Friday, March 27, 2015

Salt & Stone (Fire & Blood #2) by Victoria Scott

* * * 3/4

In Fire & Flood, Tella Holloway faced a dangerous trek through the jungle and across the desert, all to remain a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed for a chance at obtaining the Cure for her brother. She can't quit--she has to win the race, save Cody, and then fight to make sure the race stops before it can claim any more lives. In the next legs of the race, across the ocean and over mountains, Tella will face frostbite, sharks, avalanche, and twisted new rules in the race.

But what if the danger is deeper than that? How do you know who to trust when everyone's keeping secrets? What do you do when the person you'd relied on most suddenly isn't there for support? How do you weigh one life against another?

The race is coming to an end, and Tella is running out of time, resources, and strength. At the start of the race there were one hundred twenty-two Contenders. As Tella and her remaining friends start the final part of the race, just forty-one are left--and only one can win.

Talk about kicking it up several notches! Salt & Stone may have a quiet start but our heroes are anything but. After coming through the first two treacherous legs of the Brimstone Bleed, Tella, Gus and company are mourning for those they lost while they rest and prepare for the next phase. Taking stock of what they have left and making plans for what lies beyond the race are what’s keeping Tella and Gus motivated. Only are in cahoots to destroy the cruel organizers of the race from within and bring the cure to everyone.  However, Tella finds Gus’ one-man-savior-of-all frustrating. She wants to be his partner in efforts to win more than the race but his tendency to shove every one aside and take on the risks on his own anger her to no end. She spends a great deal of time angry with him and confused by his mixed signals. Salt & Stone becomes as much about Tella bolstering her own confidence to prove Gus wrong about her capabilities as it is about finishing the race and winning the cure.

When the race starts up again, they face new rules with higher stakes. But this time they’re tasked to work in teams which makes things harder to a certain extent. Tella, who has always had a tough time in compromising her morals as a Contender, must act judiciously as she steps into a leadership role among the group. Caring for everyone’s needs and seeing to her own could be overwhelming for any seventeen year-old but Tella carries the responsibility with conviction. No matter how grueling the obstacles become overcomes them with sheer determination. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t occasionally escape into teenage reverie which only makes her situation sadder.

Victoria Scott also introduces some new faces to the group resulting in a few worrying confrontations. It definitely made for more interesting dynamics. Tella’s gut instincts are tested constantly so have no doubt that there are some surprises ahead.

The Fire & Blood series has always been about Tella and her fellow Contenders surviving this ordeal as a group. Tella's compassion and compulsion to always look out for others regardless of her own safety is the very heart of the series. Salt & Stone was every bit as thrilling and dangerous as Fire & Blood, and suspenseful to the very end. I’m definitely excited to see what happens next!

~ Bel
      Salt & Stone (Fire & Flood, #2)

Thursday, March 26, 2015

That's What HE Said Thursday #22

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?

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  

Ugly Love by Colleeen Hoover gives us this week's book boyfriend in the form of emotionally-tortured airline pilot, Miles Archer. In this scene with Tate, he's being honest with her about the status of their relationship and if the future is even a possibility for them. This book has emotional angst and will have you weepy. I liked it! I'll post a review next week. 

~ Bel

I know I should have some sort of reaction to everything he just said, but I’m still processing his words. Every single one of his admissions should be a red flag, since they were all also coupled with the hard truth that he doesn’t plan on loving me or having a relationship with me, but the red flag doesn’t rise.

The green one does.

“Is it me specifically you don’t want to love, or is it love in general you don’t want to experience?”

He pulls me away from his chest so he can look at me while he answers my question. “It’s love in general I don’t want, Tate. Ever. It’s you specifically that I just … want.”

~ Miles to Tate
Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover

      Ugly Love

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (143)

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

One Night (Only You, #1)By A.J. Pine
Publication Date: April 21, 2015

When she lost it all, Jess decided to cope by living a lie. 

But you can’t keep on pretending forever…

Twenty-one-year-old Jess used to have everything—a loyal best friend, a boyfriend she loved, and a future that was right on track. But in a single night, her whole world changed.

Now, Jess lives for the impersonal connection of drunken hook-ups and to-go coffee cups in the morning. All she needs is one night to pretend everything is fine…until she meets Adam.

Thanks to a sports injury, gorgeous, charming basketball star Adam Carson is stuck in physical therapy at the hospital where Jess interns—giving her the perfect opportunity to see his sweet, considerate nature and making her realize that maybe she does want something more.

But while Adam might be the best thing that’s happened to Jess in a long time, letting him past her carefully constructed walls means letting him know what happened...and why he'd never want her for more than one night.

99 DaysBy Katie Cotugno
Publication Date:  April 21, 2015

Day 1: Julia Donnelly eggs my house my first night back in Star Lake, and that’s how I know everyone still remembers everything—how I destroyed my relationship with Patrick the night everything happened with his brother, Gabe. How I wrecked their whole family. Now I’m serving out my summer like a jail sentence: Just ninety-nine days till I can leave for college, and be done.

Day 4: A nasty note on my windshield makes it clear Julia isn’t finished. I’m expecting a fight when someone taps me on the shoulder, but it’s just Gabe, home from college and actually happy to see me. “For what it’s worth, Molly Barlow,” he says, “I’m really glad you’re back.”

Day 12: Gabe got me to come to this party, and I’m actually having fun. I think he’s about to kiss me—and that’s when I see Patrick. My Patrick, who’s supposed to be clear across the country. My Patrick, who’s never going to forgive me.

A Match Made on Main Street (Briar Creek, #2)By Olivia Miles
Publication Date:  April 28, 2015

This kitchen isn’t big enough for both of them…

If there’s anything Anna Madison knows, it’s how to turn life’s lemons into a lemonade cocktail served in a vintage glass. So when her beloved Briar Creek cafĂ© burns down, she sees it as an opportunity to start fresh. But the only kitchen available to her is in the diner down the street—owned by her sinfully sexy ex.

If Anna thinks she can take over his greasy-spoon kitchen with her high-end cuisine, Mark Hastings is about to set her straight fast. Their breakup is his biggest regret—not that he’ll ever admit it to her. Nope, he’d rather show her exactly what she’s been missing. With desire set on a high simmer, their menu is about to get a whole lot spicier…

Monday, March 23, 2015

Looking For Love by Ashelyn Drake Blog Tour

Today, we're very happy to have Ashelyn Drake join us to celebrate the release of her latest, Looking For Love. We're all about music over here so we thought it would be fun to have Ashelyn share with us some of the music that helped inspire her book. 

Welcome, Ashelyn!

I know a lot of writers like to have music playing while they draft and/or revise. I don’t. I’d sing along instead of writing. But I do like to listen to music before I write to get me in the mood for whatever kind of book I’m working on at the time. For Looking For Love, I was listening to a mixture of music—some from old playlists and others that were on the radio.

Here are some of the songs that contributed to my inspiration while I wrote and revised Looking For Love:

The Heart Wants What It Wants by Selena Gomez
Not Alone by Red
Start Again by Red
Someone by Kelly Clarkson
Use Somebody by Kings of Leon
Be Your Everything by Boys Like Girls
Yours to Hold by Skillet

There you have it! What are some songs you like to listen to when you’re in the mood for a little romance?

Thanks for stopping by, Ashelyn! Now here's a little more about the book. Don't they look so sweet on the cover?

Looking for Love Synopsis:

Mike Hannigan is looking for love in all the wrong places. Maybe that’s because having his heart torn to shreds by who he thought was the perfect girl left some emotional scarring. But that’s about to change.

Summer Patterson isn’t like anyone Mike’s dated before, and he can’t help but be intrigued by her. Now if only he could keep his foot out of his mouth long enough to win her over. But when a secret involving Summer brings Mike’s past crashing back to the present, he’ll need some backup from his best friend and wingwoman, Mindy, to sort out the mess.

Will Mike find love before he leaves Timberland College for good?

Buy Links:

Amazon     I     Barnes and Noble

About Ashelyn Drake:

Ashelyn Drake is a New Adult and Young Adult contemporary romance author. While it’s rare for her not to have either a book in hand or her fingers flying across a laptop, she also enjoys spending time with her family. She believes you are never too old to enjoy a good swing set and there’s never a bad time for some dark chocolate. She also writes speculative fiction under the name Kelly Hashway. She is represented by Sarah Negovetich of Corvisiero Literary Agency.

Connect With Ashelyn:

Email     I     Blog     I     Facebook     I     Twitter


A Peek In The BiblioBin #141

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.

For Review:

Nobody's Hero (Letting Go) by J. Leigh Bailey


Fish and Chips (Cut & Run #3) by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux

Atlantia by Ally Condie

Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover


Un/Common Ground by Arielle Pierce

I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have To Kill You (Gallagher Girls #1) by Ally Carter

The Deal (Off-Campus #1) by Elle Kennedy

Friday, March 20, 2015

Wild Reckless by Ginger Scott Review Tour

* * * *

Kensington Worth had a vision for her senior year. It involved her best friends, her posh private school in downtown Chicago and time alone with her piano until her audition was perfected, a guaranteed ticket into the best music programs in the world.

Instead, a nightmare took over.

It didn’t happen all at once, but her life unraveled quickly—a tiny thread that evil somehow kept pulling until everything precious was taken from her. She was suddenly living miles away from her old life, trapped in an existence she didn’t choose—one determined to destroy her from the inside, leaving only hate and anger behind. It didn’t help that her neighbor, the one whose eyes held danger, was enjoying every second of her fall.

Owen Harper was trouble, his heart wild and his past the kind that’s spoken about in whispers. And somehow, his path was always intertwined with Kensington’s, every interaction crushing her, ruining her hope for any future better than her now. Sometimes, though, what everyone warns is trouble, is exactly what the heart needs. Owen Harper was consumed with darkness, and it held onto his soul for years. When Kensington looked at him, she saw a boy who’d gotten good at taking others down when they threatened his carefully balanced life. But the more she looked, the more she saw other things too—good things…things to admire.

Things…to love. Things that made her want to be reckless.

And those things…they were the scariest of all.

What happens when you’re uprooted from everything that's familiar to you only to have the remaining steadfast bits of your life fall apart in a matter of seconds? That’s exactly what happens to Kensington when her family of three moves from Chicago to the town of Woodstock in order for her dad to be closer to his job as a conductor and music professor in Milwaukee. Her very first encounter with the next door neighbor leaves her feeling outraged. He’s unfriendly and appears to be a complete jerk.  So naturally she encounters him at school too where surprise, surprise, he’s an A+ jerk there as well! Her new group of friends she meets in marching band share stories about this mysterious guy Owen, and how he’s a troubled kid from a messed up family. Normally that info would scare someone off but Kensi’s not intimidated by him at all.

Her new life seems to be coming along nicely aside from that one annoyance. She's making new friends and exploring new things at school like joining the marching band. While her dad would frown upon this, she’s actually enjoying herself. The piano has been her life for as long as she can remember and her dad has aspirations that she continue with her classical music training. He has no clue that Kensi would much rather play jazz but since he controls the reigns in the household, she has to keep that to herself. It’s one day during a spat with Owen outside her house when a secret comes out that's so devastating, it causes irrevocable damage to her family. Kensi is shaken to her very core and Owen is the only person she literally runs to to get away from the fallout.

Both are taken by surprise by her brash move but it’s at this point where Owen starts to become a little kinder towards her. Hurt and confused by the betrayal, Kensi begins to lash out at her family and the status quo. Owen is the only one who knows what’s going on. They form what is an awkward friendship in the beginning that traverses new ground for both of them. Owen has never let anyone get close to him. While the entire book is told from Kensi's perspective,the prologue which sets a certain tone, is from Owen's and that little bit gives you a very personal insight into his young life. Keeping that in mind, you have a good idea where he's coming from. His family is treated like the town's pariahs and Owen doesn't mind adding to the gossip. It seems he enjoys living up to everyone’s assumptions about him being trouble and a lost case. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. In becoming friends, they both learn that appearances are deceptive and that there’s always a story behind what people think they already know.

It's not a secret that I love Ginger Scott's writing and I eagerly anticipate each new book she produces. There's authenticity in her characters and their defining moments always feel so genuine. Even the supporting cast makes an impression on you just as with her other books. In Wild Reckless, these these two go through the wringer of joy, heartbreak and hope, as they find their way out from the wreckage created by the people they most trusted in order to reach for what they want. They're "finding their brave" as my kids would say. When you read Wild Reckless, you'll adore Kensi and her no bs attitude, and you'll love Owen for his vulnerable heart and generous soul. 

~ Bel

Don't forget to enter the giveaway to celebrate the release of Wild Reckless here!

Also check out the fantastic Wild Reckless Playlist here:

Thursday, March 19, 2015

That's What HE Said #21

Image courtesy of Kei at The Lovely Pages Review

That's What He Said is a weekly meme hosted by the ladies at Chapter Break, where we spotlight a quote from our book crush to the object of his desire. We like to pretend it's us.

What better way to celebrate our book boyfriends?

* * * * * * * * * *

Shel is a big fan of the 2B Trilogy and her pick comes from the first book in the series, I Want It That Way. Oh we know you're singing that song in your head now! 

"What is it about you?"


For some reason, I blurted out the truth.  "You make me... better.  Calmer."


"Like a sedative?"  Amusement colored her reply.

God, her voice was sexy, low and husky, as if she hovered on the verge of confiding a dirty secret.  That was part of why I couldn't get enough of these stolen conversations, however unwise they might be.

I rushed to explain, "I didn't mean it like that.  Just... I'm so worried pretty much all the time that I'm dropping the ball somewhere, about to face-plant, but when I come out here and hear your voice, everything backs off like ten steps.  I can breathe again."

~ Ty to Nadia
I Want It That Way
by Ann Aguirre
      I Want It That Way (2B Trilogy #1)