Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Surf & Surrender by Riley Edgewood


Title: Surf & Surrender (Summer Love Series #2)
Author: Riley Edgewood
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: February 23, 2015
Source: ARC from Author
Buy the Book: Amazon / B&N / Kobo
She wants to forget he ever existed. He’d never give up her memory.

Quinn Westwood is completely over Sawyer Carson. He broke her heart years ago and disappeared from her life without a word. So yeah. She’s over him. Never even thinks of him. In fact, she’s spending her college summer break surfing and lifeguarding in the Outer Banks, while nursing a bruised heart from a different relationship gone wrong. She doesn’t have room in her mind or heart for Sawyer—until she runs into him at a beach bonfire and the sparks that fly between them are way hotter than the flames heating the sand.

Sawyer never got over Quinn. The only thing stronger than what he feels for her is the secret keeping them apart, but sharing it would estrous more than just his life—it’d ruin hers, as well. Still, he can’t seem to keep away form her, can’t seem to keep his hands off of her soft, tempting skin. Especially since she has even less self-control when it comes to reigniting the physical side of what made them perfect together.

But secrets have a way of slipping out, and when Sawyer’s is revealed it threatens to shatter everyone involved. He’ll have to face walking away a second time, and Quinn will have to decide if fighting for him is worth it when the fallout could affect more than just her heart, but also those of the people she loves most. 

Late last year, I read Riley Edgewood’s three-part debut Rock & Release and I absolutely loved it. I was so excited to hear that the next book in her New Adult series would be coming out soon after and I was even more excited to be reading it. Needless to say that I liked Surf & Surrender even more than I did the first book.

Quinn has spent the past four year getting over Sawyer Carson. It’s not like she’s had much of a choice. He was there one day and gone the next with no explanation and no matter what Quinn did she couldn’t find a way to get in touch with him. So now she’s over him. Finally ready to move on. And Quinn would definitely be over Sawyer if she hadn’t run in to him a bonfire, reigniting all those old feelings she thought she’d gotten rid of. Sawyer hasn’t been able to move on from Quinn. The time and distance away from her have done nothing but make his feelings stronger. Now that he’s back in town, he wants nothing more than to be with her, but he knows that he can’t. No matter what, Sawyer has to stay away from Quinn. He just doesn’t know if he has the self-control to stay away. And that would be fine, except Quinn has even less self-control. Both Quinn and Sawyer have their secrets and those secrets might tear them apart a second time. 

Guys, Surf & Surrender was addicting. Like read it in day, addicting. And I say that because that’s totally what I did and I don’t regret it. I couldn’t help it though. Every time I told myself I would stop after just one more chapter, I couldn’t do it. And then the next thing I knew an hour had gone by and I was still reading, still telling myself that I would stop after one more chapter. And so the cycle went, until I had read the entire book. But other than being addicting, this story was GOOD. I loved reading about summer in the Outer Banks (I might have also started planning a hypothetical vacation there while reading…) and seeing how everyone was connected. And of course the romance did not disappoint me. Right from the start there is tension and chemistry between Sawyer and Quinn and it just leaps off the page. And thanks to Riley Edgewood I will never look at a surf shop in the same way. Ever. Who knew they could be that sexy? Though that might have had more to do with Sawyer and Quinn.

What I loved about Quinn and Sawyer was that they had a history before this story started. It made reading about them all the more interesting. I wanted to know more about their past, about what happened that brought them to where they are today. And they had some pretty awesome chemistry, no matter how hard they tried to fight it. Did I mention a certain surf shop scene? Because that’s only the beginning of it. And as much as I loved Sawyer and Quinn together, I liked them on their own too. They were both trying to make the best of the situation they were in. I wanted so much for them to get that they wanted, and for them to catch a break. Especially Sawyer. Because I may have developed a soft spot for Sawyer. Beyond just Sawyer and Quinn, Surf & Surrender also had some fantastic secondary characters. I would love to read more about Sawyer’s family, especially his brother because he seems to have so much going on and I want more of him, especially if it meant I got more of Sawyer in the process. And I’m crossing my fingers for a story about Gianna, Quinn’s best friend, because I would read that and I’m pretty sure I would love it.

Surf & Surrender was a great follow up to Rock & Release. The story had just the right mix of sexy, drama and heart. I can’t wait to read whatever comes next from Riley Edgewood.

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Monday, March 2, 2015

Blog Tour - The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows


Title: The Orphan Queen (The Orphan Queen #1)
Author: Jodi Meadows
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: March 10, 2015
Source: ARC from Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository / Indigo
Wilhelmina has a hundred identities.

She is a princess. When the Indigo Kingdom conquered her homeland, Wilhelmina and other orphaned children of nobility were taken to Skyvale, the Indigo Kingdom’s capital. Ten years later, they are the Ospreys, experts at stealth and theft. With them, Wilhelmina means to take back her throne.

She is a spy. Will and her best friend, Melanie, infiltrate Skyvale Palace to study their foes. They assume the identities of nobles from a wraith-fallen kingdom, but enemies fill the palace, and Melanie’s behavior grows suspicious. With Osprey missions becoming increasingly dangerous and their leader more unstable, Will can’t trust anyone.

She is a threat. Wraith is the toxic by-product of magic, and for a century using magic has been forbidden. Still the wraith pours across the continent, reshaping the land and animals into fresh hours. Soon it will reach the Indigo Kingdom. Wilhelmina’s magic might be the key to stopping the wraith, but if the vigilante Black Knife discovers Wil’s magic, she will vanish like all the others.

Jodi Meadows introduces a vivid new fantasy full of intrigue, romance, dangerous magic, and one girl’s battle to reclaim her place in the world.

If you’ve been following me here on the blog or on social media for any length of time, you’ve probably noticed that I don’t tend to read much fantasy. Especially in recent months, I haven’t strayed too far away from contemporary. But every so often I will stray and find myself surprised by how much I’m enjoying a book that’s not contemporary. And most recently that happened with Jodi Meadows’s The Orphan Queen. 

Ten years ago, Wilhelmina watched, helpless, as her parents were killed right in front of her. Now, she and the other One-Night War orphans are the Ospreys, determined to get their kingdom back with Wilhelmina rightfully in her place on the throne. But taking back the kingdom isn’t easy. Wil and her best friend, Melanie, have to sneak into Skyvale Palace and assume new identities in order to observe their enemies. Everything would be going according to plan if Wil didn’t continually cross paths with the mysterious Black Knife. Black Knife isn’t who Wil thought he was, but that doesn’t mean she can be honest with him about her identity. And she especially can’t let him, or anyone, know the truth about her magic.

Before I get into all the things I loved about The Orphan Queen, allow me to take a moment to explain why I so often struggle with fantasy. When I read, I am very much a character person. Sure I care about the plot and the world, but not as much as I do about characters. With fantasy, though, it tends to be about the world as much as it is about the characters. And it makes it harder for me to get into the story, especially since it tends to be told in third person. But The Orphan Queen was different. For starters, it was told in first person which meant I was able to get right into the story. Not only that, but it was relatively light on long-winded descriptions (which is usually where most fantasy reads lose me). It didn’t hurt that the story in The Orphan Queen was captivating and engrossing. It really didn’t take long for me to get dragged in. There were so many mysteries that needed solving and I was curious about all of them. I JUST HAD TO KNOW what was going on. I can’t help it, I’m a naturally curious person. And can we take a moment to talk about that ENDING. If the mysteries throughout the story weren’t enough, that ending has me pretty much begging for the next book. But what really kept me reading this story, what really drew me in, were the characters that Jodi Meadows introduced in this story.

Wil was a pretty badass character if you want to know the truth. I mean, this girl watched her parents be brutally murdered while she couldn’t do anything and has spent the decade since their death trying to get back the kingdom that was taken away from her. No matter how much she has had to go through, she doesn’t stop fighting for what she believes in and protecting the people she cares about. Granted there were times when I wanted to yell at her a little because I knew what she was doing wouldn’t end well. I couldn’t help it, I wanted her to be okay and to make it through everything alive. And sometimes things got really dicy. As awesome Wil was, the supporting characters were just as great. All of them felt fully fleshed out and lie real people while I was reading. And then there was Black Knife. For most of the book, I had no idea who he was. I mean, I had my theories, but because of other things happening my theories didn’t seem possible. Needless to say that I was a strong supporter of Black Knife and because of that there are some things that happened that did not make me happy and make me afraid of book two. And that’s all I’ll say on the matter.

Though I don’t normally read a lot of fantasy, Jodi Meadows’s The Orphan Queen was an absolutely fantastic (pun fully intended) read for me. It’s rare that I get this excited about fantasy and I honestly cannot wait to see where the story will go next.


Be sure to follow the rest of the Canadian The Orphan Queen blog tour!

March 2 - Emilie's Book World
March 3 - Hiver et Cafe
March 4 - Conversations of a Reading Addict
March 5 - Bookish Serendipity
March 6 - A Glass of Wine
March 9 - Stuck in YA Books
March 10 - Read My Breath Away
March 11 - More Than Just Magic
March 12 - Kelsey's Cluttered Bookshelf
March 13 - Lost at Midnight Reviews


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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Cover Reveal - Falling For Alice Anthology + Giveaway!

Today I am taking part in the cover reveal for Falling For Alice, a new anthology all about Alice in Wonderland. For more information about the book, its cover and its contributors, and a giveaway, just keep reading!

Background Information
2015 marks the 150th anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s beloved adventure, Alice in Wonderland—and as you might imagine, a lot of literary peeps are celebrating the occasion.

This story has a special place in millions of young (and old) hearts, including those of the five Young Adult authors in the FALLING FOR ALICE anthology. Today, as we launch the awesome cover for FALLING FOR ALICE, we also celebrate our publisher’s actual birthday (Happy Birthday, Jessica Bell at Vine Leaves Press), and all of YOUR unbirthdays. We hope you get to have your cake and eat it too.



Title: Falling For Alice
Contributors: Dawn Dalton, Shari Green, Denise Jaden, Kitty Keswick, Cady Vance
Publisher: Vine Leaves Press
Release Date: April 24, 2015
New Alice. New Wonderland. New stories to love.

From the modern Alice dumped int eh Aquarian Age of the late sixties, to the present day Alice, tormented by body image and emotional issues, to the Alice of the future, launched forward through time and space, FALLING FOR ALICE offers five fresh takes on Lewis Carroll’s classic tale. For 150 years, people all over the world have fallen under Alice in Wonderland’s spell. Now, follow five Young Adult authors down the rabbit hole to discover Alice like you’ve never seen her before. One thing is certain—this is not your mother’s Alice. 

Keeping up with the birthday theme, the authors were all kind enough to answer a birthday-themed question. Here's what they had to say!

IF YOU COULD ONLY HAVE ONE THEME FOR YOU BIRTHDAY FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

Dawn Dalton
My birthday isn’t anywhere near Halloween, but I wish it was because I’d have a haunted theme every year. Hubs and I go crazy at Halloween, often winning neighbourhood awards for most creepy d├ęcor—my husband even built a coffin where he hides to “scare” the older kids. Plus, we put on an annual feat for out friends that includes spooktacular appetizers like the devilled spider eggs, mummy hot dogs, cheesy bone biscuits, shrimp brains, and so much more. Our guest list increases every year—last Halloween, we had 55 people at our house. 

Shari Green
“Life’s a beach.”

Denise Jaden
I’d probably choose superheroes. There is so much variety within that theme, and my whole family are superhero fans. We’re already stocked on T-shirts and cups, and other fun party supplies. One year it could be Wonder Woman, the next, The Avengers…Plus, it would be a lot of fun to see our friends dressing up as they favorite superheroes.

Kitty Kreswick
Something beach themed—I love the ocean/beach. We’d have the party on the beach and stay well after sunset and have a bonfire. Some great food, sticky fingers BBQ—with a great potato salad and lots of choices of drinks. Maybe even some chocolate, graham crackers, and marshmallow for s’mores.

Cady Vance
It would definitely be Harry Potter because it’s my favorite thing in the entire world, and I would never get tired of dressing up in my Gryffindor garb!

Trailer




Giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Becoming Rain by K.A. Tucker


Title: Becoming Rain (Burying Water #2)
Author: K.A. Tucker
Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: March 3, 2015
Source: ARC from Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository / Indigo / B&N
Luke Boone doesn’t know exactly what his uncle Rust in involved in but he wants in on ti—the cars, the money, the women. And it looks like he’s finally getting his wish. When Rust hands him the managerial keys to the garage, they come with a second set—one that opens up the door to tons of cash and opportunity. Though it’s not exactly legal, Luke’s never been one to worry about that sort of thing. Especially when it puts him behind the wheel of a Porsche 911 and onto the radar of gorgeous socialite named Rain.

Clara Bertelli is at the top of her game—at only twenty-six years old, she’s one of the most successful undercover officers in the Washington D.C. major crime unit, and she’s just been handed a case that could catapult her career and expose one of the west coast’s most notorious car theft rings. But, in order to do it, she’ll need to go deep undercover as Rain Martines. Her target? The twenty-four-year old nephew of a key player who appears ready to follow in his uncle’s footsteps.

As Clara drifts deeper into the luxurious lifestyle of Rain, and further into the arms of her very attractive and charming target, the lines between right and wrong start to blue, making her wonder if she’ll be able to leave it all behind. Or is she’ll even want to.

I am such a huge K.A. Tucker fangirl and I will read and will very likely love just about anything she writes. This was true of her Ten Tiny Breaths series, and it’s been true with her Burying Water series so far. I loved the first book, and the second one, Becoming Rain, completely blew me away.

Luke has always known there was more to his uncle Rust’s business than just an auto-repair shop. Sure, the garage is successful, but there’s no way it could support his uncle’s lifestyle. And Luke wants in on it. He doesn’t care that the dealings may are shady, he wants the women, the cars and the money his uncle’s business seem to bring in. Especially when he meets Rain Martines. What Luke doesn’t know is that Rain isn’t exactly who she says she is. Rain is also Clara, an undercover cop on assignment. And her target? None other than Rust, Luke’s uncle. Clara knows what she has to do in order to take down Rust’s car theft ring. Her assignment is clear: seduce Luke Boone and gain access to the operations. But lines becomes blurred between where Rain ends and Clara begins, especially as she spends more time with Luke. When the time comes, will Clara be able to do what she needs to? And if she does, will Luke ever be able to forgive her?

Oh how I love reading a new K.A. Tucker story. There’s just this feeling when starting a new book by a favourite author that I just won’t ever get tired of. And that feeling was definitely there when I started reading Becoming Rain. When I first received my copy of the book for review, I told myself I would just read a few pages and then go back to what I was supposed to be reading. Yeah, that didn’t happen. I got completely sucked in, and before I knew what was happening, a few pages turned into a few chapters and then that quickly turned into me staying up way too late because I couldn’t put the book down. To say that Becoming Rain was captivating and engrossing would be a serious understatement. With this new series, K.A. Tucker has included an element of mystery to the stories, giving the books an almost thriller feel. And I love it. The whole time I was reading, I was waiting for things to be explained, to see if how I had pieced things together was the way they actually were. And as with any good K.A. Tucker book, the romance was there and it delivered. But of course I can’t talk about the romance without talking about Clara and Luke.

Let me just preface any talk of Clara and Luke by saying that my feelings about them were complicated. I knew what I felt, but there were times when I was conflicted about what I was feeling. But by the end of it, there was no doubt in my mind that I was rooting for Luke and Clara. But rooting for them when for the better part of the book one of them was pretending to be someone else was hard. At first I just felt very conflicted. I was reading and I could see the chemistry between Clara and Luke and I could see that they were attracted to each other. But at the same time, Clara was so against the idea of being attracted to Luke that I started to feel that way. But I still wanted them to be together. Did I mention that my feelings were complicated? Beyond wanting Luke and Clara to be together in spite of everything happening around them, I really loved them as their own people. Sure, there were plenty of moments when I wanted to yell at Luke. When I wanted to tell him that he should turn around now before he got in way over his head. Hell, I’m pretty sure there were times when I was straight up talking at the book as if Luke could actually hear me (I swear, I’m not crazy). But at the same time, I knew that Luke was a good person. He was just stuck in a bad situation. And I could understand Clara’s struggle about the way she felt about Luke because half the time I was right there with her. Through it all Clara was being pulled back and forth between her feelings and her duty as a cop. I really enjoyed seeing her work through all that, and I kept hoping that whatever decision she came to would involve her being with Luke. Because as confused as I was about my feelings about their relationship, I would have been seriously angry if Luke and Clara didn’t find a way to work it out.

K.A. Tucker’s Becoming Rain was absolutely fantastic. If anything, I loved this story even more than I did the first one in this series. It’s a little darker, it’s sexy and it has some of the best characters I’ve read about recently. I”m excited to see whose story K.A. Tucker will be tackling next!

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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

When Joss Met Matt by Ellie Cahill


Title: When Joss Met Matt
Author: Ellie Cahill
Publisher: Balantine Books
Release Date: February 24, 2015
Source: ARC from Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository / Indigo
Ellie Cahill is poised to coin the term “sorbet sex” with her charming twist on the age-old ‘friends-with-benefits’ story.

Dating can be fun, but it can leave a nasty taste in your mouth. For Joss, ever since her longtime boyfriend cheated on her, she doesn’t want her last memory of a guy to be that jerk. Enter her college friend, Matt. They come up with a theory: after a bad break-up, a person needs to cleanse the palate with a little sorbet sex. Lovers for a night, but always back to being friends in the morning. The two can handle it because they have a contract: rules they wrote, rules they follow and rules they can sometimes bend. The arrangement works: everyone needs a little sorbet now and again…until it starts to be the only thing you want. And then Joss breaks the one rule they never wrote down: don’t fall in love.

It’s not a secret that I love New Adult stories. But sometimes, it can start to feel like they’re all similar. That’s not to say that the stories aren’t original, but at the same time it can feel like the same themes and ideas are explored in each of the stories I read. Ellie Cahill’s When Joss Met Matt was refreshingly different and made for a compelling read.

When Joss and Matt met their freshman year of college, they didn’t think they would be anything more than friends. But when Joss’ longtime boyfriend breaks up with her, they make a pact: anytime one of them goes through a break up, the other will be there to offer sex. That way, their last memory of sex won’t be with someone they don’t care about. And that’s how sorbet sex was born. And for a time the arrangement works: Joss and Matt have a contract and rules they follow where sorbet sex is concerned. But what happens when the person you want more than anyone is the person you’re not allowed to have for more than one night? After all, the most important rule of sorbet sex is to not fall in love.

Every so often, a book’s premise sounds so different from what I’ve been reading that it draws me right in and wants me to read the book right away. That’s what happened when I heard about Ellie Cahill’s When Joss Met Matt. I was intrigued by the idea of sorbet sex and how two friends could possibly make this idea work. And then when I started reading, I really liked the way the story was told. The best way to describe it is to say that the story is told in a semi-linear way (or at least that’s how I see it). Basically the story switches back and forth between chapters starting when Joss and Matt first meet during their freshman year of college and chapters set in what I think of as present day. And then eventually the two timelines join up towards the end of the book. Having the story told this way allowed me to really see the history these two characters have together and how they got to be where they are in the present. In a way, it was almost like I was getting two stories. And the one set in the present sometimes had me worried. I knew what I wanted to happen and though I was pretty sure I was going to get what I wanted, there were definitely moments where I started doubting it. But it all worked out and I was one happy reader. Needless to say that When Joss Met Matt was exactly the romantic read I was hoping it would be. Though the romance worked because Joss and Matt just worked together.

I really enjoyed getting to know Matt and Joss over the course of the seven years they’ve known each other. It really allowed me to see how both characters changed and grew to become the people they were in the present. Not only that, but it made their relationship feel that much more realistic. It didn’t happen all at once, it was built up over the course of seven years. So when I say that the romance between Joss and Matt was a slow-burn kind of romance, I mean it. Like I said, their relationship develops over the course of SEVEN YEARS. All that to say I believed in the friendship, and the eventual “more,” between them. On their own, Matt and Joss were great too. And even though I’m feeling a bit like a broken record, getting to know them over the course of seven years allowed me to get a real sense of their respective personalities. In a way, it made me wish that more books were written to cover suck a long timespan. It was just really fun to read their story and I would have gladly kept on reading more about Joss and Matt but, sadly for me, the book ended.

Ellie Cahill’s When Joss Met Matt was just what I was hoping it would be: a New Adult read filled with romance and heart. If you are looking for a romantic read that will cause you both to swoon and pull at your heartstrings, then this is the book for you.

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