Sunday, July 5, 2015

A Peek In The BiblioBin #156

Welcome to our Stacking the Shelves post! Stacking the Shelves (or as we like to call it, A Peek in the BiblioBin) has been created by the lovely ladies at Tynga's Reviews.

Stacking the Shelves is a way for bloggers to share what books they have won, received for review, bought from the bookstore, borrowed from the library or friend, etc.

Hope you're all having a fun-filled holiday weekend with family and friends! Aside fom enjoying the fireworks and good eats, here's what we've been up to...  Happy July 4th to you all!


Thor's Serpents (The Blackwell Pages #3) by K.L. Armstrong and M.A. Marr

Below The Belt (First To Fight #1) by Jeanette Murray

All Of Me (Love Between The Bases #1) by Jennifer Bernard


Overruled (The Legal Briefs #1) by Emma Chase

Powerless (The Hero Agenda #1) by Tera Lynn Childs and Tracy Deebs

Playing Dirty (Monkey Business Trio #1) by C.L. Parker

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

Friday, July 3, 2015

Take the Fall by Marquita Valentine


As a teenager, Seth O'Connor went to jail for a crime he had nothing to do with. He took the fall to protect the girl he loved, but the cruel realities of prison hardened him. After doing his time, Seth shuts her out and enlists in the Marines—until his grandmother's funeral forces him to come home and face Rowan Simmons once again. The woman she's become puts all his high-school memories to shame, and Seth wants her more than ever. Can he be honest about why he denied her for so long?

After Seth pushed her away, Rowan swore that no man would ever hurt her again. But the boy who broke her heart has become a sexy Marine, capable of fulfilling her every desire—and now that he's back in town, old feelings are simmering to a boil. Rowan wants to stay strong, even as her body surrenders to his expert touch. She only hopes that by taking him back, she can finally help heal the wounds that drove them apart.

I have mixed feels about Take the Fall, so much so that I find it difficult to write this review.  The book was interesting and held my attention, but it seemed too easy for Seth and Rowan to get back together after Seth went to jail for Rowan's brother.   This doesn't seem like something you could get around so easily.  Also, the way Seth treated Rowan when he went to jail was awful and she forgives that pretty quickly as well.  I just found it difficult to believe that this would happen as it did.  People aren't that selfless or forgiving.  I know, I know, it's a book and suspension of belief and all that, but it didn't feel honest to me, so I couldn't get lost in the story.  

Valentine has a Boys of the South series that looks interesting, so I think I may give that one a shot.  


Thursday, July 2, 2015

That's What HE Said Thursday #35

Image courtesy of Kei at The Lovely Pages Review

That's What HE Said is a weekly meme hosted by the wonderful ladies at Chapter Break. It's a chance for us to spotlight and gush over a quote from our current book crush to the object of his desire. We like to pretend it's us ;)

What better way to celebrate our book boyfriends?

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

"I want to give you the world," he said to their clasped hands.

"You already did," Quent said directly to him.

Jace managed to look him in his brown eyes and saw that they were fastened hungrily on his face.

Oh God. Oh God. Maybe all Jace had to give him was the truth, honest and unguarded.

"You gave it first," he said, and their kiss was soft and gentle, a pact, and a truth.

~ Jace to Quent
Gambling Men by Amy Lane

      Gambling Men: The Novel

Not So New In Town by Michele Summers


You can’t go back, and you can’t stand still…
Lucy Doolan is a marketing genius. She can sell rain to a frog and snow to a polar bear. Newly single and unemployed, she’s lured back to her hometown of Harmony, North Carolina to help out her pregnant evil stepsister…only to find former crush heartthrob Brogan Reese has returned too, to open a new business in town. To add insult to injury, he’s still hot.

If the thunder don’t get you, then the lightning will…

Brogan never noticed Lucy much when they were young, but seventeen people have recommended her to help him. She’s got his attention now. With her sweet personality, brilliant imagination, and penchant for doing the completely unpredictable, Brogan is finding a whole lot of excuses to spend his days—and nights—with Lucy.

Don't we all dream of seeing our high school crushes as adults?  We'll be hot, sophisticated and successful and they will be devasted that they never noticed us in high school...  That's the dream.  Lucy is not so lucky.  She's recently dumped, broke and stranded on the side of the road when she runs into her crush.  

Not So New in Town is a funny, heart-warming romance.  Brogan is a good guy.  Lucy is a hot mess and the two of them together makes for a fun read.  Throw in a surly teenager, Parker, and his evil mother and it's a recipe for pure entertainment.  If you are looking for a good summer romance, you won't go wrong with Not So New in Town.  

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (155)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that highlights future releases that we are excitedly anticipating.

Focus on Me (In Focus #2)By Megan Erickson
Publication Date: July 21, 2015

Colin Hartman can now add college to his list of failures. On the coast-to-coast trek home from California, Colin stops at a gas station in the Nevada desert, and can’t help noticing the guy in tight jeans looking like he just stepped off a catwalk. When he realizes Catwalk is stranded, Colin offers a ride.

Riley only intended to take a short ride in Colin’s Jeep to the Grand Canyon. But one detour leads to another until they finally find themselves tumbling into bed together. However there are shadows in Riley’s eyes that hide a troubled past. And when those shadows threaten to bury the man whom Colin has fallen in love with, he vows to get Riley the help he needs. For once in his life, quitting isn’t an option…

Playing with Trouble (Capital Confessions, #2)By Chanel Cleeton
Publication Date: July 21, 2015

The author of Flirting with Scandal presents her second book in a sexy contemporary romance series about three sisters in a powerful political family, the scandals that threaten to destroy them, and the passion that drives them…

The daughter of one of the Senate's most powerful figures, Blair Reynolds was ready to become the ultimate political wife—until she caught her fiancĂ© cheating on her wedding day. Law school is a fresh start, her shot at putting the pieces of her life back together. That’s the plan, at least. Until trouble comes in the form of her Torts professor, the man whose arrogance infuriates her in class but haunts her private fantasies.

Graydon Canter had a fortune and a place on all the hottest "Thirty under Thirty” lists, until a series of personal missteps nearly destroyed his career. A year teaching at a D.C. law school is just the break he needs to get his life back in order, as long as nothing—and no one—trips him up.

When Blair and Gray are forced to work together, their explosive attraction becomes impossible to resist. But Gray’s demons have drawn him dangerously close to the edge, and Blair has spent her life playing by the rules. Will she break them for a shot at love?

Until Friday Night (The Field Party, #1)By Abbi Glines
Publication Date:  August 25, 2015

To everyone who knows him, West Ashby has always been that guy: the cocky, popular, way-too-handsome-for-his-own-good football god who led Lawton High to the state championships. But while West may be Big Man on Campus on the outside, on the inside he’s battling the grief that comes with watching his father slowly die of cancer.

Two years ago, Maggie Carleton’s life fell apart when her father murdered her mother. And after she told the police what happened, she stopped speaking and hasn’t spoken since. Even the move to Lawton, Alabama, couldn’t draw Maggie back out. So she stayed quiet, keeping her sorrow and her fractured heart hidden away.

As West’s pain becomes too much to handle, he knows he needs to talk to someone about his father—so in the dark shadows of a post-game party, he opens up to the one girl who he knows won’t tell anyone else.

West expected that talking about his dad would bring some relief, or at least a flood of emotions he couldn’t control. But he never expected the quiet new girl to reply, to reveal a pain even deeper than his own—or for them to form a connection so strong that he couldn’t ever let her go…

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Between Us And The Moon by Rebecca Maizel

* * *

A luminous young adult novel that evokes Judy Blume’s Forever for a new generation.

Ever since Sarah was born, she’s lived in the shadow of her beautiful older sister, Scarlett. But this summer on Cape Cod, she’s determined to finally grow up. Then she meets gorgeous college boy Andrew. He sees her as the girl she wants to be. A girl who’s older than she is. A girl like Scarlett.

Before she knows what’s happened, one little lie has transformed into something real. And by the end of August, she might have to choose between falling in love, and finding herself.

Fans of Jenny Han and Stephanie Perkins are destined to fall for this story about how life and love are impossible to predict.

The story starts out cute despite our protagonist Sarah ("Bean" to her family and closest friends) having a broken heart. Sarah is the kid you don't have to worry about because she has it together. She's just smart and responsible. For past few months, she’s been tracking the trajectory of a comet for research that she hopes will win her a scholarship. This is where she is in her element surrounded by equations, hypotheses and facts. What she’s not so good at is reading people, like when her boyfriend shows up to her house to break up with her the night before she leaves for Cape Cod for the summer. He claims it’s because she hasn’t noticed how much he’s changed. He accuses her of hiding behind her telescope and notes, observing life rather than living it. His accusation stings but she can’t help but wonder if there’s a ring of truth to it. Look at her older sister Scarlett, who manages to be the life of the party. Sarah feels socially inept next to her, not to mention that their parents expect her to be the responsible one and Scarlett to be the flaky one.

Sarah decides that a change is in order so she concocts this plan to observe Scarlett in her element and take on her attitude and mannerisms in order to break free from her old self. The "Scarlett Experiment" takes her out of her comfort zone and leads to a few embarrassing if not funny moments. On her first day attempting to be Scarlett she meets Andrew, a local. He’s nineteen, in college, surfs and works on one of the fishing boats. She allows him to assume that she’s going to college. She throws in that she’s heading to MIT. She’s only fifteen and a couple of days shy of her 16th birthday.

I thought the story was cute initially. I mean Sarah is all kinds of naive and adorable. I liked how she'd make scientific notes when observing her sister's behaviour. Branching out to make new friends and being a "normal" teenager is not something that comes naturally to her. It’s understandable that she's at that stage in her life where she wants to be seen as more than just a studious kid. But as she and Andrew fell harder for each other, I began to worry about where the plot was going. I was very uneasy with her withholding her true age. Seriously? What was she thinking? The guy could get in trouble, like jail time trouble! She knows she has to come clean but she's so in over her head that she's scared. Even though she was more herself with Andrew and he liked her for that, that didn’t negate the lies upon lies that were stacking up. The truth eventually comes out but not before some irrevocable damage has been done.

Between Us and the Moon is about growing up and screwing up while you’re at it. There are good things that come out of it – Sarah does come to accept who she is, makes friends, stands up to her family and reaches her educational goals. She also encourages Andrew to reach for his dreams and not to set them aside in an attempt to atone for an incident he wasn’t responsible for before they met. Still, the story felt incomplete to me because it didn’t provide any insight as to the fallout after all her lies are revealed. Despite the whole lying about her age which pushed that “wiggy button” for me (thank you BiblioJunkie Shel for that term), I still consider this a good read. And I’d be interested to know someone else’s thoughts on it.


Monday, June 29, 2015

Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway

* * * 1/2

Emmy’s best friend, Oliver, reappears after being kidnapped by his father ten years ago. Emmy hopes to pick up their relationship right where it left off. Are they destined to be together? Or has fate irreparably driven them apart?

Emmy just wants to be in charge of her own life.

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

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

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

Readers who love Sarah Dessen will tear through these pages with hearts in throats as Emmy and Oliver struggle to face the messy, confusing consequences of Oliver’s father’s crime. Full of romance, coming-of-age emotion, and heartache, these two equally compelling characters create an unforgettable story.

Emmy & Oliver starts with Emmy’s recollection of the last time she saw Oliver when they were seven years-old. That day and the events leading up to his disappearance have stayed with her since. Though she and her friends moved on, she still remembers him, holding out hope that her childhood best friend and neighbor will reappear someday.

That someday arrives ten years later. They’re 17 now and so much has happened in between. Oliver’s return is extremely awkward for everyone. His family wants him to have space and time to adjust leaving Emmy to wonder if he’s the same boy she remembers. Oliver’s readjustment to his home and school are not easy but somehow Emmy is able to reach him and they begin to reconnect. He confides in her that he’s feeling overwhelmed and trapped by his mother’s expectations. Apparently they have that in common because she feels confined by her mother’s overprotectiveness.

The story deals with a number of things. First we have Emmy seeking more independence and space from her well-meaning but overprotective mom. She doesn’t even know that her daughter loves surfing and wants to surf for a college team. Despite that, Emmy is a bright young woman with a good head on her shoulders. She understands where all the worry stems from. Then there’s a very solemn Oliver who’s painfully assimilating into life with his mom and her new family. He’s trying so hard to keep everyone happy without causing too much disruption. Everyone is expecting him to be ecstatic about being saved and to automatically fit into this new life. But the truth is that he has mixed feelings about his dad and what he did. When he reveals his dilemma to Emmy it’s one of the most genuine moments in the book. It’s a perspective that would never have occurred to me and was handled very sweetly. 

I couldn't help picturing Emmy and Oliver as little kids, innocent and carefree because that's what I wanted to return to. And I see that I pictured them the way this little community continued to see Oliver even upon his return – as a child. Child abduction is horrifying and his disappearance had reverberating effects. His return should have been a veryhappy reunion for the family signaling a return to life as normal before the bad stuff happened. The truth is, it's awkward and hard. Everyone has changed and they all need to make room and adjust. Oliver’s fragility in all of this broke my heart into little pieces. But things have a way of righting themselves and Emmy & Oliver delivers on that in its own way.

~ Bel