Monday, June 30, 2014

Format: ARC
Publisher: Harlequin
Pages: 272 pages
Release Date: July 29, 2014
Source of my copy: Harlequin/MLM Media
Series: Fifth Avenue #2
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Austin, Hunter and Alex were inseparable during their school days, but the sudden death of their good friend Sarah Michaels tore them apart. However, her death was not as it seemed. Under the many falsehoods lies a corruption so sordid that New York’s elite would never believe it.
Hunter Talbot Grant III, sports figure du jour, wealthy beyond measure and disreputable by choice, has cultivated a reputation that masks the shadows of his past. When the opportunity to ensure financial destruction for Jason Treffen arises, he can't refuse. But first he must shake off the woman sent to tame him!
Zoe Brook, PR agent extraordinaire, never fails to transform a tarnished star. And Hunter's no different. Except there's a catch. Beneath their scorching mutual attraction, Zoe has a secret, she's also been on the wrong side of Jason Treffen, and she has as much of a taste for revenge as Hunter does!



Like I said in my review of Avenge Me (the first book), I really like the concept of the Fifth Avenue series: three friends come together to bring about the downfall of Jason Treffen, a wealthy, successful New York City lawyer and well-known women's advocate. But beneath his glittering public image lies a manipulative man who runs a prostitution ring by blackmailing young women under his employ and was responsible for the suicide of their friend Sarah Michaels. Each book will be written by a different author, which kind of adds a unique spin on the series, and I'm curious to see how the continuity of the books will work out.

Scandalize Me is about Hunter Talbot Grant III, who we learned in Avenge Me that was Sarah's college boyfriend until she broke up with him when she got too in deep with Jason Treffen. Hunter was angry with Sarah and he ignored her in her time of need. Ten years later, Hunter hasn't forgiven himself for his part in Sarah's death and punishes himself by cultivating a bad boy reputation that pushes everyone away.

Enter Zoe Brook, PR extraordinaire. She sought out Hunter with an offer to transform his damaged public image, and at the same time, use him in her own revenge against Jason Treffen. But as Zoe got to know Hunter more, she realized that there was more to him than the dumb jock image he shows the world. When Hunter finds out about Zoe's plans, he knew he had to convince her that they needed to work together.

I enjoyed Scandalize Me and I had less issues with it than Avenge Me. One of my issues with Avenge was the characters' motivation for revenge that did not come across as well as it should have had, and I couldn't quite connect with the characters. But in Scandalize, I did not have that problem. I liked Zoe and Hunter's characters from the start. I was able to empathize with them because I knew where they were coming from and why they made the choices they made.

Like in Avenge, the focus of the plot was heavily in the romance and how Zoe and Hunter's revolved. Sure, I would have liked more of the revenge part--you know, them executing on elaborate plans unbeknownst to Jason until he's squarely trapped and another piece of his empire falls away. Actually, that one confrontation scene with Jason, Zoe and Hunter felt rushed and anti-climatic. I wanted more drama from that scene, for Zoe and Hunter to do more and maybe a bit of blood, pain and fear on Jason's part. Hopefully, we'll see that and more in the final book.

The thing was, I didn't quite mind that most of the novel was about Zoe and Hunter's growth rather than the revenge. Both had a lot of issues to work through, especially Zoe who went through hell under Jason's thumb. I admired her character, that she was able to rise from that and build a successful PR firm. I really got into their romance and rooted for them to find their HEA both individually and together. I liked what Hunter did for Zoe towards the end of the novel, that he didn't push and let her come on her own.

I'm really looking forward to reading the last book of the series, Expose Me. All I gotta say is that we better see Jason Treffen get his comeuppance. It is long overdue.


*****

What's really cool about the Fifth Avenue series promotion was that all the participants in the blog tour also get a Summer in the City Essentials Kit, which includes all of this awesome stuff.

I haven't had a chance to try all of the samples yet but I've been using Not Your Mother's Beat The Heat Thermal Shield Spray whenever I straighten my thick, frizzy hair and I've been loving it! It does a good job getting my hair straight faster and I like how it smells. I look forward to using the Nyx makeup--I've used other Nyx products before and I've been fairly impressed by it.

A big thank you to Harlequin, Meryl L. Moss Media Relations and all the sponsors for the kits.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Hello everyone,
From now on this here blog will dedicate most Fridays to new adult. It could be a new adult review, a spotlight post on a title we're very excited about or other NA goodness.

We are kicking off NA Fridays with Nowhere But Here. If you're looking for a weekend read and like new adult like we do, you need to look into Renée Carlino's novel with the gorgeous cover.


A Chicago reporter in her mid-twenties unexpectedly finds love in Napa Valley when she’s assigned to spend a week with a famously reclusive genius.

Kate Corbin has lost her spark. From the outside, her life seems charmed. She has a handsome, long-term boyfriend and a budding journalism career at a popular Chicago newspaper. But in reality, her relationship is going nowhere, and she’s quickly losing motivation for what she once believed was her dream job. When her boyfriend dumps her unceremoniously, Kate loses all hope of finding love.

With no living family and few friends, Kate confides in her boss. Trusting that the hungry, ace reporter is buried somewhere deep inside, he gives Kate the opportunity to jumpstart her career. The assignment: to interview the famously reclusive R.J. Lawson, a wealthy tech genius who disappeared years ago but recently reemerged as a Napa Valley vintner. The week takes an unexpected turn, however, when Lawson refuses to divulge any information. Desperate for a lead, Kate turns to Jamie, a vineyard hand who shows her the romance of wine country—and stirs her aching heart. But his connection to Lawson is ambiguous, and when Jamie disappears before the end of the week, Kate is left to investigate another story: the truth behind the man who stole her heart.

USA Today bestselling author Renée Carlino explored love and heartbreak in her beautifully written debut Sweet Thing, and her newest novel does not disappoint. For fans of Colleen Hoover, K.A. Tucker, and Katja Millay, Nowhere But Here is a stirring and satisfying romance that you won’t want to put down.


Nowhere But Here is available now on e-book but the paperback edition will be out on July 8th.

I'll be reviewing Nowhere But Here next month but after reading the first couple of chapters, I am already hooked and I'm so excited to read more. Plus, it is set in Napa Valley, there's wine and a hot guy who works out in field of grapes. You can't go wrong with this combination, yeah?

Here are some quotable quotes.



About Renée Carlino
Renee's first friends were the imaginary kind and even though her characters haven't gone away, thankfully the delusions have. She admits she's a wildly hopeless romantic and she blames 80's movies starring Molly Ringwald for that. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two sons, and their sweet dog June. When she's not at the beach with her boys or working on the next book, she likes to spend her time reading, going to concerts, and eating dark chocolate.


If you already read Nowhere But Here, what did you think of it?

Happy reading,
Michelle

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Format: ARC
Publisher: Harlequin
Pages: 272 pages
Release Date: May 27, 2014
Source of my copy: Harlequin/MLM Media
Series: Fifth Avenue #1
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Austin, Hunter and Alex were inseparable during their school days, but the sudden death of their good friend Sarah Michaels tore them apart. However, her death was not as it seemed. Under the many falsehoods lies a corruption so sordid that New York’s elite would never believe it.
Now in positions of wealth and power, these men vow to use their influence to bring down the man responsible—Jason Treffen, an infamous philanthropic billionaire. With a plan in place, Austin, Hunter and Alex are ready for anything—until three very different women enter their lives, making them question their motives for revenge.



I really like the concept of the Fifth Avenue series: three friends come together to bring about the downfall of a man responsible for killing their friend, all the while meeting and falling in love with the women of their dreams. And each book will be written by a different author, which kind of adds a unique spin on the series and I'm curious to see how the continuity of the books will work out.

Basically, the Fifth Avenue series revolved around the taking down of Jason Treffen, a wealthy, successful New York City lawyer and well-known women's advocate. But beneath his glittering public image lies a manipulative man who runs a prostitution ring by blackmailing young women under his employ. It was a no-brainer for me to pick up the series because I love revenge stories and I couldn't wait to see how hotties Austin, Hunter and Alex (have you guys seen the covers?!) exact their revenge. Avenge Me is the first full novel (there is a prequel novella also written by Maisey Yates but it's not mandatory reading) in the series.

Austin Treffen hadn't spoken to his father Jason ever since his college friend Sarah Michaels committed suicide ten years ago. Austin was riddled in guilt because before she jumped off the building, Sarah came to him for help and he ignored her. Austin knew her suicide had something to do with his father, but it wasn't until now that concrete evidence has surfaced. Austin knew that he can no longer ignore his father's corruption. It's time for him to act and avenge Sarah's death.

Katy Michaels, Sarah's little sister, also wanted revenge because she knew Jason ultimately caused Sarah's suicide. She worked her way up to an events coordinator position to get close to him and get more evidence against Jason. Katy and Austin meet at a party and have an anonymous one-night stand that becomes anything but when they find out they both have the same goals and are after the same person.

I liked Avenge Me. Admittedly, I did have some issues with it, but it also hooked me to the series. In terms of writing and pacing, I thought the beginning was a bit clunky. I didn't really get a clear picture where Austin was coming from and his motivations--I mean, he vaguely said why but I didn't quite buy it until I got to the middle. That was when things really started to come together and we got more inner turmoil from him since he was essentially trying to ruin his own father.

I also had issues with the characters, especially with Katy. She's a weird mix of TSTL, snark and nice girl. I liked her overall but there's some instances when I found myself rolling my eyes with the things she said and her actions. Like in the scene when she told Austin what she was planning to do to take down Jason. Austin was all, "you know, if he finds out he's going to come after you and kill you, right?" and Katy was all, "no, he wouldn't do that... right?" Seriously, it did not occur to Katy (who's supposed to be street-smart) that she's putting herself in danger by going after a powerful man like Jason?

Since Avenge Me is a Harlequin Presents novel, the revenge aspect was mostly glossed over in favor of the romance--of Katy and Austin working through their issues and coming together as a couple. I would have liked to see more of the scheming and the "chess move" kind of actions taken that'll eventually lead to that first big step to Jason's downfall, like in the TV show Revenge.

Avenge Me is a great start to the series and a quick, easy read at about 270 pages. It's pretty much compulsive reading because once I started reading, I just had to keep reading to the end and then I immediately picked up Scandalize Me. Stay tuned for my review of Scandalize Me next week.



Here's an excerpt from Avenge Me. This scene happened very early on and was Katy and Austin's first conversation.

Ten years ago, one devastating night changed everything for Austin, Hunter and Alex. Now they must each play their part in the revenge against the one man who ruined it all. Read Maisey Yates’s dazzling debut of the Fifth Avenue trilogy: Avenge Me
KATY let out a long breath and started walking back down the empty corridor, back to the party.

Back toward Jason Treffen.

Talking to him had just about made her lose her mind. It had taken everything in her not to grab his glass from his hand and pour it over his head. Then break the glass on his face.

She considered the man as good as her sister’s murderer, so she was short on charitable feelings where he was concerned.

The door to the ballroom opened, and she froze.

Oh. Her breath left her in a rush, a current of electricity washing over her skin.

It was him.

The man whose eyes were like an endless black hole, drawing her in, a force she couldn’t deny or control. When he had looked at her, she’d felt as if she were grounded to the spot. She’d felt
like he had looked and seen her.

Seen everything. More than that, she’d looked back and she’d seen him.

Had seen a grief in him. An anger.

It had been, in some ways, like looking into a mirror.

“It’s you,” he said, his voice deep, smooth. Like really good chocolate. “I was hoping to run into you.”

“Wh-why were you hoping to run into me?” she asked.

“Because you’re the most beautiful woman here. Why wouldn’t I want to see you?”

“You’re a flirt.”

“That’s the thing, I’m not really.” He put his hands in his pockets,a wicked half smile curling that sinful mouth.

“I have to get back.”

She started to walk past him and he took her arm, stopped her progress. She looked up and met cold, dark eyes.

“To who?” he asked, his voice gentle, an opposing force to the hold he had on her.

There was something about that grip. Commanding. It spoke to every secret fantasy that lived in the dark shadows inside her. The parts of herself that had looked at every man she’d even tried to date and found them lacking.

But not him. He wouldn’t be lacking. Something shivered inside her, a whisper.

He would know what you wanted.

Copyright © 2014 by Harlequin Books S.A.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Book I Covet: Suspicion by Alexandra Monir

Wednesday, June 25, 2014 with
Suspicion has all my buzz words: a Rebecca-like creepy manor, mysterious deaths, a childhood friend she secretly loved for years (romance!) and a purple cover!


Mysterious. Magnificent. Creepy. Welcome to Rockford Manor.

"There's something hidden in the Maze." Seventeen-year-old Imogen has never forgotten the last words her father said to her seven years ago, before the blazing fire that consumed him, her mother, and the gardens of her family's English country manor.

Haunted by her parents' deaths, Imogen moves to New York City with her new guardians. But when a letter arrives with the news of her cousin's untimely death, revealing that Imogen is now the only heir left to run the estate, she returns to England and warily accepts her role as duchess.

All is not as it seems at Rockford, and Imogen quickly learns that dark secrets lurk behind the mansion's aristocratic exterior, hinting that the spate of deaths in her family were no accident. And at the center of the mystery is Imogen herself--and Sebastian, the childhood friend she has secretly loved for years. Just what has Imogen walked into?

Combining a fresh twist on the classic Rebecca with a spine-tingling mystery and powerful romance, Suspicion is an action-packed thrill ride.


Suspicion will be released on December 9, 2014. Click on the cover to go to the book's Goodreads page.



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



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

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Hello everyone,
Boomerang by Noelle August is another I-am-beyond-excited new adult title that I really want to get my hands on. And in case you didn't know, Noelle August is a pen name of authors Lorin Oberweger and Veronica Rossi (who gave us the Under the Never Sky series)!

The first book in a sensational New Adult trilogy from Noelle August

Welcome to Boomerang.com, the dating site for the millennial gen with its no-fuss, no-commitments matchups, and where work is steamier than any random hook-up

Mia Galliano is an aspiring filmmaker. Ethan Vance has just played his last game as a collegiate soccer star. They’re sharp, hungry for success, and they share a secret.

Last night, Ethan and Mia met at a bar, and, well . . . one thing led to another, which led to them waking up the next morning—together. Things turned awkward in a hurry when they found themselves sharing a post hookup taxi . . . to the same place: Boomerang headquarters.

What began as a powerful connection between them is treated to a cold shower courtesy of two major complications. First, Boomerang has a strict policy against co-worker dating. And second, they’re now competitors for only one job at the end of summer.

As their internships come to an end, will they manage to keep their eyes on the future and their hands off each other, or will the pull of attraction put them right back where they started?
And what's awesome about Boomerang is that the publisher William Morrow is serializing the novel before its official release date of July 8th. Here's the breakdown:

June 24: Part 1 (Read it now for FREE!! The links are below.)
July 1: Part 2 ($0.99)
July 8: Part 3 ($1.99) or get the Full Book ($2.99)

The only downside about buying it in parts is that it's in parts in your e-reader instead of one whole book but if you're impatient (like I am) this is great! If anything, we'll get a free taste of the novel to see if we really want to read the whole thing.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

If you're interested, the publisher is also running an awesome giveaway where 3 readers will win a copy of Boomerang

Image Map

Good luck and happy reading,
Michelle

Monday, June 23, 2014

Until We Touch by Susan Mallery Excerpt

Monday, June 23, 2014 with
Labels:
Hello bookish friends,
Last month I posted my review of Susan Mallery's When We Met (the first novel I've read by her) and I kind of fell in love with the town of Fool's Gold. Not surprising since I'm a sucker for small town romances. I was very happy when I was contacted again to review another Fool's Gold novel and I eagerly said yes. My copy of Until We Touch is still making its way to me and I'll be reviewing it early next month, so today I have an excerpt to share with you all.

Until We Touch is the story of Jack McGarry--he's one of the best friend (as well as ex-husband and business partner) of the heroine in When We Met... you guys have to read WWM to get the details of that somewhat unusual relationship. Anyway, I kind of fell in love with lovable Jack and I wanted him to have his own happily ever after and we finally get his story in Until We Touch.


From New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery comes the story of secret desires finally fulfilled…

After a family tragedy, former football hero Jack McGarry keeps the world at arm's length—a challenge now that his PR firm has moved to neighborly Fool's Gold, California.

Larissa Owens knows where she stands—Jack sees her as just another one of the guys. No matter what her heart wishes, Jack's her boss, not her boyfriend. But then Larissa's big secret is revealed…by her mother!

When Jack discovers the truth about Larissa's feelings, her touch suddenly becomes tantalizing, and he's not sure he wants to resist. But if he gives in to desire, heartache is sure to follow. Friendship or true love—will Jack go for the ultimate play?



Jack hadn't known how Larissa was going to react when he told her what her mom said, but he'd guessed it would be a show. She didn't disappoint. Her face went from red to white and back to red. Her mouth opened and closed. With her jaw tightly clenched, she muttered something like, "I'm going to kill her," but he couldn’t be sure.

Nancy Owens' words had hit him like a linebacker. Larissa in love with him? Impossible. For one thing, she knew him better than anyone except Taryn and to know him was to understand he was all flash and no substance. For another, he needed her. Love meant a relationship and having a relationship meant she would eventually leave. No. There was no way Larissa could be in love with him.

But he'd been unable to shake the words and had realized he had to get the truth from the only person who actually knew.

Larissa drew in a breath. "I don't love you. We're friends. I like working for you and the charity work is terrific and I know you have my back, but I'm not in love with you."

Relief eased the tension in Jack's always aching right shoulder. He kept his expression neutral.

"You sure?" he asked.

"Yes. Positive."

He shook his head. "I don't know. I'm pretty hot. I could understand you having a thing for me. You've seen me naked. Now that I think about it, your reaction is inevitable." He sighed. "You love me. Admit it."

Larissa's mouth twitched. "Jack, you're not all that."

"But I am. Remember that fan who had my face tattooed on her breast? And the one who begged me to father her child? And the woman in Pittsburgh who wanted me to lick her—"

Larissa rested her arms on the desk and dropped her head to her arms. "Stop. You have to stop."

"Stronger women than you have been unable to resist my charms."

"In your dreams."

"No. Apparently in yours."

She looked at him then, her blue eyes wide, her mouth smiling. "I give."

"In the end, they all do."

The smile faded. "I'm sorry about my mother. She shouldn't have said that. I swear, I am not, nor will I ever be in love with you. I love my job and you're a big part of that. But we're friends, right? That's better. Besides, you have terrible taste in your 'let's end this now' gifts."

"Which is why I let you buy them." He hesitated a second. "We're good?"

"The best." Her smile returned.

The last of his worry faded. This was the Larissa he knew. All funny and earnest. Hair pulled back in a ponytail and not a speck of make-up on her face. She wore yoga pants and T-shirts and always had some cause to discuss with him. She believed the world was worth saving and he didn't mind if she used his money to try. They made a good team. He didn't want to have to do without her and having her love him... Well, that would have changed everything.

Excerpted from the book Until We Touch by Susan Mallery. Copyright © 2014 by Susan Macias Redmond. Reprinted with permission of Harlequin. All rights reserved.

Author Susan Mallery
So there you have it! Sounds good, yeah? For more info on Susan Mallery, Until We Touch and the other Fool's Gold novels, stop by her website, Facebook and Twitter.

I'm so excited to get my hands on my copy. Are you a Fool's Gold fan too? Which book(s) in the series are your favorites? Be on the lookout for my review of Until We Touch next month (July 7th to be exact).

Until then, happy reading!

-Michelle

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Weekly Wrap-up + New Books

Sunday, June 22, 2014 with
Hello bookish friends,
I didn't get a lot of books this week but the ones I did get I'm so excited for. But first here are my posts for this week.

I kind of got rant-y with this one.

My cutest post yet.

I don't do a lot of cover reveals on this here blog but I made an exception for Wild. Sooo excited for this one!



Michelle: I started reading Avenge Me by Maisey Yates, the first book in the Fifth Avenue series. I'm going to be reading the next two books in the series as well and will be reviewing the books in the next couple of weeks for the blog tour.

Leslie: I finally picked up and am reading Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins because Isla and the Happily Ever After is coming out soon. And I'm in love with Cricket Bell.



I got something kind of different this week: an awesome "Summer in the City Essentials" kit as part of the Fifth Avenue series blog tour. I got a bunch of awesome beauty product samples, 3 full-sized makeup from Nyx and a finished copy of Avenge Me (which I'll be giving away later this week since I already have an ARC copy of it).

I also got an ARC copy of Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini, which came in an awesome box. I love it when an ARC come in a special box.

I also got three e-ARCs/e-books this week:
Nowhere But Here by Renee Carlino (for review)
I'm so excited to pick this one up. I heard great things about Carlino's NA novels.
Virgin: A Novel by Radhika Sanghani (a Netgalley Read Now title)
This one promises to be a hilarious read. It's about a girl who's on a mission to lose her virginity.
Cowboy Take Me Away by Lorelei James (bought)
Lorelei James is an auto-buy author for me so of course I picked this one up even though I'm a few books behind in the series. Also, it's the 16th and last book in the Rough Riders series.


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

Happy reading,
Michelle


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

Friday, June 20, 2014


Hello everyone,
Our blog do not participate in many book cover reveals unless it's an I'm-making-it-my-mission-to-get-my-hands-on-this-book-earlier-rather-than-later kind of book. I mean, I am really, really excited for A LOT of books to come out but there are certain books that I'm beyond really, really excited for. Sophie Jordan's Wild is one of those books. That being said, I apologize for my excessive use of exclamation marks.

I loved Foreplay (it was one of my favorite reads of 2013--my review here) and Tease was fantastic as well (my review will be up next week). In Wild, we finally get Georgia and Logan's story! While I was reading Foreplay and Tease, I kept thinking how awesome it would be for prim and proper Southern belle Georgia to dump her lame boyfriend and hook up with player of the first order Logan. They did--or, you know, will! Woo-hoo!! I totally called it!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indie Bound | Books-a-Million | iTunes

A good girl goes bad in the third and final book in New York Times bestselling author Sophie Jordan’s sexy New Adult romance series—where three Ivy League suite-mates testing their boundaries as they seek higher knowledge of just how far they can go.

Months after her boyfriend dumped her, Georgia can still hear the insults he hurled at her. Boring. Predictable. Tame. Tired of feeling bad, she’s ready to change her image, and go a little wild. What better way to prove her ex wrong than a hot night of adventure at the secret campus kink club?

In the shadowy den of the club, she unexpectedly runs into Logan Mulvaney, her friend’s little brother. A player extraordinaire too hot for his own good, he may be younger, but the guy is light years ahead when it comes to the opposite sex. Now he’s telling her to go home-”good girls” don’t belong here!

Georgia is tired of having others define her. She’s going to teach Logan a lesson he won’t forget-one white hot, mind-wrecking kiss... that leads to another... and another... and... Realizing she’s way in over her head, Georgia runs.

Only Logan won’t let her go. Everywhere she goes he’s there, making her want every inch of him. Making her forget who she is. Who he is. And just how wrong they are for each other.

EEEPPPPP!!!

Okay, hmmm... I don't know about the cover model for Georgia. I pictured Georgia to have less of a practiced come-hither, sexy glint in her eyes. Maybe this is her at the kink club? But I think the model for Logan is pretty spot-on. I pictured him as a baby-faced cutie. But who or what is he looking at?

Regardless, Wild sounds so, soooo GOOD!! And if I'm not mistaken Logan is a "younger man," about a year younger than Georgia if I'm remembering correctly. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I think Logan just graduated high school while Georgia is about to enter her second year of college. That's going be an interesting dynamic between them.

Like I said, I'm beyond excited for Wild. I already pre-ordered it and I'll be counting the days til November 18th... although I'm making it my mission to get my hands on an early copy.

Have a great weekend and happy reading,
Michelle

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Hello everyone,
I love cats and I love books, so it's a no-brainer to pair awesome books to the cutest cats. But really this post is all about the books--the cats are just a side benefit, albeit cute ones.

I recommend you pick up these books up this summer if you haven't already. Read them at the beach, by the pool or on your patio with a cool drink and a cat by your side. But just in case you need more convincing about the books, I'll also be linking my reviews.

First up is Jennifer E. Smith's This is What Happy Looks Like. I've read three of Ms. Smith's books so far and they are sweet, swoon-y and romantic. This is What Happy Looks Like is my favorite by her. This one is reminiscent of You Got Mail a little bit in the beginning. My review.
Cat pic via Flickr

About the book:
Perfect strangers Graham Larkin and Ellie O'Neill meet online when Graham accidentally sends Ellie an e-mail about his pet pig, Wilbur. The two 17-year-olds strike up an e-mail relationship from opposite sides of the country and don't even know each other's first names. What's more, Ellie doesn't know Graham is a famous actor, and Graham doesn't know about the big secret in Ellie's family tree. When the relationship goes from online to in-person, they find out whether their relationship can be the real thing.




Kristen Hubbard's Wanderlove is for the traveler or the traveler-at-heart this summer. It will inspire you to pack the essentials and go traveling or live vicariously through Bria. Such a wonderful, inspiring book taking a chance and going off the beaten path. My review.
Cat pic via Tumblr/Nat Volga


About the book:
Bria, an aspiring artist just graduated from high school, takes off for Central America's La Ruta Maya, rediscovering her talents and finding love.














Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland was my favorite summer read last year. If you missed it, it's worth picking up this summer. It has all the ingredients of a perfect summer read: a beach setting, friendship, first love, family drama... I just love this one! I don't know if I'll pick up its sequel, Nantucket Red, though. I really love how Nantucket Blue ended and I don't want to read more drama for Cricket. My review.
Cat pic via Pinterest


About the book:
Seventeen-year-old Cricket Thompson is planning on spending a romantic summer on Nantucket Island near her long time crush, Jay--but the death of her best friend's mother, and her own sudden intense attraction to her friend's brother Zach are making this summer complicated.











Playing Hurt was my first novel by Holly Schindler and it's so GOOD!! If you like your contemporary YA romance a little bit steamier (like, Simone Elkeles steamy), you have to pick this one up. It's told in dual perspective about two broken athletes and you just really grow to care for Chelsea and Clint. My review.

Cat pic via Pinterest/Nancy Hawley


About the book:
Chelsea Keyes, a high school basketball star whose promising career has been cut short by a terrible accident on the court, and Clint Morgan, a nineteen-year-old ex-hockey player who gave up his sport following a game-related tragedy, meet at a Minnesota lake resort and find themselves drawn together by the losses they have suffered.









My new favorite this year is Love and Other Foreign Words by Erin McCahan. I had such a great time reading this book. Josie was hilarious and Ms. McCahan captured her quirky voice so well. My review.
Cat pic via Tumblr


About the book:
Brilliant fifteen-year-old Josie has a knack for languages, but her sister's engagement has Josie grappling with the nature of true love, her feelings for her best friend Stu, and how anyone can be truly herself, or truly in love, in a social language that is not her own.










I hope you enjoyed the books and cats combo. Let me know if you read any of these books. What did you think of them?

Happy reading,
Michelle

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Format: E-ARC
Publisher: Forever/Hachette
Pages: 256 pages
Release Date: Sept. 3, 2013
Source of my copy: publisher
Series: Big Sky Pie #1
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Montana real estate agent Quint McCoy will tell you that the most important thing is location, location, location. It's a lesson he learns all too well when he goes incommunicado for a four-week fishing trip to Alaska. While he's away, his mother Molly turns his office into the pie shop she has always dreamed of, Big Sky Pie. But that's not the only surprise in store for him.
On her way out of town, Callee McCoy only wants to say a fond farewell to her beloved mother-in-law. But Molly soon persuades Callee to stay and lend a hand at the new shop, even if it means heating up the kitchen with her soon-to-be ex. As Callee and Quint rediscover their recipe for love, they realize that some couples are so sinfully good together that one delectable taste is never enough...


Warning: This is going to be rant-y and there will be MAJOR spoilers.

A small-town romance, an almost divorced couple possibly (or likely, since it's a romance novel) having second-chance at love (my favorite romantic trope!) and pies! I thought, yeah, this is going to be good. I was wrong.

After I finished reading Delectable, my first thought was what the heck did I just read?

I did not feel any connection with Callee and Quint at all. I think they were in their early thirties but they acted much younger than their age--like immature teenagers.

Okay, I'm going to be blunt. I really, really disliked Quint. The reason for their separation (which happened before the story began) was that his father died suddenly and, because he's a workaholic, he was overcome with sadness and guilt that he didn't spend time with his dad before. But rather than going to his wife so they can grieve together, he instead went fishing by himself at an unknown location and did not talk to anymore for a month. But he can be redeemed, right? Nope.

The big conflict in the novel was that Callee and Quint had to work together to find someone who can bake a pie as well as Quint's mom (who suffered a heart attack after finding out that Callee and Quint were divorcing) for this pre-opening event for the pie shop. It turned out that Quint could bake a pie that was even better than his mom's. But did he step up to do it? Oh no, because he was teased in middle school for making a pie he couldn't possibly bake five or six measly pies to save his mom's business. Seriously?! He could've bake those freakin' pies and never had to bake again if he didn't want to. He didn't even have to say he baked them if he was so scared of being teased. But, geez, he's an adult now and it's the year 2014--being a man who can bake pies is considered sexy these days. Not one thing he did in the novel made me change my mind about him.

As for Callee, her character was ridiculous too. I didn't know what she saw in Quint. That he's supposedly hot? Urgh. And then her big dream was to go to culinary school and be a chef. Her classes were actually about to start when she fell in love at first sight with Quint. But she didn't tell Quint about her dream because she was afraid he'd laugh at her. Really?! She couldn't tell her husband her one big aspiration in life? But then again I didn't understand why she wanted to be a chef so badly because she has a kitchen phobia. The girl could barely boil water and she wants to go to cooking school. WTF??

The entire novel was so unbelievable, filled with weak characters and silly plot lines. I really don't know why I kept reading until the very end. Maybe I was waiting for some grand gesture from Quint to win back Callee and show her that he was sorry for leaving her and being a workaholic douche even before his father's death? Nope, did not get that either. He did nothing proactive about getting her back after she finally left him for culinary school, except be all depressed and cry to his mother that she left him. Callee was the one who went back to Quint and I lost what little respect I had for her.

Here's the a snippet of the last scene.


Urgh. I wanted him to grovel, damn it! I didn't feel that any of their marital problems were really solved by the end. The entire novel was just blah.

Delectable did make me hungry for some sweet cherry pie so that's something. Or not. Skip this one.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Weekly Wrap-Up + New Books

Saturday, June 14, 2014 with
Hello everyone,
I haven't posted one of these type of posts for three weeks. I admit Leslie and I are in a blogging funk. And it's summer vacation so we're being a bit lazy too.

Anywho, here are our posts in the last few weeks.

Author Interview with Roxanne St. Claire + Barefoot Bay Brides Series

Blog Tour: Adrianne Lee's Delectable Excerpt

Review: The Lost by Sarah Beth Durst + Author Interview
Sarah's first adult novel but it can be read by older YA readers. I recommend this title if you like unusual reads.

Musical Inspiration for My Last Kiss by Bethany Neal + Review
I really enjoyed My Last Kiss. It's very twisty and it had me questioning who the killer was 'til the very end.

Book I Covet: Anatomy of a Misfit by Andrea Portes

Review: Love and Other Foreign Words by Erin McCahan
This was such a fun book! I laughed my way reading it.

Blog Tour: #Scandal by Sarah Ockler + Musical Playlist
#Scandal is another fun read but it also discussed the timely and relevant issue of cyber bullying.

Book I Covet: Winterkill by Kate A. Boorman


Michelle: I just finished Huntley Fitzpatrick's What I Thought Was True (very, very good!) and I'm about to start Shield of Winter by Nalini Singh. Eeeeppp!!!

Leslie: I'm still reading Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. I just can't get into it like I did with Eleanor & Park. I'm also reading City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare and I'm about 500 pages in. This is a monster of a book but I'm loving it.



These are all (or mostly? We rearranged our bookshelves and a couple of our new additions may have been mixed with our other books) the books we got since our last "new books" post a few weeks ago.

Physical books
City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare (bought)
Haze by Paula Weston (for review)
Leslie reviewed the first book in the series, Shadows, here. She loves this series.
Pawn by Aimee Carter (from Harlequin Teen Panel)

The Vault of Dreamers by Caragh M. O'Brien (ARC for review)
Soooooooo excited for this one! Heard great things about it.
Spirit's Key by Edith Cohn (ARC for review)
Our little sister Aubrey is currently reading Spirit's Key and LOVING it.

Shield of Winter by Nalini Singh (bought)
I splurged and got the hardcover edition of the lastest novel in the Psy-Changeling series! I cannot wait another year for the mass paperback to come out.
Then Came You by Jill Shalvis (for review)
I already got an ARC of Then Came You so I was surprised when I was sent a finished copy. But I'm not complaining because I love Jill's books.
Stormy Persuasion by Johanna Lindsey (unsolicited)

The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons 
Tatiana and Alexander by Paullina Simons
The Summer Garden by Paullina Simons
I came across The Bronze Horseman and all its rave reviews so I had to get it. Then, of course, I had to get the entire trilogy.

E-ARCs
Top Ten Clues You're Clueless by Liz Czukas
No Place to Fall by Jaye Robin Brown
Anatomy of a Misfit by Andrea Portes
Falling into Place by Amy Zhang

A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray
The Perilous Sea by Sherry Thomas
Empire of Shadows by Miriam Forster
Deliverance by C.J. Redwine

The Jewel by Amy Ewing
Winterspell by Claire Legrand
Ghost House by Alexandra Adornetto
The Half Life of Molly Pierce by Katrina Leno

Perfect Kind of Trouble by Chelsea Fine
No Limits by Lori Foster
The Best Kind of Trouble by Lauren Dane
Delectable by Adrianne Lee

Before We Kiss by Susan Mallery
Until We Touch by Susan Mallery
No Strings Attached by Susan Andersen


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

Happy reading,
Michelle & Leslie


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