Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Pocket Books
Release Date: November 22, 2016
Source of my copy: publisher
Series: Winner Takes All #3
With writing that is “nothing less than brilliant” (Booklist) comes the third in the witty, sexy Winner Takes All series from Kate Noble!

Dr. Rhys Gray and Miss Margaret Babcock are friends—strictly friends. But over the course of the year, as they exchange dozens of letters, they share personal details that put them on the path to something more. When Dr. Gray helps Margaret realize her dearest dream and she comes to his defense in the uproar that follows, it seems that their connection cannot be denied. But will their relationship stand the scruples of society and jealous intendeds, or are they destined to be only friends, and nothing more?

The perfect novel for fans of Regency Era romance,
The Dare and the Doctor is a clever and passionate love story worth sharing.

Reading a novel by Kate Noble is always a treat!

Dr. Rhys Gray and Miss Margaret Babcock met in The Lie and the Lady (book 2 in the Winner Takes all series). Margaret, a very dedicated horticulturalist, especially made an impression on me because she was this shy, socially awkward nerd and I love finding characters like her in a historical novel. A year has passed, and Rhys went back to London, but he and Margaret stayed in touch through letters of the academic and scientific sort. Thanks to Rhys, Margaret ended up being invited to go to London to talk about her new rose plant. 

Margaret was excited to spend time with her pen pal and friend, and the more they hang out the more their attraction grows for each other. But, Rhys was expected by his family to marry another woman, and when Margaret found out, she was unsurprisingly very upset. Can these two, who are obviously perfect for each other, find their HEA?

Unlike the smutty, smexy romance I've been reading lately, The Dare and the Doctor is a more quieter, slower (way slower) romance. The chemistry and tension between Rhys and Margaret was obvious, and half the fun is the anticipation of them to finally giving in and just kiss already. The Dare and the Doctor is only my second novel by Kate Noble, and I'm already crowning her the queen of the slow burn historical romance. Now, I'm usually bored with slow burn romances because I like my steamy, smexy scenes (the smexier the better!), but Kate Noble's novels remind me that with good writing and heightened tension, the pay off is all the most sweeter and satisfying--sort of like in the 2005 version of P&P when Darcy and Elizabeth finally, finally kisses at the end of the movie and it's utter perfection because you've wanted them to kiss already! the whole time. Yeah, it's like that in the two Kate Nobel books I've read so far. Of course, it's a romance novel so Rhys and Margaret do more than kiss but it's just all very sweet.

Anywho, if you like slow burn historical romances with excellent writing, pick up The Dare and the Doctor. It works as a standalone so you do not need to read the previous books in the series to enjoy this one, but while unneccesarry, reading them will give you more of a background on the characters and story. 

Monday, November 21, 2016

Hello everyone,
If you missed my first McNaught-E Monday post, check it out here. McNaught-E Mondays celebrates the release of author Judith McNaught's novels in e-books.

If you've been reading romance novels for a looong time like me, you're familiar with Judith McNaught who wrote some of the most beloved novels in the romance genre. If you're new to the genre, here's your chance to familiarize yourself with Judith McNaught's work by picking up the e-books.

Like I said in my previous McNaught-E post, start with JM's most beloved and a classic historical romance, Whitney, My Love--e-book is still only $2.99!

Today I sharing excerpts of two of my absolute favorite of JM's novels--I've read almost all of her books and have loved them all so the fact that these two are my all-time faves says a lot.

I gushed about Paradise in my previous post, and below is an excerpt.

Ruthless corporate raider Matthew Farrell was poised to move in on the legendary department store empire owned by Chicago's renowned Bancroft family. In the glare of the media spotlight, it was a stunning takeover that overshadowed the electric chemistry between Matt, once a scruffy kid from steel town Indiana, and cool, sophisticated Meredith Bancroft. Their brief, ill-fated marriage sparked with thrilling sensuality--he was the outsider who dared to rock her country club world--and ended with a bitter betrayal. Now, locked in a battle that should be all business, dangerous temptations and bittersweet memories are stirring their hearts. Will they risk everything on a passion too bold to be denied?

My other favorite is Something Wonderful! It's a historical romance that I reread over and over in high school, and even now I occasionally reread my favorite parts. I loved it so much I made my sister and my mom read it too, and, yup, they both love it!

The tempestuous marriage of Alexandra Lawrence, an innocent country girl, and Jordan Townsende, the rich and powerful Duke of Hawthorne, is about to face its ultimate test of tender loyalty. Swept into the endlessly fascinating world of London society, free-spirited Alexandra becomes ensnared in a tangled web of jealousy and revenge, stormy pride and overwhelming passion. But behind her husband's cold, arrogant mask, there lives a tender, vital, sensual man...the man Alexandra married. Now, she will fight for his very life...and the rapturous bond they alone can share.

I hope you enjoy this little taste of the awesomeness that is Judith McNaught.

Remember, as part of the celebration there's a GIVEAWAY you don't want to miss: one very lucky reader will win 14 promo codes to download all 14 of Judith McNaught's books featured here--one promo code for each title! The giveaway is open internationally and ends on Nov. 28.

Leave a comment below to enter, or if you left a comment on my first McNaught-E post already, you can leave another one below for an extra entry!

Happy reading,

Sunday, November 6, 2016

ARC: 349 pages
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: November 1, 2016
Source of my copy: publisher
Series: none
Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.
Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.
The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

After having really enjoyed Nicola Yoon's Everything, Everything, I was excited to pick-up her new book The Sun Is Also a Star. When I read its synopsis, I was intrigued by the starcrossed-love of two opposites premise, and I immediately dived in. Now that I've read it, I must admit that I had a couple of small issues with it, particularly with the heroine Natasha and the ending, but overall, I liked it for its swoon-worthy romance and its un-cliche plotline. I am giving it
Before I really get into my review, I'd like to say two things:
  1. I am a hopeless romantic and an endless optimist, and the two main things that get me up in the morning are faith and dreams.
  2. Hence, it goes without saying that, while reading The Sun Is Also a Star, I very much liked Daniel and very much disliked Natasha.
I was totally with the implication of the synopsis and couldn't for the life of me see how these two polar opposites could ever meet and actually fall for each other. There were many, many times I wanted to go in and argue uselessly with Natasha over her opinions against fantasy and poetry as well as reach in and shake Daniel's shoulders to ask him how in the world he can like her, let alone tolerate her. However, Yoon's magical writing powers then came into play, and despite all my frustrations over the possibility of Natasha and Daniel, at the end of the book, I very much happy and relieved for the two of them.

Yes, against all odds, I rooted for these two.

(Yoon: 2, Leslie: 0)

I absolutely loved watching Natasha and Daniel befriend each other and fall in love with each other. They had that love story that couldn't possibly end well when so much threatened it from not, yet you hoped and prayed that it will, and when it does, you burst out in a happy dance and feel that all that is good and right in the world is made true again. I swooned and giggled every time Daniel went out of his way to spend more time with Natasha and Natasha, against her better judgment, grew to like Daniel with every hour they spent together. I couldn't connect with Natasha and had a stubborn part of me believing that Daniel can do better, but I became convinced of their love when I read and saw the genuine admiration they had for each other and how well they did together. In the end, I wanted both of them to be happy and rooted for them throughout the novel. They made a lovely couple, and I'll remember them always.

As for the plot and the ending of The Sun Is Also a Star, I was actually really surprised. First of all, I really liked that the story was told from multiple perspectives, so not only Daniel's and Natasha's, but also their family members' and others' they saw and met and who have made their friendship possible. I thought the approach was clever and appropriate, and it made the story all the more exciting and enjoyable to read. However, with that aside, I believed the story was predictable, so the whole time I was reading, I thought, "Okay, I know how this is going to end. It's so very obvious," but when I reached the ending, or even as I was reaching it, my mind was going, "Wha...? What?! How can that be????" In hindsight, I should have expected that ending, but, alas, I didn't, and until now, I am amazed by it. It has made the book a more realist than an idealist approach to love, and I like it all the more for that. Although I wish its ending hadn't been so abrupt with its sudden big reveal and then last little dialogue, it was, all in all, well done, and I will surely be thinking about the book more deeply from here on out.

In short, The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon is a contemporary YA that cannot be missed with its sweet romance, interesting plot, and surprising ending. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoyed Yoon's Everything, Everything and/or love a good love story with a fair amount of cheese, chocolate, and veggies. A million futures lie before you; choose the one that makes this book a part of it. 

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Archangel's Heart by Nalini Singh | Excerpt

Thursday, November 3, 2016 with
Hi everyone,
Yesterday I shared an excerpt from one of my all-time favorite historical romance novels. Today, I have another excerpt for you all from one of my most anticipated releases of this year, Archangel's Heart by Nalini Singh.

Amazon | B&N | Book Depository
Archangel's Heart came out on November 1st and it's the 9th book in Nalini Singh's brilliant Guild Hunter series. If you somehow missed the epicness that is the Guild Hunter series, it's set in an alternate New York City where archangels rule over angels, vampires, and humans, and the Guild Hunters are there to keep the vampires in line and make sure they don't break contract with their angelic masters. The series revolves around archangel Raphael and his consort, the badass Elena Deveraux, a former Guild Hunter--check her out on the cover of Archangel's Heart!--and Raphael's Seven.

If you haven't pick up the Guild Hunter series, start with book 1 called Angel's Blood and then you'll devour the rest of the books quickly. Trust me, they're that good. If life isn't taking up so much of my time I'd be devouring Archangel's Heart already. Visit Nalini Singh's website for the complete series list as well as some free short stories and behind the scenes extras.

Here's Archangel's Heart's synopsis.

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh takes us into a dangerous and exhilarating world where a deadly, beautiful archangel and his once-mortal consort are caught in a fury of twisted darkness…

One of the most vicious archangels in the world has disappeared. No one knows if Lijuan is dead or has chosen to Sleep the long sleep of an immortal. But with her lands falling into chaos under a rising tide of vampiric bloodlust, a mysterious and ancient order of angels known as the Luminata calls the entire Cadre together to discuss the fate of her territory.

Accompanying her archangelic lover Raphael to the Luminata compound, guild hunter-turned-angel Elena senses that all is not as it seems. Secrets echo from within the stone walls of the compound, and the deeper Elena goes, the uglier the darkness. But neither Raphael nor Elena is ready for the brutal truths hidden within—truths that will change everything Elena thinks she knows about who she is…

Nothing will ever be the same again.

Check out the excerpt below to get a taste of Raphael and Elena, one of my favorite OTPs. Even if you haven't read any of the books in the series, feel free to read it. There are no spoilers, just a super sweet moment between Raphael and Elena.

Raphael’s response was silent, his wing brushing hers as he . . .

“Raphael!” The damn archangel had dusted her.

Glittering, sparkly stuff stuck to her, delicious beyond compare when she parted her mouth and it licked onto her tongue. Her thighs clenched. “This is not funny!” She glared at him even as arousal flooded her system, but he was laughing too hard to care.

Her heart, it just stopped.

Even now, the Archangel of New York rarely laughed and never like this. Until she could see the youth he must’ve once been, with eyes of a wild, astonishing blue that asked a woman to laugh with him. She’d never before seen him as truly young. How could she? He had so much power that it pulsed in his every touch, burned in his skin.

Hauling him close to her with her hands fisted in the cream linen of his shirt, she took a kiss, took him. He sank into her, his wings sweeping up to wrap around her until all she could sense was Raphael, all she could taste was him. And angel dust. The special blend he’d created just for her.

He pushed one hand into her hair, fisting it as he wrapped his other arm around her waist and backed her up against a wall. Something fell with a dull thud. Maybe the vivid painting of wildflowers that had just been put up, all the art having been taken down during the repainting.

Elena loved that simple piece Honor had found in a thrift shop, but right now, it could’ve been a priceless artwork by the Hummingbird and she wouldn’t have cared. She was far too happy to be pressed up against the hard warmth of her archangel tip to toe after spending the previous night on watch. No time for shenanigans with Dmitri away and Illium off-shift, Aodhan assigned to patrol the sea border, and Raphael dealing with the overall security situation.

She’d flown a proper defense grid, both to stay in practice and because none of them could afford to be blasé with the Cascade an unpredictable foe that could unleash itself at any moment, smashing the world back into chaos and, possibly, war.

Today, however, the others were on‑shift and she could kiss her lover. He burned hot, Raphael, but he was a crashing sea in her mind, a tumultuous, passionate storm that swept her up and thundered through her veins.

We can talk to Dmitri later, she sent to Raphael, sliding her hands up the ridges and valleys of his chest. Let’s go upstairs to our suite.


She tried to ignore that pointed cough that held a biting amusement.

Raphael’s lips smiled against hers. I think my second has other ideas.

Posted by arrangement with Berkley, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © Nalini Singh, 2016.

I'll be posting my thoughts about Archangel's Heart soon, so keep a look out for that.

Happy reading,

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Hi everyone,
I am so excited to announce that Judith McNaught's novels are now available in e-book format and with new covers!

Westmoreland Dynasty Saga

Sequels Series

Paradise Series

Stand-alones + Remember When (book 2 in the Foster Saga)

I discovered Judith McNaught in high school, just around the time I started reading romance novels and I fell in love with her historical novels. I devoured them one right after the other and even now, years and years later, I still revisit them from time to time especially Something Wonderful, which is one of my all-time favorites. I loved it so much that I even made my sister Leslie read it. It's a hate to love romance so if you love that trope as much as I do, you need to check it out!

Actually, the reason why I am so glad that Judith McNaught's books are finally being released in e-format is because now they are more accessible to new readers. If you love epic historical and contemporary romances and you haven't read any of Judith's books yet, you simply must! I suggest starting with Whitney, My Love. It's Judith's debut novel, and it's amazing (also the e-book is only $2.99 from now until Dec. 4th)! It's about a girl, Whitney, who is in love with her next door neighbor Paul, but her dad basically sold her to the Duke of Claymore who sort of grooms her to become his perfect wife. They kind of have this roller coaster relationship, and this book is a classic historical romance novel. Read the first chapter below!

Or, if contemporary is more your thing, I suggest picking up Paradise. It is so GOOD, you guys! It's about these two young people who met, fell in love and quickly got married. But, the guy is poor and the girl is rich and her dad made them annul the marriage. Fast forward years later, and the guy is one of the richest men in Chicago and the girl's family's business is threatened so she has to go to him and for his help. Both are very bitter towards each other for different reasons and it's a second chance love story and it's so epic and romantic and so swoon-worthy. It remains one of my all-time contemporary romance favorites to this day.

Then, when you're done with Whitney, My Love and/or Paradise, pick up Something Wonderful, which is simply wonderful!

A saucy spitfire who has grown into a ravishing young woman, Whitney Stone returns from her triumphant time in Paris society to England. She plans on marrying her childhood sweetheart, only to discover she has been bargained away by her bankrupt father to the arrogant and alluring Clayton Westmoreland, the Duke of Claymore. Outraged, she defies her new lord. But even as his smoldering passion seduces her into a gathering storm of desire, Whitney cannot—will not—relinquish her dream of perfect love. Rich with emotion, brimming with laughter and tears, Whitney, My Love is “the ultimate love story, one you can dream about forever” (RT Book Reviews).

Thanks to the awesome people at Pocket Star E-Books, one very lucky reader will win 14 promo codes to download all 14 of Judith McNaught's books featured above--one promo code for each title! This giveaway is open internationally and ends on Nov. 28.

How to enter: Leave a comment (a simple "enter me" is fine!) below to enter with your email address or Twitter handle (some way to contact you if you win).

12/10 UPDATE: Winner is Laura Lovejoy Brunk! Check your email for the codes.  

Good luck everyone!

Happy reading,

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release Date: November 1, 2016
Source of my copy: publisher
Series: The Amateurs #1
As soon as Seneca Frazier sees the post on the Case Not Closed website about Helena Kelly, she’s hooked. Helena’s high-profile disappearance five years earlier is the one that originally got Seneca addicted to true crime. It’s the reason she’s a member of the site in the first place.

So when Maddy Wright, her best friend from the CNC site, invites Seneca to spend spring break in Connecticut looking into the cold case, she immediately packs her bag. But the moment she steps off the train in trendy, glamorous Dexby, things begin to go wrong. Maddy is nothing like she expected, and Helena’s sister, Aerin Kelly, seems completely hostile and totally uninterested in helping with their murder investigation.

But when Brett, another super user from the site, joins Seneca and Maddy in Dexby, Aerin starts to come around. The police must have missed something, and someone in Dexby definitely has information they’ve been keeping quiet.

As Seneca, Brett, Maddy, and Aerin begin to unravel dark secrets and shocking betrayals about the people closest to them, they seem to be on the murderer’s trail at last. But somewhere nearby the killer is watching . . . ready to do whatever it takes to make sure the truth stays buried.

The Amateurs was the first book I read Sara Shepard, but it won't be my last! 
It will come as no surprise that The Amateurs is a YA suspense/mystery--you'll already know this even before reading the synopsis, after seeing who the author is. After reading the first few chapters I could tell the author knows her stuff. I mean, she's written dozens of books in this genre and even though this was my first book by her, I can tell she has the formula down. This book felt very formulaic--none of the characters nor the plot and situations they found themselves felt new, not even the twists and turns truly surprised me. However, this did not stop me from enjoying this book very entertaining book anyway.

The Amateurs follows five amateur crime solvers that were brought together via a website called Case Not Closed, where members post about and try to solve cold cases. Helena Kelly's disappearance and murder was a high profile case a year ago, but the police are at a standstill and the case went cold. Until Helena's sister, Aerin, posted about it on Case Not Closed and Seneca Frazier, one of its members, decided to use her spring break to investigate the murder that she followed quite closely, almost obsessively, in the news a year ago. Seneca and Aerin were joined by other CNC members Maddy Wright (Seneca's best friend on the site) and Brett Grady. As they enter the rich and privileged world of Aerin and Helena's town of Dexby, Connecticut the group soon realize that they have more in common than they thought. But, someone does not want them digging into Helena's murder, and will do anything to keep certain truths from coming to light.

Like I said, I've read these characters before and the mystery of the murdered sister have been done before loads of times. And yet, I couldn't stop reading! I inhaled this book in two days and I was kinda sorry to see it end because after the revelation in the end I really, really want to know what happens next. This is why I had a hard time giving The Amateurs my star rating--my initial rating was four stars because I had such a great time reading it and I wanted more, but I felt like four stars was too generous because I didn't find the overall story to be like wow! amazing! you know? So, so I went with three stars. I guess that's the magic of Sara Shepard, because even though you can basically guess what will happen next, you're compelled to keep reading anyway and be highly entertained from the first page to the end. I liken The Amateurs to eating junk food--addicting and delicious, but ultimately lacking nutritional value, or in this case, true substance in terms of characters, plot, and mystery. However, I want more of The Amateurs and I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series just like I can't stay away from junk food for long.