Jul 25, 2016

Review: Hell Breaks Loose by Sophie Jordan


Review:
Ever since that jaw-dropping ending that came with ALL CHAINED UP (book 1), I have bee dying to get my hands on HELL BREAKS LOOSE. And what I really mean is dying to get my hands on Reid.

Sadly it would seem that Grace beat me to him. Sigh.

I have to admit - I love a good kidnapping to romance story. Maybe because everything is so intensified and it gives the hero/heroine limitless time to sit and talk and get to know each other, but storylines where someone is kidnapped and then falls for their rescuer/kidnapper (who is kidnapping them with ulterior motives that don't involve hurting them - no Stockholm Syndrome for this girl, thank you very much) are some of my favorites.

Sophie Jordan is a powerhouse author. She does it all: regency romance, contemporary romance, new adult, young adult, paranormal, fantasy ... There's nothing she can't write and write beautifully. I love all her books, but the Devil's Rock series is a great jumping off place if you've never read her. These books are beyond amazing.



ABOUT HELL BREAKS LOOSE:
Hell hath no hunger like a man let out of a cage . . .

Shy and awkward, First Daughter Grace Reeves has always done what she’s told. Tired of taking orders, she escapes her security detail for a rare moment of peace. Except her worst nightmare comes to life when a ruthless gang of criminals abducts her. Her only choice is to place her trust in Reid Allister, an escaped convict whose piercing gaze awakens something deep inside her. Reid is nothing like her other captors.

He’s tougher, smarter…and one blistering look from him makes her hotter than any man ever has.

Reid spent years plotting escape and revenge . . .years without a woman in his bed. For this hardened felon, Grace Reeves isn’t just out of his league—she’s from another planet, but that doesn’t stop him from wanting her. Escaping Devil’s Rock was tough, but resisting this woman could be the end of him. For a man with nothing to lose, protecting her . . . claiming her as his own, becomes more necessary than his next breath.


ABOUT SOPHIE JORDAN:
Sophie Jordan took her adolescent daydreaming one step further and penned her first historical romance in the back of her high school Spanish class. This passion led her to pursue a degree in English and History.

A brief stint in law school taught her that case law was not nearly as interesting as literature - teaching English seemed the natural recourse. After several years teaching high school students to love Antigone, Sophie resigned with the birth of her first child and decided it was time to pursue the long-held dream of writing.

In less than three years, her first book, Once Upon A Wedding Night, a 2006 Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Nominee for Best First Historical, hit book shelves. Her second novel, Too Wicked To Tame, released in March 2007 with a bang, landing on the USA Today Bestseller's List.

Tour Schedule:
Week 1:

Week 2:


Giveaway:
3 Finished Copies of HELL BREAKS LOOSE (US Only)

Jul 21, 2016

Captain America Book Tag!

I was over at Gone With the Words and spotted this amazing book tag that Morgan came up with: the Captain America Book Tag. Being a girl who loves some Cap (and Bucky), I knew I had to join in the fun!

Art credit: Morgan @ Gone With the Words

Steve Rogers/Captain America: 
a book with a big character transformation
I'm going to have to go with a 2-way tie between two amazing heroines I've discovered this year, both strong in their own ways. First up is Aubree from WANDERLOST. Aubree goes from a very sheltered girl to a strong young woman ready to take on the world through a serious of hilarious and sobering moments the summer after graduation when she steps into her sister's shoes last minute to lead a bus tour of adults through Europe. It's full of self-discovery and watching Aubree learn exactly what she can do.


Second, and probably edging out Aubree for the title, is Amanda from 738 DAYS. Amanda was kidnapped as a teen and held captive for 738 days in a basement by a psycho who beat and raped her repeatedly. She starts off an emotionally broken and scarred girl who has frequent panic attacks and a severe anxiety disorder. Throughout the book she falls in love and slowly becomes independent, learning how resilient and strong she truly is.  

Peggy Carter: 
a book with a strong female protagonist
Hands down, no questions asked: Celaena Sardothien from the THRONE OF GLASS series. Her journey through the first 4 books from assassin to slave to champion and beyond (trying to keep it spoiler free!) is absolutely mind-blowing. There is no stronger female character for me in YA or any other genre.


Bucky Barnes: 
a book with your ultimate BROTP
Literary bromance? It gets no better than Roar and Perry from the UNDER THE NEVER SKY series. These two sizzle and crackle on every page they're together (OK, or on solo). I love their banter and friendship. 


 Howling Commandos: 
a book with squad goals
The crew of the AVALON series by Mindee Arnett. Hands down my favorite crew (and one of my favorite series). This book is basically a YA retelling of cult fan-fave Firefly. It comes with a daring and snarky captain, an adorable mechanic, a hot-headed right hand man, and a mysterious beauty (amongst other kick ass characters).

Red Skull: 
a book with a cliche plot
I'm giving this to two books that are basically one book split into two because otherwise it would've been 1,000 pages: MASTERED and DOMINATED by Maya Banks. I love Maya, but the first two books in her Enforcers series were just ... awful. This is literally every bad romance you've ever read complete with: multiple misunderstands that lead to multiple breakups, a firm belief in "sex fixes everything", a girl who can do no wrong ever (and you're called a jealous bitch if you were a friend who calls her out on being reckless), and a guy who is just ... broken - but love shall fix him.
Love and magic sex with the girl who he repeatedly hurts and who repeatedly cries and runs away. I legit rolled my eyes eight times writing this.

Natasha Romanoff: 
a book with a snarky side character
Is there a more snarkalicious sidekick than Tink from WICKED? This pint-sized brownie comes with sass, sarcasm, a seriously twisted fascination with troll dolls and a massive Amazon shopping addiction. He's got a massive heart buried under layers of powdered sugar and Ken doll clothes, and you definitely don't want to piss him off.



Sam Wilson: 
a book with a friendship meet cute.
BETWEEN THE NOTES is a fun, quiet book that slipped under a lot of radars last year, but it's a wonderful story about family and love and growth. It also has one of the cutest and best relationships that started out with a cute meeting and evolves into a friendship and then into so much more.


 Winter Soldier: 
a book with a great twist (plot twist or retelling)
And the award goes to: FRONT LINES. Set in an alternate history where women and girls could be drafted and join the army in WWII, this incredible book deftly confronts issues like sexism and racism. It also gives a stark, harsh reality check. Teens and young adults then romanticized war, not understanding the carnage and brutality of the most catastrophic war the world has ever known.


And that's just book 1.

I’m Just A Kid from Brooklyn: 
a book with a memorable setting/character backstory
ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS is the first book to make me fall in love with a city. Paris is so essential to the background and Stephanie Perkins does such an incredible job of describing the city and corners and cafes that Paris itself actually felt like a main character.


Do You Two…. Fondue?: 
a book with a love triangle
What's a half-demon/half-gargoyle girl to do when she's been pining after the hottie gargoyle she's known all her life starts to notice her, but only after a hot new demon sweeps into her life like a hurricane? Such is Layla's dilemma in THE DARK ELEMENTS series where she spends 3 books trying to decide between Zayne (gargoyle) and Roth (demon).
Oh, and she has to save the world, too. 
Actually this was one of the rare triangles I was OK with because I was good with her picking either guy - both were awesome and complemented her in their own way.

You’ve Been Asleep, Cap: 
a book you love with a dual timeline/time travel
PIVOT POINT - the book that first introduced me to the author love of my life, Kasie West. I read this book on a cold November day and remember just being absolutely dumbstruck by this world where teens with abilities existed, like X-Men, but without the Anti-Mutant laws and committees (abilities are kept secret and those with them live in cities just for people with abilities).


The main character, Addison, have the ability to see potential futures. So when faced with the choice of leaving her city to follow one parent or stay in her home with the other, both realities play out, giving opposite perspectives on one mystery that Addison needs both realities to solve.

Til The End Of The Line: 
a book with the OTP to end all OTPs
The relationship between EMMY & OLIVER absolutely slayed me. Friends as kids, Emmy watched Oliver be kidnapped. When he returns home years later - not knowing he had been kidnapped - she's there for him as he re-acclimates to a life he forgot he had.

The organic, simple procession of their reunion to friends to couple is absolutely breathtaking to read.

I Had A Date: 
a book with a cliffhanger
I still have PTBD (post traumatic book disorder) from the ending of OPAL by Jennifer L. Armentrout. The end of that book, book 3 in a 5 book series, utterly destroyed me. I felt faint, I was gasping for air ... I thought I was having an asthma attack. But no, it was just that cruel and brutal a cliffhanger.


I Understood That Reference: 
a book with a pop culture reference
Pop culture and more abounds in SIMON VS THE HOMO-SAPIENS AGENDA. Simon is a snarky, sarcastic, and freaking awesome teen. He's witty and constantly making fantabulous quips. I wish my brain worked like his.


So that's it! I think this is the part where I tag people but I think I'm just gonna say if you've read this, consider yourself tagged (I know, total cop-out). Leave me a comment if you do the challenge with a link so I can check it out!

Jul 20, 2016

Review: Addicted by Elle Kennedy

Title: ADDICTED
Author: Elle Kennedy
Publication Date: 6.28.2016
Series: Outlaws #2
Source: ARC from publisher
Purchase: Amazon

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Summary (from Goodreads):
Lennox used to live in a paradise on earth with his best friend Jamie, in a place where visitors came and went, allowing their desires to run free. But everything changes when a deadly attack forces them to take up with Connor Mackenzie’s band of Outlaws. Lennox knows Jamie is hung up on someone else, but he’s always believed he’s the man for her—and won’t let her go without a fight.
 
Even though Jamie is well aware that Lennox is one hot specimen of a man, she refuses to let sex ruin the most important relationship in her life. But when the object of her interest spurns her, she indulges in a little pleasure-filled revenge with her very magnetic, very willing best friend. One thrilling night with Lennox is enough to awaken Jamie’s unexpected desires for him. And now that she’s had a taste, she’s not sure she can ever give him up...

Review:
There are hardly words to describe my love of this world Elle Kennedy has created with the Outlaws series, and with ADDICTED (book 2), it just gets better and more layered.

Friends-turned-lovers is my absolutely favorite of favorite tropes. I love when there’s a backstory and foundation for a relationship, and that’s exactly what Kennedy gives us with Jamie and Lennox. The sparks between these two are enough to set the entire town ablaze. The evolution of their relationship isn’t without its problems and flaws, which they work hard to overcome.

While this is a romance, there is an overall plot binding all the books together. This is very much a dystopian series with a twisted government at the helm that the outlaws are trying to stop. Or at least survive.

Full of seriously sexy times and a cast a characters that will amuse, wow, and leave you gasping for more, the Outlaws series is one of my absolute favorites.  

Jul 18, 2016

Review: P.S. I Like You by Kasie West




Review:
I've yet to meet a Kasie West book that I don't like and P.S. I LIKE YOU will go down as another favorite. Except that all her books are favorites so ... Yeah.

Lily is a hysterical heroine. She had me laughing out loud from the first page and never stopped. She's self-deprecating, sweet, honest, and confused (your basic every-day-teenager). And while her story does take a somewhat predicable path (I mean, I think I saw that ending coming from page 10), it doesn't make the journey or book any less sweet. It's adorable and romantic, full of Kasie-West-induced-SWOON.

P.S. I LIKE YOU is a fun book. It's enjoyable and entertaining and will keep a smile on your face for the duration. Call it a beach read, a palate cleanser, or just completely awesome, but it's a book I dare anyone to not love.
ABOUT P.S. I LIKE YOU:
What if the person you were falling for was a total mystery?

While Lily is spacing out in Chemistry one day, she picks up her pencil and scribbles a line from one of her favorite songs on the desk. The next day, someone else has written back to her on the desk! Soon enough Lily and the mystery student are exchanging notes, and lyrics, and even sharing secrets. When Lily finds out that her anonymous pen pal is a guy, she's flustered -- and kind of feels like she's falling for him. She and her best friend set out to unravel the identity of the letter writer -- but when the truth is revealed, the guy is the LAST person Lily could have ever imagined it to be. Now that Lily knows the truth, can she untangle her feelings and gather the courage to listen to her heart?

From beloved author Kasie West (The Distance Between Us) comes an utterly charming story about mixed messages, missed connections, and the magic of good old-fashioned secret admirer notes.





ABOUT KASIE WEST:
I write YA. I eat Junior Mints. Sometimes I go crazy and do both at the same time. My novels are: PIVOT POINT and its sequel SPLIT SECOND. And my contemporary novels: THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US, ON THE FENCE, THE FILL-IN BOYFRIEND, PS I LIKE YOU, and BY YOUR SIDE. My agent is the talented and funny Michelle Wolfson.


LINKS: Website | Twitter | Facebook


Tour Schedule:
Week 1:

Week 2:


Giveaway:
2 Finished Copies of P.S. I LIKE YOU (US Only)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Jul 15, 2016

Review: Torn by Jennifer L. Armentrout



Title: Torn
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publication Date: 7.19.2016
Series: A Wicked Saga #2
Source: eARC from Ink Slinger PR
Buy: Amazon

Rating:  4.5 Stars

Summary (from Goodreads):
Torn between duty and survival, nothing can be the same. 

Everything Ivy Morgan thought she knew has been turned on its head. After being betrayed and then nearly killed by the Prince of the Fae, she’s left bruised and devastated—and with an earth-shattering secret that she must keep at all costs. And if the Order finds out her secret, they’ll kill her. 

Then there’s Ren Owens, the sexy, tattooed Elite member of the Order who has been sharing Ivy’s bed and claiming her heart. Their chemistry is smoking hot, but Ivy knows that Ren has always valued his duty to the Order above all else—he could never touch her if he knew the truth. That is, if he let her live at all. Yet how can she live with herself if she lies to him? 

But as the Fae Prince begins to close in, intent on permanently opening the gates to the Otherworld, Ivy is running out of options. If she doesn’t figure out who she can trust—and fast—it’s not only her heart that will be torn apart, but civilization itself.
 

Review:
There’s a certain kind of delicious comfort that I experience every time I open a Jennifer L. Armentrout book. I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I’ll enjoy it. She’s one of those rare authors that I just love everything she touches with words. Sometimes I just enjoy the ride, other times I am left agape and sometimes I just can’t control my fan-girl flailing freakouts. TORN, the sequel to last year’s Wicked, was one of those agape/OMG-freak-out books.

TORN picks right where Wicked left off with our main girl Ivy having on helluva bomb dropped on her life. The majority of this book is Ivy-driven and watching as she tries to reconcile who she thought she was with who she really is. There’s a beautiful, utterly human sadness as you watch Ivy try to decide between hiding from what she is and confronting it. Yes, the situation is entirely paranormal, but at some point, everyone face that moment: Will you acknowledge and embrace something? Or will you hide it away from everyone and ignore it?

Of course this book is also full of Armentrout-patented hotness in the form of Fae hunter Ren and his relationship with Ivy. Ren is protective and sweet and a little overzealous (props to Ivy for standing firm in her wants and not acquiescing to Ren when he wanted her to stay home or by his side so she was protected), but you can’t help but love him. Their relationship is true with lots of give and take and conflict that isn’t quickly resolved by a quick roll in the sack.

I can’t wait for the next installment next year. This series is definitely one of my favorites by one of my favorite authors. It’s a fun, paranormal take on the New Adult genre (something NA desperately needs more of).  Check this one out ASAP!

About Jennifer L. Armentrout:

#1 New York Times and #1 International 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, 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. Her young adult romantic suspense novel DON’T LOOK BACK was a 2014 nominated Best in Young Adult Fiction by YALSA.

She also writes Adult and New Adult contemporary and paranormal romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.

Links:


Jul 5, 2016

Interview with Shayla Black

Happy 5th of July, friends! I am so freaking excited to welcome Shayla Black, bestselling author of the Wicked Lovers series. The newest book in the series, FALLING IN DEEPER hits shelves today! If you haven't read this series, it is an absolute favorite of mine! Side note: Shayla is also one of the Apollycon 2017 authors so I get to fangirl in person next year!


The Interview

Hi, Shayla! I’m going to try and make it through this interview without fangirling too hard. But fair warning: there may be some flails and possibly and fangasm. Just go with it. ;-)

I’m thrilled to be here. Fangirling is perfectly awesome in my book!

1. FALLING IN DEEPER is the 11th (!) book in the Wicked Lovers series. When you first started this series, did you ever imagine you’d be on book 11?

Actually, not at all! I didn’t even know there would be a book 2. But every time I sit down to write a book in this series, another interesting character steps into the world and I can’t NOT write about them. Stone and Lily (aka Sweet Pea) are both those sorts of characters for me.

2. I love that you often layer in past characters so we can keep track of their lives and what they’re up to. How do you keep all the characters straight? Do you have them all charted out somewhere?

Thanks! The Wicked Lovers are a family to me, and I love that they support and help one another at a moment’s notice, no questions asked. It’s always fun for me to revisit previous characters, too. I can’t put all of them into every book. If I did, I wouldn’t be serving the needs of my current characters, since I’d have to put them off to the side in order to do it, but I include the snippets into the lives of readers’’ old favorites where I can. And yes, I have a HUGE bible for the series to keep all the facts straight. It’s way too much to keep in my head.

3. 11 books in a series (plus a handful of novellas) and you constantly find new stories to tell and characters to tell them with—how do you do that?

Every book feels different to me because every character feels different. They are such individuals with their own stories to tell. When I’m plotting a book, characters walk into my head and start telling me their issues and the next thing I know…I have a book! It’s a zany process but it works for me.

4. Who is the most popular couple that readers ask you about? I have to admit, Hunter and Kata (from Surrender to Me) are still my favorites.

I get asked for updates about many of the previous characters. The concept of “favorite” in this series definitely seems to be in the eye of the beholder. I personally LOVE spending time with Thorpe, Callie, and Sean, and it’s been so fun for me to be able to bring them back in His to Take, Wicked for You, and (very briefly) Falling in Deeper. But I try to feature other characters where it fits into the story. And I try to mention the kids since people always ask about them!

5. What characters do you still plan to write a book for? Or, can you tease who book #12 is for?

I recently announced the title for book 12. Holding on Tighter will be out February 2017, featuring Heath (my British bad boy bodyguard from Wicked for You) and Jolie (who is a new character but so awesomely kickass). The full book blurb all about mixing business with pleasure is here: http://shaylablack.com/books/holding-on-tighter/overview/
I’m also REALLY excited about the introduction of three new characters you’ll meet in Falling in Deeper whose story will play out over Holding on Tighter and beyond. Every time I spend time with these three, the drama and conflicts, the head-butting and the angst is so juicy and delicious…

 Thanks for having me here. I had a ball!

About FALLING IN DEEPER:
A tragic past threatens to destroy a passionate future in this dangerously sexy new novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Wicked for You.

After a violent tragedy nearly destroyed her, Lily Taylor ran away, changed her name, and started over. When her deadly nemesis resurfaces to eliminate his loose end, she turns to the last man she should trust—a stranger with a history of violence and an intoxicating sexuality she can’t refuse…
 
Though strong-armed into locating Lily to help put away a drug lord, ex-con Stone Sutter isn’t anyone’s snitch. When he finds the terrified beauty, he vows to keep her safe—but he isn’t sure he has the strength to shield her from his own desires.
 
As an unquenchable fire sparks between them, Lily’s tormentor stalks ever closer, and she must overcome her darkest fear to survive. Can she trust the bond she and Stone have formed as they’re falling in deeper?

About SHAYLA BLACK: 
Shayla Black (aka Shelley Bradley) is the the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of 40+ sizzling contemporary, erotic, paranormal, and historical romances for multiple print and electronic publishers. She lives in Texas with her husband, munchkin, and one very spoiled cat. In her “free” time, she enjoys reality TV, reading and listening to an eclectic blend of music.

Shayla has won or placed in over a dozen writing contests, including Passionate Ink’s Passionate Plume, Colorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence, and the National Reader’s Choice Awards. Romantic Times has awarded her Top Picks, a KISS Hero Award and a nomination for Best Erotic Romance of 2007.

A writing risk-taker, Shayla enjoys tackling writing challenges with every book.

Jun 29, 2016

Top 10 with Kat Howard

Welcome Kat Howard, author of ROSES & ROT - a deliciously creepy book (I mean, that cover, yo!) I can't wait to read! 

10 fictional characters you would invite to a dinner party

  1. Viola from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. She’s smart, eloquent, and competent. Plus, one of my cats is named for her.
  2. Minerva McGonagall from the Harry Potter series. She’s probably my favorite teacher in literature, plus she’s a total badass.
3-5. Hermione Granger, Morgan le Fey, and Prunella Gentleman (from Harry Potter, the Arthurian stories, and Zen Cho’s Sorcerer to the Crown.) All three magical ladies – what can I say, I really like magic – all smart, and all people I think it would be great fun to have a drink with.

6. Ludmila, the owner of the Cinderella Bakery from Evelyn Skye’s The Crown’s Game. And I’m hoping that she’ll volunteer to bring dessert.

7. Lila Bard from V.E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic series. Because there is no way the dinner party will be boring if she’s there. It might be bloody, but it won’t be boring.

8. Elizabeth Bennet from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Another of my favorite women in fiction, I think she’d be a great conversationalist.

9. Grace Charles from Persona and Icon by Genevieve Valentine. She has extreme diplomatic skills, and it’s just possible that we might need them before the dinner party is over.


10. Maddy from Sarah McCarry’s About a Girl. Because I feel like there is a lot of her story that I don’t know, and I’m hoping maybe in this crowd she’ll spill it.

ABOUT ROSES & ROT:
Imogen and her sister Marin have escaped their cruel mother to attend a prestigious artists’ retreat, but soon learn that living in a fairy tale requires sacrifices, be it art or love.

What would you sacrifice in the name of success? How much does an artist need to give up to create great art?

Imogen has grown up reading fairy tales about mothers who die and make way for cruel stepmothers. As a child, she used to lie in bed wishing that her life would become one of these tragic fairy tales because she couldn’t imagine how a stepmother could be worse than her mother now. As adults, Imogen and her sister Marin are accepted to an elite post-grad arts program—Imogen as a writer and Marin as a dancer. Soon enough, though, they realize that there’s more to the school than meets the eye. Imogen might be living in the fairy tale she’s dreamed about as a child, but it’s one that will pit her against Marin if she decides to escape her past to find her heart’s desire.



ABOUT KAT HOWARD:
Kat Howard lives in New Hampshire. Her short fiction has been nominated for the World Fantasy Award, anthologized in year's best and best of collections, and performed on NPR. Roses and Rot is her debut novel. You can find her on twitter at @KatWithSword. 

Also, Shane Leonard took her photo, and she's super grateful.

LINKS: Website | Twitter
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