Friday, May 30, 2014

Cover Reveal: "Owning Violet" by Monica Murphy

We are so excited to share Monica Murphy's cover for her upcoming sexy contemporary romance, OWNING VIOLET, coming from Random House Bantam. Check out how gorgeous it is! Owning VioletTHICKER#413D29
  ABOUT OWNING VIOLET (NOT THE FINAL BLURB. BLURB WILL CHANGE): The Fowler sisters are New York City’s darlings, heiresses to the Fleur Cosmetics Empire. Quickly put up on a fame hungry pedestal only for the media to lie in wait, eager to tear them down, these three very different young women soon find love in the most unexpected places… OWNING VIOLET coming December 2. Violet Fowler is the good sister. She works hard at her family’s cosmetics company, is faithful to her boyfriend and never causes any trouble. Until Zachary disappoints her yet again with a promotion that will take him to London—and away from her. His leaving sets a new fire within her. What’s the point in being so good when no one else ever is? Someone within Fleur Cosmetics wants that London promotion and will do anything to get it, including throwing temptation in the path of the not-so-faithful Zachary. Ryder McKay came from nothing and has fought every step of the way to his position at Fleur. And now the mysterious charmer has set his sights on Violet. If it worked for Zachary, it could work for him. Seducing the good Fowler sister is easy. What Ryder doesn’t count on is how much Violet makes him feel. What started out as revenge soon becomes something deeper. Can Ryder go through with his plans to deceive Violet? Or is he only deceiving himself? Other books in series: STEALING ROSE coming spring 2015 TAMING LILY coming summer 2015 (tentative release dates)


ABOUT MONICA MURPHY: New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Monica Murphy is a native Californian who lives in the foothills below Yosemite. A wife and mother of three, she writes New Adult and contemporary romance for Bantam and Avon. She is the author of One Week Girlfriend and Second Chance Boyfriend. 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Review: "His To Possess" by Opal Carew

Jessica’s life was in ruins…until she met him. Standing in the rain feeling lost in a new city, with no job and no prospects, she’s about to give up. Until Dane Rainier pulls up in his limo and offers her a ride—and sweeps her into the life of her dreams. Now she has a high-powered job and is having the best sex of her life, exploring her submissive side under the masterful hand of a gorgeous billionaire. But there’s a part of her that’s still holding back. Because the truth is, she’s never gotten over her ex-boyfriend Storm. A heavily muscled, motorcycle-riding rock musician, Storm couldn’t be any more different from Dane… and she just can’t get him out of her head. Now Storm is about to reappear and turn her whole world upside down. Both Dane and Storm make her body burn to be possessed, but will her indecisive heart cost her the love of both men?

Thank you to Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for allowing me to read and review an ARC of this book.

I requested this title such a long time ago that when I finally started to read, I'd forgotten the synopsis and really didn't know what to expect.

Things started off well enough with Part I.  The pacing was good and kept me interested throughout Parts II and III.  Then some things started to bother me, like the repetitiveness of the writing.  I got tired of the word "masculine" - I get it, he's a man, he's so big and strong and "masculine"! - and of hearing about Jessica's nipples "peaking" all the time.  The other thing that bothered me was that never once did anyone mention protection.  It wouldn't have taken much to write in a condom here and there.

The characters were okay.  I didn't mind Jessica, but I would have liked maybe just a bit more back story from her.  Dane was good, I liked him, but Rafe/Storm was a total cliche - a wannabe badass, with a motorbike, leather jacket and tattoos.  Oh yeah, and a guitar!  I just wasn't buying it on him.

Then came the end.  It didn't exactly ruin the series for me, but it just didn't seem to fit.  I can't really say more without spoilers, but yeah, it just didn't seem realistic or believable.

My rating:  2.5 stars

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Review: "Fix You" by Christine Bell

Olivia Beckett’s once-charmed life is falling apart. Her family is about to lose everything, and she has almost no chance of continuing her college education. She can't even seek solace from her high school sweetheart. He's changed. She doesn't recognize the boy she used to know— his violent behavior is escalating and it scares the hell out of her. Her whole world is crumbling, and she has no one to turn to…… Sebastian “Bash” McDaniels is an up and comer in the boxing world working nights at the local college bar until he can land the fight of his dreams that will get him the hell out of Boston and away from his family's tragic past. He’s weeks from his goal when Olivia Beckett comes tumbling into his life in a flash of silky dark hair and haunted eyes. When he saves her from a potentially brutal beating, they begin to grow close, but Olivia's ex isn’t ready to let her go so easily. Bash can't bring himself to walk away, but fixing Olivia just might leave him broken…
We've all heard this story before, right?  Girl gets in trouble with big strong man, another big strong man steps in to save the day, and girl and man #2 fall in lust/love.  Sound familiar?  The funny thing is, I was reading "Easy" by Tammara Webber immediately before "Fix You", and I'm in the middle of another book for review with almost the same premise as we speak.  What keeps "Fix You" from becoming another walking, talking cliche is the solid writing and the characters.  I actually care about Sebastian and Olivia and what happens to them, and I'm interested enough to want to read book 2.  

Christine Bell does a fantastic job of building the tension between Olivia and Sebastian (I have to call him Sebastian, unfortunately I think "Bash" is just a ridiculous name!)  The chemistry between the two of them is palpable!  There's also some real suspense in the form of Olivia's boyfriend, who the reader can tell is a loose cannon.  And although there are some definite parallels with other books I've read recently, I can tell that "Fix You" is merely an introduction and that the story as a whole is headed in a completely different direction.  

This is my first book by this author, and I'm looking forward to reading more from her!

My rating: 3.5 stars

Friday, May 23, 2014

Review: "He's Come Undone" by Theresa Weir

Penniless and behind on rent, college student and once famous child actress Ellie Barlow takes on the role of a lifetime when she's hired by a group of young women to break the heart of the campus player who cruelly dumped them. Transformed from slob slacker to jaw-dropping beauty, Ellie is dressed, styled, bleached and waxed, her chunky glasses exchanged for violet contacts. Along with physical prepping, she's coached on Julian's obsessions, which include long-distance running, Doctor Who, and J.D. Salinger. In no time, Julian is in pursuit of his custom-made next victim, but when Ellie goes off script and begins to fall for her target the newest broken heart in this risky game could be her own. Heat: 7 out of 10

Thank you to Netgalley and Belfry Press for allowing me to read and review an ARC of this book.

Wow!  This book grabbed me right from the start, like an octopus with tentacles and suction cups - see, this is why I'm not a writer! - and didn't let me go until the very end.  Even now, days later, I"m still thinking about Ellie and Julian and their tragically sweet story.  My first Theresa Weir book, "He's Come Undone" will definitely not be my last!

Let's start with Ellie.  I really liked her!  She's dealing with some interesting baggage, what with being a child actress and then having her mother steal all her money.  She's really struggling financially, and this puts her in a precarious enough situation to take a job that she might otherwise have turned down.

Which brings us to Julian.  The guy sounds like such a dog!  You wonder how any girl could fall for his routine, but then you see him work his magic on Ellie, and yeah, it's totally believable.  He's got his own justifications for his actions, and when we get his back story, click!  Things start to slip into place, but they only get more complicated from here. 

With perfect pacing, an in-depth plot, and characters you'll feel an emotional connection to, "He's Come Undone" is a definite standout in the field of contemporary New Adult romance.

My rating:

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Release Day Blitz: "Deep Surrendering (Episode 3)" by Chelsea M. Cameron

Deep Surrendering (Episode 3) by Chelsea M. Cameron

May 2014



Marisol's days with Fin are dwindling and they still haven't discussed where they stand, and that's not the only thing Marisol doesn't know about him. They've continued to trade secrets for sex, but when Fin reveals one particularly traumatic secret, will Marisol be able to handle it? Or is it better call it quits before she falls even deeper?

Barnes & Noble:

Barnes & Noble:

Barnes & Noble:

Author Information

Chelsea M. Cameron is a YA/NA New York Times/USA Today Best Selling author from Maine. Lover of things random and ridiculous, Jane Austen/Charlotte and Emily Bronte Fangirl, red velvet cake enthusiast, obsessive tea drinker, vegetarian, former cheerleader and world's worst video gamer. When not writing, she enjoys watching infomercials, singing in the car and tweeting (this one time, she was tweeted by Neil Gaiman). She has a degree in journalism from the University of Maine, Orono that she promptly abandoned to write about the people in her own head. More often than not, these people turn out to be just as weird as she is.

Her New Adult Contemporary Romance titles include My Favorite Mistake, which has been bought by Harlequin along with a sequel, Deeper We Fall and Faster We Burn (April 20, 2013)

Her Young Adult books include Nocturnal, Nightmare and Neither, the first three books in The Noctalis Chronicles. The fourth and final book, Neverend will be out in 2013. Whisper, the first in The Whisper Trilogy is also available, with the second book in the series, Silence and the final book, LIsten coming out in 2014.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Review: "Sea of Shadows" by Kelley Armstrong

In the Forest of the Dead, where the empire’s worst criminals are exiled, twin sisters Moria and Ashyn are charged with a dangerous task. For they are the Keeper and the Seeker, and each year they must quiet the enraged souls of the damned.

Only this year, the souls will not be quieted.

Ambushed and separated by an ancient evil, the sisters’ journey to find each other sends them far from the only home they’ve ever known. Accompanied by a stubborn imperial guard and a dashing condemned thief, the girls cross a once-empty wasteland, now filled with reawakened monsters of legend, as they travel to warn the emperor. But a terrible secret awaits them at court—one that will alter the balance of their world forever.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for allowing me to read and review an ARC of this book.

What a thrill this was!  "Sea of Shadows" totally exceeded my expectations.  I'm not sure why, but I was anticipating something more middle-grade, but this definitely wasn't.  Lots of gore and non-stop action in a world that Armstrong creates meticulously.  I could clearly picture each character and every action taken as I raced through this book.

With an alternating point of view, we get to know Ashyn and Moria equally well, and I'd be hard pressed to pick a favourite of the two.  Ashyn is more shy than Moria, and she really doesn't have much in the way of self confidence, which is too bad because she's just as brave as her twin and extremely caring and loyal.  Moria is more outgoing.  She's also impulsive and brash, but this just makes her more endearing.

There was a bit of romance, but it was absolutely not the focus.  If Armstrong's intention was to make me fall for the "love interests", well, she did a fantastic job.  Once again, I'd have a hard time choosing between the two, but I think Ronan wins by a nose.  I just loved his wit!  Gavril was a lot more serious and stalwart.

The girls end up getting separated by circumstance and enduring different dangers as they travel across their kingdom to seek help.  We learn a lot about their myths, and it turns out that some of these myths are based firmly in reality, contributing to the danger and action.  

All in all, I would highly recommend "Sea of Shadows" to anyone looking for their next YA fantasy!

My rating:

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Review: "The Here and Now" by Ann Brashares

An unforgettable epic romantic thriller about a girl from the future who might be able to save the world . . . if she lets go of the one thing she’s found to hold on to. Follow the rules. Remember what happened. Never fall in love. This is the story of seventeen-year-old Prenna James, who immigrated to New York when she was twelve. Except Prenna didn’t come from a different country. She came from a different time—a future where a mosquito-borne illness has mutated into a pandemic, killing millions and leaving the world in ruins. Prenna and the others who escaped to the present day must follow a strict set of rules: never reveal where they’re from, never interfere with history, and never, ever be intimate with anyone outside their community. Prenna does as she’s told, believing she can help prevent the plague that will one day ravage the earth. But everything changes when Prenna falls for Ethan Jarves. From Ann Brashares, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, The Here and Now is thrilling, exhilarating, haunting, and heartbreaking—and a must-read novel of the year.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for allowing me to read and review an ARC of this book.

So, I liked this book okay, overall, but...

I really liked the middle - there was some action, some romance, the plot was really taking off, and then the end kind of fizzled out.

One weird thing I noticed - a lack of contractions.  I don't know about you, but when I read, I kind of speak the words in my head.  With fewer contractions, there was a lack of flow - everything seemed stilted.  At first I thought this was deliberate - since Prenna is from the future, it makes sense that she would speak differently.  But Ethan spoke that way too.  I don't know.  Like I said, weird.

How about the characters?  Again, they were okay.  Prenna had some feisty moments.  Ethan also had a few "wow" moments, but I definitely didn't fall in love with either of them.  I'm not sure if there will be a sequel, but if there was, I probably wouldn't read it, simply because I don't care enough about Prenna and Ethan.

My rating:

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

2014 "Real" Book Challenge - April Update

How many "Real" books did you read this month?  I'm talking books with actual covers, and pages, and that weird smell that only real books have?  
Real Book Challenge on Swoony Boys Podcast and Fiction Fare
I read three, and all three were FANTASTIC!  I'm so happy to be actually reading the pretty books I have on my shelf - ever since I got my Kobo almost two years ago, I've been pretty bad about neglecting my "real" books, so this challenge is exactly what I need!

Anyhoo, enough gabbing!  What "real" books did I read last month?

So, all in all, I'm quite pleased with myself!  Are you in on this challenge?  There's still time if you're not!  Just click the button in my sidebar to take you where you need to go!  

Review: "The Tryrant's Daughter" by J.C. Carleson

From a former CIA officer comes the riveting account of a royal Middle Eastern family exiled to the American suburbs. When her father is killed in a coup, 15-year-old Laila flees from the war-torn middle east to a life of exile and anonymity in the U.S. Gradually she adjusts to a new school, new friends, and a new culture, but while Laila sees opportunity in her new life, her mother is focused on the past. She’s conspiring with CIA operatives and rebel factions to regain the throne their family lost. Laila can’t bear to stand still as an international crisis takes shape around her, but how can one girl stop a conflict that spans generations? J.C. Carleson delivers a fascinating account of a girl—and a country—on the brink, and a rare glimpse at the personal side of international politics. *Bonus Backmatter includes a note about the author's CIA past, and a commentary by RAND researcher and president of ARCH International, Dr. Cheryl Benard. Recommendations for further reading are also included. From the Hardcover edition.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for allowing me to read and review an ARC of this book.

Leila has a heavy load to bear, and I fully admire the strength with which she fights her daily battles.  The relationship Leila has with her mother is very complex - we can see the love, but there's also a lot of animosity and misunderstanding.  It was nice to see Leila make some friends - I loved how she shocked them with one of her "barbaric" fairy tales from home, it was kind of funny/sad - and even a boyfriend, but through it all, I knew she was never going to fit in completely.  And I guess that's where Amir comes in.  Amir's character was really well done - I thoroughly  enjoyed watching his and Leila's relationship evolve from outright hostility to understanding and a friendship of sorts. 

Where this novel excels is in its subtle comparisons between life in the Middle East and America.  I loved the scene right at the beginning where Leila's little brother is having difficulty choosing what cereal he's going to eat, because in his former life, there weren't any options.  All of these comparisons were so beautifully written, it wasn't like the author was beating the reader over the head with them - I really appreciated that.

This whole book was a real surprise, including the ending - I wasn't expecting "The Tyrant's Daughter" to be as good as it was.

My rating:  3.5 stars

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Mini-Review: "Stoked" by Lark O'Neal

The second, compelling chapter in the Going the Distance series. A novella of 100 pages. He never believed in love at first sight until he fell…. At the beginning of the summer, former Olympic hopeful Tyler Smith was knocked off his feet by Jess Donovan. Smart, beautiful, courageous—and dirt poor—she awakened his desire to be someone better than he is. The two found a rare and rich connection, but in a moment of bad judgment, Tyler nearly broke it all to pieces, forcing Jess to make a decision that would take her far away from him—and maybe build a brilliant new life for herself. Now he has a second chance to win her love…. When Tyler is handed an unexpected opportunity to earn her respect, and maybe his own, he’s ready to give it everything he’s got. Can he shed his demons and become the man she deserves? More urgently, can he do it in time? Because there might be another guy who would like to be Jess’s one and only…and that guy hasn’t spent a life time sabotaging everything good in his life. This novella is the second episode in Jess and Tyler's story. Read about how they met in RANDOM.
I was pretty excited to read "Stoked", as "Random" was one of my Top Ten New Adult Contemporary Reads from one of my Top Ten Tuesday posts.  I really enjoyed getting a look inside Tyler's mind and getting his point of view of some of the events from "Random".  But "Stoked" also carries on the story of Tyler and Jess, even though Jess is now in New Zealand and their relationship is somewhat undefined.  In "Random", I was a little unsure as to Tyler's motivations as far as Jess was concerned - did he really love her, or was he just playing her.  Now, after reading "Stoked", I felt that Jess was being a bit hard on him, and not forgiving enough.  So now I'm conflicted.  But I am definitely "Stoked" to read "Epic"!

My rating:

Review: "Going Long" by Ginger Scott

They fell in love in high school and found their way back to one another despite the odds. But can first loves really be forever? For Reed Johnson, the dream was always football. But then Nolan Lennox took over his heart. Is he willing to give up his first love just to keep his true love? Or will he be too late? Reed and Nolan’s story continues in "Going Long," sequel to "Waiting on the Sidelines."

Thank you to Netgalley and Ginger Scott for allowing me to read and review an ARC of this book.

"Going Long" is a follow-up to Ginger Scott's "Waiting on the Sidelines", which was one of my top ten reads of 2013.  I fell in love with Nolan and Reed in the first book, so I was pretty excited to see that I would have more of them in "Going Long".

Did "Going Long" live up to my expectations?  Not exactly.  This time around, we get to hear Reed's point of view as well as Nolan's, and I'm not sure how I feel about that.  But mainly I was just irritated with both characters in that they didn't COMMUNICATE with each other!!!  None of their problems would have happened if they'd just talked to each other!  Then I guess there'd be no book, either.  So, it's a bit of a conundrum.

Anyway, I still like Nolan, I still like Reed, and their friends and family are all great (well, except Reed's mom and brother, but they're the ones you love to hate!) and I'm really happy with the way things wrapped up.  So definitely a worthwhile read if you're a fan of "Waiting on the Sidelines".  

My rating: 

Review: "Endless" by Amanda Gray

Jenny Kramer knows she isn't normal. After all, not everybody can see the past lives of people around them. When she befriends Ben Daulton, resident new boy, the pair stumble on an old music box with instructions for “mesmerization” and discover they may have more in common than they thought. Like a past life. Using the instructions in the music box, Ben and Jenny share a dream that transports them to Romanov Russia and leads them to believe they have been there together before. But they weren't alone. Nikolai, the mysterious young man Jenny has been seeing in her own dreams was there, too. When Nikolai appears next door, Jenny is forced to acknowledge that he has travelled through time and space to find her. Doing so means he has defied the laws of time, and the Order, an ominous organization tasked with keeping people in the correct time, is determined to send him back. While Ben, Jenny and Nikolai race against the clock - and the Order - Jenny and Nikolai discover a link that joins them in life - and beyond death.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for allowing me to read and review an ARC of this novel.

"Endless" started out strong - I was involved, enjoying both Jenny and Ben, liking the reincarnation piece.  But as the book progressed, I started to lose momentum, and I think the main reason was Nikolai.  There is nothing to dislike about him, but there's also nothing to draw me to him either.  He was a bit too perfect, the cookie cutter hero, and really lacked personality.  Usually, with love triangles, I'm rooting for the person the protagonist will ultimately end up with, but  in this case, I was really hoping Jenny would see the light and end up with Ben, the guy who actually has some depth and dimension.

If you're interested in Romanov, history, I don't think "Endless" will satisfy your curiosity.  This aspect of the story is not fleshed out in any great detail.  I also feel a bit disillusioned with the whole time travel thing.  Maybe it was all a bit much, you know - either stick with time travel, reincarnation, or freaky, seeing-into-the-past-through-physical-contact powers, but not all three.

So when all is said and done, "Endless" was just okay for me.  It definitely didn't leave a lasting impression.

My rating: 2.5 stars

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Review: "Easy" by Tammara Webber

Rescued by a stranger. Haunted by a secret Sometimes, love isn’t easy… He watched her, but never knew her. Until thanks to a chance encounter, he became her savior… The attraction between them was undeniable. Yet the past he’d worked so hard to overcome, and the future she’d put so much faith in, threatened to tear them apart. Only together could they fight the pain and guilt, face the truth—and find the unexpected power of love. A groundbreaking novel in the New Adult genre, Easy faces one girl's struggle to regain the trust she's lost, find the inner strength to fight back against an attacker, and accept the peace she finds in the arms of a secretive boy.

Although I've read this book before, I wanted to see if my opinion had changed in the last year and a half since I first read it.  For the most part, "Easy" is a really good read, but I'm not sure what exactly is keeping it from being a "great" read or a "fantastic" read for me.  Here's a couple things I did notice that maybe could have been done better:
  • Although Jacqueline is characterized as being this wonderful musician, we are hardly shown that at all.  I think she plays her bass twice in the whole book.  Give me a few more details, please!
  • Lucas is soooooooo good at everything!  He's good at economics, engineering, drawing, martial arts...He's a little too good to be true, so awesome I can't even believe it.  And if there is a guy like that in the world, what's he doing with Jacqueline when he could be with me?  (Husband, if you're reading this, I'm just kidding!)  But really, I could do with a few flaws, even one, just to make him more real.
  • I had a hard time believing the villain's motivation, especially at the end.  I don't want to give anything away, but something happens that seemed just way too far fetched.
So these are just a few of my nitpicky things, but "Easy" is definitely worth a read, especially if you're looking to read something from the New Adult genre.

My rating: 3.5 stars
I really need to get me a graphic with half stars!