Monday, March 27, 2017

Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: May 2, 2017
Source of my copy: publisher
Series: standalone
Alice doesn’t believe in luck—at least, not the good kind. But she does believe in love, and for some time now, she’s been pining for her best friend, Teddy. On his eighteenth birthday—just when it seems they might be on the brink of something—she buys him a lottery ticket on a lark. To their astonishment, he wins $140 million, and in an instant, everything changes.

At first, it seems like a dream come true, especially since the two of them are no strangers to misfortune. As a kid, Alice won the worst kind of lottery possible when her parents died just over a year apart from each other. And Teddy’s father abandoned his family not long after that, leaving them to grapple with his gambling debts. Through it all, Teddy and Alice have leaned on each other. But now, as they negotiate the ripple effects of Teddy’s newfound wealth, a gulf opens between them. And soon, the money starts to feel like more of a curse than a windfall.

As they try to find their way back to each other, Alice learns more about herself than she ever could have imagined . . . and about the unexpected ways in which luck and love sometimes intersect.

Being a lover of contemporary YA (especially those on the lighter, romantic side) and ever since reading The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight (still my favorite title ever), Jennifer E. Smith has always been under my radar. I've read a number of books by her, and they're usually a hit or miss for me. 

I am happy to say that Windfall is definite HIT with me! It's also now my favorite book by Ms. Smith.
Alice lost both of her parents when she was nine years old. She was taken in by her uncle and aunt, and her cousin Leo (who was the same age as her) became her self-appointed protector and best friend. They formed a trio with Leo's best friend Teddy. With all the awful tragedy Alice had dealt with, she doesn't believe in good luck. However, for Teddy's eighteenth birthday day she decided to buy him a lottery ticket sort of like a gag gift. To everyone's surprise, Teddy ended up winning about $53 million dollars (after taxes), which is a lot of money, and would definitely bring change to not only Teddy's life, but also to Alice and Leo, whether they're prepared for it or not.

Windfall tells the story of what happened from when Alice bought the lottery ticket in January all the way to June. Out of all of Jennifer E. Smith's books that I've read, Windfall was the one that really knocked me over with the feels. Because the story was more than the romantic love, but also deep friendship and love of family and belonging. I really felt for Alice, especially because even though she was welcomed and loved by her aunt and uncle and Leo, she had also kept herself apart from them and never really felt like she belonged in their family. I love Alice's character (which is a huge plus since the story is told through her first-person perspective) and I loved reading about the journey she went through to find herself and finally feeling like she belonged.

My favorite thing about Windfall is the close bond Alice, Leo, and Teddy share borne through years of friendship and experiences. They're sort of their own little family unit, and one of the things I love reading about in YA is that kind of friendship between characters. Then, we have Alice who'd been quietly pining for Teddy in the last few years, and of course I ate that up because I'm a sucker for the friendship-to-love trope. I do wish we got a little bit more in the romance department in the end. It ended a little abruptly in my opinion. I would've liked things to have ended a little bit more solidly. As for Teddy, there were some instances he kind of annoyed me. The way he acted sometimes before and after winning--although I guess I can forgive him for how he acted after winning because he was only 18 years old, and I suspect most people his age would react the same way he did if they won the lottery. Though his intentions were good, he was kinda rash and didn't think of other people's [Alice] feelings. He did get better by the end, but again I really wish we had more of him and Alice in the end.

Admittedly, I was skeptical with the whole winning the lottery premise, but I liked the direction the author took it in. I also appreciated the fact that Leo is gay, but it wasn't a big, dramatic deal. It was just fact. And we also got a cute secondary plot about Leo and his boyfriend Max, which was a plus. Overall, I really, really enjoyed Windfall. I love how it took on the themes of identity and belonging, friendship, family, and love. Windfall is a must-read for all Jennifer E. Smith fans and lovers of romantic contemporary YA--it's certainly my #1 favorite Jennifer E. Smith read! 
Amazon | B&N

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

E-book: 300 pages
Publisher: self-pubbed
Release Date: February 27, 2017
Source of my copy: Netgalley
Series: Burnham College #2
Kellan McVey is Burnham College’s most prolific athlete, partier, and ladies’ man—and that’s just how he likes it. Returning to reign for his third year, he wants nothing to change. Then Andrea Walsh shows up.

It wasn’t too long ago that Andi and Kellan were lifelong friends, mortal enemies, and, for one hot summer, more. Then Kellan left and Andi stayed behind.

Kellan thought he’d moved past that last summer’s heartbreak, but with Andi sitting next to him in class, befriending his friends, and battling for the same once-in-a-lifetime job opportunity, he’s starting to remember why he hated her…and why he loved her.

Kellan has a long list of reasons that falling for Andi again is a terrible idea, though every new moment together challenges that theory. But Andi’s all too familiar with Kellan’s love ’em and leave ’em approach—and she’s found someone else to get serious about.

Burnham’s campus king has never had to fight for a girl, but if he wants Andi to give him another chance, he’ll have to do the one thing he’s never had the nerve to do: admit it.

One of my favorite reads of 2016 was Undecided, the first book in Julianna Keye's Burnham College series. When I found out there's going to be a companion novel, I happy danced because I loved the Burnham College gang so much and I wasn't ready to say good bye. When the release date for Undeclared was finally announced my excitement heightened. Then, I got a little nervous because I started hearing that Undeclared was not as good as Undecided

I avoided all reviews though, because I wanted to form my own opinions about the book and I'm so glad I did because after reading Undeclared, I found I loved it as much as I did Undecided. However, even though I loved it, I do recognize that Undeclared not as solid as Undecided.
I'm going to start by saying that if you into this expecting Kellan to be as swoon-worthy as Crosbie, you're going to be sorely disappointed. Actually, I think how much you'll enjoy this book will depend on how much you'll end up liking Kellan's character. Because ultimately he's not an easy character to like. I, for one, found him endearing despite his dense, idiotic ways. Despite all the mistakes he made (and he made plenty), and there were times I wanted to reach into the pages and shake him, I couldn't help but love him anyway. He's one of those lovable idiots. 

Kellan lived a charmed life. He has loving parents who supported him, he's athletic and handsome, he's popular and everyone likes him. Everything comes easy for him, he doesn't have to put much effort and things just kind of fall on his lap--it's just his sort of luck. But, at the same time, he doesn't let all his good luck go over his head, and he's a good guy at heart. However, he is a HUGE manwhore, having the longest list of hookups out of all the guys at the fictional ivy league Burnham College. Then, the gonorrhea incident happened, and it made him take stock of his choices and his manwhore ways. We saw him trying to step away from the college party scene and random hookups in Undecided

Undeclared starts with Kellan back home for the summer and he's about to go back to college (for his junior year) in a couple of days. He runs into Andrea (aka Andi), his next door neighbor, childhood best friend/enemy, and in the summer before his freshman year of college, they became something more. But, Andi ended up freezing Kellan out (for reasons unknown to him) a few days before he left for his freshman year of college. This was the first time he's spoken to Andi since that summer two years ago, and it's very awkward between them. 

Kellan leaves for college, but what Andi didn't tell him was that she's actually going to be attending Burnham too. In Undeclared we see Kellan fumbling his way into a sort of friendship with Andi, and working out his feelings for her. He makes a lot of mistakes, and there were times I felt so bad for Andi because she clearly has feelings for him (although she denies it too and tries to keep herself away from him). Although the story was told entirely in Kellan's POV, I very much felt connected to Andi's character because I saw a lot of myself in her. Kellan was constantly letting her down without even realizing it. But, I rooted for Kellan, despite his idiotic guy ways, to finally get it right and be that guy Andi deserves.

Like I mentioned earlier, I didn't think Undeclared is as solid as Undecided. The main plot of Kellan and Andi's road to happy ever after was great, but two of the secondary plot lines--the mystery campus vandals who trashed Kellan's apartment and the competition to win a sports segment with the local TV studio--felt contrived at times, were somewhat awkwardly concluded, and didn't really add anything to the main story line and felt more like fillers. However, they didn't really take away my enjoyment of Kellan and Andi's story. I also really like Ms. Keyes's writing style and humor. I laughed out loud several times--I love the running jokes throughout and the banter between Kellan and his friends. And speaking of Kellan's friends, if you read Undecided, you get to see the whole gang again: Crosbie and Nora, Marcela (who is hilarious!), Nate, and with the addition of Choo and Dane (Kellan and Crosbie's jock friends who seriously need their own book).

I know not everyone is going to enjoy Undeclared, but I personally LOVED it (as much as I did Undecided) despite its flaws. After I've finished reading the book, I did peek at a few reviews and there were some readers who absolutely loved Undecided like myself, but Undeclared did not work out for them. Undeclared happen to work out for me. If you do decide to pick it up, go into it without expectations and go into it knowing Kellan is not going to be like Crosbie. But, yeah, Undeclared is another FANTASTIC read by Ms. Keyes. I loved it and I can't wait to read more by her.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Publisher: self-pubbed
Release Date: January 31, 2017
Source of my copy: SocialButterflyPR/author
Series: Truth and Lies Duet #2
The thrilling conclusion to Crown of Lies from New York Times Bestseller, Pepper Winters

Since my life changed for the second time and not necessarily for the better. Two years since I traded prison bars for streets and hunted a runaway who I'd met in an alley.

Since I forgot how to lie, woke to fists, and chased after the girl who'd been stolen from me.

To save her, rescue her, keep my lies intact. She looks at me full of hate. I look at her full of confession.

For our relationship to switch from mutual dislike to floundering with unknowns. I've hurt her. Now, she's hurt me. I guess we're even.

For her to listen, to see, to finally know who I am. The answer comes with hardship. The answer isn't what she wants to hear.

For me to walk out the door.

For it all to be over.

WARNING: Do not read this review if you have not read Crown of Lies. This review is full of spoilers for Crown of Lies.

If you all had a chance to read my Crown of Lies review--the first book in the duology that you must absolutely read before picking up Throne of Truth--you all know how much I was very much looking forward to Throne of Truth with bated breath. I had so many questions, and I got them all answered in this book. It was ultimately a satisfying conclusion for a fantastic series.
Throne of Truth picks up right where Crown of Lies left off. Elle was kidnapped by Greg, her childhood friend and the man her father initially wanted her to be with, and he has taken her to an unknown location. Greg also sent goons to beat up Penn, who was stressing over how to finally tell Elle the truth about himself. After escaping Greg's goons, Penn used his contracts to track Elle down. The first twenty-five percent of the book was very intense, because moronic but dangerous Greg has Elle at him mercy. However, despite the fact the Elle was under the control of Greg, she still had that grit and strength that I loved about her in Crown of Lies. Elle is no simpering heroine, and I really appreciated that.

Whereas Crown of Lies was only through Elle's perspective, in Throne of Truth we get both Elle and Penn in alternating chapters, which I really liked since we got to know more about Penn's background and insight about him that we wouldn't have know otherwise just from Elle. In Crown of Lies, I couldn't quite like Penn one hundred percent since he had so many secrets--I didn't want to like him and then be hit with a twist and have to change my mind about him. In this book, I liked Penn one hundred percent. He's protective, sweet and sexy, and the chemistry between him and Elle burns through the pages. I absolutely love them together. Elle and Penn's road to their ultimate happily ever after was kind of a slow burn here but when they do get together, their sex scenes, like in the first book, were intense and hot! 

Throne of Truth is not as dark as Crown of Lies, but it was very emotionally charged. Ultimately, I give this book four stars. I really liked it and I am satisfied with the ending, but I also had all kinds of theories after reading Crown of Lies, and imagined all of these twists about Penn's character and how he was connected to Elle's Nameless. But, after reading the synopsis for Throne of Truth, it wasn't hard to figure out what direction the book will go when it comes to the Penn/Nameless connection. I don't know, personally, I guess I'm a tad disappointed it wasn't as twisty as I imagined. However, I am very much impressed by Crown of Lies and Throne of Truth--they were my first reads by Pepper Winters, and I am definitely looking forward to reading more by her. I highly recommend Crown of Lies and Throne of Truth, especially if you like your romances darker, twistier, and a lot sexier!
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About the author
Pepper Winters is a multiple New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today International Bestseller.

After chasing her dreams to become a full-time writer, Pepper has earned recognition with awards for best Dark Romance, best BDSM Series, and best Hero. She’s an multiple #1 iBooks bestseller, along with #1 in Erotic Romance, Romantic Suspense, Contemporary, and Erotica Thriller. With 19 books currently published, she has hit the bestseller charts twenty-six times in three years.

Pepper is a Hybrid Author of both Traditional and Self-published work. Her Pure Corruption Series was released by Grand Central, Hachette. Her books have garnered foreign interest and are currently being translated into numerous languages, including already released titles in Italian and Turkish. Audio Books for her entire back-list will be available in 2017.

STALK Pepper: Website | Pinterest | Facebook | Twitter | Blog | Goodreads

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Hi everyone,
I am so excited to be part of the blog tour for A Lady's Code of Misconduct by Meredith Duran! If you've been following this blog for a while you know that I am a HUGE fan of Meredith's books. I've reviewed and featured many of her books in the past, but more recently you can check out my thoughts about the previous books in her Rules for the Reckless seriesLady Be Good and Luck Be A Lady.

Today, I am sharing my thoughts about A Lady's Code of Misconduct, the fifth book in the Rules for the Reckless. Make sure you scroll all the way to the bottom to enter to win a fabulous Reckless Reward (hint: signed copies of Meredith's books)!

Release Date: February 28, 2017
Source of my copy: Pocket Books
Series: Rules for the Reckless #5
Length: 385 pages
USA Today bestselling author Meredith Duran’s A Lady's Code of Misconduct is the fifth sizzling novel in the Rules for the Reckless series—a sexy and evocative Regency romance between a famous heiress and an infamous crime lord.


Trapped in the countryside, facing an unwanted marriage and the theft of her fortune, Jane Mason is done behaving nicely. To win her freedom, she’ll strike a deal with the most dangerous man she knows—a rising star in politics, whose dark good looks mask an even darker heart.


The bitter past has taught Crispin Burke to trust no one. He’ll gladly help a lovely young heiress, provided she pays a price. Yet when a single mistake shatters his life, it is Jane who holds the key to his salvation. And in a world that no longer makes sense, Crispin slowly realizes that she may be the only thing worth fighting for...

Just like I consider Julie James to be the best when it comes to contemporary romance and anticipate every one of her releases, I do the same for Meredith Duran when it comes to historical romance. What's more, historical romance is not something I reach for so much these days, but I do when it's written by Meredith Duran, because I know I'm in for a well-written novel with complex characters and a layered plot. Meredith Duran is, hands down, one of the BEST historical romance authors out there. All her books are like gold.

And with that very enthusiastic intro, she has another winner in A Lady's Code of Misconduct.
In A Lady's Code of Misconduct, we have heiress Jane Mason, who was raised to be progressively ahead of her time. But, after her beloved parents' death she was sent to the countryside by her relatives scheming to marry her off to one of theirs so that they'll get all her money. She plotted her escape from her greedy relatives. Then, there's Crispin Burke, who was used people, bribed and bullied them, all in the name of acquiring power. He decided to help Jane out with her situation, but only for a price (gathering information he needed from her uncle). But, after Crispin was attacked and may die from his injuries, Jane decided to take her chances and claim Crispin as her husband and his widow. However, Crispin lives, albeit has amnesia, and when he woke up, there's Jane claiming to be his wife.  

Meredith Duran continues to impress me with every book she publishes. With the wrong hand, Jane and Crispin's story wouldn't the phenomenally written story that it is. Like I said in the beginning of this review, what we got was a story with so much depth, and deeply complex characters. I love how at the surface, Jane is the good character, suffering from the hands of her relatives, quietly planning to get out of the clutches of her relatives, and Crispin is the vile character who manipulate people to gain power. But, when you look more closely, Jane is also very much a flawed character, and Crispin, after he lost his memory, was a chance for him to find himself again. Both characters are very much flawed, and their journey to true partnership and love was just amazing to read.

You do not need to read the previous books in the Rules for the Reckless to enjoy A Lady's Code of Misconduct. However, after reading this book, you're gonna wanna read Meredith Duran's backlist because every single one of her books are fantastic, and you'll enjoy them even if you're not a fan of historical romance.

✮✮✮ Giveaway ✮✮✮

To celebrate the fifth in the series, there will be five Reckless Reward giveaways per day beginning publication day, Tuesday, February 28th – Friday, March 3rd. You can win three autographed copies in the Rules for the Reckless series: Fool Me Twice, Lady Be Good, and Luck Be A Lady! You can enter on all participating sites (see below for a list of participating blogs in the next few days), but you can only win once. U.S. only. Ends 3/18.

About the Author
Meredith Duran

Meredith Duran is the author of ten previous novels, including The Duke of Shadows (winner of the First Chapters Romance Writing Competition); Wicked Becomes You (included on the Woman’s World List of Best Beach Reads for Summer 2010), and the USA Today bestseller and RITA Award Winner Fool Me Twice. She blames Anne Boleyn for sparking her lifelong obsession with British history, and for convincing her that princely love is no prize if it doesn’t come with a happily-ever-after. She enjoys collecting old etiquette manuals, guidebooks to nineteenth-century London, and travelogues by intrepid Victorian women.

Visit her at, on Twitter @meredithduran and Facebook AuthorMeredithDuran.

Check out the rest of the blog tour (* marks the blogs giving away a Reckless Reward):

Tuesday, February 28th

Wednesday, March 1st

Thursday, March 2nd
Dirty Girl Romance - Spotlight
Bookhounds – Q&A

Friday, March 3rd
Night Owl Reviews – Author Guest Post
Happy reading,