrián views Simeon as a traitor and the number-one name on the New Jersey Predators’ shit list. When animosity between the two NFL players reaches a boiling point on the field, culminating in a dirty fist fight, they’re both benched for six games and sentenced to joint community service teaching sullen, Brooklyn teens how to play ball.
At first, they can barely stand to be in the same room, but running the camp forces them to shape up. With no choice but to work together, Simeon realizes Adrián is more than his alpha-jerk persona, and Adrián begins to question why he’s always had such strong feelings for the gorgeous QB.

Down by Contact can be read as a standalone, but I don't suggest it. There is a back-story that is pretty relevant in this book and you will read about it in book one, Illegal Contact. (Check out my review for Illegal Contact HERE) Down by Contact picks up right after Illegal Contact leaves off.  The Barons are about to start their season and they are determined to kick some ass.  The Baron's gorgeous quarterback, Simeon, has put his scandal behind him and is relieved that his teammates are supportive of him coming out as gay. He was so worried that his career would end after the scandal, but in the end, it all worked out.  Well, that is until their first game with Simeon's former team, The New Jersey Predators. The name is also pretty on point too. They are all a bunch of assholes. They are bitter that Simeon was traded to the Barons. But no one is more bitter and pissed then Puerto Rican native, Adrian Bravo. They used to be tight when they were on the same team, but after Simeon left, Adrian has been turning to social media to criticize Simone and especially now that Simeon has come out.

After an incident on the gridiron, they are suspended and forced to work together in a after-school children's' program. Some of the scenes here are pretty funny.  Kids are kids and they don't hold back. LOL  This is when both Adrian and Simeon find out what really happened after Simeon left and the reason why Adrian hated him for leaving. 

I love everything about this series. I love the romance and I adore the characters. Santino's writing is pretty darn fantastic and i love how he brings life to his characters. I became a fan of his after reading Illegal Contact, but now I am an even bigger fan of his and he has become an insta-buyer when it comes to his books.  I want more because I just can't get enough! 

I found this picture on Pinterest and he reminded me of Adrian. I mean, look at him!! I am having a hard time picturing Simeon though.  I searched everywhere on online for someone that looked like him, but nothing. But lets take a moment and just admire Adrian. LOL

 Hop in the whip grab my keys then I'm outtie ✌️⚡️

Now, please go and add The Barons to your Goodreads, or better yet, go and buy the first book and/or both!!! 

Waiting on Wednesday: Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orïsha #1) by Tomi Adeyemi

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases that we are eagerly anticipating.
This week pick is:

 Children of Blood and Bone

Children of Blood and Bone 

Author: Tomi Adeyemi
Publisher: Henry Holt Books for Young Readers
Expected Release: March 6th 2018

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now, Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers—and her growing feelings for the enemy.

Top Ten Tuesday: Our Bookish Resolutions & Goals

* Top Ten Tuesdays (TTT) is a weekly event hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. * * This week's TTT is:  Bookish Resolutions/Goals. One of the best things about the new year is setting up new resolutions and of course, being book people, we set some bookish resolutions. Here are some of our

Bookish Resolutions & Goals 

Complete our Goodreads goal of reading 50 books this year. - Ana, Ilena & Katie

Be less committed to finishing books we aren't into, and be more comfortable dbf'ing books. Consequently, spend more time reading books we really want to. - Ana & Katie

Read more of a variety of different genres, other than fantasy. - Doris

Read at least 2 classics. - Ilena   &  Read at least 6 classics. - Katie

Read an older series, such as Alexandra Bracken's The Darkest Minds trilogy. - Ilena

Read a nonfiction book. - Ilena

Finish books from my 2017 tbr pile, such as Forest of a Thousand Lanterns and A Poison Dark & Drowning. - Doris

Finish at least 3 series. - Katie

Discover a new favorite author. - Katie

Make reading a bigger priority. (Ideally, get into a reading routine) - Katie

What are some of your bookish resolutions?    Do you have any resolutions similar or the same as ours? 

Book Review: Illegal Contact (The Barons #1) by Santino Hassell

Illegal Contact (The Barons, #1)Title: Ilegal Contact
Series: The Barons
Author: Santino Hassell
Publication Date: August 15, 2017
Publisher: InterMix/Berkley
Pages: 251
Source: Bought
Format: Paperback
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Contemporary Romance/ MM/LGBTQ


The rules of the game don’t apply off the field in this first Barons novel. 
New York Barons tight end Gavin Brawley is suspended from the team and on house arrest after a video of him brawling goes viral. Gavin already has a reputation as a jerk with a temper on and off the field—which doesn’t help him once he finds himself on the wrong side of the law. And while he’s been successful professionally, he’s never been lucky when it comes to love.
Noah Monroe is a recent college grad looking for a job—any job—to pay off his mounting student debt. Working as Gavin’s personal assistant/babysitter seems like easy money. But Noah isn’t prepared for the electrifying tension between him and the football player. He’s not sure if he’d rather argue with Gavin or tackle him to the floor. But both men know the score, and neither is sure what will happen once Gavin's timeout is over.

When I first heard about this series and the author, I honestly didn't know what to expect other than that it was reeeeeeally good. I had been putting it off for a while, but decided that I needed to just read it, especially since the second book comes out January 16, 2018.  

I was able to meet Santino at Shameless Book Con last October in Orlando and he was so much fun! The event was awesome and it also let us mingle and drink with our favorite authors. At first I had no idea who he was since he doesn't show his face on social media.  I wish I had taken a pic with him, but I was too shy to ask. Now on to the book!

I loooooooooved Illegal Contact! I loved everything about it too, especially the characters, at least the two main ones, Noah and Gavin. Noah is this sweet guy who is trying to get past his previous mistake that almost cost him his career. He wants to work with LGBTQ teens and because of one mistake, that was almost taken away from him. He is now looking for a new job and he has no idea what is in store for him.

Gavin is a football player and is known to be an asshole on and off the gridiron. Also known as a player when it comes to love. But after he is put on house arrest for beating the crap out of a guy (I won't say why he did, but you will find out), he is being pushed by his manager and agent to hire a personal assistant. Not used to having to count on anyone, nonetheless trust anyone with his personal affairs and personal space he soon realizes that he has no choice and agrees.

I absolutely love the chemistry between Noah and Gavin. No insta-love here either. Oh, and don't get me started on the hot and steamy sexy scenes.  Like WOW!


I just can't get enough of these two! I want more! Now, if you like reading a great love story, a realistic love story, then you have to read Illegal Contact. It's perfect!

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading is a weekly meme hosted by
Book Journey * *
Here is what we Finished, Currently Reading, and what is
Next In line. How about you? These were some fantastic reads and we are so excited to share what we think with you! So make sure you keep your eyes out for our reviews!
Busted Illegal Contact (The Barons, #1) Down by Contact (The Barons, #2) 
Sea Witch Far from the Tree
Shadowsong (Wintersong, #2) This Is Not A Love Letter Daughters of Rome (The Empress of Rome, #2) Ryan's Bed

Blood and Sand My Enemy Next DoorBroken Beautiful Hearts

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews.
We love getting new books and seriously can't wait to dive into them.
How about you? What new books did you get?

Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe The Bird and the Blade The Other Side of Lost Sea WitchShadowsong (Wintersong, #2)
Blood and Sand  As Bright as Heaven  Pachinko
My Enemy Next Door

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