Saturday, April 30, 2011

In Our Mailbox (31)

Saturday, April 30, 2011 with
Leslie and I got a bunch of awesome books in the last two weeks (April 18-30) and a few of them are our "covet books." SQUEEE!!!

For Review
Exposure by Therese Fowler
A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young
Love Story by Jennifer Echols
Sometimes It Happens by Lauren Barnholdt
Popular by Alissa Grosso
OyMG by Amy Fellner Dominy
Tempest Rising by Tracy Deebs
Flawless by Lara Chapman
(A big THANK YOU to Goldberg McDuffie/Ballantine Books, HarperTeen, Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster, Flux and Bloomsbury for sending us the books.)

Ten Miles Past Normal by Frances O'Roark Dowell
(Leslie reviewed an ARC copy of this book (and loved it). Thank you to Simon & Schuster for sending us a finished copy.)
The Ivy by Lauren Kunze and Rina Onur
(Read my review and look for a giveaway of this book in May.)

Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld
Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart by Sarah Maclean
Play of Passion by Nalini Singh
Deception by Lee Nichols

Like Mandarin by Kristen Hubbard
What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

FYI: We are part of the blog tours for OyMG and Tempest Rising in May. There will be author interviews, reviews and giveaway for both books!

"In My Mailbox"
is a weekly event that gives book bloggers a chance share with each other what books got added to their to-be-read pile for the week. It was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie and hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Entwined by Heather Dixon is one of the novels that I plan to read this summer, especially after Leslie raved about it in her review and gave it 5 out of 5 stars.

I thought the book trailer is just as lovely as the book cover. It is well-put together, capturing the fairytale and magic with the music, the animations and the font used for the words. My only complaint is that it's a bit too long. I think book trailers should be short and sweet--nothing lasting more than a minute.

Let us know what you think:

Here's the blurb (from Goodreads) and book cover:
Azalea is trapped. Just when she should feel that everything is before her... beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing... it's taken away. All of it.

The Keeper understands. He's trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. And so he extends an invitation.

Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest.

But there is a cost.

The Keeper likes to keep things.

Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late.

Blog News: With summer vacation less than a month away (school gets off on May 27th for us), we are all looking for those perfect summer reads to get us through the summer right? Well, Leslie and I have you guys covered.

Starting next month, May, until the end of July we will be highlighting books we think are must-reads in the summer by "stamping" them with the "Perfect Summer Read-Approved" button on the right. Then, at the end of every month, we'll have a complete list of books summer read-approved books that month as well as other fun summer features. Hopefully our recs will help you with the age-old bookaholic question "What am I going to read next?" in the summer when we'll all have more time to read (and blog--yay!).

Also, May is going to be a big month for YA books here on the blog. Look for YA author interviews, reviews and giveaways. For the romantics, I'll be participating in a couple of blog tours so be in the look out author interviews and romance giveaways too.


Thursday, April 28, 2011

timetravelfashionista Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Poppy

Release Date: April 5, 2011
Source of my copy: publisher
Series: Time-Traveling Fashionista #1
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
When Louise Lambert receives a mysterious invitation to a traveling vintage fashion sale in the mail, her normal life in suburban Connecticut is magically transformed into a time traveling adventure.
After a brief encounter with two witchy salesladies and donning an evening gown that once belonged to a beautiful silent film star, Louise suddenly finds herself onboard a luxurious cruise ship in 1912. As Alice Baxter, the silent film star, Louise enjoys her access to an extensive closet of gorgeous vintage gowns and begins to get a feel for the challenges and the glamour of life during this decadent era. Until she realizes that she's not just on any ship-- she's on the Titanic!
Will Louise be able to save herself and change the course of history, or are she and her film star alter ego, destined to go down with a sinking ship in the most infamous sea disaster of the 20th century?

Michelle's Review:
I'll start by saying how much I loved the overall look and feel of the hardcover edition of The Time-Traveling Fashionista. If you take the dusk jacket off, the front and back cover boards are in a smooth, matte finish in a light purple with a darker purple Damasks pattern. It looks and is as heavy like those speciality hardcover diaries. Then, inside are twenty-five full-color illustrations by Sandra Suy to showcase the fashion of the early 1900s as well as the different settings in the story. I thought the illustrations were gorgeous! The artwork was done in like a vintage magazine kind of style. I loved looking at the fancy dresses and the different styles of the era. Illustrated middle-grade novels seems to be the trend these days (like Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan series) and this book is sure to appeal to middle-grade girls--especially the vintage fashion-minded ones.

As for the story of Louise and how she time-traveled to the Titanic with the help of two strange ladies and a pink vintage gown... Well, I think the Titanic premise is overdone and the fashion aspect of the book wasn't enough to make it a fresh read. I know I'm not the target audience for this novel but it had a "been there, done read that" feel to it, almost like I'm rereading something. As for characters, I thought Louise was likable but I didn't feel an attachment to her predicament. The other characters were a bit flat as well. However, there was enough action, especially in the end, that it kept my attention and it wasn't a hardship to finish it in one sitting. Overall, it was an okay read. I liked the author's voice and her writing style was easy to read--perfect for a middle-grade book. My favorite part was definitely the illustrations so I'm giving that a 5 out of 5 stars and the story a 3 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Books I Covet: Perfect Summer Reads

Wednesday, April 27, 2011 with
Why Michelle covet these books: As some of you may know I LOVE reading romantic contemporary YA with some boy/family/best friend drama of some sort and mixed with lightheartedness and humor. With summer coming up, I am in a look out for some fantastic summer reads. These books are just what I'm looking for:

A rich girl and a stable boy? As soon as I read the blurb I knew I had to get Love Story. And how cool is it that the heroine is a romance novelist? Yay for romance novels!

lovestoryLove Story by Jennifer Echols (out July 2011)

Erin Blackwell is headed to college in New York City to study creative writing and earn a living as a romance novelist. Her grandmother has other plans: she approves of the college, but she wants Erin to major in business and then come back home to Kentucky to run the family’s famous racehorse farm. There is no way Erin will agree. Studying in New York and writing her way into a career is her escape from the farm and the family tragedy that happened there. So Erin’s grandmother decides Erin really will live life as a starving artist. She takes Erin’s future job running the farm, her inheritance, even her college tuition, and gives them all to Hunter Allen.

Hunter has lived on the farm for years. He’s Erin’s age, he’s the stable boy, and he’s the romantic dream of every girl in her high school. But he was involved in the family tragedy. Erin has always given him a wide berth. And he’s a slick opportunist. She’s furious that he fooled her grandmother into giving him Erin’s birthright and sending him to Erin’s college.

At least she’s free of him in her creative writing class. So she pens a story that has haunted her lately, in which the horse farm heiress at the very first Kentucky Derby starts a forbidden affair with the lowly stable boy. Unfortunately for her, the day she’s sharing this story with her New York classmates, Hunter walks in. He’s switching to her class. And after reading about himself in Erin’s story, he writes his own sexy assignments that lure Erin into dangerous fantasies about what could have been between them, and what might be.

For more info about Love Story, visit the author's website and Goodreads. Click on the cover to pre-order.

I didn't want to like The Ivy (the first book in the series) but I did despite myself and after that cliffhanger ending I can't wait to see what happens next. This is The Gossip Girl for the (ivy league) college set.

secretSecrets (Ivy #2) by Lauren Kunze & Rina Onur (out June 2011)
Gregory or Clint? Clint or Gregory? Matt, anyone? And what is Lexi up to . . .exactly? When we last saw Callie Andrews, she was caught on the horns of a dilemma. Lexi was threatening to expose all of her safely guarded, deeply buried secrets from high school, and Callie had just hooked up with bad-boy Gregory--despite the fact that she had a perfect (sort of) boyfriend and her BFF Vanessa had claimed (sort of) Gregory as her own. Yow. Entertaining, hilarious, addictive, scandalous, sexy, and smart, The Ivy series is an insider's look at freshman life at Harvard University. This isn't high school anymore!

For more info about Secrets, visit the author's website and Goodreads. Read my review of The Ivy (first book in the series) HERE. Click on the cover to pre-order.

Love the cover of Past Perfect. Though it won't be out in time for summer, I think this a good read in the fall when I am missing the sunny days of summer. And doesn't it sound like a possible reconciliation plot? Maybe? I'm a sucker for those.

pastperfectPast Perfect by Leila Sales (out October 2011)
A summer job is exactly the distraction that Chelsea needs in order to finally get over Ezra, the boy who dumped her on her a** and broke her heart to pieces just a few weeks before. So when Chelsea's best friend, Fiona, signs them up for roles at Essex Historical Colonial Village, Chelsea doesn't protest too hard, even though it means spending the summer surrounded by drama geeks and history nerds. Chelsea will do anything to forget Ezra.

But when Chelsea and Fiona show up for their new jobs, they find out Ezra's working there too. Maybe Chelsea should have known better than to think a historical reenactment village could help her escape her past. ...or will this turn out to be exactly the summer that Chelsea needed, after all?

For more info about Past Perfect, visit the author's website and Goodreads. Click on the cover to pre-order.

"Books I Covet" is a weekly or bi-weekly blog post series I am going to be doing here.
It will feature books I am very excited about reading and plan on buying/borrowing in the near future. It is similar to the "Waiting On" meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine. However, some of the books may already be published and others may still be in pre-order. I will include the books' blurb, cover art, and/or release date if they're available. Click on the WoW image on the left to join in!

Monday, April 25, 2011

betweenshadesofgray Hardcover: 338 pages
Publisher: Philomel Books

Release Date: March 22, 2011
Source of my copy: won from publisher
Series: none
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they've known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin's orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.
Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously—and at great risk—documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father's prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives. Between Shades of Gray is a novel that will steal your breath and capture your heart.

Michelle's Review:
Between Shades of Gray is a story about Lina, her brother Jonas and their mother after they were taken by the NKVD during Stalin's reign of terror. Along with Lina and her family, other women, young children and old people (all innocent) were also forced out of their homes in the middle of the night. They were forced into dirty cattle cars to take them up north, eventually past the Arctic Circle and into Siberia to work in labor camps. At the same time, the husbands, fathers and brothers were separated from the women and children and put in other train cars were taken to prison. Lina, who was a talented artist used her talent to attempt to communicate with her father. Along the way, Lina and the others were subjected to much horror and suffering that it's hard to believe it really happened and there were survivors who lived to tell about it (albeit in secret because speaking of their experiences meant immediate imprisonment when the deportees returned in the mid-1950s).

I admit wasn't particularly excited to pick this book up because after being bored and disappointed by Annexed I wasn't looking forward to reading a book seemingly in the same vein. Boy, was I wrong! Between Shades of Gray was nothing like Annexed. This book was amazing, beautiful and one of the best I've read this year. There were many horrific scenes of course but through it all there was so much heroism, family, love and the triumph of the human spirit refusing to give up that I teared up many times. I thought the author did a truly remarkable job with the writing--it was well-researched and you can tell it's a subject very close to the author's heart. I really liked the characters in the novel, Lina's mother especially who was the rock that held everyone together. Lina did a lot of growing up in the novel--she didn't really shine in the beginning, it was more her mother and brother. But in the last third of the book was when Lina became a true heroine and I liked her all the more for it. I loved that Lina even had a little romance amidst everything going on. Between Shades of Gray is a moving novel that grips your emotions and won't let go until the last page and you're all the more better for reading this rarely told tale from history. I think it belongs right up there with The Diary of a Young Girl and is a must-read for everyone. 5 out 5 stars

Here's a video where the author talks about just how close the Lina's story is to her own family history and her research for Between Shades of Gray.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Leslie and I are sucking at posting here on the blog in the past week. We're in a bit of a blog slump, I guess. Partly because it took me two weeks to finish a book--not because it's bad (it's actually a 5 star read) but I was just tired of reading one book after another to keep up with all the books I am accumulating. I hardly take the time to savor a book and I'm losing that reading magic. Do you guys know what I mean?

But I took my time with this book because it's one I've been waiting to read for a long, long time. And it felt really good not rushing through a book like I usually do to keep up review books pile. I am very behind now but I am glad I did it because it sort of renewed my love for reading.

Another reason for the blog slump is that there's a lot of things going on right now that involves my making big decisions about my life--there was a lot of going back and forth when I finally made my final decision... yet I'm still doubting myself that I made the right one. All of this thinking plus all the end-of-the-year stuff I have to do for my job and Leslie has for school just pretty much pushed the blog down our list of priorities.

We are going try (very hard) to post more regularly starting with this post because we love this blog and it is important to us that we keep it up.

This post is turning longer than I first planned. Anyway, enough blabbing from me... Someone on YouTube requested that I do a video that shows the books I still need to read (excluding review books) so I did. I thought I'd post it here too.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Books We Covet: The Cover Edition

Wednesday, April 20, 2011 with
Why we covet these books: Two words: gorgeous covers.

Here are the books Leslie and I would buy for their covers so that we can admire them whenever we want on our bookshelf. Oh, and it doesn't hurt that their blurb also makes them covet-worthy.

trisizzieTris & Izzie by Mette Ivie Harrison (out October 2011)
A modern retelling of the German legend "Tristan and Isolde", "Tris and Izzie", is about a young witch named Izzie who is dating Mark King, the captain of the basketball team and thinks her life is going swimmingly well. Until-- she makes a love potion for her best friend Brangane and then ends up taking it herself accidentally, and falling in love with Tristan, the new guy at school.

For more info about Tris & Izzie, visit the author's website and Goodreads. Click on the cover to pre-order.

shatteredsoulShattered Soul by Mary Lindsey (out December 2011)
Lenzi hears voices. She also sees visions--gravestones, floods, a gorgeous guy with steel gray eyes. She knows she must be going crazy, just like her dad did. Her boyfriend, Zak, can't do anything to help, and the voices just keep getting louder, the visions more intense. But when Lenzi meets Alden, the boy from her dreams, everything makes sense.

Sort of.

He tells Lenzi that she's a reincarnated Speaker--someone who can talk to lost souls and help them move on--and that he has been her Protector for centuries. But instead of embracing her abilities, Lenzi struggles between her life as the girlfriend of a sexy musician and the life she is destined to lead with Alden. Yet time is running out; a malevolent spirit has been trying to destroy Lenzi for ages, and he will surely kill her if she doesn't make a decision soon.
Her choices are clear: Destiny or normalcy. Alden or Zak. Life or death.

For more info about Shattered Souls, visit the author's website and Goodreads. Click on the cover to pre-order.

stillwatersStill Waters by Emma Carlson Berne (out December 2011)
Hannah and Colin seem to have the perfect relationship, but as her second-to-last year of school draws to a close and Colin prepares to head off to college, Hannah feels he might be slipping away. She knows they need some real quality time alone if she’s going to hold on to him. So when she finds pictures of his old family lake house, she secretly schemes to get him there. But when they arrive, he’s not thrilled. Actually, he’s totally freaked out. And though she gets him to relax, his behavior become stranger by the day: he disappears for long stretches of the night, has a bizarre breakdown in a nearby diner, and when the car stops running, he seems completely unconcerned about fixing it. The lake house holds secrets, and what Hannah doesn’t know and Colin can’t remember just might kill them both.

For more info about Still Waters, visit the author's website and Goodreads. Click on the cover to pre-order.

moonglassMoonglass by Jessi Kirby (out May 2011)
I read once that water is a symbol for emotions. And for a while now, I've thought maybe my mother drowned in both.

Anna's life is upended when her father accepts a job transfer the summer before her junior year. It's bad enough that she has to leave her friends and her life behind, but her dad is moving them to the beach where her parents first met and fell in love- a place awash in memories that Anna would just as soon leave under the surface.
While life on the beach is pretty great, with ocean views and one adorable lifeguard in particular, there are also family secrets that were buried along the shore years ago. And the ebb and flow of the ocean's tide means that nothing- not the sea glass that she collects on the sand and not the truths behind Anna's mother's death- stays buried forever.

For more info about Moonglass, visit the author's website and Goodreads. Click on the cover to pre-order.

What do you think of these covers? Which one of these four is your absolute favorite?

"Books I Covet" is a weekly or bi-weekly blog post series I am going to be doing here.
It will feature books I am very excited about reading and plan on buying/borrowing in the near future. It is similar to the "Waiting On" meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine. However, some of the books may already be published and others may still be in pre-order. I will include the books' blurb, cover art, and/or release date if they're available. Click on the WoW image on the left to join in!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Author Eileen Dreyer and Giveaway

Monday, April 18, 2011 with

As part of her blog tour, I am excited to have author Eileen Dreyer here on our blog today! Her newest release is Never A Gentleman, the second book in her Drake's Rakes series. The first book in the series was Barely A Lady (see my review).

The Author: Eileen Dreyer

Born and raised in Brentwood, Missouri and a product of Catholic Schools, she lives in St. Louis County with husband Rick and her two children. She has animals but refuses to subject them to the glare of the limelight.

Dreyer won her first publishing award in 1987, being named the best new Contemporary Romance Author by Romantic Times. Since that time she has also garnered not only five other writing awards from Romantic Times, but five RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America, which secures her only the fourth place in the Romance Writers of America prestigious Hall of Fame. Since extending her reach to suspense, she has also garnered a coveted Anthony Award nomination for her last paperback, Bad Medicine. She has over three million books in print world wide, and has made regular appearances on the Waldenbook and B.Dalton bestsellers list, and now the USA Today list.

Eileen is an addicted traveler, having sung in some of the best Irish pubs in the world, and admits she sees research as a handy way to salve her insatiable curiosity. She counts film producers, police detectives and Olympic athletes as some of her sources and friends. She's also trained in forensic nursing and death investigation, although she doesn't see herself actively working in the field, unless this writing thing doesn't pan out. (taken from the Hachette website)

To learn more about Eileen's books, check out her website and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Never A Gentleman
(blurb taken from the Hachette website)
Miss Grace Fairchild is under no illusions about her charms. Painfully plain, she is a soldier's daughter who has spent her life being useful, not learning the treacherous ways of the ton. She may have been caught in a scandal with society's favorite rogue, but how can she marry him when it means losing herself?

Diccan Hilliard doesn't know which of his enemies drugged him and dumped him in Grace's bed, but he does know the outcome. He and Grace must marry. To his surprise, a wild, heady passion flares between them. Yet Diccan is trapped in a deadly game of intrigue Grace knows nothing about. Will his lies destroy Grace just as he realizes how desperately he needs her? And how can he hope for a future with her, when an old enemy has set his murderous sights on them both?
Do you want to win your very own copy of Never A Gentleman?
Thanks to Brianne and Hachette, I have 2 copies to give away.

To enter, fill out the form:
Click HERE if you cannot see the form above.

IMPORTANT: See "Special Giveaway Policy" for complete rules and disclaimers. By entering the giveaway, you agree to the terms stated on that page. Good luck!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Mid-April In Our Mailbox (4/4-16)

Sunday, April 17, 2011 with
This is our 30th IMM post since the first one we did back in June of last year. Yay!!

This is the Scott Westerfeld IMM it seems like because I bought a bunch of his books. I realize probably 80% of the books I read are written by female authors so I'd like to read more male authors. I'm so excited to read Leviathan and the Uglies series--I've heard great things about both.

Our other IMM highlights include Starstruck by Cyn Balog, The Time-Traveling Fashionista by Bianca Turetsky (which is one gorgeous book--watch our vlog to see) and The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen.

Here's our vlog (for romance books skip to 1:01; for YA/MG books skip to 3:08):

For Review
The Guardian by Margaret Mallory
Make Mine a Cowboy by Katie Lane
Going Cowboy Crazy by Katie Lane
A Lady's Lesson in Scandal by Meredith Duran
Learn Something Everyday by Young
Starstruck by Cyn Balog
Tomorrow Girls: Behind the Gate by Eva Gray
The Time-Traveling Fashionista by Bianca Turetsky
(A big THANK YOU to Forever Romance/Hachette, LBYR/Hachette, Berkley/Penguin, Pocket/Simon & Schuster, Delacorte Press and Scholastic for sending us the books.)

Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld
Desires of the Dead by Kimberly Derting
Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
Sapphique by Catherine Fisher
The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

What did you get this week?

"In My Mailbox"
is a weekly event that gives book bloggers a chance share with each other what books got added to their to-be-read pile for the week. It was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie and hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Book Trailers of the Week

Friday, April 15, 2011 with
I found two book trailers this week that I really liked. One is for Drought by Pam Bachorz which I thought was well-made. It was only 46 seconds long but gave enough that I became very intrigued and I want to know more.

Oh! And I thought they got the voice right this time. Check it:

Here's the blurb (from Goodreads) and book cover:
Ruby Prosser dreams of escaping the Congregation and the early-nineteenth century lifestyle that’s been practiced since the community was first enslaved.

She plots to escape the vicious Darwin West, his cruel Overseers, and the daily struggle to gather the life-prolonging Water that keeps the Congregants alive and gives Darwin his wealth and power. But if Ruby leaves, the Congregation will die without the secret ingredient that makes the Water special: her blood.

So she stays.

But when Ruby meets Ford, the new Overseer who seems barely older than herself, her desire for freedom is too strong. He’s sympathetic, irresistible, forbidden—and her only access to the modern world. Escape with Ford would be so simple, but can Ruby risk the terrible price, dooming the only world she’s ever known?
The reviews are mixed for Drought on Goodreads but the awesome blurb, cover and book trailer, I want to pick it up anyway and see for myself. The other trailer is for the upcoming romance Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart by Sarah Maclean (out April 26). It's the third book in the Love by Numbers series preceded by Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake and Ten Ways to be Adored When Landing a Lord. Yeesh! Talk about loong titles! I have both books on my shelf but I have yet to read either--I have read plenty of great reviews about both though.

Here's the trailer. I think it's really cute:

Here's the blurb (from Goodreads) and book cover:
She lives for passion.

Bold, impulsive, and a magnet for trouble, Juliana Fiori is no simpering English miss. She refuses to play by society's rules: she speaks her mind, cares nothing for the approval of the ton, and can throw a punch with remarkable accuracy. Her scandalous nature makes her a favorite subject of London's most practiced gossips . . . and precisely the kind of woman The Duke of Leighton wants far far away from him.

He swears by reputation.

Scandal is the last thing Simon Pearson has room for in his well-ordered world. The Duke of Disdain is too focused on keeping his title untainted and his secrets unknown. But when he discovers Juliana hiding in his carriage late one evening—risking everything he holds dear—he swears to teach the reckless beauty a lesson in propriety. She has other plans, however; she wants two weeks to prove that even an unflappable duke is not above passion.

Let me know your thoughts on the trailers. Happy Friday everyone! :)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

playinghurt Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Minotaur Books

Release Date: March 1, 2011
Source of my copy: FSB Media
Series: Gretchen Lowell #4
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Chelsea Cain launches the next stage of her bestselling series as Archie Sheridan works to regain his life and Susan Ward steps in to share the spotlight in this electric thriller from one of today’s most talented suspense writers.
With Beauty Killer Gretchen Lowell locked away behind bars once again, Portland detective Archie Sheridan can finally rest. Meanwhile, the city of Portland is in crisis. Several people have drowned in heavy rains that have flooded the Willamette River. But the medical examiner discovers that in fact the latest victim was poisoned before she went into the water she didn’t drown. A little detective work shows that so far three of those previously thought to be accidental drownings have actually been murdered. Portland has a new serial killer on its hands, and Archie and his task force have a new case. Meanwhile reporter Susan Ward is following up on an entirely separate mystery: the dramatic flooding has unearthed a skeleton, a man who might have died during catastrophic flooding more than sixty years ago that washed away an entire neighborhood and killed at least 15 people.
As Archie follows the bizarre trail of evidence and evil deeds to catch his killer, he has to battle the rising waters of the Willamette first.

Michelle's Review:
Set in a cold, wet Portland, Oregon, The Night Season is the fourth book in the Gretchen Lowell series which follows Detective Archie Sheridan, reporter Susan Ward and Beauty [serial] Killer Gretchen Lowell. In Night Season Gretchen is in jail once more and Archie is after another serial killer after they found victims during a flood that didn't drown but instead were poisoned. Susan is trying to solve another mystery from a devastating flood that occurred 60 years ago in the same area Willamette River area.

It took me a while to really get into the mystery. I enjoyed getting to know the characters, especially Susan who was extremely likable. She was smart, tough, persistent and tell-it-like-it-is yet she's also vulnerable and at times very young. Archie was more reserved, a mystery man but likable as well. I enjoyed the dynamics between the two of them. There may or may not be some sort of romantic tension between Susan and Archie. I haven't read the first three books in the series so I don't fully know their relationship but if you're looking for a romantic suspense this book is not it--this is straight up suspense. As for the villain, he was just so-so--when I read this genre I want to be disgusted by the evil villain and hate him. That didn't happen here but his method of killing of his victims was definitely interesting. If I had to pick a favorite part, it would be the setting and the dark atmosphere of the novel. I loved the way the author made you feel as if you were there in a wet, rainy, muddy and dark Portland on the verge of a flood. Overall, I thought the book was slow moving but I kept going because the writing was really good. The last third of the book did have more action and I was riveted then.

Although Night Season is the fourth book in the series, you don't need to read the first three to enjoy it. If you are following the series and is sad that Gretchen isn't a prominent character here, she is referred to throughout and the havoc she left behind is still being felt by Archie and the others. The Night Season has great characters, the setting definitely matches the mood of the story and the writing itself was fantastic that I had to keep reading but it took a bit to get going. 3.5 out of 5 stars
Why I covet this book: Because it's written by Sarah Beth Durst and she is one of my favorite authors. I LOVED her novel Ice (see my review) and I enjoyed Enchanted Ivy (see my review). I will read anything by her.

And this paranormal tale sounds like a different take on vampires with tongue-in-cheek humor and a fantasy-esque flavor. Also, that cover is awesome.

drinkslayloveDrink Slay Love by Sarah Beth Durst (out September 13, 2011)
Pearl is a sixteen-year-old vampire, fond of blood, allergic to sunlight, and mostly evil... until the night a sparkly unicorn stabs her through the heart with his horn. Oops.

Her Family think she was attacked by a vampire hunter (because, obviously, unicorns don't exist), and they're shocked she survived. They're even more shocked when Pearl discovers she can now withstand the sun. But they quickly find a way to make use of her new talent. The Vampire King of New England has chosen Pearl's Family to host his feast. If Pearl enrolls in high school, she can make lots of human friends and lure them to the king's feast -- as the entrees.

The only problem? Pearl's starting to feel the twinges of a conscience. How can she serve up her new friends -- especially the cute guy who makes her fangs ache -- to be slaughtered? Then again, she's definitely dead if she lets down her Family. What's a sunlight-loving vamp to do?

For more info about the Drink Slay Love, visit the author's website and Goodreads. Look this book up and add it to your wish list. Or pre-order it!

"Books I Covet" is a weekly or bi-weekly blog post series I am going to be doing here.
It will feature books I am very excited about reading and plan on buying/borrowing in the near future. It is similar to the "Waiting On" meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine. However, some of the books may already be published and others may still be in pre-order. I will include the books' blurb, cover art, and/or release date if they're available. Click on the WoW image on the left to join in!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Author Roxanne St. Claire and Giveaway

Monday, April 11, 2011 with
Welcome to the Guardian Angelino blog tour...

New York Times bestselling author Roxanne St. Claire will be releasing the next two books in her Guardian Angelino romantic suspense series back-to-back this month. Read on for a chance to win both Shiver of Fear and Face of Danger!

The Author: Roxanne St. Claire

Roxanne St. Claire is a bestselling author of nearly thirty novels of romance and suspense. A four-time nominee and one time winner of the prestigious RITA Award for outstanding romantic fiction, her books have also won the National Reader’s Choice Award for best romantic suspense for two consecutive years, as well as the Daphne du Maurier Award, the HOLT Medallion, the Maggie, Booksellers Best, Book Buyers Best, five Awards of Excellence, the Aspen Gold and many others
Prior to launching a full time career as a novelist in 2003, Roxanne spent most of her professional life as a marketing executive and public relations consultant. She is a graduate of UCLA, an active member of several national writing organizations, and a lecturer on a wide range of writing-related topics. She lives in Satellite Beach, Florida with her husband and their two teenagers, and if you know her, you call her Rocki.
For more on Rocki, you can like her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter and visit her website.

Book #2: Shiver of Fear
(Released March 31, 2011--out now!)

The legacy that haunts her...
The mystery she must solve...
A man who threatens to reveal her secrets... and break her heart.

Burned by a failed marriage, former FBI agent Marc Rossi wants back in the investigation game with no emotional strings attached. Taking an assignment for his enterprising Angelino cousins, he heads to Northern Ireland to pry a key piece of evidence from a missing socialite-any way he can. But when the ice queen turns out to be warm, beautiful, and on a secret mission of her own, the job becomes a passionate reminder of what happens when duty and desire mix. The daughter of an infamous fugitive, Devyn Sterling has survived betrayal only to find that her mother has mysteriously disappeared. When her search uncovers secrets, lies, and threats, Devyn and Marc must trust each other when every instinct says they can't... and a terrorist wants to make sure they won't live to try.

(Read an excerpt HERE; Blurb taken from the Hachette website)

Book #3: Face of Danger
(Release Date: April 26, 2011)

Private investigator Vivi Angelino loves living life on the edge, but stepping into the shoes of a movie starlet to bait a serial killer isn't just a thrill . . . it's a ticket to the big time for her fledgling security firm. That is, as long as a certain risk-averse FBI agent stays out of her way-and out of her fantasies.

Assistant Special Agent in Charge Colton Lang isn't above using his well-worn rulebook to stop Vivi's latest walk on the wild side. But when they learn her client is involved in something far more insidious than bad acting, Vivi and Colt must work together despite the electrifying attraction arcing between them. For each new clue is bringing them closer to a high-profile crime with a dark and deadly truth at its core . . . and a cold, calculating murderer with nothing left to lose.
(Read an excerpt HERE; Blurb taken from the Hachette website)

Wanna win a copy of both Shiver of Fear and Face of Danger?
Thanks to Brianne and Hachette, I have 2 sets to give away. Simply read the giveaway details and fill out the form below:

Click HERE if you cannot see the form above.

IMPORTANT: See "Special Giveaway Policy" for complete rules and disclaimers. By entering the giveaway, you agree to the terms stated on that page. Good luck!

Friday, April 8, 2011

playinghurt Paperback: 312 pages
Publisher: Flux

Release Date: March 8, 2011
Source of my copy: publisher
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Star basketball player Chelsea "Nitro" Keyes had the promise of a full ride to college—and everyone's admiration back home. Then she took a horrible fall during senior year. Now a metal plate holds her together and she feels like a stranger in her own family.
That summer, Chelsea's dad hires Clint, a nineteen-year-old ex-hockey player and "boot camp" trainer, to work with her at a northern Minnesota lake resort. As they grow close, Chelsea finds that Clint's haunted by his own tragedy. Will their romance end up hurting them all over again—or finally heal their heartbreak?

Michelle's Review:
Playing Hurt is the perfect summer read. Told in alternating point of view between Chelsea Keyes, a star basketball player whose athletic dreams were dashed when she took a horrible fall during her senior year of high school, and Clint Morgan, an ex-hockey player whose own personal tragedy caused him to abandon the sport. When these two met at a lake resort in Minnesota where Clint was working and Chelsea went to vacation with her family, the chemistry between them was palpable and soon they are having a really hot summer fling. The thing was, both were broken and have a lot of issues to figure out before becoming whole again. Chelsea also has a pretty serious boyfriend waiting back home. But Clint and Chelsea can't deny that one makes the other feel again like no one else can...

I love a good contemporary young adult romance and Playing Hurt is just that: a really, really good romance. The plot was simple and a straight up romance but very absorbing nonetheless, with characters you really grow to care for. Chelsea and Clint were really likable and you feel for them. Both characters felt very real--I don't play sports or experienced a tragedy like they had but I related to both of them anyway. I was also caught in their romance--Chelsea and Clint had some very steamy moments together (nothing as sexually explicit as a romance novel but this book is steamier than most young adult novels) and you know these two belong together. I thought having the alternating point of views was a good choice here--I really liked knowing first-hand what was going through each character's mind about each other and their emotions. The ending was okay and I was happy (especially for Chelsea), but I would have liked more of a closure--an epilogue would have been nice to tie everything up nicely. I'm hoping the author will revisit Chelsea and Clint in a future book and we'll get to see how they are doing (if not as main characters then maybe secondary).

I really liked Playing Hurt a lot and I am definitely looking forward to more from the author. If you love contemporary young adult romance that is extra steamy then you are going to devour this book right quick and will be wishing for a romantic summer fling of your own. 4 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Book I Covet: Ripple by Mandy Hubbard

Wednesday, April 6, 2011 with
Why I covet this book: I love mermaid stories and have read quite a few. But I haven't read one about a siren or one that sounds as dark and romantic Ripple sounds from the blurb.

I also love the cover--so much drama in the body language in both models and I love the gathering storm in the background. It's a perfect fit to the blurb.

rippleRipple by Mandy Hubbard (out July 21, 2011)
Lexi is cursed with a dark secret. Each day she goes to school like a normal teenager, and each night she must swim, or the pain will be unbearable. She is a siren - a deadly mermaid destined to lure men to their watery deaths. After a terrible tragedy, Lexi shut herself off from the world, vowing to protect the ones she loves. But she soon finds herself caught between a new boy at school who may have the power to melt her icy exterior, and a handsome water spirit who says he can break Lexi's curse if she gives up everything else. Lexi is faced with the hardest decision she’s ever had to make: the life she's always longed for - or the love she can't live without?

For more info about the Ripple, visit the author's website and Goodreads. Look this book up and add it to your wish list!

"Books I Covet" is a weekly or bi-weekly blog post series I am going to be doing here.
It will feature books I am very excited about reading and plan on buying/borrowing in the near future. It is similar to the "Waiting On" meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine. However, some of the books may already be published and others may still be in pre-order. I will include the books' blurb, cover art, and/or release date if they're available. Click on the WoW image on the left to join in!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

whereshewent Paperback: 264 pages
Publisher: Dutton/Penguin

Release Date: April 5, 2011 (today!)
Source of my copy: publisher
Series: If I Stay #2
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
It's been three years since the devastating accident ... three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life forever.
Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Julliard's rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia's home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future - and each other.
Told from Adam's point of view in the spare, lyrical prose that defined If I Stay, Where She Went explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope, and the flame of rekindled romance.

Michelle's Review: **some spoilers especially for those who did not read If I Stay**
Where She Went is set in New York City, three years after IIS ended and told in Adam's first person point of view. Adam is now a bona fide rock star but he's not happy and don't quite know what to do with himself--he is not getting along with his band members, he has the paparazzi and fans chasing him wherever he goes, he's tabloid fodder and these days music no longer gives him that joy and electricity in his blood like before. Mia and Adam are also no longer together, ever since Mia left for Julliard and never came back. But a chance meeting in New York City brings the two together again and they are given the opportunity to revisit their past as well as figure out if they have a future together.

I was quite happy with the way If I Stay ended--it was a bittersweet yet it had a happy-ever-after feel because Mia decided to stay with Adam--so I was quite surprised when I found out about Where She Went. I thought Ms. Forman couldn't possibly top the awesomeness that is If I Stay but it didn't stop me from wanting to get my hands on WSW and read what happened to Mia and Adam three years later. I had very high expectations and this book did not disappoint. I wouldn't say it was better than IIS but I loved it just as much, if not just a little bit more.

I had my doubts in the beginning about it being in Adam's POV because I didn't quite know what to make of him in IIS. Usually, I fall in love a little bit with the love interest along with the heroine but I didn't feel that way with Adam--he was sweet and everything (and I'm probably the lone wolf in this) but his character just didn't click with me. But as I got to really know Adam, where he came from and got to peer into his thoughts and emotions (as opposed to seeing him through Mia's eyes) first-hand in WSW, I was glad that the story was told in Adam's perspective. His character started out pathetic and sad and a spoiled rock star but you feel for him anyway. Then, as the book goes on I ended up really caring for him and wanted him to have that happily-ever-after with Mia. The romance between Mia and Adam was done seamlessly. These two have a lot of things to work out and the will they/won't they anticipation was there but I was able to enjoy it (I wasn't frustrated and wanting to shake characters like I usually am with this plot device) and just reading about them walk and talk about NYC was like a gift.

Everything I loved about IIS was in WSW--the wonderfully flawed, multi-dimensional characters, the lyrical writing, the music, the flashbacks, the emotional punch--then add the beautiful setting of New York City at night and the very early morning (which I actually did experience years ago)... It was just an amazing experience and it brought me back to that magnificent city. Where She Went is an experience. I LOVED it! I was an emotional wreck after I was done with this book but that ending was beautiful and days later Adam and Mia were still in my mind. It's the perfect sequel and the perfect conclusion to Adam and Mia's story. 5 out of 5 stars

Monday, April 4, 2011

rival ARC: 327 pages
Publisher: Harper Collins

Release Date: February 15, 2011
Source of my copy: publisher
Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Meet Brooke: Popular, powerful and hating every minute of it, she’s the “It” girl at Douglas High in Lake Champion, Minnesota. Her real ambition? Using her operatic mezzo as a ticket back to NYC, where her family lived before her dad ran off with an up and coming male movie star.
Now meet Kathryn: An overachieving soprano with an underachieving savings account, she’s been a leper ever since Brooke punched her at a party junior year. For Kath, music is the key to a much-needed college scholarship.
The stage is set for a high-stakes duet between the two seniors as they prepare for the prestigious Blackmore competition. Brooke and Kathryn work toward the Blackmore with eyes not just on first prize but on one another, each still stinging from a past that started with friendship and ended in betrayal. With competition day nearing, Brooke dreams of escaping the in-crowd for life as a professional singer, but her scheming BFF Chloe has other plans. And when Kathryn gets an unlikely invitation to Homecoming, she suspects Brooke of trying to sabotage her with one last public humiliation.
As pressures mount, Brooke starts to sense that the person she hates most might just be the best friend she ever had. But Kathryn has a decision to make. Can she forgive? Or are some rivalries for life?

Leslie's Review:
I was really excited to read this book since it involves two talented singers that were the best of friends but are now the worst of rivals. I thought that was an interesting plot line and I wanted to see how they became from friends to enemies. Also, one of the characters, Kathryn, sounded a lot like me and I wanted to find out how in the world Kathryn could have been best friends with Brooke who sounded like one of those mean girls at my school that I hate. But as it turned out both characters were absolutely great and I was right about the plot--it was fantastic.

If Rival was a song, I would've immediately stood up at the end of it applauding, cheering and whistling. This was an AMAZING debut novel. I really loved how the plot was very well-paced, interesting and riveting, especially the ending which kept me at the edge of my seat. I also really loved the writing--it was immensely readable and I enjoyed it all the way through.

Like I said, the characters were absolutely amazing and probably my favorite part of the book. The book was written in a first-person in alternating chapters from both Kathryn and Brooke's point of view. The author also takes us back to Kathryn and Brooke's junior year to let the reader learn what happened to their relationship then and how it affected their relationship in the present (their senior year). I immediately sided with Kathryn in the beginning because we were a lot alike and Brooke was totally mean to her. But as I read and learned more about both girls I finally realized that there's two sides to their story. Kathryn also had her flaws, made mistakes and wrong decisions, not just Brooke. In the end, I ended up sympathizing and rooting for both girls. I love how I started siding with a character in the beginning and totally change my opinion in the end--I thought Ms. Wealer did an excellent job writing Kathryn and Brooke. Both were multi-dimensional, real and totally relatable (I saw myself in both girls). I turned the last page with a happy sigh but wishing for more of Kathryn and Brooke because in the end I really cared about these girls.

I thought Rival is an excellent story about friendship, rivalry, high school and music. Don't hesitate to pick it up because it is absolutely amazing and you will surely love it. This is the author's debut novel and I can't wait to read more by her. 5 out of 5 stars

Take The Contemps Challenge!
Book 4 out of 18 in read in The Contemps Challenge.

As part of her blog tour, I am excited to have NYT Bestseller author Larissa Ione here on our blog today! Her newest release is Eternal Rider, the first book in a new paranormal romance called Lords of Deliverance, which is set in the same world as her fantastic Demonica series.

larissaioneHi Larissa! Welcome to our book blog! Please tell us 5 places you would tour if you're a tourist in the Demonica/Lord of Deliverance world.
What a great question! I've never had this one before. *g* Okay, I'd visit Underworld General Hospital for sure. I'd love to see the warg town I wrote about in Sin Undone. I'd really love to go to Ares's Greek island, because I adore Greece. Then I'd pop over to Thanatos's keep in Greenland, and finish the tour in warmth at Limos's Hawaiian getaway!

4 random facts about Ares.
Ares has terrible taste in TV shows. He loves goat cheese, to the annoyance of his servants. (You'll have to read to figure that one out! *g*) He loves a good swim in the sea. He hates processed meats. You will never catch him eating a hot dog.

3 songs Ares from Eternal Rider has on repeat in his Ipod.
Eine kline Nachtmusik, Zorba the Greek, Carmina Burana/ O Fortuna, Zorba's Dance

2 of Cara Thornhart's favorite foods.
Pizza and lasagna. She loves Italian!

1 frivolous thing you cannot go without everyday.
I'd say coffee, but that is in no way frivolous. It's like...blood. Or air. Hmm...Cheetos?

Much thanks to Larissa for stopping by our blog and answering our questions. For more information on Larissa, her books and other awesome stuff, go to her website, twitter and Facebook. Read on for a chance to win a copy of...

Eternal Rider
(blurb taken from the Hachette website)
They are here. They ride. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

His name is Ares, and the fate of mankind rests on his powerful shoulders. If he falls to the forces of evil, the world falls too. As one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, he is far stronger than any mortal, but even he cannot fight his destiny forever. Not when his own brother plots against him.

Yet there is one last hope. Gifted in a way other humans can't-or won't-understand, Cara Thornhart is the key to both this Horseman's safety and his doom. But involving Cara will prove treacherous, even beyond the maddening, dangerous desire that seizes them the moment they meet. For staving off eternal darkness could have a staggering cost: Cara's life.

Do you want to win your very own copy of Eternal Rider?
Thanks to Brianne and Hachette, I have 3 copies to give away.

To enter, fill out the form:
Click HERE if you cannot see the form above.

IMPORTANT: See "Special Giveaway Policy" for complete rules and disclaimers. By entering the giveaway, you agree to the terms stated on that page. Good luck!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

In Our Mailbox (3/12-4/2)

Saturday, April 2, 2011 with
It's our end of March "In Our Mailbox" time! YAY!! Leslie and I got a bunch of awesome, we-can't-wait-to-read-it books in the last three weeks since our last IMM post like The Near Witch and Instructions for a Broken Heart--both of which are our "covet" books in 2011. But I am most excited for the romances I got, especially Kiss of Snow (EEPP!!!). It's the Psy/Changeling series I have been waiting for: Hawke and Sienna's book! This book is not coming out until May 31st so I am so happy I can read it now.

It's a vlog this week. Enjoy!

For Review
Never a Gentleman by Eileen Dreyer
Eternal Rider by Larissa Ione
Kiss of Snow by Nalini Singh
The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab
Instructions for a Broken Heart by Kim Culbertson
Huntress by Malina Lo
(A big THANK YOU to Forever Romance/Hachette, LBYR/Hachette, Berkley/Penguin, Sourcebooks Fire and Disney Hyperion for sending us the books.)

Dark Moon by Steve Feasey
Tortall and Other Lands by Tamora Pierce

Trial by Desire by Courtney Milan
Eleven Ways to be Adored When Landing a Lord by Sarah Maclean
Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen
The Year of Secret Assignments by Jaclyn Moriarty
The Liar Society by Lisa and Laura Roecker
Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen
Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King
Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta

What did you get this week?

"In My Mailbox"
is a weekly event that gives book bloggers a chance share with each other what books got added to their to-be-read pile for the week. It was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie and hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren.