Thursday, November 12, 2015

ARC Review: Touching Fate (The Fated #1) by Brenda Drake

The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: October 12, 2015
Publisher: Entangled: Crave
236 Pages

One touch is all it takes...

Aster Layne believes in physics, not psychics. A tarot card reading on the Ocean City Boardwalk should have been a ridiculous, just-for-fun thing. It wasn't. Aster discovers she has a very unscientific gift-with a simple touch of the cards, she can change a person's fate.

Reese Van Buren is cursed. Like the kind of old-school, centuries-old curse that runs in royal families. Every firstborn son is doomed to die on his eighteenth birthday-and Reese's is coming up fast. Bummer. He tries to distract himself from his inevitable death...only to find the one person who can save him.

Aster doesn't know that the hot Dutch guy she's just met needs her help-or that he's about to die.
But worst of all...she doesn't know that her new gift comes with dark, dark consequences that can harm everyone she loves.

Because it seemed he held the algorithmic key to solving the encrypted code locking her heart.
There are two different kinds of people: those who believe in fate and those who don't. Aster Layne falls into the later category. She knows her role in life, she has her routine with her friends and family, and most importantly, she doesn't believe in magic. 
Reese Van Bruen not only believes in magic, but is also cursed by it. And not just a tiny curse, one that will kill him on his 18th birthday. Reigned to his fate, he's chosen to live out life the way that he wants to: traveling and having fun. He doesn't buy into the family belief that there's someone out there who holds the cure. That is until he meets Aster and discovers that she's a fate changer. Unfortunately Aster doesn't know this and Reese decides to "help" Aster discover her gift in order to save his life. What Reese doesn't know is that if Aster changes his fate, someone else's will also be changed.

Boy meets girl. Boy wants girl to save his life. Boy falls in love with girl. Pretty sure that you can see where this is going. 

I enjoyed this one. It was definitely a new topic for me to read about. The whole idea of fate changing is an interesting new side of magic and the author mixes it with elements that we are already familiar with, mostly tarot cards. I also liked how the author portrayed Aster's confusion about her growing power and the difference between right and wrong. Playing with people's lives is not something that should be taken lightly and when Aster realizes what her fate changing can do, she begins to question the morality of what she's doing. 

Magic, sexy European accents, fun locales...this was a good start to a series that I will hopefully be continuing. 
I received an e-copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

ARC Review: After Tonight (Flirting with Trouble #1) by Annie Kelly

The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: November 17, 2015
Publisher: InterMix

The first edgy, sexy novel in the Flirting With Trouble contemporary romance series.

She may be the teacher...

All Hyacinth "Cyn" Hendricks ever wanted to do was make a difference in the world. But when she joins the faculty of a Baltimore reform school, she discovers that she’s bitten off more than she can chew. Because the last thing she expects when she meets her newest student is to see the guy she met—and made out with—at a bar last week.

But he’s the one giving her a lesson...

To Cyn, Smith Asher is an enigma. The 20-year old doesn’t look like a high schooler and he certainly didn’t act like one the other night. Despite the smoldering chemistry between them, she knows she has to squash this dangerous infatuation before it gets them both in serious trouble. But her desire for Smith—and his lust for her—quickly grows too hot to ignore. And Cyn soon learns that there is one thing worse than teaching someone you’ve seen nearly naked...

Teaching someone you want to see nearly naked again.

Hyacinth Hendricks is trying to finish up her student teaching assignment so that she can graduate. She's worked hard to be where she is and between working and taking care of her father, she doesn't really ever allow herself to let loose. When her friends take her out to an exclusive club - one that specializes in fantasies- Hyacinth decides to let go. It's here she meets Smith Asher, the first guy who has ever made her want to feel again. And while her night doesn't go the way she intends it to, it still awoke something inside her. Something that she decides she wants to pursue, that is until Monday morning when she sees Smith in her English class - as a student. 

My first impression was that this would be your classic teacher/student affair type book. And I wasn't completely wrong. Hyacinth knows that what happened between the two of them can't ever happen again and she's determined to keep the line clear between them. But Smith doesn't seem to want to stick to her rules. He's demanding, and very forward with his intentions. Almost to the point where it seemed a little like harassment to me. She kept telling him no and asking him to stop and he would disregard her and continue his behavior. Another thing with Smith was that his behavior was very up and down. After reading the entire story, I see why the author portrayed him the way she did, but while reading it, it was hard to like the guy.

Then there was the chemistry. Besides sexual I didn't really feel it. There wasn't a spark aside from the initial first impression. Most of their interactions were him flirting with her in the classroom and on top of that, they were only together for maybe 1/3 of the book. Most of it focused on Hyacinth's day to day activities. I really liked the premise and I see potential in the authors writing, but this couple didn't really do it for me. I have a feeling I know what couple the next book will focus on and I am very interested in how they connect. While this book wasn't for me, it did spark my interest in the rest and I look forward to seeing what the author can do next. 

I received an e-copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

ARC Review: One King's Way (On Dublin Street #6.5) by Samantha Young

The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: November 3, 3015
Publisher: InterMix
158 Pages

The New York Times bestselling author of On Dublin Street returns to the bar where it all began with Braden and Joss for a white-hot new novella full of passion and drama.
When he’s not working at the club, Craig Lanaghan looks out for his mother and little sisters. So when it comes to women, all he wants is a good time. But once Rain Alexander walks into his life, there’s no denying that this woman could be worth much more than a one-night stand….

Rain’s lifelong regret is having left her sister Darcy alone years ago with a guardian who turned out to be abusive. So when Darcy’s boyfriend publicly humiliates her in a cruel way, Rain’s overprotective instincts kick in and she follows him to Club 39—where she meets a guy who just might be her perfect match.

The chemistry between Rain and Craig is explosive, but Rain is out for revenge, and refuses to be sidetracked by flirtation. As things between them heat up, she’ll have to make a heartbreaking choice between giving in to the man of her dreams or putting her sister’s happiness first….

Another dose of hot, sexy Scottish men? Sign me up!

Samantha Young captures the feelings of love and first relationships perfectly set against the beautiful landscape of Scotland. This was a series that grew in love for me throughout each book and when it ended, I was sad to see it come to a close. But Young keeps surprising us with these little novellas, allowing us to see our favorite characters one more time while also falling in love with new ones. 
One King's Way takes us back to the beginning. Joss and Braden aren't married with kids, they are just dating here and she's still working at the bar. Working with Craig Lanaghan, resident flirt and most known for kissing Joss in front of Braden to make him jealous. Craig is your classic one night stand kind of guy. He doesn't want commitment. He likes his freestyle life - flirting with customers every night for great tips comes naturally to him. But when a girl dressed like she walked right out of the 1940's shows up at the bar, he reevaluates everything he's ever stood for.  
Rain Alexander is out for one thing - revenge. Revenge for her sister who was wronged by a man. Her plan: get close to this guy and destroy him from the inside. Step one in that plan is to hang out at the bar he normally frequents hoping to spot him. Craig was not part of that plan. But the more time she spends with him, the more she wants to let him in but can't seem to find a way to do that.
This is the case of realist vs romantic. Rain wants a love that consumes not only her but the guy as well. She wants forever. Craig can't fathom forever, but is willing to work towards it. And he's on a mission to prove to Rain that he can be there for her through it all. I really liked the character of Craig. He was a good guy. He cared for his family and his friends and knew what he wanted out of life. When something came along that made him question what he knew, he took it in stride and learned from it. Rain, on the other hand, was a little more complicated. She has a past and has been hurt and then seeing her sister get hurt just has her running from every man she sees. I liked her okay but I didn't love her. I didn't like how she was so quick to dismiss Craig's feelings. She wanted him to show her that she was important to him, but when a life altering decision needs to be made, she makes it without him. She wanted the fairy tale, but didn't want to work for it.
This series is like candy to me. I hope that these little novella's keep happening because I just want to continue seeing this group of people grow and experience new things. 

I received an e-copy of this novella from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Book Review: The Iron Warrior (The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten #3) by Julie Kagawa

The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: October 27, 2015
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
384 Pages

The Iron Prince—my nephew—betrayed us all.

He killed me.

Then, I woke up.

Waking after a month on the brink of death, Ethan Chase is stunned to learn that the Veil that conceals the fey from human sight was temporarily torn away. Although humankind's glimpse of the world of Faery lasted just a brief moment, the human world has been cast into chaos, and the emotion and glamour produced by fear and wonder has renewed the tremendous power of the Forgotten Queen. Now, she is at the forefront of an uprising against the courts of Summer and Winter—a reckoning that will have cataclysmic effects on the Nevernever.

Leading the Lady's Forgotten Army is Keirran himself: Ethan's nephew, and the traitor son of the Iron Queen, Meghan Chase.To stop Keirran, Ethan must disobey his sister once again as he and his girlfriend, Kenzie, search for answers long forgotten. In the face of unprecedented evil and unfathomable power, Ethan's enemies must become his allies, and the world of the fey will be changed forevermore.
It's no secret now that I absolutely LOVE Julie Kagawa and will read anything that this woman writes. Add that to the fact that I have been waiting for what feels like forever for this book and I think it's safe to say that I was super excited to finally have it in my hands.

The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten series focuses on the relationship between Ethan Chase and his nephew, Prince Keirran and centers around a prophecy that was revealed at the end of the Iron Fey series. Here we find Ethan frantically navigating the in Between on a quest to get Keirran back his soul and stop the impending war between the Courts of Nevernever and the Forgotten Queen.
Blinded by what he thinks is right, Keirran is leading the Forgotten Army straight into battle against the courts, including his mother. He's brash, but driven. He has all of the elements of a leader but it's his direction that's a little skewed. Ethan knows his nephew and he refuses to believe that this is what has become of Keirran. It isn't until Keirran attempts to kill Ethan again that Ethan finally realizes that Keirran must be stopped. Unwilling to kill his own nephew, Ethan sets out on a quest to find the only thing that can return Keirran to his former self - an amulet containing the essence of his soul.
I've loved Keirran since the first time he appeared in print. So I was right there along side Ethan the entire way as he fought to restore Keirrans soul. This doesn't mean that I didn't want to drop kick his fairy ass all the way through Nevernever. I could not believe how he was acting and it made it hard to love him. But I do love my damaged boys.

What I love about reading work from Kagawa is how alive her writing is. I'm normally not a huge fan of books relating to the fey but this has hands down become one of my favorite series. And that's all due in part to this world and these characters that just demand attention. These magical places feel so real that I want to travel there myself. I want to see through the glamour of the fey and feel the sun in the Summer court and the snow in the Winter court. I want my own Razor sitting on my shoulder. Truthfully, I just want more of this world and am sad that it came to a close. However, if Kagawa ever decides that she wants to reopen this world, I will be there in a heartbeat!


Thursday, October 29, 2015

Book Review: That Baby (That Boy #3) by Jillian Dodd

The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: August 10, 2015
Publisher: Self-published
405 Pages

First comes love, then comes marriage . . . and then comes That Baby.
That Baby is the final book in the That Boy trilogy by USA Today bestselling author, Jillian Dodd.

It’s amazing how a few little words can change your life.
It starts with a simple I love you.
It’s made official with I do.
And becomes incredible with I’m pregnant.
Jadyn is the girl I love. The girl I’ve always loved.
Our lives are like single threads meticulously woven together—the result an exquisite tapestry of past, present, and future.
Then there are the words that will unravel me.
A few little words that will change my life. 

I just want to start off by saying that the authors dedication in the beginning of the book was one giant spoiler. Maybe next time wait until the end of the story to say things like that.

Now for the actual book...what did I just read? I have been looking forward to this book since the previous book ended. I fell in love with these characters in That Boy and while it diminished some in the sequel, the overall series made me happy. With the third book, it just died. I almost wish I hadn't read it and just ended it with That Wedding.
That Baby finds JJ and Phillip happily married and (obviously) expecting. They have their dream jobs, live in their dream house and are down the street from their best friends. Also, all of her friends get pregnant at the same time so it's just perfect *insert eye roll here*.

Throughout the series, the shining point has always been the guys: Phillip and Danny. Two complete opposites who have one of the best friendships I've ever read and they're just fun to read about. They make the scenes they're in more alive. Well, that was true in previous books but not in this one. I don't know how the author lost who these characters were but she really did. Phillip, who in the past was a best friend as well as a rock and a lover, just flat out turned into a prop here. He was only around for sex and compliments. Literally that was the extent of his character.

Danny, who believed in family and marriage and truth, became a liar and asked his friends to lie as well. Emotional cheating is still cheating and putting yourself in that position to where it happens multiple times makes you a douche. Also, shame on JJ and Phillip for allowing it to continue. And Danny, grow a freakin backbone.

Then there's the character of Lori. Oh god, what the author turned her into was horrendous. It's like she needed someone to be so horrible as to show how good and perfect that JJ was. As for Lori herself, after the things she said and did under the constant excuse of "I'm pregnant", I would never have remained friends with her. She was horrible and cruel for no reason.

Ugh, there were just so many things that didn't sit well with me in this one. The religious undertones, the "I'm so perfect" attitudes, the drama fueled by no reason. And the incident at the end - if that was supposed to give me feels...well, it kind of did, but more of the "are you effing serious?" than the ones Dodd probably wanted to create.

This finale was a major disappoint to me and has brought down my thoughts on the entire series. After reading some of Dodd's other work, I have often thought that maybe I was blinded by my love for Phillip in the first two books and that's why I rated them so high. After reading this one, I believe that is true.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Release Day Blitz + Giveaway: Touching Fate (The Fated #1) by Brenda Drake

I am super excited to have Brenda Drake on the release day of her first book,  Touching Fate (The Fated #1)! And even better, she's providing an awesome giveaway to one lucky reader!

The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: October 12, 2015
Publisher: Entangled Teen

Aster Layne believes in physics, not psychics. A tarot card reading on the Ocean City Boardwalk should have been a ridiculous, just-for-fun thing. It wasn’t. Aster discovers she has a very unscientific gift—with a simple touch of the cards, she can change a person’s fate.

Reese Van Buren is cursed. Like the kind of old-school, centuries-old curse that runs in royal families. Every firstborn son is doomed to die on his eighteenth birthday—and Reese’s is coming up fast. Bummer. He tries to distract himself from his inevitable death…only to find the one person who can save him.

Aster doesn’t know that the hot Dutch guy she’s just met needs her help–or that he’s about to die.

But worst of all…she doesn’t know that her new gift comes with dark, dark consequences that can harm everyone she loves.

Brenda was nice enough to offer up a Touching Fate swag bag to one lucky reader. US residents only please! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I have found that music plays an important part in most author's writing process. I asked Brenda if she could share some of the music that inspired her along the way. Take it away, Brenda!

Inspiration for stories come in all sorts of forms. To get into a story, I need visuals (see Touching Fate Pinterest Board) and music to set the mood. Touching Fate is one of the first releases for Entangled Crave, a teen category romance. The romance is central in the book with a touch of the paranormal. The playlist for Touching Fate starts out with lively songs, then transgresses to more mellow tunes following Aster’s and Reese’s journey. And here is their story in songs…

1. Believer by American Authors – This song makes me think of Reese. He’s a little scared and feels his demons chasing him, but he still believes he’ll find a fate changer that can remove his curse. The fun upbeat sound also goes well with the Ocean City boardwalk setting in the open pages.

2. Everything has Changed by Taylor Swift with Ed Sheeran – This song is after Aster and Reese meet and they are attracted to each other. They were fated to meet. And they both just want to get to know each other better. Although, Reese has ulterior motives, he finds his feeling for Aster growing.

3. You and Me by Lifehouse – This one plays to Reese’s feelings. He has a clock ticking and needs saving. He has nothing to lose. He can’t stop thinking about Aster. And Aster can’t stop thinking about him.

4. One More by Joshua Radin – In this song, Reese feels his curse and wants one last chance at life.

5. The Sound of Silence/Hey You mix by Face Vocal Band –This song speaks so perfectly to Reese’s final hours and the realization that he will die. The vocals in this song are haunting and desperate just like Reese’s inner struggles and his soul calling for help.

6. You’re the First, the Last, My Everything by Joshua Radin – I’m not going to giveaway any spoilers but this song probably will. I love it and who doesn’t want a love that is everything? And obviously, I love Joshua Radin’s songs.

Touching Fate Youtube Playlist:


Joshua Radin, Ed Sheeran...some of my favorites right there. I want to thank Brenda Drake for joining me today and offering up some of her favorite tunes and swag! Be sure to check out Touching Fate (The Fated #1) and come back later this week when I will be posting my review for this lovely book! Cheers!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Book Release Blitz + Giveaway: Finding Perfect by Kendra C. Highley

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I am super excited to be joining Xpresso Book Tours on their book blitz of Finding Perfect by Kendra C. Highley. This is the first title I will have read from Highley, but the cover and the description have my interest peaked!

The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: September 14, 2015
Publisher: Entangled Crush
199 Pages 

How far will you go for perfection?

For "Perfect Paige" Westfeld, today is "D" Day. As in, she just got one on her calculus test. With her dreams of Stanford, her reputation, and her parents' expectations at stake, Paige needs to find a way to save face before everything she's worked for goes up in flames.

Ben Franklin (yes, he's related) is from the wrong side of town, with the wrong clothes and the wrong kind of life. He also knows an opportunity when he sees one, and he'll be happy to tutor Paige-if she makes him into the kind of guy her best friend, the hottest girl in school, will date.

It's the perfect arrangement. And Paige is determined not even the inconvenient-and utterly imperfect-attraction simmering between her and Ben will ruin it...

a Rafflecopter giveaway  

The Songs of Finding Perfect

I’m one of those writers who has to have music in order to write. But it’s more than that—I have to have a playlist, specific to each book, complete with songs that the major characters. The playlist for this book was really important: Paige is all about her music, and Ben loves it, too. I needed songs that pointed to who they were, inside and out. So what did I listen to? Here’s fifteen songs from the list:

1. “Demons” by Imagine Dragons

2. “Radioactive” cover (Imagine Dragons) by William Joseph

3.  “Here With Me” by Susie Suh and Robert Koch

4. “A Sky Full of Stars” by Coldplay

6. “I Lived” by One Republic

7. “Stolen Dance” by Milky Chance

8. “Love Love Love” by Of Monsters and Men

9. “Wrapped Around Your Finger” by The Police

10. “Every Breaking Wave” by U2

11. “Heartlines” by Florence + Machine

12. “Iridescent” by Linkin Park

13. “Stay” by Rihanna (feat. Mikky Ekko)

14. “Fix You” by Coldplay

15. “With or Without You” by U2
“So why are we doing this again?” he called.

Even though he had no idea what she had in mind for this little stage play, he’d gone along with good humor. Hell, he was even washing her car for real. Which was funny because a clean car was beside the point in this plan.

“Just keep doing what you’re doing and all will become crystal clear.”

He gave her a long, weird look, then shrugged and went back to work. Paige joined him but spent part of her time focused on the street corner. Any minute now…

“Your tires are low,” Ben said, peeking at her around the front bumper. “If you have an air compressor, I could air them up for you.”

She propped her fist on her hip. “Does this look like the kind of house that keeps an air compressor on hand?”

He made a face, then laughed. “No, this looks like the kind of house where they call the dealership for help.”


They worked in silence until—there! Paige snapped to get his attention just as Zoey turned onto her street. Ben looked at her, and from the startled expression, she knew she was going to have to coach him through every second of this close encounter.

She gave him a stern look. “Take off your shirt.”

His already flushed face turned a deeper shade of red. “What? No way!”

Zoey had pulled up to the curb, and the BMW idled while she dipped out of view, probably to grab her purse. They only had a few seconds, and desperate times called for desperate measures. Paige stalked over to the hose and, under the guise of washing the suds off her car, “accidentally” sprayed Ben right in the chest.

His eyes popped wide open as he stared down at his soaked shirt. “Why?” he growled under his breath.

“Off,” Paige growled back, then turned to greet Zoey. “Hey! Thanks for letting me borrow your dress for the party next weekend.”

Zoey handed her a dress bag, looking at something beyond Paige’s left shoulder. “Yeah, sure.”

Zoey didn’t say anything else, and Paige hazarded a look behind her. As ordered, Ben had stripped off his shirt and oh…my…God.

Okay, so she had guessed he had nice shoulders under those T-shirts after all the work at the tire store, and she’d definitely copped a feel when they’d cuddled on the back porch, but she couldn’t have known he was that ripped. He was lean—leaner than most of the football players anyway—but he made the most of what he had, from the tight biceps and defined pecs, right down to the hard, flat stomach and the tantalizing trail of light brown hair running from his navel into the waistband of his shorts…which, oh hell, were riding low on his hips.

She didn’t want to blink so she could keep staring. Jesus.

Doing a great job of pretending he didn’t notice them hanging on his every move, he reached across the top of the Mustang to soap up the roof. He was a quick study, for sure, stretching in ways that showed off his arms and shoulders. Then he walked over to the bucket and very deliberately bent down to soak the sponge. She might need to sit down. His back was just as good as his front.

She’d created a monster. A very hot, slightly wet monster.


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Big thanks to Xpresso Book Tours for allowing me to participate in this book tour!

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