Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Review: Chase Me by Tessa Bailey

Title: Chase Me
Author: Tessa Bailey
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Publication Date: 3.17.2015
Pages: 272
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Series: Broke and Beautiful #1
Source: eARC

Rating: 4 Stars

Summary (from Goodreads):
College drop-out, Roxy Cumberland, moved to New York with dreams of becoming an actress, but her dwindling bank account is quickly putting the kibosh on that fantasy. To make some quick cash, she signs up to perform singing telegrams. Her first customer is a gorgeous, cocky Manhattan trust-funder if she ever laid eyes on one. And what could be more humiliating than singing an ode to his junk, courtesy of his last one night stand? Maybe the fact that she’s dressed in a giant, pink bunny costume...

After a night out to celebrate winning his last case, lawyer Louis McNally II isn’t prepared for the pounding in his head or the rabbit serenading him from the front door. But the sassy wit and sexy voice of the girl behind the mask intrigues him, and one look at her stunning face—followed by a mind-blowing kiss against his doorjamb—leaves Louis wanting more.

Roxy doesn’t need a spoiled rich boy who’s had everything in life handed to him on a Tiffany platter. But there’s more to Louis than his sexy surface and he’s determined to make Roxy see it...even if it means chasing her all over NYC. 

After falling in love with Tessa Bailey in a previous series, I was excited to see she was giving a go at New Adult with CHASE ME. And while the characters may be a bit younger and the scenes a bit cleaner, the same heat and steam swelters on every page.

The hardest part of this book for me was Roxy. It's hard to love a book when you want to constantly strangle the main character. Her bitterness and snark became a deterrent to me as the story progressed. Eventually she grew on me (kind of the way mold grows on bread), but we would never be friends.

Louis on the other hand, I adored. He kept me anchored to this story and I loved reading about him and his friends. I can't wait to visit with them in later books. He definitely kept me  ROXY on her toes.

As a whole, this is what you would expect in a New Adult book. There's romance and frustrating misunderstandings, but the huge plus is it also has Bailey's steamy scenes that give it a bit of an edge over the competition.
Buy: Chase Me

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Wicked Will Rise Event!

Join us in celebrating a Book Birthday for THE WICKED WILL RISE by Danielle Paige!  

Big news, fangirls and boys: The second installment in the DOROTHY MUST DIEseries by Danielle Paige, THE WICKED WILL RISE, is coming out a week from today, 3/31/15, and we are going all out to celebrate! We will be holding the festivities at the 92nd Street Y in New York City at 7:00PM, featuring a panel called “New Twists on Old Fairytales” with Danielle Paige, Sara Benincasa (GREAT), Soman Chainani (THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL), and Christopher Healy (THE HERO’S GUIDE TO SAVING YOUR KINGDOM). Anyone under the age of 35 can get a special price ticket of $15!


Immediately after the panel, we will be teaming up with Coolhaus to celebrate with some wickedly good desserts you will not want to miss.

Review: Captive by Brighton Walsh

Title: Captive
Author: Brighton Walsh
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: 3.24.2015
Pages: 288
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Series: Captive #1
Source: ARC from publisher

Rating: 4 ½ Stars

Summary (from Goodreads):
He’s the most dangerous man she’s ever met…and she’s falling in love with him.

Madison Frost is desperate to escape her life. Daughter of a prominent businessman, she has everything a girl could ask for. Except for a family who’s present in her life, and anyone to talk to outside the four walls of the prison she calls home. Madison dreams of one day leaving her life behind. She never thought being kidnapped is how it would happen.

Now she’s being held captive by a man who’s as frightening as he is sinfully gorgeous. Enormous, muscular, and filled with secrets, the man they call Ghost is an enigmatic mercenary, and Madison is trapped with him. She doesn’t know who hired him or why, but the more time she spends at his mercy, the more she realizes he’s not what he seems. Beneath his rough exterior lies an unexpected gentleness and a heart as broken and battered as her own.

But as Madison lets down her walls, Ghost holds tight to his, hiding secrets that could destroy everything.

Oh, Brighton Walsh, can I keep you? Please? Because your books are the stuff dreams are made of, and CAPTIVE is just another fantastic, wonderful addition to the book world.

It’s no secret I’m a huge Brighton Walsh fan, but she warned me prior to starting CAPTIVE that it was nothing like her last book. CAPTIVE is darker with harder characters and morally ambiguous scenarios and maybe a little Stockholm syndrome thrown in for good measure.

Madison is trapped in her life—her parents are absent and aloof, her father drowning himself in work and her mother drowning herself in anything with alcohol content. Madison struggles to be the good girl but it’s slowly killing her.

Enter Ghost who kidnaps her. Yes, kidnaps her. He takes her to a cabin and locks her away in the woods against her will. And of course sparks fly in true Walsh fashion. Ghost is complex and so layered and one of the better heroes I’ve read in a long time. He’s rough and gentle all at the same time, in all the right ways.

I absolutely loved this story. It’s addictive and full of mystery and suspense and some seriously hot scenes. Madison and Ghost balance each other wonderfully. This book just further cements my love of all things Brighton Walsh.
Buy: Captive

Monday, March 23, 2015

Review: All That Makes You by Moriah McStay

Title: Everything That Makes You
Author: Moriah McStay
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: 3.17.2015
Pages: 352
Genre: Young Adult, Multiverse, Contemporary
Series: N/A
Source: ARC from publisher

Rating: 3 ½ Stars

Summary (from Goodreads):
One girl. Two stories. Meet Fiona Doyle. The thick ridges of scar tissue on her face are from an accident twelve years ago. Fiona has notebooks full of songs she’s written about her frustrations, her dreams, and about her massive crush on beautiful uber-jock Trent McKinnon. If she can’t even find the courage to look Trent straight in his beautiful blue eyes, she sure isn’t brave enough to play or sing any of her songs in public. But something’s changing in Fiona. She can’t be defined by her scars anymore. 

And what if there hadn’t been an accident? Meet Fi Doyle. Fi is the top-rated female high school lacrosse player in the state, heading straight to Northwestern on a full ride. She’s got more important things to deal with than her best friend Trent McKinnon, who’s been different ever since the kiss. When her luck goes south, even lacrosse can’t define her anymore. When you’ve always been the best at something, one dumb move can screw everything up. Can Fi fight back?

Hasn’t everyone wondered what if? In this daring debut novel, Moriah McStay gives us the rare opportunity to see what might have happened if things were different. Maybe luck determines our paths. But maybe it’s who we are that determines our luck. 

This is a strange and wholly original debut from Moriah McStay. EVERYTHING THAT MAKES YOU tackles that question: Does one moment define you? Can a singular moment in time set you on an irreversible path? What happens if you miss that moment?

Fiona/Fi live out two different lives because one was involved in a tragic accident as a child and the other wasn’t. Fiona deals with horrific scars because of a freak accident involving hot oil at the zoo when she was a kid. Because of the scars, Fiona is introverted and quiet and extremely, painfully self-conscious. Fi was never involved in the accident – she’s the star lacrosse player, popular, and has no problem being the center of attention.

I love the idea of this book, and McStay has a beautiful way of writing. Her descriptions are powerful and drew me in with every page.

The problem was I didn’t like either incarnation of Fiona/Fi. Fiona I found to be too quiet and awkward. Fi was brash and irritating. Maybe I would’ve liked a mixture of the two, but these two were polar opposites and polarizing as main characters. I never cared about the outcome for either girl.

Again, I can’t stress enough that McStay has a great voice that I think will really resonate with readers. She is going to have a bright future. Unfortunately, the characters in this one weren’t to my liking, but I will definitely be picking up her next book!
Buy: Everything That Makes You

Friday, March 20, 2015

Review: All Fall Down by Ally Carter

Title: All Fall Down
Author: Ally Carter
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: 1.20.2015
Pages: 320
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery
Series: Embassy Row #1
Source: ARC from NCTE

Rating: 4 Stars

Summary (from Goodreads):
A new series of global proportions -- from master of intrigue, NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Ally Carter. 

This exciting new series from NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Ally Carter focuses on Grace, who can best be described as a daredevil, an Army brat, and a rebel. She is also the only granddaughter of perhaps the most powerful ambassador in the world, and Grace has spent every summer of her childhood running across the roofs of Embassy Row.

Now, at age sixteen, she's come back to stay--in order to solve the mystery of her mother's death. In the process, she uncovers an international conspiracy of unsettling proportions, and must choose her friends and watch her foes carefully if she and the world are to be saved.

Prior to ALL FALL DOWN, I had never read an Ally Carter book. But now I can see why so many of my friends are such firm fans of Carter's work. She creates original stories with unique characters and thrilling situations.

Grace is still reeling from the loss of her mother three years earlier. She is sent to live her grandfather, a well known ambassador, in a last ditch effort to help reign her in (the adult rationale) and find her mother's killer (Grace's rationale).

Grace was a hard character for me to nail down. She was impulsive and kind of bratty, but I could always see her heart underneath. The more the book continues, you learn that Grace is less of a rebel and more of a girl with a broken heart.

There were parts of ALL FALL DOWN that I loved and other parts I couldn't get through fast enough. While Grace does read a bit on the younger side of the YA spectrum, she is still a refreshing character and someone I think teens will rally behind.

Buy: All Fall Down

Friday, March 13, 2015

Giveaway: Between the Notes by Sharon Huss Roat

A few weeks back I was looking for a new book to pull me out of a slump and I stumbled into BETWEEN THE NOTES, a debut by Sharon Huss Roat. And I absolutely fell in love with this story that had me grinning and laughing out loud and even misting up a little. I loved every second I spent with these characters and told the world (well, the social media world I'm part of). 

Sharon reached out to me recently and asked if I would like to host a giveaway for an ARC of BETWEEN THE NOTES (comes out June 16, 2015 from Harper Teen). She also talked a bit about her inspiration for her witty and poignant debut:

The first kernel of an idea that led me to write BETWEEN THE NOTES was a simple case of mistaken identity. I kept seeing a handsome young man in my kids' school. I had no idea who he was and never spoke to him. But I made certain assumptions based on his appearance, only to learn later that his circumstances were very different than I had imagined. It got me thinking about how we so often judge people––whether favorably or negatively––on appearance or circumstance. And how wrong we can sometimes be! I started that whole "what if" line of questioning, putting a teen girl into various situations of mistaken identity, and Ivy's story began to take shape.

I was just starting my first draft when a friend told me about a family she knew that was going through financial hardship. The parents were attempting to borrow money so they could keep their enormous house and lavish lifestyle. They didn't want their teenage children to have to make any sacrifices, or to even know that they were struggling! That gave me the idea to start Ivy's story in a similar situation, but with parents who chose to move out of their big house and live within their means. It immediately put Ivy in a difficult situation—one she makes worse by trying to hide it!

If you like contemporary with a character that grows and learns a lot, a sweet romance, and a fantastic family unit, this is your book. I can't wait for June until I own my own copy!

When Ivy Emerson’s family loses their house—complete with her beloved piano—the fear of what’s to come seizes her like a bad case of stage fright. Only this isn’t one of her single, terrifying performances. It’s her life.

And it isn’t pretty.

Ivy is forced to move with her family out of their affluent neighborhood to Lakeside, also known as “the wrong side of the tracks.” Hiding the truth from her friends—and the cute new guy in school, who may have secrets of his own—seems like a good idea at first. But when a bad boy next door threatens to ruin everything, Ivy’s carefully crafted lies begin to unravel . . . and there is no way to stop them.

As things get to the breaking point, Ivy turns to her music, some unlikely new friends, and the trusting heart of her disabled little brother. She may be surprised that not everyone is who she thought they were . . . including herself.

Debut author Sharon Huss Roat crafts a charming and timely story of what happens when life as you know it flips completely upside down.

About Sharon:
Sharon Huss Roat lives in Delaware with her husband and two kids. When not writing books for young adults, you might find her reading (YA of course), planting vegetables in her backyard garden, or sewing costumes for a school musical. BETWEEN THE NOTES is her first novel.

US Only (but Sharon is running an INT giveaway on Goodreads!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, March 12, 2015

BookExpo America vs. The Book Con

In 2014, BookExpo America and ReedPOP introduced a new concept and part of the traditional BEA lineup: The Book Con. Originally an idea to marry the industry with the consumer, Book Con turned out to be a confusing, frustrating crush of people crammed into a corner of the spacious Javits center. It divided the line between professional and fan, turning one 1/3 of the floor into a madhouse and the other 2/3 into a ghost town.

Almost every review of the event I saw was negative to the point of scathing. But it seems ReedPOP took the complaints and issues seriously and reconfigured The Book Con to satisfy all sides. So I want to clear up a few questions people may still have.

Dates: May 27, 2015 (Wednesday) 1pm-5:30pm
           May 28, 2015 (Thursday)    9am-5:30pm
           May 29, 2015 (Friday)        9am-5:00pm

Dates: May 30, 2015 (Saturday)   9am-5:00pm
           May 31, 2015 (Sunday)     9am-5:00pm

Industry vs. Consumer:
BookExpo America (BEA) is an industry based show. This means that professionals attend hoping to explore new and upcoming titles as well as recent releases they are interested in selling, buying, and/or promoting. As such, the books are free, provided in the hopes of building buzz. 

The Book Con (TBC) is a consumer driven show. This is designed to bring the reader together with the authors. Books will be for sale, and less will be free or given away. There will be more versatile panels to reach a variety of readers and the focus will be on celebrating authors and their books.

Authors and Signings:
BEA and TBC will have separate authors attending each event. While there may be some overlap, don't count on an author you see attend TBC as being at BEA and vice versa. Make sure you keep an eye out for the official schedules on both sites to see what authors will be attending/signing and when.

Books from home:
BEA is not the place to bring your books from home to be signed - but TBC is. However, keep in mind that authors and publishers have the right to refuse something to be signed due to time constraints or anything else. If your favorite author is attending TBC, don't plan on getting at 53 of your books signed and personalized. Most authors get a 1 hour signing window and will have a line of a hundred or more attendees. A few books is all right - a few dozen, not such a great idea. Also keep in mind that rolling bags/suitcases are not allowed on the Javits floor (you can check them for $3 and access them throughout the day, but cannot cart them around with you).

Again, BEA is not a signing opportunity. Authors will be signing and attending BEA to promote a certain book - not to sign a dozen of their backlist titles.

As BEA is a professional environment, attendees must be over 18. TBC welcomes children of all ages. Depending upon their age, they may or may not need to have an official ticket to TBC to enter. Make sure to check the website to be certain what pass your child qualifies for.

Last year BEA passes included access to TBC. This year you must buy a pass for BEA and another pass or TBC. Having a BEA pass does not get you into TBC.

The only exception to this rule is press pass holder who have access to cover both events for their outlets.

In 2014, the final day of BEA was merged with TBC which meant dividing the Javits center floor into a choppy mess that shoved 80% of attendees (both for BEA and TBC) into one cramped area. This year TBC attendees will have access to the entire floor of the Javits, thus alleviating the stress of putting everyone together in one area.

Last year people complained about the safety of having so many people in such a confined area (with a lot of BEA badge holders seeking refuge on the BEA side of the floor to escape the masses), but this year people will be spread more evenly across the Javits.

I truly believe ReedPOP is striving to make Book Con a great event for fans. I'm curious to see how it will go this year (it can only go up after last year). As a 4 year BEA attendee, I'm also excited to get BEA back to being an industry event that no longer overlaps with a consumer event. Separation between the two will (hopefully) contain the chaos of both.

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