Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Heather Demetrios is one of my favorite authors. Her debut novel Something Real was amazing. And her sophomore novel Exquisite Captive sounds unlike anything I've read before so I have high expectations and high hopes. I'll Meet You There sounds like my kind of read and I know it's going to be awesome.

If seventeen-year-old Skyler Evans were a typical Creek View girl, her future would involve a double-wide trailer, a baby on her hip, and the graveyard shift at Taco Bell. But after graduation, the only thing standing between straightedge Skylar and art school are three minimum-wage-months of summer. Skylar can taste the freedom—that is, until her mother loses her job and everything starts coming apart. Torn between her dreams and the people she loves, Skylar realizes everything she’s ever worked for is on the line.

Nineteen-year-old Josh Mitchell had a different ticket out of Creek View: the Marines. But after his leg is blown off in Afghanistan, he returns home, a shell of the cocksure boy he used to be. What brings them together is working at the Paradise—a quirky motel off California’s dusty Highway 99. Despite their differences, their shared isolation turns into an unexpected friendship and soon, something deeper.

Gritty, romantic, and ultimately hopeful, I'll Meet You There explores the complicated lives of an unforgettable cast of characters. This is the story of teens outside the picket fence. It doesn’t soften the edges of adolescence or the individual consequences of war; it’s life on the fringes—maddening, weirdly endearing…and completely screwed up.

I'll Meet You There will be released on February 3, 2014. Click on the cover to go to the book's Goodreads page.

What book(s) do you "covet" this week?
Leave us a comment with a link so we can check your WoW of the week too.

"Books I Covet" is a weekly or bi-weekly blog post series we do here on Wednesdays. It will feature books we are very excited about reading and plan on buying/borrowing in the near future. It is basically the "Waiting On" meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine, but we just like the title "books we covet" better. We will include the books' blurb, cover art, and/or release date if they're available. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Hello everyone,
Today I'll be speed reviewing a new adult title, a steamy novella and a small-town romance.

Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Pages: 320 pages
Release Date: May 27, 2014
Source of my copy: eARC via publisher
Summary (for full synopsis visit Goodreads)
What happens when a girl who always calls the shots meets a guy who's too wild for even her? A born flirt and good-time party girl, Emerson has never had a problem finding a willing guy. She's always chosen her hookups carefully, and she's never broken her three cardinal rules: Never let them see the real you. Never fall in love. Always leave them begging for more. Then Shaw comes along...
Michelle's Thoughts:
I didn't love Tease as much as I did Foreplay (the first book in the series--but you don't need to read it before picking up Tease) but it's still a very satisfying read. I loved Emerson. And Shaw is awesome too. And he's very sweet. I liked how he pursued Emerson. He didn't give up no matter how much she pushed him away. I liked how he took care of her, though he can be a tad too bossy for my taste.

I still recommend Tease, especially if you favor lighter type of NA that does not leave you emotionally exhausted by the end of the novel.

I'm so excited for Wild, book 3 in the series, which is going to be Georgia and Logan's book.

Publisher: Entangled Brazen
Pages: 184 pages
Release Date: May 13, 2013
Source of my copy: bought e-book
Summary (for full synopsis visit Goodreads)
Homicide cop Troy Bennett had a reputation with the Chicago PD for being fearless and in control—until the night his daredevil partner is killed during a raid. From that moment on, he swears he’ll never again be responsible for the loss of a loved one. To escape his demons, Troy transfers to the NYPD, bringing him up close and personal with Ruby Elliott, a beautiful, street-savvy pool hustler.
Michelle's Thoughts:
Fantastic novella! Tessa Bailey is one my go-to contemporary romance authors for super steamy smexy times, strong heroines and dirty talkin' alpha heroes. Catch her books when they're just released and only 99 cents but I'm willing to pay more because her books are so, so good!

Take this quote for example from His Risk to Take:

I’m not capable of turning you down,” he said on a pained laugh, gaze devouring her breasts. “I’m going to take you to my bed and pleasure the fuck out of you. But the panties stay on. It’s nonnegotiable.”

Her entire system rebelled against his words. How could he touch her, kiss her like this, and refuse to take it all the way? It didn't make sense. Men didn't have that kind of willpower, did they? She certainly didn’t have that kind of willpower. “W-what? Is it too late to give a different answer about why I changed my mind?”

“Yes. But don’t worry, baby.” Before she could register his intention, he’d swung her up into his arms.

“Even with your panties on, it’ll still be the best sex of your life.

Publisher: Avon
Pages: 384 pages
Release Date: January 28, 2014
Source of my copy: publisher
Summary (for full synopsis visit Goodreads)
Ever since a heated late-night kiss - that absolutely should not have happened - cowboy Josh Thalberg makes former Hollywood bad girl Whitney Winslow's pulse beat faster. But when she decides to use his gorgeous leatherwork in her new upscale lingerie shop, Leather & Lace, she's determined to keep their relationship strictly professional . . . even if she wants so much more.
Michelle's Thoughts:
I like small town romances and The Cowboy of Valentine Valley one was a cute read. However, this one was more like a slice of life kind of read. It started really slow and for most of the first half, there was no real plot just the characters living their life.

Josh and Whitney were very likable characters and their romance was a slow burn. Josh was a sweet guy but he was little too perfect for my taste. Whitney's character stuck out more because she had a lot more going on in terms of providing some needed drama to the story.

The plot does eventually pick up in the second half as complications arise for Josh and Whitney. It took me a bit to connect with Josh and Whitney. There were some really sweet moments between them as each learned an important life lesson from the other.

I wasn't as captivated by this small town romance novel as I was with other small town romances I've been reading (i.e., Shalvis' Lucky Harbor, Mallery's Fool's Gold, Higgins' Blue Heron) and I wasn't compelled to seek out other books in the series. But, ultimately, The Cowboy of Valentine Valley was a fun weekend read.

Happy reading,

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Format: eARC
Publisher: Samhain
Pages: 202 pages
Release Date: July 22, 2014
Source of my copy: Rock Star PR
Series: Heart of Fame # 7
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
It all starts with sex under a desk…
After yet another month without a lead singer, the band Synergy is on the verge of calling it quits. Which drives Jaxon Campbell, keyboardist and perpetual player, to do something dangerous—hit up a woman with contacts—and curves—in all the right places. Trouble is, the last time he saw her, he kind of broke her heart. And stole her cherished, autographed AC/DC album.
Natalie Thorton, Dean of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, knows everyone who’s anyone in Australia’s music industry. She’s driven and utterly professional and doesn’t have room in her schedule for relationships.
When Jaxon strides into her office, all of Natalie’s suppressed sexual urges—the ones born in Jax’s arms—surge to the surface. He wants something from her? Well, she wants something from him. Orgasms. Lots of them.
How can Jax say no? He’s never forgotten her, and it’s not like they’re going to fall in love. But just who’s playing who? And whose heart is going to fall first?

Warning: Contains a sexual challenge involving sex in public places, sex in private places, sex in moving cars, sex against windows and sex in the company of an oblivious federal politician. So basically, we’re talking about getting laid. A lot.

The warning does not lie, you guys. There was a lot of spicy sex in this book and you're going to want a cold beverage when you read Getting Played. There was a lot of funny parts in this book and was a lively romp of a read.

Jaxon Campbell was a famous rock star and charming, womanizing playboy. He gets himself in scrapes but always managed to get himself out with a winning smile and by cracking jokes. His band Synergy was about to call it quits after unsuccessfully finding a lead singer when Jax volunteered to talk to the one person he thought could help the band: his ex-girlfriend Natalie Thornton, now the Dean of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

Though Jax broke Nat's heart and stole her prized autographed AC/DC album, she decided to help him. But in exchange for her help, Nat wanted mind-blowing sex with multiple orgasms like the kind he used to give her in return. Jax might have broken her heart but no one could satisfy her in bed like he did. To Nat it was a business deal, but Jax realized that the girl he let get away years ago might be the only one for him. Can Jaxon convince Nat to give him a second chance?

I really enjoyed Getting Played. Even thought it is the seventh in the series and I haven't read any of the other books (actually, this is my first by Lexxie Couper), I had no problems getting into this one. It was well-written and well-paced with some hilarious banter between Jax and Nat and silly hijinks. While there were a lot of steamy encounters, I didn't feel the story didn't suffered for it. Jax and Nat had great chemistry and both were very likable.

I really can't find anything to complain about Getting Played. I mean, it was not one of those "O.M.G. this is the best book I've read!" kind of book but it was a really fun, sexy read and I liked its effervescent tone. I might pick up a few of the previous books in the series or other books by Couper since I enjoyed this one so much. If you have a hankering for a fast, very spicy and lighthearted second-chance romance read, you'll enjoy this book. This is also a good book to read to get you out of a reading slump.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Weekly Wrap-up + New Books

Saturday, July 26, 2014 with
Hello everyone,
Summer vacation is over and I officially go back to work this coming Monday--new grade level (2nd grade), new classroom and new students. Wish me luck!

In terms of books, we did pretty well last week. Leslie and I each posted a review and I finished a very excellent chick lit (Arranged by Catherine McKenzie) that is now sitting on my favorites shelf.

Review: Sekret by Lindsay Smith
Leslie really loved this one. It's set in Communist Russia and it's about a girl who has a psychic ability and was forced by the KGB to spy for them.

Book I Covet: Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman
Sequel to Seraphina! I need this book NAO.

Review: Dad Is Fat by Jim Gaffigan
Stand-up comedian Jim Gaffigan's adventures in fatherhood.

Leslie: I'm still reading Haze (The Rephaim #2) by Paula Weston.

Michelle: Getting Played by Lexie Couper

Only two physical books this week.
A Sudden Light by Garth Stein (for review)
The Assassin's Blade by Sarah J. Maas (bought)

Then, we got several eARCs via Netgalley because I "attended" School Library Journal's annual Summer Teen event, which is a conference that was entirely online. 
The Name of the Blade by Zoe Marriott
Egg & Spoon by Gregory Maguire
Evil Librarian by Michelle Knudsen

The Secret Sky by Atia Abawi
Like No Other by Una LaMarche

I also bought a book that had been in my wish list for a long time it's about lawyers and childhood frenemies (two things I'm crazy about in romance novels). The e-book was only 99 cents so I picked it up.
Legal Briefs (Lawyers in Love #3) by N.M. Silber (bought)

What new books did you guys get? I wanna see! Leave your STS* link so I can come gush over them.

Happy reading,

*Stacking the Shelves, or STS, is hosted by Tynga's Reviews

Friday, July 25, 2014

Format: Paperback
Publisher: Three Rivers Press
Pages: 288 pages
Release Date: May 7, 2013
Source of my copy: Blogging For Books
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
In Dad is Fat, stand-up comedian Jim Gaffigan, who’s best known for his legendary riffs on Hot Pockets, bacon, manatees, and McDonald's, expresses all the joys and horrors of life with five young children—everything from cousins ("celebrities for little kids") to toddlers’ communication skills (“they always sound like they have traveled by horseback for hours to deliver important news”), to the eating habits of four year olds (“there is no difference between a four year old eating a taco and throwing a taco on the floor”). Reminiscent of Bill Cosby’s Fatherhood, Dad is Fat is sharply observed, explosively funny, and a cry for help from a man who has realized he and his wife are outnumbered in their own home.

I don't watch a lot of stand-up comedy because to tell the truth I'm a bit slow when it comes to jokes. But I love watching Jim Gaffigan's standup comedies--I think I watched all of his stuff that is available on YouTube. He is one of the few comedians whose jokes I genuinely crack-up laughing because I'm able to relate to them. Hot Pockets? McDonalds? Yeah, I've been there.

I had high expectations for Dad Is Fat. I was going to be laughing and entertained all the way through. I enjoyed Dad Is Fat, there's no question about that but at the same time it wasn't the book I had in my head...

Dad Is Fat is about Jim Gaffigan's adventures, reflections and opinions about fatherhood told through essays (which were relatively short--at most four to five pages each). He goes from a loose chronological, starting when he was a single guy just looking on at his friends having babies to when he has five children of his own and taking them on the road on to his shows/family vacations.

With a title like Dad Is Fat, the book description being what it was, and the fact that when I quickly flipped through the book, almost all the pictures I saw were of kids, you'd think I'd realize that it was going to be all about fatherhood through the eyes of Jim Gaffigan. But I was expecting sort of a hodgepodge of topics, like his stand-up shows are. However, I enjoyed reading about his experiences even though I didn't laugh as much as I thought I was going to--though there were some lines I found myself chuckling. Some of my favorites were the parts about his opinions about several children's books after rereading them many, many times, the "art" children make in school and the different types of babysitters (the manny, the warm body, the college student, etc.). If you watch his shows, you'll recognize lines throughout the book from them. I thought he wrote in a way that was entertaining and the tone was fun and lighthearted but with a genuine-ness of a father who loves his children and wife very much.

Dad Is Fat can be appreciated by non-parents like myself, but I think readers with children will appreciate it all the more because they can all the more relate to his experiences and anecdotes about raising young children. Overall, it was a fun, entertaining read but not a stand-out.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Book I Covet: Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman

Wednesday, July 23, 2014 with
I love, love, LOVE, LOVE (so much love!) Seraphina. I needed Shadow Scale yesterday! You better believe I already pre-ordered it.

Seraphina took the literary world by storm with 8 starred reviews and numerous “Best of” lists. At last, her eagerly awaited sequel has arrived—and with it comes an epic battle between humans and dragons.

The kingdom of Goredd: a world where humans and dragons share life with an uneasy balance, and those few who are both human and dragon must hide the truth. Seraphina is one of these, part girl, part dragon, who is reluctantly drawn into the politics of her world. When war breaks out between the dragons and humans, she must travel the lands to find those like herself—for she has an inexplicable connection to all of them, and together they will be able to fight the dragons in powerful, magical ways.

As Seraphina gathers this motley crew, she is pursued by humans who want to stop her. But the most terrifying is another half dragon, who can creep into people’s minds and take them over. Until now, Seraphina has kept her mind safe from intruders, but that also means she’s held back her own gift. It is time to make a choice: Cling to the safety of her old life, or embrace a powerful new destiny?

Shadow Scale will be released on March 10, 2015. Click on the cover to go to the book's Goodreads page.

What book(s) do you "covet" this week?
Leave us a comment with a link so we can check your WoW of the week too.

"Books I Covet" is a weekly or bi-weekly blog post series we do here on Wednesdays. It will feature books we are very excited about reading and plan on buying/borrowing in the near future. It is basically the "Waiting On" meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine, but we just like the title "books we covet" better. We will include the books' blurb, cover art, and/or release date if they're available.