Thursday, August 22, 2013

Review: All of You by Christina Lee

From Goodreads:

Avery has just met her hot upstairs neighbor. He's irresistible. Tattooed. And a virgin.

Nursing student Avery Michaels wants nothing to do with dating—she's perfectly happy single. Privy to too many of her mother's bad decisions and even worse taste in boyfriends, all Avery can handle is a string of uncomplicated hookups whenever the mood strikes.

When she meets smoking hot tattoo artist Bennett, she wants him—for just one night. But he won't accept a no-strings-attached arrangement. He lives by a straight-laced code of values based on his own troubled upbringing.

Bennett sees something special in Avery and he wants more from her. Way more. As Avery wrestles with her emotions for Bennett, danger and tragedy force them to open up to each other. And Avery must face the terrifying realization that she wants more from him, too.

So she needs to make a choice—let Bennett go or finally let him in.

You know what, I really enjoyed reading this book.  

In a world filled with stories of good girls and bad boys, it was nice to see this dynamic.  Not that Avery is a "bad" girl, but she is definitely not like so many of the heroines we meet these days.  Having recognized the shortcomings and failings of her mother, she has taken control of her life and refuses to let a relationship define her.  Men and love are trouble with a capital T and she's better off without the distraction.  

Until she meets Bennett.

Bennett.  Gah, I need a minute to compose myself because just thinking about him makes me get all kinds of starry-eyed.  Like Avery, he also had a childhood that was far from textbook, but instead of emotional walls, he chooses abstinence.  Knowing what it was like living with a single mother, he refuses to be that man. 

Once Avery realizes that Bennett won't fit into her lifestyle, she tries her hardest to forget about him.  Easier said than done once he moves into an apartment in the same building.  

I love it when fate decides to intervene.

The dynamic between Avery and Bennett is one of my favorites in the New Adult genre.  With the proverbial lines drawn in the sand, they try to just be friends...and we all know how that ends up.  The chemistry between them is palpable, but beyond that, they genuinely care about each other.  Because they GET each other.

But with that connection comes a bit of vulnerability, and I'd be wrong if I didn't say that the two of them are ridiculously stubborn at times.  Thankfully there are strong secondary characters that do their best to knock some sense into Bennett and Avery and allow them to see what they could be missing.  Not gonna lie, I absolutely adored Mrs. Jackson and the role she played in this story.  What a gem.       

It is hardly a secret that I love swoony boys with ink and that I've been known to fist-pump when I find a story that has a heroine that refuses to be a Bella Swan doormat.  This book has both.  Add to the mix a storyline that didn't seem contrived or ridiculous and All of You is a book that did not disappoint.



Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller

From Goodreads:

Stolen as a child from her large and loving family, and on the run with her mom for more than ten years, Callie has only the barest idea of what normal life might be like. She's never had a home, never gone to school, and has gotten most of her meals from laundromat vending machines. Her dreams are haunted by memories she’d like to forget completely. But when Callie’s mom is finally arrested for kidnapping her, and Callie’s real dad whisks her back to what would have been her life, in a small town in Florida, Callie must find a way to leave the past behind. She must learn to be part of a family. And she must believe that love--even with someone who seems an improbable choice--is more than just a possibility.

Trish Doller writes incredibly real teens, and this searing story of love, betrayal, and how not to lose your mind will resonate with readers who want their stories gritty and utterly true.

I want.  Desperately.   

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a meme hosted by the lovely bloggers at Breaking the Spine - head on over and see what other readers can't wait to read.   

Monday, August 19, 2013

Review: Covet by Tracey Garvis Graves

If you follow me on Goodreads, you would have seen that I finished this book last week and gave it "ALL THE STARS I CAN GIVE".  I wasn't kidding.

I've been sitting on this review for a week now because I was convinced that anything I could possibly put in this space would only lead to massive embarrassment because of my inability to convert my thoughts about this book into words.  I mean, how in the world am I supposed to do it justice?

It is no secret that I loved the two other works I've read by this author - On the Island and the follow up novella, Uncharted, so Covet has been on my radar since I first heard that it was in the works.  Then came the magical day when I saw it on Netgalley and when I got the email saying I was approved...let me just put it this way:

Covet is Claire's story.  And Chris's story.  And Daniel's.  It is the story of how appearances aren't always what they seem.  We pick up after Claire and Chris have been married for several years, have two children, and after Chris has recently been hired after being unemployed for a year.

"We're the Cantons.  Sun-kissed, all-American, picture-perfect.  By all appearances, we're the ideal suburban family.  As long as you don't look too closely."

On the outside, things look great.  But with Chris's new job that requires traveling five days a week, not to mention the stress of being unemployed for a year and all the stresses that come along with that, life in the Canton household is far from perfect.

Claire does everything she can to keep the hopes and emotions of her family buoyed - but that comes at a cost.  With her husband gone so often, she gets the leftovers - the scraps - of what little is left of his time after the ridiculous demands of his boss and after he spends time with his his kids.  "As he should" she says.  But after all that - simply put - Claire is lonely.

Enter Daniel. 

Now, this story is not what you think.  It is not a story of adultery or betrayal.  It is a story of loneliness and devotion and vulnerability and faith.  It is a story of friendship and love and connections between people.  It is a story of clinging to whatever you have to to cope and survive.

Covet is written from three different points of view - Claire, Chris and Daniel.  We get glimpses into their past, into their present, and not only into their lives, but the lives of their friends and neighbors.  Glimpses that go beyond the outer layers until you see just how vulnerable these characters are, no matter how things appear from a distance.  I was pulling for Claire and Chris.  I loved the friendship between Claire and Daniel - is it even possible for a man and a woman to be just friends?

And when tough decisions had to be made, I felt the heartbreak.  But beyond that heartbreak, I also found hope.  And faith.  And my heart was completely full of FEELS! 

This book blew me away.  From the very first page until the very last word, I couldn't put it down and Tracey Garvis Graves secured her spot at the very top of my "I'll read anything and everything they ever write" list.  I didn't eat.  I stayed up way too late.  I even went ahead and pre-ordered it because just having it on my Kindle isn't enough.  I need to hold it and love it and read it over and over and over again.

Simply put, books like this one are why I read.  

 Thank you to Netgalley for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of Covet.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Review: The Guardians by T.M. Franklin

Sometimes books just don't want to let go. You read them and enjoy them and move on to read other books, but you find yourself thinking back to characters or plotlines and not really paying attention to what you're currently reading.

Yeah, that happened.

I know I reviewed More, the first book in this series last week, and I had every intention of saving this review until a bit closer to the publication date...but well, I couldn't stop thinking about it.

It even distracted me from Candy Crush and that is SERIOUS BUSINESS.

The Guardians picks up a few months after More ends. Caleb and Ava's relationship is as solid as ever and Ava has continued to learn more about who she is and what she is capable of. But this book is not more of the first book. It takes us deeper into the world of the Guardians, members of The Race that have broken away from the Council and operate a sort of underground railroad for half-breeds. We meet Caleb's father, laugh at the interactions between Ava and Tiernan (I love this dynamic), and learn a little bit more about what devious plot The Rogues have conceived.

And it is a doozy.

But that's all you're going to get from me about that -- no spoilers here! Nope. It is no secret that I read a lot of books. A Lot. And over time, I've sort of come to expect a sort of sophomore slump with the 2nd book in a series. That did not happen for me this time. I am just as intrigued, if not more after reading The Guardians and I can NOT wait to get my hands on the next book.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Review: The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider

From Goodreads:

Golden boy Ezra Faulkner believes everyone has a tragedy waiting for them—a single encounter after which everything that really matters will happen. His particular tragedy waited until he was primed to lose it all: in one spectacular night, a reckless driver shatters Ezra’s knee, his athletic career, and his social life.

No longer a front-runner for Homecoming King, Ezra finds himself at the table of misfits, where he encounters new girl Cassidy Thorpe. Cassidy is unlike anyone Ezra’s ever met, achingly effortless, fiercely intelligent, and determined to bring Ezra along on her endless adventures.

But as Ezra dives into his new studies, new friendships, and new love, he learns that some people, like books, are easy to misread. And now he must consider: if one’s singular tragedy has already hit and everything after it has mattered quite a bit, what happens when more misfortune strikes?

Robyn Schneider’s
The Beginning of Everything is a lyrical, witty, and heart-wrenching novel about how difficult it is to play the part that people expect, and how new beginnings can stem from abrupt and tragic endings.

You know those moments when the stars align and you read the perfect book at the perfect time?  Yeah, that happened to me last weekend.  I was in a meh mood and life was just one kick in the ass moment after another...until I started reading this book.


I can already tell that this post is going to be a bunch of different rambles all with the same message.  That being, you need to read this one.  My emotional response to this book just stomps all over my ability to form coherent thoughts.  I don't even know...the writing, the words, the characters...they just marched into my heart and decided to take up permanent residence. 

Ezra.  Gah, what can I say about him?  I loved him from the very beginning.  His struggles...I have been there.  Obviously not in the same way, but the parallels...yeah, they were absolutely there.

That everyone's life, no matter how unremarkable, has a moment when it will become extraordinary-a single encounter after which everything that really matters will happen.

I know my moment.  The very single instance when I figured out who I was and what was truly important in life.  Maybe that was my connection to this book - that having had my moment, I found myself pulling for Ezra and rooting for him as he searched for his path.

And Cassidy...I both loved her and hated her.  And maybe felt a little bit jealous of her until I wanted to hug her.  This vibrant tornado that appears everyday and uproots everything Ezra thought he needed to hold on to.

I loved the two of them together.  The back and forth between them, the emotional connection, the cuteness and awkwardness of early relationships...perfect.  And real.  

There was a true balance in the writing.  There were moments that were completely poetic and there were moments that were so completely high school that I found myself alternating between giggling and swooning over pretty words.  Ezra and Cassidy...their life experiences have unfortunately propelled them to this level of philosophic maturity where they shouldn't have to be at 17, and then they would say something or laugh at something that would remind you that oh yeah, they were definitely still in high school.

And even when it all comes crashing down around them, it results in an ending that works. 

I told you my thoughts were all over the place...

But like I said in the beginning, sometimes the book gods smile down and you read the right book a the right time.  With its blend of happy and sad and funny and reality, The Beginning of Everything has a permanent place on my list of favorites and will be one I recommend forever.


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday - The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes

From Goodreads:

In 1916 French artist Edouard Lefevre leaves his wife Sophie to fight at the Front. When her town falls into German hands, his portrait of Sophie stirs the heart of the local Kommandant and causes her to risk everything - her family, reputation and life - in the hope of seeing her true love one last time.

Nearly a century later and Sophie's portrait is given to Liv by her young husband shortly before his sudden death. Its beauty speaks of their short life together, but when the painting's dark and passion-torn history is revealed, Liv discovers that the first spark of love she has felt since she lost him is threatened...

The Girl You Left Behind two young women, separated by a century, are united in their determination to fight for the thing they love most - whatever the cost.

It is no secret how much I loved the novel Me Before You, so when I learned that Jojo Moyes had another book coming out, there may have been a little squeeing.  Or a lot.  The best part is, is that it is being released on August 20th, so I have just under two weeks to wait.  Yay!

What book are YOU waiting on?

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a meme hosted by the lovely bloggers at Breaking the Spine - head on over and see what other readers can't wait to read.  

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Wish Could Have Had Sequels

The super fun bloggers at The Broke and The Bookish host a fun meme called Top Ten Tuesday and I am addicted!

This week's topic: Top Ten Books I Wish Could Have Had Sequels

I found this week's topic to be rather difficult with all the book series that are being published.  But I'm not one to back down from a challenge, so I kept thinking about it and came to this realization - wanting a sequel does not mean that I found the ending lacking or incomplete -- it could mean that I simply don't want to let go of the characters or that maybe I want more about a secondary character.  Suddenly my list was much easier.  

Of course, this also means that I'm wanting to do a couple of rereads...immediately. 

What is on YOUR list?

Monday, August 5, 2013

Review: More by T.M. Franklin

From Goodreads:

Ava Michaels used to think she was special.

As a child, she fantasized about having magical powers . . . making things happen. But Ava grew up and eventually accepted the fact that her childish dreams were just that, and maybe a normal life wasn't so bad after all.

Now a young college student, Ava meets Caleb Foster, a brilliant and mysterious man who’s supposed to help her pass Physics, but in reality has another mission in mind. What he shows Ava challenges her view of the world, shaking it to its very core.

Because Caleb isn't quite what he seems. In fact, he's not entirely human, and he's not the only one.

Together, the duo faces a threat from an ancient race bound to protect humans, but only after protecting their own secrets—secrets they fear Ava may expose. Fighting to survive, Ava soon learns she's not actually normal . . . she's not even just special.

She's a little bit more.

This is a book that has been on my radar for months, but I go through phases when reading stories with a Paranormal element.  It is either gimme gimme gimme or I just can't get into them.  So I'll admit, it was a risky move when I requested More from Netgalley.   It was also a smart move. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  The characters were well-written, the plot was well thought out and as the first book in a new series, it laid a solid foundation for future books.  This is a huge deal for me because I am a big believer in "less is more" and I find many series openers tend to be guilty of backstory overkill.  This book found that balance.  There was just enough information to pique my interest but not enough where I felt smothered and I found myself reading at every possible opportunity, finishing this book in just over a day..  Well done, Ms. Franklin. 

Ava is a believable and realistic heroine   Though she is struggling with Physics, balancing school and a job, on top of the stress of leaving her parents and the security of home, she isn't whiny.  She is determined and isn't afraid to ask questions or ask for help.  And as we later learn, she is a bit stubborn and head-strong.  I liked her - and that's saying something because I am soooo guilty of judging heroines.  

Caleb -- he makes me smile.  Super smart and a bit dorky, I found him a pleasant change from the typical dominant male hero.  Don't get me wrong, he isn't a wimp, but he isn't bossy.  And he isn't a "greek god".  And he isn't Mr. BMOC.  He isn't perfect and I think that's what I like the most about him. 

Their adventures kept me reading and reading and reading.  I didn't get bored and I found myself trying to guess what was going to happen next or why things happened, feeling like it was happening right in front of my eyes.  And when I got to the ending, I was left satisfied.

I also immediately picked up the next in the series, but more on that in a separate review.  

Definitely put this one on your to-read list.  You won't regret it. 


Saturday, August 3, 2013

Blog Tour: Making the First Move by Reese Ryan

Making the First Move Tour Banner


 You know how I feel about Making the First Move based on my review, but when offered the opportunity to take part in the official Blog Tour, of COURSE I had to accept.  Because Reese Ryan is awesome and so is her book.  Read it.  


Making the First Move by Reese Ryan
 Making the First Move is available at these fine booksellers:
Amazon | B & N | B-A-M | iTunes | Amazon United Kingdom | Audible 

Melanie Gordon has spent the past five years obsessing over her career to dull the pain of a devastating breakup and the loss of her father. Her effort pays off when she receives the promotion that could be her big break. Only it means returning to her hometown to face her past while leaving behind the man who could be her future. Selfless (and insanely sexy) philanthropist, Raine Mason, is committed to his cause. But his passion for rescuing high-risk young males from the road to disaster is fueled by his own dark and tragic past. When Raine is ready to take his casual friendship with Melanie to sizzling new heights, her one-way ticket to Cleveland is already booked. But a steamy night of passion leaves them both wanting more, even if Melanie is afraid to admit it. She reluctantly agrees to a long-distance relationship with no promises and no commitments. Melanie may finally be ready to give Raine her heart…but then she discovers startling news that causes her to question everything she knows about him. Worse, he’s harboring a dark secret from his past that threatens to shatter any hope of a future for them unless he can convince her that their love is worth the risk.
Add Making the First Move to Goodreads
Excerpt Saturday morning I awake alone, tangled in the sheet. I roll over and look at the clock. It’s ten-thirty. Sitting up, I look around for evidence of my night with Raine. I need confirmation that it wasn’t an exceedingly vivid fantasy. Raine’s clothes are no longer on the floor where he’d tossed them last night, but I smell food and hear pots clanging. Slipping from under the covers, I hurry into the bathroom, grateful I won’t be forced to do an awkward sheet shimmy. The mirror reveals what Raine must have seen this morning. Hair smashed flat on one side, crust in the corners of my eyes—and is that dried drool? I shudder. Standing under the steaming hot water in the shower, I lather my hair, replaying the night before. Finally I emerge from the bathroom in my bathrobe—teeth brushed, body scrubbed, hair washed and pulled into a neat, low bun. I follow the tantalizing aroma of breakfast. Raine stands at the stove barefoot in jeans and an undershirt. He turns toward the sound of my footsteps. His eyes light up and he breaks into a grin that flexes every muscle in his face. The last time someone was this glad to see me, I had to take him for a walk and give him doggy treats. “Morning, sleepyhead.” He leans in to kiss me then quickly returns his attention to the skillet. “Hungry?” “You cuddle. You spend the night. You make breakfast.” I shake my head. “Are you for real? ’Cause I’ve seen this in Lifetime movies. It doesn’t end well.” When he looks away quickly, I’m afraid I’ve offended him. But then the right side of his mouth turns up in a half smile. “Consider yourself the beneficiary of two decades of trial and error,” he says. “Or maybe this is all part of my evil plan.” He raises his eyebrows up and down manically. “So there is an evil plan. Well, that’s a relief.” I smile. “But I shouldn’t be surprised. There’s a lot more to you than you let on.” I gently trace the sword tattoo on his right arm with my fingertips. Raine offers a quick smile before he focuses on his cooking again. He slides a spatula underneath the omelet he’s cooking and gently flips it. “Like I said, things were crazy for a few years. My mother likes to call it my ‘Tattoo Period.’” “Looks like you were quite the badass.” I touch the faded blue head of a large phoenix across his back. “Exactly how many tattoos do you have?” “Four. One on each arm. One on my chest. One on my back. It only looks like more because of their size.” He picks up a strip of bacon and offers it to me. I take a bite. “That’s practically a choir boy by NBA standards.” “True.” I nibble on the bacon. “Still, there must be a helluva story behind every one of those.” “There is.” A hint of perturbance flashes behind stormy gray eyes. “But that’s a conversation for another day.”
Buy Making the First Move on Amazon
Buy Making the First Move at Barnes & Noble
Buy Making the First Move on iTunes


MAKING THE FIRST MOVE author, Reese RyanReese Ryan writes sexy, contemporary fiction filled with colorful characters and sinfully-sweet romance. She secretly enjoys torturing her heroines with family and career drama, reformed bad boys, revealed secrets, and the occasional identity crisis, but always rewards them with a happily ever after. Born and raised in the Midwest, she now resides in Central North Carolina with her husband and young adult son who tolerate her propensity to sing and dance badly. A self-proclaimed Bohemian Southern Belle, she treads the line carefully between being a Northerner and a damned Yankee--despite her insistence on calling soda pop. Reese gauges her progress by the number of “bless your lil’ hearts” she gets each week. She is currently down to two. Visit Reese online at Follow her on Twitter @ReeseRyanWrites. Connect with her on Facebook.   Making the First Move Blog Tour Grand Prize
Making the First Move Grand Prize
  • $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble Gift Card
  • Digital copy of Making the First Move by Reese Ryan
  • Digital copy of The Winning Season by Alison Packard
  • Digital copy of Knowing the Score by Kat Latham
  • Digital copy of Personal Assets by Kelsey Browning
  • Digital copy of Derby Girl by Tamara Morgan
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Thursday, August 1, 2013

Cover Reveal: Torch by Cambria Hebert

Genre: New Adult Contemporary
Author: Cambria Hebert
Published by Cambria Hebert
Release Date: August 23, 2013
Format: Ebook and Paperback
Link to Goodreads

 TORCH (a Take It Off novel)
***This is a new adult contemporary novel and contains sexual content and graphic language. It is not intended for young adult readers.***

If you can’t take the heat… stay away from the flame.
Katie Parks has been on her own since the age of fifteen. All she’s ever wanted is a place to call her own—a life that is wholly hers that no one can take away. She thought she finally had it, but with the strike of a single match, everything she worked so hard for is reduced to a pile of smoking ash. And she almost is too.
Now she’s being stalked by someone who’s decided it’s her time to die. The only thing standing in the path of her blazing death is sexy firefighter Holt Arkain.
Katie’s body might be safe with Holt… but her heart is another story.
As the danger heats up, sparks fly and the only thing Katie knows for sure is that her whole life is about to go up in flames.

Cambria Hebert is the author of the young adult paranormal Heven and Hell series, the new adult Death Escorts series, and the new adult Take it Off series. She loves a caramel latte, hates math and is afraid of chickens (yes, chickens). She went to college for a bachelor’s degree, couldn’t pick a major, and ended up with a degree in cosmetology. So rest assured her characters will always have good hair. She currently lives in North Carolina with her husband and children (both human and furry) where she is plotting her next book. You can find out more about Cambria and her work by visiting

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Cambria’s website: