Friday, October 30, 2015

Valentine (Brotherhood of Fallen Angels #1) by Heather Grothaus

* * *

Introducing the Brotherhood of Fallen Angels—an epic new series set in the medieval Holy Land, where four heroic Crusaders find themselves caught in the crosshairs of revenge, devotion—and love…

He’s a man of passion and principle. But would he kill for his convictions? That’s the question that has Valentine Alesander fighting for his innocence. He’s been accused, along with three other Brothers, of orchestrating the horrific siege at the Christian fortification of Chastellet. Could this fatefully-named Crusader be a lover, a fighter, and a traitor? One woman from his past is about to find out.

Gorgeous, free-spirited Lady Mary Beckham has escaped her guardians in England to travel across the world—and find the notorious Valentine. Years ago, she was promised to him…and now she wants out of their marriage contract. Mary wants to wed another and requires Valentine’s blessing—until she discovers they share a tempestuous attraction. But with a vengeful band of sworn enemies at Valentine’s heels, is desire worth the risk of losing…everything?


I have a deep fondness for history but unfortunately, I don’t get to read too much of it because for me, it requires concentration and taking notes and research. Yes, folks, I am THAT particular when I read a history book. Coming across TheBrotherhood of Fallen Angels series allows me to dip my toes into a time period and region that I have always been fascinated about but without my usual seriousness.

Lady Mary Beckham is all that's left of her parents' legacy and they died during her infancy. She has been lovingly raised by her governess. She passes her days at her estate by dreaming up lives for the passerby outside her window. Now that she has come of age, she is to marry. Months before her nuptials she comes to learn that she has already been betrothed and will need to have that contract voided in order to marry her love. However, the man she was promised to is currently a criminal, evading his family and other parties who have much to gain from his demise. Mary has to go find him, bring him back to England so they can null their marriage contract. This is a risky undertaking on its own being that Mary has never traveled much beyond her village, let alone England.

With a price on his head, Valentine has had little choice but to go into hiding these past years as many believe him responsible for the siege and downfall of Chasellet where many lives were lost. Valentine wants to prove his innocence and bring the real traitors to justice but he has to be cautious. There’s more at stake that just his name. While in hiding, he has befriended a small circle of friends who know his story. Their tight bond is one of the few things in the world, besides his own instincts that he can trust.

I delighted in Mary and Valentine’s chemistry. When they first meet, Valentine is very much the charming, flirty rogue who enjoys a beautiful woman. He’s taken in by Mary's beauty and innocence. After spending time with her, he’s impressed by her courage and sass. Mary is not so easily dazzled by this Crusader’s rugged looks and womanizing ways, though she catches glimpses of the real him. The Valentine that cares about his family and friends, the one who would lay down his life for those he loves. Their high-stakes escapades unite them, forging a deep connection between them. I enjoyed how Grothaus described their sexual tension; how much of it was left to my imagination. Sometimes that’s all that’s needed.

Grothaus gave me all my loves in one: adventure, romance and intrigue, against one of the most fascinating historical backdrops. Valentine as the hero is educated, resourceful, shrewd, passionate and strong. He’s a man’s man. Mary is no dainty, helpless thing though. She’s equally smart and resourceful, developing a flare for adventure. I got exactly what I wanted and that was to be whisked away to some other time and place. Now I cannot wait to read, Adrian next. I mean, have you seen these covers?

~ Bel



Thursday, October 29, 2015

That's What HE Said Thursday #50

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 he's speaking to us ;)

What better way to celebrate our book boyfriends?



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

Shel picked today's quote and it comes from an author who is a permanent guest on our BFF Island, Jill Shalvis. It just so happens that today is National Cat Day, so how fitting that our book boyfriend, Dell is a successful vet. And look - there's even an adorable cat on the cover! 



“I just wanted you to never be afraid again.  To believe in yourself.  And then, when that started happening, when you started gaining confidence, I realized the truth.  It was happening, exactly what I wanted – you were learning to live without fear and getting strong… so that you could leave.  I was helping you leave.”  

Letting out a low laugh, he pressed his forehead to hers.  “Christ, that sucked.”  He tilted his head and kissed her gently, eyes open, locked on hers.  “I love you,” he breathed.  “I love you so goddamn much it hurts.”

~ Dell to Jade
by Jill Shalvis

   
      Animal Attraction (Animal Magnetism, #2)
   

Dangerous Lies by Becca Fitzpatrick

* * * 1/2


A teen is forced to make a fresh start after witnessing a violent crime—but love and danger find her anyway in this novel from Becca Fitzpatrick, the New York Times bestselling author of the Hush, Hush saga.

Stella Gordon is not her real name. Thunder Basin, Nebraska, is not her real home. This is not her real life.

After witnessing a lethal crime, Stella Gordon is sent to the middle of nowhere for her own safety before she testifies against the man she saw kill her mother’s drug dealer.

But Stella was about to start her senior year with the boyfriend she loves. How can she be pulled away from the only life she knows and expected to start a new one in Nebraska? Stella chafes at her protection and is rude to everyone she meets. She’s not planning on staying long, so why be friendly? Then she meets Chet Falconer and it becomes harder to keep her guard up, even as her guilt about having to lie to him grows.

As Stella starts to feel safer, the real threat to her life increases—because her enemies are actually closer than she thinks…


Admittedly, I requested to review this book based on Fitzpatrick’s name alone. It’s not just because she wrote one of my favourite series – Hush, Hush. It’s also because she impressed me last year with her standalone release, Black Ice, a departure from the paranormal world she had inhabited. Having enjoyed that, I had no hesitation in reading her latest.

Dangerous Lies follows sixteen year-old “Stella” who has been placed into Witness Protection after agreeing to testify against the perpetrator of a heinous crime she witnessed in her own home. She’s uprooted from her hometown of Philadelphia and taken to Thunder Basin, Nebraska, where she’ll stay for the summer until the case is set to go to trial. This small town is far-removed from her former life. She’s annoyed to be left in the care of a retired cop, Carmina, who actually has the gall to set boundaries and curfews for her, something she’s never had to deal with from her own strung-out, ineffective mother. The only thing that could be a bright side in this middle-of-nowhere town is local hottie, Chet Falconer. The two get along well and Stella has to quell her attraction to him by reminding herself that she does have a boyfriend waiting somewhere out there with whom she hopes to be reunited soon. Carmina warns Stella to stay away from Chet but of course, she doesn’t listen. In fact, Stella spends quite a bit of time at the beginning looking down her nose at people, putting her arrogance on full display and defying Carmina. You can well imagine what sort of stupidity that can lead to.

As I read Dangerous Lies, I challenged myself to gather the clues and put the pieces together before Fitzpatrick’s final unveiling of the truth. She set a nice pace and surprised me with some diversions and twists I didn’t see coming. That's the point, right? Fitzpatrick also gives Stella a strong personality with a voice that expresses her disdain for her current situation. When you first meet her, she's just oozing hostility. And although she's in a new setting, Stella's terrifying nightmares still accompany her along with the guilt over her mother's condition. I was happy to see Stella eventually change her tune as she gets accustomed to Thunder Basin and the locals. Everything in this temporary home has given her a new perspective on what her life was like in Philly and what she has gained in the time she's been here. 

I enjoyed Dangerous Lies and how our heroine went from feeling invincible to realizing that she can allow herself to count on people who care about her. Turns out Thunder Basin is a good place after all!

~ Bel


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Such A Dance by Kate McMurray

Such a Dance
* * * 1/2

When a vaudeville dancer meets a sexy mobster in a speakeasy for men, the sparks fly, the gin flows, the jazz sizzles—and the heat is on…

New York City, 1927.

Eddie Cotton is a talented song-and-dance man with a sassy sidekick, a crowd-pleasing act, and a promising future on Broadway. What he doesn’t have is someone to love. Being gay in an era of prohibition and police raids, Eddie doesn’t have many opportunities to meet men like himself—until he discovers a hot new jazz club for gentlemen of a certain bent...and sets eyes on the most seductive, and dangerous, man he’s ever seen.

Lane Carillo is a handsome young Sicilian who looks like Valentino—and works for the Mob. He’s never hidden his sexuality from his boss, which is why he was chosen to run a private night club for men. When Lane spots Eddie at the bar, it’s lust at first sight. Soon, the unlikely pair are falling hard and fast—in love. But when their whirlwind romance starts raising eyebrows all across town, Lane and Eddie have to decide if their relationship is doomed…or something special worth fighting for.
 



Review:

Growing up my mother and I bonded over books and movies.  When we weren't at the library we were watching every movie shown on AMC.  You know, back in the day when AMC showed really old movies. Not TV shows (not knocking them as I'm a huge TWD fan) or the 80's movies that just make ME feel ancient.  But I digress.  We loved black and white movies.  Dramas, comedies...we weren't particular.  We loved it all.  Seeing those old black and white dramas provided a peek at a time in history that is so different from now.  There was a certain dark romantic quality to watching the drama play out in the varied gray shadows you only find in black and white film.   When I requested to review Such A Dance I was hoping it would not only successfully transport me to the 1920's but also back to that time in my life where I shamelessly lost myself in classic old melodramatic movies.  I was not disappointed. 

Eddie Cotton has a successful husband/wife song and dance comedy routine in a Broadway vaudeville show.  But contrary to popular belief, he is not married to his co-star, Marian.  Being a gay performer in the 1920's, while not uncommon, isn't exactly accepted.  So Eddie and Marian pretend to be married while on stage and even go out and about once in a while to keep the illusion alive.   When Eddie hears about the Marigold he checks it out immediately.  A jazz club that is meant to be a safe haven for men such as himself?  He's more than a little curious.  He's not there 5 minutes before he catches the eye of the man that runs the joint - Lane Carillo. 

Lane Carillo has done what he needs to survive in the mafia as a gay man.   But when it is proposed (or demanded since saying no isn't an option) that he open and run the Marigold, he is more than a little concerned.  Paying the police to keep them from shutting down a speakeasy for selling booze is difficult enough.  Keeping them from raiding the place for being "that kind of establishment" will be even more difficult.  But Lane is smart and dedicated and he makes it work.  When he meets Eddie Cotton at the club he knows right away that their relationship could be something more.  But Eddie is convinced that marriage-like relationship between two men is impossible.  Lane will have to show him otherwise.

As they navigate the intricacies of their burgeoning relationship they both will deal the things happening in their separate worlds.  Police are putting the heat on Lane and he is finding it to be more expensive every week to keep the club open.  Meanwhile, Eddie is dealing with a  producer that is determined to not only make Marian the star of the show but to also push Eddie out the door.  A move that could devastate Eddie's career. 

I found Eddie to be slightly annoying but in a fairly realistic way.  Although he doesn't physically deny who he is, he does deny himself emotionally, which makes him a bit of a wreck when bad things happen. What I did love about him was how happy he was when he was dancing.  He positively lit up the page when he was dancing by himself or drawing Lane into a routine on the dance floor of the Marigold.  Lane is a fascinating character.  He fully accepts who he is.  Yes, he has regrets in life but he also has a lot of hope.  He refuses to deny himself the possibilities of a good life just because he isn't attracted to women as society demands.   It was fun to see this fairly even-keeled guy  comfort and hold his boyfriend up in one scene and then shoot a man for bringing watered down whiskey in another.  Trying to figure out if he was a good guy that did bad things or a bad guy that did good things was fun. 

I definitely enjoyed this story.  Gay historical romance is not something I often gravitate towards but as I stated before, the setting of this story made me think of the old movies I loved so much when I was younger.  As I read this, the story unfolded in my head as a classic black and white melodrama.  I believe envisioning it like that was what made it work for me.  It delicately pushed all the right buttons.

Nat



Sunday, October 25, 2015

A Peek In The BiblioBin #172


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:



My Kind of Wonderful (Cedar Ridge #2) by Jill Shalvis


Purchased:



Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone: The Illustrated Edition (#1) by J.K. Rowling & Jim Kay

The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan & Maureen Johnson

Finding Cinderella (Hopeless #2.5) by Colleen Hoover



Best Worst Mistake (Brightwater #3) by Lia Riley

The Burnt Toast B&B (Bluewater Bay #5) by Heidi Belleau & Rachel Haimoitz


Borrowed:



The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins

Friday, October 23, 2015

The Fifteenth Minute (The Ivy Years #5) by Sarina Bowen

* * *



Freshman Lianne Challice is known to millions of fans as Princess Vindi. But sometimes a silver screen sorceress just wants to hang up her wand, tell her manager to shove it, and become a normal college student. Too bad that’s harder than it looks.

She’s never lived a normal life. She hasn’t been to school since kindergarten. And getting close to anyone is just too risky — the last boy she kissed sold the story to a British tabloid.

But she can’t resist trying to get close to Daniel "DJ" Trevi, the hot, broody guy who spins tunes for hockey games in the arena. There's something haunting his dark eyes and she needs to know more.

DJ's genius is for expressing the mood of the crowd with a ten second song snippet. With just a click and a fade, he can spread hope, pathos or elation among six thousand screaming fans.

Too bad his college career is about to experience the same quick fade-out as one of his songs. He can't get close to Lianne, and he can't tell her why. And the fact that she seems to like him at all? Incredible.

In this fifth installment we have DJ who’s in the midst of a scandal at school, accused of something that he claims had never happened. Until the situation is resolved, he has been counseled to keep a low profile. Lianne, world-famous movie star, enrolled at Harkness so she can experience normalcy. Unfortunately, her fame brings some notoriety causing her presence to become more of a spectacle on campus and in classes. Therefore, she’s forced to keep under the radar. These two from very different worlds are introduced to through their mutual hockey friends and find common ground in their awesome taste for cheesy 90’s music and a disdain for fake people. Mutual attraction aside, they find an easy-going rhythm with each other that makes this dreadful school year so much better.

A couple of the things I enjoy about this series is Bowen’s penchant for whimsical chapter titles that will make you smile while also addressing some serious themes. I did like the approach she chose to come at DJ's predicament from his angle  being the accused rather than the accuser. He agonizes over how far he wants to fight the allegations against him. I got the impression that he’s rather na├»ve about his situation because he can’t accept that he has to be always on the defensive. To make things more complicated, he’s unsure about how much he should confide in Lianne. She, in the meanwhile, has ambitions of her own for her dual lives. Career-wise, she wants to achieve artistic independence. On a personal level, Lianne wants to feel more grounded and a part of the fabric of college life. Side by side they encourage each other to push through their boundaries.

The Fifteenth Minute continues with the fun, mishaps and missteps of growing up, owning mistakes and taking on the challenges that pop up along the way to adulthood. As per usual, you can expect hysterical banter, embarrassing, laugh-out-loud moments and googly eyes leading to passionate interludes. Who doesn’t love those?

~ Bel


Thursday, October 22, 2015

That's What HE Said Thursday #49

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 he's speaking to us ;)

What better way to celebrate our book boyfriends?


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



Nat brings you this week's book boyfriend. Meet West from Take Me On by Katie McGarry.



“I'm in love with you"

Finally, the girl looks at me. "What?"

"I don't know." I gesture to the house, the yard, the dirt surrounding us. "I'm not sure what suggested romance. Maybe it was the screaming match or the way my girlfriend kicked my ass to the ground, but I love you."

Her mouth gapes. "I...I..."

"I don't want you to say it back now. One of us should have some class.”

~ West to Hayley
by Katy McGarry
 
   
      Take Me On (Pushing the Limits, #4)
    

The Girl Next Door by Amy Jo Cousins

The Girl Next Door (Bend or Break, #3)
When it comes to love, go big or go home.

Charles “Cash” Carmichael traded his high-rise condo and family-firm career for a job coaching soccer for Chicago’s inner-city kids. He’s adjusting to living on minimum wage when his young cousin, newly out and running away from home, shows up on his less-than-luxurious doorstep.

Angsty teens definitely aren’t Cash’s thing. He needs local backup, and there’s only one name he can think of: Stephany Tyler. Back in the day, the bisexual Steph was the perfect friend with benefits until she fell in love with a woman.

To his relief, his former friend steps up to the plate. Soon, though, Cash finds himself feeling the familiar need to keep her in his bed, and in his life. But Steph, burned by the ex-girlfriend and by the absentee dad she’s been trying to connect with, won’t risk her heart again.

Good thing Cash believes in leaving it all on the field. If he can just convince Steph to get in the game, there’s a chance they can both win.

Warning: This book contains ex-friends with benefits crossing boundaries a second time, several steamy encounters on staircases, copious discussions about gay sex from a “straight” guy, a shout-out to magic buttons, and an especially memorable going away threesome.
 




Review:

I had to laugh at the warning for this book.  One, because most of the warnings that come on books published by Samhain make me giggle, and two, because it gives the idea that this book is all sex.  And it’s not.  There are some steamy scenes in it for sure.  And I can’t say that I’ve read a threesome in any other New Adult novel (or adult novel for that matter outside erotic romance). But Amy Jo Cousins fits it in seamlessly without ever making the reader feel like they’ve crossed into something unexpectedly steamier.

If you’ve read Off Campus (by now we all know I’m a huge fan) you are familiar with Cash Carmichael.  The clueless kindhearted friend that insists on staying in Tom’s life and who effortlessly draws Reese in too.   It’s been a few years since graduation and Cash has chosen to ditch his comfy parent provided job for a minimum wage non-profit position bringing sports to inner-city kids in Chicago.   A huge adjustment but Cash adapts easily.  Which is a good quality to have when his 17 year old cousin, Denny, shows up at his apartment looking for a place to stay.  Denny has just come out to his parents and they think he is just looking for attention.  The one person that Denny thought might take him seriously is Cash.  Cash wants to give Denny what he needs but he’s not quite sure what that is. So he brings in the troops.  The troops being his best friends Tom and Reese.  But they are still in Boston and can’t come out to help for a couple weeks.  In the interim, Cash enlists the help of the one person he’s been avoiding since he found out she moved to town.  His bi-sexual friend, Steph.  More memorable to him as his former friend with benefits.  Also the girl that got away.

When Cash meets Steph for dinner he finds the friendship that was so strained before naturally reappears.  Steph doesn’t hesitate to help out and it doesn’t take long before she and Cash are re-instating their friends with benefits relationship.  The difference is that Cash doesn’t want a casual thing.  For him this is the real deal.  But he knows Steph.  And he recognizes her issues with abandonment.  Mix that with Cash’s fear of being cast aside like last time and he decides to slowly work his way into her heart.  He just needs the time to convince her that he’s worth forever.

There are so many things to love about this book.  The biggest thing being Cash himself.  The story is told from his POV (third person) and he is just such a….DUDE.  And when you read it you will understand why that is hilarious.   He’s funny, kind and completely aware of his cluelessness.  This might be my favorite quality of his.  He KNOWS that it sometimes takes him longer to process information.  And he’s so embarrassed by it.  But he has a few tricks up his sleeve to hide that from people and I found it endearing.  His relationship with each of his friends (Denny included) really shows that he’s the glue that holds them all together.  Really there is nothing to dislike about the guy. 

Steph is amazing.  I loved her since the moment she threatened Tom in Off Campus.  She’s feisty and she has a huge heart.   A huge heart that’s been broken a few too many times.  She’s also naughty.  Much like her BFF, Reese, Steph is a bit of an exhibitionist, which allows for some fun steamy scenes.  It definitely helps that Cash is pretty much open to anything and everything.

If you’ve been following this series from the beginning you’ll enjoy the reappearance of Tom and Reese.  And if, like me, you started this series by reading Level Hands (Bend or Break #4), you’ll enjoy seeing how Denny and Rafi meet each other.  It was adorable to witness the start of their relationship through Cash’s eyes.

This series has been a joy to read and The Girl Next Door was the perfect sweet and happy remedy needed after experiencing the angst of the first two books.  Each one of these books have made it to my comfort read shelf.  I am not ashamed to admit I’ve read Off Campus three times in the past three months.  If that’s not a comfort read I don’t know what is.  It just hits the spot.  The best part is that the series isn’t over.  Look out for our review of Real World (Bend or Break #5) which comes out in November.  If you are a Tom/Reese fan you will love reading this novella about them 5 years post-graduation.


Nat

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (169)


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


The Iron Warrior (The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten, #3)By Julie Kagawa
Publication Date: October 27, 2015

The Iron Prince—my nephew—betrayed us all. 

He killed me. 

Then, I woke up. 

Waking after a month on the brink of death, Ethan Chase is stunned to learn that the Veil that conceals the fey from human sight was temporarily torn away. Although humankind's glimpse of the world of Faery lasted just a brief moment, the human world has been cast into chaos, and the emotion and glamour produced by fear and wonder has renewed the tremendous power of the Forgotten Queen. Now, she is at the forefront of an uprising against the courts of Summer and Winter—a reckoning that will have cataclysmic effects on the Nevernever. 

Leading the Lady's Forgotten Army is Keirran himself: Ethan's nephew, and the traitor son of the Iron Queen, Meghan Chase.To stop Keirran, Ethan must disobey his sister once again as he and his girlfriend, Kenzie, search for answers long forgotten. In the face of unprecedented evil and unfathomable power, Ethan's enemies must become his allies, and the world of the fey will be changed forevermore.


Cold-Hearted RakeBy Lisa Kleypas
Publication Date: October 27, 2015

A twist of fate...

Devon Ravenel, London's most wickedly charming rake, has just inherited an earldom. But his powerful new rank in society comes with unwanted responsibilities . . . and more than a few surprises. His estate is saddled with debt, and the late earl's three innocent sisters are still occupying the house . . . along with Kathleen, Lady Trenear, a beautiful young widow whose sharp wit and determination are a match for Devon's own.

A clash of wills...

Kathleen knows better than to trust a ruthless scoundrel like Devon. But the fiery attraction between them is impossible to deny—and from the first moment Devon holds her in his arms, he vows to do whatever it takes to possess her. As Kathleen finds herself yielding to his skillfully erotic seduction, only one question remains:

Can she keep from surrendering her heart to the most dangerous man she's ever known?
 




By Renee Collins
Until We Meet Again
Publication Date:  November 1, 2015

They exist in two different centuries, but their love defies time

Cassandra craves drama and adventure, so the last thing she wants is to spend her summer marooned with her mother and stepfather in a snooty Massachusetts shore town. But when a dreamy stranger shows up on their private beach claiming it's his own—and that the year is 1925—she is swept into a mystery a hundred years in the making.

As she searches for answers in the present, Cassandra discovers a truth that puts their growing love—and Lawrence's life—into jeopardy. Desperate to save him, Cassandra must find a way to change history…or risk losing Lawrence forever.

When The Stars Align by Jeanette Grey

* * 


Their passion burned hotter than the stars . . .

For Josephine "Jo" Kramer, nothing has ever been easy. When she earns a summer internship in Puerto Rico, working at one of the world's preeminent scientific facilities, she'll let nothing distract her. Not her own insecurities, not the arrogant scientists, and definitely not her tall, chiseled research partner, Adam.

For Adam McCay, physics is simple-it's women who are complicated. Especially brilliant, beautiful ones like Jo. From the moment they meet, he can feel the heat smoldering deep beneath her icy exterior. And Adam knows just what it will take to make Jo melt . . .

Under the endless stars of a tropical sky, Jo and Adam indulge their every desire. But as their internship comes to an end, their perfect island paradise is threatened. Was their time together a summer fling? Or is their passion hot enough to last the long winter nights?

A young, ambitious woman with a large chip on her shoulder versus an equally ambitious young man who’s figuring out the complicated mess that has become of the relationship he has left behind. They arrive in Puerto Rico to participate in a prestigious undergraduate research program and are soon partnered up.

Jo has a hard time with people in general. She’s aloof, she doesn’t trust easily and she’d much rather be left alone. Adam is the opposite. He enjoys company, is outgoing and inclusive. Jo is unimpressed when they first meet and he is baffled by this haughty, mysterious person. But just because she’s built a perimeter around herself, doesn’t mean that Jo doesn’t notice Adam’s physical attributes or personality. Despite herself, she would just rather be all business and focus on her work. They have a rocky start but Adam is able to chisel away at her rough exterior to make her feel more comfortable and relaxed around him, eventually becoming more social with her research team.

I liked the gender-reversal in this. Jo has more sexual experience and is perfectly fine with a one-night stand every once in a while. Adam is a relationship guy. When he’s in love, he’s committed. This is too much for Jo who is used to keeping herself emotionally detached. Adam has to be patient as she works through her issues, and there are many such as her very strained relationship with her father.

That being said, I also had a difficult time clicking with Jo. Initially, it was because she came off as a “glass half empty” person to me. Her negative attitude reminded me of someone I knew so that personal reference made it difficult for me to connect with her. As her background came to light, I began to empathize with where she was coming from even if I still didn't get her completely.

Jo and Adam have their battle of wills as to how and where their relationship should go. It’s a dramatic learning curve for Jo who has never let anyone get close before. As for Adam, he’s learning that there’s a difference between settling for something and fighting for something heart and soul. Where they end up after their time in Puerto Rico is over is the far greater unknown than the stars they've been studying all along.  

~ Bel

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Don't Get Caught by Kurt Dinan Cover Reveal & Giveaway

Debut author Kurt Dinan reveals the cover of Don’t Get Caught, and gives readers a first-time sneak peek!


   
      Don't Get Caught
   

Describe your book in 140 characters or less.

A high school nobody recruits a crew of misfits for heists and pranks to get revenge on the mysterious Chaos Club. #DontGetCaught

How did you come up with the idea for Don’t Get Caught?

Look, who hasn’t wanted to rob a bank?  Or at least hasn’t thought about it?  I can’t be the only one, right?  Right? So, I suppose Don’t Get Caught is my way of robbing a bank without risking actual jail time because, let me make this clear, I would not do well in prison.  I love capers, heists, and schemes, and while the crew in this novel aren’t robbing banks, they are satisfying my criminal thoughts by doing the teenage equivalent of bank robbery--wrecking havoc in their high school.

Tell us about the main character.

Max is a high school nobody, a kid who’s smart enough and nice enough to get by, but who doesn’t really fit in anywhere.  So basically, he’s me at sixteen.  But what Max has that I certainly didn’t have is a genius-level ability to scheme and a newly discovered gift for leading misfits.  He’s underestimated by everyone, a fact that works to his advantage when he decides it’s time to write his name in the wet cement of the universe by destroying a forty-year-old secret society.

Did your class in high school pull any memorable pranks? Or is there one you wish you had pulled?

My prank life didn’t begin until college when I helped mastermind a promotion for a fake campus concert that almost led to my arrest.  But in my final year of high school, the six-hundred members of my senior class were crowded onto bleachers for an all-class picture.  I look at that picture now and see an opportunity for chaos.  I mean, how much would it have cost to hire an airplane to drop a hundred gallons of water at the precise moment the picture was taken?  Or to organize a group of kids to all wear neon shirts and arrange themselves into something profane within the crowd?  It’s missed opportunities like this that keep me up at night.

What books formed your thinking or reflected who you were as a child and teen reader?

I read a lot of early Stephen King probably before I was old enough, and then through high school it was mostly comic books and classics.  I do specifically remember reading Helter Skelter during my junior year, dragging that non-fiction monster around with me for a month or so.  Looking back on it now, that’s probably all of the evidence needed to explain why I didn’t have a girlfriend in high school.


ABOUT DON'T GET CAUGHT:

17-year-old Max Cobb is sick of being “Just Max”—the kind of guy whose resume boasts a measly 2.5 GPA and a deep love of heist films. So when an invitation appears in his locker to join the anonymous, untraceable, epic prank-pulling Chaos Club, Max jumps at the opportunity to leave “Just Max” in the dust.
   
Except that the invite is really a set-up, and Max—plus the 4 other kids who received similar invitations—are apprehended by school security for defacing the water tower.  This time, Max has had enough. Time for Heist Rule #6:

Always Get Payback.

Let the prank war begin...

ABOUT KURT DINAN:


Kurt Dinan is a high school English teacher. He’s had several short stories published, including one in 2010’s The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror. He lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, with his wife, three young sons, and baby girl. Don’t Get Caught is his first novel.


EXCERPT FROM DON'T GET CAUGHT:

I may not be a fan of heights, but I especially hate ladders. I always think the rung I’m on is going to break away and send me plummeting. So climbing the water tower ladder in the dark, the rungs sticky for some reason, only worries me more. But despite that, I’d be lying if I didn’t say how awesome this was. The higher I climb, the harder my heart pounds from the adrenaline. I feel like a jewel thief scaling a skyscraper at midnight on his way to stealing the Hope Diamond.
Up ahead in the darkness, Wheeler goes into a mock newscaster’s voice announcing, “Five Asheville High School students fell to their deaths last evening when—”
“Shut up,” Malone says.
The climb takes only two minutes but feels like an hour when the ladder ends at the base of a metal grating no more than four feet wide. If a strong wind blows, a waist-high railing is all that’s there to keep me from hurtling to my death.
“Wow, this is higher than I thought,” Ellie says, looking out over the lights of the town.
Malone, recording everything with her phone, says, “I wish I had my climbing gear. I’d love to repel off this.”
“What was it Jesus said, Ellie?” Wheeler says. “‘I think I can see my house from up here’?”
And me, I want down. And not just down, but to roll in the grass and kiss the earth. Then, as I’m about to wuss out, Ellie’s hand is in mine and she’s leading me along the platform.
“Come on,” she says. “Let’s look for the next clue.”
Her hand is soft and warm, and if the platform gives away right now, I can die a happy man.
“You get to open the next envelope if there is one,” Ellie says. “Or maybe it’ll be like in the movies, and there’ll be a cell phone that rings and—”
My foot kicks something metal sending it clanking and skittering across the platform before dropping into the night.
From the other side of the tower Malone says, “What was that?”
I look down at my feet and see four more of what I’ve just booted—spray paint cans.
And in one horrifying moment, I realize why the rungs were sticky when we climbed.
Red paint covers my hands.
Oh shit.
I lean back for a better view of the water tower to see what’s been spray-painted there. The wet paint trails down from certain letters like red teardrops.
Double shit.
Heist Rule #5: When in doubt, run.
But we don’t get that chance.
Suddenly, the water tower lights blaze to life illuminating the newly painted message for the entire town to see.
Assville High School, Home of the Golden Showers.
Both Malone and Wheeler say, “Shit.”
Ellie says, “Wow.”
Adleta says nothing.
And then a voice booms from a bullhorn below where red-and-blue lights flash in the parking lot.
“This is the police. Come down immediately.”
So much for Don’t get caught.

   
      Don't Get Caught

PRE-ORDER DON'T GET CAUGHT:  

Amazon     I     Barnes & Noble     I     BAM          


ENTER TO WIN AN ADVANCE COPY OF DON'T GET CAUGHT BY KURT DINAN:


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wicked Restless Release Day Blast & Review Tour by Ginger Scott


Join us in celebrating the release of WICKED RESTLESS by Ginger Scott!



WICKED RESTLESS
Very Mature YA Contemporary Romance


Amazon     I     Google     I    iBooks     I     B&N     I     Kobo

 BLURB:

Andrew Harper grew up in a house marked by tragedy. His older brother Owen did his best to shelter him, but you can only be protected from life’s pain for so long. Eventually, you end up just feeling numb…and isolated.

Loneliness was the one constant in Andrew’s life. Until one girl, met by chance in a high school hallway, changed everything. Emma Burke was a mystery and all that was beautiful in this world, the only air Andrew ever wanted to breathe. She took the lonely away, and filled it with hope and color, and Andrew would do anything to keep her safe, happy and whole.

But sometimes, what feels good and right is what ends up hurting us the most. And when Andrew and Emma are faced with an impossible decision, Andrew is tested to see just how far he’s willing to go for the girl who owns his heart.

Cuts are deep.

Scars are left behind.

And revenge beckons.

When Andrew finally gets his chance, in college, five years after his first love broke him completely, he finds out old feelings don’t really disappear just because you say you hate someone. The more he tries to avenge all that he believes he lost, the more he uncovers the real story of what happened years before.

Love is wicked. But a restless heart is never satisfied beating on its own. Can Andrew and Emma make it right before it's too late, or will the ties that bind them now destroy their only chance at a future?














GIVEAWAY:


a Rafflecopter giveaway
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:

Facebook     I     Twitter     I     Pinterest     I     YouTube 

Google     I     Goodreads     I     Website 

REVIEW:

* * * 1/2

Andrew Harper, younger brother of Owen (Wild Reckless) is a bright kid with a brilliant future ahead of him. Emma Burke is a recent transplant from Delaware. These two immediately take to each other when they cross paths in a PE class . Andrew is slightly worried about what Emma may have heard about his family since they’re constant fodder for the local gossips. Emma doesn’t care though. She’d rather know the real Andrew. Yet she’s also keeping something from him that she’s not ready to share immediately. There’s the typical first date jitters and the disapproving parents. Regardless, things are going well between them until one night something happens that changes the course of their lives and Andrew takes the fall.

The new Andrew we meet years later is drastically different. He goes by Drew now and he’s harder, emotionally closed off and oftentimes difficult to get along with. He's a pill! However, once you learn of the events that shaped him during the missing years, you get why he’s a bitter, angry person. And the target of his anger is Emma when he finally sees her again.

Scott didn’t make Drew very likable, tragic yes, but not likable, especially after he concocts a scheme to get back at Emma. It’s unscrupulous and yet that storyline gives Wicked Restless a lot of edge. Drew also dallies in some dangerous stuff that allows him to channel all his rage. Emma seems to have remained a rather meek person who tries hard to satiate the people she looks up to. When she sees Drew, she’s filled with guilt, shame and confusion over his attitude towards her. It’s not until towards the end that she develops a backbone and confronts the things that have been haunting her and the people who have wronged her.

In Wicked Restless, Scott is not shy about addressing a couple of social issues worth contemplating regarding rehabilitation of troubled youth and sexual assault. She is both perceptive and delicate in her approach to them which is why I admire her writing as much as I do. This is another wonderful release from Scott and a splendid addition to the Harper Boys series. 

~ Bel