Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Jennifer Armentrout. 'Nuff said.

Nah, I actually haven't read any of Jennifer's books yet but I do have a few of her NA titles in my kindle and I've heard so many, many great things about her books.

So, Jennifer + the very intriguing premise of Don't Look Back should = to an awesome read, right? Right.

Samantha is a stranger in her own life. Until the night she disappeared with her best friend, Cassie, everyone said Sam had it all-popularity, wealth, and a dream boyfriend.

Sam has resurfaced, but she has no recollection of who she was or what happened to her that night. As she tries to piece together her life from before, she realizes it's one she no longer wants any part of. The old Sam took "mean girl" to a whole new level, and it's clear she and Cassie were more like best enemies. Sam is pretty sure that losing her memories is like winning the lottery. She's getting a second chance at being a better daughter, sister, and friend, and she's falling hard for Carson Ortiz, a boy who has always looked out for her-even if the old Sam treated him like trash.

But Cassie is still missing, and the facts about what happened to her that night isn't just buried deep inside of Sam's memory-someone else knows, someone who wants to make sure Sam stays quiet. All Sam wants is the truth, and if she can unlock her clouded memories of that fateful night, she can finally move on. But what if not remembering is the only thing keeping Sam alive?

Don't Look Back 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, October 29, 2013

Format: e-ARC
Type: e-novella
Publisher: Forever Yours
Release Date: November 5, 2013
Source of my copy: publisher via Netgalley
Series: Coming Home #2.6
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
There's nothing in the world Army Sergeant Vic Carponti loves more than his wife and his country. Smart-mouthed and easy tempered, he takes everything as a joke . . . except his promise to come home to his wife, Nicole, for Christmas. As he prepares to leave for his latest deployment into Iraq, Vic will do everything he can to shield his beautiful, supportive wife from the realities of war . . . and from his own darkest fears.
As a career army wife, Nicole Carponti knows just what to expect from her husband's tour of duty: loneliness, relentless worry, and a seemingly endless countdown until the moment Vic walks through the door again. But when the unthinkable happens, Nicole and Vic's bond is tested like never before and changes everything they believe to be true about the power of love and the simple beauty of being home for the holidays.

I'll Be Home For Christmas appealed to me because I love husband and wife stories in romance novels and this one is just that: funny army man Vic and beautiful Nicole are married but they keep getting separated because of Vic's deployments. This novella wasn't the usual road to love or finding love because Vic and Nicole already love each other. Instead, it's a look into marriage in the military.

This was my first by Jessica Scott and I really enjoyed this intimate view of military life. From the author bio page I found out that that Ms. Scott was a soldier herself and this fact lend the novella true authenticity. I don't know anyone in the military and could only imagine what the spouse of a soldier goes through whenever their loved one leaves for their tour of duty--seeing just that through Vic and Nicole was interesting.

Vic is a clown and jokester and uses jokes to keep his men's spirits up. That's his thing and sometimes his jokes are the only thing that get through the men on bad days. But inside he can't help but worry about his wife waiting for him at home and what his constant deployments mean to their marriage and relationship. For Nicole, being a career military wife means loneliness, constant worry and stress but she's there for her husband and supports him. I love that strong love and support these two had between them.

I'll Be Home For Christmas was a nice, quick read though sometimes the writing does get a bit stilted. But overall I enjoyed it and makes me want to read more by Jessica Scott. The next in the series is a full-length novel featuring another military couple in a troubled marriage and I'm definitely interested in reading that.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Hello bookish friends,
Today we have Roxanne St. Claire on this here blog. The fourth book in her Barefoot Bay series, Barefoot by the Sea is out tomorrow (10/29)!
We are giving away all 4 books in the series! Keep reading to enter.

When you think you know your heart's desire . . .

Tessa Galloway is a gifted nurturer-her verdant garden at Barefoot Bay's new resort is living proof. If only the woman who can grow anything could grow what she wants most: a baby. Her friends think the right guy will come along, but Tessa doesn't want to wait. All she needs is the perfect donor to make her dream come true. Then John Brown is hired at the resort. If anyone could make beautiful babies, it's this gorgeous, mysterious man. So why does Tessa suddenly find herself wanting so much more?

Can you give up all your dreams for love?

It's been three long years since John Brown had to leave his old life. Forced into the witness protection program, he's desperate to be reunited with his toddler twins. When he gets that chance, there's a catch-he must prove he's got a steady job and a new wife. Landing a gig as a chef in Barefoot Bay is easy enough. And falling for lovely Tessa is even easier. The hard part? Can he win the heart of a woman who prizes honesty-when the truth may shatter it?

Excerpt from Barefoot by the Sea
“Tessa,” he said softly, looking from side to side for a second. “I have to tell you something about me. Something you didn’t ask in your interview.”

Interesting, since he didn’t even answer the questions she did ask. Still, she waited, dying to see where he’d go with this.

“I don’t shy away from anything,” he finally said. “When I see something I want, I get it.” He gave her a hard, straight look.

Did he mean the job as chef or… her?

“So, what are you here to get?”

“My plan is that we start all over again.” Reaching down, he lifted her hand and very slowly drew off the gardening glove, sliding one finger out at a time out of the rough canvas. She couldn’t do anything but stare at his large, tanned, masculine hand undressing her much smaller one, her throat parched and every nerve ending dancing at the touch.

“We could shake on it,” he said, dropping the glove to the ground but still holding her hand. His skin was warm. A little rough, a little dry, but very warm. “But I’d rather do this.”

He lifted her fingers to his lips, barely brushing the knuckles, the sensation shooting fireworks down her arms. “To new beginnings, pretty Tessa. A new job, and a new…” He looked up from her hand and met her gaze, his own so serious she forgot to breathe again. “Friendship.”

For a moment, she stared at him, a thousand emotions erupting like a volcano in her chest. Disbelief and excitement and desire and disbelief and longing and—yeah, mostly disbelief.

“What is it?” he asked.

“Well, I’m not really trusting by nature, so I’m fighting the sensation that you might be full of shit.”

He laughed. “I deserve a chance.”

Did he? “And you’ll probably get one, but what happened?”

He lifted both brows. “I want the job.”

“So you’re suddenly Prince Charming? After being guarded, evasive, and walking out in the middle of an interview?”

He curled his fingers around her hand and sighed with resignation. “I guess I’m going to have to do some seriously high-quality groveling.”

“Major high,” she agreed.

“Let’s start with dinner tonight. We can finish the interview.”

Obviously, he didn’t know she’d called all his references and they glowed like polished gold, and he certainly didn’t know about the wedding planners and the urgent need for a chef. Instead, he’d come to grovel and take her to dinner.

“I’ll give you time to clean up and change for our date,” he said, as if she might be looking for an excuse to say no.

As if a groveling man offering dinner and looking like a sex god fell into her lap on a daily basis.

“I thought it was an interview,” she said.

He shrugged. “You call it an interview, I call it a date.”

“I call it a pretty remarkable turnaround for the guy who suggested a one-night stand of tongue-tattooing the last time we talked about going out.”

His smile was sinfully slow and so damn confident. “Haven’t you ever changed your mind about something, Tessa? Ever looked at a situation in the light of day and realized you’d need a new approach to get what you want?”

She tried to ignore the little thrill of his words and be smart about this. “What about trust?”

He lifted his brows. “What about it?”

“Did you change your mind about the advice you gave me in the bar? Or don’t you remember when your one word about trusting you was ‘Don’t’?”

She could have sworn a little bit of color left his face.

“How else are you going to know if you should or not unless you have dinner with me?”

She couldn’t argue with that logic. Or maybe she just didn’t want to.

Here's a quick This or That with Rocki. We told her: You must choose one or the other and you cannot explain your answer:

Early bird or night owl? Earlier the better.
E-books or physical books? E
Cookies or cake? Cookies
Coffee or tea? Coffee
Mac or PC? PC
Writing space: Quiet or with background noise? Dead silence

More About Rocki St. Claire
First published in 2003, Roxanne St. Claire is a RITA® Award-winning author of thirty novels, including her bestselling Bullet Catchers and Guardian Angelinos series. Her critically acclaimed books have been published in numerous languages and recognized with multiple awards including the National Readers' Choice Award, the Daphne du Maurier Award, and the HOLT Medallion, all for best romantic suspense. She currently lives on the east coast of Florida with her husband and two teenagers.

Giveaway Time! Win all 4 books in the Barefoot Bay series (US only) courtesy of Hachette's Forever Romance.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck everyone and happy reading,

Saturday, October 26, 2013

New Bookshelf Additions

Saturday, October 26, 2013 with
Hello fellow book nerds,
It's StS/Sunday Post** time! But first some linkage from this week:

Friday: Review: While You're Away Part I by by Jessa Holbrook (Michelle's first serial novel!)
Wednesday: Book I Covet: Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern
Tuesday: Review: Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles
Monday: An Incurable Insanity by Simi K. Rao + Excerpt

Okay, now for the books...

We got approved for some amazing e-ARCs this week. Sooooo EXCITED!!!
Being Sloane Jacobs by Lauren Morrill
<<Morrill's previous novel Meant to Be was a DNF for me but I really like the premise of Sloane. I'm not giving up on this author yet.>>
The Liar Society: Third Lie's the Charm by Lisa & Laura Roecker
<<I LOVE this series!! So excited to read book 3. EEEeeepp!!>>
Avalon by Mindee Arnett

Ten Tiny Breaths by K.A. Tucker
One Tiny Lie by K.A. Tucker
<<I've had my eye on the K.A. Tucker's series for a while (thanks to the covers!) so I'm excited to get approved for the first 2 books.>>
Three Broken Promises by Monica Murphy
<<I devoured Fable and Drew's books the other week so I'm so freakin' happy I got approved for Jen and Colin's book.>>

Switched by Cassie Mae
<<I saw this one while browsing on Netgalley and the premise was cute.>> 
Throwing Heat by Jennifer Seasons

I also bought some e-books this week and got a free one.
First Strike by Pamela Clare (bought)
Crave by Monica Murphy (bought)
Girl Least Likely to Marry by Amy Andrews (free)

We also got some physical books:
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes (bought)
<<I want a book that will give me the feels. I think this one will.>>
Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira (for review)

Playing Dirty by Jennifer Echols (unsolicited)
Handful of Sky by Tory Cates (unsolicited)

What new books did you guys get? We wanna see! Leave your STS/Sunday Post link so we can come 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, October 25, 2013

Format: e-ARC
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: October 15, 2012
Source of my copy: publisher via Netgalley
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Once a cheater, always a cheater?
From the moment Will and Sarah first set eyes upon each other, they know that what they have is special.
There's just one little problem . . . each of them already has a significant other.
After flirting with danger, it becomes clear their passion is too strong to be denied. But even if they make their relationship official, there are plenty of challenges in store. Will leaves for college at the end of the summer, while Sarah faces her senior year of high school in their small suburban town. Long-distance relationships always come with their fair share of troubles—mismatched schedules, jealousy, and temptation are only the beginning.
Can cheaters ever change?
While You're Away is a steamy story about a love triangle, a long-distance relationship, and learning the true meaning of commitment.

I admit to being wary of While You're Away when it showed up in my email because it's a serial novel. I'm a very impatient person and I don't like waiting for books so I can't imagine enjoy a book where I'm given just a piece of it (with probably killer cliffhanger after each one)over a six-week period. But as the old saying goes, "you can't knock it til you try it." 

Right in the description of While You're Away are the words "cheater" and "love triangle" and that's a big Uh-oh! already. I'm not a fan of either in my reads, but I gave it a chance since I was more interested in how the whole "serial novel" concept than anything else.

Well... I was able to read While You're Away was pretty good. Sarah was likable. She's an introverted musician who was in band with her boyfriend Dave. With his all-American good looks, Dave was a flirt. After their gigs, he likes to go around to bask in the compliments and admiration of their audience (usually girls) while Sarah disappeared in the background. Besides his penchant of flirting, Dave seemed like a good guy.

One night, while Dave was doing his usual mingling after a performance, Sarah bumped into Will. They'd gone to the same school since kindergarten but haven't spoken to each other. Will was the school's bad boy and has a near-mythical reputation of hooking up a lot of girls, but he currently has a girlfriend. But once Sarah and Will started talking, the spark between them was undeniable. Sarah couldn't stay away and it seemed like Will was equally as affected.

Like I said, While You're Away was good. I liked it--if I was inclined to give stars, I'd give it 3/5. However, I've seen these characters before and there's nothing that really stood out about them to me. The story didn't capture me enough and I'm invested in the characters enough that I'm dying to read more. I think for a serial novel to work for me (who has a towering to-be-read pile already) I really have to be really captured and gripped by the first "episode." I wasn't with this one, but if the second part comes my way and I have a pocket of time to read, I'll probably pick it up since the parts are very short (I read While You're Away in one sitting).

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Book I Covet: Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern

Wednesday, October 23, 2013 with
I love the understated cover and it kind of has that Eleanor & Park feel to it (or what I imagine Eleanor & Park is like since I haven't read it yet... but I will soon. Promise!).

It just sounds like Say What You Will is going to be a lovely read.

I want someone who will talk to me honestly about things. You're the only person who ever has. Maybe you don't know this, but when you're disabled almost no one tells you the truth. They feel too awkward because the truth seems too sad, I guess. You were very brave to walk up to the crippled girl and say, essentially, wipe that sunny expression off your face and look at reality. That's what I want you to do next year. Tell me the truth. That's all.

Amy and Matthew didn't know each other, really. They weren't friends. Matthew remembered her, sure, but he remembered a lot of people from elementary school that he wasn't friends with now.

Matthew never planned to tell Amy what he thought of her cheerful facade, but after he does, Amy realizes she needs someone like him in her life.

As they begin to spend more time with each other, Amy learns that Matthew has his own secrets and she decides to try to help him in the same way he's helped her. And when what started out as a friendship turns into something neither of them expected, they realize that they tell each other everything—except the one thing that matters most.

Say What You Will will be released on June 3, 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, October 22, 2013

Format: e-ARC
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers
Pages: 288 pages
Release Date: October 1, 2013
Source of my copy: publisher via Netgalley
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
After getting kicked out of boarding school, bad boy Derek Fitzpatrick has no choice but to live with his ditzy stepmother while his military dad is deployed. Things quickly go from bad to worse when he finds out she plans to move them back to her childhood home in Illinois. Derek’s counting the days before he can be on his own, and the last thing he needs is to get involved with someone else’s family drama.
Ashtyn Parker knows one thing for certain--people you care about leave without a backward glance. A football scholarship would finally give her the chance to leave. So she pours everything into winning a state championship, until her boyfriend and star quarterback betrays them all by joining their rival team. Ashtyn needs a new game plan, but it requires trusting Derek—someone she barely knows, someone born to break the rules. Is she willing to put her heart on the line to try and win it all?

Wild Cards was a guilty pleasure kind of YA read and I freakin' loved it! It was a potato chips kind of book--you know, a you-can't-just-read-one-chapter/it's-hard-to-stop-once-you-start-reading kind of book.

I love that it was an alternate perspective POV because I liked getting in both Derek and Ashtyn's head and know what each were thinking. Both had their own issues and challenges but they were very likable characters and I rooted for them both.

Derek was a hot Californian surfer dude who wears cowboy boots and has a Texan accent. He was an easygoing guy who didn't let anything get to him (until Ashtyn, that is). He got kicked out of a boarding school in California and was forced to move to Illinois with his new stepmom while his dad was deployed. He was just biding his time until he can graduate high school and then he can go off on his own. Derek came off as kind of an dumb prankster in the beginning but there was more to him as you get to know him character. He's was actually real sweetheart and a nice guy.

Ashtyn was a bit of a tomboy but girly at the same time--she's one of those cool girls who has the respect of her male teammates (I love her close friendship with some of the guys in her team) and she can also hangout with the girls. She's a star football player and she was hoping to win a scholarship, which she saw as her ticket out of her sucky home life with her dad who hardly paid any attention to her.

And then her older sister moved back home with her new stepson Derek, who immediately got under Ashtyn's skin. Yet underneath her animosity towards him, she couldn't help being attracted to Derek as well.

I was dying for them to get together but I also appreciated that the tension between was kept high all through the novel. I loved that anticipation for when they finally get together! It was what made Wild Cards so darn addicting. Oh, but the chemistry between Derek and Ashtyn ran hot right from the beginning and when they finally get together **fans self** Wild Cards is steamier than your average YA novel.

Wild Cards has all my favorite YA contemporary ingredients: high school and family drama, great romance, likable main characters, some awesome secondary characters, a road trip and it didn't take on any depressing issues. I didn't have any big complaints about this novel... maybe that the ending was a bit rushed and one or two of the secondary story lines didn't really have a clear conclusion but it was minor. It was just a fun, quick, enjoyable read. I enjoyed it A LOT more than I did Perfect Chemistry, the only other novel I read by the author.

If you like Lauren Barnholdt's Two-Way Street, Miranda Kenneally's Catching Jordan or books by Jennifer Echols, I recommend you pick up Wild Cards.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Hello bookish friends,
I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and it was filled with some great reading!

Today, I am featuring Simi K. Rao's debut novel An Incurable Insanity. I don't really read a lot of general fiction novels (I prefer my reads straight up YA, NA or romance novels) but I cannot help but be attracted to An Incurable Insanity.

Shaan is a recent 27 year old aerospace masters grad, who lands the perfect job in a leading aeronautics and space exploration company in Los Angeles. At the urging of his parents' he goes down the traditional arranged marriage route, leaving behind a lover and a complicated relationship in Los Angeles. As a result, Shaan and Ruhi's marriage has an awkward and uncomfortable start. The begrudging spouses make a pact: Ruhi will stay with Shaan in the United States only long enough to avoid embarrassment from their family and peers. Ruhi, remaining optimistic thinks that she can use this time to try and win Shaan's heart, but to no avail. Follow Ruhi and Shaan on a roller coaster ride as they attempt to be “friends without benefits” and expose their true selves to each other in search of love and happiness.

While An Incurable Insanity provides fascinating glimpses into traditional Indian culture, it is an intriguing love story with universal appeal.

I love the premise of the novel--I've always been a sucker for the arranged marriage trope in historical romance novels and whenever I find a novel that takes that trope to contemporary times, I am curious as to how the author will make it work. And, of course, An Incurable Insanity promises to be a fantastic love story so I just had to read it.

I have an excerpt of An Incurable Insanity for you all today. Enjoy!

1: Disillusion

Ruhi Sharma was a blushing bride, practically a newlywed, locked up in this glittering cage for almost a month, twenty-nine days to be exact; an object of envy of all her friends and family.

Twenty-nine days ago, she had signed her name beside his on the marriage certificate. She had gone through all the miscellaneous ceremonies associated with the typical grand Indian wedding—the engagement, the Mehendi, the Sangeet, the Haldi, and the grand finale (her father had spared no expense) until finally her betrothed had staked his claim by placing the Sindoor on her forehead and tying the Mangalsutra around her neck, and she had quietly and blissfully followed him around the sacred fire carefully listening to and reciting the Saath Pheras in her mind.

She was the very beautiful and accomplished daughter of Amrit and Devyani Sharma, the apple of their eye, and they had left no stone unturned in raising her the best way they possibly could.

Friends and family were surprised for not only had Ruhi been provided with a very good education, she held an MBA from a leading institution, but her parents had also made sure that she was adept in all other various skills, which a well-bred traditional Indian girl is desired to be proficient in. Therefore, nobody marveled when marriage proposals came pouring in from all directions.

But the Sharmas were choosy; they wanted only the best for their golden child, and they did get it, or so they surmised.

The idea of giving their daughter’s hand in marriage to the well-accomplished son of the most well-known family in Chandigarh was beyond their wildest imagination. It was wilder because they hadn’t gone in search of it, rather it had come and landed on their lap.

Shaan, the youngest and most eligible of the Ahuja clan, was twenty-seven, a fresh aerospace masters grad from a premier engineering institute located in the Los Angeles county of United States, California, who had already bagged a plum job in a leading aeronautics and space exploration company in sunny LA.

“My son makes interplanetary spacecraft. He’s the man of the future” had become the proud and frequent rant of Mr. Shiv Ahuja, who for some odd reason seemed to be trying to paint his son in the most rosy of tones even though he really didn’t need to, for as soon as Ruhi saw her future husband’s likeness, she lost her heart, and there was no question of a retrieval.



“Huh? Yes please with just a pinch of sugar. Thanks!” He took the cup from her hands, careful not to touch her fingers.

Ruhi closed her eyes; she could now repeat every movement, every word by rote. He was a creature of habit... and she was bored. What was supposed to be the most exciting time in every young woman’s life had turned out to be the worst... Well, not really. He wasn’t mean, rather he was the perfect gentleman, too perfect!

Oh how she wished he would rather be screaming mean and nasty. At least that would bring some excitement into her not so-happening life! She laughed, pausing as she brushed her long black hair, rather hysterically.

The bombshell had dropped on their wedding night. He had walked into the room late as she sat there, a shy bride in all her wedding finery waiting, nervous yet excited at the same time, to meet the man she had hardly spoken to or looked at. What would he say, talk about, or do?

She had heard a lot of stories about what to expect, some factual and some fabricated (her friends had prepared her well), but she wanted her own to be special, unique, and it was...

Sitting down on the bed in front of her, he had taken her hand in his and said very gently, as if to tone down the trauma, “I bet you are one of the most beautiful brides in the world, but I’m sorry I cannot make love to you. There is someone else.”

Not sure if she’d heard right, Ruhi had watched puzzled as he lay down on the mattress and turned his back to her. Is that it? A plain and blunt dismissal of her dreams, her life? Was that all?

Simi K. Rao was born in India and has been living in the United States for several years. The inspiration for An Incurable Insanity came from what she has seen transpire among and within the immigrant community. Some of the experiences included are her own; some have been garnered from friends and casual conversations with acquaintances.

The excerpt was fantastic, right? I, for one, cannot wait to get my hands on my copy and read more of Ruhi and Shaan. Let me know what you all think.

Happy reading,

Saturday, October 19, 2013

New Books! Woo-hoo!

Saturday, October 19, 2013 with
Hello bookish friends,
It's StS/Sunday Post** time! But first the links of what we posted this week:

Thursday: Leslie's Review: My First Love by Callie West
Wednesday: Book I Covet: Don't You Forget About Me by Kate Karyus Quinn
Monday: Blog Tour Review: Lost in London by Cindy Callaghan + Spooktacular Giveaway Hop

Okay, now for the books...

Lots of great e-ARCs this week. I'm very excited for all of them.
Racing Savannah by Miranda Kenneally
<<Miranda's books are always a treat! Planning on devouring this one very soon.>>
While You're Away by Jessa Holbrook
<<This one is a 6-part serial YA. I'm interested how the reading experience will be with a serial novel.>>
Fireblood by Trisha Wolfe

A Little Too Much by Lisa Desrochers
<<Currently devouring this one.>>
Rome by Jay Crownover
All Fired Up by Kate Meader 

Rush Me by Allison Parr (bought)
Running Back by Allison Parr (e-ARC)
<<I've had my eye on Rush Me for a while so I finally gave in and bought it. When I saw Running Back on Netgalley, I immediately requested it. Looking forward to reading both.>>
Finding Cinderella by Colleen Hoover
<<FREE!! So excited to read about Six.>>

All He Wants by C.C. Gibbs
All He Needs by C.C. Gibbs
<<I avoid 50 Shades-ish books but I read a bunch of reviews on Goodreads about All He Wants and I liked what the readers were saying. When I saw books 1 and 2 on Netgalley I downloaded both.>>

We also got some physical books:
The Princess in the Opal Mask by Jenny Lundquist (for review)
Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple (bought)

Faking It by Cora Carmack (won?)
<<I don't know how I ended up with a physical copy of Faking it. I won it I think. But all the same, YAY!!>>
Under The Wide And Starry Sky by Nancy Horan (won)

What new books did you guys get? We wanna see! Leave your STS/Sunday Post link so we can come 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, October 17, 2013

Format: ARC
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Pages: 176 pages
Release Date: September 14, 2012
Source of my copy: won
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Amy Wyse has everything—except love. She doesn’t want a boyfriend to get in the way of her dreams of college and a swimming scholarship, goals toward which she’s worked hard. But then she’s swept off her feet by Chris Shepherd, an irresistible senior from the swim team. Suddenly Amy has romance and a promising future. Or does she? As she spends more and more time with Chris, her grades plummet and her swimming deteriorates. Amy thought she could have it all—but will she be left with nothing instead?

High school senior Amy Wyse has it all: good grades, great friends, a swimming scholarship and a great mom who has high hopes for her daughter. However, with her busy schedule there is no time for her to focus on anything else including love. Then, she falls head-over-heels for Chris Shepherd, an irresistible senior on her swim team. As Amy spends more and more time with Chris and falls in love for the first time, her grades begin to drop and her swimming slips. Is love worth losing her promising future?

My First Love is about Amy Wyse's first experience with love and it was a fast read that I finished in a couple of days. The plot was straightforward, cute and fun. I liked Amy's character because I can relate to her. Amy and I are both good students with dreams of going to college and we both have parents that have high hopes for us. I can definitely picture myself in her shoes and since I haven't experienced my first love this book is a great escape for me. As for Chris Shepherd, he was nice and charming for the most part but at times I thought he was a little annoying because he would pressure Amy into hanging out with him when she needs to focus on school and swimming. But Chris did care for Amy and the ending was sweet.

Overall, My First Love a cliché, cheesy and a predictable read but cute nonetheless and I enjoyed it. Pick it up for a quick weekend read.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Epic Reads described this one as Stephen King meets Tuck Everlasting. Interesting combo--the description certainly gives that impression.

Welcome to Gardnerville.

A place where no one gets sick. And no one ever dies.


There’s a price to pay for paradise. Every fourth year, the strange power that fuels the town exacts its payment by infecting teens with deadly urges. In a normal year in Gardnerville, teens might stop talking to their best friends. In a fourth year, they’d kill them.

Four years ago, Skylar’s sister, Piper, was locked away after leading sixteen of her classmates to a watery grave. Since then, Skylar has lived in a numb haze, struggling to forget her past and dull the pain of losing her sister. But the secrets and memories Piper left behind keep taunting Skylar—whispering that the only way to get her sister back is to stop Gardnerville’s murderous cycle once and for all.

Don't You Forget About Me will be released on June 10, 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. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Spooktacular Giveaway Hop (Open Internationally)

Monday, October 14, 2013 with

Hello bookish peeps!
Thank you for hopping by our little corner of the web. We hope you decide to come back in the near future. 

We want to give away books that are our personal favorites (yup, we love them kissy books). Here's what you can win:

The winner will choose ONE (1) of the books above!
OR if none of the books above appeals, YOU can choose a book up to $10 on Book Depository

**Open Internationally to wherever Book Depository will ship**

If we get over 500 entries before the Spooktacular Hop is over, there will be TWO winners.

Good luck and happy hopping,
Michelle & Leslie

Format: e-ARC
Publisher: Aladdin M!X
Pages: 240 pages
Release Date: October 15, 2013
Source of my copy: publisher via Edelweiss
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
A tween’s foreign exchange experience lands her in London luxury—and some hot water as well!
Twelve-year-old Jordan isn’t unhappy, but she’s definitely bored. So when she gets the chance to take part in a London exchange program, she’s thrilled to ditch her small town in Delaware and see the world across the pond.
Unfortunately, Jordan’s host sister in London, Caroline, isn’t exactly enthusiastic about entertaining an American girl. Despite the chilly welcome, Jordan finds herself loving the city and Caroline’s group of friends, who are much nicer than Caroline herself.
And then a major misstep leaves Jordan and Caroline trapped together overnight—inside Daphne’s, the world’s largest department store. Given they have complete access to all the fancy shoes, designer dresses, and coolest makeup around, there are worse places to be stuck. But when the girls’ fun has not-so-fun consequences, Jordan’s wish for excitement abroad turns into a lot more than she ever bargained for...

Jordan Jacoby had never done anything exciting and she was bored out of her mind. Her school-sponsored foreign exchange program was just the thing to "de-bored-ify" her life--she just had to convince her parents to let her go...

Lost in London was about Jordan's week-long adventure in London. She imagined exploring London with her host sister Caroline and becoming BFFs with her. Unfortunately Caroline was less than happy about entertaining Jordan and going to see the sights with her. But when they got trapped overnight at Daphne's, a huge luxury department store, it turned out to be a fun-filled night of dodging the security guard and trying on dresses, shoes and makeup. It also gave Jordan a chance to see a different, much nicer side of Caroline. But when the night was over, there were some unexpected consequences. Jordan's life was certainly not so boring anymore!

Just as the book's cover promised, Lost in London was a cute, fluffy read--perfect for young girls who are reluctant readers. They will also learn some British slang and a bit of London trivia along the way.

And how awesome would it be to get stuck in the mall overnight?! It's the ultimate girl fantasy and Caroline and Jordan did everything I would do if I got stuck in a mall like Daphne's.

I have to admit I never really warmed up to Jordan's character and in the end I can imagine her being show-off-y and insufferable after her adventures in London--you know, typical tween. But that's me thinking like an adult and not like the age group this novel is targeting. I'm sure many young girls will be able to relate to Jordan's character. My favorite characters were Caroline's friends Ellie and Sam. They were both a little wacky and they amused me.

Cindy Callaghan gives us a non-stop romp across London and it was fun to live vicariously through Jordan and her friends. I like that there's even a little mystery thrown in. While I didn't enjoy this book as much as I did Plastic Polly by Jenny Lundquist (my previous Aladdin M!X read--check out my review), overall Lost in London was enjoyable, mindless reading. After they read it, girls will have a hankering to visit London and will be adding the city to their "places to visit" list.

About the author
Cindy Callaghan grew up in New Jersey and attended college at the University of Southern California before earning her BA in English and French, and MBA from the University of Delaware. She recently exited corporate America after nearly twenty years, and is now fully entrenched in business consulting, writing, and family. She is very involved with her children’s activities, including coaching the occasional soccer team. Cindy lives, works and writes in Wilmington, Delaware with her family and numerous rescued pets.

**We are NOT affiliated with any online retailers. We will not earn us any referral fees if you click on any of the retailer links.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

New Bookshelf Additions

Saturday, October 12, 2013 with
Hello bookish friends,
It's StS/Sunday Post** time! But first the links of what we posted this week:

Thursday: Review: Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Wednesday: Book I Covet: Starbreak by Phoebe North
Tuesday: Books That Make You Cry

There wasn't a lot of posts because I was busy studying for my oral exams all week--this exam determines whether I'll graduate grad school or not. I had my exam on Friday and I passed! Woo-hoo!! I'm going to be graduating in December with my Master in Library and Information Science.

Okay, now for the books...

We are most excited for the physical books that came this week:
Cress by Marissa Meyer (for review)
<<Leslie freaked out when she got Cress in the mail. She LOVES the Lunar Chronicles series.>>
Emerald Green by Kerstin Gier (bought)
Harlequin Red Hot Reads tote (not pictured) + Cosmo magazines (won)

Here are the e-books I got:
One Week Girlfriend by Monica Murphy (bought)
Second Chance Boyfriend by Monica Murphy (bought)
<<I had a hankering for more awesome NA and this series by Monica Murphy got great reviews on Goodreads so I had to check it out. Plus, book 3 is coming out soon.>>

Breaking Nova by Jessica Sorensen (e-ARC)
<<This one has mixed reviews and some of my trusted bloggers didn't like it but I'm curious, especially because I kept seeing it in the social medias this week.>>
Barefoot by the Sea by Roxanne St. Claire (e-ARC)
Friends Without Benefits by Penny Reid (free on Kindle)
<<The reviews of this one were mostly positive and it was free so I couldn't resist downloading it.>>

What new books did you guys get? We wanna see! Leave your STS/Sunday Post link so we can come 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, October 10, 2013

Format: ARC
Publisher: Knofp for Young Readers
Pages: 260 pages
Release Date: October 26, 2010
Source of my copy: won
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
“I’ve left some clues for you.
If you want them, turn the page.
If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.”

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

I am going to attempt to review one of my favorite reads of all time. Here we go...

While in his favorite bookstore a few days before Christmas, Dash finds a red moleskin notebook full of challenges. He decided to accept the dares and leaves one for the notebook's authoress and hence began Dash and Lily's unlikely romance. Set in New York around Christmas time, this book is not only a perfect holiday read but also one worth re-reading even after the winter holidays are over.

I was so caught up in Lily and Dash's adventures as they each carried out and tried to one-up each other in their dares that I ate this book up in one day. The twists and turns and the anticipation of will they or won't they end up together when they finally meet face to face made this book a fantastic read. The story was told through the alternating first-person narrative of Dash and Lily and each character had their own personality and unique voice. I liked the adorably unconventional Lily right away--she was the sheltered pet of her big and far-flung extended family and a bubbly idealist who loves everything about Christmas. As for Dash, he was a product of a divorce with a disenchanted view of Christmas. I wasn't sure of him at first as he seemed haughty--he reminded me of a little of Chuck Bass from the show Gossip Girl but without the sliminess and the manipulativeness. While he does retain a sardonic, philosophic air throughout the book, I grew to like him. I rooted for these two seemingly opposite couple because they were perfect for each other.

Helping Dash and Lily along the way were many quirky secondary characters, most of which added humor to the story. This book had me laughing out loud so many times. There were so many funny scenes in this book including a power-mad elf and a sweaty gone-commando Santa, a Pixar movie spoof, wax celebrities, hostile mommies and a bullmastiff. I also loved the setting in this book, from Strand Bookstore to Washington Square Park and all the places in between, it is one exhilarating tour of New York City around Christmas time.

After I turned the last page, I was a little sad that my time with Lily and Dash was over but the book left a smile on my face. Dash and Lily's Book of Dares is my first book by the authors and it won't be my last--I'm looking forward to reading more by this author duo. I absolutely love this book! With its engaging storyline, awesome characters and wonderful setting, I very highly recommend you add this book to your holiday reads list this holiday season!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Book I Covet: Starbreak by Phoebe North

Wednesday, October 9, 2013 with
I thought Starglass (my review) was such an original story--it was weird and twisty and thrilling and unexpected and I loved that it didn't follow the usual YA formula. I'm so excited to read it's sequel Starbreak. I can't wait to see where the author will take the story.

The Asherah has finally reached Zehava, the long-promised planet. There, Terra finds harsh conditions and a familiar foe—Aleksandra Wolff, leader of her ship’s rebel forces. Terra and Aleksandra first lock horns with each other . . . but soon realize they face a much more dangerous enemy in violent alien beasts—and alien hunters.

Then Terra finally discovers Vadix. The boy who has haunted her dreams may be their key to survival—but his own dark past has yet to be revealed. And when Aleksandra gets humanity expelled from the planet, it’s up to Terra, with Vadix by her side, to unite her people—and to forge an alliance with the alien hosts, who want nothing more than to see humanity gone forever.

Starbreak will be released on July 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, October 8, 2013

Books That Make You Cry

Tuesday, October 8, 2013 with
Hello friends,

I can count with one hand how many movies made me cry but I would have to use all my fingers, my toes and then some to count the number of books that made me cry.

But I remember the first book that did.

It was With You and Without You by Ann M. Martin (she also wrote the Babysitter's Club series!). It was about a girl whose father was dying from a terminal illness and how she dealt in the months before and after his death. I was about nine years old when I read that book. I remember sitting on the floor at a clothing store reading while my mom shopped. Suddenly my face was wet--I couldn't believe I was actually crying. My nine-year-old self was so shocked that a book moved her to tears that the memory of that day stayed with me all these years.

That was the turning point for me. I realized that words in a book could be that powerful and they can stir your emotions to the point of actually crying.

Before With You and Without You I was a pretty passive reader--I read because it was required for school or I read for because it made my parents happy and it was a "good girl" thing to do. But after that book I realized that words in a book could be that powerful and they can stir your emotions to the point of actually crying.

I wanted to read more books that will move me, that will cause me to feel such strong emotions--and I just don't mean tears-running-down-my-face emotional. Any book that can move me to sadness, laughter, anger, and fear or makes me empathize with a character is very powerful.

Recent books I've read that made me cry include Wonder (Palacio), The Fault in Our Stars (Green) and Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes (Crutcher).

Do you remember the first book that moved you to tears? Any books you've read recently that made you cry?

Happy reading,

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Latest Bookshelf Additions

Sunday, October 6, 2013 with
Hello bookish peeps,
Happy October! It's StS/Sunday Post** time. But before we get to the books, here are some blog post linkages first:

I was again very good this week and did not buy any e-books but we did get some very cool e-ARCs via Edelweiss and Netgalley.
Elusion by Claudia Gabel & Cheryl Klam
Salvage by Alexandra Duncan
Death Sworn by Leah Cypess

Pretty Sly by Elisa Ludwig
Ask Again Later by Liz Czukas
Dear Killer by Katherine Ewell

Crash Into You by Katie McGarry
The Edge of Always by J.A. Redmerski
Stir Me Up by Sabrina Elkins

The Lure by Lynne Ewing
The Harem Midwife by Roberta Rich
I'll Be Home For Christmas by Jessica Scott

We also got physical books and a bookish pillow this week!
Tin Star by Cecil Castellucci (ARC, for review)

Merry and Bright by Jill Shalvis + postcard (for review)

Epic Reads pillow + Two or Three Things I Forgot to Tell You by Joyce Carol Oates (won)

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.