Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Review: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge


Graceling meets Beauty and the Beast in this sweeping fantasy about one girl's journey to fulfill her destiny and the monster who gets in her way-by stealing her heart.

Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she's ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex's secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

4.5 out of 5 stars

Gah, I love dark and gothic stories.  And when those elements are blended into a unique retelling of my favorite fairy tale, Beauty and the Beast???  I don't know why I wasn't all over this book the very second I heard about it.

Nyx is the chosen one.  Stemming from a selfish promise made by her father, the time comes when she must leave her family and marry Ignifex, the demon responsible for the death of her mother and the ruler of Arcadia.

What I like most about Nyx though, is that she doesn't wake up and live every day with an "I'm going to save the world and I'm going to do it with a smile" mentality.  She HATES her destiny, despises her father for getting her into this situation, and resents her sister for being able to live a carefree life.  In other words, she is hardly a Disney Princess.  Still, deep down inside she does truly loves her sister and the country she is pledged to save.  As such the battle between such conflicting emotions starts to festers in her heart until she begins to maybe even loathe herself a little bit.

Still, she does what she must and life as she knows it changes forever.

She is thrust into a world of shadows and demons.  Ignifex lives in a house that changes at will and a life filled with secrets -- secrets that tease and taunt with hints revealed at almost every turn.  As the days and nights pass and with every moment she spends with Ignifex and with his shadow, Shade, she learns that maybe things aren't always what they seem.  Maybe SHE isn't what she seems.  Maybe the entire world isn't what it seems.

Did I mention this story is dark and twisted?   And that is is so so so good?

I'd be remiss if I didn't talk about the relationship between Nyx and Ignifex.  From the moment Nyx walks into his house, she is determined to kill him - not exactly the recipe for a healthy marriage.  What she finds, however, is that even with the knowledge that he indirectly killed her mother, there is something there that pulls her to him.  Neither is what the other expected and the banter between the two characters is spectacular.  I love good snark almost as much as I love good swoon. 

Rosamund Hodge takes you on an emotional journey through a deliciously dark and thrilling world that I am already dying to reread.  Cruel Beauty is solidly in my top reads of the year - I'm calling it now.   

Thank you to Edelweiss and Balzer + Bray for allowing me to read Cruel Beauty in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Facebook Romance Giveaway Hop


Do you love discovering new authors? Well, this is a great way!

Over 30 authors have come together and are each hosting a giveaway on their facebook pages for readers!

Below you will find a linky list of author names. You can ENTER every contest!!!

Please read the links carefully. Some giveaways are US ONLY, US/CANADA, and INTERNATIONAL (INT). Also, the ones that are young adult are labeled (YA). Some are New Adult, and some are strictly for the older crowd. :)

This is a romance giveaway, so no matter that genre each book has some form of romance in it.

The giveaways are a mix of ebooks, paperbacks, ARCs, and gift cards.

Are you ready to have fun???

Get clicking!!!

Good luck!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Review: The Fifth Favor by Shelby Reed

Imagine a world where a woman’s every pleasure, every wish and wildest fantasy is granted by the man of her dreams…

Such a world exists inside the walls of Avalon, an elite private club that caters to women’s deepest desires. Billie Cort, a reporter from the raunchy magazine Illicit, has come to Avalon to interview the club’s most popular escort, the breathtakingly sexy Adrian.

Expecting nothing less from a place like Avalon, Billie is still stunned at how effortlessly Adrian brings out her sexual side. Adrian, too, is surprised to find himself thinking about Billie long after their interview is over. Adrian, of course, is irresistible, but Billie isn’t accustomed to being pursued by outrageously attractive male escorts. Adrian wants her, but soon realizes that she can fill a role in his life that’s more than just physical.…

4 out of 5 stars.

So here's how this book came about.  I saw my friend Cosmo tweet about this book and I put it on my to-read list and entered the contest on Goodreads for a copy.  I never win these things - NEVER -- so imagine my surprise when I did!  Anyway, the book arrived and I was excited but overwhelmed by life and the holidays and put it aside for another time.

After one particular stressful day, I picked it up thinking that it would be another entertaining read, but definitely a guilty-pleasure.  I figured I'd have it finished in a day, be adequately distracted from real life, and move on.

The Fifth Favor is so much more than that.

Yes, there is the ahem...romantical element.  I mean, it is the story of the relationship between an reporter and a male escort.   When you watch Food Network, you see shows revolving around food, right?  Same sort of thing here.

Except once you get beyond the front door, you find yourself immersed in a story of second chances.

What I really really enjoyed about this book is that it wasn't the typical romance where boy meets girl, instant love, stupid fight, plotting friends, and happy ever after.  Adrian's life, though appearing perfect on the outside, isn't what it seems.  And while "Reporter Billie" starts to discover the truth, it is "off the clock Billie" that sees what truly lies beneath the smooth talker with all the right words and all the right moves and all the right...ahem, talents. 

As the story progresses and the relationship between Billie and Adrian intensifies, well, to say that there are challenges would be an understatement.  And while there were definitely times that I wanted to smack Billie for being a bit bratty and kick Adrian for playing the victim, overall I found them to be solid and believable. 

Ms. Reed writes a story that is filled with depth and emotion.  When I started reading, I was simply trying to clear my head.  When I finished, my heart was full.  I've been a reader for a very long time and I have read a lot of books -- it is not often that I am taken by surprise.  This book did just that. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Tick to the Tock by Matthew Turner - Excerpt and Giveaway

Dante King is a young twenty something who discovers he’s dying. He won’t live to see his next birthday and time is ticking away to live life before it’s taken from him. With the help of his eccentric and wild-free friend, Wilbur Day, and stubbornly rational cousin, Ethan Knight, the three friends embark on a trip that takes them across Europe, Asia, Australia and beyond.

Dante clings to his past though and the many regrets he has, yearning for acceptance and finally understanding faith. He’s only loved once, and when Daniella Adams comes back in to his life, the pair realise how in love they are – but must battle what they previously did to one another.

This is a heart pulling journey of amazing scenery and adventurous ways, but built on a life that is soon to end. It follows the love of Danii and Dante, finally realising how much they mean to each other but having it ripped away before their eyes. It’s about love and hardship between friends, family, and a dying son’s regret of not being better.

It’s a roller coaster ride of laughs and tears and making the most of life before it’s too late.

Amazon                         Barnes & Noble


Author links:


"Are you ready?" Macca shouts, an inch from my ear.

I nod. He positions the goggles around my eyes and works me into position, and as he warned at the base, I hang free over the edge of the plane: no legs on ground, no clinging on, simply strapped to a stranger and waiting for him to execute his plunge.

This is the moment I've been dreading. I assumed my insides would fail me and nerves would take control, but hanging free like this is the most peaceful I've ever been. He said it would only last a few seconds, but I want more. The world is beautiful. The sea is bright and the land rich. In the distance are the mountains we worked our way up yesterday, and beyond them, the ranging vineyards with purple and green and dark red grapes.

Wellington is somewhere in the distance, as too is Australia and Cambodia and Tibet and Europe. York is just over the horizon, and my parents are at home watching TV or reading a good book. My past is out there somewhere, all my memories and good times and bad. The future, too, hangs in the distance, on a thread and ready to welcome me. Maybe this is heaven. Maybe being high and peering down like this is all the heaven we need. This is freedom. This is glee. This is life.

I want to hang like this forever, but then, suddenly, I fall and my stomach is in my throat, but quickly, I adapt, and I'm not falling at all. I'm simply laying down on a bed of air and wind. I'm a cloud up here, not a boy or a man or a human at all. We're not falling; we're existing in another parallel.

I didn't expect this. I anticipated an up­and­down ride like a rollercoaster or turbulence in a plane, but it isn't at all. The wind pounds my cheeks, but it isn't painful or uncomfortable, it's refreshing. My insides are calm and limbs are light. I'm falling but not. I'm flying and free.

The air is fresh and clean and exhilarating. I didn't think I would experience the air of Tibet or Uluru again, but here it is, more intense and powerful than ever. This is true tranquility, the kind the birds live with, the kind I've looked up at and dreamed about and wished I was part of. I'm one of them, finally.  I'm high and gliding with abundant freedom. I see the sunrise at Uluru again. I feel that aura once more. I'm sitting at the foot of the Potala Palace, gaping up in awe with guilt and the desire to be better. All around me is honest and beautiful. There's no makeup up here presenting life in a different light. This is as a woman wakes in the morning, vulnerable and transparent. You cannot understand love until you see how honest it is, and you cannot appreciate life until you see it like this.

The land below approaches fast, the fields larger now and more distinct. In a few minutes, the trees will be trees, the houses, houses, and the beaches full of sunbathers and chairs and other gifts we're accustomed to. I don't want it. I want to remain here and look down on a patchwork quilt of greens and yellows and dirty browns. I want to see the blue with wisps of white dotted through, and the mountains that jut upward and cast shadows and patterns that can't be seen from the ground.

I'm  mesmerised  by  everything  below,  and  although  I  hear  the  whoops  and  shouts  from  Macca,  they're nowhere near me. I'm alone up here, I'm free and on my own. This is how I want to depart, not in my sleep one night, going to bed like any other and lying helplessly as life slips away. I want to go out with a bang as the ground rushes towards me and reaches, pulling, bringing me towards the light. What better way to leave this strange and wonderful world than to crash into it at such speed. I won't open up and slow myself down and try and survive, I'll bundle up into a ball or tense into a straight and narrow arrow, screaming through the air, screeching through the sky, and then, just before I hit terra firma, I'll close my eyes, say goodbye to colour, and hang on to my final memory.

Alas, the chute will open. I have life left to live, and though it's short and fleeting, I have more memories to muster and more love to offer. I'm a bird for now, but falling closer to manhood. Maybe freedom will remain this time. Maybe I can finally accept acceptance. Where Tibet and Uluru and all other places failed, maybe falling from the heavens will succeed and help guide me into what's next. Maybe I finally understand, or maybe I finally will.


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Book Blitz: A Date of Godlike Proportions by Tellulah Darling

A Date of Godlike Proportions by Tellulah Darling
(The Blooming Goddess Trilogy #2.5)
Publication date: December 20th 2013
Genres: Comedy, Mythology, Young Adult

There’s bound to be pressure when it takes 2500 years to get to a second date. Which is exactly why Theo Rockman, a.k.a. Prometheus, would rather not go. With his best friend gravely injured and the fate of humanity still on the line, Theo has all sorts of creative excuses to avoid dating swoon-worthy god and love of his life, Hephaestus.

YA romantic comedy gets an epic mythological twist in the free (at select retailers) short story A Date of Godlike Proportions (The Blooming Goddess Trilogy Book 2.5). Being human hasn’t killed Theo, but this date just might.

Great. The cavalry had arrived. I flicked my gaze over to my other best friend Hannah, staring at
me incredulously from her position in the doorway, where she had joined Festos.

Festos patted Hannah on the shoulder affectionately before edging past her to leave.
I reluctantly tore my eyes from his retreating figure to meet her bemused gaze.  Allies. That’s what I needed. “There’s too much at stake right now—like your future for example—for us to be going out on a—”

She flapped a hand at me. “Get dressed.”

I looked down at what I was wearing. Which was basically what I always wore. A long-sleeved
black T-shirt and baggy black pants. “I’m dressed.”

Hannah rolled her eyes. “Pierce,” she called out.

Her boyfriend trotted into the room at her call. “Yeah, love?”

Hannah pointed to a spot in front of me. “Stand there and look pretty, so this idiot gets the picture.”

Pierce nodded. He got into position and, with a toss of his blond tousled head, adopted the most
pouty model boy expression imaginable. He winked at me, obviously amused.

Hannah blinked at him. “Whoa. That’s pretty … pretty.”

“Down, Saul,” I said. “Besides, he’s the God of Love. I’m sure there’s some kind of inherent pretty
built into his DNA. With me?” I cast a skeptical look down at myself. “Festos knows what he’s getting.”

Pierce pulled up a desk chair and turned it around to straddle it.

Hannah kicked my legs away so she could sit down on the bed next to Sophie. She picked her
friend’s hand up to clasp between her own. Her lip quivered as she stared at her friend but she
quickly replaced any concern with a determined glare my way.

She crossed her legs and leaned forward toward me. “Have you seen that boy’s room? It’s like a
hurricane went off in there. He’s going nuts trying to find the perfect outfit for this special event and
you can’t even get changed?” She tucked a strand of her blond hair behind her ear.

I swung my head in Sophie’s direction. “Did you not notice your bestie lying there unconscious?”
Her hand tightened on Sophie’s. “Don’t be an idiot. Or drag Soph into this. We’re here. Nothing
else is going to happen to her. She needs to heal. And don’t pull any of that ‘fate of the universe’ crap
either. It’s one night. So, next excuse. I’ll shoot that down too.”

I closed my eyes. There was silence for a blessed moment.

“You feel guilty, don’t you?” She spoke softly.

I shrugged, my eyes still closed.

I felt her make the sign of the cross over me. “I absolve you of guilt, Prometheus.”

I gave a faint smile. “I’m not Catholic.”

“Well, I have no idea how to absolve a Greek God.”

“Titan,” I murmured. “And I’m not even that anymore.” 

Purchase Links:

Amazon:                 iTunes:                 It's free at Kobo:

About the Author:

Tellulah Darling
1. YA Novelist
2. Alter ego of former screenwriter and instructor
3. Sassy minx

Geeks out over: cool tech.
Squees for: great storytelling.
Delights in: fabulous conversation.
Writes about: where love meets comedy. Awkwardness ensues.

My first sucky kiss or the reason why I write YA romantic comedy

I don’t actually remember my first kiss. And believe me, it’s not because there was such a variety of them in my teen years that it just got lost in the shuffle. Which, sigh, is probably another reason I write YA romantic comedy.

At least my characters fare better than I did.

While I may not remember my actual first kiss, the first one I do remember is forever burned in my brain. I was fifteen years old and a cute boy (cute being relative to my age and the decade) had asked me to go to the fireworks with him.

Sounds romantic, doesn’t it? Yeah, throw that idea out.

Imagine you and ten thousand of your closest friends packed onto a beach to listen to a deafening soundtrack of rock ballads while watching the light show overhead.

Now make at least half of those people drunk.

But silly, innocent girl that I was, I though this was going to be highly romantic – a night of cuddling with perhaps one perfect kiss as the final firework burst overhead and in that moment of silent awe, I would feel, nay hear our two hearts beat as one.

I remember that we got there about three hours early to secure a spot. The boy had not brought any kind of blanket, so this was three hours of sitting in sand, while families and yahoos settled in around us. But that was okay. It gave us a chance to talk, probably about such scintillating topics as which of our friends was screwing around on whom and what TV shows were we watching.

I remember having overlooked the fact that he didn’t read because he was cute. (Never again.) It did allow a pleasant sexual tension to build between us and by the time the sun had set and the show started, I was all ready for the hand holding to begin.

Now, skip the hand holding. Because in a blink, as the crowd around us roared and the first flare lit up the sky, I felt myself pushed back onto the sand and these giant lips come towards me. Tongue may have been hanging out. And while I can’t remember that part exactly thanks to some very excellent trauma repression, I do have a very clear memory of thinking, “this is going to be gross.”

Which then warred with the thought, “but I am about to be kissed.”

The kissing won out. Because I was 15 and stupid. But it was a curiously detached experience, with me trying to figure out if his lips were growing and what the polite amount of time was that I could allow this before I shoved him off me and grabbed a desperately wanted tissue to wipe off my face.

Forty minutes. That was the length of the fireworks show (of which I saw nothing) and the amount of time he kissed me with those massive, fleshy, wet lips. I take responsibility for not shutting down the action sooner, but my mother had raised me to be polite and I wasn’t sure what the polite way to express “EW THIS IS SO DISGUSTING!” was.

So I kind of tuned out and focused on all the places that sand was creeping in. And not in a pleasant “yay friction” kind of way. At long long last, the show ended. At which point he did sweetly take my hand and we began the trek to the bus stop. I tried one last time to salvage my romantic ideals with a cuddle on the bus, but that seemed to give him the idea that I wanted to kiss some more. Which I so didn’t. So I moved seats. And that was the first kiss I can remember having.

Which leads me good people, to why I write YA romantic comedy. Because while I can appreciate the humour of awkward teen passion, I’m determined to write girls who will push that boy off them for not being romantic. Or ruining the kissing experience. Girls who will say, “Nope. This isn’t working for me.” Who will make their boys smarten up and figure out how to treat a girl, even if they
have to teach the guy themselves.

And I figure if I write enough great kisses, I’ll end up believing that one of them was mine.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Review: Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens

Right around Christmas, I tweeted and posted on the blog Facebook about a contest centering around the book Faking Normal, by Courtney S. Stevens.  When she reached out to bloggers to help her out, I jumped at the chance to get the word out because this book needs to be read.  I read it several weeks ago and was waiting until a bit closer to the publication date to post my review...until I realized that waiting wasn't doing anybody any favors and my thoughts needed to come out. 


Alexi Littrell hasn't told anyone what happened to her over the summer. Ashamed and embarrassed, she hides in her closet and compulsively scratches the back of her neck, trying to make the outside hurt more than the inside does.

When Bodee Lennox, the quiet and awkward boy next door, comes to live with the Littrells, Alexi discovers an unlikely friend in "the Kool-Aid Kid," who has secrets of his own. As they lean on each other for support, Alexi gives him the strength to deal with his past, and Bodee helps her find the courage to finally face the truth.

A searing, poignant book, Faking Normal is the extraordinary debut novel from an exciting new author-Courtney C. Stevens.

My Thoughts:

4.5 out of 5 stars.

To put it bluntly, this book punched me in the gut and it punched me hard.

I went in knowing that I was going to read an emotional book, I was counting on it actually.  What I didn't expect was a book that resonated through out every cell in my body.  

Alexi and Bodee...I don't even know what to say about them.  As a reader with a few scars of her own, I related more than I care to admit.  As a mother, I can't even begin to describe my need to comfort these characters and how I teared up over the way they kept their struggles so secretive.  Every ounce of me hated that they felt so alone and I wanted to crawl into the pages and tell Alexi to speak up and that she didn't have to keep quiet.  But it is so easy to question keeping secrets when we are on the outside looking in, isn't it?

Being a victim is never easy, but being a victim when you are still learning how to live ventures into the realm of cruel and unusual.  Life at 16 and 17 and 18 years old is hard enough on its own, but adding secrets to the mix makes living unfair and both of these kids would have done anything in their power to just live a normal life.  

It kind of makes me cringe when I think about the things I complained about when I was their age.  

Gotta love perspective...   

So it should come as no surprise that I cried for Alexi.  Not just because of her secrets however, but also in spite of them.    

Yes, her secret is gut-wrenching, but I also cried for her strength.  Because of the way that even with the scratches and the closet and the counting and all the anxiety that riddles her body as she tries to keep her family and friends in the dark, she was strong.  Stronger than any girl at any age should ever have to be.  All in her quest to be normal.

And for several months, she manages to pull it off.  Until one day when her life intersects with someone who can see past her facade.  

A boy with kool-aid hair who tries to live life while the entire town whispers about him behind his back.  He knows exactly what Alexi is doing, even if he doesn't know why.  While his scars weren't a secret, that doesn't mean that he wouldn't give anything to also be normal.

And he takes it upon himself to let Alexi know that she isn't alone. 

Like magnets, Alexi and Bodee are drawn together.  Because of what they feel inside, because of what they think the other needs, because when they're together, they distract each other from the pain and they don't feel so completely alone.  They don't judge, they don't criticize, they don't analyze...they support.  Beautifully and flawlessly.     

As the story progresses, the relationship between Bodee and Alexi begins to grow from one of pity to one of friendship to one of a gentle and super sweet romance.  I mean...every girl should have a Bodee in her life.  Every boy should take lessons because his heart is one of the purest I've ever read.   PUFFY HEART EYES!

And as Alexi learns to let Bodee in, she also realizes that keeping her secrets and faking her normal is starting to eat her alive.  He can't fight the fight for her, but he can support her through every single step.  All she has to do, is let him.     

It is really really difficult to write this review without giving away any of the details.  I have to think carefully about how to convey my connection to this book in a way that will do it justice and not tell their story.  I'm not sure anything I can type will be enough though because seriously, this story needs to be told.   

Ms. Stevens write a story about tough subjects and tough choices and she does it well.  There was just enough information given to let the reader know the whos and the whys and the hows but kept the events from being the focus of the story.  This story isn't about particular events, but the details in the life after and how, when allowed to fester, can begin to define how a person begins to exist.   

And how channeling your brave can be the best decision you'll ever make.  

Faking Normal will be available on February 25, 2014.  Put it on your to-read list now!
Ms. Stevens, I look forward to reading much much more from you.     

Thank you to Harper Teen and Edelweiss for the opportunity to read this amazing book. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Book Swap -- Yippee!

One of my resolutions for 2014 was to get to know some of the other amazing bloggers that are out there.  Between Goodreads and Twitter, I've become friends with quite a few, but I know that there are tons more that I haven't had the opportunity to follow.

And considering they obviously love books, I know that they have to be pretty fantastic people.

So, one of the first events I'm participating in is a book swap hosted by the lovely ladies at Chaotic Goddess Swaps. 

Basically, what is going to happen is that I am assigned a partner and we will exchange 3 books.  

1.)  A book you love
2.) A book you haven't read but are interested in
3.) A book from your partner's wish list.

So not only am I going to be connected with another book friend, I'm going to get three books that I get to read and review for you.  Win-Win!

When I started blogging back in April, I wasn't quite sure what exactly I was getting myself into.  And while there have been times where I've felt like maybe I was in a bit over my head, when something like this comes along, I am reminded just how wonderful the blogging community can be.

So yay!

If you are a blogger interested in signing up for this swap, the sign-ups are open until January 14th and can be found here.

Now I'm off to look at the other participants so I can try and guess who my partner will be!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

2014 "Real" Book Challenge

Real Book Challenge on Swoony Boys Podcast and Fiction Fare

A few days ago, I was invited by the amazing ladies at Fic Fare and Swoony Boys Podcast to participate in their "Real" Book Challenge.

Now, considering just how addicted I am to my Kindle, I wasn't quite sure how I was going to be able to pull it off.  But then I looked at the bookshelves across the room from me and counted 13 books that I haven't read yet.  I own them, mind you...but haven't read them.  (And as I type this, I remember that another book I ordered should arrive today).

Plus, I do love the way a good book feels in my hands.  And the way I can use cute little post-its to mark my favorite passages.  And how some of the books are signed by my favorite authors.

Don't get me wrong -- I am not even close to giving up my Kindle (THE HORROR!), but I am all in on this challenge.

I am aiming for 30...but really hope to leave that number in the dust.  I'll update this post as I finish each book just so you know where things stand.  Accountability keeps me honest :)

You can find out more about the "Real" Book Challenge here.  Check it out, sign up, join the GoodReads will be fun!

  1.  The Girl You Left Behind - Jojo Moyes
  2.  Reclaimed - Sarah Guillory
  3.  Looking for Alaska - John Green
  4.  Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott
  5.  Uninvited by Sophie Jordan
  6.  On the Fence by Kasie West
  7.  Siege & Storm by Leigh Bardugo
  8.  This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales
  9.  Iron House by John Hart
10. The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
11. The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson
12. Better off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg
13. Defending Jacob by William Landay
14. Open Road Summer by Emery Lord
15. Torn by Kim Karr
16. Mended by Kim Karr
17. How to Kill a Rock Star by Tiffanie DeBartolo
18. Deeper by Robin York
19. The Siren by Tiffany Reisz
20. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
21. Covet by Tracey Garvis Graves
22. Landline by Rainbow Rowell
23. A Triple Knot by Emma Campion
24. The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
25. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
26. The Opposite of Maybe by Maddie Dawson
27. The Angel by Tiffany Reisz
28. The Prince by Tiffany Reisz
29. The Mistress by Tiffany Reisz
30. The Saint by Tiffany Reisz

31.  Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline


Sunday, January 5, 2014

Review and Giveaway: Rome by Jay Crownover

Title: Rome (Marked Men #3)
Author: Jay Crownover
Genre: New Adult
Publication Date: January 7, 2014
Publisher: William Morrow an imprint of HarperCollins Publishing
Event organized by: Literati Author Services, Inc.


Cora Lewis is a whole lot of fun, and she knows how to keep her tattooed bad boy friends in line.
But all that flash and sass hide the fact that she’s never gotten over the way her first love broke her
heart. Now she has a plan to make sure that never happens again: She’s only going to fall in love with
someone perfect.

Rome Archer is as far from perfect as a man can be. He’s stubborn and rigid, he’s bossy and has come back from his final tour of duty fundamentally broken. Rome’s used to filling a role: big brother, doting son, super soldier; and now none of these fit anymore. Now he’s just a man trying to figure out what to do with the rest of his life while keeping the demons of war and loss at bay. He would have been glad to suffer it alone, until Cora comes sweeping into his life and becomes the only color on his bleak horizon.

Perfect isn’t in the cards for these two, but imperfect might just last forever . . .


My rating:  4 of 5 Stars

I have a slight confession that shouldn't be a surprise to anybody that knows me...I have a thing for tattoos and piercings.  I know, BIG SHOCK!  But I needed to put that out there so you'd understand why I was drawn to this series.  Because of Rule in book 1.

**glazes over**

Ahem, but yeah, this review is about book 3 and how much it surprised me in the best way.  See...Rome isn't pierced and he isn't tatted up.  But he is scarred and I think I fell in love with him a little bit.

As Rule and Remy's older brother, Rome took it upon himself to be the protector.  And he adhered to this role both as a sibling and in his life, serving multiple tours of duty in the Middle East.  Always strong, always brave, he survived tragedy in both his personal and professional lives...but while he survived, he carried scars that left him a shell of the man he used to be.

He lived in a world of black and white.  Of pain and suffering.  Of numbness.

Until a teeny tiny girl with a gigantic personality brought color slamming back into his life.

Cora takes care of her boys.  Period.  It is what she does to fill a void left in her heart.  She calls things like she sees them and isn't intimidated by anything.  So when Rome starts a little trouble shortly after getting back in town, she is quick to let him know that she isn't amused by pouring a beer over his head.

A little bit ironic then, when she answers a phone call from a local bar owner.

A phone call that changes everything.

Cora is a fixer and Rome needs fixing.  These are my favorite stories.  Especially when there is a history thrown in that while not direct and obvious, definitely connects the two characters before they even realize that there is a connection.  And oh my, what a connection these two have.  While I love a good slow burn, the chemistry between Rome and Cora was an inferno from the very beginning and nothing was going to stop it.

Not even their respective pasts.

The nightmares that haunt Rome at night, the nasty break-up that has Cora looking for perfection...nothing can douse the flames.  Btw, I'm totally cringing at my cheesiness with those last few words, but I couldn't think of another way to describe the way these two burn when they are together.

As Rome and Cora learn more about each other, they learn more about themselves and slowly begin to live.  To see life as it could be instead of what they have prepared themselves to expect.  A spunky girl sees that maybe perfect comes with a little imperfection and a broken man starts to see life with a bit more color.

And by the end of this book, I was a sobbing mess.  Because while I started this series looking strictly for a guilty pleasure read, by the end of this story, I had fallen in love with the characters.

And that is why I read.


I’m supposed to share interesting details about myself so that my readers get to know me so here we
go in no particular order: I’m an natural redhead even though I haven’t seen my real hair color in years, I’m a big fan of tattoos and have a half sleeve on either arm and various other pieces all over the place, I’ve been in the bar industry since I was in college and it has always offered interesting insight into how men and women interact with each other, I have 3 dogs that are all crazy, I live in Colorado and love the snow, I love music and in all reality wish I could be a rock star not a writer or a bartender but I have zero talent so there is that.

I love to write, love to read and all I’m interested in is a good story with interesting characters that
make the reader feel something.

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Friday, January 3, 2014

2013 - My Year in Books

So, my friend Stacee from Too Fond of Books told me about this fun challenge hosted by The Perpetual Page-Turner and as soon as I saw the categories, I was allllll over it.   I know that the new year started a few days ago, but I needed to give my answers some serious thought.  


1. Best Book You Read In 2013?

So, I'm going to cheat and list my favorites from the genres I read the most -- that works, right?

YA:  Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Romance:  Covet by Tracey Garvis Graves

New Adult: Making Faces by Amy Harmon

Dystopian:  Not A Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis 

Fantasy: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Adult: The Mistress by Tiffany Reisz


2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

 The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth LaBan


3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2013? 

The Ballad by Ashley Pullo - I picked this one up off of Amazon one day because it was free.  It was purely on a whim, I knew nobody that had read it and I ended up LOVING it!


4. Book you read in 2013 that you recommended to people most in 2013?

Wonder by R.J. Pallacio


5. Best series you discovered in 2013?

The Fire and Thorns series by Rae Carson


6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2013?

Rainbow Rowell


7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?

 I didn't stray far out of the norm this year, but if I had to pick one, it would be The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd.  I don't read much horror and didn't know exactly what to expect, but ended up loving it and have the next book in the series pre-ordered!


 8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2013?

All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill


 9. Book You Read In 2013 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

Covet by Tracey Garvis Graves -- I'm pretty sure my book club is going to have to discuss this one.


10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2013?

  This actually makes me a little sad because I love a pretty cover -- but I can't really say that I have a favorite from 2013.  Maybe this year.


11. Most memorable character in 2013?

Auggie Pullman from Wonder


12. Most beautifully written book read in 2013?

The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay


13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2013? 

Golden by Jessi Kirby


 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2013 to finally read? 

On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves


 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2013?

  If you think you're only getting one passage/quote from me, you don't know me at all :) 

“I turned in my seat. Will’s face was in shadow and I couldn’t quite make it out.
‘Just hold on. Just for a minute.’
‘Are you all right?’ I found my gaze dropping towards his chair, afraid some part of him was pinched, or trapped, that I had got something wrong.
‘I’m fine. I just . . . ’
I could see his pale collar, his dark suit jacket a contrast against it.
‘I don’t want to go in just yet. I just want to sit and not have to think about . . . ’ He swallowed.
Even in the half-dark it seemed effortful.
‘I just . . . want to be a man who has been to a concert with a girl in a red dress. Just for a few minutes more.’
I released the door handle.
I closed my eyes and lay my head against the headrest, and we sat there together for a while longer, two people lost in remembered music, half hidden in the shadow of a castle on a moonlit hill.”
Jojo Moyes, Me Before You  


“See that?" Paul said. "Ten goddamn seconds."
"I don't get it."
"You didn't even have to hear the whole song, just a few lines, and you got the chills and that swirly, happy-sad feeling in your gut, didn't you?" ... "That's the difference between the real stuff and the crap. I know which one you are and you know which one I am.”
Tiffanie DeBartolo, How to Kill a Rock Star 


“Holding Eleanor's hand was like holding a butterfly. Or a heartbeat. Like holding something complete, and completely alive.”
Rainbow Rowell, Eleanor & Park 


“We're all more than the person we show to everyone else. At least I hope so. Because I feel like there's more to me than that. I just haven't had the chance yet to show it.”
Jessi Kirby, Golden  


“I think there should be a rule that everyone in the world should get a standing ovation at least once in their lives.”
R.J. Palacio, Wonder 


If you want to know more of my favorites, just ask.  For real, I could do this all day :)


   16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2013?

The Queen's Army by Marissa Meyer (18 pages)

Lover at Last by JR Ward (696 pages)


  17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers!

There were quite a few but the one that jumps to mind right now is a certain moment in Not A Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis. 


18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2013 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).

Cath and Levi (Fangirl)

Will and Clark (Me Before You)

Claire and Daniel (Covet)

and I could go on and on and on and on...


19. Favorite Book You Read in 2013 From An Author You’ve Read Previously:

  Losing Hope by Colleen Hoover

(On a side note, I was amazed at the number of authors I read for the first time this year!)


20. Best Book You Read In 2013 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else:

Making Faces by Amy Harmon.  Thanks, Caren! 


 21. Genre You Read The Most From in 2013?

I would probably say Contemporary Romance.  Maybe.  Or Dystopian.


22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2013?

Levi from Fangirl


23. Best 2013 debut you read?

The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd


24. Most vivid world/imagery in a book you read in 2013?

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo


25. Book That Was The Most Fun To Read in 2013?

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell


26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2013?

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes


27. Book You Read in 2013 That You Think Got Overlooked This Year Or When It Came Out?

This was tough as well -- I guess I'm going to have to go with Degrees of Wrong by Anna Scarlett.  It came out in 2012 and I didn't hear a single word about it in August of 2013.



Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Offering by Kimberly Derting - Review and Giveaway



True love—and world war—is at stake in the conclusion to The Pledge trilogy, a dark and romantic blend of dystopia and fantasy. Charlie, otherwise known as Queen Charlaina of Ludania, has become comfortable as a leader and a ruler. She’s done admirable work to restore Ludania’s broken communications systems with other Queendoms, and she’s mastered the art of ignoring Sabara, the evil former queen whose Essence is alive within Charlie. Or so she thinks. When the negotiation of a peace agreement with the Queendom of Astonia goes awry, Charlie receives a brutal message that threatens Ludania, and it seems her only option is to sacrifice herself in exchange for Ludanian freedom. But things aren’t always as they seem. Charlie is walking into a trap—one set by Sabara, who is determined to reclaim the Queendoms at any cost.

Barnes and Nobleamazon blogBook Depository blog


My rating:  4 of 5 stars

I was so excited to get a chance to read The Offering!  I have a tendency to start a book series and then forget to go back finish them -- sometimes it is the time between books, sometimes life gets in the way, sometimes I don't want to say goodbye to the characters.  It happens.  But without a doubt, I knew that this was a trilogy that I wanted to see through to the end. 

I was not disappointed.

The Pledge intrigued me.  The Essence held its own and left me in a place that had me needing to know more.  This book, though...the third book...The Offering...HOLY COW!  From the first page, I was blindsided by the emotion.

For real...I almost had to put it down and walk away because THAT DID NOT JUST HAPPEN!

Now, you know I don't do spoilers, so this is where I go vague.  Something happens and things get really real really fast for Charlie.

And this is where my love for the supporting characters comes in.  Max and Eden and Brooklynn and Claude and Xander and Nico and Elena and even Sabara.  They never feel like "just" supporting characters to me.  While this trilogy is Charlie's story to tell, her conflict to resolve, these other characters are woven into the story in a way that makes me want to know just as much about their thoughts and emotions (or lack thereof) as of the Queen's.  In fact, I do have to be a bit honest in saying that my connection to these characters may even lessen my allegiance to Charlie.  I started this trilogy expecting Charlie's story and finished feeling like it was THEIR story.

And the more I think about it, I don't think that is a bad thing.

Ms. Derting writes relationships.  Charlie and Max.  Charlie and Aron and Brooklyn.  Charlie, Eden, Brooklynn.  Max and Xander.  Charlie and Sabara.  Nico and Sabara.  Each one is an integral part to this trilogy and there are others that I left off.  I think they are what really drew me in to her words and world -- yes, this is a dystopian story about a queen learning her way, but the conflicts aren't limited to the obvious.  There is so so so much more.

Gah, I love depth. 

And I love growth.

And I love when I finish a book/series and it just feels right.  That is what happens with The Offering.  It was right.  And I'm happy. 

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Pledge Trilogy

kimberly derting
Kimberly Derting is the author of the BODY FINDER series, THE PLEDGE trilogy, and THE TAKING (coming April 2014 from HarperTeen). She lives in the Seattle area, with her husband and three children, who often find the outrageous things they say either in the pages of her books or posted on Twitter or Facebook for the entire world to see.  
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