Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Finding Mr. Brightside by Jay Clark

Finding Mr. Brightside
****
Abram and Juliette know each other. They’ve lived down the street from each other their whole lives. But they don’t really know each other—at least, not until Juliette’s mom and Abram’s dad have a torrid affair that culminates in a deadly car crash. Sharing the same subdivision is uncomfortable, to say the least. They don’t speak.

Fast-forward to the neighborhood pharmacy, a few months later. Abram decides to say hello. Then he decides to invite her to Taco Bell. To her surprise as well as his, she agrees. And the real love story begins.




Review:

I am not ashamed to admit that I requested this book based on the title.  I mean, I DID read the synopsis.  But if I am going to be honest, this Killers fan was going to request this book from Netgalley no matter the subject matter.   Fortunately, I’m smart enough (sometimes) to know that this wouldn’t likely have any Killers references.  And unless I’m seriously missing something, it didn’t.  However, that didn’t stop me from thoroughly enjoying Abram and Juliette’s story.

Abram has been watching Juliette for a while now.  Even he admits it’s kind of creepy.  But to be fair it’s kind of hard to figure out how to approach the daughter of your dead father’s dead lover.  Yeah.  Awkward.  When he runs into her at CVS he doesn’t waste the opportunity.  They talk and he even convinces her to go with him to Taco Bell.  But only for ten minutes.  Juliette’s rule, not his.  But, hey, Abram will take what he can get.

Whether it was nurture or nature, Juliette’s mother has greatly influenced Juliette’s outlook on life.  Since she is always suspicious, Juliette doesn’t fully trust her attraction to Abram.  Nor does she trust Abram’s obvious attraction to her.  So she proceeds with caution and distrust.  It’s the only way she knows how to approach anything in life.   But all that suspicion doesn’t stop her from carefully navigating a fragile relationship with her the son of her mom’s lover.

Both Juliette and Abram (Juliette especially) worry that their attraction to each other can’t be separated from their dysfunctional shared history.  But as they spend more time together they find that the chemistry is real.  They also find a way to come to terms with their parents’ mistakes and to remember some of the good things their parents did when they were alive.

Being a fan of contemporary YA and Adult romance/fiction, I try to be a little more forgiving of character flaws.  Because, for me, that’s the point of contemporary fiction.  To read about real people with real life problems and personalities.  And, as we all know, real people are imperfect.  These two main characters are young.  And although they have experienced more than any teen should, they still lack some of the life experience and sensitivity that comes with time and age.  At times, this is obvious in the way they refer to people and things.  

But that doesn’t take away from the growth they both experience.  They both lift each other up.  Abram helps Juliette be spontaneous and see the joy in the little things around them.  Juliette helps Abram find the motivation he lost when he lost his dad.  Their relationship had the possibility of being unhealthy but together their positive influences shine through.

This ended up being another great addition to the world of contemporary YA.  Not only are the main characters well developed, the adult characters are great too.  Although they were originally connected because of mistakes made by their deceased parents, the real adult influences in their life are their surviving parents.  Abram’s mom is full of love and laughter and it’s no surprise where he gets his ability to enjoy life.  Juliette’s dad, although a bit absent-minded, is full of love for his daughter.  A trait that makes all the difference in Juliette’s life by the end of the book.

If you love contemporary YA as much as I do, I highly recommend you pick up and read Finding Mr. Brightside.



Nat

Waiting on Wednesday (144)


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



Lessons in Pure LifeBy Audrey O'Connor
Publication Date: April 6, 2015

Freshly minted grad Emilia Noble arrives in Costa Rica to teach English in the tropical community of Pacifica. Its carefree, pura vida lifestyle is a welcome contrast to her dark and wintry origins. Tossing caution aside like an old winter coat, she plunges headfirst into an exotic cocktail of sensory pleasure.

Diego is a local whose surfer body and cool detachment make Lia buzz with a long-lost thrill. Fascinated by her new environment, she can’t help but wonder about the moody inner workings of the boy with triceps like Wolverine and a grimace to match.

Diego seems to have no problem ignoring Lia, though. Caught up in his family’s conflicted attitude toward foreigners, he notices her only when it’s convenient. But as Lia thrives in her new surroundings, Diego might just find reason enough to defy his embattled, insular father. When north and south are mixed together, the results are intoxicating.



Raising Cain (The Key Guardians, #1)
By Kelli Ireland
Publication Date: April 7, 2015

Hiding places are scarce when both Heaven and Hell intend to find you.

Dani Fayel’s backbreaking job as a stable hand at The Freaks’ Fair isn’t glamorous, but for someone looking to keep to the shadows? It’s perfect. Neither paranormal freaks nor human norms ever notice her. But when Dani is forced to either let a child die in order to maintain her anonymity or choose to save him and risk being discovered, she finds herself unwillingly thrust into the spotlight.

Cain, Hell’s premier assassin and a predatory incubus, is close to fulfilling his final contract and earning his freedom. Hired by the Archangel of Death to find his daughter, Cain follows her trail to the Fair. He works undercover, certain his mark is inside one of the portable canopies or traveling cages. Dead or alive, she equals his ticket to freedom.

When Cain’s objective is divulged, Dani realizes she can’t outrun her destiny. As the fabled Key—the one soul with absolute free will who is tied to the three realms of Heaven, Earth and Hell—only she is capable of opening the gates for the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Whoever frees the Horsemen allegedly commands them. Now both Heaven and Hell are vying for her allegiance, and there are no limits as to how dirty they’ll fight to obtain it. With Hell raining indiscriminate chaos as Heaven maneuvers its players around her, Dani realizes her would-be assassin may be the only man capable of helping her survive.
 




There You Stand (Between Breaths, #5)By Christina Lee
Publication Date: April 21, 2015

From the author of All of You and Before You Break comes a new Between Breaths male/male standalone romance about the silent, inked up skateboarder and the tattoo artist who unravels him piece by piece…
Tattoo artist Cory Easton has worked long enough at Raw Ink to know, just by looking at a dude, what his body art reveals, what makes him tick, what even makes him scared. Until he meets the quiet and remote Jude York—so unreadable, so unreachable, and so unlike anyone else, he can’t help but arouse Cory’s curiosity.

As captivating and complex as his ink, Jude is a mystery—and Cory’s falling fast and hard under his spell. Against his better judgment to steer clear.

The rumors of Jude’s past overshadow him—whispers of prison and an unmentionable secret that’s kept him in the protective shadows of a local motorcycle club. As Cory probes deeper, he wonders how much he really wants to know. Especially since Jude has awakened something inside him that has been buried too long—and has him feeling completely alive for the first time in forever…
 

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Fall With Me by J. Lynn Release Day Blitz

If you've been following us for long, you know I am a huge JLA fan (Jennifer L. Armentrout a/k/a J. Lynn), so we are so excited to bring you the Release Week Blitz for Jennifer L. Armentrout's, also known as J. Lynn’s, FALL WITH ME!! FALL WITH ME is a New Adult Contemporary Romance and is a part of Jennifer L. Armentrout’s Wait For You Series, published by Avon Romance. We love this series and can't wait to start reading Roxy and Reece's story!

  Fall With me

Amazon ** Barnes and Noble **iBooks ** Kobo

  FWM Teaser 1

FALL WITH ME Synopsis: Eleven months ago, bartender and weird-shirt-wearing extraordinaire Roxy and Officer Reece Anders had a one night stand. Well, kind of. She’s been in love with him since she was fifteen, and he wishes that night they shared never happened. She’s sworn him off forever, but the past and future collide, forcing her to rely on the one man who broke her heart not once, but twice. Her best friend since birth has been in a long-term care facility since he became a victim of a hate crime years ago, and the person who put him in there is out of prison and wanting to make amends with him and Roxy. She’s not sure she has room for forgiveness in her and when she begins to receive frightening messages and is on the receiving end of escalating violence, she thinks she knows who is to blame. The man who already destroyed one life already. But Reece isn’t convinced. The threats are too personal, and even if Roxy doesn’t believe him, he’s not willing to let anyone hurt her. Including himself. He’s already messed up more than once when it comes to Roxy and he’s not going to let history repeat itself.


Excerpt:

Someone—was it Melvin?—catcalled as Reece led me down the hall, and my cheeks flushed. “Okay, heman, I can walk all by my little self.”
He cast a look over his shoulder at me as he opened the office door. “I’m sure you can.”
Then he pulled me inside.
My gaze flipped to the roses—the roses!—but before I could say a word, he closed the door and my back was pressed against it, his hands planted on either side of my head and his face right in mine. Like right there, within kissing distance.
Wow.
“So, I was at my father’s place in New Jersey most of the day, and you know, he lives out near the Pine Barrens, so service is shit.”
I nodded even though I really wasn’t processing what he was saying as I was too busy staring at his mouth. Those lips, fuller on the bottom, drove me to distraction.
“I pull out of his driveway and I have all these messages from Dennis,” he continued, and I finally caught on to what he was talking about. “I honestly thought he was messing with me at first.”
I cringed. “He . . . um, he wasn’t.”
He shot me a bland look. “That much I figured out.” His hands slid on the door, stopping just shy of touching my shoulders. “What did he do to you?”
“What?” I blinked.
“What did that bastard do to make you throw a book through his windshield?”
Oh. Oh. My heart was now wiggling along with my stomach. “He really didn’t do anything. I just lost my cool. He wanted to talk to me, and I didn’t want to talk to him.”
“You don’t have to talk to him.”
“That’s what Dennis said, but I shouldn’t have damaged his car.”
A muscle flexed along his right jaw. “That’s true.” He shook his head. “Damn, Roxy, can’t say I’m surprised.”
My brows flew up. “You’re not?”
He laughed under his breath. “Babe, you’ve always had a hell of a temper on you.”
Ah, that was kind of true. “Is that a good thing or a bad thing?”
Reece cocked his head to the side. “A sexy thing, but vandalism and destruction of property doesn’t look good on you, sweets.”
“No. It doesn’t match my manicure.” I raised my hands, flashing him the blue nails.
He laughed again and then he sobered up, just like that. Cop Face was on, and yeah . . . the low coiling in my stomach told me I found Cop Face arousing. “You’re lucky. He could’ve pressed charges, and this conversation would be going in a whole different direction.”
My own half smile slipped off my face. “I know. It’s . . . I was just with Charlie, and he’s . . .” Unable to continue, I forced a casual shrug I didn’t feel. “What are you going to do with me?”
His lips parted as his chest rose with a deep breath, then his gaze dropped to my mouth, and his expression tightened. He looked . . . he looked hungry. “I have lots of ideas.”


FWM Teaser 4Author Photo
      
About Jennifer L. Armentrout: # 1 NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki. Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV. She also writes adult and New Adult romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.  

Website ** Facebook ** Twitter ** Novel Goodreads ** Author Goodreads


Where Sea Meets Sky by Karina Halle Promo Launch

WHERE SEA MEETS SKY
KARINA HALLE


A new adult novel that perfectly captures the existential angst of your early twenties with raw wit, fresh insight, and true feeling from a critically adored USA TODAY bestselling author.






Joshua Miles has spent his early twenties spinning his wheels. Working dead-end jobs and living at home has left him exhausted and uninspired, with little energy to pursue his passion for graphic art. Until he meets Gemma Henare, a vivacious out-of-towner from New Zealand. What begins as a one-night stand soon becomes a turning point for Josh. He can’t get Gemma out of his head, even after she has left for home, and finds himself throwing caution to the wind for the first time in his life.

It’s not long before Josh is headed to New Zealand with only a backpack, some cash, and Gemma’s name to go on. But when he finally tracks her down, he finds his adventure is only just beginning. Equally infatuated, Gemma leads him on a whirlwind tour across the beautiful country, opening Josh up to life, lust, love, and all the messy heartache in between. Because, when love drags you somewhere, it might never let go—even when you know you have to say goodbye.








BUY NOW!




UK LINKS:
 Waterstones      Foyles     Amazon    Google Play       Kobo     Nook      iTunes


AUS/NZ LINKS:
iBookstore      Amazon     Bookworld





EXCERPT

“Gemma,” I whisper softly. Before I know what I’m doing, I’m raising her palm to my lips and kissing along her scar. She smells so good, feels even better.
She lets me do it for a moment then she awkwardly clears her throat.
Don’t make me let go, I think. Please don’t make me let go.
The rustle in the bushes is back again. Gemma jerks her hand away, as if we’re about to be caught by Nick the Peeping Tom, as if we’re doing something wrong.
Are we doing something wrong?
Suddenly the air around us fills with squeals, and the rustling increases. The nearest bush to us at the base of the yard, near the fence, starts to move back and forth.
I stand up out of my chair to get a better look and see what looks to be little creatures waddling out of the bushes and heading for the side of the house. Once they hit a patch of light coming from the house, I can see what they are.
Little blue penguins.
“What the fuck?” I say softly, feeling like my mind has just imploded. “What the hell are those?”
“Little blue penguins,” she says proudly.
I turn to her in disbelief. “Are you serious?” I thought I was making that up. In my head.
She nods. “Yup. Little blue penguins.” 
And she’s right. They’re about a foot high, miniature versions of the ones I’ve seen on TV, and they’re entirely blue in color. I thought it was just the darkness playing tricks on me but no, once they hit the light, you can see the color on their oily feathers.
“I don’t get it,” I say, watching as the last of their group quickly scampers out of sight. That might have been the cutest and weirdest thing I have ever seen.
“You never head of them?” she asks. “They probably have a burrow under the house. It’s actually quite common for beach houses.”
“Look, I wasn’t lying when I said I didn’t do a whole lot of research about the country.”
“I can see that,” she says. “Well, how about that, then.”
“How about that,” I say, sitting back down. The penguins’ magical appearance has somehow taken Gemma’s heartbreaking story to another place, and she’s quick to jump on the transition. She tells me all about the interesting birdlife in New Zealand, from yellow-eyed penguins on the Otago Peninsula down south, to the Kea—cheeky green parrots that live in the snow-covered Alps. She’s animated as she tells me all she knows, and I absorb it like a sponge. 
I drink my beer and she goes back to drinking hers, and before Nick, Amber, and the Irish show up all sloshed, she’s painted a beautiful picture of what’s to come. I can only hope I’ll continue to be part of the picture.





Don’t miss Karina’s next book, RACING THE SUN, on sale July 28th!










With her USA Today Bestselling The Artists Trilogy published by Grand Central Publishing, numerous foreign publication deals, and self-publishing success with her Experiment in Terror series, Vancouver-born Karina Halle is a true example of the term "Hybrid Author." Though her books showcase her love of all things dark, sexy and edgy, she's a closet romantic at heart and strives to give her characters a HEA...whenever possible.Karina holds a screenwriting degree from Vancouver Film School and a Bachelor of Journalism from TRU. Her travel writing, music reviews/interviews and photography have appeared in publications such as Consequence of Sound, Mxdwn and GoNomad Travel Guides. She currently lives on an island on the coast of British Columbia where she’s preparing for the zombie apocalypse with her fiancĂ© and rescue pup.

LINKS: FACEBOOK TWITTER GOODREADS AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE

Monday, March 30, 2015

A Peek In The BiblioBin #142


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:


Since Drew by J. Nathan (via NetGalley)

Under The Spotlight (The Jamieson Collection #3) by Angie Stanton (via Edelweiss)

After Hours by Claire Kennedy (via Edelweiss)


Purchased:


Where'd You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple (paperback)

Leaving Amarillo (Neon Dreams #1) by Casey Quinn (paperback)


Off The Bookshelf:


Rock And A Hard Place (TheJamieson Collection #1) by Angie Stanton (paperback)

Snapshot (The Jamieson Collection #2) by Angie Stanton (paperback)

both free and autographed at RT2014



Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover

* * * *





When Tate Collins meets airline pilot Miles Archer, she knows it isn’t love at first sight. They wouldn’t even go so far as to consider themselves friends. The only thing Tate and Miles have in common is an undeniable mutual attraction. Once their desires are out in the open, they realize they have the perfect set-up. He doesn’t want love, she doesn’t have time for love, so that just leaves the sex. Their arrangement could be surprisingly seamless, as long as Tate can stick to the only two rules Miles has for her.

Never ask about the past.

Don’t expect a future.

They think they can handle it, but realize almost immediately they can’t handle it at all.

Hearts get infiltrated.

Promises get broken.

Rules get shattered.

Love gets ugly.


Ugly Love ascended to the top of my TBR pile after many glowing recommendations I’d read in a forum. I couldn’t resist the idea of a complicated hero falling in love. And honestly, I was expecting the complicated hero to be an arrogant one since that’s how it usually goes with these types of stories. That so wasn’t the case.

Tate's moving in with her brother temporarily while she begins her studies to receive her Masters in Nursing. On the day she's moving in, she comes across some guy passed out in front of their apartment. She assumes this drunk guy is some vagrant but he’s actually Miles, Corbin’s neighbour and fellow airline pilot. Nice start. As a favour to her brother, she lets Miles stay overnight on the couch. Not exactly the way she had imagined things going on her movie-in day. The next morning doesn't go any better thanks to their unusual start. However, she can pause to appreciate Miles' physical attributes which spark all kinds of lusty thoughts in her mind. As fun as these thoughts are, they’re also a pesky distraction from working towards the future she has mapped out. Miles’ personality is baffling, turning hot and cold within minutes. Trouble is that despite his hard-to-read demeanor, there’s no mistaking the growing attraction between them.  They go back and forth with the awkwardess until they can’t take it anymore. When they finally decide on an arrangement, Miles’ only rules are that she not ask him about his past and that she not expect a future from him.

At the time it seemed like an easy request. They’re both consenting adults who supposedly know what they’re doing. Even with rules in place, they do begin to have an affect on each other. Miles starts to loosen up somewhat while Tate falls just a little farther for the guy who won’t say much but feels intensely. She can’t help but wonder what tragedy could have occurred in his past to make him be so sad and unwilling to fall in love. She promised that she wouldn’t ask so she tries hard not to force the issue.
Miles’ story is told in almost dreamlike flashbacks. It feels ominous from the get go because you're anticipating that moment when it all falls apart. It’s hard to not be heartbroken for this decent guy who has experienced some unimaginable pain in his young life. His emotional isolation has prevented him from feeling pure happiness and love.

Their arrangement can’t keep going this way and at some point they have to admit that they feel more for each other than they let on. It’s scary for both of them especially Miles who is so terrified of wrecking the lives of the people he cares about, but this is where they’ll have to decide if what they have together is worth the fight.

I was all over the place emotionally as I read Ugly Love. The story tugged at me many times as I got to the sadder parts. But the sadness was balanced by the lighthearted elements in the story like the friendships between the guys, their apartment building's elevator guy who had all the funny quips, and the chemistry between Tate and Miles which was incredible! I admired Tate’s patience and kindness towards Miles and she did this without compromising her own needs. She gave him the reassurance and encouragement he desperately needed to resurface from the depths of his own despair. And Miles, the grief-stricken man with the weight of all that guilt… yeah, you’ll fall in love with him. You'll also want to give him the longest hug ever.

~ Bel

   
      Ugly Love
    

Friday, March 27, 2015

Salt & Stone (Fire & Blood #2) by Victoria Scott

* * * 3/4

In Fire & Flood, Tella Holloway faced a dangerous trek through the jungle and across the desert, all to remain a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed for a chance at obtaining the Cure for her brother. She can't quit--she has to win the race, save Cody, and then fight to make sure the race stops before it can claim any more lives. In the next legs of the race, across the ocean and over mountains, Tella will face frostbite, sharks, avalanche, and twisted new rules in the race.

But what if the danger is deeper than that? How do you know who to trust when everyone's keeping secrets? What do you do when the person you'd relied on most suddenly isn't there for support? How do you weigh one life against another?

The race is coming to an end, and Tella is running out of time, resources, and strength. At the start of the race there were one hundred twenty-two Contenders. As Tella and her remaining friends start the final part of the race, just forty-one are left--and only one can win.


Talk about kicking it up several notches! Salt & Stone may have a quiet start but our heroes are anything but. After coming through the first two treacherous legs of the Brimstone Bleed, Tella, Gus and company are mourning for those they lost while they rest and prepare for the next phase. Taking stock of what they have left and making plans for what lies beyond the race are what’s keeping Tella and Gus motivated. Only are in cahoots to destroy the cruel organizers of the race from within and bring the cure to everyone.  However, Tella finds Gus’ one-man-savior-of-all frustrating. She wants to be his partner in efforts to win more than the race but his tendency to shove every one aside and take on the risks on his own anger her to no end. She spends a great deal of time angry with him and confused by his mixed signals. Salt & Stone becomes as much about Tella bolstering her own confidence to prove Gus wrong about her capabilities as it is about finishing the race and winning the cure.

When the race starts up again, they face new rules with higher stakes. But this time they’re tasked to work in teams which makes things harder to a certain extent. Tella, who has always had a tough time in compromising her morals as a Contender, must act judiciously as she steps into a leadership role among the group. Caring for everyone’s needs and seeing to her own could be overwhelming for any seventeen year-old but Tella carries the responsibility with conviction. No matter how grueling the obstacles become overcomes them with sheer determination. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t occasionally escape into teenage reverie which only makes her situation sadder.

Victoria Scott also introduces some new faces to the group resulting in a few worrying confrontations. It definitely made for more interesting dynamics. Tella’s gut instincts are tested constantly so have no doubt that there are some surprises ahead.

The Fire & Blood series has always been about Tella and her fellow Contenders surviving this ordeal as a group. Tella's compassion and compulsion to always look out for others regardless of her own safety is the very heart of the series. Salt & Stone was every bit as thrilling and dangerous as Fire & Blood, and suspenseful to the very end. I’m definitely excited to see what happens next!

~ Bel
   
      Salt & Stone (Fire & Flood, #2)