Friday, July 11, 2014

Review: "Shredded" by Tracy Wolff

In this intense and exhilarating New Adult series debut, a hotshot snowboarder and a vulnerable rebel with a cause try to let go of the past—and find a future in each other. Twenty-one-year-old professional snowboarder Z Michaels is the bad boy of Park City, Utah. He’s always had his pick of any girl in town—and on the competition circuit. But underneath his cool exterior is a young man in turmoil, trying to take the edge off tragedy by overindulging in sex and shredding the slopes. In fact, Z’s reckless behavior is a thinly veiled attempt to blunt his emotional suffering with physical pain. Ophelia Richardson isn’t like any girl Z has ever met. Though she’s from New Orleans high society, she’s no Southern belle—and she’s not shy about being miserable in frozen, godforsaken Park City. But laying low is her only option after her ex, a rich boy who couldn’t take no for an answer, nearly killed her in a jealous rage. Following that terrifying encounter, the last thing Ophelia needs is a boyfriend—especially one as rich and arrogant as Z. But Ophelia soon discovers that he isn’t what he seems. If anything, Z may be even more damaged than she is. Tormented by their pasts and feeling alone in the world, Z and Ophelia find a connection unlike any they’ve ever known. But with Ophelia hiding the details of her life in Louisiana and Z’s death wish reaching terrifying new heights, their relationship seems to be going downhill before it even begins—unless they can find the strength in each other to trust, grow, and love again.
Thank you to Netgalley and Random House Publishing Group for allowing me to read and review an ARC of this book.

I quite enjoyed "Shredded"!  I liked all the characters, the steaminess, and the snowboarding.  One thing that was missing that I would have liked to see is an explanation for Z's name.  We get an explanation for Ophelia, but nothing on Z.  And I'm assuming with it being an American book by an American author that it's pronounced "Zee", but every now and then I'd find myself slip and call the guy "Zed".  Just a funny little aside!

Even though Z is a total dog, people can't help but like him.  He's got charisma out the ying yang!  Ophelia knows his reputation with women, and even though she has no reason to believe Z will be any different with her, she eventually succumbs to his charms.  Ophelia's no pushover, though - she fight Z pretty hard in the beginning, which is all part of the fun.  It's not just surface stuff with these two, though.  They're both dealing with some serious tragedies in their past, and this affects how they deal with each other.  

"Shredded" might sound like a "typical" New Adult romance, but I think what gives this book an edge in a genre flooded with mediocrity is the characters.  I was rooting for both Z and Ophelia the whole way through, and really hoped things would work out between them.  Being introduced to Z's friends added an interesting dynamic that I appreciated, too, and I can't wait to read more about them in future books.

My rating:  3.5 stars

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

"Real Book Challenge" Update - June 2014

I'm not sure where my head was at in May, but I forgot to do a "Real Book Challenge" post, so I'll just fill you in on those books here.  I managed to read two "real" books each month, and they were all great reads - totally recommended!  I am well within range of my goal of reading 24 "real" books this year, so I'm happy with my progress.

May's books:

And June's reads:
All awesome!!!!  If you're interested in reading any of these books, just click the picture to go to the Goodreads page!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Review: "Boys Like You" by Juliana Stone

One mistake. And everything changes. For Monroe Blackwell, one small mistake has torn her family apart –leaving her empty and broken. There’s a hole in her heart that nothing can fill. That no one can fill. And a summer in Louisiana with her Grandma isn’t going to change that… Nathan Everets knows heartache first-hand when a car accident leaves his best friend in a coma. And it’s his fault. He should be the one lying in the hospital. The one who will never play guitar again. He doesn’t deserve forgiveness, and a court-appointed job at the Blackwell B&B isn’t going to change that… Captivating and hopeful, this achingly poignant novel brings together two lost souls struggling with grief and guilt – looking for acceptance, so they can find forgiveness.

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

"Boys Like You" is very much the story of Nathan and Monroe, but lest you think this is a typical girl-meets-boy kind of story, let me assure you that it's not.  The story is told in dual POV, and I liked both main characters equally.  Monroe's depression and Nate's guilt are written such that it's easy to empathize with both of them, and while we know right off the bat what Nate's issues are, we are kept in the dark in regards to Monroe's much longer.  The mystery behind Monroe's tragedy and the chemistry between Monroe and Nathan is what kept me cruising right through this book. 

There are also some side relationships explored here as well - Monroe and her grandmother, Nate and his ex, and then the very complicated relationship between Nate and the family of Tyler, the best friend who Nate put in a coma.  (I have to admit I shed a tear or two at one intense scene between Monroe and Tyler's dad!)  These interactions add to the overall depth of the book.  

This is a good read, but I can't help feeling like I wanted more.  More of what, I'm not sure.  Some more elaboration on Nate's musical talent would have been nice.  Although we're told that music is important to him, and we're told that he can't/doesn't want to  play because of how he put Tyler in the hospital, we're not really shown how this is true.  It almost seemed like football was just as important to him as music.  I also would have appreciated an ending that wasn't quite so neat and tidy.  But still, "Boys Like You" is worth a go if you're looking for a romantic YA contemporary read.  Perfect for summer!

My rating: 3.5 stars

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Release Day Launch and Giveaway: "Harder" by Robin York

Harder RDL Banner

We are thrilled to bring you the Release Day Launch for Robin York's HARDER!! HARDER is a New Adult contemporary romance being published by Random House’s Bantam imprint and is the 2nd novel in Robin York’s Caroline & West Series. This book, y'all.

  Harder HARDERSynopsis: In Robin York’s provocative new novel, two young ex-lovers find themselves together again in the shadow of tragedy—and an intense, undeniable attraction.  Caroline still dreams about West. His warm skin, his taut muscles, his hand sliding down her stomach. Then she wakes up and she’s back to reality: West is gone. And before he left, he broke her heart. Then, out of the blue, West calls in crisis. A tragedy has hit his family—a family that’s already a fractured mess. Caroline knows what she has to do. Without discussion, without stopping to think, she’s on a plane, flying to his side to support him in any way he needs. They’re together again, but things are totally different. West looks edgy, angry at the world. Caroline doesn’t fit in. She should be back in Iowa, finalizing her civil suit against the ex-boyfriend who posted their explicit pictures on a revenge porn website. But here she is. Deeply into West, wrapped up in him, in love with him. Still. They fought the odds once. Losing each other was hard. But finding their way back to each other couldn’t be harder. 
  Harder Available now  

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Advance praise for HARDER: “Bursting with chemistry, emotion, and heart, Caroline and West’s story will take your breath away!”—Katy Evans, New York Times bestselling author of the REAL series “Robin York writes exceptionally real characters in achingly real situations. Harder had a hold on my heart and didn’t let go until the very end.”New York Times bestselling author Cora Carmack And don’t miss the first book in the Caroline & West Series….DEEPER!
Deeper Cover Advance praise for DEEPER: “The perfect new adult story . . . West will make you swoon!”New York Times bestselling author Monica Murphy “Beautifully written and full of swoony tender moments, toe-curling chemistry, and delicious, twisty angst . . . Stop whatever you’re doing and read this book.”—Christina Lauren, author of the Beautiful Bastard series   Harder Teaser 2 Excerpt: When West’s ringtone starts playing in my darkened bedroom, it slips into my subconscious, and I have one of those last-second-before-you-wake-up dreams that’s pure sensation—his skin warm against me everywhere, his weight and smell, the muscles in his thighs against the backs of mine, his hand sliding down my stomach. All of that, slow and melting and West, until the song finally manages to pierce through the haze of my sleep and pinch me awake. I fight my way from under the sheet, turned on and pissed off because I know how this goes. The rock in my stomach, the day ahead during which I’ll try and fail to shake that flood of sense-memory. I’m going to have to live through it, and then I’m going to lose it, every good memory I have of West, again, when what I want is to drop back into that dream and live there instead. It sucks. It sucks, and I’m so distracted by the suckage that I’m picking up the phone and swiping at the screen with my thumb before I completely register what’s going on. West’s ringtone. West is calling me. West is calling me at one a.m. when I haven’t heard from him in two and a half months. If he’s drunk-dialing me, I’m going to fly to Oregon and kick him in the nuts. That’s what I’m thinking when I put the phone to my ear—but it’s not how I feel. I wish it were. I wish I could say Hello?and hear West say Hey, and not feel . . . I don’t even know. Plugged in. Lit up. Juiced. I stand in my dark bedroom, aware in every centimeter of my skin that he’s breathing on the other end of the phone, somewhere on the far side of the country. I have too many memories that start this way. Too many conversations where I told myself I wouldn’t and then I did. I have this enormous burden of longing and pain, so heavy I can hear it in my voice when I snap, “What do you want?” “My dad’s dead.” My head clears in an instant, my attention sharpening to a point. “He got shot,” West says, “and it’s . . . it’s a fucking mess, Caro. I know this is—I shouldn’t ask you. I can’t ask you, but I just need to tell you because I can’t fucking—” A crackling whooshing noise interrupts him, the kind of interference that fills your whole head with white sound. I just stand there, waiting for his voice to come back. I’m pushing the phone so hard against my ear, my breath coming shallow and fast, aware with the kind of clarity I’ve only found in moments of crisis that it doesn’t even matter. Whatever he says next. It doesn’t matter. The thing I never understood before West was that there are some people who, when it comes to them, reason and logic are never going to be in charge. He left me. He hurt me. But I stand there in the dark, holding the phone, and I know that in a few hours I’ll be on a plane.   Harder Teaser 1   Author PhotoRobin York Bio: Robin York grew up at a college, went to college, signed on for some more college, and then married a university professor. She still isn’t sure why it didn’t occur to her to write New Adult sooner. Writing asRuthie Knox, she is a USA TODAY bestselling author of contemporary romance, including RITA-finalistsAbout Last Night and Room at the Inn. She moonlights as a mother, makes killer salted caramels, and sorts out thorny plot problems while running, hiking, or riding her bike.        

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