Reviews

DON’T LOOK BACK by the wonderful Jennifer Armentrout

April 15th, 2014

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We are THRILLED to be part of Jennifer L. Armentrout’s Don’t Look Back Release Day Launch! It’s a Young Adult STANDALONE(!!!) suspense that we can’t wait to get our hands on.  And it looks spooky.  Read the excerpt and tell us if you think this is going to be as creepy as we do.

Buy It: AmazonBarnes and NobleiTunes


Excerpt:   
I didn’t recognize the name on the street sign. Nothing about the rural road looked familiar or friendly. Tall, imposing trees and overgrown weeds choked the front of the dilapidated home.

Windows were boarded up. There was a gaping hole where the front door had been. I shivered, wanting to be far away from here…wherever here was.

Walking felt harder than it should be, and I stumbled off the chilly asphalt, wincing as sharp gravel dug into my feet.

My bare feet?

I stopped and looked down. Chipped pink nail polish peeked through the dirt…and blood.

Mud caked the legs of my pants, leaving the hems stiff. It made sense, seeing as how I wasn’t

wearing any shoes, but the blood…I didn’t understand why there was blood staining the knees of my jeans.

My vision clouded and dulled, as if a gray film had been dropped over my eyes. As I stared at the weathered asphalt under my feet, large and smooth rocks replaced the tiny stones.

Something dark and oily seeped over the rocks, slipping through the cracks. Sucking in a sharp gasp, I blinked and the image was gone.

Hands trembling, I raised them. They were also covered with dirt and scratches. My nails were broken, bloodied. A silver ring wrapped, encased in soil, around my thumb. Air froze in my chest as my gaze crawled over my arms. The sleeves of my sweater were torn, revealing pale flesh covered in bruises and gashes. My legs started to shake as I swayed forward. I tried to remember how this had happened, but my head was empty—a black void where nothing existed.

A car drove by, coasting to a stop a few feet in front of me. Somewhere in the trenches of my subconscious, I recognized the flashing red and blue lights as a source of safety. Elegantly scrawled along the black-and-gray side of the cruiser were the words ADAMS COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT.

Adams County? A flash of familiarity came and went.

The driver’s door opened, and a deputy stepped out. He said something into the radio on his shoulder before he looked at me.

“Miss?” He started around the cruiser, taking tentative steps. He looked young for a deputy. Barely out of high school and able to carry a gun seemed wrong somehow. Was I in high school? I didn’t know. “We’ve received some calls into dispatch concerning you,” he said gently. “Are you okay?”

I tried to respond, but only a hoarse squeak came out. Clearing my throat, I winced as the motion scratched and pulled. “I…I don’t know.”

“Okay.” The deputy held up his hands as he approached me, as if I were a skittish deer about to bolt. “My name is Deputy Rhode. I’m here to help you. Do you know what you’re doing out here?”

“No.” Knots formed in my belly. I didn’t even know where here was.

His smile strained. “What’s your name?”

My name? Everyone knew their name, but as I stared at the deputy, I couldn’t answer his question. The knots started twisting more. “I don’t…I don’t know what my name is.”

He blinked, and the smile was completely gone. “You don’t remember anything?”

I tried again, concentrating on the empty space between my ears. That was how it felt.

And I knew that wasn’t good. My eyes started to tear up.

“Miss, it’s okay. We’ll get you taken care of.” He reached out, lightly taking hold of my arm. “We’ll get this sorted.”

Deputy Rhode led me around the back of his cruiser. I didn’t want to sit behind the Plexiglas, because I knew that wasn’t good. Only bad people sat behind the glass in police cruisers. I wanted to object, but before I could say anything, he settled me into the seat and wrapped a coarse blanket around my shoulders.

Before he locked me in the bad part of the car, he knelt and smiled reassuringly. “Everything’s going to be okay.”

But I knew he was lying, trying to make me feel better. It didn’t work. How could everything be okay when I didn’t know my own name?

 

DontLookBackAbout:   Samantha is a stranger in her own life. Until the night she disappeared with her best friend, Cassie, everyone said Sam had it all—popularity, wealth, and a dream boyfriend.

Sam has resurfaced, but she has no recollection of who she was or what happened to her that night. As she tries to piece together her life from before, she realizes it’s one she no longer wants any part of. The old Sam took “mean girl” to a whole new level, and it’s clear she and Cassie were more like best enemies. Sam is pretty sure that losing her memories is like winning the lottery. She’s getting a second chance at being a better daughter, sister, and friend, and she’s falling hard for Carson Ortiz, a boy who has always looked out for her—even if the old Sam treated him like trash.

But Cassie is still missing, and the facts about what happened to her that night isn’t just buried deep inside of Sam’s memory—someone else knows, someone who wants to make sure Sam stays quiet. All Sam wants is the truth, and if she can unlock her clouded memories of that fateful night, she can finally move on. But what if not remembering is the only thing keeping Sam alive?

Check it out on GOODREADS

Praise for Don’t Look Back:

“This engrossing thriller packs a heady atmospheric punch with plenty of theatrical scares,” Kirkus Reviews

“Armentrout has written another winner. From the first page to the last, she builds both terror and confusion to the point where readers will be hooked and on the edge of their seat. This standalone contains all of Armentrout’s usual trademarks– a strong and determined heroine, witty comments and hot guys–but she adds in an extra layer by ratcheting up the suspense to the highest degree and follows it up with an ending no one will see coming.” RT BOOK REVIEWS 4 1/2 Stars TOP PICK


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About Jennifer L. Armentrout:

# 1 NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki.

Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV.

She also writes adult and New Adult romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.
Check her out: Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads

 

Thanks to the fab Inkslinger PR!!
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On the Air with Krystal Wade

April 13th, 2014

SSWe’re chatting with Krystal Wade today, she is one crazy fun girl (just ask her about her “DC carpool”). Expect lots of laughs while we dish about her newest YA release, SHATTERED SECRETS.

SHATTERED SECRETS is blooming with aliens, young love and a tight mystery.

*For listening on the go, download our show from itunes*

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A LITTLE TOO MUCH Character Blitz

April 10th, 2014

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About:  In the follow-up to Lisa Desrochers’ explosive New Adult novel A Little too Far, Alessandro Moretti must face the life he escaped and the girl he loved and left behind.

Twenty-two year old Hilary McIntyre would like nothing more than to forget her past. As a teenager abandoned to the system, she faced some pretty dark times. But now that’s all behind her. Hilary has her life on track, and there’s no way she’ll head back down that road again.

Until Alessandro Moretti—the one person who can make her remember—shows up on her doorstep. He’s even more devastatingly gorgeous than before, and he’s much too close for comfort. Worse, he sees right through the walls she’s built over these last eight years, right into her heart and the secrets she’s guarding.

As Hilary finds herself falling back into love with the man who, as a boy both saved and destroyed her, she must decide. Past or future? Truth or lies?

Look up on Goodreads

Today is the character dream cast blitz post for the A LITTLE TOO FAR series by Lisa Desrochers. Three groups of bloggers will be posting dream casts from one of the books in the series. Be sure to check out each group to see how each story is connected and which characters can be found in one of the other books.

We are featuring  the dream cast from A LITTLE TOO MUCH (book #2 in the series).

We first meet Alessandro Moretti in A LITTLE TOO FAR. He is a transitional deacon studying in Rome, only months away from becoming a Catholic priest…until Lexie Banks stumbles into his life. She shakes him to the core and makes him question the path he’s on. He had a rough upbringing, and did some things he believes are unforgivable. He feels his only road to redemption is to give himself to the Church and devote his life to helping others. Lexie makes him see the flaws in his logic.

Eduardo Verastegui is my perfect Alessandro *sigh* ALTFar_Character3

He returns to New York to try to make amends for some of the wrong he’s done, and Hilary McIntyre is one of those things. He hurt Hilary in ways he can’t even admit to himself, and now he want to help her…but from a distance. But Alessandro finds that history catches up with him and he can’t stay objective when it comes to Hilary. Despite his best intentions, he’s falling in love with her all over again.

 

 

 

ALTM_Character2Hilary is hard to cast because she’s the product of an Irish redhead and a Jamaican. Picture Paula Patton with faint freckles and a reddish tint to her black hair.

Seeing Alessandro again rocks Hilary’s world. She’s finally got her life on track and there’s no way she’s going to let a ghost from her past derail it. And he can never know the true devastation he left behind. But as she finds herself falling for the man who, as a boy, both saved her and destroyed her, she has a decision to make. Risk everything for love, or walk away from her only chance at happiness.

We see these two again in a pivotal scene neat the end of A LITTLE TOO HOT (book 3 in the A LITTLE TOO series).

 

SERIES BUY LINKS:

little-too-far-240hA LITTLE TOO FAR:
Amazon

B&N

 

little-too-much-200A LITTLE TOO MUCH:
Amazon  

B&N

 

little-too-hot-240hA LITTLE TOO HOT:
Amazon

B&N

 

lisa-2010LISA DESROCHERS is the USA Today bestselling author of the A Little Too Far series, courtesy of HarperCollins, and the young adult Personal Demons trilogy from Macmillan. She lives in Northern California with her husband, two very busy daughters, and Shini the tarantula. Find her online at www.lisadwrites.com , on Twitter at @LisaDez, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LisaDesrochersAuthor.

Author Links:
WebsiteFacebookTwitter, Goodreads 

CHARMING by Krystal Wade COVER REVEAL

April 10th, 2014

Popular YA author Krystal Wade has a thrilling new young adult novel coming out on April 10th, 2014! The spine-tingling suspense in CHARMING will get your heart rate up.

We have a fun jigsaw puzzle of the cover for you guys! Go on, give it a try!

…but if you can’t wait, just scroll down and take a peek at final cover of CHARMING! 

 

about CHARMING: They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and that’s great . . . as long as you don’t die.

Sixteen-year-old Haley Tremaine had it all: top-notch school, fantastic family, and a bright future, but all of that changed when an accident tore her family apart. Now, an alcoholic father, a bitter younger sister, and a cold headstone bearing her mother’s name are all she has left.

Chris Charming has it all: a powerful CEO for a father, a prestigious school, and a fortune at his fingertips, but none of that matters when he lands a reputation as a troublemaker. Struggling to follow in his father’s footsteps, he reaches out to the one person he believes truly sees him, the one person he wants: Haley.

Little do they know someone’s determined to bring the two together, even if it means murder.

 Add CHARMING to your TBR pile on Goodreads!

KyrstalWade (1)Krystal Wade can be found in the sluglines outside Washington D.C. every morning, Monday through Friday. With coffee in hand, iPod plugged in, and strangers – who sometimes snore, smell, or have incredibly bad gas – sitting next to her, she zones out and thinks of fantastical worlds for you and me to read.

How else can she cope with a fifty mile commute? Good thing she has her husband and three kids to go home to. They keep her sane.

WebsiteFacebookTwitter, Goodreads 

 

 

Charming K Wade

 

 

BUSINESS AS USUAL by Denise Grover Swank Release Day Launch

April 10th, 2014

 

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BUSINESS AS USUAL:  Lexi Pendergraft has given up on finding love after a disastrous encounter with her last boyfriend. Instead, she focuses on two things: One, setting up a summer program for underprivileged middle-school aged students. And the second, getting to the bottom of her brother Reed’s recent strange behavior. His secret is destroying his relationship with his fiancée Caroline, and Lexi will do anything to help him save it. Especially after he gave up his dream to give Lexi a chance at a semi-normal college experience, something her parents threatened to steal from her after her rape a year ago.

Ben Masterson is determined to make it through his final semester of his senior year at Southern University. After recently losing his full ride scholarship, he’s suffering from sleep deprivation while trying to keep up with his mechanical engineering courses and working three part time jobs. He thinks he’s lucked out getting a job in the university math lab. The only problem is his boss—Reed Pendergraft.

As part of a role in a community theater play, Lexi wears a black wig and feels a confidence she hasn’t experienced in over a year. When she wears it to a bar close to the theater, she doesn’t think Ben, a bartender there, recognizes her. While Ben’s intrigued about what she’s up to, he’s smart enough to stay far away from his overprotective boss’s sister. Until fate forces him to help her, but why won’t she tell him her real identity?

 

Business As Usual CoverEXCERPT:  The song ends and I look across the room, hatred filling every pore of my body for the person who’s putting Alexa through this charade. Tina’s watching us with amusement. I look down into Alexa’s face and she steps away from me. Our song is done. Our commitment is up.

Only I’m not ready to let her go yet. Maybe I can save her at least part of her embarrassment.

I cradle her cheeks and stare into her eyes, looking for any sign that she finds my touch revolting. But her breath comes in short bursts and her pupils are dilated. My thumb strokes her right cheek bone, and it amazes me how smooth her skin is. I should stop prolonging my torture, but I don’t want to hurry this moment. I want to sear it into my brain.

I lower my face to hers and her mouth parts in anticipation. Our lips touch lightly and I run my tongue along her upper lip. Her hands return to my shoulders as she takes a step closer, pressing her chest to mine, her mouth parting as she sighs. My tongue accepts the invitation, twining with hers.

Her arms tighten around my neck and I slide a hand behind her head. Blood rushes to my groin and the way she’s pressed against me, she has to know I’m getting a hard-on, yet she doesn’t step away. She presses closer instead.

Still, I take my time with the kiss, making it last. I want more, so much more, but we’re on a dance floor, surrounded by at least thirty people, being watched intently by a group of perverts in the corner. I want to keep this pure. I want to take the thing Tina meant as a punishment for Alexa and turn it into something meaningful. At least for me. But the way Alexa clings to me tells me the experience has power for her too, even if it’s just because she’s sacrificing herself for some other guy.

I finally lift my head and stare into her lust-filled eyes and I want to curse the gods who put her in my path only to take her away.

“Thank you,” she breathes out with a sigh.

“Do think that was enough to appease her?”

Her eyes cloud with momentary confusion. “Oh…yeah.”

“If it’s not, I want you to promise me that you’ll ask me for help.” I sound like a pervert myself, but the thought of someone like Tattoo Guy pawing her nauseates me.

She seems to understand my intention because she gives me a grateful look. Tears fill her eyes. “Thank you.”

I want to kiss her again, to take her out the back door and away from Tina and her vile crew, but that’s not what Alexa wants. I step back and interweave my fingers with hers. It takes every ounce of fortitude in my body to take her back to that table. When we get there, I pull out her chair to show this table full of disgusting low-lifes how to treat a woman.

Tina claps her hands. “I think there might be hope for you two yet.” She waggles her eyebrows at Alexa, then looks up at me. “I told you Reed’s—”

Alexa leans forward, her eyes wild. “I think I need another drink.”

I stare at her in disbelief. She’s trying to interrupt Tina because she thinks I don’t know who she really is—Alexa Pendergraft, baby sister to that asshole Reed Pendergraft. And with a sigh, I realize it’s better this way, all around, because I would throw everything away to get one shot with this girl.

BUYAmazon Kobo

GOODREADS LINK

RAFFLECOPTER: Click to enter to win a $50 AMAZON CARD

 

Cathryn Farley PhotographyAbout Denise Grover Swank:  New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Denise Grover Swank was born in Kansas City, Missouri and lived in the area until she was nineteen. Then she became a nomadic gypsy, living in five cities, four states and ten houses over the course of ten years before she moved back to her roots. She speaks English and smattering of Spanish and Chinese which she learned through an intensive Nick Jr. immersion period.  Her hobbies include witty Facebook comments (in own her mind) and dancing in her kitchen with her children. (Quite badly if you believe her offspring.)  Hidden talents include the gift of justification and the ability to drink massive amounts of caffeine and still fall asleep within two minutes. Her lack of the sense of smell allows her to perform many unspeakable tasks.  She has six children and hasn’t lost her sanity. Or so she leads you to believe.

You can find out more about Denise and her other books at: www.denisegroverswank.com.

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LONDON FALLING by Chanel Cleeton COVER REVEAL

April 9th, 2014

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GOODREADS LINK

ABOUT: We weren’t a relationship, we were a ticking time bomb…

Maggie Carpenter walked away from the hottest encounter of her life when she left the seductive glitz of England for summer break in her South Carolina hometown. Now that she’s returned to the International School in London—and sexy, privileged Samir Khouri is once again close enough to touch—she can’t help but remember the attraction, the drama … the heartbreak.

She can’t help but want him even more.

Samir can’t afford to fall for someone so far removed from his world, not when his time in London is running out. It’s his senior year—his last chance at freedom before he returns home to Lebanon. There, he’ll be expected to follow in his father’s footsteps—not follow his heart to Maggie. But when a scorching secret hookup becomes a temptation neither can resist, they’ll both have to fight to survive the consequences … and find a future together.

Don’t miss this explosive sequel to I See London, and the riveting conclusion to Maggie and Samir’s story. This is a New Adult romance recommended for readers 17 and up.
PRE-ORDER LONDON FALLING: Amazon

I SEE LONDON (book #1) BUY LINKS: AmazonBarnes & Noble, iTunesHarlequin

 

ChanelCleetonAUTHOR BIO: Originally a Florida girl, at seventeen Chanel Cleeton moved to London to attend an international university. In the four years that followed, she received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees, learned how to dance, travelled through Europe, and made lifelong friendships. Chanel fell in love with London and planned to stay there forever. But fate intervened on a Caribbean cruise, when an American fighter pilot with smooth dance moves, swept her off her feet.
Now, a happily ever after later, Chanel is living her next adventure in South Korea. An avid reader and hopeless romantic, she is happiest curled up with a book. She has a weakness for handbags, puppy cuddles, and her fighter pilot husband.
Chanel is the author of the New Adult books I See London and London Falling with Harlequin HQN. Learn more about her on her website. Keep up with Chanel’s latest news, book giveaways, and more on her monthly newsletter.

AUTHOR LINKS: Website,  Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads

 

 

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Hollywood Temptation by Scarlet Wilson

April 7th, 2014

Hollywood Temptation by Scarlet Wilson

We are more than thrilled to be a part of the book tour for Hollywood Temptation! Living in Southern California, I still get giddy reading books that reference my home.  Although I live just a tad farther from the ocean. Just a tad…

AboutHollywood surgeon Colt Travers needs a new receptionist ASAP. When the adorable—and completely broke—Selena Harris comes in needing stitches, he takes a risk and hires her on the spot. She can pay off her bill, and he won’t have to answer the phone anymore. They’re opposites in every way, and she’s exactly what he doesn’t want in a woman—impulsive, carefree, and amusing. He’s trying to resist her, but the longer she’s around, the further he sinks into temptation.

Selena never meant to get herself in such deep financial straits. LA has way too much temptation, from high-end shopping to gorgeous men, and now her life is in chaos. But Colt is different—responsible and noble—and although their chemistry is off the charts, he’s keeping her at arm’s length. She’s determined to win his trust–and his heart–but will the secrets she’s desperately trying to hide ruin their chance for a big Hollywood happy ending?

21399387 (2)My Take:

It was really hard to connect with Selena from the first page. The book starts out with her getting hit in the head with one of her expensive shoes.  I felt she deserved it and the whole first chapter was funny and made me turn the pages quickly because Selena had a rotten attitude and I wanted all bad things to happen to her.
She has to seek medical attention (enter hottie, Colt) to stitch her all up.  She can’t pay her bill but is able to get a job at the Medical Center and that’s where we see Selena start to mature a bit.  Thank goodness!  She starts taking responsibility for her actions and that makes me start to like her. I started rooting for her.
Even though I didn’t respect Selena at first, I am glad she  spent the time working on herself and realizing her mistakes. I’m glad she got a job and started realizing that regardless of what happens in life, we gotta keep chugging on.
What I truly enjoyed is the fact that this isn’t just a romance, I felt it was about Selena and how she picked herself back up with a little help.  Of course, she looked fabulous doing it.  It IS a romance and it IS based in LA. haha
The ending was perfect and as I think back, I liked the witty comments between Colt and Selena.

I”ll definitely read the next Seacliffe Medical Series book.

For those who love work place romances like Beautiful Bastard and geeky stuff like Big Bang Theory, Star Wars, and Star Trek. (Yes, that does include me!)

Lauren Blakely’s FIRST NIGHT Release Day Launch & **GIVEAWAY**

April 7th, 2014

FIRSTNIGHTbyLaurenBlakely

We are thrilled to be a part of Lauren Blakely’s First Night release day launch!!  There is no doubt that this is on my Kindle as you read this. It is steamy!

First Night is an erotic novella from the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Lauren Blakely…

It was only supposed to be one night…

When the sinfully handsome man walks into her bar in San Francisco, Julia Bell simply wants a break from the troubles that keep chasing her. That escape comes in the form of sexy, confident and commanding Clay Nichols, who captivates her mind AND turns her inside out with pleasure. The attraction is electric and they share one scorchingly hot night together, but they also discover there is more than just off-the-charts chemistry; the connection between them runs deep. Clay never thought he’d return to New York with this woman still on his mind. But he can’t get her out of his system, and he needs more of her…He wants more than just the first night…

*This is a prequel novella to the erotic romance NIGHT AFTER NIGHT.*

BUY LINKS: iTunesAmazonBarnes and Noble

 

**GIVEAWAY**  $20 Victoria’s Secret Gift Card

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

FirstNightA Note from Lauren:

“I am so excited to share my first erotic romance series with readers, and I want as many readers as possible to be introduced to the hotness of Clay Nichols!! You will need a spare set of panties, or two or three, if you read this book! That’s why I am offering the full-length novel, NIGHT AFTER NIGHT, for pre-order at the special price of 99 cents. That’s right! You don’t have to wait for a sale. It is for the very short pre-order period only on Amazon and iBooks and for the first day of release on B&N on April 18th. I want to reward loyal readers with the lowest possible price and to give as many people as possible the chance to read. If you have already pre-ordered on Apple iBooks, you will automatically receive it for 99 cents! I will share the links as soon as the pre-order on Amazon goes live. The price will go to 2.99 on release day. NIGHT AFTER NIGHT will be followed by the second full-length novel, AFTER THIS NIGHT, on May 12th. That book is available for pre-order on iBooks for $2.99 and will go to $3.99 on release day. It will also be available for Amazon pre-order in mid-April for the same price.”

 

FirstNightTeaserBAbout Lauren Blakely: Lauren Blakely writes sexy contemporary romance novels with heat, heart, and humor, and her books have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iBooks bestseller lists. Like the heroine in FAR TOO TEMPTING, she thinks life should be filled with family, laughter, and the kind of love that love songs promise. Lauren lives in California with her husband, children, and dogs. Her novels include Caught Up In UsPretending He’s MinePlaying With Her Heart, and Trophy Husband. She also writes for young adults under the name Daisy Whitney.

Lauren’s Links:  Website , BlogFacebookTwitter

 

 

Itty Bitty Book Reviews, Early Spring Edition

April 5th, 2014

Happy Spring, everyone!  Well, okay….it’s cold here, but at least the sun is shining!  Here’s what I do know – it’s April and time for some more Itty Bitty Book Reviews!  I’ll be honest, I haven’t had a lot of time to read through much over the last few months and that pains me to admit, but things have been crazy.  So unfortunately, I ran into more DNFs than I’m willing to post here because I just didn’t have the time to slog through a book I hated at page 50 or 60.

But here are the ones I got all the way through:

one good earl One Good Earl Deserves A Lover by Sarah MacLean
Published Jan. 2013 by Avon

Amanda’s rating:  5/5

From Goodreads:  Lady Philippa Marbury is odd. The bespectacled, brilliant fourth daughter of the Marquess of Needham and Dolby cares more for books than balls, flora than fashion and science than the season. Nearly engaged to Lord Castleton, Pippa wants to explore the scandalous parts of London she’s never seen before marriage. And she knows just who to ask: the tall, charming, quick-witted bookkeeper of The Fallen Angel, London’s most notorious and coveted gaming hell, known only as Cross. 

Like any good scientist, Pippa’s done her research and Cross’s reputation makes him perfect for her scheme. She wants science without emotion—the experience of ruination without the repercussions of ruination. And who better to provide her with the experience than this legendary man? But when this odd, unexpected female propositions Cross, it’s more than tempting . . . and it will take everything he has to resist following his instincts—and giving the lady precisely what she wants.

This is a brilliant book.  I read the first in the series, A Rogue By Any Other Nameand it was okay.  I didn’t care much for the hero of that novel and so I didn’t bother to pick this one up when it came out.  A colleague convinced me that the second book, One Good Earl Deserves A Lover, was so much better and I finally relented.  I’m so glad I did.  It’s funny, charming, deftly conceived and written.  I adored both Pippa and Cross, two characters who shouldn’t get along but they do and it’s SOOO believable.  I’m a huge fan of bluestocking characters and my first love was and will always be Minerva from Tessa Dare’s A Week To Be Wicked but Pippa is an awfully close second.

grasshopper jungle Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith
Published February 2014 by Dutton Juvenile

Amanda’s rating:  I have no idea how to rate this book

From Goodreads:  Sixteen-year-old Austin Szerba interweaves the story of his Polish legacy with the storyof how he and his best friend , Robby, brought about the end of humanity and the rise of an army of unstoppable, six-foot tall praying mantises in small-town Iowa.

To make matters worse, Austin’s hormones are totally oblivious; they don’t care that the world is in utter chaos: Austin is in love with his girlfriend, Shann, but remains confused about his sexual orientation. He’s stewing in a self-professed constant state of maximum horniness, directed at both Robby and Shann. Ultimately, it’s up to Austin to save the world and propagate the species in this sci-fright journey of survival, sex, and the complex realities of the human condition.

Massively. weird. book.  And this is coming from someone who likes weird books, like Libba Bray’s Going Bovine.  I’m not even honestly sure what I read with Grasshopper Jungle, as though maybe I missed a bigger message or deeper meaning.

Or maybe it really is just about a boy who is trying to figure out life and sex and his friends and what it’s all about.  Oh, and bugs.  Giant freaking bugs.  I’m going to have to read this book again…..

trickster makes the worldTrickster Makes The World:  Mischief, Myth and Art by Lewis Hyde
Published February 1999 by North Point Press

Amanda’s rating:  4.5/5

From Goodreads:  Trickster Makes This World solidifies Lewis Hyde’s reputation as, in Robert Bly’s words, “the most subtle, thorough, and brilliant mythologist we now have.” In it, Hyde now brings to life the playful and disruptive side of human imagination as it is embodied in trickster mythology. He first revisits the old stories–Hermes in Greece, Eshu in West Africa, Krishna in India, Coyote in North America, among others–and then holds them up against the life and work of more recent creators: Picasso, Duchamp, Ginsberg, John Cage, and Frederick Douglass. Authoritative in its scholarship, loose-limbed in its style, Trickster Makes This World ranks among the great works of modern cultural criticism. 

Yeah, okay, not my usual fare for Itty Bitty Book Reviews but I have been fascinated by world folklore since college.  I blame my 500-level English professor, too many hot afternoons spent in a suffocating classroom where I’m pretty sure we were all hallucinating because of the heat, and his enthusiasm for storytelling.  Trickster characters are of particular interest because of their role in folklore – they play neither good nor bad, neither hero nor villain, but a chaotic neutral, a source of creation and destruction (for both others and themselves.)  If you have any interest at all in the myths and origins of storytelling, you’ll want to pick up this book.

six months later Six Months Later by Natalie D. Richards
Published October 2013 by Sourcefire Books

Amanda’s rating:  4/5

From Goodreads:  When Chloe fell asleep in study hall, it was the middle of May. When she wakes up, snow is on the ground and she can’t remember the last six months of her life. 

Before, she’d been a mediocre student. Now, she’s on track for valedictorian and being recruited by Ivy League schools. Before, she never had a chance with super jock Blake. Now he’s her boyfriend. Before, she and Maggie were inseparable. Now her best friend won’t speak to her.

What happened to her? Remembering the truth could be more dangerous than she knows…

Okay, full disclose – Natalie is a local author to the town I work in.  She has also become a friend of mine, but this was AFTER I read her book, so take that for what it is.  I really enjoyed Six Months Later from the get-go:  fantastic pacing, a really likable character in Chloe, and a good mystery.  I’m getting a little tired of the damsel in distress disguised as a butt-kicking heroine in YA novels, and Chloe, thankfully, takes care of business and doesn’t rely on anyone else to help her figure out what’s going on after she wakes up, six months later, after falling asleep in study hall.  And suddenly she’s everything she wasn’t – star student, part of the “in” crowd, and girlfriend to the big guy on campus.  It’s a quick read that will have you ripping through the pages as Chloe tries to piece together her memory, and the shards of her life, right up to the final encounter with the….

Oh, come on, did you think I would give away the ending?  I would never spoil another reader!

And finally:
how to run with a naked werewolfHow To Run With A Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper
Published December 2013 by Pocket Books

Amanda’s take:  3.5/5

From Goodreads:  Down, Boy

Anna Moder has just witnessed a shooting, seen her car pulverized, and rescued a wounded stranger only to discover he’s really a werewolf. And by her recent standards, things are actually looking up. Lycanthropes don’t faze Anna. Doctoring a wolf pack outside Grundy, Alaska, is the closest thing to home life she’s known in years. But hitching a ride to Anchorage with long-absent pack member Caleb Graham that&’s a risk. Part of her itches to whack his nose with a newspaper. The rest is trying unsuccessfully to keep her own paws off every delicious inch of him.
The problem is, Caleb employs his lupine tracking abilities as a notquite- legal bounty hunter, and Anna is suspicious of both him and his profession. On the run from her past, with old problems closing in, she’d like to stay far, far away from anybody with connections to the law. Caleb, however, seems determined to keep her close. Are his intentions noble, or is he working a more predatory angle?  Anna’s been dreaming of returning to a semi-normal life, but now she’s experiencing a strange new urge . . . to join Caleb in running with the wolves.

This is a fun book.  I’m less forgiving of urban paranormals than I used to be, so I’m a hard sell on most of these novels anymore.  A friend recommended this to me and I’m so glad she did.  Within the first chapter, I was laughing hard enough to know drinking while reading this book could be bad for the integrity of the book’s pages, which is an excellent way to keep me reading.  Did the insta-hot guy with an insta-attraction to Anna (because you know the rules of werewolves mean all the guys are hot) make me blink for a second?  Sure, but I kept reading because I wanted to see what would happen, and because Molly had such a firm grasp on her characters.  Anna has a strong voice and it shines through even the roughest parts of the book.

But what I really appreciated about this novel was Anna’s backstory – she’s on the run from a very personal problem, an abusive ex who put her through some horrible stuff.  That hit pretty close to home and I was glad to see Harper bring up this issue, and Anna’s resulting anxiety, depression, and fear, in what otherwise was a lighthearted romp through the Alaskan wilderness with a werewolf.

Like I said earlier, there were plenty of books in the last couple of months I DNF’d.  Most notably:

natchez burningancillary justicehyde

 

 

 

 

 

And I hate, hate admitting that I couldn’t finish the Greg Iles novel.  But I firmly believe I have to be in the right headspace to tackle an 800-page book that deals with race, politics and a whole other slew of big issues in the South.  I was not able to do that when I first got this book from Edelweiss.  I love Greg Iles and his weighty tomes usually hit me square in the kidneys, like any deftly plotted book should but….whew.

So now I’m onto these (thank you, Mindy McGinnis and R.C. Lewis, for sending me ARCs of your books!).  What are you reading?  Let me know in the comments!

stitching snowin a handful of dustmortal heart

 

On the air with Jennifer Chance!

March 30th, 2014

rock it by jennifer chanceWe’re so excited to have Jennifer Chance on the show today; she is the author of ROCK IT, a New Adult series about Lucy Dawes, a business girl/fangirl and her newest client, bad boy rocker Dante Falcone.

Jennifer Chance is hilarious, so be prepared to laugh so hard you’ll cry. Oh, and did we mention that Jennifer Chance is also Young Adult author Jennifer McGowan? Fans of Maids of Honor series will get a special dose of all things deception!

*as always you can subscribe to us on itunes*

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