Monday, September 30, 2013

Lisa Desrocher's A LITTLE TOO MUCH Cover Reveal

Monday, September 30, 2013 with
Hi everyone,
If you got a chance to read my review of A Little Too Far two weeks ago you know how much I LOVE Lisa Desrocher's new NA series.

Well, A Little Too Much (book two in the series and the story of our favorite almost-priest from A Little Too Far) is coming out in about 6 weeks (November 12th)! Yay for short wait times between books!!

William Morrow (the publisher of the series) is revealing the cover of A Little Too Much today. So, without further ado, here it is:

iBookstore | Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Google Play

In the follow-up to Lisa Desrochers’ explosive New Adult novel A Little Too Far, Alessandro Moretti must face the life he escaped and the girl he loved and left behind.

Twenty-two year old Hilary McIntyre would like nothing more than to forget her past. As a teenager abandoned to the system, she faced some pretty dark times. But now that’s all behind her. Hilary has her life on track, and there’s no way she’ll head back down that road again.

Until Alessandro Moretti—the one person who can make her remember—shows up on her doorstep. He’s even more devastatingly gorgeous than before, and he’s much too close for comfort. Worse, he sees right through the walls she’s built over these last eight years, right into her heart and the secrets she’s guarding.

As Hilary finds herself falling back into love with the man who, as a boy both saved and destroyed her, she must decide. Past or future? Truth or lies?

Awesome, right? I seriously want this book NOW.

Have you read the A Little Too Far? If you haven't and you're a fan of NA or excellent contemporary romances, I highly recommend A Little Too Far. You'll swoon, you'll sigh and root for Lexie's HEA. 

If you've read A Little Too Far, are you also counting down to the release of A Little Too Much on November 12th? Because I am.

Happy reading,

P.S. For more info about Lisa Desrochers and her books, you can stop by her Facebookher blog and her twitter.

**We are NOT affiliated with Amazon, B&N, iBookstore or Google Play and will not earn any referral fees if you click on any online retailer links.
Format: e-ARC
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: October 1, 2013
Source of my copy: publisher via Edelweiss
Series: none
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Before: Reena Montero has loved Sawyer LeGrande for as long as she can remember: as natural as breathing, as endless as time. But he’s never seemed to notice that Reena even exists…until one day, impossibly, he does. Reena and Sawyer fall in messy, complicated love. But then Sawyer disappears from their humid Florida town without a word, leaving a devastated—and pregnant—Reena behind.
After: Almost three years have passed, and there’s a new love in Reena’s life: her daughter, Hannah. Reena’s gotten used to being without Sawyer, and she’s finally getting the hang of this strange, unexpected life. But just as swiftly and suddenly as he disappeared, Sawyer turns up again. Reena doesn’t want anything to do with him, though she’d be lying if she said Sawyer’s being back wasn’t stirring something in her. After everything that’s happened, can Reena really let herself love Sawyer LeGrande again?
In this breathtaking debut, Katie Cotugno weaves together the story of one couple falling in love—twice.

Okay, so there were basically two stories that intertwined in How to Love, the “before” and the “after.” The “before” told the story of the rocky start of Reena and Sawyer’s relationship and how he eventually left her for parts unknown, right before Reena found out that she was pregnant. The “after” was more than two years later. Reena was a single mother still living at home with her dad and stepmom. She was raised in a Catholic household so getting pregnant as a teen was the worst thing she could have done. Her father hardly spoke to her or look her in the eye now and she knew that he will probably never forgive her. She felt a lot of guilt, sadness, anger and disappointment but she’s able to push that aside and concentrate on taking care of her daughter, who she loved with all her heart. She’s even taking some classes at the community college and dating her best friend’s brother. Life wasn’t ideal but she’s making the best of it. Then, suddenly Sawyer came back and shakes up Reena’s life again.

I knew as soon as I read the description of How to Love that I was going to enjoy it and I was right. This book just really spoke to me--not that I got pregnant as a teen or that my boyfriend abandoned me or even that I’m Catholic (although I had a religious upbringing), but all the emotions that Reena felt and what she was going through with her dad really hit close to home because her dad is my dad. I also related to Reena’s character--she’s quiet (but not shy) and keeps to herself so people think she’s cold and unfriendly, she’s socially awkward, she’s an introvert and not the easiest person to get to know... I just saw a lot of myself in her. She was not the most likable YA character out there (I’ve read other readers’ reviews that mention how inaccessible she was) but that doesn’t make her any less real.

Days after I finished How to Love it was still on my mind. I loved it. It brought out so much emotion in me and I really felt for Reena’s character. The whole thing with her dad after she got pregnant? Things would probably go down the same way with my dad and me if I did get pregnant in high school. 

I know this novel is being pushed as a love story and it is to a point. We certainly get a lot of how their bumpy relationship developed and then coming back to each other again--that’s a big part of the novel but it wasn’t the biggest part. It is bigger than a love story. I think Reena’s journey to redemption and self-forgiveness was biggest part--forgiving herself, letting go of the guilt and anger, and just letting go and realizing that she can still pursue her dreams even after everything happened. It was about family, friendship, growing up, sacrifices, love, guilt, repentance, forgiveness, among other things… It was a really powerful read.

How to Love was a very personal read for me. As soon as I finished reading it, I passed it on to my sister Leslie because I knew it will speak to her too. She devoured it, loved it and we got into a big discussion about it. How to Love was well-written and very readable. It’s the kind of book that begs to be discussed-- it is perfect for book clubs and discussion groups but I think everyone should read it. How to Love is an amazing debut novel and one of my favorite YA contemporary novels in 2013. I am very excited to read more by Katie Cotugno. She’s on my authors-to-watch list.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Format: e-ARC
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Pages: 336 pages
Release Date: October 1, 2013
Source of my copy: publisher via Netgalley
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Chloe didn't think about it much when she nodded off in study hall on that sleepy summer day. But when she wakes up, snow is on the ground and she can't remember the last six months of her life. Before, she'd been a mediocre student. Now, she's on track for valedictorian and being recruited by Ivy League schools. Before, she never had a chance with super jock Blake. Now he's her boyfriend. Before, she and Maggie were inseparable. Now her best friend won't speak to her.

What happened to her?
And why can't she remember?

I picked up Six Months Later because I was intrigued by the premise: a girl falls asleep in class and wakes up six months later with her life completely different. What the heck happened?

From the beginning I was riveted to the story. First of all, it was very readable--I like the author's voice and the way she told the story. I thought the plot was unique and it kept me at the edge of my seat, but I'm not going to say more about it because saying more than the description above will be spoiler-y.

The characters were great. Chloe was awesome: she's smart, stubborn and resourceful. She wanted answers and nothing will stop her but she wasn't one of those typical can-do-all characters in mystery novels--she had others to help her figure out what was going on, which was nice to see. I liked her ex-best friend Maggie too. She had a stutter and I really felt for her but she's a strong character as well beneath her struggles. I rooted for Chloe and Maggie to be friends again. Although it's not the main focus of the story, there is a romance and the love interest Adam was just a great guy.

The psychological mystery aspect of the novel was set up very well. I love reading mysteries to begin with and I can usually figure out what is happening or who the bad guy is, but Six Months Later I was kept guessing. However, like other reviewers have already mentioned, there was some parts where I wished we were given more. I had questions about Julien and Dr. Kirkpatrick that weren't answered and left me wondering.

But overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Six Months Later. The plot was riveting and fast-paced, the main characters were fleshed out and I quickly devoured the novel. It was just a really unique read. If you like mysteries or psychological thrillers type of reads, Six Months Later is for you.

Natalie D. Richards won her first writing competition in the second grade with her short story about Barbara Frances Bizzlefishes (who wouldn't dare do the dishes.) She later misplaced her writing dreams in a maze of cubicles and general office drudgery. Natalie never forgot about Barbara or those dishes, and eventually she found her way back to storytelling, following the genre of her heart, teen fiction. When she's not writing or shopping her manuscripts, you can probably find her wading through the towers of dog-eared paperbacks that have taken over her bedroom. Natalie lives in Ohio with her amazing husband and their three children, who inspire her every day to stick with her dreams.

Questions of the day
Read the Six Months Later description. Tell us your theory of what may have happened to Natalie.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
**Blog Tour Rule: The person who earns the most points in Rafflecopter wins the giveaway.**

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Last Bookshelf Additions for September

Saturday, September 28, 2013 with
Hello bookish peeps,
It's StS/Sunday Post** time! But before we get to the books, here are some blog post linkage first:

Monday: A.D. Robertson's (aka Andrea Cremer) CAPTIVE + Giveaway
>>Enter this giveaway of Andrea Cremer's debut adult novel!<<

For the first time in many, many weeks I did NOT buy any e-books and I thought I wasn't going to do an StS/Sunday post. Then, something amazing happened... an e-ARC explosion!

House of Ivy & Sorrow by Natalie Whipple
Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong
Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Uninvited by Sophie Jordan
Panic by Lauren Oliver
Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens

Maybe One Day by Melissa Kantor
No One Else Can Have You by Kathleen Hale
Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi
Great by Sara Benincasa

Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger
Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger

Her Dark Curiosity by Megan Shepherd
Hostage Three by Nick Lake
>>Not my typical read but I cannot help but be intrigued by the premise of this novel.<<

Sweetest Mistake by Candis Terry
The Wedding Favor by Cara Connelly
Stealing Home by Jennifer Seasons
>>Free on Kindle!<<

We also got two physical books this week.
Tumble & Fall by Alexandra Coutts (won)
Cloud Waltzer by Tory Cates (unsolicited)

Did you guys add any new books to your bookshelves? Leave your STS/Sunday Post link so we can go see and gush over them. 

Happy reading,
Michelle (& Leslie)

**Stacking the Shelves, or STS, is hosted by Tynga's Reviews and Sunday Post is hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Format: ARC
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 464 pages
Release Date: September 17, 2013 (It's out now!)
Source of my copy: publisher
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
It all began with a ruined elixir and an accidental bolt of lightning…
Iolanthe Seabourne is the greatest elemental mage of her generation—or so she's being told. The one prophesied for years to be the savior of The Realm. It is her duty and destiny to face and defeat the Bane, the greatest mage tyrant the world has ever known. A suicide task for anyone let alone a sixteen-year-old girl with no training, facing a prophecy that foretells a fiery clash to the death.
Prince Titus of Elberon has sworn to protect Iolanthe at all costs but he's also a powerful mage committed to obliterating the Bane to avenge the death of his family—even if he must sacrifice both Iolanthe and himself to achieve his goal.
But Titus makes the terrifying mistake of falling in love with the girl who should have been only a means to an end. Now, with the servants of the Bane closing in, he must choose between his mission and her life.

When I heard that Sherry Thomas was writing a young adult novel, I got really excited. The historical romances I've read by Sherry (Not Quite a Husband, Ravishing the Heiress and Tempting the Bride are my favorites by her) are really good and I was expecting the same with her young adult novel.

Guys, The Burning Sky was awesome! It's been a while since I've read a YA fantasy and this novel definitely reminded me how much I miss reading the sub-genre. Admittedly, the beginning did not capture me right away but after a few chapters I got really into the story.

Sherry did a really great job with the world-building. The world was complex, with many different facets to it and I'm excited to see it explored more fully in the next two books in the series.

I really liked the main characters Iolanthe and Titus--The Burning Sky was told in third-person and it goes back and forth in perspective between the two of them. I generally like dual perspective so it worked for me and the third-person was refreshing (I've been reading too many first-person novels lately).

Iolanthe and Titus were both interesting characters, but Titus especially. It was prophesied that he was the one to take down the powerful, untouchable and tyrannous Bane, free his people and avenge his royal family. He's basically a puppet prince, and because he was always watched by the Bane's spies and agents, he grew up having to pretend that he was stuck up and empty-headed to hide his true motivations. He couldn't trust or get close to anyone especially Iolanthe, who was basically a means to an end in destroying the Bane.

As for Iolanthe, she was clever and witty (I really the banter between her and the Eton boys) and brave. But she started off being frightened of the role she's to play in taking down the Bane--she didn't want to die and she was mad at Titus for what he's asking her to do. I liked that she had a very natural reaction to the situation. However, as the story progressed her character grew. Sherry did a fantastic job with her character development.

One of the things I was looking forward to was the romance of this novel, especially since Sherry is a romance author. Well, guys, she did not disappoint. No insta-love here, folks! Iolanthe and Titus had mutual interest in each other, then dislike, then they both tried to brush aside and deny their feelings but the chemistry was there and it was undeniable. I loved the romance between Iolanthe and Titus to pieces!

The Burning Sky was not the most fast-paced or action-packed book but reading it was an adventure all the same. It was very imaginative, romantic and readable with a Harry Potter sort of flavor to it (maybe because of the wands, the boarding school, the spells and magic). I had a great time reading it and I'm very much looking forward to book 2.

Want a taste of The Burning Sky? We posted an extended excerpt last week!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

After reading My Life Next Door this summer (which quickly became one of my favorite contemporary reads ever), I wanted to read more by Huntley Fitzpatrick. My wish comes true with What I Thought Was True.

But April 2014?! The wait might just kill me.

17-year-old Gwen Castle's Biggest Mistake Ever, Cassidy Somers, is slumming it as a yard boy on her Nantucket-esque island this summer. He's a rich kid from across the bridge in Stony Bay, and she hails from a family of fishermen and housecleaners who keep the island's summer people happy.

Gwen worries a life of cleaning houses will be her fate too, but just when it looks like she'll never escape her past—or the island—Gwen's dad gives her a tip: her wealthy, elderly employer is redoing her will this summer, and that could be Gwen's ticket to the good life. But what will it mean for Gwen’s now life?

Sparks fly and secret histories unspool as Gwen spends a gorgeous, restless summer struggling to resolve what she thought was true—about the place she lives, the people she loves, and even herself—with what really is.
What I Thought Was True will be released on April 15, 2014. Click on the cover to go to the book's Goodreads page.

What book(s) do you "covet" this week?
Leave us a comment with a link so we can check your WoW of the week too.

"Books I Covet" is a weekly or bi-weekly blog post series we do here on Wednesdays. It will feature books we are very excited about reading and plan on buying/borrowing in the near future. It is basically the "Waiting On" meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine, but we just like the title "books we covet" better. We will include the books' blurb, cover art, and/or release date if they're available. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Review: Scorched by Mari Mancusi

Tuesday, September 24, 2013 with
Format: e-ARC
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pages: 352 pages
Release Date: September 3, 2013
Source of my copy: publisher via Netgalley
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Don’t leave me here... It starts with a whisper. At first Trinity thinks she’s going crazy. It wouldn’t be a big surprise—her grandpa firmly believes there’s a genuine dragon egg in their dusty little West Texas town. But this voice is real, and it’s begging for her protection. Even if no one else can hear it...

He’s come from a future scorched by dragonfire. His mission: Find the girl. Destroy the egg. Save the world.

He’s everything his twin brother Connor hates: cocky, undisciplined, and obsessed with saving dragons.

Trinity has no idea which brother to believe. All she has to go by is the voice in her head—a dragon that won’t be tamed.

Scorched was a fast read for me. There was a lot going on: time travel, dragons, futuristic gadgets, a cult-like organization that may have shady intentions, hot twin boys... and did I mention baby dragons? All of these things kept me flipping the pages and in the end, while I didn't love Scorched, I did like it well enough.

Like it was mentioned in the synopsis, the three main characters were Trinity, Connor and Caleb. All had their own issues and hang-ups. Trinity's mom committed suicide and now she's living her grandfather who acted more like a child than an adult. As for Connor and Caleb, they were twin brothers but they seemed like opposites. Connor wanted to rid the world of dragons because his father was killed by one, while Caleb wanted to save the dragons because he thought dragons have the power to save humanity.

Yes, there's a love triangle. Sigh. Both boys were in insta-love with Trinity and she in turn was attracted to both. By the end of the novel, I thought Trinity seemed to lean more towards one of the boys... but it's debatable. It could still go either way.

The story was told mostly in Trinity's perspective but some parts were in the boys' perspectives as well. It was nice having a glimpse of what the boys were thinking and seeing things through their eyes. However, while Trinity, Connor and Caleb were likable enough, they felt one dimensional, stock characters for the most part--especially Connor and Caleb. The solid good boy versus the cocky bad boy. We've seen them before countless of times in other YA novels. The three did get better in the latter half of the novel but I never really felt invested in any of them or their goals.

My favorite thing about Scorched though was Emmy the baby dragon. The flashback scene with her dragon mother was really sad and heartbreaking. She was a scene stealer and I wish there were more scenes with her.

Overall, I did like Scorched. It kept my attention and I kept reading but (maybe it was the stock characters? or the typical YA love triangle? or the messy time travel?) it read sort of like a made-for-TV movie--I was pleasantly entertained while reading but it was forgettable in the long run.

Monday, September 23, 2013

A.D. Robertson's (aka Andrea Cremer) Captive + GIVEAWAY

Monday, September 23, 2013 with
Hello everyone,
I'd say "happy Monday" but, alas, that's an oxymoron more often than not...

Today, I have a special giveaway for you all. Did you know Andrea Cremer, author of the Nighshade series, is coming out with her first adult novel under the pen name A.D. Robertson?

Captive: The Forbidden Side of Nightshade is set in the world of the Nightshade series. I haven't had a chance to pick up the Nightshade series yet but I've always been curious about it. Leslie read the first book in the series and quite enjoyed it (read her review of Nightshade). Here's the blurb:
The first adult novel set in the world of the New York Times bestselling Nightshade series, Captive delivers a steamy, forbidden romance between sworn enemies drawn together by an irrepressible desire.

Twenty-five-year-old Tristan Doran enjoys a life of incredible power and privilege. As a direct descendant of the Keepers—witches who have embraced dark magic—he defers to no one but his overlord, Lord Bosque Mar. For most of his life, Tristan has been kept out of the centuries-old Witches War, his bloodline too valuable to risk in battle.

But when a beautiful, young human Searcher named Sarah is captured and made a prisoner in his Irish castle, Tristan’s infatuation with her flings him headlong into the fray. Captive and captor, unable to contain their longing, embark on a passionate, forbidden romance together—only to learn that their love is at the heart of a prophecy predicting the downfall of the Keepers’ ages-old reign.

Captive explores the darker side of the richly imagined Nightshade universe, a fantasy world of powerful dark witches, shape-shifting wolf warriors, and fascinating history. The first of three erotic novels, Captive delves deeply into the fiery, illicit romance of two young lovers whose very desires invite their doom.

Captive comes out on October 23rd and is being marketed as an erotic adult romance, which I admit made me a bit nervous because while I like my romance extra steamy I avoid reading straight-up erotica (they are just not my cup of tea). But I've read some early reviews on Goodreads and it was mentioned that while there are a lot of steamy encounters it's not as explicitly erotic (I'm relieved!). 

Anyway, I'm very, very curious about this novel and I'll be reading it very soon. I'll be posting my review in mid-October, closer to the release date. And if you're also curious about Captive like me, we have a copy to give away to one lucky reader (open US only). A big thanks to Dutton/Penguin for making this giveaway possible.  

Good luck and happy reading,

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Bookshelf Additions for September

Saturday, September 21, 2013 with
Hello bookish peeps,
It's StS/Sunday Post** time! But before we get to the books, here are some blog post linkage first:

Now the books! This week was all about the e-books. I bought only two:
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (bought)
>>The e-book was only $4.99 so I couldn't resist especially since Leslie loved Eleanor & Park.<<
The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson (bought)
>>I have The Girl of Fire and Thorns so I can't resist getting book 2 for $1.99.<<

These are via Netgalley or Edelweiss:
Hung Up by Kristen Tracy (for review)
Rags & Bones by Melissa Marr et. al. (for review)
>>I don't usually read anthologies but this one sounds really good.<<

Trust in Me by Jennifer L. Armentrout (for review)
The Temptation of Lila and Ethan by Jessica Sorensen (for review)
Undeniable by Shannon Richard (for review)

We only got one physical book this week thanks to Forever Romance.
Never Desire a Duke by Lily Dalton (for review)

Did you guys add any new books to your bookshelves? Leave your STS/Sunday Post link so we can come and gush over them. 

Happy reading,
Michelle (& Leslie)

**Stacking the Shelves, or STS, is hosted by Tynga's Reviews and Sunday Post is hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Burning Sky Excerpt + Blog Tour

Friday, September 20, 2013 with
Hello everyone!
We have a very special treat for you as part of the

We have an excerpt from The Burning Sky!
“Tell me about the vision in which she saw you dying,” said Fairfax, returning to her supper. “Did you also read it in that diary?”

Titus slowly lay himself back down. Damn the truth serum. And damn the blood oath that prevented him from lying. One might as well blind a painter or chop off the fingers of a sculptor—he was an artist with his lies. “Yes.”

“When will it happen?”

“I am described as in my late adolescence. So . . . any day now.”

She blinked a few times, looked down at her food, then back at him. “Why?”

“There is no why. Everybody dies.”

“You said that the diary only shows what you need to know. Why is it necessary for you to learn that you’ll die young?”

“So I will prepare accordingly. It concentrates the mind, knowing that time is limited.”

“It could have had the opposite effect. Another boy might have abandoned the whole venture altogether.”

“That boy must not worry about meeting his mother in the afterlife with nothing accomplished in this one. Besides, you cannot escape your destiny. Look at how much effort has been expended in helping you elude the ineluctable—and look where you are now.”

A pot of tea had come with the supper tray. Her gaze dropped to the teapot. Tea jetted out of the spout by itself, arcing a graceful parabola in the air before filling a cup without a drop spilled. She wrapped her hands around the cup, as if she felt cold and needed a source of warmth. “So I might be alone at the end, facing the Bane.”

The thought haunted him almost more than his impending death. “As long as I live and breathe, I will be with you. And I will shield you.”

Her fingers flexed, then tightened around the teacup. “I never thought I’d say this, but I want you to live forever.”

He did not need to live forever, but he would like to live long enough to forget the taste of fear. “You can live forever for me.”

Their gazes met—and held.

She rose, went into the bedroom, and came back with a blanket. As she tucked the blanket in around him, forever became a distant thought—he would gladly exchange it for a few more moments like this.

“Sleep,” she said. “The great elemental mage of our time will stand guard over you.”

A few sparks of fire floated below the ceiling, providing just enough illumination to see. Iolanthe gazed at the prince’s sleeping form, one arm slung over his head, the other kept close to his person, his wand in hand.

Gathering the sparks nearer herself, she took out his mother’s diary and flipped through the pages again. Nothing, except for one particular page which bore a small skull mark that she hadn’t noticed before at the bottom right-hand corner.

When she reached the end of the diary, she turned the pages backward. Still nothing. She sighed and returned the diary to his satchel.

In her heart she was beginning to understand that it was truly written in the stars, her destiny. Yet it still seemed utterly impossible that she would ever find the audacity to face the Bane, she who had lived such a small life, so tightly focused only on the well-being of her own family.

Especially if the prince was right about his death.

Upon his passing, the blood oath would cease to be binding. She would be free to walk away from this mad venture, snatch Master Haywood, if she could, and disappear into hiding.

There was nothing to stop her.

Except the knowledge that he had given his life to the cause, and she would have abandoned the entire foundation he had built.

Not to mention the question that was beginning to tug at the edge of her mind: if she had the power to overthrow the Bane, could she live with never trying, just keeping herself and Master Haywood safe in some pocket of the Labyrinthine Mountains, while Mrs. Needles and countless others like her rotted in Atlantean prisons?

Could she live with herself, cowering, while the world burned?
The Burning Sky is already out in store or your library but just in case you haven't run across it yet here's the description:

It all began with a ruined elixir and an accidental bolt of lightning…

Iolanthe Seabourne is the greatest elemental mage of her generation—or so she's being told. The one prophesied for years to be the savior of The Realm. It is her duty and destiny to face and defeat the Bane, the greatest mage tyrant the world has ever known. A suicide task for anyone let alone a sixteen-year-old girl with no training, facing a prophecy that foretells a fiery clash to the death.

Prince Titus of Elberon has sworn to protect Iolanthe at all costs but he's also a powerful mage committed to obliterating the Bane to avenge the death of his family—even if he must sacrifice both Iolanthe and himself to achieve his goal.

But Titus makes the terrifying mistake of falling in love with the girl who should have been only a means to an end. Now, with the servants of the Bane closing in, he must choose between his mission and her life.

Here's a little bit about author Sherry Thomas (she also historical romance novels, some of which I've read, really enjoyed and reviewed here on the blog).

Sherry Thomas is one of the most acclaimed romance authors working today. Her books regularly receive starred reviews from trade publications and are frequently found on best-of-the-year lists. She is also a two-time winner of Romance Writers of America's prestigious RITA® Award.

English is Sherry's second language—she has come a long way from the days when she made her laborious way through Rosemary Roger's Sweet Savage Love with an English-Chinese dictionary. She enjoys digging down to the emotional core of stories. And when she is not writing, she thinks about the zen and zaniness of her profession, plays computer games with her sons, and reads as many fabulous books as she can find.

Book Trailer:

The Giveaway:
1st Place (International)
1 Hardcover of THE BURNING SKY a tote bag, and handmade balm, scrub, and bath tea

Runners Up (International)
3 Hardcovers of THE BURNING SKY and a tote bag

3 runners up will get swag packs (stickers, bookmarks, signed bookplates)

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Our blog is the last stop on the tour but check out the other blog stops earlier this week for reviews and other special features.
9/16 - Two Chicks on Books (Guest Post)
9/17 - Fiktshun (Guest Post)
9/18 - Seeing Night Reviews (Review)
9/19 - Supernatural Snark (Interview)

Happy Friday and happy reading,
Michelle & Leslie

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Review: Shadows by Paula Weston

Thursday, September 19, 2013 with

Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Tundra Books
Pages: 394 pages
Release Date: July 2, 2013
Source of my copy: author
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
It’s almost a year since Gaby Winters was in the car crash that killed her twin brother, Jude. Her body has healed in the sunshine of Pandanus Beach, but her grief is raw and constant. It doesn’t help that every night in her dreams she kills demons and other hell-spawn. And then Rafa comes to town. Not only does he look exactly like the guy who’s been appearing in Gaby’s dreams—he claims a history with her brother that makes no sense. Gaby is forced to accept that what she thought she knew about herself and her life is only a shadow of the truth—and that the truth is more likely to be found in the shadows of her nightmares. Who is Rafa? Who are the Rephaim? And most importantly, who can she trust?

Considering how many stock paranormal YAs I've read in the past, I admit was hesitant to read Shadows by Paula Weston. I've had enough of fallen angels, I though. But since there was a lot of good reviews for Shadows on Goodreads, I decided to give it a go anyway.

And guess what? I really REALLY liked Shadows.

Shadows was surprisingly interesting and so very good. It was not at all cliche and cheesy. The writing flowed really nicely and was easy to understand. I'm a slow reader but I finished Shadows within days... it was kind of hard to stop reading.

The plot was really well-paced--not too slow and not too fast--and I enjoyed reading the fighting scenes, which were interspersed throughout the novel. However, I would not really describe Shadows as an action-packed, roller coaster read. Mainly throughout Weston's novel, the main character, Gaby, was trying to work through her confusion by gaining information about her dreams, and ultimately, herself. As she searched for the answers to her many questions, she was being pushed and pulled by everyone until finally Gaby finds herself in a bloody, intense fight. I thought the plot, with its mystery, suspense, and action, was refreshing and really interesting. I was there along with Gaby as we struggled to put the puzzle pieces into place, and with every question answered, we were both relieved yet more anxious. Being very much there with a character was awesome.

I also found the romance of Shadows really refreshing because it wasn't the main focus of the novel. For those of you who do not like love triangles, the romance in Shadows wasn't much of one. Yes, there were two boys fighting for Gaby's attention, but as far as Gaby was concerned, all she really wanted was to understand who and what she was. Also, she was only really interested in one of the boys while she was indifferent--maybe even hateful--toward the other. I love how Gaby was such an objective and strong (albeit stubborn) heroine to not get distracted by two fighting boys.

Speaking of Gaby's character, I thought she was really well-developed. Through every challenge she faced, Gaby became stronger and fiercer but she never lost sight of her objectives and goals. Gaby always considered her friends, and she ran across challenges throughout Shadows just to save and protect them. I just really enjoyed getting to know her and I looking forward to spending more time with her in Shadows in the next book in the Rephaim series.

I really recommend Shadows to everyone, whether they love paranormal YA or think they've had enough like I did--let Shadows change your mind! I absolutely cannot wait to get my hands on the second book Haze and read more about Gaby and the other Rephaim--I read the Haze sneak peek that was included in my copy of Shadows, and it left me wanting to read the entire thing now.

And Paula Weston, thank you for writing an excellent novel. It was such a great escape.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

SHADOWS by Paula Weston Teaser

Wednesday, September 18, 2013 with
Hey guys,
Tomorrow is our stop in the Shadows Blog Tour and Leslie will be posting her review of Paula Weston's Shadows (spoiler alert: she loves it).

So, we thought it would be fun to post a little teaser of Shadows for you all:

Intrigued? Stop by tomorrow and let Leslie tell you more about Shadows.

Michelle & Leslie

9/19 Update: Read Leslie's review of Shadows HERE.

Click on the banner for the full schedule of the blog tour.
A swoon-y romance where two friends will maybe fall in love? Yes, please! [And who are we kidding? There's no "maybe" about it.]

WHEN HARRY MET SALLY . . . for teens, from romantic comedy star Elizabeth Eulberg.

For Macallan and Levi, it was friends at first sight. Everyone says guys and girls can't be just friends, but these two are. They hang out after school, share tons of inside jokes, their families are super close, and Levi even starts dating one of Macallan's friends. They are platonic and happy that way.

Eventually they realize they're best friends -- which wouldn't be so bad if they didn't keep getting in each other's way. Guys won't ask Macallan out because they think she's with Levi, and Levi spends too much time joking around with Macallan, and maybe not enough time with his date. They can't help but wonder . . . are they more than friends or are they better off without making it even more complicated?

From romantic comedy superstar Elizabeth Eulberg comes a fresh, fun examination of a question for the ages: Can guys and girls ever really be just friends? Or are they always one fight away from not speaking again -- and one kiss away from true love?

Better Off Friends will be released on February 25, 2014. Click on the cover to go to the book's Goodreads page.

What book(s) do you "covet" this week?
Leave us a comment with a link so we can check your WoW of the week too.

"Books I Covet" is a weekly or bi-weekly blog post series we do here on Wednesdays. It will feature books we are very excited about reading and plan on buying/borrowing in the near future. It is basically the "Waiting On" meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine, but we just like the title "books we covet" better. We will include the books' blurb, cover art, and/or release date if they're available. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Against the Ropes Excerpt + Giveaway

Tuesday, September 17, 2013 with
Labels: ,
To my fellow romance lovers,
This one is especially for you! We have an excerpt from Against the Ropes by Sarah Castille and a chance for you to win a copy.

About Against the Ropes:

He scared me. He thrilled me. And after one touch, all I could think about was getting more...

Makayla never thought she'd set foot in an elite mixed martial arts club. But if anyone needs a medic on hand, it's these guys. Then again, at her first sight of the club's owner, she's the one feeling breathless.

The man they call Torment is all sleek muscle and restrained power. Whether it's in the ring or in the bedroom, he knows exactly when a soft touch is required and when to launch a full-on assault. He always knows just how far he can push. And he's about to tempt Makayla in ways she never imagined...

Run. I should run. But all I can do is stare.

His fight shorts are slung deliciously low on his narrow hips, hugging his powerful thighs. Hard, thick muscles ripple across the broad expanse of his chest, tapering down to a taut, corrugated abdomen. But most striking are the tattoos covering over half of his upper body—a hypnotizing cocktail of curving, flowing tribal designs that just beg to be touched.

He stops only a foot away and I crane my neck up to look at his face.

God is he gorgeous.

His high cheekbones are sharply cut, his jaw square, and his eyes dark brown and flecked with gold. His aquiline nose is slightly off-center, as if it had been broken and not properly reset, but instead of detracting from his breathtaking good looks, it gives him a dangerous appeal. His hair is hidden beneath a black bandana, but a few tawny, brown tufts have escaped from the edges and curl down past the base of his neck.

A smile ghosts his full lips as he studies me. A lithe and powerful animal assessing its prey.

My finely tuned instinct of self-preservation forces me back against the ropes and away from his intoxicating scent of soap and leather and the faintest kiss of the ocean.

“Excuse me…Torment. I…thought you forgot to buy a ticket, but…um…I don’t think you really need one. Do you?”

“A ticket?” His low-pitched, husky, sensual voice could seduce a saint. Or a young college grad trying to supplement her meager salary by selling tickets at a fight club.

My heart thunders in my chest and I lick my lips. His eyes lock on my mouth, and my tongue freezes mid-stroke before beating a hasty retreat behind my Pink Innocence glossed lips.

He steps forward and I press myself harder against the springy ropes, wincing as they bite into my skin through my thin T-shirt.

“Are you Amanda?”

With herculean effort, I manage to pry my tongue off the roof of my mouth. “I’m the best friend.”

He lifts an eyebrow. “Does the best friend have a name?”


“Doesn’t suit you. Do you have a different name?”

“What do you mean a different name? That’s my name. Well, it’s my nickname. But that’s what people call me. I’m not going to choose another name just because you don’t like it.” My hands find my hips, and I give him my second-best scowl—my best scowl being reserved for less handsome irritating men.

His gaze drifts down to the bright white “FCUK Me” lettering now stretched tight across my overly generous breasts. With my every breath, the letters expand and retract like a flashing neon sign. I hate my sister.

He leans so close I can see every contour of bone and sinew in his chest and the more intricate patterns in his tribal tattoos. The flexible ropes accommodate my last retreat, and I brace myself, trembling, against them.

“What’s your real name?” he rumbles.

“Makayla.” Oh, betraying lips.

He smiles and his eyes crinkle at the corners. “Makayla is a beautiful name. I’ll call you Makayla.”

Heat roars through me like a tidal wave. He likes my name. “So…about that ticket—”

About the author:

Recovering lawyer, karate practitioner, and caffeine addict, Sarah Castille worked and traveled abroad before trading her briefcase and stilettos for a handful of magic beans and a home near the Canadian Rockies. Her steamy, contemporary romantic tales feature blazingly hot alpha heroes and the women who tame them.


The Giveaway:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good luck,

**We are not affiliated with Amazon or B&N and will not earn any referral fees.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Format: e-ARC
Publisher: William Morrow
Release Date: September 17, 2013
Source of my copy: publisher via Edelweiss
Series: A Little Too Far #1
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Have you ever gone just a little too far?
Lexie Banks has.
Yep. She just had mind-blowing sex with her stepbrother. In her defense, she was on the rebound, and it’s more of a my-dad-happened-to-marry-a-woman-with-a-super-hot-son situation. But still, he’s been her best friend and confidant for the better part of the last few years … and is so off limits. It’s a good thing she’s leaving in two days for a year abroad in Rome.
But even thousands of miles away, Lexie can’t seem to escape trouble. Raised Catholic, she goes to confession in hopes of alleviating some of her guilt … and maybe not burning in hell. Instead, she stumbles out of the confessional and right into Alessandro Moretti, a young and very easy-on-the-eyes deacon … only eight months away from becoming a priest. Lexie and Alessandro grow closer, and when Alessandro’s signals start changing despite his vow of celibacy, she doesn’t know what to think. She’s torn between falling in love with the man she shouldn’t want and the man she can’t have. And she isn’t sure how she can live with herself either way.

I was very intrigued by A Little Too Far when I first heard of it. A girl hooks up with her stepbrother and a soon-to-be-priest? Scandalous! I loved it already!

And then I started reading and OHEMGEE I loved it even more! A Little Too Far is right up there as one of my favorite NA reads. 

So, the story was that Lexie Banks just broke up with Rick, her long distance boyfriend of many years who cheated on her. Then, after not seeing him for weeks Lexie and Rick ran into each other and he tells her that he still loved her. Confused, Lexie went to the person she can always talk to--her stepbrother and best friend Trent. He could always talk her down her freak outs and soon they were having one of their epic Warcraft video game sessions... and found themselves suddenly making out and things turned very hot and steamy fast. Afterwards, Lexie felt very guilty. Was she just rebounding? Or was there a lot more feelings between Trent and herself that they just kept locked up because they're step siblings? Lexie knew she couldn't let what happened ruin their friendship, which she cherished more than anything in her life. And if their parents find out what they did, it could tear the family apart too... Good thing Lexie was leaving for Rome in a few days for a year-long art history study abroad program. 

But even in Rome Lexie could not stop thinking about Trent and feeling very guilty at the same time. So, what was a good Catholic girl to do? Go to confession... where Lexie bumped into the very sexy, soon-to-be-priest Alessandro Moretti and he provided the perfect distraction for Lexie: help him give art tours to children around Rome. But as Lexie and Alessandro worked together, they get closer and soon Alessandro started showing signs that his feeling for Lexie were growing despite his vow of celibacy and the fact that he'll ordained soon. Lexie was torn. She liked Alessandro a lot and was very attracted to him but she also has non-stepsisterly feelings for Trent and can't stop thinking about him. So, who will Lexie end up with? Sexy Trent or sexy Alessandro?

I absolutely loved A Little Too Far! It was such an addicting read. Once I began reading it, was really hard to stop and I read late into the night. I liked Lexie's character. Her biggest flaw was that she's a people pleaser but she was a total sweetheart. She grew up a lot in the novel and I was there with her as she experienced joy, confusion, heartbreak, sorrow and again happiness when she finally got her HEA. 

As for the men, not only were both Trent and Alessandro sexy as heck, they were also really nice, intelligent, wonderful guys in different yet similar ways. I understood Lexie's dilemma with Trent and then her falling for Alessandro (how could you not?) but I 'shipped Lexie and Trent from the very beginning. I was on the edge of my seat though, dying to see who Lexie will choose. 

A Little Too Far was set mostly in Rome and I loved that! I got vicariously live through Lexie as she explored the city and the museums and the art. It was great and it made want to go to Rome myself. 

And Ms. Desrochers mentioned in her acknowledgements that A Little Too Far was partly inspired by Lifehouse song "All In" and I can totally hear the song in the last few chapters. I mention this because I listened to Lifehouse non-stop in when I was an undergrad and this novel helped me re-discover one of my favorite bands. Now I won't be able to listen to "All In" the same way again. 

A Little Too Far was soooo good! And so addicting, well-written and very steamy. Seriously, Ms. Desrochers can write a turn-the-AC-up love scene. Whew! New adult and romance fans, I urge you to pick it up. You will not be disappointed.

About Lisa Desrochers
Lisa Desrochers lives in northern California with her husband, two very busy daughters, and Shini the tarantula. If you'd told her five years ago she'd write a book, she'd have laughed in your face. As it turns out, she'd owe you an apology. Writing has become an addiction for Lisa and A Little Too Far, courtesy of HarperCollins, is her first novel for adults. She is also the author of the young adult Personal Demons trilogy from Macmillan.

When she's not writing, she's reading, and she adores stories that take her to new places, and then take her by surprise. Connect with her online at, on her blog at, on Twitter at @LisaDez, and on Facebook at

The Tour
We are on the last leg of the blog tour for A Little Too Far! Stop by to catch the end of the tour.
Sept. 16th - Waiting For Wentworth - Review
Sept. 16th - Michelle & Leslie's Book Picks - you're here!
Sept. 17th - Good Choice Reading - Review
Sept. 17th - Me, My Shelf and I - Review

The Giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Hello everyone,
We hope you all had a very nice weekend. We are very excited to be part of the cover reveal of Nichole Chase's newest novel Recklessly Royal (the follow up to Suddenly Royal). Without further ado...

Catherine has spent her life being the perfect princess. She’s kept her hands clean, her head down, and most importantly-men at arm’s length. After all, most men are after only one thing, and for Cathy there’s a lot more at stake than her bed; she has to worry about the fate of an entire nation. But at the rate she’s going, Cathy is afraid she’ll give the Virgin Queen a run for her money. She is tired of waiting for someone good enough to come along. She has a plan, and it all hinges on seducing the one man who seems utterly unimpressed by all things royal. The one man she is tempted by more than any other . . .

When David arrives at the royal wedding of his friend, the newly ordained Duchess Samantha Rousseau, he expected to feel uncomfortable and out of his element, but he wasn’t prepared to be targeted by Prince Alex’s gorgeous younger sister. With Cathy’s giant blue eyes, killer figure, and sense of humor, it won’t take long before he gives in. But when he finds out just how innocent the crown princess really is, will he play the part of knight in shining armor or the dashing rogue?

Recklessly Royal will be out March 25, 2014 so that will give you time to catch up if you haven't read Suddenly Royal yet. And you're going to want to because it is just plain fun. For more info about author Nichole Chase, her Suddenly series as well as her other books, visit her website.

Happy reading,
Michelle & Leslie

**We are not affiliated with any of the retailers listed and will not earn any referral fees if you click on the links.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Bookshelf Additions for September

Saturday, September 14, 2013 with
Hello lovely people,
It's STS/Sunday Post** time again! But before I get to the books, here are some blog post linkage first:
>>If you live in the US, enter to win Broken!<<
>>Calling all dragon fans! Scorched is for you!<<

Now for the books! I showed some self-restraint this week and didn't buy as many e-books as last week. YAY! But I did buy two:
Into the Deep by Samantha Young
Faking It by Cora Carmack
>>Since I have books Losing It and Finding It, I should get Faking It. So I did.<<

These two e-books I did NOT buy.
Unchained by Jennifer Armentrout/J. Lynn (won)
Valkyrie Rising by Ingrid Paulson (free)
>>This one was free to download!<<

I got these next six e-ARCs via Netgalley and Edelweiss.
Rule by Jay Crownover
Jet by Jay Crownover
>>I wasn't going to touch Crownover's Marked Men series but I attended a webinar and a presenter was raving about them so I downloaded them.<<
Suddenly Royal by Nichole Chase
>>I'm participating in the cover reveal of Recklessly Royal (book 2). The post will be live midnight EST on Monday!<<
Forgiving Lies by Molly McAdams

Rumor Has It by Jill Shalvis
>>Currently reading this one because I've been waiting for it FOREVER.<<
Captive (The Forbidden Side of Nightshade) by A.D. Robertson
>>Andrea Cremer's debut adult novel set in the world of Nightshade. We'll be giving away a copy of Captive very soon!<<

We also got these physical books.
Rose by Holly Webb (for review)
Relic by Heather Terrell (unsolicited)
Forgive Me Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick (won)

The Trouble with Christmas by Debbie Mason (unsolicited)
How to be a Good Wife by Emma Chapman (won)

Getting Rowdy by Lori Foster + blog tour badge
>>I'm going to be part of the Getting Rowdy blog tour.<<

Did you guys add any new books to your bookshelves? Leave your STS/Sunday Post link so we can come and gush over them. 

Happy reading,
Michelle (& Leslie)

**Stacking the Shelves, or STS, is hosted by Tynga's Reviews and Sunday Post is hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer.