Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Little Too Far by Lisa Desrochers

****
Have you ever gone just a little too far? Lexie Banks has.
Yep. She just had mind-blowing sex with her stepbrother. In her defense, she was on the rebound, and it's more of a my-dad-happened-to-marry-a-woman-with-a-super-hot-son situation. But still, he's been her best friend and confidant for the better part of the last few years . . . and is so off limits. It's a good thing she's leaving in two days for a year abroad in Rome.
But even thousands of miles away, Lexie can't seem to escape trouble. Raised Catholic, she goes to confession in hopes of alleviating some of her guilt . . . and maybe not burning in hell. Instead, she stumbles out of the confessional and right into Alessandro Moretti, a young and very easy-on-the-eyes deacon . . . only eight months away from becoming a priest. Lexie and Alessandro grow closer, and when Alessandro's signals start changing despite his vow of celibacy, she doesn't know what to think. She's torn between falling in love with the man she shouldn't want and the man she can't have. And she isn't sure how she can live with herself either way.

I had the opportunity to meet Lisa Desrochers and attend a New Adult panel on which she spoke at RT this year.  She was thoughtful and funny and made me want to pick up all her books.  I settled for A Little Too Far (because I already had no idea how I was going to get all my other books home from New Orleans).  This year's RT haul was by far, the best yet.  A Little Too Far is definitely one of my favorite reads (so far) this year.

A Little Too Far is a stunning study in forbidden desire.  There are so many elements to Lexie and Trent's story, not just the forbidden step-brother angle, he's also her best friend and confidante.  But the taboo is just too much, so Lexie goes to Rome determined to move on.  While Trent throws himself into his wrestling.  

Upon getting to Rome, Lexie meets Alessandro, a beautiful enigma preparing for the priesthood.  The two become close working on a project together and Lexie is faced with even more forbidden fruit.  But can she move on from Trent, by luring Alessandro from the priesthood?  

Given a set up like sleeping with your step-brother then falling into the arms of the clergyman, you would think Trent would be a bad boy and the would-be priest the forever boy, but Trent is definitely the forever boy here.  Alessandro has far more elements of the bad boy with his wicked past and drive for redemption.  Desrochers expertly mixes it up and keeps us on our toes.  You can feel the longing and heat on the pages.  If you are going to read a New Adult, I definitely recommend A Little Too Far.  

And, just to make it more enticing ALTF is on sale for $2.99 on amazon & Barnes & Noble.    

Then check out the rest of the series with A Little Too Much and A Little Too Hot (also on sale for just $2.99)!  






~Shel

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (113)


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that highlights future releases that we are excitedly anticipating.


Black IceBy Becca Fitzpatrick
Publication Date: October 7, 2014

Sometimes danger is hard to see... until it’s too late. 

Britt Pfeiffer has trained to backpack the Teton Range, but she isn't prepared when her ex-boyfriend, who still haunts her every thought, wants to join her. Before Britt can explore her feelings for Calvin, an unexpected blizzard forces her to seek shelter in a remote cabin, accepting the hospitality of its two very handsome occupants—but these men are fugitives, and they take her hostage. 

In exchange for her life, Britt agrees to guide the men off the mountain. As they set off, Britt knows she must stay alive long enough for Calvin to find her. The task is made even more complicated when Britt finds chilling evidence of a series of murders that have taken place there... and in uncovering this, she may become the killer’s next target. 

But nothing is as it seems in the mountains, and everyone is keeping secrets, including Mason, one of her kidnappers. His kindness is confusing Britt. Is he an enemy? Or an ally? 

BLACK ICE is New York Times bestselling author Becca Fitzpatrick’s riveting romantic thriller set against the treacherous backdrop of the mountains of Wyoming. Falling in love should never be this dangerous…




The Boy I LoveBy Nina de Gramont
Publication Date: September 2, 2014

When the boy you love asks you to keep his greatest secret, do you? A thought-provoking, achingly complex novel about prejudice and the many meanings of love from Nina de Gramont, author of Meet Me at the River, which Kirkus Reviews called a “must-read.”

Fifteen-year-old Wren has been content to stay in her best friend Allie’s shadow. It doesn’t bother her that Ally gets the cutest guys, the cutest clothes, and even a modeling gig—Wren is happy hanging with the horses on her family’s farm and avoiding the jealousy of other girls. But when Tim, the most intriguing guy in school, starts hanging out with Ally and Wren, jealousy is unavoidable, but not the kind Wren expects. Because even though Ally is wayyy into him and Wren hasn’t flirted, not one little bit, it becomes increasingly clear that Tim prefers Wren’s company above anyone else’s.


Tim’s unexpected devotion comes at the exact time Wren’s home life is about to be turned upside down. Her parents have just found out that the family horse farm is on land that was once a slave plantation and are struggling with whether to sell it. Wren aches at the thought of losing her horses and leaving town, but at least there is Tim...always a gentleman on their dates. Such a gentleman. Too much of a gentleman, even, and Wren begins to wish he’d be a wee bit less gentlemanly. And as Tim’s church becomes actively homophobic, his pressuring parents don’t understand why he won’t help “spread the word,” and he’s now a wreck. Then he tells Wren his biggest secret, and Wren must decide what she’ll really do for love.





Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Back to You by Jessica Scott Blog Tour!




Welcome to the Back to You Blog Tour!  Check out the excerpt and if it is your bag, baby, enter to win the giveaway below.  If you are looking for a fun summer read, might we recommend:





BACK TO YOU by Jessica Scott (July 29, 2014; Forever Mass Market; $6.00)
He's in for the fight of his life . . . 
Army captain Trent Davila loved his wife, Laura, and their two beautiful children. But when he almost lost his life in combat, something inside him died. He couldn't explain the emptiness he felt or bridge the growing distance between him and his family-so he deployed again. And again. And again...until his marriage reached its breaking point. Now, with everything on the line, Trent has one last chance to prove to his wife that he can be the man she needs ...if she'll have him

. . . to win back his only love.
Laura is blindsided when Trent returns home. Time and again, he chose his men over his family, and she's just beginning to put the pieces of her shattered heart back together. But when Trent faces a court martial on false charges, only Laura can save him. What begins as an act of kindness to protect his career inflames a desire she thought long buried-and a love that won't be denied. But can she trust that this time he's back to stay?




About the author:
USA Today bestselling author Jessica Scott is a career army officer; mother of two daughters, She's written for the New York Times At War Blog, PBS Point of View: Regarding War Blog, and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. She deployed to Iraq in 2009 as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom/New Dawn and has served as a company commander at Fort Hood, Texas. She's pursuing a PhD in Sociology in her spare time and most recently, she's been featured as one of Esquire Magazine's Americans of the Year for 2012.

Social Media Links:

Excerpt:


His uniform scraped the edge of her cheek. His body was a solid wall beneath her skin and for a brief moment, she simply let him hold her. His strength wrapped around her, his scent pulled her close, reminding her that somewhere inside this man was the man she’d married. The man she’d loved.
She hadn’t meant to cry in front of him. Not again. But the truth had simply slipped free of the chains she’d attempted to bind it with, breaking her resolve until it emptied out of her, tearing free and leaving her drained.
It was a long time until the tears stopped. Her eyes felt swollen.
Now, she rested against Trent and closed her eyes. She simply stopped. Stopped fighting. Stopped arguing. Stopped resisting her stubborn heart that still loved this man no matter how many times he hurt her or lashed out.
His leaving, his anger: He wasn’t in control of those things. Not like she’d convinced herself he was in those dark days when the rumors and innuendos had been breeding like a live thing in the silence between them. But there was more at work here than her husband simply walking out on her.
He’d made a huge step by talking to the counselor. And he hadn’t needed to tell her about their conversation, but he had. Laura leaned back, refusing to believe the insidious voice in her head that said he was just telling her this out of sheer selfishness.
She lifted her gaze, looking deep into his eyes. She started to shift and pull away but Trent moved first, cradling her face with his palms. Gently, his thumbs caressed her cheeks, wiping away the tears.
“I’m so tired of screwing everything up, Laura,” he whispered. “I want to fix this. Not for the trial. For us.”
“It’s not that simple.”
“Yes, it is.” His voice was urgent and harsh. “I can’t fix what I’ve done. And I damn sure don’t deserve your forgiveness.” He lowered his forehead to hers, his palms warm and solid against her skin. “But I’m asking you to help me. Help me reset my normal. Help me learn how to be a dad again. A husband.” He blinked rapidly.
She pressed her lips together, biting back fresh tears. “And what happens when you leave again?” she whispered. “What do I do then?” She sniffed quietly. “You keep breaking my heart.” Her voice cracked.
His fingers crooked around her jaw. “I want to stop.”
They were tucked away in a quiet corner of the coffee shop. The couch was blocked by a high booth. No one could see them. Laura kept her eyes locked on his. Finally he’d laid his fears, his hopes, his dreams in her lap.
She could crush him so easily. A stronger woman might have walked away, doing to him what he’d done so many times to her. But she was not that woman. She wanted to end the pain between them, not prolong it.
She’d thought divorce was the right answer. Ending the sham their marriage had become, protecting their children from more pain. The kids were her life now and she would not apologize for that. For all intents and purposes, she’d been a single parent for years and that was okay because she knew how to do that. Now fear latched on to her heart. Fear that he would leave her again. That he would once again shatter her into a thousand pieces.
But he was here. At this moment, it was all she had. Without giving herself time to think about the consequences, she leaned closer and brushed her lips gently against his.
She pulled away before he could deepen the kiss. Fear and awareness and arousal skittered through her veins, making her off balance, like a needful, sensual thing. She’d grown accustomed to the hugs of her children, their wet kisses and enthusiastic embraces.
What she craved now was something darker. The faintest brush of lips against lips had sparked something primitive inside her. Something deeper and richer. A long-forgotten need to be touched by a man. But not just any man—by this man. His hands, roughened by combat, sliding up her thighs. The coarse pads of his fingertips caressing her skin.
Memories bombarded her as she attempted to lean away and salvage the remnants of her pride.
But Trent was not operating under the get-some-space battle plan. He reached for her, his eyes rich with dark emotion. His palms scraped against her cheeks, his fingers strong as his lips claimed hers.
His breath was a gasp against her tongue and for a moment, Laura was stunned into stillness, unable to move beneath the assault on her senses. But then her body remembered his taste, her tongue remembered his touch, and a warmth awakened inside her. She opened for him, stroking his tongue with hers, her body folding into his like it was meant for him.
Her every nerve came alive. A cascade of long-denied arousal mixed with bittersweet memories of other homecomings, other farewells. It crashed into them both, driving them under a torrent of emotion.
This was the man she had married. A man who could make her body purr just thinking about him inside her. A man who knew exactly how to kiss her to drive her wild.
This was the man she’d been waiting for. She wanted nothing more than to crawl into his lap and have that urgent, passion-filled sex of first homecoming.
It was a long moment before the arousal faded and she became aware of the tender, sucking kisses he placed on her lips.
Another moment before he rested his forehead against hers.
An eternity passed before the words she’d never thought she’d ever say again slid past her lips. “I miss you,” she whispered.

And for once, he did not pull away.





http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/26635c79/ a Rafflecopter giveaway

Turn Up the Heat by Kimberly Kincaid

***1/2
"It's not you."
There are only so many times a girl can hear those words before she believes that it is, in fact, very much her. Unexpectedly jilted by her locally famous boyfriend and haunted by a boss who makes Attila the Hun look like a lap dog, Bellamy Blake does what any self-respecting girl in her shoes would do. She rounds up her two best girlfriends and makes plans to get the hell out of Dodge. . .
But Bellamy's escape plan takes a nose dive on the side of rural route 164 when her transmission self-destructs, leaving her in the middle of a cell phone dead zone with nothing but her wits. Oh, and Shane Griffin, the hottest mechanic who's ever checked under her hood.
Yet this small-town man isn't all he seems. Can Shane and Bellamy prove that sometimes the most unlikely ingredients make the most deliciously sexy mix?

Sometimes bad things lead to good finds.  Jill Shalvis had to cancel her appearance at the RT Convention this year.  Usually, what authors I will visit at the Kensington party are a given, Jill Shalvis and Jennifer Estep.  This year I was at a loss who to see in Jill's absence, so I was speaking to one of the Kensington publicists and she told me I should go talk to Kimberly Kincaid and I figured, what the hell.  I'm glad I did.  Turn Up the Heat was the perfect read while waiting for my next Jill Shalvis fix (yes, I admit I have a Shalvis addiction problem).  

Bellamy and Shane are pretty great.  They each have their issues, Bellamy is a kind of a pushover and Shane is attempting to escape the future he never wanted, but was forced upon him by his father.  Together they are an irresistible combo of sassy and romantic fun!  You cannot help rooting for their happy ending.  If you are a fan of a good rom-com, you should definitely read Turn Up the Heat.  

The second book in the series is also available now:



I will definitely be reading Jackson's story soon and so should you!  You can find out more about Kimberly and her books at www.kimberlykincaid.com.  

~Shel

Monday, July 21, 2014

A Peek In The BiblioBin #108


Welcome to our Stacking the Shelves post! Stacking the Shelves (or as we like to call it, A Peek in the BiblioBin) has been created by the lovely ladies at Tynga's Reviews.

Stacking the Shelves is a way for bloggers to share what books they have won, received for review, bought from the bookstore, borrowed from the library or friend, etc.


For Review:



Jane's Harmony (Jane's Melody #2) by Ryan Winfield via NetGalley


Borrowed:

Shel continues her love affair with audiobooks, Kevin Hearne and Jeaniene Frost.


Hammered (The Iron Druid Chronicles #3) by Kevin Hearne (audiobook)

This Side of the Grave (Night Huntress #5) by Jeanine Frost


Purchased:


Apparently while on vacation Nat forgot that she came home from RT14 with a kabillion books. But hey, when you come across a thrift store you just can't pass up these gems ... Oh and does anyone else think that the guy on the cover of Chasing Smoke bears the teeniest tiniest resemblance to Stefan from The Vampire Diaries?




The Last Bridge by Teri Coyne

Shelter Me by Juliette Fay

Rebel Angels (Gemma Doyle #2) by Libba Bray

Chasing Smoke by K.A. Mitchell

Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese

Already Home by Susan Mallery

The Sweetness At The Bottom Of The Pie by Alan Bradley



I was very excited to attend my first travel baseball-free weekday event in ages! Anderson's Bookshop (Naperville, IL) played host to the Mighty Mississippi Book Blast Tour featuring these amazing authors: Lynne Matson, Philip Siegel, Paula Stokes, Bethany Crandell, A.G. Howard, Lindsay Cummings, Whitney Miller and A. Lyndon Rolland. 

The BiblioJunkies met Lynne Matson (NIL) at RT14, so I was really happy to see her again and to also meet Philip Siegel (The Break-Up Artist). The bonus was learning about other new books. Two in particular I'm excited about are featured below -- Bethany Crandell sold me on hers by describing it as sarcastic, slightly wrong and having a Zac Efron doppelgänger. What!! Paula Stokes was just adorable so I had to get this. 

Unfortunately, I am not independently wealthy and could only get so many books which is the sucky thing about book signings. However, I'm hoping to eventually get around to reading the other authors mentioned above.  ~ Bel




Summer On The Short Bus by Bethany Crandell

The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes


Friday, July 18, 2014

Just One Thing by Holly Jacobs

Just One Thing* * * 1/2

“Sometimes, you find yourself inadvertently in the dark. But I’d discovered that if you stopped fighting against it and just stood still, sometimes something marvelous comes along.”

Artist Lexie McCain spends her days literally weaving the story of her life into a gorgeous tapestry. But on Monday nights, she walks to the Corner Bar, drinks a Killian’s, and answers the same question every week from Sam the bartender: “One thing?” She starts with her name, then her cottage, slowly moving on to the devastating tragedies that tore her life apart.

Sam Corner’s smile doesn’t seem to hide any pain. One night, Lexie turns the tables on him, asking Sam, “One thing?” To her surprise, Sam reveals his own tragic history. Together, Lexie and Sam learn that, with good beer and a trusted friend, sharing just “one thing” might lead to the one thing they both thought was lost forever: love.

From award-winning author Holly Jacobs comes the story of heartache, hope, and the power of sharing just one thing.


Review:

This book had me hooked with the description.  I can think of few things more romantic than getting to know someone so slowly you don’t even see the growing attraction until it hits you in the face.  That’s probably why I am such a fan of “best friend” romances. 

This is a small sweet story.  It is at times overly sentimental and sometimes the language seemed unrealistic.  But….I still loved it.  The biggest reason was because Lexie and Sam are not your usual romance heroine and hero.  The synopsis (and cover) doesn't mention the fact that Lexie and Sam are not “young” people.  Although age is never mentioned, I think it’s safe to say Lexie is around 50 years old and Sam might be a few years younger.  They have each lived a lifetime of happiness and heart break.  Strangely enough I had recently been looking for a romance involving older characters and I inadvertently found it in Just One Thing. 

Another reason I enjoyed this so much was because the focus wasn’t necessarily on the romance.  This story is about both Lexie and Sam slowly healing from the tragedies from their past.  And the most human thing about their pasts is that there is happiness too.  

For me this story was quiet happiness.  If you are looking for a light sentimental read with realistic characters with realistic lives, this just might be the book for you.

Nat

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Things You Kiss Goodby by Leslie Connor

The Things You Kiss Goodbye* * * * 1/2

Bettina Vasilis can hardly believe it when basketball star Brady Cullen asks her out, and she just about faints when her strict father actually approves of him.

But when school starts up again, Brady changes. What happened to the sweet boy she fell in love with? Then she meets a smoldering guy in his twenties, and this “cowboy” is everything Brady is not—gentle, caring, and interested in getting to know the real Bettina.

Bettina knows that breaking up with Brady would mean giving up her freedom—and that it would be inappropriate for anything to happen between her and Cowboy. Still, she can’t help that she longs for the scent of his auto shop whenever she’s anywhere else.

When tragedy strikes, Bettina must tell her family the truth—and kiss goodbye the things she thought she knew about herself and the men in her life.

Leslie Connor has written a lyrical, heartbreaking, and ultimately hopeful story about family, romance, and the immense power of love.


Review:

Bettina Vasilis and Brady Cullen are the most unlikely of couples.  No one would have ever guessed that the up and coming basketball star and the artsy girl with the short skirts and fake ink would become a thing.  But they do.  In the beginning it’s hard to not absolutely love Brady Cullen.  He really IS the perfect boyfriend.  So sweet and polite. But after the summer, Brady comes back to school…different.  Sometimes he’s the sweet boy that Bettina fell for and other times she finds herself cringing in fear of what he’ll do next.  

In some ways, Bettina is a tough girl.  But her misogynistic father’s constant dismissal has given her plenty of insecurities and a dysfunctional approach to conflict.  So when her “perfect” high school boyfriend begins abusing her, Bettina’s response is to take Bampas’ (her father) advice. Filio Antio.  Kiss it goodbye.  

“Then I was to bury my pain or disappointment on the spot.  Stop crying. Let it go.”

Because if she just “kisses it goodbye” and looks the other way, she can still keep the little bit of freedom she has.  Because without her relationship with Brady, her dad would never let her leave the house except for school.  

After one of her altercations (one of the worst and most physically damaging) with Brady, Bettina runs off school property to a nearby industrial park so no one can see or hear her cry.  That is where “Cowboy” finds her.   The attractive older guy in his t-shirt and jeans takes Bettina to his nearby auto shop to look at her crushed hand and help her clean up.  And that’s that. No lightning bolts.  Not instant love.  He helps her and sends her on her way.  Bettina returns to the shop with a thank you coffee and begins to spend a few mornings and afternoons a week in his shop.  Just doing homework, drawing or helping him clean gears before using them for car repair.  That auto shop becomes a safe haven.  The one place Bettina can go where no one is trying to control her and her dreams are accepted as possibilities and not just dreams.

“Cowboy” and Bettina become friends and when Bettina mentions her growing attraction to him, he puts an end to it immediately.  Bettina worms her way back into his shop with coffee and a promise to never mention it again.  She can’t lose the one place she feels she can be accepted as who she is.  As the months go by, their relationship grows.  And just when “Cowboy” has decided to give in and pursue her (with the insistence that her parents know – which I found fascinating), something happens that forces Bettina to not only come clean with her parents but also address her relationship with Brady and her father.  

This book isn’t for everyone.  A lot of people will take issue with the age difference between Bettina and Cowboy.  But the point this book drives home beautifully is that just because you are young does not make your feelings any less real or less important.
Just because you are young does not mean you love any less.  And that sometimes “kissing it goodbye,” isn’t enough.


Nat