Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Blog Tour: Rules of Entanglement (Fighting for Love #2)

Welcome to my stop on the Rules of Entanglement Book Tour!  Keep reading for a review of the book and a great giveaway.  One lucky person will win a Kindle FIRE HD or a $200 Amazon Gift card. 


Rules of Entanglement (Fighting for Love #2)
 
 
Seven days. And seven rules to break...

District Attorney Vanessa McGregor firmly believes that structure and order are the stuff that dreams are made of. Happiness can be planned - and it starts with seven rules she's laid out for her future. But as she's organizing her best friend's wedding in Hawaii, all of Vanessa's best-laid plans are about to meet their match in a wickedly hot MMA fighter...

Jackson "Jax" Maris is focused on surfing, training and fighting. That is, until he opens up his big mouth, and finds himself having to pretend he's engaged to his little sister's best friend, Vanessa. When they're force to share a romantic bungalow, however, their little charade suddenly takes a turn for the seriously sexy. And while Jax is definitely not part of Vanessa's long-term plan, he has seven days - and seven naughty nights - to turn her seven-rule plan upside down.
Publisher: Entangled Publishing: Brazen
Publication Date: March 31, 2013
 
 
Kat's Review
 
This is the second book in a series, but it's a stand alone.  You don't have to read the first to understand what's happening in the second.  The storyline of this book has the potential to be seriously cheesy, but it's not.  The author does a nice job of making the initial deception on the part of Jackson to be plausible by having him immediately acknowledge it to himself and having it gnaw at him throughout the book.  The basic premise is simple: Jackson's little sister is getting married in Hawaii, where he lives.  She gets sick the week before the wedding and sends her best friend to Hawaii early to help finalize the plans.  Jackson and Vanessa get thrown together for the week, and find themselves falling for each other. 
 
Digging deeper, we find that there's more to each of them than meets the eye.  Jackson has a secret he's been hiding from his sister, and Vanessa has a past she's been hiding from everyone.  During their time together, they begin to chip away at their walls, while falling hard and fast for the other.  While Jackson tries to get Vanessa to open up and trust him, he knows that a lie he told her when they first met might be their undoing. 
 
I have to say, I liked this book more than I expected to.  This is a romance novel, but there is a lot of action that goes on, so if you're looking for a simple romance with only a bit of kissing, this is not the book for you.  There's nothing crazy here either, in case you're wondering, just two consenting adults having fun and falling in love.  The chemistry between Jackson and Vanessa is obvious right from the start, and I enjoyed the banter between them.  Vanessa is a strong willed woman, and Jackson admires her feistiness.  There was a lot of respect written into the story, and I liked that the author showed how the emotional side of their relationship developed over time. 
 
Rating: A Good Read
 
If you like contemporary romances between adult characters, this one is a good choice.  The romance is hot, the characters are likeable and the storyline is interesting.  Overall a fun read. 
 
I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by Entangled Publishing in return for an honest review.
 
PURCHASE:  AMAZON       BARNES & NOBLE     iBOOKSTORE     KOBO


Blog Tour Grand Prize Giveaway!


 
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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Review: Flowers in the Sky by Lynn Joseph

Flowers in the Sky
 
Fifteen-year-old Nina Perez is faced with a future she never expected. She must leave her Garden of Eden, her lush home in the Dominican Republic, when she's sent by her mother to seek out a better life with her brother in New York. As Nina searches for some glimpse of familiarity amid the jarring world of Washington Heights, she must uncover her own strength. She learns to uncover roots within foreign soil and finds a way to grow, just like the orchids that blossom on her fire escape. And when she is confronted by ugly secrets about her brother's business, she comes to understand the realities of life in this new place. But then she meets him-that green-eyed boy- who she can't erase from her thoughts, the one who just might help her learn to see beauty in spite of tragedy.

From the acclaimed author of The Color of My Words comes a powerful story about a young girl who must make her way in a new world and find her place within it.
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: March 5, 2013
 
 
Kat's Review
 
This is a beautiful book, from the cover to the story of a girl ripped from her home and forced to try and lay down new roots in a place that is foreign in both language and lifestyle.  Nina, the 15 year old protagonist, is sent from  her small village in the Dominican Republic by her mother to live in New York with her older brother Darrio, who she hasn't seen in ten years.  In her village, Nina grows a garden of flowers, caring for them the way Darrio taught her before he left, and selling the flowers to make some extra money for the family.  She doesn't share her mother's dream of a bigger house or to marry a rich baseball player, she only wants to be left to care for her garden and enjoy the life her small village has to offer. 
 
I will admit, when I started reading I found the language a bit simple and na├»ve, but to be honest, a young girl from a small village with little access to mainstream media, and no experience with life in a big city, would have a simpler view of the world.  Not inferior, or less intelligent, but different.  Her experiences were limited and her interactions with strangers were sheltered by her very protective mother.  It becomes apparent throughout the book that Nina's outlook on things is sheltered, just as it becomes obvious that her mother's impressions of what life is like in New York are coloured by the stories she hears when people return to the village on vacation.  In many ways Nina's character reads younger than a typical North American 15 year old.  She wasn't allowed to wear make-up, or date, or even spend time with boys back home.  She wasn't watching music videos or talking on cellphones or using the internet.  It takes some getting used to as a reader, but I think it was authentic in many ways. 

The author is able to really make the reader feel Nina's confusion and dismay when she first ventures out in New York City with her brother.  The noise, the people, the buildings, everything is an assault on the senses.  Just as confusing is the tiny apartment her brother inhabits, mostly devoid of furniture.  Nina realizes that life in New York isn't the idealistic picture painted by those who return to the Dominican on vacation, but rather a more complicated and cut-throat way of life, one that her brother was thrown into alone at the age of eighteen.   The way Nina adjusts to this new way of life, her brother's secrets, and being a teenager at an American high school form much of the story.

Rating: A Good Read

Although rated YA, it would appeal to younger teens or even some middle grade readers maybe more than to older teens looking for a more sophisticated protagonist or a more typical teen romance.  I think it has great crossover appeal and would be a good book to use in a classroom setting when discussing immigration, culture shock, traditions, or any number of issues.  A really beautiful read.
 

Purchase:    AMAZON

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Review: Hush (Lakeview #1) by Stacey R. Campbell

Hush - A Lakeview Novel ( Book 1)
  
 
For small-town girl Blakely Henry, any hope of finding her biological parents died when she stopped believing in fairy tales and Disney princes. That is, until she spots her boarding school’s new British exchange student, Max Ryder, staring at her. Why would a boy who looks like he stepped out of the pages of a magazine be looking at her? Because Max knows something Blakely doesn’t.
Following the tragic demise of one of Europe’s most beloved royal families, Max has stumbled upon information he thinks may lead to a lost royal heir, and now he is on a quest halfway around the world to see if he’s right.
Sworn to secrecy by his university professor and the headmaster of Lakeview Academy, Max is admitted into an exchange program with the sole purpose of finding out the truth. But will his personal feelings for Blakely get in the way?
When a stolen email surfaces, Blakely and her friends’ lives are threatened, and Max starts to question what he is really after.
From the exclusive rolling lawns of Canada’s most prestigious boarding school to the University of Saint Andrews’ hallowed grounds, Blakely’s quiet, unassuming life is turned upside down. Is she really who she thinks she is? Can she survive long enough to help Max unearth the truth?
Publisher: Green Darner Press
Publication Date: November 20, 2012
 
 
Kat's Review
 
I have to admit that I'm not big on the whole regular-girl-turns-princess type story.  I was intrigued by this novel because the focus of the story isn't about the transition to beautiful princess, but rather the journey that Max takes to find out if Blakely is in fact the lost princess of the fictional European country Tamura.  I also liked that the story is set at a boarding school in Canada.  This is the second book I've read this week set in Canada, both in British Columbia, and I'm enjoying it. 
 
There is a lot to like in this book.  It's a YA book that is appropriate for even younger teens.  There is a little bit of romance and a few scenes with mild violence, but nothing explicit or too violent.  It's also a story that shows adoption in a positive light.  Blakely has a great relationship with her parents and sister, and is a confident, accomplished young woman who is curious about her past, but not crippled by the lack of knowledge surrounding her birth family.  A really big plus for me. 
 
There are a few storylines at work, and the chapters flip back and forth, which can get confusing if you're not paying attention.  There's Max, who is pretending to be an exchange student in an attempt to verify Blakely's identity as the princess, and Max's professor, helping from behind the scenes.  Then there's the secondary storyline of the vacated throne of Tamura following an explosion that killed the Royal Family during a family reunion.  A faction within the government will do anything to ensure that an heir to the throne isn't found, putting Blakely at risk. 
 
I found the transitions between the storylines to sometimes be abrupt or a bit stilted.  I also sometimes felt the same way about the way the characters inner monologues developed.  Some of the situations were resolved too neatly without much tension or suspense, all wrapping up neatly without the messiness I often enjoy in novels. 
 
Rating: Worth A Look
 
This book will appeal to younger teens, as well as some older ones.  The love story is cute and develops gradually, but doesn't take over the entire story.  The storyline is a bit mystery, a bit puppy love, and a bit teen drama, but it's a good, fun read.
 
I received a complimentary copy of this title from NetGalley and Green Darner Press in return for an honest review.
 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Review: The Reluctant WAG by Mary Costello

The Reluctant Wag
 
 
When model Merise Merrick is asked to star in a campaign for the Yarraside Football Club, she couldn't be less interested. As far as she's concerned, football players are all overpaid jocks with zero intelligence.

AFL captain Cal McCoy is completely dedicated to the game. With a premiership firmly in his sights, he has no time for romantic distractions.The last thing he needs is an inconvenient attraction to the new 'face' of the club.

But Cal soon discovers that staying focused is easier said than done, while Merise finds herself falling for the excitement and power of footy – and its biggest star.
Glamour, sport and fame combine in this irresistible contemporary romance.
 
 
Publisher:  Penguin Books Australia
Publication Date: April 10, 2013
 
 
Kat's Review
 
I saw the title of the book and knew it had to do with sports, which drew me in immediately.  For those who don't know, WAG is the term used to refer to the Wives And Girlfriends of athletes.   In this case, the woman is a college student hired to model in a campaign for an Australian Rules football club.  When Merise is paired up with the club Captain, sparks fly.  The two clash from the start in a series of misunderstandings, but must find a way to work together for the good of the campaign. 
 
Let's get a few things out of the way from the start.  I thought this book would be extremely cheesy, but it was actually quite sweet.  I love books with a sports theme, so that probably helped!  Also, being set in Australia was also a nice change from most of the  books I read.   There's always a bit of reality stretching in any romance novel, and as long as the coincidences don't get out of hand, I don't mind.  For the most part, this book stayed within reasonable bounds. 
 
Merise is a fresh-faced college student and isn't an idiot.  She wasn't blinded by the money and potential fame that came with the modeling job.  She also wasn't out to land a footballer, which made me like her from the start.  Actually, Cal pursued her, trying to get to know her and being nicer to her than she was to him for most of the novel. 
 
I liked the book.  It was a lighthearted, quick read with a happily ever after.  The romance was also pretty PG.  No graphic sex scenes or crazy fantasies, just a sweet romance that focused more on the chase than on the catch.  A refreshing change from a lot of the romances on the market right now. 
 
Rating: Worth a Look
 
If you're looking for a lighthearted romance that's perfect as a quick read, this is your book.  I didn't love the main character at the beginning, but she grew on me by the end.  A cute story with a great love interest.
 
I was provided a complimentary copy of this title from NetGalley & Penguin Books Australia in return for an honest review.
 
 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Review: Georgetown Academy Book Two

Georgetown Academy: Book Two
 
In the halls of Georgetown Academy, gossip and rumor abound. But when photographic proof shows up on the front page of The Huffington Post? Then it’s a national scandal.

While Ellie tries to put her life back together, Evan just might get everything she’s ever wanted—the perfect boyfriend and her dream career. But her loyalties will be put to the test when it turns out to be the very people she’s closest to who are standing in her way.

Brinley is determined to find out who is behind the photo leak, all while her own dirty secret spirals out of control. And California girl Taryn is sick of being walked all over and ready to start playing by the rules of D.C., for better or for worse.

In a world where reputation and appearances are everything, knowledge is power. But you’ll have to learn how to use it if you want to come out on top.

What’s Cool from Coliloquy:
As the Georgetown Academy girls get ready for Follow the Stars, authors Alyssa and Jessica let readers decide which of the main girls to follow. You’ll see scandalous behavior, unexpected liaisons, and secret betrayals...all giving you a different perspective as events unfold.
Publisher: Coliloquy
Publication Date: October 15, 2012
 

Kat's Review

I'm enjoying this series because the books are short, the storyline moves at a great pace, and the drama of privileged teenagers is second to none.  We met the kids of Georgetown Academy in book one, and got sucked into the world of their exclusive high school where most students were the children of American politicians.  The teen drama is linked to the political ambitions of their parents, making every misstep the stuff of national news.  We left off from the first book with Brinley on top, Taryn finding herself the victim of a vicious rumor, and  Ellie caught in a photo scandal, locked in an embrace with the son of her mother's political rival. 

Book Two picks up on the drama as the students get ready to attend a charity event.  The dynamics shift as Brinley's little secret is exposed, Taryn makes a social faux pas that works out for the best, and Ellie gets a second chance with Hunter.  Only not everything goes according to plan.  Old friendships are put to the test, new alliances are forged, and secrets are brought to the surface. 

Rating:  A Good Read

Much like the first book, this is a book to be read in one sitting, like devouring a gossip magazine.  It's high school drama at its best, with backstabbing friends, misunderstandings and broken hearts, all wrapped up in the privileged world of Washington's elite.  What's not to like?

Purchase:    AMAZON


Review: Bloodspell by Amalie Howard

Bloodspell (Bloodspell #1)
 
The spell was simple...

Cruentus Protectum (Defend the Blood)

But what do you do if your blood is your enemy?

Victoria Warrick has always known she was different. An outcast at school, she is no stranger to adversity. But when she receives an old journal for her seventeenth birthday, nothing prepares her for the dark secrets it holds -- much less one that reveals she's a witch with unimaginable power.

What's more, when she meets the dazzling but enigmatic Christian Devereux, she has no idea how much her life is about to change. Enemies will hunt her. Friends will turn on her. The terrible curse that makes her blood run black will stop at nothing to control her. And Christian has a sinister secret of his own...

Without knowing whom to trust, can Victoria survive her blood's deadly desires? Or will she lose everything, including herself?
Publisher:  Langdon Street Press
Publication Date: June 1, 2011
 
 
Kat's Review
 
I love the premise of this book.  Witch with incredible power meets vampire who harbors his own secrets.  In many books the vampires have the ultimate power, but in this one it's the witch who holds the control. 
 
Victoria grows up unaware of her powers, until she inherits a necklace and a journal on her birthday that explains what she is and the nature of her powers.  It also opens her eyes to the creatures that inhabit the world around her.  At her new school, witches, werewolves and vampires are everywhere once you know how to identify them.  When Victoria meets Christian, they fall in love despite the laws that forbid it.  Only Victoria is being hunted for her powers, and Christian is hiding things. 
 
I want to say that I loved this book, but I didn't.  I should have.  It has a great concept, an intriguing story and a new twist on old mythology. 
 
I don't know what it was missing, but I just couldn't get into it from the start.  I'm not sure if it was the writing style, or the fact that I didn't connect with Victoria, but I struggled to get through the book, putting it down and reading other things along the way. 
 
Rating: Heavy Page Turner
 
As I said, this book has all the elements of an interesting paranormal romance.  Mythology, enemies, romance, a feud between brothers, you name it.  I'm sure it will intrigue and entertain many readers, it just didn't do it for me.

I was provided a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher & NetGalley in return for and honest review.
 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Review: The Rising (Darkness Rising #3) by Kelley Armstrong

The Rising (Darkness Rising #3)
 
 
Things are getting desperate for Maya and her friends. Hunted by the powerful St. Clouds and now a rival Cabal as well, they're quickly running out of places to hide. And with the whole world thinking they died in a helicopter crash, it's not like they can just go to the authorities for help.

All they have is the name and number of someone who might be able to give them a few answers. Answers to why they're so valuable, and why their supernatural powers are getting more and more out of control.

But Maya is unprepared for the truths that await her. And now, like it or not, she'll have to face down some demons from her past if she ever hopes to move on with her life. Because Maya can't keep running forever.

Old secrets are revealed and unexpected characters make a surprising return in this stunning conclusion to Kelley Armstrong's New York Times bestselling Darkness Rising trilogy.
 
 
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: April 2, 2013
 
Kat's Review
 
This is the first series I've read by Kelley Armstrong, and I'm hooked.  She's a great storyteller, and managed to make a series about Supernatural teens feel authentic.  That it's set in Canada drew me in because most books are set elsewhere, but she brought to life much of what makes living in Canada unique to this country, while appealing to an international audience. 
 
The series revolves around a group of teenagers raised in a remote community in British Columbia whose parents all work for the same corporation.  What the kids don't know is that the corporation deals in Supernaturals, and that they are all subjects.  Each kid has a power, although they aren't all aware of what their power is or what the side effects might be.  When they are kidnapped and almost murdered, Maya and her friends run for their lives, while at the same time trying to figure out how to save those who have been captured and how to let their families know they're still alive. 
 
This series is the perfect YA read.  The teenagers are the main characters, and their relationships have all the elements of real teen relationships without crossing over into more mature material.  The books have danger, romance, tension, and humor.  The author treats the teens as smart, capable beings, but also shows their need for adult guidance and help.  A difficult balance to achieve. 
 
I found myself wanting to jump ahead to see how certain elements were resolved, although I restrained myself.  The pacing was good and the plot complex enough that I couldn't guess what was going to happen next.
 
Rating: A Good Read
 
This series is enjoyable even for people who don't like books about the supernatural.  I was satisfied with the way the series ended, providing enough closure to make readers happy, but also leaving room for the series to be picked up at a later date. 
 
I bought this book.
 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (9)

Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. 

Here's what I'm waiting on this week:


The Eternity Cure                
(Blood of Eden #2)
 
Allison Sekemoto has vowed to rescue her creator, Kanin, who is being held hostage and tortured by the psychotic vampire Sarren. The call of blood leads her back to the beginning—New Covington and the Fringe, and a vampire prince who wants her dead yet may become her wary ally.

Even as Allie faces shocking revelations and heartbreak like she’s never known, a new strain of the Red Lung virus that decimated humanity is rising to threaten human and vampire alike.
 
 
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: April 30, 2013
 
 
I love pretty much everything by Julie Kagawa, so I'm sure I'll enjoy this one too!  Only a few more days to wait! 
 
What are you waiting on?  Let me know in the comments.
 

Review: True by Erin McCarthy

True
 
 
When Rory Macintosh’s roommates find out that their studious and shy friend has never been with a guy, they decide that, as an act of kindness they’ll help her lose her virginity by hiring confident, tattooed bad boy Tyler Mann to do the job…unbeknownst to Rory.

Tyler knows he’s not good enough for Rory. She’s smart, doctor smart, while he’s barely scraping by at his EMT program, hoping to pull his younger brothers out of the hell their druggy mother has left them in. But he can’t resist taking up her roommates on an opportunity to get to know her better. There’s something about her honesty that keeps him coming back when he knows he shouldn’t…

Torn between common sense and desire, the two find themselves caught up in a passionate relationship. But when Tyler’s broken family threatens to destroy his future, and hers, Rory will need to decide whether to cut her ties to his risky world or follow her heart, no matter what the cost.
Publisher: Intermix
Publication Date: May 7, 2013
 
Kat's Review
 
This is the first book I've read by Erin McCarthy, so I can't compare this to her other works.  It shares some of the same predictable new adult tropes: virginal girl who has never been noticed by boys before, and popular bad boy who wins her heart.  There is a bit of a twist in this book though.   Without telling Rory, her roommates pay the resident bad boy to sleep with Rory and give her the confidence she needs to get out and date.  I was worried that the book would be about him sleeping with her, and then her finding out, and then spending the last half of the book trying to convince her that it wasn't all a joke. 
 
Fortunately, the book is about more than that.  Rory finds out what her roommates have done before she sleeps with Tyler, who has been taking things slow with her.  What makes this book interesting is Tyler's family life.  While the book is marketed as a plot to help Rory lose her virginity, the real plot is about Tyler's dysfunctional home life.  Tyler's image on campus is one of the popular bad boy, but at home he's responsible for keeping his brothers safe from the neglect and abuse of their mother.  Tyler and Rory have to learn to trust each other and build a strong foundation for their relationship despite the forces working against them.
 
The writing in this book is strong and the language is authentic.  The scenes with Tyler and his mother are stark and brutal.  Rory's reaction to her father's opposition to her relationship also rang true to life.  What I didn't buy was Rory's reaction to her roommates when she learned they had arranged the deal with Tyler.  She wasn't nearly as hurt or angry as I think most girls would be, and she didn't confront anyone about it, not even Tyler. 
 
Rating: Worth a Look
 
I had some misgivings about this book, namely the arrangement her roommates brokered with Tyler, but it turned out to be almost a subplot in the book.  The book was more about overcoming obstacles, shouldering adult responsibility, and learning to trust.  It wasn't the best new adult book I've read, but I liked it.  The writing was strong and the story kept me interested until the end. 
 
I was provided a complimentary copy of this title from NetGalley & the publisher in return for an honest review.
 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Book Tour & Giveaway: All the King's Men (The Kings of Charleston)

Welcome to my stop on the Xpresso Book Tour for the Kings of Charleston series!  Keep reading for my reviews of books one and two, and for a giveaway!



The Kings of Charleston
by Kat H. Clayton

Series: The Kings of Charleston Series #1
Publication: July 10th 2012
Genre: YA Romantic Suspense

Synopsis:
Casper Whitley is forced to move to Charleston, South Carolina where she’ll be the new kid her senior year of high school. Casper’s upset about the move until she meets the Roman family’s gorgeous son, Cal, but there’s a problem. A mystery surrounds him which can be summed up in one word…Kythera. Never heard of it? Neither has Casper until she finds the word tattooed on cars, paintings and all her new friends.

After Casper’s life is threatened, someone is forced to tell the truth about her parents, the Romans and Kythera’s motives for her being in Charleston. Once the truth is revealed, she must decide whether to protect her family and Kythera’s secrets or walk away from everything she has ever known.

GOODREADS

Purchase:  AMAZON        BARNES & NOBLE       CREATE SPACE    INDIEBOUND



All the King's Men
by Kat H. Clayton

Series: The Kings of Charleston Series #2
Publication: March 28th, 2013
Genre: YA Romantic Suspense

Synopsis:
After a certain point, money is meaningless. It ceases to be the goal. The game is what counts.~Aristotle Onassis

There's a mystery floating in Charleston, South Carolina and it revolves around one word...Kythera. To anyone outside the city limits it means nothing, but to those who live there it's a word whispered in awe and respect or jealousy and hate.
Welcome to a world where money isn't the only name of the game.
All the King’s Men is the sequel to The Kings of Charleston and continues the adventures of Casper and Cal as they try to escape Kythera and the mysterious group looking to destroy the “K”. Will they leave behind everything they've known or will their association with Kythera destroy them before they can escape?

The Kings of Charleston asked, are you in? All the King's Men asks, will you survive?
GOODREADS

Purchase:     AMAZON     BARNES & NOBLE    

Kat's Review

I had the rare opportunity to read the first two books in a series one right after the other, and I enjoyed them both. 

Book number one sets up the mystery.  Casper is a teen girl who lives her life surrounded by horses.  Her parents own race horses, including one that won the Kentucky Derby, making her family very high profile in the world of horse racing and beyond.  Despite her parents' love of parties and other fancy events, Casper often feels like an outcast, finding it difficult to connect with people.  She prefers to spend time with her horses, finding comfort in their company.  When her father is offered a business opportunity in Charleston, Casper is forced to move away from her beloved horses.  When she's introduced to Cal Roman, the son of her father's business associate and friend, she's thrust into a world of money, privilege, and mystery.  Casper learns quickly that Cal and his friends hold much privilege in Charleston, but doesn't understand why until she finds her life in danger. 

I found the first book jumped around a little, and the relationship between Casper and Cal develops quite quickly, which are probably my biggest complaints.  A lot happens in a short period, and I wasn't always sure that there was enough set up to make perfect sense.  However, the mystery was intriguing and the story had enough twists and turns to keep me reading to the end and wanting more.  The idea of a secret society like Kythera, and the power it brings, is fascinating to me.  Casper was forced to grow up and take control of her life, proving herself to be stronger than she could have ever imagined. 

The sequel, All the King's Men, was even better.  The mystery deepens and the stakes are raised.  A power foe rears its head, and there are several shocking deaths that occur while Casper tries to solve the mystery of who is targeting Kythera.  Putting her life at risk to earn her freedom and safe the people she cares about, Casper infiltrates the enemy organization.  I liked the pace of this book better than the first, and enjoyed the twists and turns as the story progressed.  I'm looking forward to reading the final book.

GIVEAWAY!

Want your chance to win an ebook copy of either book one or book two in the Kings of Charleston series?  Enter the giveaway below!

 

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Review: Waiting on Forever (The Forever Series #2)

Waiting on Forever (The Forever Series #2)
by    
 
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
 
(Spin-off of Planning on Forever)

College.

Parties, sororities and getting drunk.

Oh, yeah. And learning.

This may be true for most college students, but not for Leah Bennett. College life for her includes studying, working, and excelling in school. When it comes to the social ladder, Leah is at the bottom. Popular girls, hot guys and star athletes are of no importance to her, except for one.

Matthew Jacobs.

Matt is the starting wide receiver at SUNY Cortland, the most wanted guy on campus and Leah’s best friend. Although Leah’s feelings toward Matt run deeper than just a friendship, it is something she would never let be seen because the odds of someone like Matthew Jacobs going for someone like Leah Bennett are slim to none.
When Matt starts showing an interest in Leah that goes beyond friendship, she is dumbfounded and doesn’t believe it is possible – until one weekend that changes everything.

Will Matt and Leah’s popularity status get in the way of having a chance at a real relationship?

Or does status mean nothing when it comes to true love?

 
(Cover & Description from GOODREADS.)
Publisher: Ashley Wilcox
Publication Date: April 8, 2013
 
Kat's Review

I didn't hate this book, but I didn't particularly like it either.  The book is listed as an adult contemporary romance, but I think it falls squarely in the New Adult category. Serious, studious girl meets athletic superstar and their worlds collide.  I think the book description is a bit misleading, because with the exception of one girl in particular, nobody treated Leah like a loser or made a big deal of Matt's athletic status or popularity.  In fact, she was welcomed with open arms by the whole football team and by Matt's friends.  The bigger issue in the book was with Leah's insecurities and her attitude toward people in general. 

The story is an easy read, and there are some cute parts.  Matt is a sweet male character who treats Leah well.  He is living with his own secret that has shaped his view of relationships, although Leah doesn't learn about it until almost the end of the book.  His friends are nice too, and the subject of the first book in the series.  I didn't really like Leah all that much, which is a problem since she narrates.  I found her character to be kind of stuck up and condescending, and I found it hard to reconcile her insecurities with her mean streak.  I also found it weird that she just kind of found herself in a relationship with Matt without even knowing it.  He announced their relationship before she even realizes that they're in one. 

In the end, I didn't hate the book, but I didn't love it.  I felt like it was missing something, and the epilogue felt rushed and unrealistic.  I can't put my finger entirely on what it was I didn't like.  Perhaps it needed some more character development, or more conflict.  I didn't enjoy it as much as I enjoyed Denise Grover Swank's After Math, or even Sawyer Bennett's Off Sides, both books about girls who fall for top athletes. 

However, it has a great rating on Goodreads, so even though it wasn't for me, it has obviously been well received by a lot of people.  It has a kind, sweet, love interest in Matt, and a cute courtship.  It also offers a happily ever after and a glimpse into the future, which I know many readers like to see.

Rating: Heavy Page Turner

As I said, this book wasn't my favourite New Adult book of all time, but it wasn't the worst either.  There were parts that made me smile, but too many that just didn't pull me into the story at all. 

I was provided with a copy of this book from the author & AToMR Tours in return for an honest review.


 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Review: Faster we Burn by Chelsea M. Cameron

Faster We Burn (Fall and Rise #2)
 
Katie Hallman is done with douchebags. Done with guys who treat her like crap and leave her broken. But then Stryker Grant is there anyway. With his numerous piercings and bleached hair, he’s the polar opposite of all of her past relationships, which makes him the perfect candidate.

At first, Katie just sees him as a physical escape from her previous rocky relationship, and Stryker doesn’t seem to mind just being a distraction from Katie’s problems. But soon he’s getting under her skin, peeling back layers she’d rather keep covered. She tries to make it clear that she doesn’t want a relationship, but keeps breaking her own rules.

Then a tragedy sends Katie into the only arms who are there to catch her, and she’ll realize that she needs him more than she ever thought possible. But is she ready to let herself trust another guy with her already-battered heart? Or will she push him away to protect herself from getting hurt again?
(Cover & Description from GOODREADS.)
Genre: New Adult
Publisher: Chelsea M. Cameron
Publication Date: April 20, 2013

Kat's Review

This is the second book in a series, but it really can be read as a stand alone if you haven't read the first.   

The book alternates between Katie and Stryker's points of view, showing how their relationship grows from a distraction from their problems, to a relationship neither saw coming.  What I like about the characters in Chelsea Cameron's books is that they are believable for their age group.  The scenes between Katie and her mom made me smile because I vividly remember having some of the same types of interactions with my own mom when we saw things differently.  The friendships also feel very real to me.  Hanging out, watching movies, sharing the appetizers at restaurants because everyone is on a tight budget, those things ring true to me when I'm reading about college students, making it all very believable. 

This is the third book I've reviewed from this author, and I find each one better than the last.  I don't know if that's because I think her writing keeps getting better, or because I grow to like the characters more and more, but I find that her books are enjoyable and easy to read.  The main character of this one, Katie, grew on me from the last book, showing a deeper, more complex personality than was able to shine through in Deeper We Fall.  She falls into a physical relationship with Stryker in an attempt to erase her feelings for her ex-boyfriend, but as they spend more time together, they find their feelings for each other moving past just the physical.  When things crash down around them, their feelings are put to the test. 

This is certainly a book about romance, but it's a modern take on the subject.  It's also a book about growing up and growing into who you choose to be, even when those choices don't please everyone.

Rating: A Good Read

There are a lot of New Adult books out there, and Chelsea Cameron's are some of the better written of the bunch.  A great way to get introduced to the genre if you're not familiar with it, or a great addition to your collection if you're already a fan. 

Related:      Review of Deeper We Fall                    Review of My Favourite Mistake



Friday, April 19, 2013

Cover Reveal (5): Five New Covet Titles

Today I'm happy to be part of the Cover Reveals for a whole batch of new Covet titles!  Scroll down for a first look at the covers and a brief synopsis of each title.

Gone With The Wolf, Kristin Miller

CEO and alpha werewolf Drake Wilder has given up the search for his one true love. When he discovers that she’s a secretary in his company, Drake’s primal instincts kick into overdrive.

What he wouldn’t give to have her fingers rake over his body instead of the keyboard…

Free-spirited bartender Emelia Hudson wants nothing more than to make her Seattle-based bar succeed. But when profits decline, she slips into a dress suit and secures a nine-to-five. After learning that her bar has become property of Wilder Financial, Emelia is determined to get some answers.

Two can play the ruthless business game. If only her attraction to the boss wasn’t so intense…

When Drake’s twin brother senses that Drake has found his match—and now inherits their father’s billion dollar estate—he hatches a plan to take Emelia out. Drake vows to protect her at all costs, but he might have to pay with his own life.





The Awakening: Aidan, Abby Niles

Is the gift of eternal love a blessing or a curse?

After years of counseling grieving shifters, psychiatrist and half-shifter, Dr. Jaylin Avgar has become jaded on shifter mating. She wants to marry a human and forget about the love for eternity crap. Then she meets Aidan O’Connell, an infuriatingly laid back shifter who represents everything she doesn’t want. Yet, the more he pursues her, the more she craves a future with him. Only one thing stands in her way: death. Can she overcome her fear of losing Aidan to the one guarantee in life?

Millionaire consultant, Aidan O’Connell knows he’ll one day meet a woman who’ll awaken an unrelenting mating instinct. Unfortunately, that woman is Jaylin, who has no qualms about telling him that he and his so-called eternity can shove it. When she pushes him away, he takes a drastic step so she can no longer escape. The close proximity throws the instinct into overdrive. Can he control the need engrained in him until he’s certain she will reciprocate the bond, or will a moment of weakness doom him to hell on earth?



The Demon's Song, Kendra Leigh Castle

The road to Hell is paved with good intentions. At least, that's how it seems to Sofia Rivera when her attempt to help a friend ends in a blood-soaked confrontation with creatures that aren't even supposed to exist. With a group of rogue vampires determined not to leave a single witness to their violence hot on her heels, Sofia finds herself saddled with an immortal bodyguard—Phenex, the fallen Angel of Song. 

While the vampire king roots out the corruption threatening to take down his underworld kingdom, Sofia will have to deal with a fallen angel whose dark beauty is often at odds with his ornery nature. Slowly, Sofia and Phenex give in to the strange attraction neither can deny. And as the darkness closes in around them, Phenex begins to wonder whether even the wickedest Fallen might find his own happy ending...and his heart.






Tall, Dark, and Divine, Jenna Bennett

Being the Greek god of love doesn’t mean you believe--or want--anything to do with that sappy emotion. Sure, Eros runs his matchmaking business, Made in Heaven, but finding his own love has never been part of the equation. When he spots the sweet baker who works across the street, he vows to match her with someone else before she stirs his sullen heart.

Annie Landon has given up on finding Mr. Right. What she needs is Mr. Right Here, Right Now, and this so-called “Greek God” she’s heard is on the rebound sounds like the perfect kind of distraction. But picking up the bitter workaholic is easier said than done…especially when he seems unreasonably determined to match her with someone else.

Can a woman looking for love—and the matchmaking god who wants her to find it with someone who isn’t him—have a shot at a happy ending? May the best god—or mortal—win.


 
Deceiving the Witch Next Door, Melissa Bourbon Ramirez

Down-on-her-luck witch Storie Bell never thought the biggest threat to her future would be Reid Malone, the very man she’d run from years before. After striking it rich in Texas shale, he’s back in town, and he seems hell-bent on getting in the way of her bookstore’s grand opening. A witch trying to blend in in a small southern town is hard enough, but now he’s seriously testing her strict No Kissing Mortal Men policy. But even witches don’t have a spell for that.

Reid knows there’s much more to Storie than meets the eye. But right now he has only one mission: to infiltrate her shop so he can snatch the elusive secret ingredient to his father’s million-dollar moonshine recipe. Once he does, he can go back to the city and get out of his small hometown, a place in which he has no future.

But as the days go by, he can’t help falling for Storie in every way…and every encounter brings him closer to finding out what happens when you try to deceive a witch.