Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Waiting On...TAKE ME ON by Katie McGarry

I've highly enjoyed all of Katie McGarry's prior offerings -- they're sweet and schmatzy with just enough angst (but not too much) and, of course, some lovely passion. And I can't believe how fast this one is coming out! I only just heard that she had another offering (yes, my head's been up my arse this year. Just another thing that's slipped by me. *headdesk*).

Not the biggest fan of this cover. I like the font and title style but the picture's just not doing it for me. They both look so sad! Like someone's just died and he's comforting her. Plus, I keep singing Ah-Ha's "Take Me On" every time I see the title and then I get an all-day earworm. *sings* Take me on! Take on me!
YA Contemporary Romance
544 pages, hardcover (wow, that's LONG!)
Expected publication: May 27, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Champion kickboxer Haley swore she'd never set foot in the ring again after one tragic night. But then the guy she can't stop thinking about accepts a mixed martial arts fight in her honor. Suddenly, Haley has to train West Young. All attitude, West is everything Haley promised herself she'd stay away from. Yet he won't last five seconds in the ring without her help.

West is keeping a big secret from Haley. About who he really is. But helping her-fighting for her-is a shot at redemption. Especially since it's his fault his family is falling apart. He can't change the past, but maybe he can change Haley's future.

Hayley and West have agreed to keep their relationship strictly in the ring. But as an unexpected bond forms between them and attraction mocks their best intentions, they'll face their darkest fears and discover love is worth fighting for.

Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Top Off Tuesday: Bad Boys and Wallflowers Serial by Maya Rodale

Started by FeliciaChristi and Amanda, Top Off Tuesday is where a bunch of us share hot-hot-hot book covers (some we've read, some we've just drooled on). Head over to Felicia's blog to share your ToT link and see what everyone else is swooning over.

THE BAD BOY BILLIONAIRE'S WICKED ARRANGEMENT (Bad Boys and Wallflowers #1.5) by Maya Rodale
Contemporary Romance
128 pages, paperback serial part I
Available now (January 2014)
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Review copy provided by publisher for honest review

Jane Sparks has accidentally announced her engagement on Facebook—to the infamous Bad Boy Billionaire, Duke Austen. As soon as it’s discovered that Jane and Duke barely know each other (One hot kiss at a party does not a relationship make), she’ll be humiliated. And then Duke does something Jane never expected. He plays along with her charade.

With his hard partying, playboy reputation jeopardizing a fifty million dollar investment deal, Duke realizes an engagement with the hot but oh-so-proper librarian could be just the thing to repair his reputation. This good girl tempts him to be very wicked…but just with her. It’s unprecedented. Inconceivable. Totally alluring.

As the unlikely match of librarian and tech entrepreneur set out to convince the world—and the internet—that their love is real, something unexpected happens: they start falling for each other. But Jane is secretly writing a historical romance novel that could expose their carefully constructed romance…unless two perfect strangers are content to be perfectly scandalous together.

I know, I know. Serials. They kill me because I read books in mere hours and, well, these are only *parts* of books. They force me to slow down, to wait. I hate waiting. I'm way too impatient, especially when it's a story that I like. Granted, this is a romance so there's going to be an HEA at the end (okay, there darned well better be or I'm going to throw a serious hissy fit). I like the set-up of this one: a bad boy needs a good girl to help his image. It's an arrangement that's a win-win for both people. And I also like that Jane's historical romance is actually the first book in this series, THE WICKED WALLFLOWER (which was REALLY good, btw). Despite my dislike of serials, I'm definitely going to read the next one.

THE BAD BOY BILLIONAIRE'S GIRL GONE WILD (Bad Boys and Wallflowers #2.5) by Maya Rodale
Contemporary Romance
144 pages, paperback serial part II
Available now (February 2014)
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Review copy provided by publisher for honest review

Being good hasn't exactly worked out well for Jane Sparks. Her ex-boyfriend dumped her for being too predictable, and her fake fiancé, Duke Austen, is counting on her good-girl image to repair his bad-boy reputation. But everything changes with the publication of the historical romance novel she wrote based on her fauxmance with the Bad Boy Billionaire. Suddenly she's notorious, scandalous, and causing lots of trouble.

Duke Austen always admired Jane's poise and perfectly demure behavior … qualities that seemed to have vanished once she helped him land a big investment deal. But now that his company is on the verge of a 20-billion-dollar IPO, the stakes have never been higher—and Jane has never been more shocking, provocative, or wickedly irresistible. She's not at all the woman he bargained for, yet she's the only one he wants.

Duke is determined to woo his girl gone wild. She's determined to keep him guessing. But Jane is discovering that there's nothing so appealing as a billionaire who's mad, bad, and dangerously seductive.

Uh-oh. Jane's book has been published (as Maya Rodale...kind of cheesy but kind of fun at the same time) and now she's no longer the good girl on Duke's arm. She's trouble and that means trouble for Duke. But there's now heat between the two, passion, and they kind of like each other. But Duke's going to have to work to win the girl. What I'm not liking is that Jane is thinking about getting back together with her ex-fiance, who's a dull jackass. Why? Don't do it, Jane! Duke's your man!

THE BAD BOY BILLIONAIRE: WHAT A GIRL WANTS (Bad Boys and Wallflowers #3.5) by Maya Rodale
Contemporary Romance
100 pages, paperback serial part III
Available May 13, 2014
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Review copy provided by publisher for honest review

Everyone knew that Jane Sparks had been dumped by her high school sweetheart and fired from her job, which is why she was really looking forward to attending her high school reunion as a successful romance novelist—with her hot billionaire boyfriend as a date. But a violent encounter with her ex-boyfriend changed everything.

Duke Austen was the luckiest guy in town … almost.

Duke Austen is a blue-eyed charmer with a bad-boy reputation and ambitious plans for his future—after two failed startups, this tech entrepreneur is about to celebrate the 20-billion-dollar IPO of his company—but it no longer matters when the woman he loves has been hurt. Stranded in his apartment during a hurricane, without power, they must rebuild their trust … and fall in love all over again.

Just when they have it all figured out, Jane and Duke are forced to decide what matters more: facing her past or celebrating his successful future.

The ex-fiance's still skulking around, causing dissonance between Jane and Duke and getting in the way of my...ahem, their happy ending. *shakes fist* Even though this part's the shortest, it was also the deepest, as we delved into feelings more than actions. Very cute how it all tied together. Now, I can't wait for the third book, WHAT A WALLFLOWER WANTS.

Monday, April 21, 2014

It's not you, it's me: Genres across the board

LANDRY PARK (Landry Park #1) by Bethany Hagen
YA Science Fiction
374 pages, hardcover
Available now (February 2014)
Publisher: Dial
Review copy won via Goodreads

In a fragmented future United States ruled by the lavish gentry, seventeen-year-old Madeline Landry dreams of going to the university. Unfortunately, gentry decorum and her domineering father won't allow that. Madeline must marry, like a good Landry woman, and run the family estate. But her world is turned upside down when she discovers the devastating consequences her lifestyle is having on those less fortunate. As Madeline begins to question everything she has ever learned, she finds herself increasingly drawn to handsome, beguiling David Dana. Soon, rumors of war and rebellion start to spread, and Madeline finds herself and David at the center of it all. Ultimately, she must make a choice between duty - her family and the estate she loves dearly - and desire.

Oh, beautiful cover. I wish your story lived up to your promise. I didn't DNF it but had just too many questions all the way through. The US was invaded by China (for what reason and how, we don't really know), the country splintered and a new US forms, one complete with an archaic class system and nuclear power. Madeline's part of the ruling class, near the absolute pinnacle of her people. But she cares about the little people, those who have to haul the radioactive waste and cook for her. And she falls for David, Mr. Vanilla himself. There's a class war a-coming (even more important that the other war against Asian forces...always a good, strategic plan to fight a war on two fronts. That definitely ends well.).

FALLING LIGHT (Game of Shadows #2) by Thea Harrison
Paranormal Romance
289 pages, paperback
Available now (February 2014)
Publisher: Berkley
Review copy provided by publisher for honest review

Having finally reunited, and fought off The Deceiver for now, Mary and Michael race up the Michigan peninsula to meet Astra before police forces catch up with them. But the closer they get, the less Mary is willing to trust a woman who by her own admission will do anything to finish The Deceiver – even if it means killing Michael and Mary to try again in another life. As they face their final battle unsure if they can trust either side, Michael’s loyalties are tested, making him vulnerable just when Mary needs him most.

Sadly, this turned out to be a DNF for me. I struggled a bit with the first book but, because it was written by Thea Harrison (who I love and still love), I wanted to give the second in the series a go. was not to be. Too much running and hiding and betrayal and nothing going right, which sounds like a *fantastic* story but it just never ends and everyone's against these two and it just wore me out (much like this sentence). The writing's there, of course, but the story just didn't catch me.

ATTACHMENTS by Rainbow Rowell
Fiction (I'm not going to call it chick lit because that designation just irritates me)
336 pages, hardcover
Available now (April 2011)
Publisher: Dutton
Review copy provided by publisher for honest review

"Hi, I'm the guy who reads your e-mail, and also, I love you . . . "

Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder know that somebody is monitoring their work e-mail. (Everybody in the newsroom knows. It's company policy.) But they can't quite bring themselves to take it seriously. They go on sending each other endless and endlessly hilarious e-mails, discussing every aspect of their personal lives.

Meanwhile, Lincoln O'Neill can't believe this is his job now- reading other people's e-mail. When he applied to be "internet security officer," he pictured himself building firewalls and crushing hackers- not writing up a report every time a sports reporter forwards a dirty joke.

When Lincoln comes across Beth's and Jennifer's messages, he knows he should turn them in. But he can't help being entertained-and captivated-by their stories.

By the time Lincoln realizes he's falling for Beth, it's way too late to introduce himself. What would he say . . . ?

It's a really cute premise and a modern-day epistolary story told mainly via email but...meh. Poor Lincoln's kind of a sad sack and, yeah, a bit of a creeper (though he's paid to creep through people's emails). The girls are pretty normal girls, trading silly stories and heartbreak during their downtime at work. But it felt like kind of a grind to me. I know, I know. Rainbow Rowell, right? Y'all probably love this book but, sorry, it just didn't do it for me and I wound up DNFing it.

YA Contemporary
320 pages, hardcover
Available June 10, 2014
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Review copy provided by publisher for honest review

On New Year’s Day, Alice Davis goes for a run. Her first ever. It’s painful and embarrassing, but so was getting denied by the only college she cares about. Alice knows she has to stop sitting around and complaining to her best friend, Jenni, and her pet rat, Walter, about what a loser she is. But what doesn’t know is that by taking those first steps out the door, she is setting off down a road filled with new challenges—including vicious side stitches, chafing in unmentionable places, and race-paced first love—and strengthening herself to endure when the going suddenly gets tougher than she ever imagined.

I hate to review books so far out but I really just needed to cross this one off my review list. I picked it up because I like running books. They can be inspirational (especially as I'm in an endless Couch to 5k cycle) and this one is about a girl who's coping with a big rejection, trying to pick herself back up. Unfortunately, Alice is someone I'd never want to know in real life. She's rude and acerbic, rips down anyone who tries to get close to her (or who is close to her), and entitled. Plus, she's never run before but is training with long-distance runners within a few weeks. That doesn't even happen with teens, especially ones that aren't very fit or athletic to begin with. Alice irritated me so much I had to DNF it. Sorry, Alice.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Cover Reveal: HARD TO HOLD ON TO by Laura Kaye

Holy cow, y'all! There's a Hard Ink novella is coming out in August and -- woo-hoo!! It is SO HOT and SMEXY! *pets Easy's lovely chest* I can't wait to read Easy's story. He is one FINE-lookin' man.

A Note from Laura:

Hey guys! I am so excited about Easy’s book that I can hardly wait for August to get here! Easy’s character was a total surprise to me. When I initially plotted out the series, there were four surviving members of the Army Special Forces team and therefore I planned for and sold four book in the series. But then, when I sat down to write Hard As It Gets, all of a sudden the story demanded there were actually five guys, and Edward “Easy” Cantrell was born. And I’m so glad! Because Easy’s character is a totally tortured hero, which I adore writing! So I’m super happy that we added his story and this novella into the series, and I can’t wait for you to learn about Easy in Hard to Hold On To!

Is it August yet???

xo, Laura

Laura Kaye is thrilled to share with you the cover to her next Hard Ink book, Hard to Hold On To which releases on August 19, 2014! Check it out:

HardToHoldOnTo hires
Contemporary Romance
100 pages, ebook
Expected publication: August 19, 2014
Publisher: Avon Impulse

Edward "Easy" Cantrell knows better than most the pain of not being able to save those he loves--which is why he is not going to let Jenna Dean out of his sight. He may have just met her, but Jenna's the first person to make him feel alive since that devastating day in the desert more than a year ago. Jenna has never met anyone like Easy. She can't describe how he makes her feel--and not just because he saved her life. No, the stirrings inside her reach far beyond gratitude. As the pair are thrust together while chaos reigns around them, they both know one thing: the things in life most worth having are the hardest to hold on to.

And don’t miss the other Hard Ink books, now available:

Praise for the Hard Ink Series:

For Hard As You Can:
"TOP PICK! There is a sinister and desperate edge to this tale that will keep readers glued to their seats. Kaye has dark romantic suspense nailed!" ~ RT Book Reviews Magazine

"Hard As You Can is another five star read. The characters Ms. Kaye has created are wonderfully broken and the drama is gritty, but the burgeoning romance and the tight-knitted relationship of the team leaves you with a sense of redemption. A must read series!" ~San Francisco Book Review

For Hard As It Gets:
"Edgy, sexy and full of suspense! A great read from a great new author!" ~ #1 NYT Bestselling Author J.R. Ward

Laura-Kaye-cropped"Sizzling romance... The intriguing tattoo parlor and military background will appeal to fans of Suzanne Brockmann and Lindsay McKenna." ~Publishers Weekly Review

"Kaye's depiction of sexual tension and her sex scenes are masterful and this will appeal to fans of Maya Banks' KGI and Julia Ann Walker's Black Knight's series." ~Booklist

About Laura Kaye:
Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over a dozen books in contemporary and paranormal romance. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. She lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Speed Date with Amy: DOROTHY MUST DIE by Danielle Paige

DOROTHY MUST DIE (Dorothy Must Die #1) by Danielle Paige
YA Fantasy
452 pages, hardcover
Available now (April 2014)
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review copy provided by publisher for honest review

I didn't ask for any of this. I didn't ask to be some kind of hero.
But when your whole life gets swept up by a tornado—taking you with it—you have no choice but to go along, you know?

Sure, I've read the books. I've seen the movies. I know the song about the rainbow and the happy little blue birds. But I never expected Oz to look like this. To be a place where Good Witches can't be trusted, Wicked Witches may just be the good guys, and winged monkeys can be executed for acts of rebellion. There's still the yellow brick road, though—but even that's crumbling.

What happened?
Dorothy. They say she found a way to come back to Oz. They say she seized power and the power went to her head. And now no one is safe.

My name is Amy Gumm—and I'm the other girl from Kansas.
I've been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked.
I've been trained to fight.
And I have a mission:
Remove the Tin Woodman's heart.
Steal the Scarecrow's brain.
Take the Lion's courage.
Then and only then—Dorothy must die!

First Date: Amy's one of those people that I just want to take under my wing. She brings out the Mama Bear in me so the least I can do is buy her dinner on our first date! She lives in a crappy trailer with her useless mother, is bullied at school and doesn't have much prospect of escaping the deep, dark hole she's currently existing in. But then along comes a tornado to change everything.

Second Date: When she wakes up, she's in Oz but it's not the Oz Amy remembers from the movie, and it's not little Judy Garland dancing around in her sparkly red kitten heels. It's a power-hungry vamp who's draining Oz of its magic, supported by a 'roided out Lion, a crazy-as-a-loon Scarecrow and parts-is-parts Tin Man. Dorothy in her skin-tight and boobalicious (but still blue-and-white checkered) dresses with her mesmerizing shoes and glossy hair was a bit over-the-top but then, it seems Dorothy's gone a bit around the bend. Amy's recruited by some Wicked witches to kill Dorothy, learns some magic of her own as well as some ninja-like moves, flirts with the hot-but-dark-and-brooding guy and goes undercover with the mission to take out Dorothy ASAP (spoiler: this does not this book, anyway).

Third Date: Well, that ended abruptly. Yes, I realize it's a trilogy but not as much happened in this first book as I expected, though it's a pretty solid set-up for the next two books (and hopefully, no soggy middle story). I liked Amy's growth in this book, how she moved from a downtrodden, bullied young girl to a young lady who's more confident in her abilities and who has purpose in her life. She's not just going through the motions anymore. A satisfying date, all in all. I think we're better off friends but I'll check in on Amy and see if she checks everything off that list of hers.

Available on Amazon | IndieBound | Barnes and Noble