August 30, 2013


Holy smokes - I am so excited to be a part of the Taming Cross blog tour, sponsored by Inkslinger PR. Ever since I was a part of the Selling Scarlett (Love, Inc. #1) blog tour (you can read my review here), I've been DYING to read the follow up, and I can tell you that I was not disappointed. So, read on for my review, check out the guest post from Ella James where she shares Ten Things You Didn't Know About The Love, Inc. Series, then enter to win signed copies of the Love, Inc. books or an iPad Mini!

Taming Cross (Love, Inc. #2), by Ella James
Published August 20, 2013
Publisher:  Barkley's Books
Format: e-book, provided by the author and Inkslinger PR in exchange for an honest review
Genre:  new adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Rating:  4 STARS

(From Goodreads) For twenty-three years, Cross Carlson was a playboy. You know the type. Tall, dark, and wealthy. Blue-eyed. Charming. He seemed to have it all so easy. But Cross was harboring a terrible secret - one that helped ruin the life of an innocent girl and almost ended his own.

Finally out of the hospital, Cross is flailing, scarred in both body and mind and stifled by the weight of the secret he still keeps. The only way to absolution lies in a Mexican convent, and going there could cost him everything.

If there's anyone who knows what it's like to screw up big time, it's Meredith Kinsey. Just a few years ago, Merri was an ordinary girl with a job at her college newspaper and white picket fence kind of dreams. Now she's holed up in a Mexican convent, hiding from a drug lord who thinks he owns her.

What happens when the only way out of hell is with the son of the man who put you there? They say love conquers all, but does it really?

Taming Cross was such a fracking exciting book! It was stressful and frustrating and scary and sweet - you will experience the whole range of emotions with this one. 

When we last saw Cross at the end of Selling Scarlett, he wasn't in a good place. He had been injured pretty badly in a motorcycle accident, then almost sold to a nasty Mexican drug cartel along with his BFF Lizzy. As he's recouperating, his thoughts turn to Merri, the mistress his father had taken then had sold to the same group of people. And, Cross decides he's had it with his awful father and goes down there to rescue her. When he finds her, they start running for their lives and almost lose them time and time again before it's all over. 

Cross is such an amazing character. The guy is so damaged, both physically and emotionally, it's a wonder he hasn't gone blooming crazy. His parents - especially his father - are the worst sort. His job that he loves requires him to work with his hands, and now he's lost the use of one of them. The girl he liked is engaged to someone else. And guilt is eating him alive. Yet, he digs deep and does what everyone would consider impossible - he heads into the bowels of the Mexican drug cartel to find the girl that he feels like he abandoned down there. 

Cross was the source of most of my angst. He truly is a good guy and he has put so much pressure and blame on himself, and it's not right. He feels unlovable and not useful. It breaks my heart. 

Meredith Kinsey was also done well. She was sold to the head of a nasty cartel and passed off as his girlfriend even though he was gay. Eventually, she escaped to a convent, but things are about to go south in a bad way when Cross shows up, pretending to be "Evan," a bounty hunter working with the US government. Of course she isn't going to trust him, but she still escapes with him because he's the lesser of two evils. 

Merri is such a strong woman. She has endured the absolute worst things, and all because she was just a victim of circumstance. Then, she's being shot at by the people who want to take her back. And then she's with the son of her worst enemy. She has every reason to break, but she doesn't. In fact, as it turns out, She and Cross are the medicine that each of them need. 

Taming Cross is told in dual POV. Have I mentioned how much I love dual POV stories? I love that we get both sides of the story from the people living them. And, in this case, getting inside Cross' head was so valuable to my understanding of the story. 

We get to see little glimpses of Lizzie and Hunter - the characters from Selling Scarlett. That's always nice. We also see a few other characters from the first book - Suri and Marchant. I think my only complaint about Taming Cross was the ending. I feel like there were still a bunch of loose ends that didn't get tied up. But, I trust Ella James to bring those stories to a satisfying close in the final Love Inc. book, Unmaking Marchant. 

Guest Post by Ella James

Ten Things You Didn't Know About The Love Inc. Trilogy

1. I got the idea for Selling Scarlett, book one (about a girl who sells her virginity at a brothel) about eight years ago, when I desperately wanted to quit my 'day job' and just write. I was constantly trying to think of ways to make lots of money fast, and this was one of them. For about half a second.

2. The locations mentioned in the books are places that I've visited. Hunter and Marchant went to college in New Orleans because my sister lived there when I was writing Selling Scarlett, and Hunter had a place in Napa Valley because I went there on a road trip in college. 

3. Priscilla Heat and Jim Gunn are based on real people that I know. Especially Priscilla. I'll never say who (and for legal purposes, I should probably say she's not a carbon copy of someone I know; she's just a loose sketch).

4. I didn't know Hunter's story or Merri's story until I finished their books. Usually when a character has a secret, they keep it from me, too, until just the right time. ;) This makes for a lot of revising to make the front of the book match the end. 

5. Sometimes people get upset that Love Inc. is such a 'fun' seeming place, but I wouldn't want to spend my time writing about a really unpleasant brothel. It would be too depressing!

6. I know very little about real Mexican cartels, but I'm slightly afraid they will find my portrayal of cartels to be unsatisfactory and try to look me up to show me how it's really done. o.O  

7. I really don't feel like Hunter and Lizzy's story is finished, but I'm not sure where to put it. It didn't fit into Taming Cross and I don't want to derail the story in Unmaking Marchant... 

8. Taming Cross and Unmaking Marchant (book 3) will overlap a little. Something big that happened in TC is not what it appeared to be - but you won't know what until Unmaking Marchant. 

9. When I started Selling Scarlett, Suri's life situation seemed really ideal to me. She had everything Elizabeth didn't (great fiance, supportive family, lots of money, great job). I'm really surprised how quickly things went to crap for Suri. When Unmaking Marchant starts, she's really a mess.

10. Marchant has a huge secret that even Hunter doesn't know, and they were college roomies. It's going to be a big part of his book.

About the Author

I'm a Denver, Colorado author who writes teen and adult romance. I am happily married to a man who knows how to wield a red pen, and together we are raising a feisty two-year-old who will probably grow up believing everyone's parents go to war over the placement of a comma. My books have been listed on numerous Amazon bestseller lists, including the Amazon Top 100 and the Amazon Movers & Shakers List; two were listed among Amazon's Top 100 Young Adult Ebooks of 2012. To find out more about my projects and win prizes and swag, find me on Facebook. Questions or comments? Tweet me or e-mail me at

Learn more about Ella James --> Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads


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August 29, 2013

REVIEW: Enchanted (The Woodcutter Sisters #1)

Enchanted (The Woodcutter Sisters #1), by Alethea Kontis
Published May 8, 2012
Publisher:  Harcourt Children's Books
Format: audiobook, downloaded for free from Audiobook Synch
Genre:  young adult fantasy, fairytale
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Rating:  3.5 STARS

(From Goodreads) It isn't easy being the rather overlooked and unhappy youngest sibling to sisters named for the other six days of the week. Sunday’s only comfort is writing stories, although what she writes has a terrible tendency to come true.

When Sunday meets an enchanted frog who asks about her stories, the two become friends. Soon that friendship deepens into something magical. One night Sunday kisses her frog goodbye and leaves, not realizing that her love has transformed him back into Rumbold, the crown prince of Arilland—and a man Sunday’s family despises.

The prince returns to his castle, intent on making Sunday fall in love with him as the man he is, not the frog he was. But Sunday is not so easy to woo. How can she feel such a strange, strong attraction for this prince she barely knows? And what twisted secrets lie hidden in his past - and hers?

I would like to first thank Audiobook Synch, a service that offers free downloads of YA and classic books every summer, for just existing. How cool is it that these organization and publishers get together to do this for readers? Through their efforts, I downloaded five books this summer - Enchanted was one of them. 

Enchanted was my first fairytale retelling. I've been meaning to read one for quite some time now. With a 7-year-old daughter in my house, I have been exposed to tons of fairytales and princesses for the past five years or so, so I'm pretty familiar with the main ones now. I have several of these types of books on my TBR, and, although I did have some problems with Enchanted, it has by no means turned me off to the genre as a whole. 

In Enchanted, Sunday Woodcutter meets a frog at a pond where she likes to go to write stories. She and the frog develop a warm friendship, and one day as Sunday hurries off, she kisses the frog, tells him she loves him and doesn't look back. If she had, she might've seen him turn back into Prince Rumbold, a man whom Sunday's father hates. When Rumbold makes his way back to the castle, his only thought is how to get Sunday to love him as a man now too. So, he designs to hold three balls and invite all eligible maidens in the kingdom to be in attendance. This gives him three chances to win her heart. But, other schemes are afoot that threaten Sunday's life and Rumbold's as well. 

Enchanted started out slowly. There was a lot of back story to wade through and a lot of family members to be introduced to. Although it's a fairytale, the relationship between Sunday and Grumble, the frog, is a little hard to wrap my brain around, so it was hard to get into the story when Sunday is talking about loving this frog. 

However, once Grumble turns into Rumbold, the pace picks up very quickly and I was sucked into the story. I was curious as to what Rumbold's plan was to woo Sunday and whether it would work. There were some scenes between Rumbold and a ghostly shadow and then between Rumbold and his father, the king, that were a little confusing. Perhaps if I had the hard copy book to re-read those sections, it would've been better. But, just listening to them caused me to be a little lost at times. 

There were a few other head-scratchers. Like, why was the shadow ghost telling Rumbold to "kill me?" And, such a big deal was made of Sunday's stories coming true in the beginning. I thought that might be a main part of the story. But, after a brief mention here and there, it was never brought up or explored again. 

Despite that, I really loved Sunday and Rumbold both. They were interesting characters, both with a lot to accomplish. Rumbold had to regain his memories from before he was a frog, overcome preconceived notions on behalf of Sunday's father, and win her heart for the second time. Sunday had to get over the fact that her friend Grumble was gone, her family was a little nuts and holding her back from fulfilling any good dream she could have, and she has this magic that is a little scary and a little wonderful all at the same time that she has to learn to use. 

Sunday and Rumble work well both separately and together. The scenes with them together at the balls warmed my heart and were definitely my favorite parts of the whole book. Enchanted is told in dual POV, so we get both Rumbold's and Sunday's thoughts on the situations in which they find themselves. In this book, the dual POV was absolutely necessary and worked perfectly. 

We see elements from many different fairy tales in Enchanted - The Princess and the Frog, Cinderella, Snow White, The Old Woman In The Shoe, Rapunzel, Rumplestiltzkin, Jack and the Beanstalk - it was a veritable Grimm smorgasboard. But, there was an unexpected dark element to it too, which I loved. 

All in all, Enchanted was a unique experience for someone who had never read a fairy tale retelling before. Although some things worked and some things different, I liked it more than not. 

August 28, 2013

SERIES REVIEW: Sinners On Tour

I read all five Sinners on Tour books in the month of August, almost back-to-back-to-back. When I sat down to think about my thoughts on these books enough to write a review for each of them, I realized that each review would sound strangely similar - just the names would change. So, I thought I'd do a review for the series as a whole this time around.

Sinners On Tour series, by Olivia Cunning
Published October 1, 2010, April 1, 2011, February 5, 2013, August 6, 2013, November 6, 2012
Publisher:  Sourcebooks Casablanca
Format: e-copy, gifted (Wicked Beat - e-ARC obtained from NetGalley)
Genre:  adult contemporary romance/erotica

Series Rating:  4 STARS

The Sinners on Tour series follows the rock band Sinners as they... go on tour. I know - crazy, right? These five guys are your typical heavy metal rock band members - gorgeous, wild, slutty, talented. Yet, while they all might look the same on the outside, they are all very different. And, as each one finds love in each book and we look at each guy both directly and on the periphery, we realize that there's so much more to each of them than what meets the eye.
Sed Lionheart, "The Leader" - lead singer (Rock Hard, Book 2)
Brian Sinclair, "The Lover" - lead guitar (Backstage Pass, Book 1)
Trey Mills, "The Player" - rhythm guitar (Double Time, Book 5)
Jace Seymour, 'The Brooder" - bass guitar, piano (Hot Ticket, Book 3)
Eric Sticks, "The Joker" - drums, vocals (Wicked Beat, Book 4)
Out of all the "bad boys" that authors write about, rock stars are my absolute favorites. Reading about guys getting serious about music and living that sort of life is fascinating to me. So, right away, the Sinners on Tour series had a lot going for it. 

Each book focuses on a different band member. We see into his past and lean about what got him to where he is today. Some band members had crappy lives with terrible or non-existent families. Others had great lives with supportive loving families. It was nice to see that not every bad boy needs to come from a broken home.

In each book, a band member finds love while on tour. The types of women and the manner in which they meet them are all different. One is a college professor. Another is a law student. A stripper. A sound tech. A guitarist. One thing is consistent - their love affairs never go smoothly. But, would you really expect them to? Each relationship is seen as temporary at first, because really - how permanent can anything be when you're screwing a band member on tour? But, eventually the guy and the girl realize that love is more important than logistics and they find a way to make it work.

My favorite Sinners book was book #3 - Hot Ticket. This was Jace's story. He's the quiet, brooding bassist, and also the newest member of the group. He had a horrid past and has some demons he just can't let go of, not to mention a healthy dose of self-loathing. His story and how he meets and falls in love with Aggie seemed the sweetest to me. Jace comes a long way from cover to cover.

My least favorite Sinners book was book #5 - Double Time. This was Trey's story and the one I had looked forward to the most. Perhaps my expectations were too high. He's carried a torch for Brian for years and has turned into the biggest man whore of them all as a way to combat the unrequited love. I so wanted to see Trey find the love of his life to make his heart feel better. But, I couldn't connect with the story or the characters, and I wasn't a fan of the open relationship he ends up in. Those aren't my thing - it feels too much like cheating and I can't wrap my brain around how anyone would be okay with that.

In each book, you get a very healthy dose of sex. It seemed like there was more sex than story in the last two books (Wicked Beat and Double Time), which was disappointing. Cunning sure knows how to write sex, though. Most of it is super hot. And, the love stories are really sweet too. These rough, scary rockers bare their feelings in believable ways, and it made me fall in love a little bit with each one of them.

There aren't a ton of side characters. There's a few recurring roadies, but we never learn too much about any of them except their soundboard operator, Dave. There's Jon Mallory, their former bass player whom they kicked to the curb because he was doing drugs and unwilling/unable to quit (LOVED that). And then there was Dare. *sigh* Dare Mills is Trey Mills' older brother and the lead guitarist for Exodus End, another metal band (I get the impression that Exodus End is more popular or at least more well known than Sinners). I HEART this guy. I sincerely hope that Cunning's next series is about Exodus End, because I need to read more about Dare Mills.

If you are in the mood for something sexy and sweet and full of awesome rock band action, put on some Ozzy, settle in your favorite chair and give Sinners on Tour a try.

August 27, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This is one meme I can get on board with - I LOVE lists! I'll show you mine if you show me yours!

Top Ten Best Secondary Characters

1. Vlad Tepesh - The Night Huntress Series by Jeaniene Frost
I know I'm cheating a bit with this one. Vlad does end up starring in his own series. But when we first met Vlad, he was playing second fiddle to Cat and Bones in At Grave's End. When he was there, though, Vlad was larger than life. He's handsome, scary, witty, and absolutely hysterical. He protects his friends with incredible fierceness and destroys his enemies mercilessly. Vlad is one of my most favorite vampir
es ever.

2. Roar - The Under the Never Sky Series by Veronica Rossi 
Roar is Perry's best friend, and then he becomes Aria's best friend too, especially after he learns that Aria's abilities mirror his own. Roar is a stand-up guy. He'd do anything for Perry and Aria. And, he's got personality. Where Perry is serious and brooding, Roar is fun and goofy sometimes. I'd love a BFF like him.

3. Cookie Kowalski - The Charley Davidson Series by Darynda Jones
Cookie is Charley Davidson's neighbor, best friend and employee. Charley would be a hard woman to befriend - she's crass, snarky, has a dangerous job, and - oh yeah. She's the grim reaper. But, Cookie takes it all in stride. She answers Charley's wisecracks with ones of her own. She loves oogling hot guys. And she loves her 12-year-old daughter. Cookie is a piece of work. 

4. Ben - The Mercy Thompson Series by Patricia Briggs
Ben had a rocky start in Adam's pack. But, he proved himself when Mercy was horribly attacked and emotionally shattered. Ben also had a tough life, so he was a friend for Mercy to lean on that could understand where she was coming from. And, he helped Adam help her too. Did I mention that he's got a British accent and he turns into a gorgeous red-haired wolf? Yeah - Ben rocks. 

5. Fred and George Weasley - The Harry Potter Series by J. K. Rowlings
It was easy to think that the Weasley twins were nothing more than shallow jokesters. I mean, they quit school early to open a joke shop, for crying out loud. Yet, when stuff got hairy, they willingly stepped up to help their friends and fight the bad guys. It's obvious they love their whole family, and they care fiercely for their friends. Even if they subject them to vomit-flavored jelly beans. 

6. Daphne - The Mythos Academy Series by Jennifer Estep
It was easy to think in the first book of the series that Daphne was going to be the token mean girl. She was popular, powerful and beautiful. But, then Gwen discovers she also likes computers and a "band geek" and realizes there's more to this Valkyrie warrior who shoots pink sparks out of her fingers then what meets the eye. By the end of the book, Daphne and Gwen have forged a great friendship and I loved her all the more for it.

7. Luc - The Chicagoland Vampires Series by Chloe Neill
Luc is the captain of the guard at Cadogan House, and sorta, kinda, Merit's boss. Luc is a  vampire created in the Civil War era, and a Texan to boot, so his stupid jokes, laid back attitude and his accent might make you think he's not serious about his job. You would be wrong. Luc is a great strategist and manages his guards efficiently and effectively. And, the way he loves Lindsey is so freaking adorable - this guy is awesome. 

8. Grim - The Iron Fey Series by Julie Kagawa
Grim is a cat. He looks out for numero uno, he runs whenever the shit hits the fan, and he never turns down a chance to make a good deal. Yet, as the Iron Fey series progresses, you start to think that perhaps he actually gives a crap about Meghan, Ash and Puck. 

9. Eddie Cahill - The Vampire Academy Series/The Bloodlines Series by Richelle Mead
Eddie first appears in the Vampire Academy series. He was Mason's best friend, and the one that ended up the worst off when Rose and her friends were captured by Strigoi in Frost Burned. When the Bloodlines series continues, Eddie is selected to protect Jill as she goes across the country to California. Eddie is noble to a fault. He cares deeply for Jill, yet pushes his feelings aside time and time again so that he can continue to
protect her the way he needs to. I'd love to tell Eddie to just screw the job for ONCE and make a move on the girl he likes!

10. Simon - The Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare 
Simon's journey in The Mortal Instruments series is full of ups and downs. He loves Clary. She shoots him down. She finally gives things a shot with him. But, shoots him down again. He becomes a vampire. Then a weapon. Then finds love again with someone else. This poor guy has been through so much, yet his loyalty to Clary and the other Shadowhunters never waivers. 

Honorable Mention

1. Janco & Ari - The Study Series by Maria V. Snyder

2. Kanin - The Blood of Eden Series by Julie Kagawa

3. Beast - The My Fair Assassin Series by R.L. LaFever

4. Charlotte - The Infernal Devices Series by Cassandra Clare

5. Christian Ozera - The Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead

August 26, 2013

NEW ADULT MONDAYS: Into The Deep (Into The Deep #1)

The New Adult genre - their bad boys and big problems and epic loves make them engrossing tales that are so easy to lose yourself in. What's not to love about that? And, now, thanks to the cool chicks at Bewitched Bookworms, we can show these books the love they deserve in a weekly feature - New Adult Mondays.

Into The Deep (Into The Deep #1), by Samantha Young
Published August 9, 2013
Publisher:  self-published
Format: e-copy, purchased
Genre:  new adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Rating:  4.5 STARS

(From Goodreads) Live young. Live hard. Love deep.

Charley Redford was just an ordinary girl until Jake Caplin moved to her small town in Indiana and convinced her she was extraordinary. Almost from day one Jake pulled Charley into the deep and promised he was right there with her. But when a tragic incident darkened Jake’s life he waded out into the shallows and left Charley behind.

Almost four years later Charley thinks she’s moved on. That is until she takes a study year abroad in Edinburgh and bumps into none other than Jake Caplin at a party with his new girlfriend. The bad-boy-turned-good attempts to convince Charley to forgive him, and as her best friend starts spending time with Jake’s, Charley calls a truce, only to find herself tumbling back into a friendship with him.

As they grow closer, the spark between them flares and begins playing havoc with their lives and relationships. When jealousy and longing rear their destructive heads, Charley and Jake struggle to come to grips with what they mean to one another.

And even if they work it out, there is no guarantee Charley will ever trust Jake to lead her back into the deep.

I think Samantha Young could write dirty limericks on a diner napkin and I would buy them without even reading them first. Because I'm sure they'd be the most awesome smutty poetry I've ever read. I've read her On Dublin Street series and am on her street team. When she announced that she was going to be releasing a new adult book, I one-clicked that sucker right away.

These new adult books about couples who split, then reconnect several years later only to find one of them is now in a relationship with someone else absolutely KILL me. Into The Deep is no different. From the very beginning, I was very emotionally invested in what happened to Charley and Jake. The heartbreak these two felt every time they were around each other - especially Charley - was palpable and real.

Into The Deep is told from Charley's POV. Flashbacks to four years earlier were interspersed with events from the present day to help the reader form a clear picture of what happened to drive these two kids apart when they were so obviously happy and perfect together. In this way, not all the secrets were revealed all at once - it was more like putting together a puzzle. The whole picture was formed a little at a time until we see exactly what's been going on at the very end.

Lots of girls can relate to Charley. She has to live with seeing the love of her life on campus every day knowing that he's with someone else. That sucks with a capital 'S'. The writing was so filled with emotion and description that feeling her pain and frustration with the situation was easy. I almost wish this had been a dual POV, because I would've loved to know what was going on in Jake's head the whole time. The chemistry between then was amazing.
“I knew after weeks of meeting you that I was never going to love another girl like I love you. You’re it for me. They write books about what we have.”
The side characters were equally as vibrant. Charley's best friend Claudia was a piece of work - I loved her craziness and supposed carefree attitude. Beck, Jake's best friend, is an enigma. He's super mysterious and very cool. Plus, he's in a band (with Lowe, who is another awesome side character). I love guys in bands. I'm hoping that soon Beck and Claudia will have their own book, because I think their story will be a good one.

There is no cliffhanger in Into The Deep, and most situations were resolved to a point. But, things were definitely left open and it made me want more. Like, NOW. Samantha Young - you wicked genius. I really loved this new new adult book.

August 23, 2013


Welcome to the Inspire blog tour, sponsored by Xpresso Book Tours! I'm helping to wrap it up, so if you missed any of the other posts from the other participating blogs, you can check them out here. Now, read on for my review for this new adult contemporary romance by Heather Buchine!

Inspire, by Heather Buchine
Published March 31, 2013
Publisher:  self-published
Format: e-book, provided by the author and Xpresso Book Tours
Genre:  new adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble
Rating:  3 STARS

(From Goodreads) 18-year old Paige Rice, an exquisite beauty from East Hampton, NY, has just celebrated her high school graduation and is expecting to spend her summer living it up with all her socialite friends. But her parents have a different idea – she is being hauled away-literally- to the mountains of Vermont for the entire summer- in an RV! 

Assuming she will be an outcast amongst the other teens at the campground still does not prepare her for the treatment she receives, which is far worse than she imagined. She also isn’t prepared for Travis, the campground owner’s son and the “Sexiest” guy she has ever laid eyes on. Travis is the only one who shows any interest in getting to know Paige. The only problem is that they have to explore what lies between them in secret. But once all the secrets are stripped away, the truth may be crushing.

I really loved the idea of a rich chick roughing it for a summer in an RV. I loved the idea of said chick discovering romance at a campground even more. It's probably because that happened to me once upon a time. My very first real kiss came at a campground during a weekend trip there with some girlfriends of mine. I was 15 and I thought he was the most beautiful boy on Earth at the time. So, you could say I felt a connection with Inspire before even reading one word.

In Inspire, Paige is forced to travel from her mansion in East Hampton, NY to a campground in Vermont for the summer before she starts college. She's not exactly thrilled with the idea, but appreciates that this time together could be good for her and her parents. Once there, she meets Travis - and his awful, nasty friends. When a romance strikes up between Paige and Travis, Paige couldn't be happier about it. Except Travis seems determined to keep it a secret from everyone else.  

As mentioned, the campground atmosphere was my favorite part of Inspire. Buchine captured the feel of it perfectly. I could almost smell the burning wood and taste the s'mores. It was the first book I've ever read that took place almost entirely while camping (and not like sleep-away camp - REAL campground camping with RVs and tents and bath houses and such). Authors, take note of this unexplored backdrop!

Sadly, that is where my infatuation ends. I had a really, really hard time relating to the characters in Inspire. Paige was, simply put, too good to be true. She was kind, sweet, and polite to everyone, even the mean girls at the campground who treated her like crap. She runs her own charity with her best friend and likes to spend her spare time working for soup kitchens. She's willing to give up her own happiness just to protect the feelings of someone she doesn't even know. She has a perfect relationship with her parents, only lying to them about the teeny tattoo she got on her hip. And, in the fall she is starting at an Ivy League school. I'm sorry, but NO 18-year-old - male or female - is that... good.

Most of the time, the dialog didn't read like 18-year-olds to me. Especially Paige, Travis and Paige's best friend Tracey - they used words and colloquialisms that most teenagers don't use. Instead, they read like a bunch of 30-year-olds trying unsuccessfully to sound like teenagers. So, this made it even harder for me to relate to them as believable characters.

Although there is no cliffhanger in Inspire, events happen (very randomly, I might add) at the very end of the book that set things up for the next book in the series. I hope it takes place at Willow Falls Campground again. And, hopefully the second time around there is far less winking (What was with all the winking?! Do kids really do that?) and everybody and their brother isn't getting raped or almost raped. Because the more off-hand treatment this plot device receives (as you see several times in Inspire), the more it trivializes the real issue. And, that's not okay.

About the Author

By no surprise my favorite hobbies are reading and writing. But beyond escaping into the written fantasy world, I love experiencing new things. Surfing, motorcycle riding, snow blading, glass blowing, parasailing, SUP boarding are just a few that I have checked off my bucket list, but there is still so much more to explore. Right now, being a mom is my biggest adventure and the best by far!! In the quiet calm hours of the night though, I can usually be found typing away creating a world of romance where drama still exists but love (hopefully!!) always prevails.

Learn more about Heather Buchine:  Website / Facebook / Goodreads

August 22, 2013

REVIEW: Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss #1)

Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss #1), by Stephanie Perkins
Published December 2, 2010
Publisher:  Penguin Group
Format: paperback, I own
Genre:  young adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble
Rating:  5 STARS

(From Goodreads) Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris--until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne has it all...including a serious girlfriend.

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?

I finally did it! After seeing Anna and the French Kiss on countless Top Ten Tuesday lists and having it recommended to me time and time again by friends, I finally got around to reading it (and a special thank you to my good friend Anna for gifting it to me and giving me that final nudge). And, as expected, I'm kicking myself for not reading it sooner. 

Anna is shipped off to boarding school in Paris by her self-centered father and when her loneliness threatens to overwhelm her, she is introduced to a group of friends who start to show her how good Paris really is. One of those group members is Etienne St. Clair, a beautiful boy with a gorgeous accent with whom she develops an instant connection. Problem is, he has a girlfriend and doesn't seem too eager to dump her. 

My previous experience with young adult contemporary romance novels was very "meh." I didn't expect to be wowed. Or thoroughly engrossed. Or to fall completely in love with these characters. I now have a set a very high bar by which all other YA contemporaries will be judged. 

Anna made me so emotional. Her dad is a douche. Her mom is spineless. And I cannot fathom what it feels like to be a 17-year-old just dumped in a foreign country all by yourself where you don't speak the language. I would be terrified. And pissed beyond belief. And I felt it all for her. 

St. Clair - le sigh. I frickin' frackin' love this guy. He's amazingly sweet, yet, thankfully, not too sweet. I hate it when guys in books are just too damn perfect. You know? Etienne is awesome because he's flawed. He keeps secrets from Anna. He's moody sometimes and doesn't always treat her as sweetly as perfect book boyfriends should. In other words, he was TOTALLY believable. 

The slow burn romance between Anna and Etienne was perfectly paced. The sexual tension was off the charts for the majority of the book. The payoff didn't come until the very end. And, when it did come, it was so very sweet. 

Perkins' writing is flawless. Seriously - it was absolutely perfect. These characters talked and acted like 17- and 18-year-olds. The internal musings were so cleverly crafted. The dialog was sharp and intelligent. I want more. On to Lola and the Boy Next Door...

August 21, 2013

REVIEW: Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2)

Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2), by Sarah J. Maas
To Be Published August 27, 2013
Publisher:  Bloomsbury
Format: ARC, received at BEA
Genre:  young adult, high fantasy
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble
Rating:  5 STARS

(From Goodreads) An assassin’s loyalties are always in doubt. But her heart never wavers.

After a year of hard labor in the Salt Mines of Endovier, eighteen-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien has won the king's contest to become the new royal assassin. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown – a secret she hides from even her most intimate confidantes.

Keeping up the deadly charade—while pretending to do the king's bidding—will test her in frightening new ways, especially when she's given a task that could jeopardize everything she's come to care for. And there are far more dangerous forces gathering on the horizon -- forces that threaten to destroy her entire world, and will surely force Celaena to make a choice.

Where do the assassin’s loyalties lie, and who is she most willing to fight for?
Action. Intrigue. Romance. Magic. A high body count. Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2) seriously has it all and then some. And it has sealed Celaena Sardothien's place on my list of Bookish Chicks That Kick Ass. 
After Celaena won the right to be called the King's Champion (and one day earn her freedom, which is the true prize here), she is now being sent out far and wide to do the nasty king's bidding by killing his enemies. Celaena is trying to find a way to do that and at the same time keep the respect of her friends and live with herself in the morning. Not an easy task. And, it gets harder when her next assignment turns out to be a sort-of-friend. It's also getting harder to hide her connection with the ancient Fae Queen Elena, especially when Elena seems to be trying to send Celaena a message that could really change how this game is being played. 
So, one of the biggest questions in your mind (or, at least, it was one of the biggest questions in MY mind) is probably, does the love triangle get straightened out in this book. Well, I can tell you that, the short answer is, yes. Actually, Celaena makes her choice fairly early on, and I thank the lovely Sarah Maas for not torturing us with that any longer than was necessary.
But, what I really loved about Crown of Midnight was that, even though the big question on everyone's minds was answered early, that, in no way whatsoever, slowed the story down to leave us with filler until the end. Oh no - in fact, Celaena's romantic entanglements end up being a source of unexpected and excruciating angst and emotion as the book continues. I didn't expect to find myself in tears while reading a high fantasy novel about an assassin. 
Speaking of assassins, you may recall that one of my only complaints about Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1) (you can read my review here) was the notable lack of assassinations. Celaena more than makes up for this oversight, however, as the number of dead bodies she racks up in Crown of Midnight is staggering. In one scene she takes out nearly 30 men all by her itty bitty badass self. And, that was just one scene! The part of me that really loves a good blood bath was doing a happy dance. 

Crown of Midnight was really an intense study of the many faces of Celaena Sardothien. I already mentioned that we get to see Celaena the Assassin in action. We also see Celaena the Friend. Celaena doesn't have many of these, so when she finds someone she counts as a friend, she protects that person with every ounce of her being. I loved seeing Celaena the Lover - the dichotomy between the killer and the lover is so awesome. And then there is Celaena the Schemer. In addition to trying to figure out the king's agenda and Elena's puzzle, Celaena is all the while laying the groundwork for the time when she can truly be free of everyone and make her own choices. One thing is certain - not matter what face Celaena is wearing, you know she is wearing it FIERCELY.
There were some BIG moments in Crown of Midnight. In addition to learning whether Dorian or Chaol was Celaena's heart's desire, we also find out some very important things about Celaena's past that will come into play later in the series. Crown of Midnight is at least partly about saying goodbye and knowing when it is time to do so. 
The ending, while not necessarily a cliffhanger in the traditional sense, left me groaning only because I know it will be a very long time before I can find out what happens next. It was a maddening ending that left me raging for awhile. One thing's for certain. Crown of Midnight has risen my expectations for this series exponentially, and based on what I saw here, I have a feeling that the best is yet to come.   

August 20, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This is one meme I can get on board with - I LOVE lists! I'll show you mine if you show me yours!

Top Ten Things That Make My Life As a Reader/Blogger Easier

1. Goodreads - The single most useful and important resource to me as both a reader and a blogger is Goodreads. It's helped connect me with other readers, helped me discover books I never knew existed, introduced me to people who have become the best of friends.

2. My laptop - I do most of my blogging at night from the comfort of my couch while my husband and I watch shows on Netflix. Our current obsession is Fringe (at least until season 8 of Supernatural is uploaded). Granted, my posts take longer to do, as I am frequently distracted, but it's much more comfy than sitting at our tiny computer desk.

3. My local public library - I read a lot of books. I mean - A LOT. Thanks to Goodreads, I know that, to date in 2013, I've read 135 books (another reason to love Goodreads). If I had to pay for all those books, I'd be in debt up to my eyeballs. Thanks to a free library card, I don't have to pay for all those books. I LOVE my local library and I use it often.

4. My Kindle - I do like to travel, and my Kindle has made it possible for me to take tons of books with me when I do very easily. As a reader, that is awesome! Plus, since I have an e-reader, it makes resources like NetGalley and Edelweiss available to me, which is important as a blogger. I do still love my hard copy books, but there is definitely a place in my life for my e-reader.

5. Lots of bookshelves - I'm a bit anal when it comes to my physical books. I like to organize them and pet them and stare at them - it's a bit of a sickness. But, you understand. I can't deal with random stacks of books lying around, so bookshelves are necessary. For my sanity.

6. Other bloggers - I've made some great connections with other book bloggers, and those connections have been valuable, not just to me professionally as a blogger, but personally too. There are tons of smart people out there writing about their favorite books, and I've appreciated their insight and guidance as I started my own blog. I've learned a lot from them, and I learn more every day.

7. Social media -  Without Facebook and Twitter, almost no one would see my posts. And, that would kinda suck. Facebook and Twitter help all of us in the blogging community spread our words. I think we all can agree that, as bloggers, they definitely make our jobs easier.

8. My smartphone - I've mentioned how invaluable online resources like Goodreads, Facebook and Twitter are to me as both a blogger and a reader. Even more useful is being able to access them on the go. I work 40 hours a week and am a mom to a 7-year-old and a 5-year-old. I'm on the go ALL THE TIME. Thanks to my trusty Droid Bionic, I can respond to comments, e-mails and Tweets from the middle of the stands at t-ball practice.

9. My day planner - I'm a bit old-school on this one. Rather than use Google calendar or something on my smartphone, I use a spiral-bound day planner from Target to keep track of all my blog tours and to try and plan out some of my posts ahead of time. Without my trusty day planner, I'd be so lost.

10. Starbucks - Almost nothing goes with a good book better than a grande salted caramel macchiato and the quiet, comfortable atmosphere that greets me inside most Starbucks. There's one only 5 minutes away from my office building, and I've spent many lunch hours there munching on a muffin, sipping a coffee and reading a good book while hiding from my office phone and e-mail.

August 19, 2013

NEW ADULT MONDAYS: Take Me Now (Take Me Now #1)

The New Adult genre - their bad boys and big problems and epic loves make them engrossing tales that are so easy to lose yourself in. What's not to love about that? And, now, thanks to the cool chicks at Bewitched Bookworms, we can show these books the love they deserve in a weekly feature - New Adult Mondays.

Take Me Now (Take Me Now #1), by Faith Sullivan
Published July 16, 2013
Publisher:  self-published
Format: e-copy, provided by the author in exchange for an honest review
Genre:  new adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon 

Rating:  2 STARS

(From Goodreads) How do you survive the internship from hell?

Don't fall in love.

Ivy thought being a reporter-in-training at the Independent Gazette would be her dream summer job. Little did she know, interviewing Eric, a landscaper with a heart of gold, would derail her plans. It turns out Ivy's boss, Lauren, has been eying his chiseled physique for quite some time.

But at twenty-four, Eric already has a tragic past, one that he is still reeling from. Even though his ordeal turned him into some sort of local celebrity, it's been a while since he's shared his bed with anyone. When he comes to Ivy's rescue out of the blue, it's not long before the two of them start seeing each other behind Lauren's back. When they get caught, Ivy's journey toward a college degree is jeopardized and her relationship with Eric is severely put to the test.

Career versus love? In the end, a shocking turn of events provides Ivy with a revelation she never saw coming.

Writing a review for a book I didn't enjoy is always hard for me. Because I respect the hell out of any author who puts themselves out there like that. But, sometimes books just don't hit the mark for me, and Take Me Now was one of them. 

There were a lot of things that didn't make sense to me about Take Me Now. Ivy is interning at a newspaper, and for some reason, her boss despises her. We don't know why, though. A lot more backstory here would've been helpful, because that kind of hatred has to come from somewhere.  

Ivy is infatuated with Will, but, again, I really don't know why. We know they shared a kiss at age 13 and since then he's treated her like crap. Ivy seems like she should be a strong, independent woman, yet, she literally turns into a puddle of ooze around him. That doesn't make any sense to me, and it doesn't match what we know about Ivy. 

Eric is a local celebrity because his fiance died of cancer. Granted there's a little more to it than that that I don't want to divulge, but even still, as tragic and heartbreaking as that is, it shouldn't have turned Eric into the hometown hero. Awful things like that happen every day, and if something like that happened here in my small town, it wouldn't make him famous.

I found the character development to be weak thoughout. I never developed any sort of connection with any of them. Most of the feelings I had toward characters trended toward extreme annoyance and frustration. Lauren was a stone cold bitch, Will was a tool, Eric was wishy-washy, and Ivy was just all over the place. But, I never really cared enough about any of them to want them to have a happily-ever-after.

Honestly, my biggest problem with Take Me Now came toward the end of the book. Ivy is in a car with someone she had considered a very close friend. And then he very nearly rapes her. It is only after Ivy resorts to physical violence that she gets away from him. In the next paragraph, however, she gets back in the car with him since she doesn't have another ride. And, later, it's treated as if it was no big deal or perhaps a misunderstanding. 

Rape and almost-rape is a VERY big deal. Even though the actual act didn't happen, this particular situation would've seriously messed up and traumatized any girl. Throw in the fact that the act was committed by someone she had previously liked and trusted, and she should've been a total head case. Yet, Ivy was more concerned with getting a ride to a party. The fact that this was swept under the rug and barely mentioned later is disturbing and disheartening. 

I think that with a lot more story development, Take Me Now could be on its way to something good. As it is, it's very disjointed and confusing and lacks the emotional attachment necessary to really get into the story. It's unfortunate, because based on the description, the story had a ton of potential. Perhaps the second in this trilogy - Meant For Me - will fill in a lot of the holes we were left with at the end of book 1.  

August 17, 2013


When I signed up to be a part of the No Reverse blog tour, organized by AToMR Tours, I had never heard of Marion Croslydon. I can safely say she's on my radar now. Read on for for my review, then don't forget to enter a giveaway for one of three prize packs. Be sure to check out all the other tour stops too!

No Reverse, by Marion Croslydon
Published August 12, 2013
Publisher:  Carlux Publishing
Format: e-galley, provided by the author and AToMR Tours
Genre:  new adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon 

Rating:  4 STARS

(From Goodreads) A girl who needs to undo the past.
A boy who wants to forget it.
In love, there’s no way back.

At high school in Steep Hill, Kansas, Cassie O’Malley and Josh MacBride were the poster couple for quarterback/cheerleader romance until they starred in their own tale of teen pregnancy. No need to say: their shotgun wedding was low-key. But when there was no baby anymore, they went their separate ways.

Five years later, Josh has breezed through Georgetown and is about to finish his post-grad degree at Oxford University. He is set to join a lobbying group on Capitol Hill, owned by his new fiancée’s father. For Josh, the sky is now the limit… only he must first take care of a tiny legal matter: technically, he’s still married to the girl who broke his heart.

Meanwhile, Cassie has been waiting tables in Steep Hill to pay for her sick grandmother’s care. On the day of the old lady’s funeral, Cassie is served with two sets of papers. Josh is asking for a divorce. Her heart squeezes, but, well, he moved on a long time ago. But the second envelope shakes Cassie to the core. So, for the first time, she leaves Kansas and heads to good ol’ England.

There, Cassie finds that Josh has not just “moved on,” he’s freakin’ engaged to some blue-blooded heiress. The feelings Cassie had buried deep rush back to her. But no matter if he keeps thrusting the divorce papers under her nose, she needs him to save the only person she loves more than Josh, more than life itself…

Never have I wanted a bookish couple to be real more than Josh and Cassie. Because then I could lock them in a room and shake some sense into them. Or, at the very least, smack them around a little. I haven't raged this much about a book in quite awhile. The feels were intense. In fact, as soon as I finished, I jumped on Twitter and sent this message:
Cassie and Josh were the perfect couple. Until she got pregnant and got it stuck in her head that she would only dim the bright future that Josh had ahead of him. So, she fixes things so that there's no baby anymore and then does the hardest thing she's ever had to do and breaks up with Josh. Five years later, extenuating circumstances cause Cassie to seek Josh out again. Only, he's moved on and is now engaged. Cassie, however, has never moved past him, and now she may have to face the possibility that she's really lost Josh forever. 

You know how I really love strong female characters? Well, in this case, I think Cassie is just a little too strong. She makes decisions for the people she loves without consulting them first, out of a blind sense of trying to make a better life for them. Knowing full well that those decisions will veritably ruin her own life. Her martyr complex is off the charts. There were many aspects of Cassie that made me really angry. But, mostly, my heart absolutely broke for her. 

And Josh has tried to put up an impenetrable wall around his heart where Cassie is concerned. And, the old adage of "out of sight, out of mind" really is true - as long as she was an ocean away, Josh convinced himself that he was doing okay. But, when Cassie shows up, his best laid plans fall apart in mere days. 

Cassie and Josh do this dance through much of the book. It's painfully obvious that they are still hopelessly in love with each other. They want to be around each other, touch each other, talk to each other. But, there are also these massive hurts that have been caused by both of them, so their interactions end up being very anguished and sorrow-filled. It was so sad and unbelievably frustrating. 

Marion Croslydon knows how to write the feels. I liked how she used the dual POVs and the periodic flashbacks to build the story and the landscape surrounding these two. The pacing was really nice. We got glimpses of what happened five years earlier a little at a time, such that I guessed the general gist of what happened, but not the specifics, which were revealed toward the end. 

Although there isn't a cliffhanger, per se, the reader is definitely left hanging to find out what happens next with Josh and Cassie. Croslydon has promised us their follow-up story early in 2014. Unless we can strong arm her into giving to us earlier. :)

About the Author

Marion’s parents are terribly disappointed with her… 

They wanted her to have a serious job, providing financial stability and social standing. For years, she really tried to make them happy; she studied hard, got into top schools, graduated with honors and found a high-achieving job.

But deep down, Marion was miserable. She never wanted to be a top executive, brokering deals in New York, London or Tokyo. Marion wanted to be… a ROMANCE WRITER. She wanted to spend her days in that good ol’ tracksuit of hers, in front of her laptop, popping down Oreos like there was no tomorrow. She wanted to fall in love with a different man each time she wrote the first line of a new book (while being happily married to the most handsome man in Great Britain).

That’s exactly what Marion does these days, and it makes her incredibly happy. She loves to share these happy vibes, talk book crush, fictional boyfriends and sexual chemistry with like-minded people. And because she spends most of her days on her own deep inside her writing cave, you are welcome to come and say “hello” from time to time. Just to make sure she doesn’t sink into insanity.

Her friends, family and arch-enemies (there are quite a few) will be forever grateful for your help.

Find out more about Marion Croslydon here --> Website * Twitter * Facebook


Prize Pack #1: Signed copy of No Reverse, £10 Amazon gift card (British Pounds), 1 No Reverse notebook, 1 No Reverse mug, 1 No Reverse mouse pad, 1 No Reverse pen

Prize Pack # 2: Signed copy of No Reverse, £10 Amazon gift card (British Pounds), 1 No Reverse notebook, 1 No Reverse mug

Prize Pack # 3: Signed copy of No Reverse, 1 No Reverse notebook, 1 No Reverse pen

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August 16, 2013

REVIEW: Fifth Grave Past the Light (Charley Davidson #5)

Fifth Grave Past the Light (Charley Davidson #5), by Darynda Jones
Published July 9, 2013
Publisher:  St. Martin's Press
Format: hardback, borrowed from the library
Genre:  urban fantasy
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Rating:  4.5 STARS

(From Goodreads) Charley Davidson may not look like your everyday, run-of-the-mill grim reaper, but she has vowed to reap grimness wherever she goes despite this unfortunate fact. Sadly, she gets sidetracked when the sexy, sultry son of Satan, Reyes Farrow, moves in next door. As he is the main suspect in her arson case, she is determined to stay away from him until she can find out the truth. According to her therapist, however, she lacks conviction.

When dead women start appearing in her apartment - lost, confused and terrified beyond reason - Charley has no choice but to ask for Reyes's help, especially when it becomes apparent that her own sister Gemma is the serial killer's next target. With his ability to observe incorporeally, surely he can find out who's responsible. And even if he can't, he is the one man alive who could protect Gemma no matter who or what came at her. But he wants something in return: Charley. All of her - body and soul. And to keep her sister safe, it is a price she is willing to pay…

I knew when Fifth Grave Past the Light opened with Cookie nearly blowing Charley's head off in the middle of her father's bar (which is always crawling with cops) that this book was going to be explosive with a capital E. Without a doubt, this was the best book in the Charley Davidson series yet. 

Charley needs to figure out why 27 blond female departed have set up camp in her apartment. It's made things kind of cramped. And Reyes has that nice spacious apartment down the hall. Whatever is a grim reaper to do? Meanwhile, Charley's been hired by a woman who thinks her husband is cheating on her. Oh - and there's still an arsonist at large, and the suspect looks largely like the love of her life. Just another day in the life of Charley Davidson. 

You know, one of my earlier gripes about this series was that Charley didn't know when to dial down the snark. She still is snarky - no doubt about it. Her one-liners absolutely crack me up. 
“I'm sorry to have to tell you this way, but your mother and I are separating." When I pressed my mouth together, he corrected, "Stepmother. We're just - We're going in different directions."

"I don't know what to say, Dad. 'Hurray' just seems wrong.” 
But, I realized in Fifth Grave Past the Light that in each book, despite the silliness that almost constantly erupts from Charley's mouth, she always shows a dedication to the departed. Usually, it's one or two or three at a time. It was fun watching her try and deal with 27. But, despite everything else going on in her life, she doesn't give up trying to find out what happened to those poor women. I love seeing that dedication in her.

Reyes. Oh my sweet goodness gracious. THIS was his book. Reyes is awesome in his current state. He is human - he has a job an apartment, a car (a really HOT car). Yet, he still can work his Son of Satan mojo when Charley needs him to. We see him get all dark and stormy right off the bat in the first chapter - gosh I love to see him when he's like that.

But, the difference between the Reyes of books 1 - 4 and the Reyes of book 5 are his words. Namely, that he speaks more than a dozen of them. Of course, I'm exaggerating just a bit. But, Reyes has never been the kind of guy to stick around and talk it out before. It appears he's ready to fight for the woman he loves now, because he's changed.
“What do you want?"

"You," he said, his voice lowering an octave. "I want you, Dutch, body and soul. I want you in my bed every night. I want you there when I wake up in the morning. I want your clothes strung across my apartment and your scent on my skin.”
I've been waiting for this Reyes for a long time, and Darynda Jones definitely made it worth the wait. Reyes and Charley are actually becoming endearing and adorable together. And those are not two words I thought I'd ever use to describe their relationship. And, can we please talk about that ending? I mean, I won't, because I don't want to give anything away. But, seriously - those last two words took my breath away. 

This entire series is entertaining. But, this book was just off the charts amazing. 

August 15, 2013

COVER REVEAL: Trust In Me (Wait For You #1.5)

I am doing the fangirl dance here because I get to show you something so cool by an author I love. You remember J. Lynn's Wait For You, released earlier this year (check out my review here)? Well, she has written the same story from Cam's POV and called it Trust In Me. Imagine hearing his thoughts and ruminations while he makes his eggs in the morning... So, are you ready to see it?

Ah, that first thing in the morning stubble. YUM.

(Description) It’s Wait for You as you’ve never seen it. Trust in Me lets you in on Cam’s side of the #1 New York Times Bestselling story.

Cameron Hamilton is used to getting what he wants, especially when it comes to women. But when Avery Morgansten comes crashing into his life – literally – he finally meets the one person who can resist his soulful baby blues. But Cam’s not ready to give up. He can’t get the feisty and intriguing girl out of his head.

Avery has secrets, secrets that keep her from admitting the feelings Cam knows she has for him. Will persistence (and some delicious homemade cookies) help him break down her barriers and gain her trust? Or will he be shut out of Avery's life, losing his first real shot at the kind of love that lasts forever?

Aren't they pretty side-by-side? I, for one, am a total sucker for these alternate POV books. I can't wait to get my hands on Trust In Me so that I can get inside Cam's head. How about you?


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August 14, 2013

REVIEW: Naked (The Blackstone Affair #1)

Naked (The Blackstone Affair #1), by Raine Miller
Published August 25. 2012
Publisher:  Raine Miller Romance
Format: e-galley, provided by NetGalley
Genre:  adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Rating:  3 STARS

(From Goodreads) Brynne Bennett is living the good life. An American art student at the University of London and part-time photographic model, she’s putting her life back on track with school and lots of hard work. When ultra successful London businessman, Ethan Blackstone, buys her nude portrait, he isn’t taking ‘no’ for an answer. He wants Brynne in his bed and makes plans to keep her there no matter what. His dominant nature captivates and ensnares despite the demons she carries inside her. But there are secrets in this relationship. Huge ones. Can Ethan free Brynne from the past that has marked her? Will Brynne let him or will the specters tormenting her resurface to destroy them both…

I have a problem, or rather, problems. Their names are Christian Grey. And Gideon Cross. They are my markers for all other hot rich billionaires who seduce quiet, innocent girls and fall in love with them. They have set the bar high. And I'm having a hard time finding their match. 

Domineering Ethan Blackstone has set his sights on Brynne Bennett after buying a photograph of her. Although she tries to deny him, she soon finds out that denying Ethan Blackstone anything is futile. There is obviously something in Brynne's past, though, that she is running from. And, Ethan finds himself just wanted to help her and love her. 

My main issue with Naked is that Ethan rolled over way too easily. One of the reasons why I love Christian and Gideon so much is that they never make it easy for their women. They are men of habit and don't apologize for it. They certainly don't change easily either. Love doesn't come easily - their women have to earn their love, and the payoffs are incredible. It's unusual to see insta-love in an adult contemporary/erotica book, but believe it or not, it's here. 

And, I'm not talking about the instant attraction that always happens in these books - that kind of instant lust is to be expected. And, that's present here too. Ethan sees Brynne's picture and is instantly attracted to her. Then he sees her in person, and it seals the deal for him. I do like that part. 

But, honestly, after that, it's like Ethan's hot, domineering side disappears and all he does the rest of the book is fawn over Brynne. Some parts of that are sweet, but sometimes I just want to ask him where he put his man card. I think that Brynne took it, because there comes a time when she seems to have more power in their relationship than he does. 

There are some women out there that will love that. I'm not one of them. I like my alpha males. My control freaks. My type-A personalities. I think that's what Ethan is supposed to be. But, he's not quite there. He does have some pretty words, though. 
“I want to be with you so badly right now. i want to take you home with me, and put you in my bed and have hours and hours with your body wrapped up in mine and to do with as I wish. I want to have you in the morning so when we wake up I can make you come, saying my name...I want to watch some crap TV show and have you fall asleep against me on the couch so I can watch you and hear you breathing.”
There is one similarity between Christian Grey, Gideon Cross and Ethan Blackstone - their women all leave them because they are idiots and go temporarily insane. Naked ends on a crazy cliffhanger reminiscent of Fifty Shades of Grey and This Man. Brilliant. Because now I can't wait to see what happens next.