Thursday, June 26, 2014

Book Review and Giveaway: All Of You (Between Breaths #1) by Christina Lee

The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: July 1, 2014
Publisher: NAL Trade
304 Pages

In this powerfully emotional New Adult novel, Avery has just met her hot upstairs neighbor.

He’s irresistible. Tattooed. And a virgin.

Nursing student Avery Michaels wants nothing to do with dating—she’s perfectly happy single. Privy to too many of her mother’s bad decisions and even worse taste in boyfriends, Avery can only handle a string of uncomplicated hookups whenever the mood strikes.

When she meets smoking-hot tattoo artist Bennett, she wants him—for just one night. But he won’t accept a no-strings-attached arrangement. He lives by a straitlaced code of values based on his own troubled upbringing.

Bennett sees something special in Avery, and he wants more from her. Way more. As Avery wrestles with her emotions for Bennett, danger and tragedy force them to open up to each other. And Avery must face the terrifying realization that she wants more from him too.

So she needs to make a choice: Let Bennett go or finally let him in.

Thanks to the lovely ladies over at NAL Trade, I have one copy of ALL OF YOU to offer to one lucky reader. The only catch is you have to have a US address (Sorry international folks!)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Unfurl your muscles
Slip off your skin
Drop your guts in a heap on the floor
Nuzzle inside the hollow of my bones
Let our breaths mingle as one
Turn liquid for me
Only for me
Bury your essence inside of my soul

Bennett and Avery – two people who are on the different spectrum of relationships. One wants them, one doesn’t. One lost trust a long time ago, the other believes that trust is the only way. And one is a virgin, while the other one sleeps around to forget. 

This is the first book in the Between Breaths series and I wish I would have read this one first. It’s hands down my favorite of the three out so far and the one I would recommend to anyone. The New Adult genre has been a hard one for me to get behind, but every once in a while I find one that gives me just a little hope that this new genre could possibly survive. 

Lee writes a believable struggle between two people who want different things. Their fights with each other along with their inner struggles just added more depth and realism to the characters. I liked that one didn’t give up their values or what they believed just for ‘insta-love’. Both characters were honest from the start about what they wanted and it was nice to read them grow and change together. Because one was a virgin, there wasn’t a lot of hot and heavy sex (which was a good thing, because let’s face it, that seems to be a majority of NA books now). Instead, there was this slow buildup of UST that just drove you crazy until you found yourself screaming, “Just do it already!” But I’m glad they didn’t listen to me.

Avery was a strong-willed, no backing down girl. Her guard rarely comes down and only in the presence of those closest to her. She was sarcastic, funny, determined, and vulnerable. They always say that college is about finding yourself and I think that’s true for Avery who does the most growing in this book.

Another thing, I rarely find swoonworthy guys in NA book but Bennett in up there. From the way Lee describes his physical traits to his personality, I want one. Simple as that. From the five word game they play to the flowers to the art…I was swooning. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this. It wasn’t a new concept but I liked the spin that Lee put on it. 
I received a copy of this novel from the publisher for my honest opinion and review. Big thanks to NAL Trade for allowing me partake in this giveaway!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

ARC Review: Whisper to Me (Between Breaths #3) by Christina Lee

The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: May 20, 2014
Publisher: Intermix
262 Pages

A hot and consuming New Adult romance about a wayward musician and the one girl who keeps him grounded…

At college, Rachel has a reputation for being a sarcastic flirt with a thing for star athletes. No one at school knows that she’d had her heart ripped to shreds by her high school sweetheart, who’d driven them both off the side of the road on a borrowed motorcycle, and then abandoned her. No one knows the real Rachel Mattson—except one person…

Ever since he helped nurse his sister’s feisty best friend back to health, pierced bass player Kai Nakos has been head over heels in love. But the supposed bad boy can’t risk letting Rachel know the truth—especially now that the two of them are back in their hometown for the summer, together for the first time since the months following that fateful night. Never mind that Rachel’s ex is back, groveling for her forgiveness.

Shaken by her ex’s return, Rachel finds herself turning to the one guy she knows she can trust. Kai is willing to hide his feelings for her, just to have Rachel touch him again. After all, this is only a temporary fling. Until it becomes something more. But maybe it had been more all along.

Now I enjoyed this Christina Lee book much more than I liked the other one that I read, I believe it was the second in this series. Whisper to Me felt more natural with real characters in real situations. If you’re going to write contemporary, the situations need to feel like they could happen to you. 

Whisper to Me tells the story of Rachel and Kai, two friends whose friendship fell apart but end up finding their way back to each other. Rachel suffered a severe head injury during a motorcycle accident that left her scarred and without a boyfriend. Kai, the older brother of Rachel’s best friend, ends up spending his days in the hospital during Rachel’s recovery trying to keep her positive but also just enjoying being able to spend time with her. They grow closer but ultimately leave each other out of fear of losing the others friendship. Rachel heads off to college and Kai heads overseas. Then summer comes and they’re both home for the first time.

Unlike a lot of NA books out there, I understood Rachel’s struggle. She went off to college to get a new start. No one knew her. No one knew her story. She could be anyone she wanted to be. But when she comes home and sees her best friend and her best friends brother, she realizes hiding may be harder than she thought. Her feelings for Kai are confusing, her feelings for her ex who left her after the accident are hurtful, and her relationship with her best friend is strained. I liked reading about Rachel’s journey to basically become free from the past that had defined her for so long.

Kai was your typical lost and confused guy who instead of confronting and talking about his feelings, chose to hid in music, drugs, and girls. He was swoonworthy at times and I could definitely see his appeal, but Kai to me was a side character. I was more invested in Rachel growing. 

I wasn’t sold on this series from the first one I read, but this one sparked my interest and I think I will definitely be checking out the others and giving them a shot. 
I received an e-copy of this novel from the publisher via Netgalley in return for an honest review.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Cover Reveal: Promise Me This (Between Breaths #4) by Christina Lee

I am so excited today to join Intermix and Penguin in releasing the cover of Christina Lee's next installment in the Between Breaths series, Promise Me This. Having read the past two books from this series, I have loved the progression of storytelling and writing and am looking forward to what Lee has in store for us next!


Displaying Promise Me This_Cover.jpg

The blurb as provided by publisher:
Release Date: October 17, 2013
Publisher: Intermix

A new love will test the boundaries of passion between a privileged boy next door and the tattooed, blue-haired girl who helps him embrace his wild side...

Nate has developed quite a playboy reputation around campus. It's not that he doesn't respect or trust women; he doesn't trust himself. The men in Nate's family are prone to abusive behavior - a dirty secret that Nate's been running from his entire life - so Nate doesn't do relationships. But he can't help himself around one girl...

Jessie is strong, independent, and works at a tattoo parlor. Nate can't resist getting close to her, even if it's strictly a friendship. But it doesn't take long for Nate to admit that what he wants with Jessie is more than just friendly.

With Jessie, he can be himself and explore what he's always felt was a terrifying darkness inside him. Even when Nate begins to crave her in a way that both shocks and horrifies him, Jessie still wants to know every part of him. Testing their boundaries together will take a trust that could render them inseparable...or tear them apart.

Big thanks to Intermix and Penguin for allowing Book Jems to join them in this release!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Teaser Tuesday: Between the Spark and the Burn (Between #2) & Love and Other Foreign Words

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB over at Should Be Reading!
To participate, all you have to do is:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure what you share doesn't give too much away! You don't want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can ad the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers!


"I felt something release inside me then, something I hadn't known I'd been holding on to. It ripped through my body and I shuddered as it left."
Chapter 9, ARC Page 125
Between the Spark and the Burn (Between #2)
by April Genevieve Tucholke

"'Your knowledge of primate hygiene is one of the things I like best about you.'
'I thought you dug my beard.'"
Chapter Twenty, Page 182

What are you reading this week?


Saturday, June 7, 2014

Book Review: The Virgin's Guide to Misbehaving (Bluebonnet #4) by Jessica Clare

The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: June 3, 2014
Publisher: Berkley
304 Pages

Playing innocent is easy.

After being the quiet, shy girl her whole life, Elise Markham is ready for a mental makeover. She’s done keeping to herself and staying out of trouble—it’s time to break out of her shell and maybe meet someone intriguing in the process. So, on a photography trip to Bluebonnet, she has a whole lot more on her mind than snapping photos, especially when Rome walks into the picture.

Playing dirty is fun.

The newest instructor at Wilderness Survival Expeditions has a colorful past, to say the least. Having come from a family of notorious con artists that destroyed his credit and reputation, all before his eighteenth birthday, Rome just wants a decent job and a quiet life in a town where no one knows his name. He’s exactly the kind of bad boy that an innocent girl like Elise should stay far away from.

But Elise is tired of doing what’s right. She’s ready to throw caution to the wind—and let Rome show her just how exciting being bad can be…

Elise Markham comes from a very sheltered childhood. From a color disfiguration on her face to scoliosis of the spine, she never really fit in, never had a boyfriend or any real friends actually. Her parents and brother treat her like she’s glass but Elise wants to prove that she’s not breakable. 

Enter Rome, the new employee at her brothers company. He’s exactly the opposite of everything Elise has ever known and most importantly, he’s not safe. There’s a mysterious quality about him and he’s obviously hiding something, but Elise doesn’t care. He’s the perfect boy to give her what she needs – a crash course in losing her virginity. Of course, feelings escalate and they both realize that “just sex” is not something that’s possible.

Using humor and a small town setting, Clare was able to tell Elise’s story in a way that was believable and relatable. Elise’s shyness, although a bit extreme, was something that I’m sure a lot of people could understand. I loved how patient Rome was with her and how he slowly brought her out of her shell. He waited until she was comfortable with him and herself before he started anything. Underneath his macho exterior, Rome is actually a nice guy. He has an ugly past that he’s running from, but for once, it’s not of his doing. 

This was my first book from this series so at times I felt as if I was a little behind on the backstories of others, but it wasn’t enough to turn me from the story.  If anything, it made me more curious to read the other books. The only characters I wasn’t too keen on were Elise’s brother and his girlfriend. I get the overprotective brother act, but this was just suffocating. And his girlfriend, I honestly don’t see how the two of them were compatible.

Overall, a solid love story with humor thrown. Perfect for summer beach reading. 
I received a copy of this novel from the publisher for my honest opinion and review.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

ARC Review: Stolen Songbird (The Malediction Trilogy #1) by Danielle L. Jensen

The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: April 1, 2014
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
469 Pages

For those who have loved Seraphina and Graceling comes another truly fabulous fantasy...

For five centuries, a witch’s curse has bound the trolls to their city beneath the ruins of Forsaken Mountain. Time enough for their dark and nefarious magic to fade from human memory and into myth. But a prophesy has been spoken of a union with the power to set the trolls free, and when Cécile de Troyes is kidnapped and taken beneath the mountain, she learns there is far more to the myth of the trolls than she could have imagined.

Cécile has only one thing on her mind after she is brought to Trollus: escape. Only the trolls are clever, fast, and inhumanly strong. She will have to bide her time, wait for the perfect opportunity.

But something unexpected happens while she’s waiting – she begins to fall for the enigmatic troll prince to whom she has been bonded and married. She begins to make friends. And she begins to see that she may be the only hope for the half-bloods – part troll, part human creatures who are slaves to the full-blooded trolls. There is a rebellion brewing. And her prince, Tristan, the future king, is its secret leader.

As Cécile becomes involved in the intricate political games of Trollus, she becomes more than a farmer’s daughter. She becomes a princess, the hope of a people, and a witch with magic powerful enough to change Trollus forever.

I am currently writing this review at four o'clock in the morning after reading Stolen Songbird non-stop for the past two-and-a-half hours. My eyes are bleary; I can't stop yawning, and my phone is almost dead from my excessive use of the Kindle application. To say that I loved Stolen Songbird would be a horrific understatement. It has automatically become one of my favorite books of 2014, and my favorite debut thus far. So would I say that it is worth the lack of sleep, and the exhaustion I will feel tomorrow? Hell yes.

Cécile de Troyes is a young woman, about to journey with her absent mother to the city to pursue her dream of becoming a singer. Before she has the chance, she is kidnapped and taken to the hidden home of the trolls. There she is hoped to be the key to ridding the people of their curse: the one that keeps them trapped beneath the fallen mountain. Against her will, she is bonded to the troll prince, Tristan, but as time passes, she adjusts to life in the darkness, making friends and falling for her husband. But danger awaits her at every turn, and rebellion is coming fast. 

Honestly, I did not expect to love this book as much as I did. From the very first page, I was hooked. Setting down my phone to do anything else was not an option. I couldn't even let my eyes leave the page for some sleep. Stolen Songbird was a magnificent surprise! The plot was well-formed, and paced exceptionally. I was never bored nor did the plot ever seem rushed. The length (though daunting at first) was extremely beneficial to the tale. The author was really able to do the story justice, and gave the reader plenty of time to be captivated (thought it really doesn't take long). The world-building was phenomenal, and I had no difficultly losing myself into the world that Jensen created. I was extremely impressed by the tale she wove. This novel presents a creative twist on mythical creatures about which we've heard stories since childhood.

The characters were… perfect. I cannot even think of another way to describe them. I was immediately enamored with Tristan. His sarcasm, wit and devotion to his people was super swoon-worthy. I never thought I could find a troll attractive, but dannnnnng. By the end of the novel, I wanted him all for myself. Cécile was also a well-rounded character. She's stubborn, and rash, and loyal. As the story progresses, so does her character. She grows much in the duration of the story, as does Tristan. Their relationship moves at an honest pace as well. The romance was so well done. It was not petty, and though they are not experienced, it is a pure and honest love. (I keep sighing as I think about it, and thinking "swoon, swoon, swoon.") The minor characters are great additions, and each played an important role in the story. Their friendships, and interactions with Cécile and Tristan did so much for the story; they made it even more engaging. The author did a wonderful job at developing them just as well as the main characters.

Basically, this book was utter perfection. That's pretty much my entire point. Stolen Songbird blew any, and all of my expectations out of the water. I'm so happy that I decided to pick this book up tonight, and will be purchasing a physical copy as soon as I visit a bookstore. If you are reading this review, you should definitely read this book. The only horrible part of Stolen Songbird is that it ends on a cliffhanger, and Hidden Huntress, the sequel, won't be released until next year. How will I survive that long? Who knows. Who. Knows.
I received an e-copy of this novel from the publisher for my honest opinion and review via Netgalley.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

"Real" Book Challenge May Recap

Real Book Challenge on Swoony Boys Podcast and Fiction Fare

I cannot believe it's already June! Where is this year going??? Well, it's that time again. Time to recap all of the actual physical copies of books that I've read during the month of May.

So that's 7 for the month of June.

Total So Far: 38
Current Level: Real Book Aficionado

So close to the next level! I will get there next month for sure. 
If you're interested in joining us, you can sign up here. See you next month!

Book Review: The Dark World (Dark World #1) by Cara Lynn Shultz

The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: May 27, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
384 Pages

Paige Kelly is used to weird--in fact, she probably corners the market on weird, considering that her best friend, Dottie, has been dead since the 1950s. But when a fire demon attacks Paige in detention, she has to admit that things have gotten out of her league. Luckily, the cute new boy in school, Logan Bradley, is a practiced demon slayer-and he isn't fazed by Paige's propensity to chat with the dead. Suddenly, Paige is smack in the middle of a centuries-old battle between warlocks and demons, learning to fight with a magic sword so that she can defend herself. And if she makes one wrong move, she'll be pulled into the Dark World, an alternate version of our world that's overrun by demons-and she might never make it home.

I seem to be in the minority when I say that I disliked this The Dark World. This is the first book I've read by Cara Lynn Shultz, and I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I haven't heard much about it, but it has a good average rating on Goodreads. I had hoped that I'd enjoy it, as it has an interesting premise and a sweet cover. Sadly, I struggled through this from the very beginning.

In The Dark World, Paige Kelly is a high school student, who is an outcast among her peers. They believe that she talks to herself, and refuse to associate with her, especially since she has a bitter rivalry with the most popular girl in school. Little does anyone (including Paige herself) know, there is a separate world that explains her "insanity." With the help of a trained savior, Logan, Paige begins to learn to protect herself from the demons, and warlocks of the alternate world. But danger is lurking close, and puts her on a path that she could have never imagined.

I can't pinpoint exactly what it was that made me find this book dreadfully dull, but I believe it was a combination of things. I couldn't connect with any of the characters, nor did I really feel sorry for them. Everything about this book was predictable, and I grew increasingly annoyed with knowing what was going to happen next. Paige's quick acceptance of (a few) astonishing discoveries didn't sit well with me. I know that if I had been in her situation, I probably would spent a lot of time in denial and stayed locked in my bedroom for a few days, or months. The dialogue felt forced and awkward--especially when the characters try too hard to be funny, which happens a lot. Some of the passages were actually painful for me to read. Some of them made absolutely no sense. The romance happened too quickly for my taste. One minute, she barely knows Logan exists, and the next she's completely in love with the guy. I couldn't get on board with the relationship. The pacing of the book was choppy, and the events within the story all happened in a short period of time, which didn't fit the situation, in my opinion.

The Dark World also seemed very much a melting pot of common YA trends of which I have tired. I don't know that I will pick up the sequel. I think I already have a good idea of the major "twist" in the series. I'm not all that interested in continuing this series, nor will I rush into reading Shultz's other works. This book was mediocre, in my opinion. It had some light entertainment, but more often than not, I was checking to see how much longer I had until I was done.
I received an e-copy of this novel from the publisher for my honest opinion and review via Netgalley.
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