Tuesday, March 10, 2015

"Four Nights with the Duke" By: Eloisa James Review

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Four Nights with the Duke
By: Eloisa James


Synopsis
As a young girl, Emilia Gwendolyn Carrington told the annoying future Duke of Pindar that she would marry any man in the world before him—so years later she is horrified to realize that she has nowhere else to turn.

Evander Septimus Brody has his own reasons for agreeing to Mia's audacious proposal, but there's one thing he won't give his inconvenient wife: himself.
Instead, he offers Mia a devil's bargain...he will spend four nights a year with her. Four nights, and nothing more. And those only when she begs for them.
Which Mia will never do.

Now Vander faces the most crucial challenge of his life: he must seduce his own wife in order to win her heart—and no matter what it takes, this is the one battle he can't afford to lose.


My Thoughts
     Horribly embarrassed as a teenager by the future Duke of Pindar after a love poem that she has written is discovered, Mia swears that she will find a way to have her revenge. Over a decade later, Mia is in a bind. Her entire family has passed away and she is left trying to keep custody of her young, disabled nephew. In order to keep her nephew from the clutches of an evil uncle, Mia must marry someone powerful enogh to stand up to the uncle while also staying respectable. Who else does she turn to, except for her childhood nemesis, Vander, the future Duke.
     Eloisa James continues her newest series by delightfully delving into Mia and Vander’s story. Always a wonderful ride, James has exceeded my wildest expectations with Vander’s tale. With glimpses of previous characters, Vander and Mia don’t seem to match at all. Mia begins her relationship by blackmailing Vander with evidence that puts his father in an almost treasonous light. Yet, you can’t help but feel this desperate mood is called for when you see how desperate Mia is to save her only living family.
     Mia makes her living as a romance writer.  I thought it was incredibly clever how James worked in Mia’s work with the actual romance of the story. It gave me a little insight into the novel writing process and allowed us to get even farther into Mia’s head and motivations. Plus it was just really fun to read her novel and how it related to her current predicament.
     I adored Mia’s story but fell in love with Vander all over again. He truly came into his own and was absolutely one of my favorite James heroes to date. Delightful with plenty of witty banter, Mia and Vander’s story was worth the wait. There are even some subtle nods to Julia Quinn and Lisa Kleypas, so keep your eyes peeled. This may even be my favorite James novel to date and is an excellent addition to her canon.

Book Details
Publisher: Avon
Date of Publication: March 30, 2015
ISBN: 9780062223913
# of Pages: 384
Location: London, England

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

"Corrupting Cinderella" By: Autumn Jones Lake Review

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Corrupting Cinderella
By: Autumn Jones Lake


Synopsis
I’m not CinderellaBut he's my Prince CharmingOur love story isn’t a fairy tale...
How can a lawyer and a criminal maintain an enduring romantic relationship?
Although Hope and Rock care deeply for one another, the truth is they come from completely different worlds. Add to that the fact that they are also both headstrong people, and they have a very rough road ahead of them.
For Rock that means introducing Hope to what it really means to be part of his brutal and shady world, where the Lost Kings Motorcycle Club is his main focus. For Hope it means accepting the things she can’t change, and understanding that Rock is a man who will do anything to keep her safe.
As Rock continues to draw Hope deeper into his world, painful misunderstandings and opposition from the members of his club will threaten to drive them apart.


My Thoughts
    A continuation from Slow Burn, Corrupting Cinderella continues Hope and Rock’s story and their continued relationship. Hope slowly is incorporated in the motorcycle world of Rock, yet he is still holding back and keeping secrets of what the club is truly doing behind closed doors. Hope has to decide how important those secrets really are or if Rock’s relationship trumps all.
     Some great scenes with secondary characters and a continuation of the first book, I think I liked the second book better. I really enjoyed the first book so that’s really saying something. Hope and Rock’s relationship grows as does their contact with the outside world. The author does a great job of creating enough tension and drama while maintaining a realistic story with really unique and fun characters. Plenty of sexy times abound and I read through the book in one sitting on a chilly winter morning. A great series, I’m looking forward to the finale of Rock and Hope’s story and really hoping for some Wrath soon too!


Book Details
Publisher: Author Self-Published
# of Pages: 266
Date of Publication: December 2nd, 2014
Location: New York State

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

"Slow Burn" By: Autumn Jones Lake Review

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Slow Burn
By: Autumn Jones Lake


Synopsis
Forced to represent an outlaw biker, a married attorney must come to terms with her feelings for her client while avoiding the danger he brings into her sedate life.
President of the Lost Kings MC, Rochlan "Rock" North, hasn't managed to find a woman capable of making him want to curb his wild ways—until he meets sweet, innocent, married lawyer Hope Kendall.
Forced to represent the outlaw biker, Hope is rattled by her immediate attraction to Rock. Hope is a good girl in a good marriage. Rock thrills her, but she's not going to throw away everything she's built on a fling with her criminal client.
Rock respects Hope enough to leave her alone, even as he realizes he's become a little obsessed with her. When their connection endangers her life, he'll have to destroy her in order to save her.
After tragedy strikes, Rock is determined to earn Hope's forgiveness and convince her that even with their staggering differences, they're meant to be together.


My Thoughts
     Rock first meets Hope when he’s shackled and in court for a minor drug allegation. Needing an attorney, Hope is appointed by the court to represent Rock at a moment’s notice. This brief interaction leads into over two years of infatuation, flirtations, and ultimately a rocky road to romance.
          Hope is a lawyer, married at the beginning, who is somewhat naive at how the world works. Rock is the President of a local MC and is the king in his world. After tragedy befalls Hope’s marriage, she falls into a deep depression and finds herself alone in the world. Rock falls deeply in love with Hope but questions how much he can truly tell her about his life. Coming from completely different backgrounds, Rock and Hope struggle to find one another in this volatile world.
     I am incredibly surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. I haven’t had much luck with motorcycle club books lately and was delightfully surprised at how unique Slow Burn turned out to be. Super sexy but just a flat out good story, I loved both the hero and heroine. Rock is strong and steadfast, but loyal and utterly fallen for Hope. Hope is an attorney, highly educated and just out of a long term committed relationship. She finds Rock irresistible and steps into his world confidently yet a bit hesitantly. Simple, sexy, heartfelt, and fast paced, I fell in love with the world created and can’t wait to read what’s up next.


Book Details
Publisher: Self-Published
# of Pages: 200
Date of Publication: October 14, 2014
ASIN: B00NG97R4E
Location: New York State

Thursday, February 12, 2015

"Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant" By: Roz Chast Review

18594409
Can’t We Talk About 
Something More Pleasant?
By: Roz Chast

Synopsis
In her first memoir, Roz Chast brings her signature wit to the topic of aging parents. Spanning the last several years of their lives and told through four-color cartoons, family photos, and documents, and a narrative as rife with laughs as it is with tears, Chast’s memoir is both comfort and comic relief for anyone experiencing the life-altering loss of elderly parents.

When it came to her elderly mother and father, Roz held to the practices of denial, avoidance, and distraction. But when Elizabeth Chast climbed a ladder to locate an old souvenir from the “crazy closet”—with predictable results—the tools that had served Roz well through her parents’ seventies, eighties, and into their early nineties could no longer be deployed.

While the particulars are Chast-ian in their idiosyncrasies—an anxious father who had relied heavily on his wife for stability as he slipped into dementia and a former assistant principal mother whose overbearing personality had sidelined Roz for decades—the themes are universal: adult children accepting a parental role; aging and unstable parents leaving a family home for an institution; dealing with uncomfortable physical intimacies; managing logistics; and hiring strangers to provide the most personal care.

An amazing portrait of two lives at their end and an only child coping as best she can, Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant will show the full range of Roz Chast’s talent as cartoonist and storyteller.


My Thoughts
     I am so very moved by this little book filled with pictures. Simple yet so complex, Roz Chast explores a section of our lives we never wish to truly discuss; the end of life preparation and care of our parents. It’s a unique experience few of us think too much about but will all experience to some level.
    Roz shares her experiences with elderly parents and the inevitable problems of getting older. As an only child, Roz is tasked with taking care of her 90+ year old father and mother who live in New York. She discusses illnesses, child guilt, elder care and ultimately death in a serious yet comedic style. Told through pictures and words, Roz’s story is one we all can relate to, even if we aren’t at that point in our lives. Well written, you can’t help but empathize and giggle as Roz shares her experiences.
     Considered one of the best books of 2014, I can easily see why it would deserve the honor. Balancing comedy, kindness, and real life situations and feelings, Chast ultimately asks, can’t we talk about something a little more pleasant?


Book Details
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Date of Publication: May 6, 2014
# of Pages: 228
ISBN: 9781608198061
Location: New York

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

"Better When He's Bold" By: Jay Crownover Review

22249792
Better When He’s Bold
By: Jay Crownover


Synopsis
Some men are just better when they're bold.
Welcome to the Point...
In a dark and broken kingdom, a ruler has to be fearless to control the streets and the ruthless people who run them.
Race Hartman is just bold enough, just smart enough, and just lost enough to wear the crown. Places like the Point will always have bad things and bad people, but the man in control of all that badness can minimize the devastation. Race has a plan, but can he prevent total annihilation without destroying himself?
Brysen Carter has always seen her best friend's brother for what he is--too pretty, too smooth, and way too dangerous to touch. Basking in Race's golden glow is very tempting, but Brysen knows she'd eventually get burned.
When she starts receiving threatening texts and someone tries to take her out in parking lot, the only person interested in keeping her safe is the one man she can't allow herself to have.
Sometimes being bold is the only way to stay alive. But can she let Race save her life . . . if it means losing herself to him?


My Thoughts
    Race is the ultimate bad boy. He steals, he cheats, and he is always looking for ways to get ahead in the Point, filled with criminals and bad guys. Race revels in being one of the baddest of the bad. Considered almost royalty in the Point by his association with the other criminal element, Race loves only his sister and barely tolerates Bax, his childhood friend and almost brother in law.
    Brysen is as opposite from Race as you can be. She’s trying to go to school, attempting to take care of her little sister and dealing with her Mother’s health issues...all while trying to be a normal twenty something. When someone begins threatening Brysen at work, Race steps in and sparks explode between the two. Is Brysen ready to take on all that is Race and be his Queen of the Point or will she fear for the future?
     Jay Crownover is one of my favorite authors. She can write the absolute worst characters that you don’t think can be redeemed..and she makes them totally redeemable. At the end of the previous book, you hate Race. Seriously. He’s this egomaniac with a devil may care attitude. Yet, the minute Brysen needs him to be her knight, he steps up to the plate. He becomes the man that Brysen needs and I absolutely fell in love with him.
    Hot and captivating, Better When He’s Bold is my newest favorite Crownover book. She brings two wildly different characters and gives them the perfect story. Entertaining and super sexy, Crownover can bring the naughty unlike anyone else. A great story that only brings you closer to the edge, I can’t wait to read Better When He’s Brave, coming in June 2015!


Welcome to the Point Series
Better When He’s Bad
Better When He’s Bold
Better When He’s Brave


Book Details
Publisher: William Morrow & Company
Date of Publication: February 3, 2015
ISBN: 9780062351913
# of Pages: 400

Monday, February 2, 2015

Codi Gary's Guest Post - Rock Canyon!

Rock Canyon Book Tree
  

A few words from Codi...
    So, you’ve heard of family trees, right? Well, the thing I love about any series, is the way the books connect to each other. The way past and future characters pop up and give you a glimpse of what they have been up to or who they were before they found their happily ever after. It’s what makes series such a hit with readers.

    Which brings me to my Series Tree for my small town of Rock Canyon, Idaho. When I first wrote The Trouble with Sexy (Ryan and Gregg’s story), I knew I wanted to write Gemma and Gracie’s stories after, but it didn’t work out that way. Instead, Chase (who had also vied for Ryan’s affections and lost out to Gregg) and Katie, a briefly mentioned hairdresser in The Trouble with Sexy, came next and with it, a host of characters I could play like the puppet master I am. (Insert Sheldon Laugh) Muah-ha-ha.

    In the next book, Good Girls Don’t Date Rock Stars, I finally got to tell Gemma’s story. She is the single mother of a nine year old and best friends with Gracie, the coffee shop owner who gives Ryan the makeover in The Trouble with Sexy. She is reunited with her first love, Travis Bowers, and after a whole lot of drama, they get their second chance. Which leads us to book three, Bad Girls Don’t Marry Marines, whose hero is Justin Silverton, best friends with Jared Brown (the husband of Katie’s best friend Stephanie) and who was introduced to Chase in Things Good Girls Don’t Do. Justin pursues Valerie Willis, who has two sisters with the same perchance for trouble, Ellie and Caroline.

     Caroline was brought home at the end of Marines and her story, Return of the Bad Girl, picks up where Marines leaves off. It introduces one delicious bad boy, Gabe Moriarty (yes, I love Elementary), who is actually an old friend of Chase’s (from Things Good Girls Don’t Do.) Caroline becomes friends with Callie, the town dj, who was mentioned in Rock Stars and Marines. So, when Callie’s story picks up months after Caroline and Gabe’s story ends, we find her falling hard for Everett (Justin’s older brother who was introduced in Marines.) We don’t realize that as Callie and Everett are working through their issues, Mike Stevens is fighting his attraction to Zoe the veterinarian (introduced in Return of the Bad Girl) in Rock Canyon Number Six. Mike has been about since The Trouble with Sexy, and was totally in love with Gemma until he lost her in Rock Stars. After everything I put this guy through, I think he deserves a happy ending, don’t you?

     And last but not least (for now) Gracie McAllister and Eric Henderson, who have bickered and caused all kinds of speculation, will FINALLY get some air time in Rock Canyon Number Seven, but it’s not just the heroes and heroines that make Rock Canyon come alive. It’s Sam Weathers, the friendly, doesn’t know when to mind his business police officer. It’s bitchy Mrs. Andrews, who still hasn’t explained why she likes Gemma when she gives nothing but disdain to everyone else. And Miss Know It All, the town’s own Gossip Girl, who loves putting everyone’s secrets out there for the towns amusement. Many people have an idea of who she is, but we won’t know until she’s caught…maybe in book seven?

     So remember, as you read through this series, pay attention to the little things and every character…you never know when they will pop up again.

A bit more about Codi:

An obsessive bookworm, Codi Gary likes to write sexy small-town contemporary romances with humor, grand gestures, and blush-worthy moments. When she's not writing, she can be found reading her favorite authors, squealing over her must-watch shows, and playing with her children. She lives in Idaho with her family.

Find Codi on Social Media:


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"Craving Resurrection" By: Nicole Jacqueline Release!

CRAVING RESURRECTION
 (Aces #4)
By Nicole Jacquelyn
Release Date: January 26, 2015

Blurb:

Poet and Amy's story...

Patrick Gallagher’s future was mapped out—and it didn’t include Amy Henderson or the IRA.

She was everything he’d never wanted. Too young. Too naïve.

Unfortunately, he couldn’t help but be fascinated by the girl who took refuge in his old bedroom, staying with his mum more often than not.

She looked like a Renaissance painting and argued like a solicitor. He couldn’t resist her, and before long, he didn’t even want to.

Instead, he loved her unreservedly… then he married her.
But he couldn’t have prepared for what happened after.

Actions, no matter how large or how small, have consequences—and when the IRA comes knocking, he’s sucked into a life that he’d never anticipated.
Choices were made.
Hearts were broken.

Trust was shattered.
Lives were lost.
Through it all, he loved her.
It was a love that spanned decades.
Epic.
Intense.
Unquestionable.
Unbreakable.

Nicole Jacquelyn bio:
Nicole Jacquelyn is the mom of two little girls and a full time college student. She hasn’t watched television in well over a year, she still does things that drive her mother crazy, and she loves to read. At eight years old, when asked what she wanted to be when she grew up, she told people she wanted to be a mom. When she was twelve her answer changed- to author. By the time she was eighteen, when people asked her what she wanted to do with her life, she told them she really wanted to be a writer- but the odds of that happening were so slim that she’d get her business degree “just to be safe”. Her dreams stayed constant. First she became a mom, then she went to college, and during her senior year- with one daughter in first grade and the other in preschool, she sat down and wrote a story.

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Giveaway:
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Thursday, January 29, 2015

"Destroyed" By: Pepper Winters

20324107
Destroyed
By: Pepper Winters


Synopsis
She has a secret.
I’m complicated. Not broken or ruined or running from a past I can’t face. Just complicated.
I thought my life couldn’t get any more tangled in deceit and confusion. But I hadn’t met him. I hadn't realized how far I could fall or what I'd do to get free.
He has a secret.
I’ve never pretended to be good or deserving. I chase who I want, do what I want, act how I want.
I didn’t have time to lust after a woman I had no right to lust after. I told myself to shut up and stay hidden. But then she tried to run. I’d tasted what she could offer me and damned if I would let her go.
One secret destroys them.


My Thoughts
    Hazel meets Fox for the first time in an underground fighting club. Instantly attracted to one another, she is appalled but intrigued when Fox offers her thousands of dollars for just one month of her presence. They each have secrets and dark spaces in their lives, yet these two people find what’s missing in one another.
     Fox has survived horrific abuse from his childhood. Taken from his home and forced to perform horrific acts, he has escaped and now runs this illegal fighting club. When he meets Hazel, he’s attracted to her pureness. Yet, Hazel needs more from Fox than his presence...she needs money for her terminally ill daughter. Forced to take Fox up on his offer, they each keep secrets from one another while attempting to heal the other.
    Extremely complex with complicated characters, Winters has built a dark world unlike anything I have read before. Filled with secrets and dark passions, Hazel and Fox are unable to find salvation by themselves so they turn to one another. I finished their journey but at certain points I felt that the drama was stretched out a little more than it needed to be. The pacing seemed off in places so it wasn’t a smooth read but overall the story was solid, sad, and heartwrenching. There may have been tears in a few places.
   This is the first Pepper Winters book I have ever read. While I read it to the end and honestly enjoyed it, I must say it was quite dark. Each of the characters fights demons, both outwardly and inward. Now I’m not saying I wasn’t warned it would be dark, but it was a bit shocking to me once I had finished how dark the story actually had gotten. I’m not saying its bad, I’m just saying that I should have prepared myself a bit better.


Book Details
Publisher: Self-Published
# of Pages: 408
ISBN: 2940149218271
Date of Publication: March 7, 2014
Location: Australia

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

"Out of the Dust" By: Karen Hesse Review

25346
Out of the Dust
By: Karen Hesse
Synopsis
When Billie Jo is just fourteen she must endure heart-wrenching ordeals that no child should have to face. The quiet strength she displays while dealing with unspeakable loss is as surprising as it is inspiring.
Written in free verse, this award-winning story is set in the heart of the Great Depression. It chronicles Oklahoma's staggering dust storms, and the environmental--and emotional--turmoil they leave in their path. An unforgettable tribute to hope and inner strength.
My Thoughts
     Incredibly gritty and heartbreaking, Out of the Dust tells the story of a teenager living during the dustbowl in western America. Rain hasn’t come for quite some time, the crops are dying, the animals are suffering and the people are struggling just to survive. Billie Jo, our main character, sees everyone barely getting by and in the beginning, worries only about herself. Wanting to hang out with her friends, play her piano, and just go to school, Billie sees her parents falling farther into despair. Her life takes a devastating turn, when she accidentally hurts her mother, resulting in her death days later.
         Now alone with her father, Billie Jo faces growing up by herself and dealing with the guilt of having a hand in her mother’s death. The days flow together in an endless cycle of dust storms and hopelessness. The crops won’t grow, the rain won’t come, and everyone seems to just be getting more desperate. Hesse absolutely brings out the emotion in this novel and in the end, a happy future isn’t assured. At the finish of the novel, Billie accepts that life is hard and sees hope as the rains come. Sad, melancholy, and heart wrenching in parts, the lives of Billie and her family are not happy and they struggle for everything they have or hope to be. An incredible resource for the era with great historical details, Out of the Dust shares what life could have been like for the lower class of America during the dust bowl and during F.D.R.’s presidency


Book Details
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
# of Pages: 256
Date of Publication: June 1, 2005
ISBN: 9780439771276
Location: Oklahoma

Thursday, January 22, 2015

"Looking for Alaska" By: John Green Review

99561
Looking for Alaska
By: John Green

Synopsis
Before. Miles "Pudge" Halter's whole existence has been one big nonevent, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave the "Great Perhaps" (François Rabelais, poet) even more. He heads off to the sometimes crazy, possibly unstable, and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed-up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young, who is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart.
After. Nothing is ever the same.
 
My Thoughts
     Miles "Pudge" Halter's entire life is separated into two sections, before and after. The before time equals his life before meeting Alaska Young and attending Culver Creek Boarding School. Before the terrifying and heartbreaking event that took Alaska from school and from Pudge's life. The after is coming to terms with life, death, and how normal teens deal with absolute loss. Pudge and his friends try to find meaning in something that may never have meaning.
     I enjoyed Looking for Alaska but I think if I had read it before reading The Fault in Our Stars, I would have enjoyed it more. Dealing with a possible suicide is always heart wrenching and Green talks in no nonsense terms about life, death and what comes after. The teens are nowhere near perfect and their actions after Alaska's unfortunate death show how imperfect life and death truly is.
     Perhaps my favorite part of the book is Pudge's fascination of famous people's last words. The juxtaposition of a dying person's last moments and their life here on Earth worked well for the story and gave extra meaning to Alaska's life and subsequent death. Well written and definitely a page turner, Looking for Alaska will appeal to readers of The Fault in Our Stars quite well and to teens as a general audience.
Book Details
Publisher: Speak
Date of Publication: December 28, 2006
ISBN: 9780142402511
# of pages: 256
Location: Alabama