Sunday, September 30, 2012

We got new books (15)

Sunday, September 30, 2012 with
The last two weeks have been great for us (book-wise, at least). I bought physical books after many months of getting just e-books and we received books for review we are really excited about!
Hunting Lila by Sarah Alderson (bought)
Losing Lila by Sarah Alderson (bought)
Eve and Adam by Katherine Applegate and Michael Grant (won)
[[Leslie got a copy last week on Maui and this week I got a copy here on Oahu. Awesome!]]
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater (bought)
[[I went into B&N intending to get a book but walked out with The Raven Boys instead. How did that happen!?]]
The Diviners by Libba Bray (review) 
[[Eeeppp!! Super excited for The Diviners!!]]

And on Maui Leslie got of awesome books too:
Entice (Violet Eden Chapters #2) by Jessica Shirvington (review)
The Thorn Wing (The Faerie Ring #2) by Kiki Hamilton (won/review)

Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst (review)
[[It finally came!! We were so worried it got lost in the mail.]]
Fathomless by Jackson Pearce (review)

I also got these e-books:

Sweet Venom (Medusa Girls #1) by Tera Lynn Childs (free)
Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally (review)
Impulse (Faces of Evil #2) by Debra Webb (review)
Standing in the Shadows (McCloud & Friends #2) by Shannon McKenna (bought)
Edge of Midnight (McCloud & Friends #4) by Shannon McKenna (bought)
The Marriage Trap (Marriage to a Billionaire #2) by Jennifer Probst (review)


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

Friday, September 28, 2012

Who will you ENTICE? Blog Tour + GIVEAWAY

Friday, September 28, 2012 with
Dear fellow YA enthusiasts,
The series we are going to feature today has angels, plenty of action, lots of kissing, swoony boys, and a main character that grows on you. The series I am talking about is the Violet Eden Chapters. Book one is:
book cover
It starts with a whisper: "It's time for you to know who you are..."

On her 17th birthday, everything will change for Violet Eden. The boy she loves will betray her. Her enemy will save her. She will have to decide just how much she's willing to sacrifice.

Dangerously exciting and darkly romantic,
Embrace is a compelling novel of good and evil, seductive desires and impossible choices. A centuries old war between fallen angels and the protectors of humanity chooses a new fighter. It's a battle Violet doesn't want, but she lives her life by two rules: don't run and don't quit. If angels seek vengeance and humans are the warriors, you could do a lot worse than betting on Violet Eden.

LINCOLN: He's been Violet's one anchor, her running partner and kickboxing trainer. Only he never told her he's Grigori--part human, part angel--and that he was training her for an ancient battle between Angels and Exiles.

PHOENIX: No one knows where his loyalties lie, yet he's the only one there to pick up the pieces and protect her after Lincoln's lies. In a world of dark and light, he is all shades of gray.

Two sides: Angel or Exile.

Two guys: Lincoln or Phoenix.

The wrong choice could cost not only her life, but her eternity...

Book two (which recently came out) is:

book cover
Violet Eden is Grigori - part angel, part human. Her destiny is to protect humans from the vengence of exiled angels.

Knowing who to trust is key but, when Grigori reinforcements arrive, it becomes clear everyone is hiding something. Even Lincoln. The only thing Violet does know: Phoenix's hold over her is more dangerous than ever.

The race to find the one thing that could tilt the balance of power brings them all to the sacred mountains of Jordan, where Violet's power will be pushed to the extreme. And the ultimate betrayal exposed.

Entice is the second compelling book in The Violet Eden Chapters.

I am currently reading Entice and I am enjoying it a lot more than I thought I would. Yes, there is a love triangle in this one and if you regularly read my reviews, you know that I am very anti-love triangles. But, surprisingly, I do not really mind it in this series**.

I'll be posting my review of Embrace next week, and it'll have more of my thoughts about this series there. To tide you all over until my awesome review is posted (ha!), we have a special treat for you...

If you LOVE to read paranormal YA, the Violet Eden Chapters is worth looking into. Both are available in your favorite book retailer, OR you can try your luck here and enter to win a copy of Embrace and Entice!

Happy entering!

<3,
Michelle (& Leslie)


**My main gripe with love triangles is the contant "I can't decide; do I like him or do I like him more" inner dialogue of the female main character that annoys the heck out of me and the fact that you know who she'll eventually end up with--there's always the guy and the other guy. But it's NOT really like that in Embrace and Entice.

One (1) winner. Open to U.S. residents only. Ends 10/17.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Why we covet this book: We both read and liked The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight and we'd love to read more by the author.

Plus, this book is like a mash up of two of our favorite movies: of You've Got Mail and Sleepless in Seattle!

book cover
If fate sent you an email, would you answer?

In
This is What Happy Looks Like, Jennifer E. Smith's new YA novel, perfect strangers Graham Larkin and Ellie O'Neill meet—albeit virtually—when Graham accidentally sends Ellie an email about his pet pig, Wilbur. In the tradition of romantic movies like You've Got Mail and Sleepless in Seattle, the two 17-year-olds strike up an email relationship, even though they live on opposite sides of the country and don't even know each other's first names.

Through a series of funny and poignant messages, Graham and Ellie make a true connection, sharing intimate details about their lives, hopes and fears. But they don't tell each other everything; Graham doesn't know the major secret hidden in Ellie's family tree, and Ellie is innocently unaware that Graham is actually a world-famous teen actor living in Los Angeles.

When the location for the shoot of Graham's new film falls through, he sees an opportunity to take their relationship from online to in-person, managing to get the production relocated to picturesque Henley, Maine, where Ellie lives. But can a star as famous as Graham have a real relationship with an ordinary girl like Ellie? And why does Ellie's mom want her to avoid the media's spotlight at all costs?

Just as they did in
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, the hands of fate intervene in wondrous ways in this YA novel that delivers on high concept romance in lush and thoughtful prose.
This is What Happy Looks Like comes on April 2, 2013 from Poppy. For more info and news about the novel, 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!

Monday, September 24, 2012

book coverFormat: E-book 
Publisher: Forever Yours
Release Date: July 10, 2012
ISBN: 9781455527663
 
Source of my copy: publisher
Series: Faces of Evil #1
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
 

She thought she'd left the murders-and his obsession-behind...
Special Agent Jess Harris has spent more than a decade studying the many faces of evil. In her determination to stop a serial killer, she broke the rules, and it cost her everything. With her career in need of resuscitation and her love life dead and buried, Jess jumps at a chance to advise on a case that has the top detectives of Birmingham, Alabama, stumped. But the case forces her to confront all the reasons she put her hometown-and her first love-in her rearview mirror.
Four young women have gone missing, and Police Chief Dan Burnett will do anything to find them before it's too late-even if it means asking for help from the woman who has spent a decade avoiding him. Jess agrees to lend a hand and welcomes the diversion of a new case, a new life to save to make up for the victims she's lost. But then the unthinkable happens: the crazed serial killer from her past follows Jess to Birmingham. The situation is becoming increasingly desperate-and time is swiftly running out...


Michelle's Review:
I saw the book covers for the Faces of Evil series on Amazon and Goodreads but I never really paid them any attention until a publicist from Forever emailed me asking if I want to feature the series on our blog. I asked for the first book, Obsession, to read and see if I'll like it and, we went from there.

Obsession ended up being a good read! The story was told through different perspective third-person perspective: Jess Harris, Dan Burnett (the police chief), Lori Wells (one of the detectives and the only other woman working on the case) and Andrea (one of the missing girls held captive by the psychotic couple).

Sometimes, it did drag especially since the police couldn't find anything to link the missing girls for the longest time so most of the action happened when the story switches to Andrea. I couldn't stop reading then, as we see her trying to escape, and learn more about the couple who took them and why they did what they did, and later on towards the end, what they force her to do.

The primary focus of the story was on the police investigation with the romance a secondary plot but I am fine with that. I know the relationship between Jess Harris and Dan Burnett will develop more as the series continue. But, basically, Jess Harris and Dan Burnett had unresolved issues from their past relationship and there's a lot of [sexual] tension between. There was also tertiary plot about Lori Wells (as well as a secondary romance between her and another detective on the team) that adds to the drama.

As for the characters, I couldn't really connect with Jess as much as I wanted to. I feel like the author told us rather than showed us why she was how she was and I couldn't empathize with her situation. The same goes for Dan Burnett. I thought he didn't show much of a personality for most of the book. Their characters felt one-dimensional at times and it was only towards the end that we finally see character development. I have high hopes as the series continues that there will be more character development.

If you like mystery/suspense novels, you might want to consider Obsession and the Faces of Evil series. It's written in a easy-to-read way, perfect for a weekend read.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Book We Covet: Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger

Wednesday, September 19, 2012 with
Why we covet this book: Gail Carriger is an author we've always want to read. We are always hearing about her Parasol Protectorate series and how awesome it is and about the fan clubs devoted to it...

We might yet pick the series one of these days but we are very excited about her new YA series. It sounds like a fun read.

book cover
It's one thing to learn to curtsy properly. It's quite another to learn to curtsy and throw a knife at the same time. Welcome to finishing school.

Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is the bane of her mother's existence. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper etiquette at tea--and god forbid anyone see her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminnick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. She enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.

But little do Sophronia or her mother know that this is a school where ingenious young girls learn to finish, all right--but it's a different kind of finishing. Mademoiselle Geraldine's certainly trains young ladies in the finer arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but also in the other kinds of finishing: the fine arts of death, diversion, deceit, espionage, and the modern weaponries. Sophronia and her friends are going to have a rousing first year at school.

First in a four book YA series set 25 years before the Parasol Protectorate but in the same universe.
Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School #1) comes on February 5, 2013 from Little, Brown for Young Readers. For more info and news about the novel, 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!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

We got new books! (14)

Sunday, September 16, 2012 with
This week is the best book week for Leslie and me in a long time, especially with YA books:
The Death Cure by James Dashner (from RandomBuzzers)
Eve & Adam by Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate (won)
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin (won)
The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin (won)
[[I ended up winning from Simon & Schuster. We are stoked about the Mara Dyer books--we heard so many great things about the series.]] 


Of course, the week wouldn't be complete without romance novels:
A Private Duel with Agent Gunn by Jillian Stone (unsolicited)
The Stranger I Married by Sylvia Day (review)
[[Excited to finally read one of Sylvia Day's novels.]]

Edge of Midnight (McCloud and Friends #4) by Shannon McKenna (e-book; bought)
[[Ended up getting a $5 Amazon GC so I decided to get a novel by an author I've been wanting to read for a while, Shannon McKenna.]]


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

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Fellow romance readers,
I have always seen Debra Webb's Faces of Evil series around but I didn't stop to read about them... until I was contacted by Jessica of Forever (Grand Central Publishing). I just finished reading Obsession (book 1) and I really enjoyed it. I am very eager to read Impulse (book 2).

Don't pass this series by (like I almost did) especially if you love romantic suspense!

The first two books were originally self-published but they and the rest of the upcoming books in the series have since been acquired by Forever and Forever Yours, which means the novels will now be simultaneously released in print and e-book formats!



Here's the synopsis for Obsession:
Special Agent Jess Harris has spent more than a decade studying the many faces of evil. In her determination to stop a serial killer, she broke the rules, and it cost her everything. With her career in need of resuscitation and her love life dead and buried, Jess jumps at a chance to advise on a case that has the top detectives of Birmingham, Alabama, stumped. But the case forces her to confront all the reasons she put her hometown-and her first love-in her rearview mirror.

Four young women have gone missing, and Police Chief Dan Burnett will do anything to find them before it's too late-even if it means asking for help from the woman who has spent a decade avoiding him. Jess agrees to lend a hand and welcomes the diversion of a new case, a new life to save to make up for the victims she's lost. But then the unthinkable happens: the crazed serial killer from her past follows Jess to Birmingham. The situation is becoming increasingly desperate-and time is swiftly running out...
To spread the word about the Faces of Evil series' new home at Forever and Forever Yours and the release of Power (book 3), I got to interview the author Debra Webb!

book coverHi Debra! Welcome to our blog! Did any part of your writing/revision process change since writing your first novel? If you could give one advice to your old self who was writing that first novel what would it be?
Hey, it's great to be here! In the beginning I knew NOTHING so I had to learn EVERYTHING. I just wrote the story. But once I understood the elements of a novel from a craft perspective I was able to mold my story into one that's well told. And in the beginning I was kind of all over the place writing in different genres. My advice would be to find what you do best and stick with it.

Self-publishing vs. regular publishing: In your experience, what are the benefits of both?
There's a certain amount of creative freedom that is totally awesome in self-publishing. But with that freedom comes the weight of doing it all yourself. I believe there is a place for both in every writer's career. With traditional publishing you're going to get the print format (much harder to accomplish in self-pubbing) as well as editorial and marketing support. With self-pubbing you have the freedom to write the story the way you want and add the cover you want. Why not go for both worlds?

What are your feelings in shifting back into regular publishing and continuing the Faces of Evil series with Forever and Forever Yours in both print and e-book editions?
The move is one that will help me get the books out to my print readers which was important to me since I've been in traditional publishing for more than a decade and have a readership already. I received tons of email from folks who wanted the books in print at the stores where they shop. From the editorial standpoint it has been awesome. We all want these books to be the very best they can be. GCP is doing a terrific job and I'm very pleased.

Was there a scene in the Faces of Evil series that made you feel a strong emotion while you were writing it? If there was, was it more harder to write than other scenes?
Having Jess return to her hometown with her career and her personal life in shambles really hit home for me. The scene where she and Dan confront their painful past is one of the numerous scenes that made me cry. I love these characters!

Tell us 3 random, not-very-well-known-things about Special Agent Jess Harris.
Jess hates weaknesses in herself (like the need for reading glasses). She expects everyone around her to see what she sees (she forgets that not all have her talent for seeing beyond what's in front of her on a case). And she is terrified of falling too deeply in love with Dan again.

You must have some very exciting projects coming up in 2013. Please tell us a little bit about them.
The first three books in the Faces of Evil series will all come out in print on March 26th for the incredible low price of $3.99 each! I am so thrilled that we can provide readers with three books for scarcely more than the cost of one! It's amazing! Then in April the fourth book, RAGE, hits the shelves in paperback and digital at the same time. July and August will see the releases in paperback and digital of REVENGE and REDEMPTION. It's a killer schedule but I am very pleased with the opportunity!
Thanks to Debra for answering my questions. 2013 will definitely be an exciting year for the Faces of Evil series!

Fellow romance lovers, thank you for checking out my interview with Debra. Now, about that GINORMOUS giveaway?

Enter to win a FALL in Love with Forever prize pack that includes ALL of the following titles:
THE WARRIOR by Margaret Mallory
BAREFOOT IN THE RAIN by Roxanne St. Claire
AN HEIRESS AT HEART by Jennifer Delamere
WHERE ANGELS REST by Kate Brady
TOO DANGEROUS TO DESIRE by Cara Elliott
TWO SINFUL SECRETS by Laurel McKee

Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below.

<3, Michelle

Open to US only. Ends 10/6.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Book We Covet: Altered by Jennifer Rush

Wednesday, September 12, 2012 with
Why we covet this book: (1) The awesome synopsis. (2) It sounds like an exciting, action-packed read. (3) The romance (**crossing fingers it does not become a love triangle**).

book cover
A story that starts with a girl and a boy. A girl who loves a boy so much , she'll risk anything for him. And a boy who knows only one thing--- kill anyone who stands in his way.

When you can’t trust yourself, who can you believe?

Everything about Anna’s life is a secret. Her father works for the Branch at the helm of its latest project: monitoring and administering treatments to the four genetically altered boys in the lab below their farmhouse. There’s Nick, Cas, Trev . . . and Sam, who’s stolen Anna’s heart. When the Branch decides it’s time to take the boys, Sam stages an escape, killing the agents sent to retrieve them.

Anna is torn between following Sam or staying behind in the safety of her everyday life. But her father pushes her to flee, making Sam promise to keep her away from the Branch, at all costs. There’s just one problem. Sam and the boys don’t remember anything before living in the lab—not even their true identities.

Now on the run, Anna soon discovers that she and Sam are connected in more ways than either of them expected. And if they’re both going to survive, they must piece together the clues of their past before the Branch catches up to them and steals it all away.
Altered (Altered #1) comes on January 2, 2013 from Little, Brown for Young Readers. For more info and news about the novel, visit check out the author's blog. 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, September 10, 2012

Fellow bookaholics, one of my most anticipated releases this year comes out TOMORROW!! Eeeppp!! I'll give you three guesses-- nevermind, I'll just show you:
book cover
In a desert world of sandstorms and sand-wolves, a teen girl must defy the gods to save her tribe in this mystical, atmospheric tale from the author of Drink, Slay, Love.Liyana has trained her entire life to be the vessel of a goddess. The goddess will inhabit Liyana’s body and use magic to bring rain to the desert. But Liyana’s goddess never comes. Abandoned by her angry tribe, Liyana expects to die in the desert. Until a boy walks out of the dust in search of her.

Korbyn is a god inside his vessel, and a trickster god at that. He tells Liyana that five other gods are missing, and they set off across the desert in search of the other vessels. For the desert tribes cannot survive without the magic of their gods. But the journey is dangerous, even with a god’s help. And not everyone is willing to believe the trickster god’s tale.

The closer she grows to Korbyn, the less Liyana wants to disappear to make way for her goddess. But she has no choice: She must die for her tribe to live. Unless a trickster god can help her to trick fate—or a human girl can muster some magic of her own.
Yup! Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst. I **heart** Sarah's books; everything I've read by her I've enjoyed so I always look forward to her releases. I did a short interview with Sarah in anticipation of the release of Vessel.

book coverHi Sarah! Welcome to our blog! Did any part of your writing/revision process change since writing your first novel? If you could give one advice to your old self who was writing that first novel what would it be?
Yes, it absolutely has. When I wrote my first novel, I didn't outline. Outlining doesn't work for every writer, but for me personally, if I don't outline, I tend to be distracted by shiny things (my favorite term for it is "chasing plot bunnies") and then end up having to backtrack. Outlining lets me see the shape of the story before I fully commit to it. Saves me a lot of time.

If I could give myself one piece of advice, I'd tell myself to finish the first draft as quickly as possible. For me, finishing that first full draft was a major turning point. Once I'd done it, I knew I could... and that made every novel since then easier to write.

How was creating Liyana's character (the main character in Vessel) different from creating Pearl (Drink Slay Love) who was so funny, snarky and awesomely evil?
Very different! For Pearl, I simply asked myself, "What would I never, ever do or say in this situation?" and then I knew what she'd do or say.

For Liyana... I wanted to create a real heroine. Someone ordinary who was expected to do extraordinary things -- and who was willing and ready to do them, as soon as she knew how.

Was there a scene in Vessel that made you cry or made you feel a strong emotion while you were writing it?
I cried when I wrote the scene where Liyana says goodbye to her four-year-old brother Jidali. Liyana doesn't cry in this scene. She's brave for her brother, so I cried for her.

You have some very exciting projects coming up, including selling your first adult series. Please tell us a little about them.
*happy dance*

I'm working on a YA novel called SWEET NOTHINGS. It comes out in fall 2013 from Bloomsbury/Walker, and it's about a girl in the paranormal witness protection program. And I've started work on my first trilogy for adults -- THE LOST, THE MISSING, and THE FOUND. It's coming out from Luna and is about a woman who is trapped in a town full of only lost people and lost things. I'm really, really excited about both projects!

Thanks so much for interviewing me!

Thanks to Sarah for answering my questions.

Fellow book lovers, if you haven't read a book by Sarah, I recommend you start with either Ice (my review here), which is an epic retelling of East of the Sun, West of the Moon, or Drink Slay Love (my review here), a laugh-out-loud funny vampire and unicorn mash up with an unforgettable deliciously-evil-turned-semi-good heroine.

Have a great Monday and happy reading everyone! And don't forget to check out Vessel when it becomes available in stores tomorrow.

<3, Michelle

Sunday, September 9, 2012

We got new books! (13)

Sunday, September 9, 2012 with
It was a slow week in books for us which is a good thing because our TBR piles are sky high.
We got one YA novel this week: Nevermore by James Patterson. Leslie read the 1st book in the series but decided it wasn't for her. I might read book 1 in the future if there's time...

As for romances...
 
I got Blaze by Joan Swan. It's the second book in the Phoenix Rising series. I quite enjoyed Fever (book 1; my review here) so I am excited to get to Blaze (it comes out on 9/25).
I also got an e-galley of Obsession by Debra Webb (book 1 in the Faces of Evil series) from NetGalley, thanks to Jessica, Forever and Forever Yours. I'm currently reading this one to get ready for book 3, Power, and I'm liking it so far.


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

Thursday, September 6, 2012

book coverARC: 366 pages 
Publisher: Dutton Adult
Release Date: August 7, 2012
ISBN: 9780525952862
 
Source of my copy: publisher
Series: hints of a 2nd book
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
 

In the new contemporary romance from #1 New York Times bestselling author Julie Garwood, a detective and a lawyer are falling in love— and making a federal case out of it.
When FBI agent Grayson Kincaid first encounters Olivia MacKenzie, she makes quite an impression.
The beautiful, tough, young attorney has stumbled into the middle of an FBI sting operation and has reduced it to chaos. Months of surveillance and careful planning down the drain, Kincaid’s partner is furious and lets Olivia know that she’s ticked off the wrong guy. After all, he’s FBI.
Olivia isn’t intimidated by his partner’s bullying because she’s something even scarier... she’s IRS.
And working for the IRS isn’t for the faint of heart. She’s on the trail of an elaborate Ponzi scheme, one that threatens to ruin the lives of naive and unsuspecting victims, and one she has personal reasons to be angry about. But after she asks questions of the wrong people, her life is suddenly endangered. She’s accustomed to fighting for the underdog but being vulnerable herself is a very different story. Smart enough to know when to call for reinforcements, she contacts Grayson Kincaid.
Together they make an excellent team to fight corruption but Olivia is also fighting the immediate and intense attraction she feels for Agent Kincaid, and that may be a battle she is bound to lose.


Michelle's Review:
It's been a few years since I've read a Julie Garwood novel. But when I first discovered romance novels at age 14, I devoured her historical novels. So, when I was offered to reviewed Sweet Talk I jumped at the chance.

As epic as her historical romances were, I had high expectations for Sweet Talk. I was expecting a novel that is gripping, action-packed and romantic. Unfortunately, what I got instead was a suspense-lite with two main characters I couldn't really connect with.

The novel started well enough, with four young girls suffering from cancer forming a bond stronger than friendship as they go through chemo together. One of those girls was our heroine, Olivia. Fast forward years later and Olivia is now an adult. She's been in remission for years and currently working for the IRS. But she's also trying to gather evidence against her father who, for years, had been making his millions by deceiving and swindling unsuspecting people taken in by his charm and charisma. Olivia meets the hero, Grayson, when she unwittingly stumbled in the middle of an FBI sting operation. After that Grayson was smitten and Olivia couldn't stop thinking about him.

Olivia and Grayson were good and likable but I just couldn't connect with either them. They (and all the other secondary characters as well) felt two-dimensional to me and after a while I stopped caring whether they succeed in bringing in the bad guys or not. The main plot of trying to bring down Olivia's dad and his Ponzi scheme felt messy, and the subplot about Olivia's friend (who was still sick and in the hospital) and her brother felt tacked on as it didn't relate in any way to the main plot. The romance was just okay--nothing really stood out about it but it was sweet how Olivia and Grayson got together.

Sweet Talk was a just-okay read for me. Nothing stood out about it--maybe my expectations were too high. At the end of Sweet Talk there was a hint that there might be a second book set in the same world... and maybe eventually each of Olivia's friends might get their own books. Sweet Talk was my first contemporary/suspense novel by Julie Garwood and I might pick up future contemporary novels by her. But for now I think I'm just going to stick to her historical romance novels.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Book We Covet: Let the Sky Fall by Shannon Messenger

Wednesday, September 5, 2012 with
Why we covet this book: Once again we were initially interested in this book because of its cover. But after reading the synopsis, we're already in love with this novel!

Read it (if you haven't already) and fall in love yourself.

book cover
Seventeen-year-old Vane Weston has no idea how he survived the category five tornado that killed his parents. And he has no idea if the beautiful, dark-haired girl who’s swept through his dreams every night since the storm is real. But he hopes she is.

Seventeen-year-old Audra is a sylph, an air elemental. She walks on the wind, can translate its alluring songs, and can even coax it into a weapon with a simple string of commands. She’s also a guardian—Vane’s guardian—and has sworn an oath to protect Vane at all costs. Even if it means sacrificing her own life.

When a hasty mistake reveals their location to the enemy who murdered both of their families, Audra’s forced to help Vane remember who he is. He has a power to claim—the secret language of the West Wind, which only he can understand. But unlocking his heritage will also unlock the memory Audra needs him to forget. And their greatest danger is not the warriors coming to destroy them—but the forbidden romance that’s grown between them.
Let the Sky Fall comes on March 5, 2012 from Simon Pulse. For more info and news about the novel, visit check out the author's blog. 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, September 3, 2012

book coverHardcover: 256 pages 
Publisher: Poppy
Release Date: August 7, 2012
ISBN: 9780316102131
 
Source of my copy: publisher
Series: standalone
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
 

It's all about supply and demand when a high school deals with the sudden exodus of male students.
The boy recession has hit Julius P. Heil High, and the remaining boys find that their stock is on the rise: With little competition, even the most unlikely guys have a good chance at making the team and getting the girl. Guitar-strumming, class-skipping Hunter Fahrenbach never wanted to be a hot commodity, but the popular girls can't help but notice his unconventional good looks. With a little work, he might even by boyfriend material.
But for down-to-earth Kelly Robbins, the boy recession is causing all sorts of problems. She has secretly liked her good friend Hunter for a while now, but how can she stand out in a crowd of overzealous Spandexers?
As if dating wasn't hard enough without a four-to-one ratio!


Michelle's Review:
I loved Flynn Meaney's debut novel Bloodthirsty (I reviewed it here) so I was very much looking forward her sophomore novel The Boy Recession.

I ended up enjoying Boy Recession. Although I didn't love it as much as I did Bloodthirsty, it was a quick, delightful read.

What I liked:

  1. The writing: Flynn Meaney's writing is very engaging and humorous. The writing just flowed so that you don't even realize how many pages you've turned.
  2. The alternating POV: I typically enjoy YA novels where the male and female main characters alternate. I liked getting both Kelly and Hunter's perspective and knowing what they were thinking. 
  3. Eugene (Hunter's best friend): He's a sailor, dressed like an eighty year-old golf player, an entrepreneur (he sells everything from booze to prom dates--he's a prom date pimp!) and doles out the best girl advice. He was a hoot!
  4. The pop culture references: There was mention of P&P (2005 vs. the BBC miniseries), Taylor Swift, Facebook, among others. Some people say pop references will age a book but I've always liked them in my reads and bring a smile to my face if they're well-placed. I thought they were in Boy Recession
  5. The chapter openings: Each chapter opens with a witty title from Kelly's friend Aviva's articles that she writes for the school newspaper (e.g., "Popularity of Plaid Shorts Plummets as Preppies Flee Julius" and "Cougars Among Us: Julius Juniors and Their Freshman Boy-Toys").
An issue:
My main issue in Boy Recession was with the main characters Kelly, an every-girl, and Hunter, a lovable lazy-ass. They were likable as a whole but I thought their characters didn't really shine as much as their eccentric friends' did. I also didn't necessarily cared for and root for them. This was the reason why I liked the novel not loved it.

Final thoughts:
Reading The Boy Recession is like watching a good Disney Channel movie (and I mean that as a compliment). It's a light, funny and a feel-good kind of novel. And if this is your kind of contemporary YA read, you can't go wrong with Flynn Meaney's novels.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

We got new books! (12)

Saturday, September 1, 2012 with
Somehow we always forget to include the e-books we get... But not this week! These are the books we got in the last two weeks.
Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey was free on Kindle last week so we snagged an e-copy even though we already have a physical copy. We purchased an e-copy Embrace by Jessica Shirvington (only $2.49!) to get ready for the blog tour for book 2.
Michelle got The Red Diary by Toni Blake from Netgalley (Avon is re-releasing it as an e-book). She also purchased Defiant by Pamela Clare (the long awaited MacKinnon Rangers series addition).
We got two physical book this week: Kiss the Morning Star by Elissa Janine Hoole (won from the lovely WHYA ladies) and How to Capture a Countess by Karen Hawkins (unsolicited review book).

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