Monday, December 31, 2012

Top Ten 2012 (It's Nat's Turn!)

Wow.  Is it the end of the year already?  Where did the time go?  2012 was a rough year for all of us in one way or another.  And because of that each of us went through long lasting reading funks.  But even with that funk I managed to read 78 books this year. That is high for me on a normal year so I won't complain...

As usual, I had a hard time deciding which books to include in my Top Ten of 2012.  I, of course, cheated a little by adding a few honorable mentions at the end. How I narrowed those down to only three is byond me...So here it is.  My Top Ten of 2012.  In no particular order.

The Lovers Dictionary by David Levithan - A modern love story told in single words and definitions. So many pages resonated with me and how I feel about the Executive Officer. I still go back and re-read passages.  And the best part?  David Levithan continues to define life, love and relationships through words on Twitter @loversdiction

Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir by Jenny Lawson Hands down, my favorite book of the year.  Yeah, you all thought I would choose a romance, didn't you?  Well I didn't.  I chose this amazingly hilarious (and rarely serious) memoir by Jenny Lawson, The Bloggess.  I can't begin to tell you much how I laughed.  And laughed.  And laughed.  And cried a little.  And laughed some more.

Chase In Shadow by Amy Lane - Thanks to Bel, this is where my love of Amy Lane began.  This is a brutally emotional story of a young man struggling to remain in the closet while using the gay-for-pay porn industry as an outlet.  Oh don't worry.  There is definitely some happy in this story.  But first, Ms. Lane will stomp on your heart a good five or six times.  Because she's kind of awesome like that.  And apparently that's my thing since I have read about a dozen more of her books since Chase in Shadow.

Rockoholic by C.J. Skuse - This one snuck up on me.  It was nothing what I expected.  Instead it was so much more.  A brilliant dramatic comedy  that is in turn hilarious and disturbing.  As I stated in my review, C.J. Skuse should be applauded her sheer awesomeness.

Dash and Lily's Book of Dare by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan - I am so happy that I read this right before Christmas.  A perfect romantic comedy that not only put me in the holiday spirit but also had me giggling well into the early hours of the morning.  I believe this has been optioned for a movie and I will be absolutely thrilled if it makes it to the big screen. AND if I can put a Dash on hold for youngest daughter, that would be most excellent.

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry - The chemistry between Echo and Noah not only drips off this hot cover, it also drips off every single page within the book.  It was steamy.  It was angsty.  It was romantic.  And it made me cry.  A quadruple threat.  I can not wait until the companion novel, Dare You Too, is released in May 2013.

Making Promises by Amy Lane - I was instantly smitten with forever-boy (or forever-man in this case since this isn't YA and he is 30-something) Shane.  His patient pursuit of the adorably prickly and bitchy Mikhail is so understanding and loving that I just couldn't help but fall in love with him.  Also, how could I not love a book with this beautiful quote, "I cannot face you if you think I look at you and see anything less than the man you are.  I am not settling for you, I am reaching for you, and there is a difference..." 

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green - I find it impossible to discuss this book with someone that hasn't read it.  The sheer beauty and sadness of it is overwhelming.  All I will say is that John Green is a genius.  His previous stories are great but this one….well there is a reason that it has been so well received by so many.  Once you read it, check out this to answer to any and all of your questions regarding Hazel and Augustus:

Unbreak My Heart by Melissa Walker - So often books are about being hurt by someone else.   Melissa Walker is one of the rare authors that chose to focus on the character that did the hurting.  We all make mistakes in our lifetime.  Some of those mistakes are bigger than others.  This story was about learning to live with those mistakes and how to rebuild your life after suffering the damage you caused.  This story was beautiful and I think is a must read for teens just so they know that life does move on and it does get better.

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi - This was one of the first books I read this year.  So often I will read something early in the year that I really enjoy but then it is overshadowed by something else.  In twelve months, Under The Never Sky has never swayed from my Top Ten.  This is a perfect combination of romance, fantasy and sci-fi and the second in the series will be an auto-buy for me when it is released the first week of 2013.
Honorable Mentions:

The Curiosites by Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton and Brenna Yovanoff & Boys of Summer Edited by Steve Berman - As I have mentioned numerous times, I do not like short story compilations.  This year, a number of YA authors set out to teach me a lesson.  Both The Curiosities (a collection of supernatural and horror stories) and Boys of Summer (an anthology of Gay YA shorts) proved to me that there are not only some amazing short stories out there but also a number of great authors that I can't wait to read more of.
Gambling Men by Amy Lane - To be honest, I could have added Amy Lane books to most of my Top Ten.  And it was REALLY difficult for me to choose between Gambling Men and Making Promises.  So this gets honorable mention. The biggest reason (besides the hilarious use of poker metaphors) is that I married a Quentin.  Yeah, that's right.  If you have read this you know to be super jealous ;-)

Friday, December 28, 2012

Shel's Top 10 of 2012

Hi all!  Sorry I've been a little absent on the blog.  The holidays are always a busy time, but this year has been absolutely nuts.  Throw in a promotion at work and I'm doing a vanishing act.  I promise to be better, mostly because I miss you all!
I had such a problem this year narrowing down my choices for my top 10 reads for 2012.  What a great year for book lovers, and if my TBR pile gets any bigger it's going to take over my entire house.  I only got in about 100 books this year and there were so many more great books I wanted to read.  So, without further adieu and in no particular order...
The Elemental Series by Brigid Kemmerer

The first two books, Storm and Spark, just knocked my socks off.  I love this series.
The Mythos Academy Series by Jennifer Estep (Dark Frost and Crimson Frost)
This has been one of my favorite series since we started the blog (as I'm sure you can tell by my frequent ramblings on the subject).  This year brought us Dark Frost and Crimson Frost.  Both are freaking amazing.  Kudos Jennifer!


The Mephisto Covenant: The Redemption of Ajax by Trinity Faegen

Animal Attraction by Jill Shalvis  (And Slow Heat by Jill Shalvis and let's face it, pretty much anything by Jill Shalvis)
Ok, ok.  I know, but seriously, if you haven't picked up a Jill Shalvis book you NEED to.  She's supposed to be at the RT convention this year and it is very likely that I will go all fan-girl crazy when I meet her!  Her books are hilarious AND steamy.

Much Ado About Magic by Shanna Swendson

I was so happy that Shanna decided to self-publish the rest of the Enchanted, Inc series and she has not disappointed.
The Gallagher Girls Series by Ally Carter
I soooo want to be a Gallagher Girl!

Shadows In The Silence by Courtney Allison Moulton

Wow, just wow.  That's all I can say for now.  You will have to check out my review in February.
Alex Van Helsing: The Triumph of Death by Jason Henderson

The finale of this great series.  I love Alex so much and am sad to see him go!  If HarperCollins or Harper Teen is reading this, please give us more of this seriously fun series!
The Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare
 Oh Jem!  Oh Will!  I think you both need hugs!

Well, that's the best I could do to narrow down my Top Ten.  I know, I know, I cheated a little bit, but seriously, it's tough to pick just 10!  So, what are your favorites from 2012?


Crimson Frost by Jennifer Estep

**** ½ 

From KTeen (Kensington)

For a moment, a face flashed before my eyes—the most hideous face I’d ever seen. No matter how hard I tried to forget what had happened, I saw him everywhere I went. It was Loki—the evil god that I’d helped set free against my will.

I should have known that my first official date with Logan Quinn was destined to end in disaster. If we’d gotten into a swordfight, or been ambushed by Reapers, I’d have been more prepared. But getting arrested mid-sip at the local coffee hangout? I didn’t see that one coming. I’ve been accused of purposely helping the Reapers free Loki from his prison—and the person leading the charge against me is Linus Quinn, Logan’s dad. The worst part is that pretty much everyone at Mythos Academy thinks I’m guilty. If I’m going to get out of this mess alive, I’ll have to do it myself…

Crimson Frost is fantastic!  In this fourth installment of the Mythos Academy Series, Jennifer Estep explores bullying and prejudice against Gwen when Logan’s Dad comes to town making accusations that Gwen is a Reaper and the toll it takes on Gwen and Logan's relationship.  We also learn more about Logan's past.  It was  fun to meet more people outside of Mythos Academy who are fighting against the Reapers.  

Crimson Frost is fast-paced, full of snark and sarcasm and just a great read.  The series just keeps getting better (which I didn't think was possible!).  This was the best Christmas gift Jennifer Estep and Kensington could have possibly given me! 

I cannot wait for Midnight Frost!  Why, oh why do I have to wait for July???

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (46)

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

By Marie Lu
Publication Date: January 29, 2013

June and Day arrive in Vegas just as the unthinkable happens: the Elector Primo dies, and his son Anden takes his place. With the Republic edging closer to chaos, the two join a group of Patriot rebels eager to help Day rescue his brother and offer passage to the Colonies. They have only one request—-June and Day must assassinate the new Elector.

It’s their chance to change the nation, to give voice to a people silenced for too long.

But as June realizes this Elector is nothing like his father, she’s haunted by the choice ahead. What if Anden is a new beginning? What if revolution must be more than loss and vengeance, anger and blood—what if the Patriots are wrong?

Friday, December 21, 2012

Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

* * * * * 

"I've left some clues for you.
If you want them, turn the page.
If you don't, put the book back on the shelf, please."

So begins the latest whirlwind romance from the "New York Times" bestselling authors of "Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist." Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?

Rachel Cohn and David Levithan have written a love story that will have readers perusing bookstore shelves, looking and longing for a love (and a red notebook) of their own.


When Dash finds Lily’s red notebook at The Strand he is intrigued and thinks he may have finally found the perfect diversion that will entertain him during Christmas – “the most detestable time of the year.”  When Lily learns that someone has taken on the challenge set forth in her notebook she is excited to have some fun during what she considers the most wonderful time of the year.  Through the use of a notebook that is hidden through out New York City, two very opposite people learn of only the reasons why maybe a relationship between the two them can work.   

Let’s just get right to it.  I adored this book.  I don’t know if it was because of the mood I was in when I picked it up  - I was looking for a fun romance.  Or if it is because of the mood it put me in – it made me absolutely giddy for Christmas and New Years.   

Lily is a young and innocent girl that is just now learning about the adult world she has up until now avoided.  She is adorable, sweet and creative with an unusually fun wardrobe that left me reeling with envy.  In short, Lily Rocks.  Between her happy and still innocent outlook on life and her absolute love of Christmas – the girl organized a caroling society for goodness sake – It’s hard not to love her. 

Dash is a young and intelligent snob with a dry wit and eclectic vocabulary that would put any adult hipster to shame. Seriously.  The only thing this kid is missing is a mustache and a cigarette.  Where Lily provides endless happiness and light, Dash gives us a healthy but fun dose of angst and humor.  So many of his scenes had me laughing out loud that I was pretty sure that my husband was going to banish me from the bedroom if I kept waking him up.    

The two of them interacting through the pages of a notebook is one of the most amusing and happiest things I have read in a long time.  Cohn and Levithan somehow made chemistry between two people that never meet absolutely reverberate off the page.

If you are looking for a story that is guaranteed to get you into the holiday spirit, Dash and Lily is it.  Pick it up this weekend and read it before Christmas and New Years.  Who knows?  Maybe you will end up hiding a red notebook of your own.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

* * * *
It all starts when Nick asks Norah to be his girlfriend for five minutes. He only needs five minutes to avoid his ex-girlfriend, who's just walked in to his band's show. With a new guy. And then, with one kiss, Nick and Norah are off on an adventure set against the backdrop of New York City;and smack in the middle of all the joy, anxiety, confusion, and excitement of a first date.

This he said/she said romance told by YA stars Rachel Cohn and David Levithan is a sexy, funny roller coaster of a story about one date over one very long night, with two teenagers, both recovering from broken hearts, who are just trying to figure out who they want to be;and where the next great band is playing.

Told in alternating chapters, teeming with music references, humor, angst, and endearing side characters, this is a love story you'll wish were your very own. Working together for the first time, Rachel Cohn and David Levithan have combined forces to create a book that is sure to grab readers of all ages and never let them go.


I keep telling myself that I am going to read all the David Levithan books in all the land.   But inevitably my attention is needed elsewhere and my poor lonely Levithan books are yet again left on my bookshelf lacking the love and attention they deserve.   

Then miracles, upon miracles, I had time to *gasp* read books on my real life bookshelf.  So I grabbed Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist and once again lost myself in the emotional wonder that is Mr. Levithan’s writing and in the process discovered the genius that is Rachel Cohn. 

Nick, “a non-queer bassist in a queercore band”, was brutally dumped three weeks, two days and twenty-three hours ago.  His ex-girlfriend, Tris, has decided to show up at a club that his band is playing and he is not ready to deal with that drop in the emotional roller-coaster ride that he has been enduring.  When he sees that Tris and her date are making a move to say “hi” to him, he grabs the girl next to him and asks her to be his 5 minute girlfriend.   

Norah will pretty much do anything to avoid her classmate, Tris.  And pretty much anything includes laying a hot kiss on the boy that just asked her to be his 5 minute girlfriend.  She didn’t expect that kiss to be the hottest she’s ever had.  And she didn’t expect the boy to be the famously wonderful boyfriend that Tris has been bragging about for the last six months.  Norah feels like she knows this boy so she decides to finally take a chance in life and get to know him better.  

There isn’t a character in this book that I didn’t like for one reason or another.  Norah is not the most loveable character but I think a lot of girls will relate to the way she naturally holds back because she is afraid of the consequences of taking a leap that comes with no guarantees.  Nick was a perfect combination of hot musician and quiet forever boy.  He is incredibly sensitive and intense.  So intense that a certain make out scene left me breathless.  And I mean BREATHLESS.  Dear heavens.  Then there is the small ensemble of players that come in and out of Nick and Norah’s night of discovery.  And they all have a significant impact.  Even Tris plays her part in making sure these two get together.

This book is about so much more than a first date.  It is about loss, lust, love.  It is about learning to let go so you can grab what’s right in front of you.  If you are fan of edgy contemporary romance and Happy For Now endings, then you must read Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist.   

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (45)

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

By Lenore Appelhans
Publication Date: January 15, 2013

In this gripping exploration of a futuristic afterlife, a teen discovers that death is just the beginning.
Since her untimely death the day before her eighteenth birthday, Felicia Ward has been trapped in Level 2, a stark white afterlife located between our world and the next. Along with her fellow drones, Felicia passes the endless hours reliving memories of her time on Earth and mourning what she’s lost—family, friends, and Neil, the boy she loved.

Then a girl in a neighboring chamber is found dead, and nobody but Felicia recalls that she existed in the first place. When Julian—a dangerously charming guy Felicia knew in life—comes to offer Felicia a way out, Felicia learns the truth: If she joins the rebellion to overthrow the Morati, the angel guardians of Level 2, she can be with Neil again.

Suspended between Heaven and Earth, Felicia finds herself at the center of an age-old struggle between good and evil. As memories from her life come back to haunt her, and as the Morati hunt her down, Felicia will discover it’s not just her own redemption at stake… but the salvation of all mankind

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Speechless by Hannah Harrington

* * * * *

Everyone knows that Chelsea Knot can't keep a secret.
Until now. Because the last secret she shared turned her into a social outcast—and nearly got someone killed.
Now Chelsea has taken a vow of silence—to learn to keep her mouth shut, and to stop hurting anyone else. And if she thinks keeping secrets is hard, not speaking up when she's ignored, ridiculed and even attacked is worse.
 But there's strength in silence, and in the new friends who are, shockingly, coming her way—people she never noticed before; a boy she might even fall for. If only her new friends can forgive what she's done. If only she can forgive herself.

It’s absolutely no secret at all as to how much I adore Harrington’s debut novel Saving June. When she had mentioned to us in her interview last year that she was working on Speechless, I knew that she’d be sharing something fabulous with us again.

Speechless deals with the hard topics of bullying and gossiping. Chelsea lives in the upper echelon of her high school’s social hierarchy. I didn’t like her at first. We’re not supposed to. She represents everything that is awful about high school. Gossiping is a way to maintain her status though I will say she is most definitely a follower here as she’s always under the influence of her best friend, Kristen. At Kristen’s New Year’s Eve party, she gets drunk and unwittingly becomes witness to a very private moment between two boys. Unable to keep her mouth shut as usual, she blurts out what she’s seen to everyone resulting in a disgusting act of violence that lands the victim in the hospital. Realizing that her gossiping was responsible for the violent act, she decides to refrain from speaking for as long as she can. The way she sees it, nothing good can come from her talking so why not for ?nce be silent?

The tables turn on Chelsea swiftly after she comes forth to the authorities with the truth about the perpetrators. It is a long, painful fall down to the bottom tier. She’s completely isolated and removed from her former friends. At this point you expect the author to throw in some grand life lesson learned. She doesn’t. Instead Chelsea very stoically accepts her “sentence”. She understands that her actions have hurt people and that they all need time to calm down. She's very simplistic about this at first. She’s under the notion that things will blow over soon and that things will be normal again. Not so much. Everyone is downright vile towards her including her former best friend.

What makes Speechless outstanding is the honesty with which Chelsea approaches her new status. She doesn’t experience any immediate epiphanies. It’s a gradual learning curve. She misses her old life, especially Kristen. Now that she’s exiled from the cool crowd, she does meet other kids at school, people she admits she was completely unaware of. She examines her decision to turn her former friends in to the police but it’s surprising that she doesn’t necessarily see it as doing the right thing – just something she had to do. Her vow of silence starts out as a way for her to assuage her guilt but becomes an opportunity for introspection. She gains remarkable insight by simply being silent. It’s as if her other senses have kicked into high gear and she’s truly listening and seeing people for the first time. Her new friends Asha and Sam are among many delightful highlights in the book. Their friendship gives Chelsea a whole new lease on her high school life.  

There’s so much more I want to add about the story itself but I’ll refrain from giving it away.  I cannot begin to describe how this story has wrapped itself around me. Hannah Harrington is a very gifted storyteller with an amazing ability to just capture your heart by diving into these very real moments with such authenticity and compassion. You get into the mindset of these individuals and understand what’s motivating them because you’re living vicariously through them.  Harrington’s writing evokes strong feelings because her characters are genuine and you trust the direction she’s taking them in. They’re very much alive and heartfelt because of the voice she gives them.

Another reason to love Speechless it features a young girl who matures into a strong young woman. I don't come across enough of them in contemporary YA fiction.  It's about becoming a better person after having gone through all the crap and nonsense life throws at you. It’s about finding a voice that has purpose. 
~ Bel



Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (44)

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

By Gayle Forman
Publication Date: January  8, 2013

A breathtaking journey toward self-discovery and true love, from the author of If I Stay
When sheltered American good girl Allyson "LuLu" Healey first meets laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter at an underground performance of Twelfth Night in England, there’s an undeniable spark. After just one day together, that spark bursts into a flame, or so it seems to Allyson, until the following morning, when she wakes up after a whirlwind day in Paris to discover that Willem has left. Over the next year, Allyson embarks on a journey to come to terms with the narrow confines of her life, and through Shakespeare, travel, and a quest for her almost-true-love, to break free of those confines.

Just One Day is the first in a sweepingly romantic duet of novels. Willem’s story—Just One Year—is coming soon!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Dream Lake by Lisa Kleypas

* * * *

Dream Lake takes readers once again to the exquisite setting of Friday Harbor, and tells the story of Zoӫ Hoffman, an innkeeper who has all but given up on love. She’s a gentle, romantic soul, but has been so hurt in the past that she dare not trust her heart with anyone. Especially not Alex Nolan. Alex is the most haunted of all the Nolan brothers.

He drinks to keep his demons at bay and not only has he given up on love, he has never, ever believed in it. Zoӫ and Alex are oil and water, fire and ice, sunshine and shadow.

But sometimes, it takes only a glimmer of light to chase away the dark. Dream Lake is classic Lisa Kleypas: romantic, powerful, emotional, and magical.


Lisa Kleypas has managed to successfully interweave two beautiful love stories – one supernatural and the other in the here and now.  This story starts out with a nameless ghost that is tethered to Rainshadow Road.  He doesn’t know who he is and he can’t leave the house.  He has watched over decades as Rainshadow Road has fallen into disrepair.  Then Sam Nolan buys the house and the ghost has hope that this house that he is stuck in will once again become a beautiful place.  What he doesn’t expect is to finally meet someone that can see him. 

Alex Nolan, Sam’s brother, is an amazingly skilled carpenter that has what it takes to bring Rainshadow Road to its former glory.  Unfortunately, Alex is also a functioning bitter alcoholic going through an even more bitter divorce.  But that doesn’t stop our ghost from being so happy that someone can communicate with him that he tries to follow Alex out the door.  He soon realizes that he is now tethered to Alex and cannot leave his side.  Alex is not amused to find he has a supernatural friend.  He is not sure if what he is seeing is real or if all the liquor that he has been drinking has finally made him hallucinate.  These unwilling companions from different times somehow become necessary to each other in order to survive. 

Enter Zoe.  Zoe is absolutely lovely.  She is humble and kind and just wants to take care of those around her.  The Zoe care package always includes something delicious she whips up in the kitchen of her B&B which she runs with her cousin, Justine.  Zoe is a forever girl through and through.  When she first meets Alex Nolan she knows that she should run as fast as she can.  But she can’t seem to help caring for the man who has never had anyone care for him in his life.  As the two grow closer, we find that Zoe may have the key to unravel the mystery of both Alex and his ghost’s fate..    

Lisa Kleypas hit the ball out of the park with this one.  This is an epic story of loss and love and hope and I can’t recommend it enough.  If you are a fan of romance you must pick this one up.


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (43)

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

By Jennifer Estep
Publication Date: December 24, 2012

For a moment, a face flashed before my eyes—the most hideous face I’d ever seen. No matter how hard I tried to forget what had happened, I saw him everywhere I went. It was Loki—the evil god that I’d helped set free against my will.

I should have known that my first official date with Logan Quinn was destined to end in disaster. If we’d gotten into a swordfight, or been ambushed by Reapers, I’d have been more prepared. But getting arrested mid-sip at the local coffee hangout? I didn’t see that one coming.

I’ve been accused of purposely helping the Reapers free Loki from his prison—and the person leading the charge against me is Linus Quinn, Logan’s dad. The worst part is that pretty much everyone at Mythos Academy thinks I’m guilty. If I’m going to get out of this mess alive, I’ll have to do it myself…(

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Easy by Tammara Webber

* * * * *

Rescued by a stranger.

Haunted by a secret.

Sometimes, love isn’t easy…

He watched her, but never knew her. Until thanks to a chance encounter, he became her savior…

The attraction between them was undeniable. Yet the past he’d worked so hard to overcome, and the future she’d put so much faith in, threatened to tear them apart.

I cannot express enough how hard I have fallen for this book, so much so that I couldn't bear to tear myself away from it at any time.  And while I have the eBook, I need to own a hard copy because there are some pages I just want to read over and over again.

Easy starts off with Jacqueline a bit lost after being dumped by her boyfriend she’s known since high school.  Realizing how much her social circle depended on him and that she gave up a part of herself to be with him when she followed him to college, she's just a bit bitter, confused and depressed. Who wouldn't be? Two weeks after the break up, as she's leaving a frat party, she is assaulted by a mutual friend. Thankfully, someone comes along and saves her before things go too far. Turns out her rescuer is Lucas who so happens to be in one of the classes she's been avoiding for the past two weeks since her breakup.

Encouraged by her friends to think of Lucas as the perfect rebound material, Jacqueline decides to pursue him. As she finds herself opening up to him, she gets curious about his past and the secrets he's keeping.

Here are the many things I loved about Easy:  I felt that the fallout from Jacqueline’s assault was natural. The fear and guilt she carried with her, her roommate's reaction when she finally told her and how Jacqueline was choosing to deal with it were all valid. Nothing felt out of step that I couldn’t believe in how things were moving along. Webber also set a lovely pace for Jacqueline’s and Lucas’ relationship to develop. They have this quiet, intense chemistry between them. Honestly, some of the passages are so steamy, I was blushing! It's impossible to not fall for Lucas. Even though there was a heavy undercurrent, somehow as these two people were falling in love, earning each other's trust and learning to deal with the traumatic events in their lives, they still managed to have hope.

Perhaps what’s most endearing about Easy is that as the hero, Lucas isn’t content with just being Jacqueline’s savior and protector. He’s determined that she learn to empower herself and face her fear head on. There’s something so sweet about how Lucas treats Jacqueline and how she responds to him. Just look at the cover that so perfectly embodies how he sees her. He never treats her as incompetent or incapable. It's a change of pace from the guy/hero treating the girl as simply inept at fully grasping the complexity of a given situation thereby giving her as little information as possible and getting annoyed with her because she doesn't get the big picture.

Kudos to Tammara Webber for creating this gorgeous piece of work that just effortlessly grabbed me and gave me warm fuzzies. When I finished it, my reaction was much like how I felt about last year's Saving June by Hannah Harrington.  Easy left a glowing smile on my face because out of something so nightmarish, something incredibly beautiful came along.
~ Bel 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Book Lover's Giveaway Hop 2012

Hi all!  It's holiday giveaway time.  We're running a little behind here at BiblioJunkies HQ, so I hope you don't mind, but we are making this one really simple.  You tell us what book you want, up to $15, and we will get it to you.  So that book you've been wanting to read, but cannot justify the purchase with the holidays looming - yeah, that one, that's the one you can win here. 
A huge thanks to I Am A Reader, Not A Writer (as always) and Chapter by Chapter for hosting and putting together another awesome giveaway hop.  Check out the linky list below for all the other fabulous blogs participating and Good Luck!
Happy Holidays!
~Shel, Bel & Nat
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Peek in the Biblio-Bin (45)

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

This is what we have in our bin this week. Tell us what's in your Biblio-bin!

Vincent Boys by Abbi Glines

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Speechless by Hannah Harrington