Jun 29, 2015

Giveaway: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

By some miracle of miracles, I have two copies of SIX OF CROWS by Leigh Bardugo in my possession. Clearly I don't need two, so here's a quickie giveaway for the spare ARC!

-Must be over 13 years old to enter
-If the winner is a US resident, I will mail the package to you.
-If you are an international resident and wish to enter, you will be responsible for shipping charges.

So, yes, this is open internationally, but if you're outside the US, you must be willing to pay for shipping.

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Jun 27, 2015

Review: The Improbably Theory of Ana and Zak by Brian Katcher

Title: The Improbably Theory of Ana and Zak
Author: Brian Katcher
Publisher: Katherine Tegen
Publication Date: 5.19.2015
Pages: 336
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Series: N/A
Source: ARC from publisher

Rating: 3 Stars

Summary (from Goodreads):
The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak is Stonewall Book Award-winning author Brian Katcher’s hilarious he said/she said romance about two teens recovering from heartbreak and discovering themselves on an out-of-this-world accidental first date.....

THE IMPROBABLY THEORY OF ANA AND ZAK is a light, easy read from Brian Katcher. It’s a sweet and simple romance with a healthy dose of opposites attract and a lot of crazy shenanigans. I think younger readers will love this and older readers might be left shaking their heads muttering about those crazy kids nowadays.

Ana is an overachiever and Zak is a slack. So of course they are thrown together over and over and over again in one ridiculous plot after another. Zak isn’t a slacker – he’s misunderstood. Ana isn’t a brainiac – she’s got issues. Those two tropes alone made me roll my eyes frequently, but they situations they get into (and the way their parents are) just drive me crazy. This book is less about a slacker and a brain (sorry, but I’m revoking your Breakfast Club labels) and more about two kids who need to grow up, and actually do a little of that.

A little.

Look, this book does have its funny moments that made me giggle. And I think some of this would be downright hysterical if made into a movie, but as a book, it felt like it was lacking depth and emotion.

In theory, THE IMPROBABALE THEORY OF ANA AND ZAK is a cute book that will attract a lot of people who like a quirky, unexpected romance with a dash of crazy (think Stephanie Perkins). There was just a little too much quirk and angst for me to get behind Ana and Zak.

Jun 26, 2015

Review: Call on Me by Roni Loren

Title: Call On Me
Author: Roni Loren
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: 7.7.2015
Pages: 448
Genre: Adult, Romance, BDSM
Series: Loving On the Edge #7
Source: ARC from publisher

Rating: 4 ½ Stars

Summary (from Goodreads):
Oakley Easton wants two things: to be a good mom to her daughter and to ditch her less than ideal night job. Hooking up with bad boy drummer Pike Ryland? Not on the agenda. She needs a promotion. Not sex, tattoos and rock ’n’ roll......


Those were my exact words as I clutched an early copy of CALL ON ME in my fingers. And then I hugged it. And I loved it. I pet it. Because it’s Roni freaking Loren. I have a serious author crush on this woman – she writes the hottest, sexiest, steamiest books ever. They have prime real-estate on my bookshelves—front and center on my adult romance shelf. So I can see them every single day.

Wait – you probably want a semblance of a review, don’t you?

OK. Let’s do this:

We first met Pike [insert: *sigh*] several books back and he and his rockstar awesomeness have toyed on the fringes of a few books but now is my boy’s time to shine. (Yes. MY boy. Stand down, Krista.)

From the second he meets the brilliant and enigmatic Oakley, he’s consumed and so am I because Oakley is just awesome. She’s a mom of this kickbutt little girl who is a talented as she is quirky and Oakley is doing everything to make sure her child wants for nothing. They have an incredible relationship and Pike never pushes his way between them. He’s like that missing piece of the family puzzle that just fits.

This book was about two grown-ups learning to compromise as they fall in love—learning how to give and take and love. It was one of the healthier relationships I’ve seen in a romance novel.

This book also gave us Devon and Hunter. Let’s all swoon together for a second, shall we?

Look, this is a 7th book in an amazing series, but you can jump in here! Loren writes these so that each book can stand up all by itself (but seriously, would you eat just 1`chocolate chip cookie at a time), but together they’re a formidable force of a series.

Jun 25, 2015

The Blog Most Likely To ....

Three years ago I read and fell hard for a debut by an author. It was a summer romance that balanced the right amount of fluff and fun with dark and pensive. It's a book I couldn't stop raving about and shoving into people's hands. That book? MY LIFE NEXT DOOR by Huntley Fitzpatrick. 

My Life Next Door is that book that just completely stands apart from the rest. From the very first line, Huntley Fitzpatrick sucked me into her story and I was powerless to stop from falling in love with it.

I cannot believe it's been 3 years, but here we are with the long awaiting and begged for sequel, THE BOY MOST LIKELY TO, about to hit shelves in a few weeks! 

The lovely folks at Penguin Teen came up with this blog campaign, a nod to high school superlatives. It took me forever to come up with one (maybe this is why they're assigned by peers and not by ourselves). So, here it is:


Apparently I have a bit of a reputation of knowing a lot of people, and I can admit that while I am a failure in a great many areas (I can provide a list if needed) one thing I can do is network. It's a skill my dad taught me and I use in everyday life and blogging. It's how I've met so many amazing people! How I found a group of bloggers and friends in my own area.


Surprises abound and sparks ignite in the highly anticipated, utterly romantic companion to My Life Next Door

Tim Mason was The Boy Most Likely To:
- find the liquor cabinet blindfolded
- need a liver transplant
- drive his car into a house

Alice Garrett was The Girl Most Likely To:
- well, not date her little brother’s baggage-burdened best friend, for starters.

For Tim, it wouldn’t be smart to fall for Alice. For Alice, nothing could be scarier than falling for Tim. But Tim has never been known for making the smart choice, and Alice is starting to wonder if the “smart” choice is always the right one. When these two crash into each other, they crash hard. 

Then the unexpected consequences of Tim’s wild days come back to shock him. He finds himself in a situation that isn’t all it appears to be, that he never could have predicted . . . but maybe should have.

And Alice is caught in the middle. 

Told in Tim’s and Alice’s distinctive, disarming, entirely compelling voices, this return to the world of My Life Next Door is a story about failing first, trying again, and having to decide whether to risk it all once more.

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Jun 23, 2015

Review: Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway

Title: Emmy & Oliver
Author: Robin Benway
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: 6.23.2015
Pages: 352
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Favorite
Series: N/A
Source: ARC from publisher

Rating: 5 Stars

Summary (from Goodreads):
Emmy just wants to be in charge of her own life.

She wants to stay out late, surf her favorite beach—go anywhere without her parents’ relentless worrying. But Emmy’s parents can’t seem to let her grow up—not since the day Oliver disappeared.

Oliver needs a moment to figure out his heart.

He’d thought, all these years, that his dad was the good guy. He never knew that it was his father who kidnapped him and kept him on the run. Discovering it, and finding himself returned to his old hometown, all at once, has his heart racing and his thoughts swirling.

Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. In Emmy’s soul, despite the space and time between them, their connection has never been severed. But is their story still written in the stars? Or are their hearts like the pieces of two different puzzles—impossible to fit together?

I had never read a Robin Benway book before picking up EMMY & OLIVER. The premise intrigued me and it was one of those books I went into with minimal expectations. I guess that's what made it all the better when this book completely captured my attention and then ensnared my heart.

Emmy and Oliver have a wonderful story (minus the 10 year kidnapping). They were childhood best friends and then watching them reconnect as teens and find their way back to each other truly makes you wonder about fate and destiny. These two are literary perfection. They're a little broken but very open. They grow and learn and love in an organic, realistic way that keeps the story grounded.

I love the friendship in this book. The dynamic between Emmy, Caro, Drew and Oliver was the heart of it all, and their loyalty and connections were so great to watch. There was no drama for the sake of drama, but these 4 created a tight unit that I desperately wanted to be part of.

The writing has a simple beauty to it that makes the story flow perfectly. Benway is careful with her words, arranging sentences artfully and skillfully for maximum impact. I loved every page of this book.

This book absolutely surprised me. I wasn't expecting to fall in love with it, but I already know it's one I will be re-reading annually because the story of Emmy and Oliver will never lose its sparkle.

Jun 18, 2015

Review: Between the Notes by Sharon Huss Roat

Title: Between the Notes
Author: Sharon Huss Roat
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: 6.16.2015
Pages: 400
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Issues, Romance, Music
Series: N/A
Source: ARC from publisher

Rating: 5 Stars

Summary (from Goodreads):
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.

There is no better find than a book that pulls you out of a reading rut, and that's exactly what BETWEEN THE LINES did for me. I've found that after several years of blogging and reviewing books that a lot of times, stories start to blend. Deja vu kicks in - I've heard this voice before. I've read this plot before. I know what's coming next. But Sharon Hoss Roat's debut utterly blew me away with its originality and brilliant characters. 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).

You know, I felt bad for Ivy. Her entire world is upended in the first chapter and sets her on a path for self discovery in the funniest of ways. She makes some insane choices and pays the price for them (nothing too crazy, but enough to teach the reader and Ivy a lesson). Her character development is such a joy to watch as she goes from a naive, somewhat spoiled child to someone who understands the value of family and money.

There is some fantastical romance in this book with two boys vying for Ivy's heart, each one harboring their own secrets. One I saw coming, the other I did not, but it never felt like a true triangle (if that makes any sense). I just enjoyed watching as Ivy learned more about herself while around each guy.

By far the best part of this for me as the family aspect. Unlike most YA books where parents are oblivious or missing, the Emerson's are front and center. When Ivy talks back to her mom? She gets in trouble. When she has a problem, she talks to her parents. It is refreshing to see a real family (that is not without its struggles) that at the end of the day loves one another.

I could go on forever about why BETWEEN THE NOTES is a spectacular book and Roat is on the fast track to becoming a big name in the YA contemporary world, but wouldn't you rather see for yourself?

Jun 17, 2015

Review: Scorched by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Title: Scorched
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Publication Date: 6.16.2015
Genre: New Adult, Issues, Romance, Contemporary
Series: Frigid #2
Source: Finished copy from publisher

Rating: 5 Stars

Summary (from Goodreads):
Sometimes life leaves a mark…

Most days, Andrea doesn’t know whether she wants to kiss Tanner or punch him in the gut. He is seriously hot, with legit bedroom eyes and that firefighter body of his, but he’s a major player, and they can’t get along for more than a handful of minutes. Until now.

Tanner knows he and Andrea have had an epic love/hate relationship for as long as he can remember, but he wants more love than hate from her. He wants her. Now. Tomorrow. But the more he gets to know her, the more it becomes obvious that Andrea has a problem. She’s teetering on the edge and every time he tries to catch her, she slips through his fingers.

Andrea’s life is spiraling out of control, and it doesn’t matter that Tanner wants to save her, because when everything falls apart and she’s speeding toward rock bottom, only she can save herself.

Sometimes life makes you work for that happily ever after…

I was a huge, rabid fan of FRIGID, so I feel like I’ve been waiting eons (OK, 2 years) for Jennifer L. Armentrout to write this book. Fans of FRIGID will be happy to know that there is plenty of Syd and Kyler in SCORCHED, but they fade into the background because of the sparks between Tanner and Andrea. But this is so much more than another romance novel. There are deeper issues here that Armentrout handles with quiet grace that absolutely blew me away.

Andrea is a troubled girl. She has a lot of problems she’s trying to bury but can’t seem to keep them at bay. It’s hard to articulate the problems Andrea is having because I too have them. It was a little terrifying to see so much of myself in Andrea (minus the drinking and promiscuity). But the panic attacks, the irrational fear that won’t go away … This is me. It’s all me. It was actually a relief to see my thoughts written by someone else. It makes me feel a little less alone.

If you’ve never struggled with mental issues like depression or panic attacks or something along those lines, I think being in Andrea’s head will be enlightening. And for those of us that do struggle daily with this, it’s a reassurance that you’re not the only one with those thoughts. You’re not alone.

This is Armentrout’s best work yet and definitely worth the 2 year wait. She is an author that continually surprises me with her originality and heart while writing and this book is absolutely spectacular.

Jun 16, 2015

Blog Tour & Giveaway: The Billionaire's Fantasy by Kate Hewitt

The Billionaire’s Fantasy – Excerpt

“I should go,” she finally said and began, admittedly only half-heartedly, to rise from the bed. Jaiven just tightened his hold on her and she relaxed back into him even though she knew she shouldn’t. She was pretty sure pillow talk wasn’t part of either of their fantasies.
            “Why?” he asked, and she could hear the rumble of his voice through her hand on his chest.
            “Because it’s late and I need to cab it back to the Upper West Side. I can’t imagine there are many taxis cruising around the Bronx at one in the morning.”
            “If you think I’m letting you go outside and look for a cab dressed in just that coat, you’re crazy,” Jaiven answered. “I could call you a car,” he continued, his arms still wrapped around her. “But I won’t.”
            “And why won’t you?”
            “Because I like you right here.”
            And she liked being here. Too much. So she put up a fight, mostly because it felt like the right thing to do. Draw a line in the sand, as it were: sex, not sleeping. Fantasy, not the all too welcome reality of two warm bodies cuddled together on a bed.
            She decided to keep it light. “So, what, you have a fantasy about spooning with a woman in bed while whispering sweet nothings into her ear?”
            Louise felt Jaiven’s body tense, his hands still on her bare back, and she realized she’d made a mistake. She’d meant to sound joking but Jaiven had obviously seen through that paper-thin fa├žade to the real and messy emotion underneath.
            Because that’s my fantasy.

About The Forbidden Series:
The Forbidden Series is a trilogy of sexier reads with serialized release dates and a different author for each title! Each week a new part of these seductive reads will be released so be sure and follow along for some flirty fun!

For Logan Black, Jaiven Rodriguez and Zair al Ruyi, New York is spread out before them like the Garden of Eden…and no one knows the sweet taste of forbidden fruit better than America’s most ruthless billionaires! Jaded, cynical, with a darkness that threatens to consume them whole, they think they’ve seen it all. But temptation has something new in store for each of them…

About The Billionaire’s Fantasy:
Get the Book:

Get the different parts:

When Louise Jensen spent one wicked night with the devastatingly handsome Jaiven Rodriguez, she thought it would be enough. But now Jaiven has had a taste of his greatest fantasy, he wants more! Louise is about to be taken on a sensual journey by this billionaire bad boy! Release dates:
  •              June 14: Part 1 is available for FREE!
  • June 16: Part 2 is available for sale
  • June 18: Part 3 is available for sale
  • June 21: Part 4 is available for sale
  • June 24: The complete book is available for sale
About Kate Hewitt:

Kate Hewitt has worked a variety of different jobs, from drama teacher to editorial assistant to church youth worker, but writing romance is the best one yet, and she has written over 25 books for Harlequin. She also writes short stories and serials for women's magazines, and all her stories celebrate the healing and redemptive power of love. Kate lives in a tiny village with her husband, five children, and an overly affectionate Golden Retriever.

The amazing team at Harlequin is offering up a $100 gift card (Amazon, B&N or iTunes) to one lucky winner! Please enter via the Rafflecopter form. Giveaway is open internationally.

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Tour Schedule:
The Billionaire’s Intern:

The Billionaire’s Fantasy:

The Billionaire’s Innocent:

Jun 15, 2015

Review: Yours All Along by Roni Loren

Title: Yours All Along
Author: Roni Loren
Publisher:  Berkley
Publication Date: 6.16.2015
Genre: Adult, Romance, M/M, Contemporary
Series: Loving on the Edge #7.5
Source:  eARC from publisher

Rating: 4 ½ Stars

Summary (from Goodreads):
The new Loving on the Edge romance from the New York Times bestselling author of Nothing Between Us turns on the heat between two men who wonder how much they’re willing to risk in the name of love.

Four years after an accident tore their friendship apart, Hunter and Devon are living separate lives. Hunter is now the all-America hero—a congressman’s son and a pro pitcher in Houston preparing to marry his beauty-queen girlfriend. Devon is in Dallas running a new restaurant. 

But when Hunter unexpectedly shows up in Devon’s bar, Devon can’t turn him away. Damn it if the man isn’t still gorgeous. But engaged? Hell no. All he’s doing for Devon is bringing back memories of their college-roommate days, and the night their relationship went too far. Turns out Hunter has never forgotten it either.

Now Devon can’t help but be drawn in all over again by the only guy who’s ever gotten close enough to break his heart. Maybe one more night together would be enough for both of them to finally move on. Or maybe one night will change everything…

That brief intro to Hunter and Devon in CALL ON ME was simply not enough. Thank goodness Roni Loren took pity on her fans and gave them their own story.

This book (which is longer than your average novella) goes back and explains the origins of Hunter and Devon’s relationship. From a confusing start in college where they were best friends that transitioned into more to them reconnecting as adults, I loved every heartbreaking second. If you’ve read CALL ON ME then you know the chemistry between these two sizzles in every scene (even when they’re just sitting side by side in a hospital). This novella shows how they got there.

I’ll be perfectly honest here: M/M stories are not my thing. But it’s a testament to my love of Roni Loren and her awesome writing that I not only read this but loved it. This whole series is fantastic. I’ve yet to read a single book or novella in it that I haven’t loved. Roni Loren has a fan for life in me.

Jun 8, 2015

BEA 2015 Recap: Part 1

First of all, I can't believe this was my fourth BEA - I mean, what the what? That's so crazy to think about! To say this BEA was crazy and fun is a total understatement, but I loved every second of it.

Of travels, parties, and beginnings...
Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday
May 26-27, 2015

BEA started a bit early for me this year because on Monday I got to have a sleepover with two of my YADC soul sisters - Andye from ReadingTeen and Steph from No BS Book Reviews. We went out to dinner, loaded the two cars with bags and survival essentials for BEA, and then stayed up way too late talking about books, life, and blogging.

Plus there was actual blogging involved. 

We did manage to get some sleep and then morning arrived and we finished loading the cars and then hit the road. Andye and I went straight to NYC while Steph headed off to pick up Kelly.

Before BEA started, back in the winter, I set up a room block at the Homewood Suites in Manhattan. (For those of you who remember my hotel woes last year, this was the hotel I was originally slated to stay at but it fell through because the hotel was/is brand new and wouldn't be opening until after BEA.) This year they were open and I worked with two fabulous women, Marina and Natalia, to organize a block of rooms so I could put all my friends in one place. Because what's better than having 40 of your closest friends in one building?

Andye and I drove into NYC (OK, she drove, I mostly took pictures) and snagged parking right in front of the hotel to unload our bags. A bellman came out and helped us unload two carts full of things and then we left to park the car in Brooklyn. We quickly stopped by the Javits Center to see if we could grab our badges a day early, but it wasn't meant to be. We did, however, manage to see Faye Bi from Simon & Schuster and exchange quick hugs and hellos before she had to dash inside.

After a quick lunch of amazing pizza at Juliana's, Andye and I headed back over to NYC because we needed to get to our room and meet up with the rest of our roommates (Krista from Krist'a Dust Jacket, Val from Stuck in Books, and Brianna from Paperback Princess). When I checked into the room, I was greeted by a surprise from the awesome people at the Homewood:

That surprised absolutely blew me away. I was expecting that at all, and I can't say enough wonderful things about this hotel. If you ever go to NYC, stay there!

At the last minute I decided to host last year's #YAParty. Due to funds (or a lack of) the party was scaled way back, but the Homewood graciously let us invite a few friends over to hang out on their gorgeous rooftop and get together.

We also made Liza Wiemer, former Rooftop Party hostess and current YA debut author of HELLO?, sign copies of her book for attendees. And the mega talented Becca from Pivot Book Reviews gifted me with a tote bag with my blog's design on it. I will treasure this forever.

Attendees chipped in and brought food and drinks and a lot of wine (most of it provided by the lovely people at Wunderkind PR). We talked, laughed, and kicked off the week of BEA madness in style. It was so much fun to have my favorite people in one amazing location for a few hours.

Wednesday meant the official start of BEA, but unlike past years, the start was delayed until 1 pm (not that that stopped people from lining up at 8 am to snag a front spot in line to run for the Susan Dennard tickets for TRUTHWITCH. In fact, I happened to bump into Susan as she was walking onto the floor before the doors opened. She was adorably sweet and amazed at how many people were planning to run for her signing.

But before BEA, I managed to snag breakfast with my bestie, Nicole (formerly of Paperback Princess but now publicist for Disney Book Group) and then I headed over to the Novl Bubble Brunch. This was the second year of the Novl brunch and I loved seeing their new offices, hearing about how the Novl box came to be and also getting our own boxes. 

Jennifer E. Smith, author of HELLO, GOODBYE, AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN was there to chat with us and answer questions and tell us about all her book to movie news! I cannot wait to see her debut novel on the big screen.

It was a great time to hang out with everyone and catch up before BEA started. They also gave us BEA survival totes - a sturdy canvas bag with a granola bar, copies of all the Little Brown signings and galley drop schedules, a lanyard, and a reusable Novl water bottle. Armed with the essentials (and pocket Jamie), we set out for BEA.

We arrived and found our friends, who we had dropped our bags off with as place markers earlier that morning, before spending some time strategizing and catching up before the doors opened. Of course, as soon as we were let in, a hell broke loose and people were legit running for the Susan Dennard ticket line.

Admittedly, I coveted TRUTHWITCH, but I vowed to take it easy at BEA this year and not stress, so I hit a few booths before going over to the line and jumping into it. I was pretty far back, and fairly certain I would not be getting a ticket, but lo and behold, I wound up #69 in line. I also managed to run into Derry Wilkens, former Sourcebooks publicist and all around amazing woman.

BEA started at 1 pm, but by 3 I was ready to drop. I wandered a bit more but called it a day around 4:30 and left. I was supposed to attend the Harlequin High Tea, but I decided rest was more important, especially since I also had the Epic Reads party that evening.

The Epic Reads party was ... well, EPIC. It was in a great space that unfortunately got a little hot and loud but was still fun. There were giveaways and food and so many of my friends were there. Plus, there was a photo booth with silly props. The swag bag at the end was fantastic. It had posters, a book, and ... a portable charger with the Epic Reads logo. Yeah. BEST. SWAG. EVER!

But we're only halfway done. So make sure you check back for Part 2 of my BEA recap!