Saturday, June 29, 2013

Review: After the Ending (The Ending Series #1) by Lindsey Fairleigh, Lindsey Pogue

After The Ending (The Ending #1)
The first book in a new Post-apocalyptic Romance series.
The Virus spread. Billions died. The Ending began. We may have survived the apocalypse, but the Virus changed us.
When people started getting sick, “they” thought it was just the flu. My roommate, my boyfriend, my family…they’re all gone now. I got sick too. I should have died with them—with the rest of the world—but I didn’t. I thought witnessing the human population almost disappear off the face of the earth was the craziest thing I’d ever experience. I was so wrong. My name is Dani O’Connor, I’m twenty-six-years-old, and I survived The Ending.
The Virus changed everything. The world I knew is gone, and life is backwards. We’ve all had to start over. I’ve been stripped of my home, my dreams…all that is me. I’m someone else now—broken and changed. Other survivors’ memories and emotions haunt me. They invade my mind until I can no longer separate them from my own. I won’t let them consume me. I can’t. My name is Zoe Cartwright, I’m twenty-six-years-old, and I survived The Ending.
We’ve been inseparable for most of our lives, and now our friendship is all we have left. The aftermath of the Virus has stranded us on opposite sides of the United States. Trusting strangers, making sacrifices, killing—we’ll do anything to reach one another. Fear and pain may be unavoidable, but we’re strong…we’re survivors. But to continue surviving in this unfamiliar world plagued by Crazies and strange new abilities, we have to adapt. We have to evolve.
And more than anything, we have to find each other.

Publisher: L2 Books
Publication Date: February 22, 2013
Kat's Review
I have mixed feelings about this book.  I was intrigued enough to keep reading to the end, but there are some issues that took away from my enjoyment.  The biggest issue is the age of the protagonists.  It's mentioned that they're in their twenties, but honestly, I felt that they were teenagers most of the time.  The way they speak with each other, particularly in their emails, reminded me of much younger characters, and I was always surprised when someone mentions their actual age. 
The story follows the alternating narratives of Dani and Zoe, best friends who have survived the Virus and are now trying desperately to get to each other and to safety.  Each woman is traveling with a small group, and they communicate through emails and text messages.  Although I find it hard to believe that the internet would still be working after the Apocalypse, it's a necessary element for this story to work without providing them with the ability to speak in each others' minds across long distances.  However, no one uses the internet for anything else really, which I found kind of odd.  As each woman faces their own set of obstacles and learn about their individual abilities, they share the info with each other.
I liked the premise of the story well enough, and genuinely wanted to know how it would end, but I felt that it was too long, and that the women shared experiences that were eerily similar, including each being the victim of attempted murder at the hands of a woman in love/infatuated with the guy who showed interest in them.  I think I would have enjoyed it more if book one was written from one perspective, with perhaps only the messages from the friend given space.  I'm not sure exactly, but it just felt longer than it should, and it took a long time to get to the good stuff. 
That said, I still wanted to keep reading, and I want to know what happens next. 
Kat's Rating: Worth a Look
I think there's a lot of promise in this series, despite some length and character voice issues.  I have high hopes for the sequel.
I received a complimentary copy of this title from NetGalley & the publisher in return for an honest review.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Review: Scarred (Scarred #1) by J. S. Cooper

Scarred (Scarred #1)
Everyone in Jonesville thought that Bryce Evans had the perfect life in High School: he was the Mayor's son, the quarterback for the football team, the boyfriend of the head cheerleader and had a 4.1 GPA. His acceptance to Notre Dame came as no surprise but when he chose to enlist in the army instead everyone was shocked.
Lexi Jones was the quiet girl in school and kept to her small group of eccentric friends. She had no connection to any of the popular kids except for one incident on Prom Night when her path crossed with Bryce's.
When Bryce enlisted Lexi was the only one that wasn't disappointed and decided to send him anonymous letters as a way to feel connected to him. She stopped after a year because she felt there was nowhere for their relationship to go.
Fast-forward four years and Bryce is back in Jonesville and once again he and Lexi cross paths. Only he's no longer the seemingly perfect man and Lexi's no longer the quiet girl.
This time their relationship is quite different but both of them have secrets from the past and friends that threaten to ruin their chance at happiness together.
Publisher: All Night Reads
Publication Date: March 7, 2013
Kat's Review
The premise of this book, golden boy returning home to look for the mystery girl who kept up his morale during his time in the army with her anonymous letters, caught my attention.  I like books with secrets and a twist, and this one has those.  Ultimately, though, I didn't love the story.  I don't like giving negative reviews.  I know that there will be many, many, people who will enjoy this book, so I'm going to outline what I liked and what I didn't, because there is a lot to like. 
Lexi has tried to put high school behind her, although she hasn't been able to shake her obsession with Bryce, despite the fact that he left town to join the army.  I had trouble really connecting with Lexi because she read as much younger than a twenty-something protagonist.  I certainly don't expect every protagonist to be experienced with men, but I felt that she was just too na├»ve about everyone and everything in general to be believable.  Bryce came across as more age appropriate, but I felt that the supporting characters were almost caricatures of real people- the overly jealous best friend who stabs Lexi in the back, the jealous ex-girlfriend who will stop at nothing to get Bryce back, the best guy friend who really wants to be more but his love interest remains oblivious.  For me, if this novel had been set in high school, I would have bought into the characters a bit more, because they really did come across as teens.
There are some good things here.  Lexi wants to grow up and break free from her past, as does Bryce.  I liked that Bryce was written to have remorse, and to be trying to change his ways.  There are some back stories that might be interesting to delve into in the sequels.  Ultimately though, I found that the plot jumped around too much, that Lexi was a bit wishy-washy for my taste, and the overall plot just didn't hold my attention as much as I had hoped it would.
Rating: Heavy Page Turner
This book has promise, but in the end, it just didn't do it for me. 
I received a complimentary copy of this title from NetGalley & the publisher in return for an honest review. 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Review: Taking Back Forever (Kindrily #2) by Karen Amanda Hooper

Taking Back Forever (Kindrily #2)
*Recommended for ages 15 and older due to mature content.*

Forever is worth the fight.

Maryah erased all memory of her past lives, but she couldn’t erase her soul mate Nathan, or his undying love. Now, Maryah and Nathan have a second chance at a future together, but first Maryah must remember the person she used to be and embrace her supernatural gifts—more than one kindrily member’s life depends on it.

Maryah’s power is Harmony’s best hope of finding her kidnapped soul mate, Gregory. But Harmony isn’t big on asking anyone for help, and she’s tired of waiting, so she’s taking matters into her own hands. Heaven help anyone who stands in her way.
Publisher: Starry Sky Publishing
Publication Date: May 31, 2013
Kat's Review
This is the sequel to Grasping at Eternity, the first book in the Kindrily Series.  I was drawn to the first book by the cover, and the cover to the sequel doesn't disappoint either.  I love the boots.  
This book picks up where the first left off- Maryah is still trying to remember her past lives, and Harmony is searching for Gregory, her kidnapped soul mate.  Much depends on whether or not Maryah can remember the details of what happened when she and Gregory were kidnapped, specifically, what exactly could have made her want to erase.  The longer it takes her to remember, the more impatient and reckless Harmony becomes.  When Harmony gets the chance to confront the man who took her soul mate, things go wrong, and the consequences are severe.  
This is a strong sequel to the first, with some of the focus being shifted from Maryah and Nate to encompass some of the other Kindrily members, which kept things fresh and interesting.  There were a few times that I was reminded of Twilight, particularly the way that Nate keeps wanting to save Maryah's virtue, despite the fact that they're both really hundreds of years old due to how many lives they've led.  Despite a few small things like that, though, I still enjoyed this book.  There's a lot left to discover, and I'm curious to see how it all ends!
Rating: Worth a Look
This series kind of took me by surprise.  I requested the first book to review mainly because I thought the cover was pretty, and I ended up getting more than I had expected.  This book continues the story started in book one, and leaves the reader wanting more. 
I received a complimentary copy of this title from NetGalley & the Publisher in return for an honest review.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Review: Gone with the Wolf (Seattle Wolfpack #1) by Kristin Miller

Gone with the Wolf (Seattle Wolf Pack #1)
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.
Publisher: Entangled: Covet
Publication Date: April 21, 2013
Kat's Review
The werewolf genre is still pretty hot, and this is a definitely a hot new edition!  This is not a teen book, and in case you're wondering, there are no vampires.  Now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's talk Seattle wolf pack. 
Emelia has had her bar bought out from under her by a ruthless businessman, Drake Wilder.  since she can't afford a high powered lawyer to work on her behalf, and Drake keeps ignoring her attempts to contact him, Emelia gets herself a temp position within his company in an attempt to corner him into talking to her.  What she doesn't count on is an inopportune meeting with him where sparks fly, complicating matters. 
Drake is also taken by surprise, realizing that despite the fact that Emelia is a regular human woman, she's his Luminary-the woman destined to be his mate for life.  Although he tries to fight the pull, the more time they spend together, the more he's determined that things between them could work out, if she'd ever give him a chance. 
I would categorize this as a contemporary novel with a twist.  There's no complicated backstory about powers and changing and werewolves.  Actually, without the werewolf element, this could still have made an interesting contemporary romance.  I liked that although Drake was the alpha of his pack, he wasn't an overbearing, domineering man.  Emelia was a woman who knew how to stand her ground, and he never tried to overpower her or treat with as less than his equal. 
The novel has a nice mix of romance, intrigue, and drama, without completely veering off course. 
Rating: Worth a Look
This was a quick, fun read. with a bit of a paranormal twist.  Worth a look.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from NetGalley & the publisher in return for an honest review.

Waiting on Wednesday (17)

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:

A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love.

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan . . .

But for Cath, being a fan is her life — and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?
Publication Date: September 10, 2013
This book sounds like a fun read!  What are you waiting on this week?  Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Cover Reveal: Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott

Today I have the pleasure of participating in the cover reveal for Victoria Scott's forthcoming book, Fire & Flood, and I must say, it's gorgeous!

Unfortunately we have to wait until 2014 to get our hands on it, but I think it will be worth the wait!

What do you think of the cover?  Let me know in the comments! 

You might also like:

Review: The Collector

Monday, June 24, 2013

Book Blitz: Precious Things by Stephanie Parent

Welcome to the Precious Things Book Blitz, hosted by Xpresso Book Tours!  Precious Things is a New Adult Contemporary story, and will be on sale for .99 for the duration of the blitz, June 24-30.  I've also got a great giveaway of one ebook copy, and it's open internationally.  Enter below!
Precious Things by Stephanie Parent
Publication date: June 4th 2013
Genre: New Adult Contemporary
Isabelle Andrews isn’t supposed to be here. She isn’t supposed to be a freshman at Hartford Community College, she isn't supposed to be living at home and working at her dad’s failing bakery, and she definitely isn’t supposed to be taking Intro to Electronic Music Production, a class that will get her nowhere toward her goal of an English Lit Ph.D. by age twenty-five. But when her dad’s latest business fiasco eats up her college fund, Hartford Community College is exactly where Isabelle finds herself—and thanks to her late enrollment, she doesn’t even get to choose her classes. Stuck with Electronic Music and way-too-easy English courses, Isabelle is determined to wallow in all the misery she feels entitled to.

But community college brings some unexpected benefits…like the fact that a certain overworked, over-scheduled Electronic Music professor hands over most of his duties to his teaching assistant. His tall, green-eyed, absolutely gorgeous teaching assistant. When TA Evan Strauss discovers Isabelle’s apathy toward electronic music—and, well, all music—he makes it his mission to convert her. The music Evan composes stirs something inside Isabelle, but she can’t get involved—after all, she’ll be transferring out as soon as possible.

Still, no matter how tightly Isabelle holds on to her misery, she finds it slipping away in the wake of all Hartford Community offers: new friendships, a surprisingly cool poetry professor, and most of all, Evan. But Evan’s dream of owning his own music studio is as impractical as Isabelle’s dad’s bakery, and when Evan makes a terrible decision, everything Isabelle has gained threatens to unravel. Soon Isabelle discovers that some of the most important lessons take place outside the classroom…and that in life, as in Evan’s favorite Depeche Mode song, the most precious things can be the hardest to hold on to.

Stephanie Parent is a graduate of the Master of Professional Writing program at USC and attended the Baltimore School for the Arts as a piano major. She moved to Los Angeles because of Francesca Lia Block's WEETZIE BAT books, which might give you some idea of how much books mean to her. She also loves dogs, books about dogs, and sugary coffee drinks both hot and cold.

Author Links
GIVEAWAY!  Enter below for your chance to win an ebook copy of Precious Things.  Good Luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, June 21, 2013

Review: Painted Hands: A Novel by Jennifer Zobair

Painted Hands: A Novel
Muslim bad girl Zainab Mir has just landed a job working for a post-feminist, Republican Senate candidate. Her best friend Amra Abbas is about to make partner at a top Boston law firm. Together they’ve thwarted proposal-slinging aunties, cultural expectations, and the occasional bigot to succeed in their careers. What they didn’t count on? Unlikely men and geopolitical firestorms.

When a handsome childhood friend reappears, Amra makes choices that Zainab considers so 1950s—choices that involve the perfect Banarasi silk dress and a four-bedroom house in the suburbs. After hiding her long work hours during their courtship, Amra struggles to balance her demanding job and her unexpectedly traditional new husband.

Zainab has her own problems. She generates controversy in the Muslim community with a suggestive magazine spread and friendship with a gay reporter. Her rising profile also inflames neocons like Chase Holland, the talk radio host who attacks her religion publicly but privately falls for her hard. When the political fallout from a terrorist attempt jeopardizes Zainab's job and protests surrounding a woman-led Muslim prayer service lead to violence, Amra and Zainab must decide what they’re willing to risk for their principles, their friendship, and love.
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Publication Date: June 11, 2013
Kat's Review
Let's cut to the chase:  I Loved This Book.  Period. 
What?  You want more?  FINE.
This author wrote a novel that should be a simple story depicting the lives of several women who struggle to make the choices that are right for them despite the cultural and religious expectations of family and friends.  However, with the tense relations between many Muslim and non-Muslim Americans still so prevalent today, this really is a brave story showing the struggles that Muslim women face both from within the Muslim community and from society at large.  I love that this isn't a one size fits all approach, or an attempt to paint all Muslims with a single brush. 
At first I was concerned that the women were going to be one dimensional in their differences.  Zainab, who is for the most part a secular American woman, working in politics and eschewing any talk of domesticity, and Amra, who is a high powered lawyer but falls for a childhood crush and trades everything in for domesticity and a house in the suburbs.  Instead, the novel delves into the nuances of each woman's choices, showing in unflinching detail the conflict and compromise each makes along the way.  Although Zainab and Amra are the two main characters, there is a strong supporting cast of characters, from the white female office worker who falls for a Muslim man and then coverts to a particularly strict form of Islam when he leaves her, to Amra's new husband, struggling to understand Amra's dedication to her job and questioning her dedication to him, to Chase Holland, who vilifies Muslims for a living but finds himself in love with one against all odds. 
I'm sure there will be people who will criticize the portrayal of Islam in this book, claiming that the author simplified this or glossed over that, but I disagree.  There's not one face of Islam, not one way that people worship, for right or for wrong.  Within every culture and every religion people live their lives in a multitude of ways, reconciling their faith (or lack thereof) with their day to day choices.  That, for me, is what this book is really about.  Recognizing that there is that diversity within the Muslim community, and that each path followed has its own set of outcomes.  Hopefully, people can approach this as what it is- a wonderful work of fiction with well-drawn characters and a realistic plot that gets people thinking, regardless of where their beliefs lie. 
Rating: All-Consuming
Did I mention that I loved this book?  No?  Go get it.  It's worth every cent you'll pay.  I got an advanced ebook copy of it, but with that gorgeous cover, I'll be buying a hardcover copy to keep.
I received a copy of this title from NetGalley and the publisher in return for an honest review.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Review: The Oathbreaker's Shadow by Amy McCollugh

The Oathbreaker's Shadow (The Knots Sequence #1)
Fifteen-year-old Raim lives in a world where you tie a knot for every promise that you make. Break that promise and you are scarred for life, and cast out into the desert.

Raim has worn a simple knot around his wrist for as long as he can remember. No one knows where it came from, and which promise of his it symbolises, but he barely thinks about it at all—not since becoming the most promising young fighter ever to train for the elite Yun guard. But on the most important day of his life, when he binds his life to his best friend (and future king) Khareh, the string bursts into flames and sears a dark mark into his skin.

Scarred now as an oath-breaker, Raim has two options: run, or be killed.

A gripping YA action-adventure fantasy, the first part of a planned duology.
Publisher: Random House, Doubleday Canada
Publication Date: June 6, 2013
Kat's Review
I love supporting Canadian authors, so I jumped at the chance to review a copy of this book.  The cover is incredible, and the synopsis intrigued me.  It sounded like such an adventurous story, the type I would want my sons to read when they're old enough. 
Ms. McCulloch builds a complex world that requires quite a bit of investment on the part of the reader, particularly for the first third of the book.  This could get a bit tedious for some readers, but I think that it makes sense as the book goes on.  The main character, Raim, has been bound to keep a promise he didn't make, and when he somehow breaks that promise, he's exiled from everything he knows.  After learning some valuable lessons among the group of other oath breakers he's condemned to live with in exile, Raim decides to return to his people, beginning his dangerous desert adventure to go back home. 
There's a lot of magic and mysticism in this novel, and a cast of many, many characters.  I enjoyed the struggle and the push and pull between loyalty, duty, and staying true to what's right.  I think the book could have been shorter, and sometimes felt that there were unnecessary scenes or perhaps too much description or passages of information that could have been better integrated into the story.  Still, I was compelled to keep reading and I'm intrigued to see where the story goes from here.  Without the need to world-build quite so much in the sequel, I'm anticipating a tighter, more fast paced read.  I'm looking forward to it.
Rating: A Good Read
Despite some long descriptions and a lot of world-building, there's a classic David and Goliath type story at work here that has a lot of promise.  I'm looking forward to the sequel.
I received a complimentary copy of this title from NetGalley & the publisher in return for an honest review.

Review: Georgetown Academy Book Four

Georgetown Academy: Book Four
When the vice president resigns and Ellie and Taryn’s parents emerge as the frontrunners, the girls find themselves back in the spotlight.

Ellie could not care less about becoming the Second Daughter, but she knows how much the opportunity to make history means to her mother – and women everywhere. With her family taking center stage, Ellie must decide whether she can put her feelings for Gabe on hold - again.

Taryn, so used to captivating the hearts and minds of everyone she meets, is unbothered by the increased media scrutiny. But an inopportune screw-up has her beholden to an unlikely – and unfriendly – source for help.

Overnight, Evan has skyrocketed from social pariah to Miss Popular. As she and her reluctant parents adjust to her new lifestyle, the last thing she needs is a front-page scandal.

Brinley can’t stop thinking about her Stowe-bound hook-up…until her father’s intern, Patrick, starts flirting. Is it time to abandon her fling now that she has a more appropriate suitor?

With the second highest office in the land up for grabs, everyone is picking sides. But where does the heart lie when duty, truth, and love collide?
Publisher: Coliloquy, LLC
Publication Date: June 11, 2013
Kat's Review
Book Four of the Georgetown Academy series doesn't disappoint.  I actually think this is the best book in the series.  The characters are evolving and maturing, and the storyline is tighter.  The authors manage to wrap up the storylines started in the first three books of the series while simultaneously setting the stage for what's to come in the next set of books.  
I mentioned this in my review for Book Three, but Brinley is growing on me.  She may be the most complex and conflicted character in the series, despite her self-assured manner and seemingly unshakeable convictions.  Watching her question everything she stands for while falling in love with someone who is exact opposite of everything she ever thought she'd want was my favourite part of the book. 
Once again, the authors manage to throw together unlikely characters and force them to form alliances that stretch the bounds of their beliefs.  It's an interesting combination of teen love, political ambition, and the struggles of growing up in the spotlight.  The authors have appropriately labeled the first four book in this series Season One, wrapping up the first phase in the show that is Georgetown Academy. 
Rating: A Good Read
The Georgetown Academy books are quick, fun reads that could be torn straight from the gossip pages.  Interested in finding out more about where it all began?  Check out my reviews for Books One, Two and Three
Guess what?  A "boxed set" style collection has recently been released!  Here's your chance to purchase all four online books in one go, for a great price.  Enjoy the Georgetown Academy series uninterrupted from the start.  
I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher in return for an honest review.
Purchase:  AMAZON

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (16)

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:

Crash into You (Pushing the Limits #3)
From acclaimed author Katie McGarry comes an explosive new tale of a good girl with a reckless streak, a street-smart guy with nothing to lose, and a romance forged in the fast lane

The girl with straight As, designer clothes and the perfect life-that's who people expect Rachel Young to be. So the private-school junior keeps secrets from her wealthy parents and overbearing brothers...and she's just added two more to the list. One involves racing strangers down dark country roads in her Mustang GT. The other? Seventeen-year-old Isaiah Walker-a guy she has no business even talking to. But when the foster kid with the tattoos and intense gray eyes comes to her rescue, she can't get him out of her mind.

Isaiah has secrets, too. About where he lives, and how he really feels about Rachel. The last thing he needs is to get tangled up with a rich girl who wants to slum it on the south side for kicks-no matter how angelic she might look.

But when their shared love of street racing puts both their lives in jeopardy, they have six weeks to come up with a way out. Six weeks to discover just how far they'll go to save each other.
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: November 26, 2013

I'm a big fan of Katie McGarry, and Isaiah is a character I've grown to love, so I can't wait to hear his story. 
What are you Waiting On?  Let me know in the comments below.  Thank you for stopping by!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Review: Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not? by Thompson Square and Travis Thrasher

Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not?
Daniel and Casey were an unlikely couple back in high school when they came together to write music for a school event. Struggling against their differences, they dated during college, but their relationship never seemed quite right. Yet despite their personal conflict, as songwriters they had undeniable chemistry—and several hit songs. Eventually they went their own ways, both trying to make it in the music world and find true love.

Years later, both Daniel and Casey are at rock bottom, still trying to find success. But when they connect again as old friends, they realize that what they needed was right in front of them all along: each other.

From Thompson Square, a married twosome who knows a little something about what it’s like to overcome years of struggle in the music business and find love, Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not? is a charming and humorous love story about coming of age, knowing where you belong, and finding the perfect person to share life with.
Publisher: Howard Books
Publication Date: June 4, 2013

Kat's Review
I want to start this review by pointing out the cover- it's beautiful.  It reminds me of being a teenager and climbing out my bedroom window to the roof over the garage and hanging out with my next- door neighbour Andre, who would throw rocks at my window to get my attention.  I'm a sucker for a good book cover, and this one drew me in.  I'm also a music fanatic, and hung out with the kids in rock bands back in high school, so the synopsis also caught my attention.  I went into this one with high expectations.
The book follows the story of Daniel and Casey, from when they meet in high school until their mid-thirties.  The story jumps from past to present and everywhere in between, and from Casey's to Daniel's perspective.  I didn't mind that too much, but if you like your stories linear, this one might drive you nuts.   Daniel is the rocker musician, whose dream is to become a rock star, while Casey is a country girl at  heart.  When they are thrown together at school for an extra-curricular project, they write a song together, thus beginning the magic of their shared song writing. 
There are a few things that I had a hard time overlooking in this book.  Casey and Daniel are in high school in the mid-90's, but there are some cultural references that are a bit out of place.  At one point there is a reference to one of their teachers writing lyrics to a Lady Gaga song, which doesn't make sense for the time period.  Also, I found both characters to be likeable as teens, but much less likeable as adults.  Certainly some of that is due to the hardships both face over the years, but some of it I can't account for.  There are a lot of references to how old they are, and to be honest I almost felt as though they were characters in their mid to late forties in the present.

However, the storyline is a love story, and does portray some of the realistic aspects of becoming an adult.  The difficulties Casey and Daniel faced while trying to maintain a long distance relationship in college, the realization that your life isn't working out the way you hoped it would, relationships that last longer than they should out of a sense of obligation- all these are problems faced by real people.  I liked the music references, and rooted for Casey and Daniel to make it in the end.

Rating: Worth a Look

I think the book could have been stronger, or perhaps more tightly written and a bit shorter, but overall there is a good story here.  It's a bit of a nostalgic trip through time if you were a high school student in the 90s.  There are also several country music references that will be enjoyable to fans of the genre.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from NetGalley & the publisher in return for an honest review.

Purchase: AMAZON

FRIGID Pre-Order Promo & Chapter Reveal

Hello Jennifer Armentrout (J. Lynn) fans!  I've got something special to share with you today.  Did you read Wait For You and are now eagerly awaiting Frigid?  Me too!  Guess what?  Today is an exciting day - I have FOUR HUGE SURPRISES for you!

Jennifer L. Armentrout's (writing as J. Lynn) FRIGID is set to release on e-book at the end of July. If you're anything like me, you're probably on pins and needles and just cannot wait to get your hands on a copy of this book.

FRIGID has already been given the honor of being named a Romantic Times Top Pick and I'm super excited for you to be able to read it as well! Well, there's good news!

Due to all the excitement surrounding FRIGID,  there is a special e-book pre-order promotion.  A deal has been worked out with the distributor to release FRIGID a full two weeks early -- on JULY 15th!!! -- if we meet our e-book pre-order goal. EEEEP! That's right, if you are like the rest of us and want to be able to read FRIGID in its entirety before its original release date, all you have to do is PRE-ORDER THE E-BOOK NOW! What are you waiting for? GO! Pre-order it!

Pre-Order Links: Barnes & Noble / Amazon

Need something to hold you over until FRIGID releases? Well, starting right now, you can read the first three chapters of FRIGID for free! Just read below!



Can’t get enough of the hot FRIGID cover? Want to see some behind the scenes photos that are sure to make you swoon? You’re in luck! Below you can watch a slideshow of all the behind the scenes photos from the photo shoot! Go on and watch it. I’ll wait, because there is still one more great surprise!


And last but not least, if you live near Philadelphia, PA, you're in for a very special treat -- Jennifer will be in Philly in November signing not only FRIGID but also the last book in her immensely popular COVENANT series, SENTINEL! But that's not all, Adam, the super hot cover model from FRIGID will be there as well! So, yes, you'll get to meet Jennifer and Adam! Plus, there will be other great prizes that you seriously won't want to miss out on (dinner with the author and model, perhaps?)! Stay tuned for more details to come!


We hope you're as excited as we are! So now....Go pre-order FRIGID! Go read those chapters! Go watch that slideshow! And Enjoy!


Sunday, June 16, 2013

Review: Act Like You Love Me (Accidentally in Love #2) by Cindi Madsen

Act Like You Love Me (Accidentally In Love #2)
What would you do for a second chance with your first crush?
Brynn McAdams isn’t the awkward drama geek she was in high school—she’s grown up and confident, or at least she likes to think so. But when her old crush, the impossibly handsome and impossibly unattainable Sawyer Raines, comes back to town to direct her community play, Brynn finds herself determined to be someone other than the girl he doesn’t even recognize. Good thing she’s an excellent actress.

After his bad breakup in NYC, the last thing Sawyer wants is to get involved with another actress. But the glamorous and beautiful Brynn draws him in, even though as her director, he knows she’s off-limits. There’s just something about the woman that feels…familiar. Like home.

As Brynn’s lies start to snowball, she struggles to stop acting and come clean. But what if Sawyer is already falling for the fake Brynn, not the Brynn she truly is?
Publisher: Entangled: Bliss
Publication Date: June 10, 2013
Kat's Review
This novel is about growing up and letting go of the past.  Brynn is shocked when her high school crush returns to their hometown and ends up directing the play she's the star of, while he renovates his parents' house.  He's only in town temporarily, preparing to move back to New York and continue pursuing his dream of writing movies.  When he mistakes Brynn for an actress from L.A., Brynn doesn't have the nerve to tell him that she's really the girl he didn't remember from high school, who now runs her parents' Bait and Tackle shop. 
Brynn is a woman stuck in the past.  She had a difficult time in high school, and it's obvious that her insecurities have carried into the present.  When Sawyer shows interest in her, instead of being herself, she puts on a persona of the woman she thinks he would be interested in, certain that who she really is wouldn't be enough.  Sometimes I got frustrated with Brynn's character, particularly when her moods changed on a dime, but I empathized with her insecurities.  It can difficult for people to let go of an image of who themselves based on the past, and have the confidence to envision a different future. 
Sawyer was a nice guy with some issues of his own.  Burned by an actress in the past, and determined not to get to close to anyone again, he approaches his relationship with Brynn as a fling.  As things get more serious, he has a difficult time trying to reconcile his feelings for her with his dreams for his career.  When he learns of Brynn's deception, it throws a huge wrench in their relationship. 
This is a sweet romance, with nothing too hot or steamy.  It's a story of two people getting to know each other while working through their individual issues and trying to find a way to trust.  There were times when I felt that they were a bit too one dimensional, but the story was fun and I was rooting for them to get together in the end. 
Rating: Worth a Look
This was a sweet, romantic read, perfect for a rainy afternoon or a lazy day in a hammock with a glass of lemonade.  The characters had real people problems, and no one was written as larger than life.  I enjoyed it.
I was provided a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher in return for an honest review.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Review: Dance of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

Dance of the Red Death
by Bethany Griffin

Everything is on fire.
Araby Worth’s city is being torn apart by death, disease, and corrupt forces wanting to claim it for their own. She has lost her home. Her best friend is dying. Her mother has been kidnapped. The boys who made her feel something again has betrayed her. And her father may be a murderer.
But Araby has found herself.
Despite the death and destruction all around her, she will fight for herself, for her friends, for her city. Her rebellion will take her, finally, to the mad prince’s palace, for the decadent –and sinister—masked ball. It could be a trap. It could be the end of them all. Or it could be the moment that Araby becomes the kind of hero she never dreamed she could be.
The tragic, dark, and steamy conclusion to Bethany Griffin’s Masque of the Red Death saga.
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Publication Date: June 11, 2013

Kat's Review

The sequel to Masque of the Red Death is an engaging and satisfying conclusion to Araby's story.  Even if you haven't read the first, there's enough explanation in this one to bring a reader up to speed quickly, without dwelling too much on the first novel.  We join Araby, Elliott, April, Will, and Kent, as they try to navigate their way to the swamp without being discovered.  April has been infected, Araby has been betrayed by Will, and no one is sure what their next steps should be. 

Araby is determined to return to the city to find her father and demand answers that might be able to safe April, while Elliott wants to assemble an army to take over and become leader.  The mistrust between Elliott and Will is clear from the start, although they find themselves working together to achieve their goals.  I found Araby to be a bit difficult to read.  I thought that she trusted too easily at times, but then was overly cautious and suspicious at others.  I wasn't entirely convinced of the budding romance between her and Elliott, and thought that Araby often ignored clues to his personality that were more than slightly obvious. 

I did like that she became more self-sufficient and determined than she had been before, and wasn't afraid to stand up for herself.  She was making decisions based on the outcome she wanted, and wasn't afraid to use all the skills at her disposal to protect herself and those she cares about.  While there is a romantic element to the story, she doesn't allow herself to get so lost in her emotions that she's unable to think for herself. 

Rating: A Good Read

This book has action and strategy and suspense with a dash of romance thrown in for good measure.  Many loose ends are tied up, but there is still enough left open that the author could revisit the story in the future is she desires.  A good read.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from Edelweiss & the publisher in return for an honest review.