Monday, October 31, 2011

book cover ARC: 484 pages
Publisher: MacMillan
Release Date: August 31, 2010
ISBN: 9780312656263

Source of my copy: publisher
Series: 1st book in series
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Three angels – Gabriel, the warrior; Ivy, the healer; and Bethany, the youngest and most human – are sent by Heaven to bring good to a world falling under the influence of darkness. They must work hard to conceal their luminous glow, superhuman powers, and, most dangerous of all, their wings, all the while avoiding all human attachments. Then Bethany meets Xavier Woods, and neither of them is able to resist the attraction between them. Gabriel and Ivy do everything in their power to intervene, but the bond between Xavier and Bethany seems too strong. The angel’s mission is urgent, and dark forces are threatening. Will love ruin Bethany or save her?


Leslie's Review:
I began reading this book feeling apprehensive because of the mix reviews I've read of it and how it has been frequently compared to Twilight, which I didn't quite enjoy as much as I wished I had. But I finally decided to read it and I ended up liking it, though I did have a few minor issues with it. I am even now reading--and so far liking--the second book of the series, Hades.

First, I really liked the writing style of the author Alexandra Adornetto. I loved how it was so vivid and descriptive and how she narrated Bethany's thoughtful, innocent voice so well. And because the writing was so vivid I was able to connect with the main characters Bethany, Gabriel, Ivy and Xavier so much that I was talking to Bethany and visiting new friends instead of just characters. The book also made for an interesting read because I come from a strict religious household and their were a few Biblical references in this book (though nothing really religious, just references).

The plot was good and better than I initially expected it to have been. I enjoyed reading it and because it was so stretched out throughout the book, the world and characters gradually and easily developed in my mind of imagination. But the other hand, I didn't really like how it made the story dragged at some points and the climax only came about 20 pages before the ending. Even the resolution of the book was stretched and dragged unnecessarily in the last few pages. I wish that there had been more build-up of suspense towards the climax. The story also ended with a cliffhanger ending. But, again, the plot was great overall.

Fans of Twilight and Hush, Hush will definitely love this book but I recommend to everyone who loves YA paranormal. Read it for Ms. Adornetto's illustrative writing and vivid characters. Despite the fact that the plot of this book dragged at times, I enjoyed it and so far I'm enjoying the second book Hades as well. I am planning to follow this series. I know she wrote this series when she was in her teens--I think she is still growing as a writer and and I look forward to what Ms. Adornetto will come up with next after the conclusion of this series.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

In Our Mailbox (48)

Sunday, October 30, 2011 with
I never had the chance to take a picture of the books I got in the last two weeks but Leslie did. She got some awesome books in the mail that I can't wait to read myself once I go back home.



Leslie's Books
Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares (won from Random Buzzers)
Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater (review book from Scholastic)
Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl (review book from LBYR)
The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton (review book from Tor Teen)
(Thank you to Scholastic, LBYR and Tor Teen!)

Michelle's Books (not pictured)
If I Tell by Janet Gurtler (review book from Sourcebooks)
I'm Not Her by Janet Gurtler (review book from Sourcebooks)
Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon (surprise finish copy from HarperTeen)
To Wed a Wild Lord by Sabrina Jeffries (surprise finish copy from Pocket)
Too Wicked to Wed by Cara Elliott (review book from Forever)
Deliciously Sinful by Lilli Feisty (review book from Forever)
Deep Disclosure by Dee Davis (won from Forever on Twitter)
Won from authour Katharine Ashe on Facebook:
Pleasure Me by Monica Burns
Romancing the Countess by Ashely March
Lord and Lady Spy by Shana Gallen
Bookmarks, pen and mini flashlight
(Thank you to Sourcebooks, HarperTeen, Pocket, Forever and Katharine!)


What did you guys get in your mailbox?

inourmailbox
"In My Mailbox" is a weekly event that gives book bloggers a chance share with each other what books got added to their to-be-read pile for the week. It was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie and hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren.

Friday, October 28, 2011

book cover Paperback: 480 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Release Date: September 1, 2011
ISBN: 9781402256684

Source of my copy: publisher
Series: no
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Rule 1: All’s fair in love, war and popularity…
Kat Elliot is no social butterfly: she’s spent her life rebelling against phonies – and it’s led her nowhere. Just as she’s ready to give up her dreams and admit defeat, in steps Lauren Anderville. One-time allies against their school bullies, Lauren and Kat had been inseparable. Then Lauren returned from summer camp – blonde, bubbly and suddenly popular, and Kat was left to face the world alone.
Lauren finally wants to make amends by teaching Kat the secret to her success: “The Popularity Rules”. A decades-old rulebook, its secrets transformed Lauren that fateful summer.
Tempted by Lauren’s promises of glitzy parties and the job she’s always dreamed of, Kat reluctantly submits to a total makeover – only to find that life with the in-crowd might have something going for it after all. But while Lauren has sacrificed everything to get ahead, is Kat really ready to accept that popularity is the only prize that counts?


Michelle's Review:
I can always count on Abby McDonald for fun reads that will at the same time make you think. I have read and enjoyed her previous novel The Liberation of Alice Love and I was really excited to read this novel--especially because I am a sucker for friendship stories and the cover is just plain gorgeous (love the colors used!).

The Popularity Rules is the story of Kat, a feminist that works as a music journalist--she loves her job even though she had to deal with snobby, fake and bratty interns, musicians and industry people. But when she looses her job and was blacklisted due to her angry, feminine bitch reputation, she knew she had no choice but to approach her ex-best friend Lauren, who pretty much changed overnight into a bubbly blonde and dumped Kat for popularity when they were in boarding school together. Kat had never forgiven Lauren for her betrayal. Lauren, who claimed to have the secret to popularity and her success, wanted to take Kat under her wing and teach her "the popularity rules" as a way to make amends. Kat was reluctant and didn't want to sell out but having no choice and no money, agreed... and this is where the story pretty much took off.

I did sympathize with Kat and know where she is coming from. Her best friend betrayed her and left her for greener pastures and I knew how she felt having experienced something similar in high school. But at the same time I wanted to shake her and tell her to get over it--it's high school. Kat also showed some backbone in the beginning but I wanted her to yell louder at some of those people, like her boss at Think Louder. But Lauren, from the very beginning, intrigued me. She appeared almost robotic, ruled by the popularity rules but I thought she was a very interesting character and I wanted to know if her character will grow in the novel. You learn there was more to her and her vulnerabilities as the story went on. I did liked the insider view of the world of celebrities that author gave us. It was fun watching Kat and Lauren wade through it using the popularity rules. This book does have romance in it but it wasn't the focus of the story which was a nice change from other chick lit books I've read.

I didn't enjoy The Popularity Rules as much as I did Abby McDonald's previous novel The Liberation of Alice Love but it was still a fun, well-written read nonetheless. If you're a fan of Marian Keyes, Sophie Kinsella or Jill Mansell, don't hesitate to pick this book or Abby McDonald's other book The Liberation of Alice Love.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

book cover Paperback: 273 pages
Publisher: Poppy
Release Date: September 5, 2011
ISBN: 9780316175562

Source of my copy: publisher
Series: no
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Most high school sports teams have rivalries with other schools. At Hamilton High, it's a civil war: the football team versus the soccer team. And for her part, Lissa is sick of it. Her quarterback boyfriend, Randy, is always ditching her to go pick a fight with the soccer team or to prank their locker room. And on three separate occasions Randy's car has been egged while he and Lissa were inside, making out. She is done competing with a bunch of sweaty boys for her own boyfriend's attention
Then Lissa decides to end the rivalry once and for all: She and the other players' girlfriends go on a hookup strike. The boys won't get any action from them until the football and soccer teams make peace. What they don't count on is a new sort of rivalry: an impossible girls-against-boys showdown that hinges on who will cave to their libidos first. But what Lissa never sees coming is her own sexual tension with the leader of the boys, Cash Sterling...


Michelle's Review:
I am officially a fan of Kody Keplinger. I loved her debut novel The Duff and I had high expectations for Shut Out and I wasn't disappointed. Lissa was very different from Bianca and while I missed Bianca's sarcastic, droll voice (though Lissa's best friend Chloe made up for that) I enjoyed Lissa's character as well. She did have anal-retentive qualities that might me a little too much at times but other than that she's a very relatable character nonetheless. Some of her thoughts about boys, I thought about in high school. Of course I fell in love with Cash (love his name... Cash Sterling). He was a popular and a jock and nice guy--I love that combination. My favorite scenes were ones with Lissa and Cash. They have plenty of swoon-worthy moments.

I have never heard of the Greek play Lysistrata before so I had to look it up but I think the author did a good job taking it and making it contemporary in a high school setting. The battle of the sexes premise was really fun. Like in The Duff, one of the big themes in the book was teenage sexuality and the double standards between boys and girls. It did feel a little preachy at times but I didn't really mind it.

If you're a fan of The Duff or is looking for a fun young adult contemporary that is just a feel-good read with lots of girl power and great boy drama yet, pick up Shut Out. You won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Book Michelle Covets: The Academie by Susanne Dunlap

Wednesday, October 26, 2011 with
Hello fellow book fanatics! First of all, we want to apologize for the lack of post lately. Leslie has always been in school but now that I am back in school for my MLISc (Master in Library and Information Science), there has been less time for blogging. October was especially brutal with so many papers due and midterms to study for. BUT! But, November should be a lot less busy and there will be more reviews, author interviews, giveaways and other fun posts from us... well, me, at least. Anyway, I hope you all are having a wonderful week, happy [almost] Halloween, and happy reading!

Why Michelle covets this book: I love my historical young adult and I'm particularly excited for this one because it's a "plain" historical--no paranormal or fantasy elements to it. I haven't read a straight-up historical YA in a while.


article 5The Academie by Susanne Dunlap
(released April 10, 2012)
Eliza Monroe-daughter of the future president of the United States-is devastated when her mother decides to send her to boarding school outside of Paris. But the young American teen is quickly reconciled to the idea when-ooh, la-la!-she discovers who her fellow pupils will be: Hortense de Beauharnais, daughter of Josephine Bonaparte; and Caroline Bonaparte, youngest sister of the famous French general. It doesn't take long for Eliza to figure out that the two French girls are mortal enemies-and that she's about to get caught in the middle of their schemes.

Loosely drawn from history, Eliza Monroe's imagined coming of age provides a scintillating glimpse into the lives, loves, and hopes of three young women during one of the most volatile periods in French history.

For more info and to read an excerpt about The Academie, visit the author's website. Click on the cover to go to the book's Goodreads page.


What book(s) do you "covet" this week?
Leave 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 I am going to be doing here.
It will feature books I am very excited about reading and plan on buying/borrowing in the near future. It is similar to the "Waiting On" meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine. However, some of the books may already be published and others may still be in pre-order. I will include the books' blurb, cover art, and/or release date if they're available. Click on the WoW image on the left to join in!

Monday, October 24, 2011

We are happy to welcome author Kiki Hamilton today. Her debut novel is The Faerie Ring--a young adult fantasy, historical novel Leslie and I have been so excited to read since we heard about it earlier this year. Now, it's finally out in stores!

book cover
Debut novelist Kiki Hamilton takes readers from the gritty slums and glittering ballrooms of Victorian London to the beguiling but menacing Otherworld of the Fey in this spellbinding tale of romance, suspense, and danger.

The year is 1871, and Tiki has been making a home for herself and her family of orphans in a deserted hideaway adjoining Charing Cross Station in central London. Their only means of survival is by picking pockets. One December night, Tiki steals a ring, and sets off a chain of events that could lead to all-out war with the Fey. For the ring belongs to Queen Victoria, and it binds the rulers of England and the realm of Faerie to peace. With the ring missing, a rebel group of faeries hopes to break the treaty with dark magic and blood—Tiki’s blood.

Unbeknownst to Tiki, she is being watched—and protected—by Rieker, a fellow thief who suspects she is involved in the disappearance of the ring. Rieker has secrets of his own, and Tiki is not all that she appears to be. Her very existence haunts Prince Leopold, the Queen’s son, who is driven to know more about the mysterious mark that encircles her wrist.

Prince, pauper, and thief—all must work together to secure the treaty…

5 things that makes Kiki Hamilton laugh out loud or makes her happy.
My daughter
My dog
Fred and George Weasley
Logan on Veronica Mars
Summit Lake with playgroup

4 frivolous things Kiki cannot live without.
Chocolate
My iphone
Black boots
Jewelry

3 places in Tiki's 1871 London that you want to visit.
Westminster Abbey
Buckingham Palace
Tower of London

2 things that Kiki and Tiki (from THE FAERIE RING) have in common.
We are both loyal.
Both willing to take risks to get what we want.

1 favorite scene from THE FAERIE RING.
I love the scene when Tiki is at Buckingham Palace and meets Prince Leopold and William Richmond.

Thanks so much for having me on your blog!! xo Kiki

******
Thank you for stopping by our blog and answering our questions, Kiki! Congrats on your debut book! Fellow YA lovers, to learn more about Kiki's books and for more The Faerie Ring fun, check out her blog and chat with her on Facebook and Twitter. Also, look for our review of The Faerie Ring coming soon!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Why Michelle covets this book: For my job in the library, I recently learned to transliterate Russian text to English. As I work with the Russian stuff, I can't help but be fascinated by the culture, the art and history. The Gathering Storm is set in Russian in 1888 and it sounds like something I would really, REALLY enjoy.


article 5The Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges
(released January 10, 2012)
St. Petersburg, Russia, 1888. As she attends a whirl of glittering balls, royal debutante Katerina Alexandrovna, Duchess of Oldenburg, tries to hide a dark secret: she can raise the dead. No one knows. Not her family. Not the girls at her finishing school. Not the tsar or anyone in her aristocratic circle. Katerina considers her talent a curse, not a gift. But when she uses her special skill to protect a member of the Imperial Family, she finds herself caught in a web of intrigue.

An evil presence is growing within Europe's royal bloodlines—and those aligned with the darkness threaten to topple the tsar. Suddenly Katerina's strength as a necromancer attracts attention from unwelcome sources . . . including two young men—George Alexandrovich, the tsar's standoffish middle son, who needs Katerina's help to safeguard Russia, even if he's repelled by her secret, and the dashing Prince Danilo, heir to the throne of Montenegro, to whom Katerina feels inexplicably drawn.

The time has come for Katerina to embrace her power, but which side will she choose—and to whom will she give her heart?

For more info and to read an excerpt about The Gathering Storm, visit the author's website. Click on the cover to go to the book's Goodreads page.


What book(s) do you "covet" this week?
Leave 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 I am going to be doing here.
It will feature books I am very excited about reading and plan on buying/borrowing in the near future. It is similar to the "Waiting On" meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine. However, some of the books may already be published and others may still be in pre-order. I will include the books' blurb, cover art, and/or release date if they're available. Click on the WoW image on the left to join in!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

We are happy to welcome author Janet Gurtler today. She is the author of I'm Not Her and her most recent release, If I Tell--both of which we are really excited to read.

book cover
It was like watching a train wreck. I wanted to look away but couldn't take my eyes off them.

Her best friend and her mom's boyfriend. Locking lips. This is the secret Jasmine Evans has to keep at all costs. Because her mom is pregnant, and Jaz doesn't want to ruin her life-again (just being born did it the first time). But the harder Jaz tries to pretend everything is okay, the faster her life spins out of control. Until Jackson. He doesn't care about the popularity of her friends or the color of her skin. But can she really trust a guy who just transferred in from reform school? She might be willing to chance the heartbreak, but telling him everything and risking the truth getting out is a whole other level of scary.


Q: Hi Janet! Welcome to our blog. Please tell us a little about yourself in a haiku.

A: Oh no. I don’t even know how to write a haiku. I am ashamed. I had to google this to try to figure it out. I am a horrible person.

Okay. This is my first ever haiku attempt. Possibly vile and incorrectly done.

Weird but nice mom type
Devoted to the Laptop

And to Yoga Pants

Q: What is something that made you laugh out loud recently?

A: My family and I were driving home from a long road trip and my husband and I started to talk about when we were really old and how our grown-up son would want to keep wrestling with him when he (my husband) was frail and weak. It doesn’t sound funny at all now, but at the time we were tired and giddy and it was hilarious and we were laughing our heads off.

book coverQ: For fans of I'M NOT HER, what similar characteristics can they look forward to in IF I TELL? As an author, was writing IF I TELL a different experience from writing I'M NOT HER?

A: I think that IF I TELL has some of the same emotional honesty that I hope readers found in I’M NOT HER. The characters in both books do some rotten things, but they are not rotten people. I think readers can expect a story about learning who you really are and what you really want from life, not what others want from you in both stories. I’M NOT HER was actually an easier book to write for some reason. Some books are just easier to write than others and I’M NOT HER flowed faster and easier.

Q: Is there a scene in IF I TELL that was inspired by a real-life event that happened to you or to someone you know?

A: Well, I hope this isn’t too spoilerish, but in the book the mom ends up sick with Post Partum Depression, and this is something that I experienced when my son was born. It was horrible and hard and really, really scary to go through. It’s also something that women don’t get to talk about, but that happens to many new moms. Not always to the same degree and sometimes worse than to me and to the mom character in IF I TELL, but I definitely drew from my own experience in the book. It was both difficult and cathartic to write those scenes!

Q: If you can hang-out with one of your characters from IF I TELL for a day, who would it be and what will you do together?

A: Goodness, I would love to hang out with Jaz. Of course I would have to quiet my desire to tell her how to run her life. Ha ha. She is like a daughter to me in many ways after all. I would love to hang with her at the coffee shop to chat and then have her play her guitar and sing some of the songs she wrote herself. And then I would hug her and take her for a swim.

******

Thank you for stopping by our blog and answering our questions, Janet! Fellow YA contemporary lovers, to learn more about Janet's books and to read an excerpt of both If I Tell and I'm Not Her, check out her website and chat with her on Facebook and Twitter. Also, stop her blog for updates on her books and other fun stuff.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Check out our Q&A with the author and enter to win my ARC copy of this book HERE.

book cover Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Release Date: October 1, 2011
ISBN: 9781402260209

Source of my copy: publisher
Series: no
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
What Happens When You’re Not So Perfect?
How could so much change so fast?
Let’s see, you could be a plain Jane daughter of two gorgeous famous people; move to a new school; have no real friends; your mom could get sick; and, oh yeah, you could have the most embarrassing secret in the world. Yep, that about does it.
Hannah is an eighth grader trying her hardest to cling to what she knows and loves while her world shatters around her. Her parents are glamorous Hollywood royalty, and sometimes she feels like the ugly duckling in a family of swans. Faced with her mother’s death and her father’s withdrawal into grief, Hannah turns to the one thing she can control: her weight.
Hannah’s self-destructive secret takes over her life, but the new Beverly Hills clique she’s befriended at school only reinforces her desire to be beautiful, and not even the quirky misfit Jasper—the only one who seems to notice or care—can help. It will take a journey unlike any other to remind Hannah of who she really is, and to begin to get that girl back.
Reasons to Be Happy is about standing up for all the things you love—including yourself.


Michelle's Review:
When I first saw the cover and read the advanced reader copy synopsis of this book, I thought I was in for a fun, semi-serious, coming of age read about a middle school girl. But this book turned out to be a lot more than that.

I usually stay away from contemporary young adult dealing with tough issues because they are usually a hard read for me and are not my cup of tea. I almost gave up on Reasons to Be Happy when I realized that it was a "tough issues" kind of book. It was hard reading about Hannah's spiral into bulimia and the author did not mince words. Not only that, it was hard to watch Hannah go from a happy girl who kept a "reasons to be happy" list to one who had so much to deal with: mean girls at school, trying to fit in, her body issues, death of a loved one, her dad's alcoholism, among other things. I just wanted to reach inside the book and give her a hug many times while I was reading her story. I am glad that I didn't stop reading, though, because this book was fantastic. As much as it was hard reading the first half of the book, the second half, as Hannah slowly start to find herself again and heal and climbs back out from the deep hole she had found herself in was wonderful. I grew to really care for Hannah throughout the novel and I rooted for her.

I think everyone should read Reasons to Be Happy. For older readers like me, I think many will see a bit of themselves in Hannah when they were in that difficult middle school and high years of their life while younger readers can empathize with Hannah and probably relate to what she went through. Ultimately it is a story about finding yourself and growing up and family, friendship and love. I don't know if it's because I don't read many books like these but this book grabbed me from page one and I couldn't stop reading even the hard, uncomfortable parts and Hannah's story stayed with me days after. Reasons to Be Happy is wonderfully written and extremely readable--I highly recommend it if you're looking for a "tough issues" contemporary read.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

In Our Mailbox (47)

Sunday, October 16, 2011 with
I did not get any books this week which is actually a good thing because I can barely keep up with book blogging and review books this month (hence the 4-day blog hiatus last week). But Leslie got a few awesome stuff in the mail last week and this week (as well as a surprise finished copy of a romance novel I got an ARC of last month).


Review
Drink Slay Love by Sarah Beth Durst (Eeeepp--FINALLY!!)
Bunheads by Sophie Flack
(Thank you to Simon & Schuster and LBYR!)


Surprise
A Most Dangerous Profession by Karen Hawkins
(Thank you Pocket!)

What did you guys get in your mailbox?

inourmailbox
"In My Mailbox" is a weekly event that gives book bloggers a chance share with each other what books got added to their to-be-read pile for the week. It was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie and hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Leslie's Review: Damage by Anya Parrish

Tuesday, October 11, 2011 with
damage Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Flux
Release Date: September 8, 2011
ISBN: 978-0738727004

Source of my copy: publisher
Series: possibly
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
There was a time when I prayed for Rachel to be real. Until the night I learned she'd always planned to kill me.
When Dani was eight, she fell from a building. No one believed her claim that she was pushed by Rachel . . . her imaginary friend. It took years of therapy to convince Dani that Rachel wasn't real. Now fifteen, Dani wants to make it as a dancer. But a deadly freak accident sends Dani a terrifying message: Rachel is back, she's real, and she'll stop at nothing to kill Dani. Complicating matters is Jesse, the school bad boy who's being stalked by his own invisible childhood nemesis. Dani and Jesse join forces to learn why their astral tormenters are back. Their investigation leads to a horrifying discovery—and the terrible experiment that binds them to each other.


Leslie's Review:
Honestly, I'm the kind of person who gets frightened easily so I try to stay clear of books that revolves around psychotic characters or any kind of paranoia for that matter. So, when I first looked at the cover of Damage and read the synopsis, I was really nervous. But it's been awhile since I've read a scary book so I decided to just jump in and read. Now that I finished the book, I have to say it wasn't what I expected but it was a really good read.

The whole storyline of Damage happened over about a 24-hour time period and within it was a very thrilling, suspenseful and unpredictable plot. First of all, I liked how the story kept me guessing--and guessing wrong for that matter--and interested to the very last page. The book ended in a cliffhanger that left me nervous but still excited. I'm not sure if there will be a sequel though but if one is in the works, I would love to read it. But as thrilling and interesting as the book was, I couldn't help but feel at some points like I was on a raging roller coaster ride and I wanted to get off. The plot just took too many unexpected turns that I grew impatient and wish for it to head in one direction already.

Like I said, I can get easily frightened so I was a bit nervous when I first began reading this book. But as it turns out the book wasn't as scary as I thought it would be. The plot was mostly of Jesse and Dani trying to find a way to protect and rid themselves of their homicidal imaginary "friends". Though I have to admit, when they were getting attacked by such imaginary "friends" the scenes would get very gruesome that I thought it shocking a person, fictional or not, could handle experiencing all of that in one day, let alone throughout their childhood. But those scenes were still readable and tolerable and they showed me what strong, brave and persevering characters Jesse and Dani are, which I really liked about them.

What I also didn't expect was how the romance of the book was sort of developed already before the story started and honestly at first I wish it hadn't been so. I usually like the romance of a book to be slow and developed over the course of the story. As I continued reading, however, the romance eventually balanced out with the suspense of the plot. Moreover, I rooted for Jesse and Dani and for them to be together without having to be afraid all the time.

Overall, I have to admit that I'm happy that I got to read Damage because it turned out to be a great read full of suspense, thrill and strong characters. If there is to be a sequel for this book, I would love to read it and see what happens to Jesse and Dani after that cliffhanger ending. Debut author Anya Parrish is an author to look out for in the future and I highly recommend everyone to read her first book Damage. You won't be sorry!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Hello fellow historical romance lovers! We are delighted to welcome back author Eileen Dreyer--her newest release is Always a Temptress (the third book in her Drake's Rake's series).

book cover
His greatest battle is just beginning . . .

Captain Harry Lidge has done his duty. After losing too many good men on the battlefield, he's ready to put his responsibilities behind him and live a life free of care. But first he has one last mission: find out what the most outrageous woman in London, the same woman who betrayed him nearly a decade earlier, is concealing, before her secrets take down the crown.

Her heart is the only thing she won't risk . . .

Surrounded by ardent admirers and a few loyal friends, Lady Kate Seaton glides through the ton on a confection of couture gowns and bon mots. No one suspects that beneath her lighthearted fa├žade Kate hides a sorrow so scandalous she'll do anything to keep it hidden. But only when she trusts Harry with the truth and only when he trusts her with his heart can they stop the villains all too willing to kill Kate to attain their ultimate goal: destroy England.
Read on for a chance to win a copy of Always a Temptress. Without further ado, here's Eileen.

5 Things you must have while writing:
1. Bottomless supply of decaf iced tea(or, in my coffeeshop, ice coffee)

2. Music. If I'm home and can control the entertainment, each book has a playlist, usually 6 CDs that are played over and over again until the book is done. (I make sure to play this only in my office so my family doesn't beat me for having to listen to the same thing for 6 months)

3. Internet—to do that quick research to see if a word I'm using is appropriate, or just where Almack's is in relation to my heroine's house.(the only downside is when I get a weensy bit distracted by Facebook)

4. A hard-backed folder stuffed with yellow-lined paper for writing notes, making vague outlines and writing flight of ideas about the book and characters

5. A critique-partner. And objective eye. And nowhere in my contract does it say I have to be objective about my own work.

4 Surprising things a reader learns when reading ALWAYS A TEMPTRESS.
1. Why Harry left Kate all those years ago.

2. What Kate has really been doing since her husband's death.

3.That Josephine Bonaparte had the first Psyche mirror, which is the full-length oval mirror on a stand that can be flipped. A free surprise is that they were considered scandalous. Of course Lady Kate has one.

4.That even a dowager duchess is still at the mercy of her family, since in Regency Britain a woman can't be considered responsible for herself. In Kate's case, her brother means to commit her to an asylum.

3 Random facts about Kate Seaton.
1. She is an excellent businesswoman.
2. Harry was engaged twice. Both times she talked his fiance out of it.
3. Kate is afraid of the dark.

2 Random facts about Harry Lidge.
1. Harry's dream is to be an architect.
2. Harry was knighted for bravery.

1 Favorite scene from ALWAYS A TEMPTRESS.
Oh, this is a tough one. I love the scenes where Kate gives Harry what-for. I like it even better when she gets to do it to her officious, awful brother. Kate gets to say all the things I've always wanted to say to people. When she realizes that Harry is going to keep her hostage, this is her reaction.

She smiled. “Good heavens. If kidnapping your favorite nemesis doesn’t put you in a good mood, Harry, I fear you’ve lost the knack for happiness.”

But I think number one would be the scene during which Kate and Harry finally learn exactly what happened ten years earlier that pulled them apart. I hope it shows their strength and growth and courage, and most of all each one's forgiveness of the other. And no. I'm not including it. I have no intention of sharing any of my spoilers.

Thanks so much for inviting me to join you. I hope this whets your appetite for Harry and Kate's story. And I hope you let me know what you thought of them.

*****
A big thanks to Eileen for stopping by our blog today and for answering our questions. To learn more about Eileen's books, check out her website, Facebook and follow her on Twitter. Always a Temptress is already out in stores but thanks to Brianne and Hachette, two lucky winners each win a copy.

Giveaway Details:
  • Two (2) winners will win Always a Temptress by Eileen Dreyer
  • Gain +3 extra entries by commenting on this post your thoughts about the interview.
  • Ends October 21, 2011
  • US or Canadian mailing address only (No P.O. boxes)
  • Fill out the form to enter:

Click HERE if you cannot see the form above.


IMPORTANT: See our "Giveaway Policy" for complete rules and disclaimers. By entering the giveaway, you agree to the terms stated on that page. Thank you for entering and good luck!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

In My Mailbox (46)

Sunday, October 9, 2011 with
Leslie didn't get a chance to take a picture of the books she got this week so it's going to only be what's my in my mailbox.

It was an awesome week for me though. The book I've been waiting for in what seems like FOREVER finally arrived... and that book of course is Lola and the Boy Next Door! Along with Lola are two others that are just as awesome:


Bought
Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

Won
Shut Out by Kody Keplinger (ARC)
(Thank you Claire!)

What did you guys get in your mailbox?

inourmailbox
"In My Mailbox" is a weekly event that gives book bloggers a chance share with each other what books got added to their to-be-read pile for the week. It was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie and hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

We are happy to welcome author Katrina Kittle today. She is the author of Reasons to Be Happy, which I recently read and took me by surprise (in a good way). I'll be posting my review tomorrow and read on for a chance to win Reasons to Be Happy.

book cover
What Happens When You’re Not So Perfect?

How could so much change so fast?
Let’s see, you could be a plain Jane daughter of two gorgeous famous people; move to a new school; have no real friends; your mom could get sick; and, oh yeah, you could have the most embarrassing secret in the world. Yep, that about does it.

Hannah is an eighth grader trying her hardest to cling to what she knows and loves while her world shatters around her. Her parents are glamorous Hollywood royalty, and sometimes she feels like the ugly duckling in a family of swans. Faced with her mother’s death and her father’s withdrawal into grief, Hannah turns to the one thing she can control: her weight.

Hannah’s self-destructive secret takes over her life, but the new Beverly Hills clique she’s befriended at school only reinforces her desire to be beautiful, and not even the quirky misfit Jasper—the only one who seems to notice or care—can help. It will take a journey unlike any other to remind Hannah of who she really is, and to begin to get that girl back. Reasons to Be Happy is about standing up for all the things you love—including yourself.

Q: Hi Katrina! Welcome to our blog. Please tell us three random things yourself.

A: I have a soft spot in my heart for zombie and vampire stories, I'm an expert (interior) painter and actually love to paint rooms, and I sometimes won't get up to get more coffee or answer the phone if my cat is on my lap (what kind of rude person would disturb a sleeping cat?).

Q: What was the most unexpected or surprising thing that happened while you were writing REASONS TO BE HAPPY?

A: The most unexpected thing was that I was writing this book before I knew I was writing this book. I know, that doesn't make any sense! Let me explain: I was really floundering with my previous novel, The Blessings of the Animals. When my agent asked about it on the phone one day I said, “ It's too long and it's about too many things!” She made me send her 100 pages of it. She read it and agreed: “You're right. It is about too many things. This feels like two books.” She was excellent at extricating the two stories from each other. I peeled away the story of a struggling bulimic with celebrity parents, put those scenes in a folder, and focused on my more streamlined story of Blessings. I'd cut scenes before, even deleted whole characters, and I always save them…but I've never actually gone back and used any of them. I've always felt those deleted scenes were the stepping stones I needed to find whatever story I was currently working on. But years later, I returned to that folder, to that forgotten girl and her awful secret, and I fell in love with her in a whole new way. The rest of her story unfolded for me more quickly than any other novel I've ever written.

Q: Have you ever written a scene or a character in any of your book that was inspired by a real-life event or a person you know?

A: Yes. Everything ends up getting fictionalized, of course, but lots of scenes are inspired by real-life. I was lucky enough to get to travel to West Africa like Hannah did. I visited Ghana, Togo and Benin. I stayed in a private residence in Tafi Atome just like Hannah...and just like Hannah I had a certain “encounter” with a goat. I don't want to give any spoilers here, so I'll just say that first night Hannah experiences in Tafi Atome really happened to me, right down to the “creative use” of a plastic grocery sack. Also, again not trying to spoil anything, the great gift Jasper gives Hannah was, in real life, given to a friend of mine. We both thought it was the most romantic, amazing present. That real-life guy turned out to be psycho, though, so when I asked my friend if I could use that story she said, “Please. Something good should come from that!”

Q: If you're stranded on a deserted island with one of your characters from REASONS TO BE HAPPY, who would you want to be stranded with and why?

A: Aunt Izzy is pretty fierce. She'd be good to be stranded with because you know she's a survivor and a tough cookie and she's not going to crumble or be a whiner. She'll make things happen. Modesta, too, would be a great, resourceful companion. Unflappable, which is what you'd want in a crisis.

Q: Please share with us your favorite dialogue, quote or scene from REASONS TO BE HAPPY.

A: Oh, this is so hard! I have to admit I just spent far too long practically re-reading the whole book in order to select “just the right thing.” I guess I'll go with this scene from when Hannah is in Ghana. She's with her new friend Modesta, an orphan who lives in Tafi Atome. Hannah has worked up the courage to email Jasper back in LA, and she's going crazy waiting for his answer:
“He doesn't want to talk to me,” I told Modesta, miserable.
She put her hands on her bony hips and rolled her eyes.
“You don't understand,” I said. “He saw me do something terrible! I bet the teacher asked him for his email address and he said 'No way. I don't want to talk to her.' He's probably glad I'm gone. He hopes I never come back.”
“Hah-nah, Hah-nah, you talk crazy. Stop. Just stop.”
“You don't know! I'm a horrible person and he'd delete any message I sent him.”
“Hah-nah! Don't eat the monkey!”
I shut up. What did she just say?
She leaned toward me and repeated, “Slow. Down. Don't eat the monkey.”
I watched her lips move, trying to decipher what she'd said. “What is that supposed to mean?”
Modesta laughed—a musical, rare sound. She slapped her knee. “It means slow down and get the facts. Don't make up this kaka in your head before you know the truth.”
“What does that have to do with eating monkeys?”
She waved a hand at me as if impatient. “In Eastern Africa, they eat monkeys,” she said, disdain clear in her voice. “A French family moved to Kenya and brought their pet monkey. Their Kenyan cook's brother came to visit when the French family was on holiday. The cook's brother's wife caught the monkey and cooked it. They didn't know it was a pet.”
Was I insane? What was she talking about? What a horrible story! “Why would they cook someone else's monkey, even if they thought it was for food?”
She sighed. “Don't eat the monkey until you know.”
I burst out laughing at the absurdity. And I tried. I really tried. I did everything in my power not to eat the monkey while I checked email every half hour for the rest of the day.
******
Thanks for answering our questions, Katrina! Fellow young adult readers, to learn more about Katrina's books and to read an excerpt of Reasons to Be Happy, check out her website and chat with her on Facebook and Twitter. Stop by the Reasons to Be Happy blog where she lists a reason to be happy everyday.

GIVEAWAY
I really enjoyed Reasons to Be Happy and you will too! Enter to win my (very gently read) ARC copy. Giveaway Details:
  • One (1) winner gets a copy of Reasons to Be Happy by Katrina Kittle
  • End October 20, 2011
  • US addresses only
  • Fill out the form to enter
Click HERE if you cannot see the form above.


IMPORTANT: See our "Giveaway Policy" for complete rules and disclaimers. By entering the giveaway, you agree to the terms stated on that page. Thank you for entering and good luck!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Back in the summer, Leslie reviewed My Life Undecided by Jessica Brody (check out her review HERE) and we interviewed Jessica as well (read our Q&A with her HERE). Now, here's your chance to win a copy of this .

But before you enter the giveaway, check out the awesome book trailer for My Life Undecided. It's one of the best book trailer we've ever seen and one of our favorites.

And in case you haven't seen the book cover or read the blurb (from Goodreads):

book cover
PLEASE READ THIS! MY LIFE DEPENDS ON IT!

Okay, maybe that was a bit melodramatic, but I’m sorry, I’m feeling a bit melodramatic at the moment.

Here’s the deal. My name is Brooklyn Pierce, I’m fifteen years old, and I am decisionally challenged. Seriously, I can’t remember the last good decision I made. I can remember plenty of crappy ones though. Including that party I threw when my parents were out of town that accidentally burned down a model home. Yeah, not my finest moment, for sure.

But see, that’s why I started a blog. To enlist readers to make my decisions for me. That’s right. I gave up. Threw in the towel. I let someone else be the one to decide which book I read for English. Or whether or not I accepted an invitation to join the debate team from that cute-in-a-dorky-sort-of-way guy who gave me the Heimlich Maneuver in the cafeteria. (Note to self: Chew the melon before swallowing it.) I even let them decide who I dated!

Well, it turns out there are some things in life you simply can’t choose or have chosen for you—like who you fall in love with. And now everything’s more screwed up than ever.

But don’t take my word for it, read the book and decide for yourself. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll scream in frustration. Or maybe that’s just me. After all, it’s my life.

GIVEAWAY
Thanks to Zeitghost Media we have a copy of My Life Undecided to giveaway. Giveaway Details:
  • One (1) winner gets a copy of My Life Undecided by Jessica Brody
  • End October 15, 2011
  • US or Canadian mailing address only
  • Fill out the form to enter:

Click HERE if you cannot see the form above.


IMPORTANT: See our "Giveaway Policy" for complete rules and disclaimers. By entering the giveaway, you agree to the terms stated on that page. Thank you for entering and good luck!
Why we covet this book: Lighting? Post-apocalyptic Los Angeles? Creepy cults? Struck sounds like it's going to be an epic read.


book coverStruck by Jennifer Bosworth (out May 8, 2012)
Mia Price is a lightning addict.

She’s been struck so many times she’s lost count. She can’t sleep, she’s covered in veiny red “lightning scars,” and repeated strikes have even stopped her heart on occasion. Still, Mia can’t resist a storm.

That's why Los Angeles, where it never rains, is the perfect place for her to find peace . . . until a massive earthquake devastates the city.

Now Mia finds herself struggling to hold her family together in a strange and terrifying new version of Los Angeles. The beaches have become massive tent cities populated by millions of homeless. Downtown is a wasteland, where a traveling party moves to a different empty building each night, the attendees drawn to the destruction by a magnetic force they cannot deny.

The blind prophet of a doomsday cult called the Church of Light, who predicted the earthquake with frightening accuracy, says a storm is coming to usher in the end of days, and only his Followers will be saved. Mia’s traumatized mom has become obsessed with the Church of Light, while her younger brother Parker is desperate to join a second doomsday cult called the Seekers. But Mia is the one both cults need.

The Seekers are recruiting people with an energy-based power they call the “Spark,” and Mia has it stronger than most. They claim the false prophet of the Church of Light will bring about the end of the world, and they are the only ones who can stand against him.

But without Mia on their side, they will fail.

Mia’s lightning addiction is both the key to saving the world . . . and destroying it.

For more info about Struck, clicking on the cover to go to the book's Goodreads page.


Why Michelle covet this book: I LOVE LOVE LOVE Julie James's books.


book coverAbout That Night by Julie James (out April 3, 2012)
HE’S PLAYING GAMES

Though Rylann Pierce tried to fight the sparks she felt for billionaire heir Kyle Rhodes the night they met, their sizzling chemistry was undeniable. But after being stood up on their first date, Rylann never expected to see him again. So when she finds herself face to face with Kyle in a courthouse nine years later, she’s stunned. More troubling to the beautiful Assistant U.S. Attorney is that she’s still wildly attracted to him.

BUT SHE’S MAKING THE RULES

Just released from prison, Kyle Rhodes isn’t thrilled to be the star witness in a high-profile criminal case — but when Rylann comes knocking at his door, he finds she may be the one lawyer he can’t say no to. Still as gorgeous and sharp-tongued as ever, she lays down the law: she doesn’t mix business with pleasure. But Kyle won’t give up on something he wants — and what he wants is the one woman he’s never forgotten...

For more info about About That Night and Julie other books, visit her website. Clicking on the cover will take you to the book's Goodreads page.


What book(s) do you "covet" this week?
Leave 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 I am going to be doing here.
It will feature books I am very excited about reading and plan on buying/borrowing in the near future. It is similar to the "Waiting On" meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine. However, some of the books may already be published and others may still be in pre-order. I will include the books' blurb, cover art, and/or release date if they're available. Click on the WoW image on the left to join in!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

ARC: 304 pages
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: October 4, 2011
ISBN: 9780425244005
Source of my copy: the author
Series: Animal #2

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
She’s tempting his basic instincts…
Sunshine, Idaho, is a quiet ranching town, a perfect place to give injured animals a refuge…or to find one. And veterinarian Dell Connelly suspects there’s a reason his clinic’s uber-efficient receptionist has taken shelter here.
Jade Bennett couldn’t be happier to escape her well-meaning but smothering family and their expectations, not to mention the big-city jungle. There’s nothing like working with injured animals, having a forlorn, grumpy stray kitten make its home under her desk…or enjoying the gorgeous views of her ruggedly sexy boss
Jade is used to planning everything in her life, but Dell’s understanding has sparked an uncontrollable desire. And though Dell has never had time for love, Jade’s strength and sass is the kind of call no red-blooded male can resist…


Michelle's Review:
I'm a sucker for small town stories and add to that three sexy brothers working with animals? What we got here is a fun contemporary romantic read. I am never disappointed with a Jill Shalvis contemporary and Animal Attraction is no exception.

I fell in love with both Jade and Dell right from the beginning. Jade moved to Sunshine, Idaho eighteen months before the story began. She went through a very traumatic experience and left Chicago to escape her family and her memories, though she eventually planned to go back home. When Animal Attraction began, she was working as a receptionist in an animal clinic and had about a month left in Sunshine before she leaves for home. Dell was Sunshine's sexy veterinarian. Animals love him (and vice versa) and the ladies love him more. On the outside he was friendly with a ready smile for everyone but he doesn't let anyone too close except for a few friends. Both have trust issues and do not let people get too close but for different reasons. I like that they have that in common. They are also reluctant to start anything because Jade is leaving and it was great watching them fight their attraction to each other. It was great watching them get together--their chemistry was great.

I also really liked the relationship Dell has with his brothers, especially Adam. It was fun seeing them interact and give each other a hard time. I am looking forward to reading Adam's book--I think I already know his heroine. I did wish that there was some dialogue (or some kind of resolution) between Dell and his mother. There were a few scenes between them and I know the issues in their relationship cannot be resolved quickly but it felt like that secondary story line was left hanging.

The writing and the pacing was great. The dialogue felt authentic to the situation. There is also great humor in this one. Animal Attraction is the second book in a series but it can be read as a standalone. I myself did not read the first book but after reading this book, I am definitely moving up Animal Magnetism (Brady and Lilah's book) up my to-be-read pile. Brady and Lilah were super cute in this book.

If you're looking for a fun contemporary read, you should definitely check out this series and Jill Shalvis (if you haven't already). Animal Attraction is a light, fun, sexy read and highly entertaining.
Book Soulmates Isalys and Vanessa from Book Soulmates host the Random Acts of Kindness or R.A.K. which is a wonderful way to bring a smile to a fellow reader's face with a surprise book in the mail. If you haven't heard of R.A.K. and would like more info click on the button on the right and it will take on your Isalys and Vanessa's R.A.K. page where you can sign up for the month of October.

Leslie and I got our August R.A.K. in September. It was a copy of Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini from Becky of Stories & Sweeties. We sent her a copy of Angel Burn by L.A. Weatherly for September R.A.K.

For those participating and is thinking of sending us something (thank you in advance!) here is our R.A.K. wishlist (it's also on Goodreads):
  1. Ripple by Mandy Hubbard
  2. The Ivy: Secrets by Lauren Kunze and Rina Onur
  3. Fateful by Claudia Gray
  4. Hereafter by Tara Hudson
  5. Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
  6. Forever by Maggie Stiefvater
  7. Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez
Just Michelle: (Leslie doesn't read romance.)
  1. Just One of the Guys by Kristan Higgins
  2. The Dangerous Gentleman by Julia London
  3. Good Girls Don't by Victoria Dahl
  4. Bad Boys Do by Victoria Dahl
  5. Sweet Justice by Christy Reece
  6. Under the Same Sky by Genevieve Graham
Our wishlist is also on Goodreads. Happy reading and happy October everyone!
This week I got The Night Circus, which I have been dying to read. I also got a couple of books I won in giveaways in early September and Born Wicked swag. I got a couple of good stuff back home too. All in all, a fantastic week!
Review
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
(A big THANK YOU to Doubleday!)


Won
Possess by Gretchen McNeil
Letters from Home by Kristina McMorris
(Thank you Jessica Spotswood and Kristina McMorris for sending the books!)


Swag
Born Wicked pretty signed bookmarks and stickers

It's a pretty good week for Leslie too back home:
Review
Shut Out by Kody Keplinger
Hades by Alexandra Adornetto (finished copy)
The Christmas Wedding by James Patterson
(A big THANK YOU to Little Brown, LBYR and Macmillan.)

Surprise
Susanna's Choice by Sara Luck
A Lady Awakened by Cecilia Grant
Hades by Alexandra Adornetto (ARC)
(A big THANK YOU to Bantam, Simon & Schuster and Macmillan.)


What did you guys get in your mailbox?

inourmailbox
"In My Mailbox" is a weekly event that gives book bloggers a chance share with each other what books got added to their to-be-read pile for the week. It was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie and hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren.