Sunday, July 29, 2012

We got new books! (9)

Sunday, July 29, 2012 with
These are the books we got in the last two weeks! There are some amazing titles here that we have been coveting and seeing them in the mail made us happy dance.
Because It Is My Blood (Birthright #2) by Gabrielle Zevin (review)
Crewel by Gennifer Albin (review)
Sapphire Blue (Ruby Red #2) by Kerstin Gier (review)

[[EEEPPPP!! I LOVED Ruby Red and I cannot wait to devour it.]]
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman (won from Random Buzzers)
[[You all know how excited I was for Seraphina and I am happy to say it did not disappoint. I love it!!]] 
Perfect Escape by Jennifer Brown (review)
Saving June by Hannah Harrington (from Harlequin Teen)
The White Glove War by Katie Crouch and Grady Hendrix (review)

Sweet Talk by Julie Garwood (review)
[[My first Julie Garwood book in years!! Excited!]] 
Rules of Civility by Amor Towles (won)
An Unsuitable Bride by Jane Feather (unsolicited)

Forever and a Day by Jill Shalvis (review)
[[I'm loving the Lucky Harbor/Chocoholics series.]]
We also won cool stuff: a Penguin tote bag and a super cute monkey wallet from Daisy Whitney.
[[An speaking of Daisy Whitney, we are kicking off August by giving away The Mockingbirds and The Rivals!! One winner will win both.]]

Did YOU get any new books? Let us know! We'd love to see your new bookshelf additions.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

book cover Paperback: 192 pages 
Publisher: Running Press
Release Date: July 3, 2012
ISBN: 9780762445240
Source of my copy: FSB Media
Synopsis (from Goodreads)

When it comes to teen beauty advice, no brand is more trusted than Seventeen, the #1 best-selling monthly teen magazine. Seventeen Ultimate Guide to Beauty is a girl's handbook to celebrating her natural beauty. It’s packed with clear, customized service that helps make the most of her skin tone, her face shape, her hair texture, and her style! Each chapter is filled with detailed how-tos, amazing inspiration, and awesome advice from Seventeen’s editors and the Beauty Smarties, our real-girl beauty experts, to help the reader have fun with her look!. Seventeen Ultimate Guide to Beauty is broken down into three main sections: makeup, hair, and a resource guide. Makeup is organized by five beauty vibes—Girly, Boho, Classic, Glam, and Edgy—and shows you how to look great for any occasion (school, weekend, party, date). Each vibe offers exclusive makeup looks from Seventeen’s Beauty Smarties, insider secrets from celeb experts, and an inspiration board filled with runway, red carpet, and real girl ideas. Hair is organized by styles: braids and twists, waves and curls, updos and buns, sleek and straight, and ponytails. Each chapter includes easy-to-do styles for every occasion, a Smarties spotlight, celeb tricks, and an inspiration board. The book ends with comprehensive resource guides to getting clear skin and great nails—and gives detailed info on getting ready for a big event, like prom or sweet sixteen.

Leslie's Review:
I'm a simple type of girl. My typical outfit for the day is the t-shirt/jeans combo and my hair up in a ponytail. But sometimes I get tired of that look or I have a bit more time to actually fix myself up and that's when books like the Seventeen Ultimate Guide to Beauty: The Best Hair, Skin, Nails & Makeup Ideas For You comes in handy for hair and outfit ideas. I was also interested in this book because I wanted hair ideas for the coming school year.

This book covers a lot about beauty and is loaded with great tips, styles, and advice. It is mostly pictures--large photos and step-by-step pages that include a lot of different styles so that most girls might find something they like. I liked the way it was organized by style. I also liked how (besides models) on every other page the book would feature a different girl (a "Beauty Smarty" and I'm familiar with a couple of them because I sometimes watch their YouTube videos) representing each style and they show her inspirations for beauty (i.e. her beauty icon, styling staple, fashion must-have, essential tool, etc.). 

However, my biggest complaint was most of the models of this book looked too air-brushed in my opinion. Not one blemish in sight! And that is just ridiculous and annoying. There were also some crazy makeup in there that just looked silly to me (but perfect for Halloween!). 

Overall, this book is great for girls who would like hair, nails and makeup ideas. It also offers advice on how to better care for your skin. Lots of pictures and not many text. It's pretty much a Seventeen magazine with just beauty stuff. I wouldn't spend money and buy it but if I saw it in the library, I'd check it out. I found a few things I want to try in the coming school year.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Book We Covet: Crewel by Gennifer Albin

Wednesday, July 25, 2012 with
Alas, the blogging slump bug had bitten us. This post is our first in about a week but followed by many more! We are BACK.

Why we covet this book: That is one heck of a synopsis and a fantastic start in a new series--it sounds unlike anything we've read before.

book coverCrewel (Crewel World #1) by Gennifer Albin
(FSG [BYR]; out October 16, 2012)
Incapable. Awkward. Artless.

That’s what the other girls whisper behind her back. But sixteen year-old Adelice Lewys has a secret: she wants to fail.

Gifted with the ability to weave time with matter, she’s exactly what the Guild is looking for, and in the world of Arras, being chosen as a Spinster is everything a girl could want. It means privilege, eternal beauty, and being something other than a secretary. It also means the power to embroider the very fabric of life. But if controlling what people eat, where they live and how many children they have is the price of having it all, Adelice isn’t interested.

Not that her feelings matter, because she slipped and wove a moment at testing, and they’re coming for her—tonight.

Now she has one hour to eat her mom’s overcooked pot roast. One hour to listen to her sister’s academy gossip and laugh at her Dad’s stupid jokes. One hour to pretend everything’s okay. And one hour to escape.

Because once you become a Spinster, there’s no turning back.
For more info and news about Crewel, visit check out 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!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Who here loves a good 'ol medieval romance?

If you raised your hand, you might want to check out Kris Kennedy's Defiant.
book cover
A rogue knight and an enchanting renegade join forces to right old wrongs in award-winning author Kris Kennedy’s sizzling new medieval romance.
A warrior with questionable intentions . . .

Jamie Lost is the king’s most renowned commander, a fearless lieutenant ordered to kidnap an exiled priest before rebel forces close in. The mission is simple—until he meets a mysterious thief who will steal his quarry and then his heart.

A lady of remarkable courage . . .

Beautiful Eva is also seeking Father Peter, but she intends to protect him from a secret that could cost him his life. She senses that she, too, should fear Jamie—not just for his wickedly sharp sword and dangerously muscular body, but for the powerful longing he ignites within her.

A secret that could overthrow the king.

When a band of mercenaries abducts the priest, Jamie and Eva must form a volatile alliance. As civil war unfolds around them, they embark on an epic journey that betrays the truth about their hidden identities, their unexpected loyalties, and the simmering attraction that could seal their fates forever.
For more Defiant goodness, read the excerpt on author Kris Kennedy's page... And to celebrate the release of Kris's new book Deception (out 7/31) Pocket is having a special e-book promo for Defiant--it is available for $2.99 until July 30th!

As a special treat, we also have one (physical) copy of Defiant to give away! Fill out the Rafflecopter below to enter.

One winner. US only. Ends July 30.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Today, we are highlighting two sequels we are really excited to get our hands on...

Why Michelle covets The Liar Society: Lies That Bind: Michelle read The Liar Society and she wants more of Kate. She's also a sucker for mystery reads.

book cover
Just when Kate Lowry thought she had life at elite private school Pemberly Brown figured out, she cracks open a fortune cookie to find a message from her best friend Grace—who's supposed to be dead.

Another Sister Gone

A classmate has gone missing, and Kate soon realizes that the disappearance is tied to the secret societies that rule her private school. Her best friend died for their secrets, and there's no way she'll let them get away with it twice. It's up to quirky outsider Kate to get some answers, but in a school where every answer leads to more questions and nothing's as it seems, who can she trust?
Lies That Bind (The Liar Society #2) comes out on November 1, 2012 from Sourcebooks Fire. For more info and news, visit and check out Lisa and Laura Roecker's blog. Click on the cover to go to the book's Goodreads page.


Why Leslie covets Because It Is My Blood: Leslie really enjoyed All These Things I've Done and have been looking forward to the sequel ever since.

She's very disappointed they changed the cover though. She wished they'd stayed with book 1's initial cover and designed a similar cover for book 2. Alas...

book cover
“Every time I think I’m out, they pull me back in.” -Michael Corleone, The Godfather

Since her release from Liberty Children's Facility, Anya Balanchine is determined to follow the straight and narrow. Unfortunately, her criminal record is making it hard for her to do that. No high school wants her with a gun possession charge on her rap sheet. Plus, all the people in her life have moved on: Natty has skipped two grades at Holy Trinity, Scarlet and Gable seem closer than ever, and even Win is in a new relationship.But when old friends return demanding that certain debts be paid, Anya is thrown right back into the criminal world that she had been determined to escape. It’s a journey that will take her across the ocean and straight into the heart of the birthplace of chocolate where her resolve--and her heart--will be tested as never before.
Because It Is My Blood (Birthright #2) by Gabrielle Zevin comes out on September 18, 2012 from FSG (BYR). For more info and news, visit the novel's page on the MacMillan 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, July 17, 2012

book cover Hardcover: 304 pages 
Publisher: Little Brown
Release Date: June 5, 2012
ISBN: 9780316084220

Source of my copy: publisher
Series: none

Synopsis (from Goodreads) 
Whitley Johnson's dream summer with her divorcé dad has turned into a nightmare. She's just met his new fiancée and her kids. The fiancée's son? Whitley's one-night stand from graduation night. Just freakin' great.
Worse, she totally doesn't fit in with her dad's perfect new country-club family. So Whitley acts out. She parties. Hard. So hard she doesn't even notice the good things right under her nose: a sweet little future stepsister who is just about the only person she's ever liked, a best friend (even though Whitley swears she doesn't "do" friends), and a smoking-hot guy who isn't her least, not yet. It will take all three of them to help Whitley get through her anger and begin to put the pieces of her family together.
Filled with authenticity and raw emotion, Whitley is Kody Keplinger's most compelling character to date: a cynical Holden Caulfield-esque girl you will wholly care about.

Michelle & Leslie's Review:
We were really excited when we received Kody Keplinger's A Midsummer's Nightmare, especially since we enjoyed her previous book(s) (Michelle read both The Duff and Shut Out; Leslie only read the former). We each took turns and read A Midsummer's Nightmare last week and, just as we hoped, this one was another winner by Kody Keplinger.

Writing style and narration-wise this book was basically the same as Keplinger's The Duff. But other than that, the two books' aspects differentiate. In A Midsummer's Nightmare, we have Whitley, a party girl with an attitude who planned on spending her last summer before going to college with her father--unbeknownst to her, her father recently got engaged and she was actually spending the summer with him, his new fiance and her two kids--and surprise, surprise she had a one-night stand with her son, Nathan.

We also really liked Whitley's love-interest Nathan. He was honest, caring, protective and a hot-jock-on-the-outside-yet-dorky-on-the-inside swoon-worthy sweetheart. He was perfect for Whitley who needs someone steady like Nathan in her life. There were some really sweet scenes between them and we loved reading about the two of them.

But even though the romance was a big part of the novel, equally as big was Whitley dealing with her family. With her father who only seemed to care about his perfect new family, her mom who was still very bitter about the divorce even after many years and her brother who now has his own new family on the other side of the country, Whitley was left alone with no one to really care for her.

Whitley's thoughts and actions throughout the book revolved around her feelings of abandonment (she's a product of a bitter divorce), unlike in The Duff where Bianca's thoughts revolved around her feeling of insecurity. But, just like with Bianca, we were able to feel for Whitley when we recognized her through her emotions. Whitley wasn't an easy heroine to like (we both agreed that we wouldn't get along with her in real life) but we ended up liking her anyway. As we got to know her, read her thoughts and see things through her eyes, we couldn't help but like and sympathize with her. And that's one of the things we really liked about this book and specifically Kody Keplinger's heroines (Bianca and Whitley in particular)--she is able to take these girls who were unlikeable on the surface, who you know you're not going to get along with and who would skewer you (if not verbally, then in thought) if they met you but you like them anyway and even find something in common with them.

Like we said, A Midsummer's Nightmare was another winner by Kody Keplinger. It was a fast read from start to finish with equal amounts of humor, drama and serious moments complete with an unlikeable-yet-likable heroine and a sweet boy to balance her out. A Midsummer's Nightmare is compulsive reading. We highly recommend it, especially to fans of contemporary young adult--you won't want to miss this.

Monday, July 16, 2012

book coverTrade paperback: 368 pages 
Publisher: Plume
Release Date: July 10, 2012
ISBN: 9781405910217
Source of my copy: publisher
Series: none
Synopsis (from Goodreads)

When thirty-year-old English teacher Anna Emerson is offered a job tutoring T.J. Callahan at his family's summer rental in the Maldives, she accepts without hesitation; a working vacation on a tropical island trumps the library any day.
T.J. Callahan has no desire to leave town, not that anyone asked him. He's almost seventeen and if having cancer wasn't bad enough, now he has to spend his first summer in remission with his family - and a stack of overdue assignments - instead of his friends.
Anna and T.J. are en route to join T.J.'s family in the Maldives when the pilot of their seaplane suffers a fatal heart attack and crash-lands in the Indian Ocean. Adrift in shark-infested waters, their life jackets keep them afloat until they make it to the shore of an uninhabited island. Now Anna and T.J. just want to survive and they must work together to obtain water, food, fire, and shelter. Their basic needs might be met but as the days turn to weeks, and then months, the castaways encounter plenty of other obstacles, including violent tropical storms, the many dangers lurking in the sea, and the possibility that T.J.'s cancer could return. As T.J. celebrates yet another birthday on the island, Anna begins to wonder if the biggest challenge of all might be living with a boy who is gradually becoming a man.

Michelle's Review:
I kept seeing the cover of On the Island but I never read its synopsis until its publisher Plume offered me a copy for review. After I read synopsis I was sure I wasn't going like it mostly because I'm not a fan of the older woman/younger man romance trope. But after reading the glowing reviews both on Goodreads and Amazon, I grew very curious and said (albeit hesitantly) yes to a review copy.

I ended up LOVING On the Island.

Here are five reasons why:
1. The author's writing style is very readable. It has an effortless quality to it in which you can easily slip into and not realize the number of pages you have turned.

2. Initially, my biggest turn-off of this book was the fourteen-year difference between Anna and T.J. but the younger man/older woman trope here works. Trust me. There was never any "ick" factor to their relationship. There was no insta-love between them, instead their relationship was built on deep, genuine friendship and understanding. By the end of the novel, I wanted a T.J. of my own.

3. I genuinely liked both T.J. and Anna and grew to care for them. The story was told in alternating first-person POVs and I really like getting inside both Anna and T.J.'s heads. 

4. I found the entire story exciting and un-putdownable. It basically had three parts: before the plane went down, while they were stranded on the island (they had to figure out how they'll sustain themselves with limited resources, survive typhoons, a shark attack, illness and other craziness) and when they were finally rescued after three years and they must deal with the media frenzy, living with people again and whether their unconventional love will survive the "real world." Once I started reading, it was hard to put the book down.

5. Days after I finished reading On the Island, I was still thinking of Anna and T.J. The novel is now sitting on my keepers shelf--it is going to be one of those books that I will pick up a few times a year just to re-read my favorite parts.

On the Island was by no means without flaws. There were a few scenes and situations on the island where one must suspend disbelief (I admit I did some google-ing). Also, the edition I read was published by Plume/Penguin (it was originally a self-published novel) but from what I understand ten days after they acquired the novel, they rushed to print. That's probably why I found a couple of very minor typos--no big deal, but they are there.

On the whole, On the Island was an amazing read and it pretty much blew my socks off. I had a hard time putting it down. I highly recommend you pick it up if you haven't already. It's the perfect summer read... but you'll also want to re-read it later on.
Today kicks off the Summer with Jill Shalvis Blog Tour and we have a quick Q&A with Jill! We are talking about writing...

What was the best writing advice that you've ever gotten?
Best advice was to not write to fads or the market, to write for myself. Which I do every day.

What was the worst writing advice you've ever gotten?
My creative writing teacher in high school told me not to quit my day job. Ever.

What was the hardest book to write in the Lucky Harbor series?
The first, Simply Irresistible. The first of a series is always the hardest for me, setting up a new world and all the characters…

Thanks for answering our questions Jill! In case y'all didn't know, there are six book in the Lucky Harbor series. It started with sisters Maddie, Tara and Chloe...

...and continues with the chocoholics: town good girl Mallory Quinn, diner waitress Amy Michaels and  new-in-town, down-in-her-luck Grace Brooks.

Read Michelle's review of Lucky in Love and look for her review of At Last next week. 

All the Lucky Harbor novels (with the exception of Forever and a Day) are now available at your local bookstores and online. Forever and a Day comes out at the end of this month, July 31st!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

We got new books! (8)

Saturday, July 14, 2012 with
We had a pretty awesome week in books:
Don't Turn Around by Michelle Gagnon (signed; won)
Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson (won)
Cavendish swag and candies from Claire Legrand (won)
Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone (review)
[[Super excited for Time Between Us especially since great reviews have been popping up all over the blogosphere. I'm excited to see what I'll think of it!]]
Her Amish Man by Erin Bates (review; unsolicited)
[[I got an extra ARC copy of Her Amish Man so there will be a giveaway in the near future.]]
How to Capture a Countess (The Duchess Diaries #1) by Karen Hawkins (review; unsolicited)

Did YOU get any new books? Let us know! We'd love to see your new bookshelf additions.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Why Leslie covets The Archived: I really enjoyed Victoria Schwab's debut The Near Witch (my review here) and I cannot wait to read more by her. The premise for The Archived sounds fantastic!

Beautiful cover too.
book cover
Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.

Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.

Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what he once was, a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often-violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.

Being a Keeper isn't just dangerous—it's a constant reminder of those Mac has lost. Da's death was hard enough, but now her little brother is gone too. Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself might crumble and fall.

In this haunting, richly imagined novel, Victoria Schwab reveals the thin lines between past and present, love and pain, trust and deceit, unbearable loss and hard-won redemption.
The Archived comes out on January 22, 2013 from Hyperion. For more info and news, visit and check out the author's website. Click on the cover to go to the book's Goodreads page.


Why Michelle covets The Innocents: I like reading novels that feature sisters. The synopsis doesn't really give you much yet I'm intrigued just the same.

book cover
Two sisters fight to belong in a town built on secrets and lies in this romantic new YA series.

In a town built on secrets and lies, it's going to be hard to stay innocent.

Nothing ever came between sisters Alice and Charlie.

Friends didn't.

Boys couldn't.

Their family falling apart never would.

Until they get to Serenity Point.

The Innocents is the first in a new series of young adult novels that weaves a saga of nail-biting drama, breathless romance, and gothic mystery.
The Innocents comes out on October 16, 2012 from Razorbill. 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, July 10, 2012

book cover Hardcover: 303 pages 
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
 Release Date: June 12, 2012
ISBN: 9780385742016
Source of my copy: publisher
Series: Lies Beneath #1 

Synopsis (from Goodreads) 
Calder White lives in the cold, clear waters of Lake Superior, the only brother in a family of murderous mermaids. To survive, Calder and his sisters prey on humans, killing them to absorb their energy. But this summer the underwater clan targets Jason Hancock out of pure revenge. They blame Hancock for their mother's death and have been waiting a long time for him to return to his family's homestead on the lake. Hancock has a fear of water, so to lure him in, Calder sets out to seduce Hancock's daughter, Lily. Easy enough—especially as Calder has lots of practice using his irresistable good looks and charm on ususpecting girls. Only this time Calder screws everything up: he falls for Lily—just as Lily starts to suspect that there's more to the monsters-in-the-lake legends than she ever imagined. And just as his sisters are losing patience with him.

Michelle's Review:
Mermaid books are a hit or miss for me. Lies Beneath falls on the "hits" side but I did have a few issues with it.

What I liked:
The premise of this novel: Calder White was saved by/adopted by a mermaid. Said mermaid dies and Calder and his three adopted sisters wanted to avenge her by going after Jason Hancock, the human who they blamed for her death. Calder sets out to seduce his daughter Lily (she's a budding poet who likes to wear Victorian-inspired clothing to go with her love for Victorian poets and poetry) but he ends up falling for her. I do enjoy a good revenge story.

The romance between Calder and Lily. Though it's a bit cliche, it was not insta-love and I appreciated that. There was mutual attraction especially on Lily's part (Calder was one hot merman!) in the beginning but she was also suspicious of him and didn't trust him. Then, as they got to know each other (and bonded over Victorian poetry), they became friends before it became something more. 

How the mermaids were portrayed in this novel. They were not Disney's The Little Mermaid type. Instead they were evil and murderous--they go after humans and feed on positive their emotions until they are nothing but empty husks (aka dead).

Issues I had with it:
Lies Beneath was told in Calder's perspective (it would've been nice if the cover reflected that but it wasn't a big deal to me) but I wished it was told in alternating POVs between Calder and Lily instead. There were scenes where I wanted to know what Lily was thinking and feeling or what her thoughts and feelings were behind her actions--I felt the story would've been more complete if we also get Lily's perspective along with Calder's.

The pacing was uneven. It started out well but the middle dragged with little action. Then, towards the end the action suddenly picked up and everything was happening all at once--the action was too concentrated in the last few chapters.

Calder's evil mermaid sisters were quite fascinating and I wished the author did more with them or explored their characters more. But since Lies Beneath is only book one in the series, I hope she'll explore them further in the future books.

Final thoughts:
Despite my issues, I found Lies Beneath a pretty engaging read overall. I was intrigued by the author's depiction of mermaids, the romance was well done and I just want to read more about Calder and Lily. They fascinate me and I am looking forward to reading more about them in Deep Betrayal (the next book in the series and told in Lily's perspective).

Monday, July 9, 2012

Once Excerpt and Giveaway of Eve AND Once

Monday, July 9, 2012 with
We have a treat for you all today!

To celebrate the release of Once by Anna Carey (book 2 in the Eve series--already out in stores), not only do we have an excerpt from Once but we are also giving away BOTH Eve (the first book in the series) and Once.

But first the excerpt...

This excerpt is from the first chapters of Once. After spending several months in Califia, Eve has been kidnapped by one of the King’s soldiers. She’s taken to the City of Sand, a post-apocalyptic Las Vegas. Here she sees the Palace for the first time and discovers the fate that awaits her...

book cover
The Jeep was turning left, cutting up a long road that snaked toward a massive white building. Rows of government Jeeps sat out front. Soldiers were stationed along a strip of narrow trees, machine guns slung across their backs. I stared up at the expansive structure. The main entrance was lined with sculptures—winged horses, angels, women with their heads cut off. After driving so many miles we were here. The Palace.

The King was waiting for me.

Stark took me from the Jeep, his hand clamping down on my arm. I could barely breathe as we entered the circular marble lobby. The King’s face had haunted me for months. I thought of the photo I’d grown up with in School. His thin grey hair hung over his forehead. His skin was loose around his jowls and his beady eyes were always watching, following you wherever you went.

Soldiers milled about the lobby, some talking, others pacing in front of a fountain. Stark took me through a set of gold doors and into a small mirrored elevator. He punched a code into the keypad inside. The doors slid shut and then we were moving, up, up, my stomach rocking as the floors flew past—fifty gone, then fifty more.

“You’re going to regret this,” I said, straining against the plastic rope around my wrists. “I’ll tell him what you did. How your men threw me to the ground in that parking lot. You threatened to kill me.” I looked down at the gash in my arm, where the blood was crusted black.

Stark shook his head. “Whatever it takes,” he said, his voice flat. “Those were my orders. Do whatever it takes to bring you here.” Then he turned to me, his eyes bloodshot. He clutched the collar of my shirt and pulled me toward him so my face was just inches from his. “Those men you killed were like brothers to me. They served with me every day for three years. The King will never punish you for what you did, but I will make sure you never forget what happened that day.”

The doors opened before us with a terrifying bing! Stark’s nails dug into my arm as he led me to a room across the carpeted hall. “You’ll wait for him here.” Then he pulled a knife from his belt and sliced the plastic restraints in two. My hands tingled from the sudden rush of blood to my fingers.

The door closed. I leapt up and grabbed the handle, knowing before I even tried it that it would be locked. A long mahogany table sat in the center of the room, surrounded by a few heavy chairs. A massive window looked out onto the City, a two-foot ledge just a few inches below. I went to the glass, wedging my fingers beneath the pane, straining against it. “Please,” I muttered under my breath. “Please just open.”

“They’re sealed shut,” a voice said. I turned. Standing in the doorway was a man of about sixty. He had gray hair and thin, papery skin.

I stepped away from the window, my hands dropping to my sides. He wore a deep-blue suit and a silk tie, the New American crest embroidered on his lapel. He stalked forward, taking one slow lap around me, his eyes scanning my tangled auburn hair, the linen shirt soaked through with sweat, the scrapes around my wrists from where I’d been bound. He studied the wound on my arm. When he finally finished his survey he stood before me, then reached out and stroked my cheek. “My beautiful girl,” he said, running his thumb over my brow. “You’re here.”
Want to read more? Or you're a bit confused because you haven't read Eve yet? Well, thanks to Deb Shapiro & Co., I have a copy of Eve and Once to give away to one lucky reader!
book coverbook cover

One winner. US only. Ends July 31, 2012.

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Sunday, July 8, 2012

Hello everyone! We hope you all had a wonderful Fourth of July. Please forgive our two consecutive "we got new books" posts. I went home to Maui on Sunday (July 1st) and Leslie and I decided that we'll take a week-long blogging hiatus and just enjoy spending time with our family. 

And now it's Sunday again... It's another great week of books for us:
Insignia by S.J. Kincaid (review)
Don't Turn Around by Michelle Gagnon (review)

Seventeen Ultimate Guide to Beauty: The Best Hair, Skin, Nails & Makeup For You by Ann Shoket and the Editors of Seventeen (review)
On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves (review)
[[I already read On the Island and I really enjoyed it! It's the PERFECT summer read.]]

Leslie and I were chosen as "Ambuzzadors" at for the summer and we were sent Jersey Angel by Beth Ann Bauman as well other goodies to spread the word about Random Buzzers. Visit their FAQs page for more info.

**If you are not a member of Random Buzzers yet and you're planning to join, let us know and we can email you a code that you can use when you sign up to get a free book!**

We played tourist the other day and drove up to Haleakala National Park and then to Hana. For fun, here are a few pictures we took that day.
We drove up to Haleakala at four in the morning to catch the 5:43 AM sunrise.
Here's a view from our drive down Haleakala. You can see the town of Pukalani and further on, pass the sugarcane fields, is Kahului town. The West Maui Mountains are hidden by the clouds.
One of the beautiful views on the way to Hana.
Leslie and me at the black sand beach (Wai‘anapanapa State Park in Hana).
Did YOU get any new books? Let us know! We'd love to see your new bookshelf additions.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

We got new books (and swag)! (6)

Sunday, July 1, 2012 with
Got a mix bag this week in books.
From What I Remember by Stacy Kramer & Valerie Thomas (won)
Her Amish Man by Erin Bates (unsolicited review book)
A Summer of Seduction by Candace Camp (unsolicited review book)

We also got of some book swag!
Poster that came with our copy of From What I Remember.
Michelle is a Splash Team (the street team for Just for Fins by Tera Lynn Childs, which comes out July 3rd) member!
We also got Valkyrie Rising (by Ingrid Paulson; out Oct. 9th) bookmarks and temporary tattoos!

Did YOU get any new books? Let us know! We'd love to see your new bookshelf additions.