Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Blog Most Likely To...

Thursday, June 25, 2015 with
Hello everyone,
Five days from returning from the Philippines, I will be again traveling to San Francisco to attend the annual ALA conference. I went last year and I had a lot of fun and I am super excited to attend again this year.

One of the books I am hoping to get at ALA is Huntley Fitzpatrick's The Boy Most Likely To. But if not, the wait won't be very long (although I've been impatiently waiting for it since 2013) because it's coming out on August 18th.

Huntley Fitzpatrick is one of my all-time favorite contemporary YA authors. I absolutely loved her previous novels My Life Next Door (my review) and What I Thought Was True (my review) and I am particularly excited for The Boy Most Likely To because it's a companion novel to My Life Next Door--meaning we're going to see/get an update on Jase Garrett and Samatha Reed again, one of my favorite YA couples of all time.

To celebrate the release of The Boy Most Likely To PenguinTeen invited our blog to participate in posting some The Boy Most Likely To-related posts and the first one is coming up with a "blog most likely to" superlative and our blog is...

Except for middle grade books, it is a requirement that books have a romance in it for me to pick it up or add it on my ever-growing list of books-to-get.

Here are three of my all-time favorite YA books with a romance in them that exemplify what I think are the best YA romances out there. My Life Next Door and is not included here because, come on, it's a total given.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Set in Paris, the City of Love, where an unsuspecting American girl inexplicably meets a charming, English-accented, handsome guy all together made for a fantastic romance that I had me laughing, smiling, swooning, and sighing all throughout the read. These words alone do not give this YA romance justice--it is sooooo good and an absolute MUST READ (and re-read).

Something Real  by Heather Demetrios
I just love Chloe and Patrick's relationship. Patrick was the calm in the craziness that was Chloe's reality TV life. He's the best nice-guy love interest I've ever read.

Prodigy by Marie Lu (Legend #2)
I'm a sucker for those romances where the hero and heroine first start out hating each other and then slowly develop feelings for each other; Day and June from Marie Lu's Legend series is one of my favorite YA couples that had a romance just like that. In the first book Legend, they hated each other for the most part, but by the end of that book and thereafter in Prodigy and in Champion, I rooted for and sighed at how those two came ever more closer.

Do you share in my love and need for romance in novels? What do you say about these YA couples and romances? Let me know what you think!

Happy reading,

Monday, June 22, 2015

Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Forever
Release Date: June 16, 2015
Source of my copy: publisher
Series: Ink & Chrome #1
The men of the Twisted Steel custom motorcycle shop are great with their hands... and they're not afraid to get dirty.

PJ is exactly the kind of woman Twisted Steel owner Asa Barrons doesn't need. The last thing he wants to do is mix business with pleasure, and PJ has some of the best custom detailing he's ever seen. But the chemistry between them won't be denied, and soon he's introducing her to a whole new world in the bedroom, pushing her far beyond anything she's ever experienced. PJ finds she can't get enough, but how far is too far before he consumes her completely?

I read Opening Up in a couple of days. It was a pretty fast read, but it was one of those books that I liked but didn't love. 

Anyway, like I said, I did like Opening Up and my favorite thing about it was PJ's character. She did have her daddy issues (her dad was a huge asshole), but she's a strong, independent woman who goes after what she wanted. I really admired her. She didn't take any shit from Asa and when he did something she disagreed with or he stepped out of line, she called him out on it. She communicated her feelings right away and she didn't let things fester and I really, really appreciated that about her and found it very refreshing.

As for Asa, I didn't connect with him as much as I did with PJ. He's 37 years old (PJ is 25) and co-owner of a custom auto shop called Twisted Steel. Like PJ, he has tattoos and piercings (they both have piercings in some very interesting places) and lives and breathes fast cars and motorcycles. He has great relationships with is mom and two younger sisters. He's basically the total sexy package--he's a good guy and he did some very sweet things to PJ and he defended her against assholes (her dad included), but... I don't know... I personally wasn't attracted to him. Maybe it's because I'm not a big fan of piercings or his brand of kink (riding crops, floggers, etc.--but this is not a BDSM novel).

PJ and Asa got together pretty quickly--I want to say within the first 100 pages or so--but it wasn't an insta-love kind of deal. Many months passed within those 100 pages as Asa worked through his misgivings (like, their age difference, mixing business with pleasure, etc.) about starting something with PJ. After that, they had a pretty solid relationship. Outside forces brought on problems but they were a pretty solid couple. If you're looking for that will-they-won't-they all the way to the end romance plot, you might be disappointed. If you are looking for a steamy, turn-the-AC-up kind of read, Opening Up is a good one to pick up. The sex scenes were extra steamy and frequent without being repetitive. 

I think my biggest issue with Opening Up was the writing. I have read many books (romance novels and other genres) where I could just breeze through reading the sentences and paragraphs. It wasn't the case here. More than once I had to reread a sentence or two to really get what was being said. I thought the writing was bit clunky and some of the dialogue didn't quite flow well. Admittedly, I did read another book by Lauren Dane previously and I had the same issue with the writing there, so maybe I just don't gel with Ms. Dane's writing.

If you're in the mood for a quick, very steamy read, Opening Up is a good one to pick up. The heroine is awesome; the hero, while he wasn't for me, is great; and the sex is hot. I recommend you keep it under your radar.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Hello everyone,
School is finally out, my classroom is in order for the summer, and I was looking forward to a lazy summer of reading and blogging. But by the time you read this, I'll be halfway across the Pacific Ocean. There was an unexpected family emergency and I found myself traveling to the Philippines and staying there for about two weeks. Due to the unexpectedness of this trip, I don't have time to plan, write, and schedule any blog posts while I am gone. Sadly, I'll be internet-less the whole time I'm there so, this will be my last post for a little while.

Anyway, since it's June and we're in the the half-way mark for the year, this is the perfect time to list my top 5 favorite books of the year--so far.

Soulbound (book 6) started my love for the Darkest London series. I was only halfway done with it and I was already hunting for all the books in the series and ordering them on Amazon. I realized I cannot start at book 6. The world Kristen Callihan build is so fascinating and vast. I wanted to start at the beginning and know more about the secondary characters I met in Soulbound and learn more about the world. My review here.

The Storyspinner is my favorite 2015 debut novel. It was such a well-written fantasy that kept me engaged the whole time. It has a large cast of characters, but I was invested in every single one of them and I am dying to know what's going to happen next. Read my review here.

The Winner's Crime drove me crazy and broke my heart, but in a very, very good way. I love Marie Rutkoski's writing style and where she's taking Arin and Kestrel's story. I cannot wait for The Winner's Kiss. I am going to be totally pissed if Arin and Kestrel are not together by the end of Kiss. Read my review here.

Yep, another one by Kristen Callihan. I love, love, love The Hook Up. Drew Baylor is the ultimate book boyfriend. I've never swooned over a NA hero as much as I did for Drew.

I absolutely LOVE The Deal. It's one of my favorite new adult reads of all time. I can even confidently say that it's my #1 favorite NA read of all time. I gushed more about it here (along with The Hook Up).

I highly recommend all of these books. If you haven't checked them out yet, I hope you do. If you've read any of them, did you love any of these as much as I did? Or maybe they didn't quite work out for you? I'd love to know your thoughts.

Happy reading,

Monday, June 1, 2015

Hello everyone,
I hope you all had a great weekend! I have a really fun Would you rather...? author Q&A with Margaret Fortune today, because tomorrow Nova, one of my most anticipated releases this month, is being released into the world.


The clock activates so suddenly in my mind, my head involuntarily jerks a bit to the side. The fog vanishes, dissipated in an instant as though it never was. Memories come slotting into place, their edges sharp enough to leave furrows, and suddenly I know. I know exactly who I am.

My name is Lia Johansen, and I was named for a prisoner of war. She lived in the Tiersten Internment Colony for two years, and when they negotiated the return of the prisoners, I was given her memories and sent back in her place.

And I am a genetically engineered human bomb.

Lia Johansen was created for only one purpose: to slip onto the strategically placed New Sol Space Station and explode. But her mission goes to hell when her clock malfunctions, freezing her countdown with just two minutes to go. With no Plan B, no memories of her past, and no identity besides a name stolen from a dead POW, Lia has no idea what to do next. Her life gets even more complicated when she meets Michael Sorenson, the real Lia’s childhood best friend.

Drawn to Michael and his family against her better judgment, Lia starts learning what it means to live and love, and to be human. It is only when her countdown clock begins sporadically losing time that she realizes even duds can still blow up. If she wants any chance at a future, she must find a way to unlock the secrets of her past and stop her clock. But as Lia digs into her origins, she begins to suspect there’s far more to her mission and to this war, than meets the eye. With the fate of not just a space station but an entire empire hanging in the balance, Lia races to find the truth before her time—literally—runs out.

I am soooo excited for Nova! It sounds unlike anything I've read before. Reading the synopsis, it sounds like a really action-packed, roller coaster kind of read and hints of a romance between two old friends (my favorite kind!).

I asked author Margaret Fortune a series of would you rather...? questions and to briefly explain her answers.

Author Margaret Fortune
Spend a year alone in a deep sea submarine OR Spend a year alone in a space station

Space station! I’d love to spend some time in the stars I so often write about.

Be the last human on Earth OR Be the first human on Mars

Let’s see: Be the last member of dead race, doomed to live my final years alone, or be the bold adventurer who goes down in history for exploring a new and amazing world. Mars, definitely! Um…I do get to come back once I’m done exploring Mars, right? Right…?

Be a famous leader OR Be a famous inventor

Famous leader. I like to think that if ever evil aliens came and conquered the Earth, I’d rise up as a great revolutionary leader, making inspiring speeches and leading my ragtag band of survivors into victory over our alien overlords. But then, who doesn’t fantasize about that?

Watch Star Wars OR Watch 2001: A Space Odyssey

Star Wars! Lightsabers. Jawas. Harrison Ford. Need I go on?

Time travel in the future to learn about future technology OR Time travel in the past to solve a mystery (i.e., Jack the Ripper, Roanoke Colony, etc.)

The future! Let’s face it: Traveling to the future may be my one and only chance to finally get a jetpack…

Go on a spacecraft so cheap that it may be faulty and unreliable OR Go on a spacecraft so advanced that the computer may turn against you

My undergraduate degree is in psychology, not engineering. So I’m going to go with the advanced spacecraft, as I have more faith in my ability to reason with a pissy AI than to fix a broken engine.

A huge thank you to Margaret for answering my questions and also to PenguinRandom House/DAW and Alexis for the opportunity to interview Margaret.

For more info on Nova and to chat with Margaret, stop by her website and chat with her on Twitter.

Don't forget to pick up Nova at your favorite book store or request it at your local public library tomorrow. Look for my review of Nova, which will be posted at a later date because the book is still making its way to Hawaii.

Happy reading,