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. Umm...no. 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.

~Bel


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

Sunday, June 28, 2015

A Peek In The BiblioBin #155


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.


Borrowed:



Armed & Dangerous (Cut & Run #5) by Abigail Roux

Stars & Stripes (Cut & Run #6) by Abigail Roux


The Porcupine of Truth by Bill Konigsberg

Purchased:



Last First Kiss (Brightwater #1) by Lia Riley

The Girl I Was Before (Falling #3) by Ginger Scott



Fearsome (Fearsome #1 ) by S.A. Wolfe

Meet Me At The Beach (Seashell Bay #1) by V.K. Sykes


Friday, June 26, 2015

The Girl I Was Before (Falling #3) by Ginger Scott

* * * *

I’m the selfish one. I suppose that’s the nicest thing people say about me. I’ve heard the other things, too. “Paige Owens is a pretty girl with nothing else to offer. She’s just a good time at a party. She’s stupid, heartless, cold and useless. All she cares about is getting a guy to look at her. Why would anyone want to be her friend?”

Some of those things are true. Others were true. They’re all hurtful.

None of it matters.

I’m ready to make the hard choices. I’m ready to face the consequences. I’m ready to be the girl I was before, and I’m done being the one who lost her way.

I’m ready to become the girl Houston Orr sees when he looks at me.

Houston isn’t a star athlete. He doesn’t play in a band. He’s never going to be president, and his life is so far away from simple and easy it isn’t even funny.

He wasn’t part of my plan. But I’m starting to think plans are overrated, and maybe our stories are what we make them. And mine depends entirely on me, and the choices I make…starting now.

Houston is my fairytale. He’s perfectly imperfect. He’s poetry and life. He’s truth and heartbreak, all rolled up in a tall body with dark hair, broad shoulders and green eyes that lull me into submission. He’s nothing I ever thought I wanted, but the very thing I need. He’s the only guy I’ve ever really loved, and he thinks I’m a princess. I fell into him, and now I’m holding on.

But sometimes life takes away our ability to choose. Sometimes…things aren’t in your control. Sometimes, it hurts to be selfless. My only hope is that when it comes time to choose, I get it right.

Welcome to my once upon a time and wish for happily ever after.

It's finally here! The Girl I Was Before has been on my radar for ages and I was so excited to finally read it! After being in the background in the previous Falling books, Paige, the girl with the abrasive manner that takes some getting used to, finally gets the spotlight. She's the prissy, high-maintenance sorority girl to Houston's lai-back, no-fuss demeanor. An he's that one guy who sees more to her. He works at a deli and she orders sandwiches – it’s a particularly silly flirting ritual they have going but it holds the barriers that Paige has in place. She’s currently in the midst of a personal crisis – after learning that her sorority sister Chandra made her twin Cass’s life a mess in book two, she decides to exact revenge. While Paige and Cass may not necessarily be the closest of sisters – and yes, let’s not forget that it was she who provided Chandra with the hurtful information against Cass – no one messes with her family.  Paige has always wanted the sorority life, to be with her kind of crowd instead of her sister’s keeper and by bringing down a very popular and powerful sorority girl, Paige risks losing all that. Perhaps a complete overhaul is exactly what she needs right now.

Paige is not easily likable which is why I was surprised by how much I ended up caring about her. Her complexity is refreshing and I felt privileged to get to know her better. I liked Houston as well – he’s a stand-up guy struggling to keep his personal responsibilities and college life in check. He’s also very attracted to Paige and very much aware that she’s hesitant about getting involved. He’s not intimidated by her haughty demeanor like most people are. He pushes just enough so that she notices him. It’s his kindness and generosity toward her that put a little chink in that armor. When he tells her that she can do better for herself than the Neanderthal boyfriend she has, she’s both offended and charmed. Houston’s not the popular athlete type and not exactly someone Paige would date. But he’s a gentleman and he provides a solution for Paige when trouble brews at the sorority house and she needs to move out.

Another aspect of the book I appreciated is how much Paige struggled with her feelings towards her sister. Theirs hasn’t been the easiest of friendships. She knows she has screwed and is trying to fix it. I think the depiction of sibling rivalry and emotions are pretty spot on. Sisters are complicated creatures.  Paige and Cass attempting to find mutual ground and some connection reminded me of how far my sister and I have come in our relationship.   

The Girl I Was Before demostrates that you never know what someone has going on in their life. Paige, Houston and even archnemesis Chandra have secrets but Paige is very much the central star in this one. She’s letting go of the past, letting go of the fear to evolve into a new person, mending relationships and building new ones. Through all the social upheaval and messes, she becomes a better, stronger person with a keener sense of what and who is important to her. The thing I love most about Ginger Scott's writing is how she delicately peels away the complicated layers that make up her fascinating characters. I didn't take to Paige when I'd first met her but the young woman we end up with a welcome discovery!  

Everything about the Falling series has been superb, and I've totally enjoyed their adorable covers, too. Do yourself a solid and add this series to your TBR pile!

~ Bel

Check out the Release Day Blast for an excerpt and a chance to win  an autographed set of the entire Falling series (US) or the ebook set (International)!

   
      The Girl I Was Before (Falling, #3)
   
 Goodreads     I     Amazon     I     Google Play     I     Barnes and Noble     I     Kobo





Thursday, June 25, 2015

That's What HE Said Thursday #34

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?


*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *


Meet brand new book boyfriend material, Saywer Kane from Last First Kiss by Lia Riley. Ladies, if you're in the mood for a quiet, solid hero, Sawyer is your man! And he's a sheriff to boot, so he comes with his own uniform. In this scene, he leads Annie, his one-time high school crush who who has come home, to their secret swimming spot along the river. The whole set up is very sweet with Saywer trying gently to convince Annie to give them a second chance. 

Last First Kiss was released this past Tuesday and you can read my review here. In meantime, drool away ladies!

~  Bel


He pressed his lips tight and then returned her smile.  “No, Annie Girl.”  He tugged her bathing suit strap and planted a kiss on her shoulder.  “Right now I want to love you until all you’re saying is my name.”

~ Last First Kiss (Brightwater #1) by
Lia Riley

   
      Last First Kiss (Brightwater, #1)
   

Last First Kiss (Brightwater #1) by Lia Riley

* * * 3/4


A kiss is only the beginning...

Pinterest Perfect. Or so Annie Carson’s life appears on her popular blog. Reality is... messier. Especially when it lands her back in one-cow town, Brightwater, California, and back in the path of the gorgeous six-foot-four reason she left. Sawyer Kane may fill out those wranglers, but she won’t be distracted from her task. Annie just needs the summer to spruce up and sell her family’s farm so she and her young son can start a new life in the big city. Simple, easy, perfect.

Sawyer has always regretted letting the first girl he loved slip away. He won’t make the same mistake twice, but can he convince beautiful, wary Annie to trust her heart again when she’s been given every reason not to? And as a single kiss turns to so much more, can Annie give up her idea of perfect for a forever that’s blissfully real.

Full disclosure: I don’t typically veer towards small town romances for my reading pleasure. What’s different this time is that THIS is Lia Riley and since I love her Off The Map series, I’m all about following her through her latest endeavour!

Annie reluctantly returns to her small town of Brightwater as a divorced single-parent who needs to assemble a plan for her future while picking up all her broken pieces. She’s a champion putting on a brave face for her sweet son, Atticus, and it’s only in those solitary moments when she allows herself to crumble just enough. On the agenda as well is to get her family farm ready for sale. It’s just far too expensive to maintain and her family wants out. This causes mixed feelings for Annie who has bitter memories of being the town’s oddity yet she loves her family home. 

Running into Sawyer and realizing that she still has the hots for him is not in the plan. No, not when she’s still trying to figure herself out. Sawyer is the opposite. He's so happy she's back and sees a chance to make up for an unfortunate misunderstanding that happened years before. He wants to make it right with Annie now. Sawyer is the ultimate good guy without what Lia Riley has described as the “man flu”. He knows she's vulnerable at the moment, and though being around Atticus makes him wonder if he has the potential to be a capable dad, he doesn’t want to be discounted.

I was utterly wrapped up in this charming story that has two of the sweetest and most likable characters I've ever come across. Gentle, quirky Annie is still struggling with insecurities and Sawyer just wants to love her. The sparks come out in full force as they get reacquainted and it’s just a matter of who can hold out longer.

Aside from Annie and Sawyer, there are some other pretty awesome characters that’ll be fun to get to know as they series wears on. There’s Sawyer’s crotchety grandma who’s carrying the flag for the family’s decades-long feud with Annie's, Archer who's Sawyer’s Lothario of a brother and finally Edie, who’s new to the community. The town of Brightwater that this is set in provides a lovely respite from reality. I felt like I was on vacation. I look forward to more from this series – Right Wrong Guy featuring Archer and Edie comes out in August.  Go on and get smitten!
~ Bel
   
      Last First Kiss (Brightwater, #1)
    



Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (154)


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

Second Chance Summer (Cedar Ridge, #1)By Jill Shalvis
Publication Date: June 30, 2015

RESCUE MECedar Ridge, Colorado, is famous for crisp mountain air, clear blue skies, and pine-scented breezes. And it's the last place Lily Danville wants to be. But she needs a job, and there's an opening at the hottest resort in her hometown. What has her concerned is the other hot property in Cedar Ridge: Aidan Kincaid-firefighter, rescue worker, and heartbreaker. She never could resist that devastating smile . . .

The Kincaid brothers are as rough and rugged as the Rocky Mountains they call home. Aidan has always done things his own way, by his own rules. And never has he regretted anything more than letting Lily walk out of his life ten years ago. If anyone has ever been in need of rescuing, she has. What she needs more than anything are long hikes, slow dances, and sizzling kisses. But that can only happen if he can get her to give Cedar Ridge-and this bad boy-a second chance . . .






Jesse's Girl (Hundred Oaks)
By Miranda Kenneally
Publication Date: July 7, 2015

Practice Makes Perfect.

Everyone at Hundred Oaks High knows that career mentoring day is a joke. So when Maya Henry said she wanted to be a rock star, she never imagined she’d get to shadow *the* Jesse Scott, Nashville’s teen idol.

But spending the day with Jesse is far from a dream come true. He’s as gorgeous as his music, but seeing all that he’s accomplished is just a reminder of everything Maya’s lost: her trust, her boyfriend, their band, and any chance to play the music she craves. Not to mention that Jesse’s pushy and opinionated. He made it on his own, and he thinks Maya’s playing back up to other people’s dreams. Does she have what it takes to follow her heart—and go solo?





Exposed (Captive #2)By Brighton Walsh
Publication Date: July 21, 2015

In this sexy, suspenseful New Adult novel, a young woman hiding from her criminal past is taken captive by her ex-boyfriend, the ultimate bad boy.

Evie is about to embark on the perfect life. Beautiful, poised, and engaged to a rising business star, she fits the part of trophy wife perfectly, except for one thing: her entire identity is a lie. 

Five years ago she created a new identity for herself, but it all crashes back when something she witnessed years ago comes back to haunt her. Now she's in danger of losing more than her social status. 

Determined to protect the careful life she's built for herself, Evie doesn't want anything to do with Riley, the criminal for hire who broke her heart years ago. But Riley has other ideas. He's never forgotten Evie, and to protect her, he steals her away. Hidden from the world, sparks begin to fly as old memories resurface and their passion reignites.






Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Girl I Was Before Release Day by Ginger Scott



THE GIRL I WAS BEFORE by Ginger Scott is finally here! Check out the excerpt and giveaway below!




THE GIRL I WAS BEFORE (Falling #3)
 NA Contemporary Romance
Scheduled to release: June 23, 2015

BLURB

I’m the selfish one. I suppose that’s the nicest thing people say about me. I’ve heard the other things, too. “Paige Owens is a pretty girl with nothing else to offer. She’s just a good time at a party. She’s stupid, heartless, cold and useless. All she cares about is getting a guy to look at her. Why would anyone want to be her friend?”

Some of those things are true. Others were true. They’re all hurtful.

None of it matters.

I’m ready to make the hard choices. I’m ready to face the consequences. I’m ready to be the girl I was before, and I’m done being the one who lost her way.

I’m ready to become the girl Houston Orr sees when he looks at me.

Houston isn’t a star athlete. He doesn’t play in a band. He’s never going to be president, and his life is so far away from simple and easy it isn’t even funny. He wasn’t part of my plan. But I’m starting to think plans are overrated, and maybe our stories are what we make them. And mine depends entirely on me, and the choices I make…starting now.

Houston is my fairytale. He’s perfectly imperfect. He’s poetry and life. He’s truth and heartbreak, all rolled up in a tall body with dark hair, broad shoulders and green eyes that lull me into submission. He’s nothing I ever thought I wanted, but the very thing I need. He’s the only guy I’ve ever really loved, and he thinks I’m a princess. I fell into him, and now I’m holding on.

But sometimes life takes away our ability to choose. Sometimes…things aren’t in your control. Sometimes, it hurts to be selfless. My only hope is that when it comes time to choose, I get it right.

Welcome to my once upon a time and wish for happily ever after.


EXCERPT

I like you. I don’t wanna like you. But I do.
I have been repeating her words in my own head since I heard them. I’ve been saying them like a mantra because of that part of me that doesn’t want her to like me either. Because if she likes me, then maybe how I feel is okay too, and maybe acting on it is okay, and then shit gets real. What does that even mean? Shit gets real? Shit gets hard—that’s what it means. Real hard. I have to make time for someone else; I have to take a leap of faith and risk that my world will fall apart again. That’s what that means.
“I like you too, Paige,” I whisper. “And fuck if I don’t want to. But I do.”
I take a few seconds to jog in place, stretching my neck from side to side like I’m about to step into a fight. Maybe I am. But fuck it, shit got real a long time ago. What do I have to lose now?
“I’m not looking, I swear,” I say, keeping my eyes at the floor as I barge into the bathroom. I cannot believe I’m doing this.
“Out!” she yells from behind the shower curtain. “Not even funny. Not even clever. Out, you fuck stick, out!”
Her anger makes me laugh, and fuck stick? Really?
“I have to brush my teeth. We’re pushing it close on time. I’ll be fast, and I’ll keep my face forward. I swear,” I say.
I’ve already brushed my teeth, but she doesn’t know that. I turn on the water and load up my brush. I hear the curtain slide behind me, and I know she’s looking at me. I don’t have to turn around or look into the reflection to know what her face looks like—her brow is furrowed and her lips are tight, and she’s making sure I’m keeping my promise. Don’t worry Paige; I won’t look. But I know you want me to.
I’m spitting into the sink and reaching for the towel by feeling, careful not to glance up, when I hear the water switch off and the curtain slide open. There’s no towel near her or the tub; I know it because I see them hanging on the rack several steps away. She’s cheating.
I notice her shape move into my periphery to my right, and I glance briefly to catch her hand reach for the towel. When I see her back is to me, I go ahead and look long enough to take a mental picture. Her hair is soaking wet and dripping a line down her perfectly sun-kissed skin, a trail of water I let my eyes follow down her shoulder blades, to the small of her back, to an ass that is so perfect I wish I were the kind of asshole who would reach out and smack it at a time like this. I just hold my breath and memorize it instead. I turn back to the sink, lay my towel down, and move to leave.
“You looked,” she says, and I pause with my hand on the doorknob, the curves of her body now ingrained in my memory. I smile.
“Yeah, I did,” I say, before stepping into the hallway and shutting the door behind me.












GIVEAWAY

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Ginger Scott is an Amazon-bestselling author of eight young and new adult romances, including Waiting on the Sidelines, Going Long, Blindness, How We Deal With Gravity, This Is Falling, You and Everything After, Wild Reckless and The Girl I Was Before.

A sucker for a good romance, Ginger’s other passion is sports, and she often blends the two in her stories. (She’s also a sucker for a hot quarterback, catcher, pitcher, point guard…the list goes on.) Ginger has been writing and editing for newspapers, magazines and blogs for more than 15 years. She has told the stories of Olympians, politicians, actors, scientists, cowboys, criminals and towns. For more on her and her work, visit her website at http://www.littlemisswrite.com.

When she's not writing, the odds are high that she's somewhere near a baseball diamond, either watching her son field pop flies like Bryce Harper or cheering on her favorite baseball team, the Arizona Diamondbacks. Ginger lives in Arizona and is married to her college sweetheart whom she met at ASU (fork 'em, Devils).


CONNECT WITH GINGER


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A Shattered Moment by Tiffany King

****


From Penguin:


In the new series by the bestselling author of the Woodfalls Girls novels, six friends—fresh from high school graduation—discover that the future can come at you from out of nowhere.


This is Mackenzie’s story…


Mackenzie Wilson once had hope for what life had to offer, but everything changed on the night of her graduation. A year later, the only way she can find comfort is by keeping her head down and hoping she remains unnoticed at college.

When Bentley James discovered Mac in that twisted SUV, he was just a newbie EMT on his first call. It was a gut-wrenching moment that made him realize not everyone can be saved—and sometimes they don’t want to be.

A chance encounter on campus brings Bentley back into Mac’s life. Despite her initial resistance, he sets out to discover the girl hiding beneath a shield of seclusion. He evokes painful memories in Mac—but also feelings. As the spark between them grows, Mac must decide if she can let go of the past and believe in something as fragile as love…



A Shattered Moment is a beautifully tragic story about grief, survival, and love.  Mac is recovering from a nightmare.  Unfortunately, Bentley was there and reminds her of the horror she faced - at least at first.  As Mac learns to live again, if Bentley truly wants her, he will have to put his exceptional patience to the test.  Mac and Bentley's journey is touching and a little bit heartbreaking.  

ASM was my first Tiffany King and I'm hooked.  The emotional books aren't really my thing, but King may have converted me with this wonderful book.  I really cannot recommend this book enough and it may make an appearance on my Top Ten of 2015 list.  :-)

~ Shel






Monday, June 22, 2015

Just Business by Anna Zabo

Just Business (Takeover, #2)**** 1/2

From the thrilling new author of Takeover, a steamy new novel about having all the control—and losing it…

Note from the author: 
This is the followup to Takeover and features Justin and Eli. Sam and Michael are fairly important characters in this book as well.

Justin White may not look like an up and coming corporate superstar, but his new boss knows he has the smarts, grit, and determination to succeed. Now he just has to convince his company’s CFO, Eli Ovadia. Unfortunately, Justin can’t seem to keep his cool around the domineering Eli—and soon he finds himself taking their heat from the boardroom into the bedroom….

Still haunted by a tragic accident that left him with a wounded leg and broken heart, Eli has a need to be in control. But his desire for Justin makes him want to lose that control—and push them both far beyond their limits. But will his need to dominate Justin drive him away—or will Eli find a way to be the man he needs for both of them? 





Review:


Last year I had the pleasure of reading Takeover by Anna Zabo.  I fell hard for the MC’s, Sam and Michael and I couldn’t wait for Anna Zabo’s next book in the series.  Just Business is the story of Eli and Justin.  Eli is the CFO for Sam’s (of Takeover fame) new company.   Justin is the barista in the coffee shop below their office.  

Justin’s barista gig is just a side job until he finishes his MBA at Carnegie Mellon.  But when he overhears coffee shop regulars, Sam and Eli, discussing hiring an assistant, Justin is determined to get the job.   Taking a chance, he gives Sam his resume while serving his coffee.  Sam is impressed by his resume and his education enough to give him an interview. Eli, however, is not as impressed.  Justin’s painted nails and emo-style of dress does not fit into Eli’s box of what is considered acceptable in the business world.  But Justin is determined to land this job and shows up for his interview in his one suit. But he leaves the nail polish on just to piss Eli off.  Of course, he lands the job.

Eli doesn’t know why the new assistant bugs him so much.  Maybe it’s his lack of professional attire. Or to be more honest with himself, it might be that Eli finds Justin to be extremely attractive.  Especially when he follows through with requests with such a submissive air.  But it doesn’t matter.  One, Eli doesn’t do relationships.  Two, if he did, he certainly wouldn’t date a co-worker.  Particularly a co-worker that technically works for him.

As you can guess, there is no fighting their attraction to one another.   When the two of them meet, by chance, at a party hosted by others in the “scene”, they immediately begin an affair that quickly segues into a serious relationship that neither of them are quite ready for.  Eli hasn’t been in a relationship in a decade and Justin’s last relationship ended due to emotional and physical abuse.  Add those issues onto the fact that they work together and you have a perfect recipe for both angst and humor.

I loved so much about this book.  Both Eli and Justin were fun and complex characters.  They both had a sense of humor that could turn sexy at the drop of a hat.  Let’s just say that I will never look at office filing the same way again.  And it was fun to get a glimpse of Sam and Michael.  Sam being Eli’s boss and Michael being an old friend of Eli, it was natural for them to play a significant role in Eli and Justin’s relationship.

But my favorite part of Just Business was their relationship in the bedroom.  Eli is a Dom and Justin is a sub.  I haven’t read a lot of stories where the MC’s live the BDSM lifestyle. The few that I have read have been hit or miss.  I have to say that this is the best and hottest one I have read yet.  One of my pet peeves is how some books (certainly not all) portray BDSM relationships as the result of one or both parties compensating for some past tragedy.  As if only the most broken could possibly want to be in such a relationship.  But that is definitely not the case here.  Both Eli and Justin have their past issues, but the roles they wanted to play and did play were set long before those tragedies took place.   


If you are looking for a super-hot, sexy and empowering BDSM romance featuring two heroes, I can’t recommend this one enough.  Just Business is definitely in the running for my Top Ten of 2015.

Nat

Sunday, June 21, 2015

A Peek In The BiblioBin #154


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:



If You Only Knew by Kristin Higgins

Purchased:
  

A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall (paperback)

Loving Dallas (Neon Dreams #2) by Casey Quinn

The Redhead Plays Her Hand (Redhead #3) by Alice Clayton


Rules of the Game (Stardust, Texas #2) by Lori Wilde

Thousand Words by Jennifer Brown

Grey (Fifty Shades #4) by E.L. James

Borrowed:


Scorched (Frigid #2) by Jennifer L. Armentrout


Friday, June 19, 2015

Still the One by Jill Shalvis

***


From jillshalvis.com


Darcy Stone is game for anything—except sexy Navy veteran and physical therapist AJ Colten, the guy who’d rejected her when she’d needed him most. Now the shoe is on the other foot and he needs her to play nice and help him secure grants for his patients. Unfortunately Darcy can’t refuse. She needs the money to fund her passion project: rescuing S&R dogs and placing them with emotionally wounded soldiers.
AJ admits it—Darcy is irresistible. But he’s already been battle-scarred by a strong-willed, vivacious, adventurous woman like Darcy, and he’s not making the same mistake twice—until he and Darcy are forced to fake a relationship. Growing closer than they’d ever imagined possible, Darcy and AJ have to ask themselves: how much between them is pretend? What’s the real thing? And where does it go from here?

Jill Shalvis.  Need I say more?  Ok, fine.  All of Jill's work is phenomenal and Still the One is no exception.  Sunshine Idaho is one of my favorite fictional places, right up there with Lucky Harbor.  In Sunshine Idaho, all the boys are hot and all the girls are awkward and hilarious.  While Sunshine is missing a wonderfully crazy Lucille character, it is still a fabulous place.  

AJ and Darcy are amusing as they pretend to not want one another.  Such a fruitless struggle...  Their pretend relationship could not possibly be more of a sham, not because they aren't together, but because there's nothing "pretend" about the relationship.  Stubborn, thy name is a Jill Shalvis hero and heroine.  

If you haven't added Still the One to your summer reading list, you are seriously missing out!  

~ Shel