Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday (#27)

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly event that's hosted by Breaking the Spine. It spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week, I'm waiting on...

Title Little & Lion
Author Brandy Colbert
Release Date August 8, 2017

When Suzette comes home to Los Angeles from her boarding school in New England, she isn't sure if she'll ever want to go back. L.A. is where her friends and family are (along with her crush, Emil). And her stepbrother, Lionel, who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, needs her emotional support.

But as she settles into her old life, Suzette finds herself falling for someone new...the same girl her brother is in love with. When Lionel's disorder spirals out of control, Suzette is forced to confront her past mistakes and find a way to help her brother before he hurts himself--or worse.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25062038-little-lion

* What are you waiting on this Wednesday? Share your links in the comments below and I'll be sure to drop by! *

Monday, July 10, 2017

Spotlight/Giveaway: Paper Hearts

Title Paper Hearts
Series Heartbreak Chronicles, book 2
Author Ali Novak
Release Date July 4, 2017
Publisher Sourcebooks Fire
ISBN 9781492653363

“I’m sorry,” he said, slowly untying the ribbon that held his mask in place. “It’s just—I didn’t want you to think of me any differently.”

Somehow I kept my mouth from falling open. I knew his face, but my mind couldn’t accept that he was the person looking down at me.

“My real name is Alec.”

Felicity has her entire future planned. Ever since her older sister ran away, she’s had the full weight of her mother’s expectations on her shoulders. So she works hard to get straight As and save for college.

Except sometimes the best things in life are unplanned—like when Felicity meets a handsome, masked stranger while she is volunteering at a charity masquerade ball. She never thought he’d flirt with her. And she certainly never thought he’d turn out to be a member of the world-famous Heartbreakers band, Alec.

Then Felicity uncovers a shocking family secret. Suddenly, she, Alec, and her two best friends are off on a road trip to find Felicity’s missing sister. And she’s about to discover that unexpected turns have a peculiar way of landing her right where she needs to be…
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22741571-paper-hearts

Buy Links



Excerpt


“When I first saw you standing there,” he said, “I thought you were someone else.”
Of course
, I thought. Here we go again. I knew what his answer would be, but I asked, “Really, who?”
“Don’t laugh, but I thought you were Violet James. She’s the actress in—”
He’d asked me not to, but I couldn’t help but laugh. “Yeah, I know who she is.”
Violet James, a.k.a. vampire princess Lilliana LaCroix from Immortal Nights. The show was her first starring role, and ever since it aired, people insisted we could be twins. I didn’t see it. Violet had pale hair and light-brown, almost golden eyes, which was a stark contrast to my red mane and green ones. Yet, whenever I ventured into the touristy areas of LA, people would stop me on the street to ask for an autograph.
It wasn’t that I hated being compared to Violet. After all, she was beyond gorgeous, but it always came up when I met someone new. It didn’t matter who the person was. I could be meeting the president of the United States or the Little Mermaid, and sooner or later they would point out the resemblance. In fact, I’d heard it so many times that I knew exactly how the conversation would go. Normally I was asked personal questions about Violet (as if looking
like someone gave you the power to read their mind), when the next season would start (suddenly I had insider information?), and if I could do that Lilliana quote that everybody seemed to love. (No, I’m not quoting a sex scene!)
But tonight something entirely different happened. Aaron went off script.
“As soon as you glanced my way, I knew you weren’t her.” He said this like it was amusing.
“When Violet looks at you, she has a way of making you feel minuscule even if you’re six feet tall.” Aaron spoke about Violet as if they knew each other, but he was quick to change the subject. “So you never said. What are you doing here tonight?”
“Oh, I volunteer for the CCA.”
For the first time since I met him, Aaron smiled. It was one of those slow half grins, and my lips tugged up in response. “Normally my dad has to drag me to these social events, but I have a friend who”—he hesitated, his smile disappearing—“has a close connection to the cause.”
…meaning his friend has cancer. Or has a family member with cancer. Either way, it was terrible. My first thought was to offer some type of condolence, but I didn’t know anything about his friend’s situation, and Aaron clearly wasn’t willing to get into the details. The best thing I could do was be friendly and maybe try to wrangle another smile out of him.
“Well, you’ll be happy to hear that my particular job is integral to the cause,” I said, splaying a hand against my chest. “I spent the earlier part of my evening working coat check.”
This made him laugh. It wasn’t loud or long, but there was enough of a chuckle to make my heart flutter.
“In this heat?” And as if to make a point, he unbuttoned his tuxedo jacket and tugged it off. After folding it neatly and setting it down between us, he reached for his bow tie. “Do you
mind if I…?”
“Nope.” I grinned and kicked off my heels. “Oh, thank God. These evil things remind me why I’m not fond of formal wear.” As fun as it was to get dressed up in a ball gown, the pain in my feet was far from glamorous.
“Aside from your dress,” he said, and I couldn’t tell if he was teasing me or asking a question.
Dammit, we’re back to this topic again?
“I honestly don’t care about the stain.” I glanced down at the brown spot. Now that it was dry, it was much less noticeable. “It’s just…” I didn’t know how to explain my plan to return the dress without sounding horrible. Aaron didn’t prompt me further. He sat there, staring at me until I figured out what to say. “Okay, I’ll tell you why I flipped, but if I do, you’re going to think less of me.”
Aaron looked me directly in the eye. “I highly doubt that.”
“Wanna bet?” I asked, but I didn’t wait to hear his answer. “I left the price tag on.”
He was quiet for a moment as he considered my words. “That makes you a bad person?”
“Yeah, because I was going to wear it and return it. Look, I’ve never done something like that before, but all the volunteers had to dress up for the ball and I don’t own any formal dresses, and this was the least expensive one I could find, but tuition at Stanford is going to be ridiculous and—”
Before I could finish, he held up a hand to cut off my rambling. “No. I don’t think you would have done that.”
“How do you know?”
“I’m an excellent judge of character,” he said, like it was a fact and not his own opinion.
“How does that work? Wait, don’t tell me… Intuition? Spidey senses?”
Aaron shook his head.
“Then what?” I demanded. I needed to know how he understood something about me before I did, especially considering we’d just met. Because as soon as Aaron announced that I wouldn’t return the dress, I knew he was right. I didn’t have the guts to follow through.
“Because,” he said matter-of-factly. “I’ve never seen anyone look as guilty as you do over something they haven’t actually done.”
He stood and brushed off his pants, and I was positive he was ditching me—which, I realized, is probably a good thing, because our entire encounter thus far had been mortifying. But then he did something I didn’t expect. He sucked in a quick breath and held out his hand.
“Would you like to go for a walk?” he asked, gesturing at the gardens.
He seemed eager and cautious in the same instant, and it put every humiliating second from tonight out of my head. I glanced down at his outstretched fingers, and a slow smile worked its way onto my lips.
Okay, cute guy. Why not?
I put my hand in his and let him lead the way.

About the Author

Ali Novak writes contemporary young adult romance and is a recent graduate of the University of Madison Wisconsin's creative writing program. She wrote her first full length novel, My Life with the Walter Boys, at the age of fifteen. Since posting the story online, it has received more than 33 million reads and is now published by Sourcebooks Fire.

Giveaway

Open to US & Canada Residents Only!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Book Review: Behind the Hands That Kill

Title Behind The Hands That Kill
Series In the Company of Killers, book 6
Author J. A. Redmerski
Release Date May 7, 2016

Even professional killers need vacations, but for Victor Faust, his vacation in Venezuela is about more than relaxation and time alone with Izabel Seyfried. It is a chance for him to come clean to Izabel: to tell her the truth about why he sent her to Italy with his brother, the truth behind his interest in Nora Kessler, and about his knowledge of Izabel’s child with her former captor. But before Victor can spill his soul, reality proves that for some killers, vacations are just pipe-dreams.

Attacked and kidnapped, Izabel finds herself stuffed in a suitcase, while Victor later wakes up imprisoned in a cage. In any other situation, Victor would find a way out and save himself and the woman he loves—but not this time. When the identities of their kidnappers are revealed, Victor loses all hope, and begins the mental process of accepting his and Izabel’s last moments together. And Izabel’s final moments of life.

As if his circumstances are not complicated enough, members of Vonnegut’s Order are finally closing in on Victor. And when they do, he comes face-to-face with someone else he once knew and loved, who could either help him, or make a grave situation much worse. Victor’s past has finally caught up with him: the women he has cared for, loved, and killed; the families he has destroyed; the unforgivable crimes he has committed. And now he must face the consequences, and pay the ultimate price for absolution.

But when it is all over, Victor may not have the strength to pick up what is left and move on. Because the event changes him. Because love changed him. And because, unlike before when he thought it is was for the best, he cannot imagine a life without Izabel in it.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26160134-behind-the-hands-that-kill
Review

Reviews for previous books: book one, book two, book three, book four, and book five. There may be spoilers for previous books in this review. You have been warned!

So in The Black Wolf, we get a glimpse of something between Izabel and Niklas. It feels like there's this chemistry between them that's pulling them together. After reading Behind the Hands That Kill, I think I want that explored even more than after reading The Black Wolf (and I really wanted it then).

As a reader, I completely expect characters to undergo change throughout a series. Unfortunately, I'm not sure I like the direction that Victor's headed in. He doesn't feel like the same man. I know that makes little sense. How can he feel like the same man if he's changing, right? I don't know how to explain it, I guess. I think the best way for me to explain it is this... Izabel is changing into a fiercer, more badass version of herself. Victor is turning into a syrupy, more mushy version of himself. I can't see them together anymore. Perhaps that part of the reason I'd be down to explore a relationship between her and Niklas (who still retains his badassness).

Behind the Hands That Kill is definitely a filler book (the very first) in the series. It does, however, lay a pretty solid foundation for what's coming next in the series, taking down Vonnegut. While this book wasn't the strongest of the series, I'm still excited to read more.

Rating

3 out of 5 stars

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Book Review: Damaged Like Us

Title Damaged Like Us
Series Like Us, book 1
Author Krista & Becca Ritchie
Release Date June 27, 2016

Don’t date your bodyguard.
It was the one rule he had to break.

Maximoff Hale is a force of nature. A ship unwilling to be steered. Headstrong, resilient, and wholly responsible — the twenty-two-year-old alpha billionaire can handle his unconventional life. By noon, lunch can turn into a mob of screaming fans. By two, his face is all over the internet.

Born into one of the most famous families in the country, his celebrity status began at birth.

He is certified American royalty.

When he’s assigned a new 24/7 bodyguard, he comes face-to-face with the worst case scenario: being attached to the tattooed, MMA-trained, Yale graduate who’s known for “going rogue” in the security team — and who fills 1/3 of Maximoff's sexual fantasies.

Twenty-seven-year-old Farrow Keene has one job: protect Maximoff Hale. Flirting, dating, and hot sex falls far, far out of the boundary of his bodyguard duties and into “termination” territory. But when feelings surface, protecting the sexy-as-sin, stubborn celebrity becomes increasingly complicated.

Together, boundaries blur, and being exposed could mean catastrophic consequences for both.

The Like Us series is a true series, one continuous timeline, that follows a family of wealthy celebrities and the people that protect them. Damaged Like Us can be read and enjoyed without reading any of Krista & Becca's other novels.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21427834-damaged-like-us
Review

This is such a difficult book for me to review. Krista & Becca have written 12 other books that I've read and absolutely loved. The Addicted series is my favorite new adult series. The Aerial Ethereal books were also fantastic. I'm always excited to read their next book. To say that I was excited for the Like Us series is a bit of an understatement.

Unfortunately, Damaged Like Us just didn't work for me. Chances are, if I had never read anything by Krista & Becca before, I would probably feel less disappointed. However, I've come to expect a book that's full of emotion, a solid story, and characters that I fall in love with from them. Damaged Like Us just didn't give me that.

Let's start with the biggest part of the book, the romance. It was wonderful to see more diversity in Krista & Becca's work with the M/M couple. However, Maximoff and Farrow's relationship felt so different than any other relationship they've ever written. There was a distinct lack of emotional connection between them. It felt like their entire relationship, as well as the majority of the book, was focused on sex. I get it, some relationships are more sexual than others. There's nothing wrong with that at all. But how am I supposed to believe this couple fell in love and will stand the test of time if that's all I see? How is their relationship any different than Moffy's one-night stands? (If you answer is because Farrow's still around in the morning, no. That's just disappointing.) This was the biggest letdown of the entire book. I didn't feel their connection. Krista & Becca's previous works were believable, realistic romances that I fell in love with. This relationship missed the mark completely.

The big twist that brought to light Maximoff and Farrow's relationship? Totally and completely awful. Besides, where did it even come from? Why now? Was it just to further the plot (because that's certainly how it feels) and force Moffy and Farrow's relationship out in the family? It made me sad that this was the direction they went with the story. And the parents' reactions? Unbelievable and completely out of character.

Aside from the relationship aspect, the book lacks a solid plot. Sure, you can have a character driven book. That's fine with me. I'm a fan of character driven books. However, in order for them to be successful, the characters need to be well developed and fully fleshed out. Definitely didn't feel like the case here

Let's talk Moffy. He's supposed to be a revered person in his family. The hero worship seemed over the top, though. Yeah, he'll go to great lengths to protect his family and he's always there for them. Their over the top love for him didn't feel authentic, though. To top it all off, his relationship with Ryke was disappointing. Didn't we put all of that to bed already?

I was hoping to see more from the other family members, especially the ones that will also be getting books (Jane and Sullivan, from what we know so far). Yes, the focus of this book was Moffy and Farrow. I get that. However, in previous books there was the main couple but still plenty of the other characters from the series. It was definitely disappointing that so much revolved around Moffy and Farrow, especially considering their relationship was so sexualized and lacking any real depth.

Though Damaged Like Us completely missed the mark for me, I will be reading the next book Lovers Like Us in hopes of some redemption. I sincerely want the Like Us series to be just as successful and amazing as the Addicted series. I'm holding out hope that it will get better.

It greatly pained me to write a negative review for this book because I love Krista and Becca's work so much. However, I really wanted to share my thoughts after reading Damaged Like Us. I apologize if my review is all over the place. I've got a lot of feelings about this book and wanted to get some of them out sooner rather than later.

Rating

2 out of 5 stars

Friday, June 30, 2017

Book Review: Anatomy of a Scandal

Title Anatomy of a Scandal
Author Sarah Vaughan
Release Date December 5, 2017

An astonishingly incisive and suspenseful novel about a scandal amongst Britain’s privileged elite and the women caught up in its wake.

Sophie’s husband James is a loving father, a handsome man, a charismatic and successful public figure. And yet he stands accused of a terrible crime. Sophie is convinced he is innocent and desperate to protect her precious family from the lies that threaten to rip them apart.

Kate is the lawyer hired to prosecute the case: an experienced professional who knows that the law is all about winning the argument. And yet Kate seeks the truth at all times. She is certain James is guilty and is determined he will pay for his crimes.

Who is right about James? Sophie or Kate? And is either of them informed by anything more than instinct and personal experience? Despite her privileged upbringing, Sophie is well aware that her beautiful life is not inviolable. She has known it since she and James were first lovers, at Oxford, and she witnessed how easily pleasure could tip into tragedy.

Most people would prefer not to try to understand what passes between a man and a woman when they are alone: alone in bed, alone in an embrace, alone in an elevator… Or alone in the moonlit courtyard of an Oxford college, where a girl once stood before a boy, heart pounding with excitement, then fear. Sophie never understood why her tutorial partner Holly left Oxford so abruptly. What would she think, if she knew the truth?
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34466492-anatomy-of-a-scandal
Review

Without a doubt, one of my favorite reads of 2017. I found myself recommending it to someone when I was only halfway through. I knew (and was right) that it would be a 5 star read.

Anatomy of a Scandal is an intense book that grips you from the very beginning and doesn't let go. There were a few particularly powerful moments when I had to close the book and just absorb what I read, but all that did was compel me to read more. This is a wonderfully and brilliantly written novel.

Anatomy of a Scandal reads like something straight of a newspaper. It's relevancy is astounding and perhaps even slightly scary. This is a gripping and realistic look at the line between consensual sex and rape. It's also a heartbreaking look at how these truths define our lives.

Absolutely recommended. I will certainly be looking forward to reading more from Sarah Vaughan in the future.

Rating

5 out of 5 stars

* This book was received from Atria Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. *

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Book Review: Until It Fades

Title Until It Fades
Author K. A. Tucker
Release Date June 27, 2017

Twenty-four-year-old truck stop waitress and single mother Catherine Wright has simple goals: to give her five-year-old daughter a happy life and to never again be the talk of the town in Balsam, Pennsylvania: population two thousand outside of tourist season.

And then one foggy night, on a lonely road back from another failed attempt at a relationship, Catherine saves a man’s life. It isn’t until after the police have arrived that Catherine realizes exactly who it is she has saved: Brett Madden, hockey icon and media darling.

Catherine has already had her fifteen minutes of fame and the last thing she wants is to have her past dragged back into the spotlight, only this time on a national stage. So she hides her identity. It works.

For a time.

But when she finds the man she saved standing on her doorstep, desperate to thank her, all that changes. What begins as an immediate friendship quickly turns into something neither of them expected. Something that Catherine isn’t sure she can handle; something that Catherine is afraid to trust.

Because how long can an extraordinary man like Brett be interested in an ordinary woman like Catherine…before the spark fades?
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32035791-until-it-fades
Review

I love anything by K. A. Tucker that I've ever read. I know that I'll always get a quality story with developed characters and stunning writing when I pick up her books. She's an insta-buy author for me.

Until It Fades is different from her other books, though. While we're still treated to all the good qualities of a classic book from K. A. Tucker, we get something new. Something just as fantastic as what we're used to. This book is a lighter and sweeter side of her.

Until It Fades is a slow-burning romance with absolutely no thought to rushing the main characters together. The slow pace made perfect sense for our heroine, though it drives you wild when you know the couple belong together. Trust me, this isn't a flaw in the story. The pacing did nothing but lend believability of the story.

I've never really read a sports romance before, but it didn't interfere with my enjoyment of the story at all. If anything, I think I'd be more willing to read others now that I've dipped my toes in the water and had a pleasant experience.

Whether you're already a K. A. Tucker fan or if you're new to her work, I think Until It Fades will be a winner for most everyone that enjoys a sweet and slow-burning romance.

Rating

5 out of 5 stars

* This book was received from Atria Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday (#15)


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because everyone loves a good list, don't they? We love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Top Ten Books I've Read So Far in 2017 

In no particular order, of course!

Clicking on a cover will take you to that book's Goodreads page!




What have been your favorite reads of 2017 so far? Leave a link to your Top Ten Tuesday down below and I'll be sure to stop by!

Book Blitz: Damaged Like Us

Damaged Like Us

by Krista & Becca Ritchie
Like Us #1
Publication Date: June 27, 2017
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Purchase: Amazon | iBooks
Don’t date your bodyguard.
It was the one rule he had to break.

Maximoff Hale is a force of nature. A ship unwilling to be steered. Headstrong, resilient, and wholly responsible — the twenty-two-year-old alpha billionaire can handle his unconventional life. By noon, lunch can turn into a mob of screaming fans. By two, his face is all over the internet.
Born into one of the most famous families in the country, his celebrity status began at birth.

He is certified American royalty.

When he’s assigned a new 24/7 bodyguard, he comes face-to-face with the worst case scenario: being attached to the tattooed, MMA-trained, Yale graduate who’s known for “going rogue” in the security team — and who fills 1/3 of Maximoff’s sexual fantasies.

Twenty-seven-year-old Farrow Keene has one job: protect Maximoff Hale. Flirting, dating, and hot sex falls far, far out of the boundary of his bodyguard duties and into “termination” territory. But when feelings surface, protecting the sexy-as-sin, stubborn celebrity becomes increasingly complicated.

Together, boundaries blur, and being exposed could mean catastrophic consequences for both.

About Krista & Becca Ritchie

Picture

Krista & Becca Ritchie are New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors and identical twins—one a science nerd, the other a comic book geek—but with their shared passion for writing, they combined their mental powers as kids and have never stopped telling stories. Now in their early twenties, they write about other twenty-somethings navigating through life, college, and romance. They love superheroes, flawed characters, and soul mate love.

They are the New Adult authors of the Addicted series and Calloway Sisters spin-off series, and you can find them on almost every social media, frolicking around like wannabe unicorns.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Thursday Quotables (#4)

Thursday Quotables is the place to highlight a great quote, line, or passage discovered during your reading each week. Whether it’s something funny, startling, gut-wrenching, or just really beautifully written, you’re invited to join in! This weekly feature is hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.


Until It Fades
K. A. Tucker
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32035791-until-it-fades
“I’m sorry, I don’t know what I was expecting when I got here, but it wasn’t you and I was nervous.”
You were nervous?” I can’t stop the weak giggle from escaping my lips.
His eyes roam my face. “It’s not every day that someone saves your life. And then I saw you and . . .” The softest sigh escapes his lips. “I haven’t actually said ‘Thank you’ yet.”
I train my eye on his Adam’s apple. He saw me and what? “There’s no need.”
“Of course there is. I’ve been lying in a hospital bed for the past week, thinking of what I’d say when I finally met you, and here I am now and even though I’m talking, I feel completely speechless.” He reaches up to toy with a wayward stand of my hair. I’ve all but forgotten my disheveled appearance at this point. “And in awe.”
You’re in awe?” I snort, and then my cheeks burn bright with embarrassment and I avert my gaze to the floor, because I just snorted in front of Brett Madden.
“I would be dead if it weren’t for you.”
What were your favorite lines this week? Share your Thursday Quotables in the comments below and I'll be sure to stop by!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Book Review: Offenbunker

Title Offenbunker: Cold War Spies Face Nuclear Menace
Author A. G. Russo
Release Date May 31, 2017

A top secret bunker deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains. A silo housing a ballistic missile.

Cold War super powers the United States and the Soviet Union are engaged in an intense "arms race" build up of nuclear weapons and face off for control as the fate of the free world hangs in the balance.

The CIA, U.S. military intelligence, spies, double agents, the KGB, Stasi secret police, and assassins engage in a dangerous contest of espionage as Russia wants to spread communism and take control of Europe, and the United States wants to stop them.

What is the personal cost to those who devote their lives to preventing nuclear war?
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35286645-offenbunker
Review

Offenbunker is a story that takes place during The Cold War, between 1961 and 1962. While it's definitely far from my normal genres, I knew I'd be reading a quality book by an author whose work I thoroughly enjoy (see reviews for Our Wild and Precious Lives and Of Dust and Tides).

Like the other books I've read from this author, Offenbunker is a well written and enjoyable novel. Even though I wasn't sure if I'd be able to easily fall into a story of this sort, I slipped right in and easily became engrossed in what was happening.

Much like Our Wild and Precious Lives it feels as if the author lived these events specifically. The story feels so realistic, it's hard to remember at times that it's fiction. This kind of writing is what I love. It's so vivid that it's impossible not to see it all playing out in my head like a movie.

If you're interested in a fictional account of what happens in the personal lives of those who give their lives protecting the United States, Offenbunker is fantastic place to start. I'd also recommend it if you're looking to try something new. It's a great book.

Rating

5 out of 5 stars

* This book was received from the author in exchange for an honest review. *

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Book Review: Bad Romance

Title Bad Romance
Author Heather Demetrios
Release Date June 13, 2017

Grace wants out. Out of her house, where her stepfather wields fear like a weapon and her mother makes her scrub imaginary dirt off the floors. Out of her California town, too small to contain her big city dreams. Out of her life, and into the role of Parisian artist, New York director—anything but scared and alone.

Enter Gavin: charming, talented, adored. Controlling. Dangerous. When Grace and Gavin fall in love, Grace is sure it's too good to be true. She has no idea their relationship will become a prison she's unable to escape.

Deeply affecting and unflinchingly honest, this is a story about spiraling into darkness—and emerging into the light again.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29102896-bad-romance
Review

Bad Romance is a raw and realistic look at an abusive relationship. Told from Grace's PoV, after the relationship has ended, the story is told with an honesty and clarity that only comes from hindsight. This is an incredibly important book as it provides an extraordinary look at how love can turn toxic and how unbelievably difficult it can be to escape even if you want to.


The ending to this was absolute perfection. I love love love that Grace leaned on her friends, Nat and Lys. The fact that she ended the story with them instead of in another relationship with Gideon (even though he was a great guy) was so incredibly important to me. I believe it's paramount for someone leaving an abusive relationship to surround themselves with support and heal before entering another relationship. The fact that the author took this route filled me with such joy and relief.

Bad Romance was an incredible book that I absolutely recommend, especially for teens and young adults. I hope it helps someone somewhere know their worth and that they deserve love and respect.

Trigger warnings: clear depictions of abuse, suicide. This could be a painful book for some people, so please use caution.

Rating

5 out of 5 stars

* This book was received from Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. *

Friday, June 9, 2017

Book Review: Follow Me Back

Title Follow Me Back
Series Follow Me Back, book 1
Author A. V. Geiger
Release Date June 6, 2017

Tessa Hart’s world feels very small. Confined to her bedroom with agoraphobia, her one escape is the online fandom for pop sensation Eric Thorn. When he tweets to his fans, it’s like his speaking directly to her…

Eric Thorn is frightened by his obsessive fans. They take their devotion way too far. It doesn’t help that his PR team keeps posting to encourage their fantasies.

When a fellow pop star is murdered at the hands of a fan, Eric knows he has to do something to shatter his online image fast—like take down one of his top Twitter followers. But Eric’s plan to troll @TessaHeartsEric unexpectedly evolves into an online relationship deeper than either could have imagined. And when the two arrange to meet IRL, what should have made for the world’s best episode of Catfish takes a deadly turn…

Told through tweets, direct messages, and police transcripts.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32470611-follow-me-back
Review

Follow Me Back was an enjoyable YA mystery with a jaw dropping cliffhanger ending.

While I went into this thinking it was told only through tweets, direct messages, and police transcripts it's not. It's mixed format. It ended up working really well. Of course, I'm a fan of epistolary novels and may be a tiny bit biased.

The best part of Follow Me Back was definitely, without a doubt, the ending. It totally threw me for a loop. I had to read it a second time myself just to make sure I wasn't imagining things. If you hate cliffhangers, you'll want to avoid this one until the next book is out as it's a big one.

Though Follow Me Back was a good book, it isn't without its flaws.

Because of time jumps, we don't see the relationship between Tessa and Eric develop. This, in my opinion, really hurts the book. In the beginning, there seems to be a lack of action. Seeing the buildup of their relationship would have greatly improved the book for me.

Secondly, it takes a very long time to find out what happened with Tessa that lead to her agoraphobia. Like, an almost ridiculous amount of time. It was disappointing and kind of frustrating that we had to wait so long to know what happened with Tessa. I feel like if we found out earlier, it would have built a better connection for readers to her as a character.

Follow Me Back was a page turner! If you're looking for a mildly thrilling YA mystery, this is the book for you.

Rating

4 out of 5 stars

* This book was received from Sourcebooks Fire via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. *

Monday, June 5, 2017

Spotlight/Giveaway: Follow Me Back

Title Follow Me Back
Author A. V. Geiger
Release Date June 6, 2017
Publisher Sourcebooks Fire
ISBN 9781492645238

Tessa Hart's world feels very small. Confined to her bedroom with agoraphobia, her one escape is the online fandom for pop sensation Eric Thorn. When he tweets to his fans, it's like his speaking directly to her...

Eric Thorn is frightened by his obsessive fans. They take their devotion way too far. It doesn't help that his PR team keeps posting to encourage their fantasies.

When a fellow pop star is murdered at the hands of a fan, Eric knows he has to do something to shatter his online image fast―like take down one of his top Twitter followers. But Eric's plan to troll @TessaHeartsEric unexpectedly evolves into an online relationship deeper than either could have imagined. And when the two arrange to meet IRL, what should have made for the world's best episode of Catfish takes a deadly turn...

Told through tweets, direct messages, and police transcripts, this thriller for the online generation will keep you guessing right up to the shocking end.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32470611-follow-me-back

Buy Links

About the Author

A.V. Geiger is a popular online author and member of the elite Wattpad Stars program. Her original teen fiction has received millions of hits on Wattpad, the story-sharing website, and was ranked #1 in the Mystery/Thriller genre. Her writing career began with celebrity fanfiction, and her work draws extensively on her own experiences with fan culture and social media. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and twin boys.

Author Links

Website
Twitter
Instagram
Facebook

Giveaway


No purchase necessary to enter or win. A purchase does not improve your chances of winning. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
Open to legal residents of USA and Canada who are 18 years or older. Winner has 48 hours to respond before a new winner is selected. 3 winner(s) will receive a finished copy of Follow Me Back (approximate retail value or "ARV": $12). By providing your information in this form, you are providing your information to Sourcebooks. Sourcebooks does not share or sell information and will use any information only for the purpose of this giveaway. (Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads) are in no way associated with this giveaway.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Book Review: The Party

Title The Party
Author Robyn Harding
Release Date June 6, 2017

In this stunning and provocative domestic drama about a sweet sixteen birthday party that goes horribly awry, a wealthy family in San Francisco finds their picture-perfect life unraveling, their darkest secrets revealed, and their friends turned to enemies.

One invitation. A lifetime of regrets.

Sweet sixteen. It’s an exciting coming of age, a milestone, and a rite of passage. Jeff and Kim Sanders plan on throwing a party for their daughter, Hannah—a sweet girl with good grades and nice friends. Rather than an extravagant, indulgent affair, they invite four girls over for pizza, cake, movies, and a sleepover. What could possibly go wrong?

But things do go wrong, horrifically so. After a tragic accident occurs, Jeff and Kim’s flawless life in a wealthy San Francisco suburb suddenly begins to come apart. In the ugly aftermath, friends become enemies, dark secrets are revealed in the Sanders’ marriage, and the truth about their perfect daughter, Hannah, is exposed.

Harkening to Herman Koch’s The Dinner, Christos Tsiolkas’s The Slap, and Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies, The Party takes us behind the façade of the picture-perfect family, exposing the lies, betrayals, and moral lapses that neighbors don’t see—and the secrets that children and parents keep from themselves and each other.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32620309-the-party
Review

I've seen this recommended to fans of Big Little Lies a few times. I still haven't gotten around to reading it yet, but if it's anything like The Party, I think I'll enjoy it.

The Party sucked me in from the very beginning. It's a compulsively readable book and hard to put down. It was exactly what I needed to pull myself from the reading slump I was in.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book until the very end. I had questions throughout the novel regarding whether or not we were dealing with an unreliable narrator or if we were getting the whole story. The ending doesn't answer that and left me feeling a bit disappointed.


Which account of that night's events are real? I'd like to believe that Hannah is telling the truth when she texted Sarah the end of the book, but I don't believe she is. The fact that she seems to be doing it solely to become popular again (and take down Lauren) was a bit disappointing. I really would have liked it to be more of a case of unreliable narrator where Lauren did push Ronni and the ending was expanded to accommodate that.

Rating

4 out of 5 stars

* This book was received from Galley/Scout Press via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. *

Monday, May 22, 2017

5th Annual Mental Health Awareness Event (Book Fundraiser)


Welcome the 5th Annual Mental Health Awareness Month Book Fundraiser benefiting the Keith Milano Memorial Fund at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

For the 5th year, an amazing group of authors have generously agreed to donate a portion of their May sales for the books listed here.

Here is how you can help raise money and awareness for mental health:
  • You can purchase a book from the amazing books listed here! We hope you will #1click4charity a number of these amazing books! Please note that although the sheet has Amazon Kindle buy links, the portion of sales is from any platform: digital and print.
  • Help Raise Awareness by sharing a photo or short video of why this cause matters to you using #ShareYourWhy via Social Media.
  • Share the image below on social media to raise awareness and to show your support.
  • Make a tax-deductible donation directly to the Keith Milano Memorial Fund at AFSP. You can do a direct donation at http://bit.ly/MilanoFund.
Thank you in advance for your support as we work to bring mental illness out of the darkness.

Fund Information:

The Keith Milano Memorial Fund was established to help raise awareness about the devastating and deadly disease that is mental illness. Keith’s spirit and laughter is kept alive through our efforts to increase awareness about mental illness and to raise money for education and imperative research. Keith often struggled with society’s perception of mental illness. Our hope is that by having the strength to say that Keith was “Bipolar” we can strip away the stigma and help others to be more open about their disease.

If you want to know more about Keith or why Denise does what she does, here is short video/interview that speaks to that! https://vimeo.com/148760740

Be on the lookout as she will also be posting her #ShareYourWhy this month.

Keith Milano Memorial Fund
140 Adams Ave Suite B-12
Hauppauge NY 11788
www.keithmilano.org
https://www.facebook.com/keithamilano
@MilanoFund
Direct Donation: http://bit.ly/MilanoFund

The Keith Milano Memorial Fund benefits the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) http://www.afsp.org/
At the end of the event, participating authors will pay AFSP directly.
AFSP is the only national not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to understanding and preventing suicide through research and education, and to reaching out to people with mood disorders and those affected by suicide.
AFSP is a fully accredited 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization incorporated in the state of Delaware with primary offices in New York City. Federal tax ID # is 13-3393329.
AFSP’s Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) number is 10545.
Donations to AFSP are tax deductible.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday (#26)

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly event that's hosted by Breaking the Spine. It spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week, I'm waiting on...

Title Damaged Like Us
Series Like Us, book 1
Author Krista & Becca Ritchie
Release Date June 27, 2017

Don’t date your bodyguard.
It was the one rule he had to break.

Maximoff Hale is a force of nature. A ship unwilling to be steered. Headstrong, resilient, and wholly responsible — the twenty-two-year-old alpha billionaire can handle his unconventional life. By noon, lunch can turn into a mob of screaming fans. By two, his face is all over the internet.

Born into one of the most famous families in the country, his celebrity status began at birth.

He is certified American royalty.

When he’s assigned a new 24/7 bodyguard, he comes face-to-face with the worst case scenario: being attached to the tattooed, MMA-trained, Yale graduate who’s known for “going rogue” in the security team — and who fills 1/3 of Maximoff's sexual fantasies.

Twenty-seven-year-old Farrow Keene has one job: protect Maximoff Hale. Flirting, dating, and hot sex falls far, far out of the boundary of his bodyguard duties and into “termination” territory. But when feelings surface, protecting the sexy-as-sin, stubborn celebrity becomes increasingly complicated.

Together, boundaries blur, and being exposed could mean catastrophic consequences for both.

The Like Us series is true series, one continuous timeline, that follows a family of wealthy celebrities and the people that protect them. Damaged Like Us can be read and enjoyed without reading any of Krista & Becca's other novels.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21427834-damaged-like-us

What are you waiting on this Wednesday? Share your links in the comments below and I'll be sure to drop by!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Stacking the Shelves (#14)


Stacking the Shelves is a weekly event hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

Stacking the Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in a physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts, and of course ebooks.

Wow. It's been over six months since the last time I did a Stacking the Shelves post. Obviously I've added a bunch of new books to my shelves, so I won't be including them all here. Here are some of the books I've added to my Kindle recently...

For Review -- Netgalley


- The Party by Robyn Harding
- Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios
- Until It Fades by K. A. Tucker

Purchased -- Amazon Kindle


- Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
- Outside the Limelight by Terez Mertes Rose
- Love in Rewind by Tali Alexander
- Nowhere but Here by Renée Carlino

What have you added to your shelves recently? Leave your Stacking the Shelves link in the comments and I'll be sure to visit!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Book Review: The Black Wolf

Title The Black Wolf
Series In the Company of Killers, book 5
Author J. A. Redmerski
Release Date July 1, 2015

Since devastating secrets were uncovered by Nora Kessler, Niklas Fleischer and Victor Faust have been divided as business partners and brothers. But ultimately Niklas is persuaded to lead a mission to Italy, and he sees it as an opportunity to set in motion forgiveness—or retribution—for his brother’s betrayal.

The mission: play the role of a wealthy German investor and kidnap a beautiful, notorious madam named Francesca Moretti. No stranger to these types of roles, Niklas is the best man for the job, but this time the risks will be much greater as he will not be doing it alone. Izabel Seyfried, still fresh out of a life of imprisonment and sex slavery, could be negatively affected by the things she will see in Moretti’s mansion, and Niklas must keep her in line so she does not blow their cover and get them killed.

But Niklas isn’t the only one who must play a role—Nora takes on the humiliating task of playing Niklas’s slave, and Izabel must play the role of his lover.

On one hand, Niklas couldn’t be enjoying himself more. On the other hand, the emotions that continue to rage inside of him may be too much for him to control, and it may be Niklas—not Izabel—who needs to be kept in line. He cannot forget what Victor has done, and this mission may just be the beginning of his downward spiral.

Can the blood bond that Niklas and Victor share as brothers be stronger than resentment? Or will vengeance dig the blade so deep that their bond be eternally severed?
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23551387-the-black-wolf
Review

Reviews for previous books: book one, book two, book three, and book four.

Where is this series going? Oh my goodness. The Black Wolf intrigued me in a way that I can't explain (mostly because I don't want to spoil anything, ha!). I have questions. I hope they're answered in Behind the Hands that Kill because I'm not sure how long I can wait.

Though this is the fifth book in the series, it's just as strong as the first. In the Company of Killers is such an awesome series in that each book is fresh and just as engaging as the books before it. I have yet to be disappointed by any of these books. Definitely pick up the first book, Killing Sarai, if you're looking for an awesome, dark, and suspenseful thriller with some romance sprinkled in.

I know this isn't much of a review, but I wanted to bring attention to this series (again) and share my love of it. Besides, anything I could say would be rife with spoilers.

Rating

5 out of 5 stars