Thursday, April 30, 2015

Swoon Thursday #133: Two Of Hearts by: Christina Lee

Swoon is a weekly meme hosted by YA Bound.

From the book you’re currently reading, or one you just finished, tell us what made you SWOON. What got your heart pounding, your skin tingling, and your stomach fluttering.

Shout it out on Twitter with the hashtag #YABound, post it here in the comments, or grab the adorable button above and share it on your blog! We want to know :-)
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"He pulled me into his chest as his fingers drifted beneath my T-shirt to the skin on my stomach. His fingers intertwined with mine, and I lifted his hand in order to kiss each of his knuckles. The fingers of his other hand slid up my throat to my chin, and he tilted his face toward him."

*sigh* I loved Shane and Dakota.

What made you swoon? Link me.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Book Review: A Court Of Thorns And Roses (A Court Of Thorns And Roses #1) by: Sarah J. Maas

Release Date: May 5, 2015
from Bloomsbury
Goodreads | Amazon

"A thrilling, seductive new series from New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas, blending Beauty and the Beast with faerie lore.

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!"

My Thoughts:

Warning: This is the kind of book that will ruin you for all other books. It’s that good. Proceed with caution.

I’m pretty sure this book was written specifically for me. Every single thing about this book is just perfect for me. Okay. I realize this is not true, but it sure does feel like it. I mean, let’s think about this. High fantasy? Check. Kickass heroine? Check. Swoonworthy hero? Check. Faeries? Check. Danger? Check. Romance? Check. And possibly most important of all, it’s a Beauty and the Beast retelling. GUYS I LOVE BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. Just everything about this book was exactly what I hoped for and so much more. I honestly cannot remember the last time I loved a book as much as I loved this one.

Feyre is an amazing heroine. She is strong and tough and fierce and determined. She learns from her mistakes and fights for what she wants. She does not accept anything quietly or take anything lying down. Then we have Tamlin and I fell SO HARD for Tamlin. I just absolutely loved him. I loved his personality and his strength. I love how much he is willing to do for others. I love that he is slightly awkward and shy and I love how he and Feyre fit together.

We also have a great cast of side characters. Some I love and others I hate and then a few I love to hate. A few of them really surprised me and I loved being surprised. Speaking of surprises. A Court Of Thorns And Roses keeps you on your toes. I never knew what to expect. It keeps you guessing. I was so absorbed in the story that I forgot to even try to figure out what was going to happen. I was caught up in the story and simply along for the ride.

Sarah J. Maas is officially the Queen of High Fantasy. The world she created in A Court Of Thorns And Roses is simply amazing. I could picture it so vividly and clearly. It is beautiful and dangerous. It’s somewhere you want to visit so badly, but at the same time you are terrified because it is incredibly dangerous.

This is the kind of book that I have so much to say, but I am having such a hard time putting my thoughts into words. This is the kind of book I want to shove in everyone’s face and make them read it, but at the same time I want to keep it all to myself because it is so special. I know that makes no sense but it is exactly the feelings I have going on inside me.

A Court Of Thorns And Roses is a phenomenal read and is definitely Sarah J Maas’s best book to date. I truly cannot wait to see what the rest of this series delivers.

Special Cora Carmack Announcement


Fans of Cora Carmack’s Rusk University, we have a SUPER exciting announcement:

  ALL CLOSED OFF Coming 2016

ALL CLOSED OFF, Book 4 in the Rusk University Series, is coming!!!

Check out this message from Cora!

*WARNING: This letter contains spoilers for All Broke Down. If you haven't yet read that book, read at your own peril. SECOND WARNING: this letter talks about fictional characters as if they are real people. Sorry I'm not sorry. THIRD WARNING: The letter below broaches a serious topic that could be a trigger for some people*

Hello beloved readers! 

The first person who read one of my Rusk University books was my older sister. I gave her All Lined Up when I finished, and her first question was "Are Ryan and Stella going to be together?" 

At the time, I told her no. I had plans for both of them that included their own storylines. I thought they were too much alike. They'd make great friends. They might even hook-up, but in the end... I couldn't envision anything serious for them. So I actually rewrote some of their scenes trying to make that aspect of their connection more obvious. And still, when All Lined Up released, amidst the chatter about sweet Carson and sassy Dallas, I had people asking if Stella and Ryan were next. I denied it again (and again and again). 

But sometimes in writing, the stars align and a character will become bigger and more real than you could have possibly imagined. It's a wonderful experience, but in Stella's case it was also incredibly heartbreaking. While I was writing All Broke Down, the news was inundated with information about the Steubenville rape trial and other tragedies and injustices like it. Tragedies where women have been violated first by an attacker, then by judgmental and hateful people, and finally by a justice system that repeatedly fails survivors of sexual assault. Having grown up in Texas, where too often football stars are treated like gods and can get away with just about anything, it hit particularly close to home. And since All Broke Down featured a passionate activist heroine, I felt compelled to reference this chronic dark underbelly of elite sports. 

 I can remember vividly sitting on my couch, brainstorming how I would incorporate such an event into the book. I had thought the assault would happen to an unknown character, and maybe I would focus on the way it divided the team and the school and the town. But like I said... Sometimes a character will become bigger and more human than I anticipated. And it sounds crazy, but in my mind, I felt Stella push her way forward and say, "Mine. This is my story." I immediately began to cry. Sob, really. Because I loved her as a character. She was hilarious and strong and didn't take crap from anyone. She was everything I always hope to be. And I didn't want her to go through that. Even as I cried, my brain began to tell me that it made sense. Stella was vibrant and enjoyed a wild party. She was not afraid of her sexuality, and she had no problem with casual sex. She was the kind of girl that probably had a reputation. The kind of girl who could be heinously and violently taken advantage of, and people would STILL blame her. Because she was in the wrong place, wearing the wrong clothes, behaving in the wrong way. But just because it COULD happen to her, didn't mean I wanted it to. But once again, Stella was there in my head saying, "Someone needs to tell this story. And I'm strong enough to do it. Let me." And when Stella chose her story, she also chose the man I'd been adamant wasn't right for her. Because as it turns out... Those two characters who I thought were too alike aren't so alike anymore. And Stella needs Ryan to help her hold on to that vibrant and strong girl she was before. 

 So I let go of all the plans I had for her, and allowed her to tell me her story, which is about more than just sexual assault. It's about the aftermath. Depression. Shame. Guilt. Anger. Injustice. Victim-blaming. Slut-shaming. It's about the way that kind of event can change everything-- how you relate to people, how you think, how you dream, how you love. It's about the way the rest of the world moves on to the next big tragedy, and you're still left holding the broken pieces of who you used to be, with no idea how to put them together again or even if you want to. It will be the most difficult story I ever tell. And the most important. Because it’s a story that belongs not just to Stella, but to millions of people around the world. It’s a story that belongs to a new person every 107 seconds*. And that’s just in the United States. Think about that for a moment. 107 seconds. Stella’s story won’t be any easier to read than it will be to write. But I hope you’ll help me drag this story into the light.

So now I’ll step off my soapbox and just tell you about the book… 

Stella Santos is fine. 

Maybe something terrible happened to her that she can’t even remember. And maybe it drives her crazy when her friends treat her like she’s on the verge of breaking because of it. Maybe it feels even worse when they do what she asks and pretend that it never happened at all. And maybe she’s been getting harassing emails and messages for months from people who don’t even know her, but hate her all the same. 
But none of that matters because she’s just fine
For Ryan Blake, Stella was always that girl. Vibrant and hilarious and beautiful. He wanted her as his best friend. His more than friends. His everything and anything that she would give him. Which these days is a whole lot of nothing. She gets angry when he’s there. Angry when he’s not there. Angry when he tries to talk and when he doesn’t. 
When Stella devises an unconventional art project for one of her classes all about exploring intimacy—between both friends and strangers—Ryan finds himself stepping in as guinea pig after one of her subjects bails. What was supposed to be an objective and artistic look at emotion and secrets and sex suddenly becomes much more personal. When he hits it off with another girl from the project, Stella will have to decide if she’s willing to do more than make art about intimacy. To keep him, she’ll have to open up and let herself be the one thing she swore she’d never be again. 

ALL CLOSED OFF will be releasing sometime in early 2016. I don't have a date yet for several reasons. The first and most important, is that I want to do this story justice. And as such, I have no intentions of rushing the process. Secondly, I'll be returning to indie publishing for the remainder of the Rusk series. As you can probably tell, this story means a great deal to me. And by having the ultimate control over everything from timing to editing to price, I'll be able to ensure that I'm able to create exactly the story I envision. Unfortunately, that means you won't be seeing the paperback of ALL CLOSED OFF on the shelves in most stores. Nor is it currently available for pre-order. But I hope you'll add the book on goodreads, follow me on social media, and/or join my newsletter. I promise to shout it all over the place when I have a set release date or pre-order links. Thank you for listening as I told you the evolution of Stella's story. When it's finished, I hope you will feel as passionately about it as I do. 

All my best, Cora Carmack   
*Statistic from RAINN (Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network) 

   #WhenitHappened banner

And an opportunity to add your voice to Stella’s…

Stella’s experience is only one story of many. She was with someone she trusted when it happened, and the only memories she has are pieced together from her own blurred recollections and the things people have told her. Not everyone’s experience with sexual assault is the same. Each person reacts, copes, and overcomes differently. And while this book is about one specific character’s journey, I would like to tell as many sides of this story as possible. As Stella grapples with her thoughts and emotions she’ll be searching for advice, for comfort, for a place where people understand her and can identify with what she’s experiencing. There will be room for truth within the fiction, and if you’d like that truth to be yours, this is your chance. 

 If you have a story like Stella’s, and you want your voice to be heard…. 

 If there’s something you wish more people understood about what you’ve gone through…. 

 If there’s something you’d like to tell people struggling with a story like yours… 

 I’d like to give you the opportunity to add your voice to Stella’s. Use the hashtag #WhenItHappened and let your voice be heard on your own by posting on your own social media, or if you’d rather I share your words fill out this google document and tell me your story. You can fill out this form anonymously or not. I’d like to begin this discussion now because April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. But my hope is to include as many stories as possible within the book itself. 

 So many have stories of #WhenItHappened. Your voice and your story deserve to be heard. I’m listening. 

#WhenItHappened Google Form:  

ABOUT Cora Carmack:
HeadshotCora Carmack is a twenty-something New York Times bestselling author who likes to write about twenty-something characters. She's done a multitude of things in her life-- boring jobs (like working retail), Fun jobs (like working in a theatre), stressful jobs (like teaching), and dream jobs (like writing). She now splits her time between Austin, TX and New York City and spends her days writing, traveling, and spending way too much time on the internet. In her books, you can expect to find humor, heart, and a whole lot of awkward. Because let’s face it . . . awkward people need love, too.    
Website ** Twitter ** Facebook **Newsletter **Author Goodreads
  z-InkSlinger Blogger

Waiting On Wednesday #144: Dirty Thoughts by: Megan Erickson

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking The Spine, it spotlilghts upcoming releases that we are dying to read.

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"Some things are sexier the second time around.

Cal Payton has gruff and grumbly down to an art...all the better for keeping people away. And it usually works. Until Jenna MacMillan-his biggest mistake---walks into Payton and Sons mechanic shop all grown up, looking like sunshine, and inspiring more than a few dirty thoughts.

Jenna was sure she was long over the boy she'd once loved with reckless abandon, but one look at the steel-eyed Cal Payton has her falling apart all over again. Ten years may have passed, but the pull is stronger than ever... and this Cal is all man.

Cal may have no intention of letting Jenna in, but she's always been his light, and it's getting harder to stay all alone in the dark. When a surprise from the past changes everything, Cal and Jenna must decide if their connection should be left alone or if it's exactly what they need for the future of their dreams."

Ugh that cover... I need this one

Dirty Thoughts will be released on June 16, 2015.
What are you waiting on?

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Books Which Feature Characters Who Are Not Human

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke And The Bookish.

So for my topic this week I decided to feature my favorite books with non-human characters. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Book Review: Changing His Game (Gamers #1) by: Megan Erickson

Release Date: April 28, 2015
from Entangled Brazen
Goodreads | Amazon
Source: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
"He controls the game, but she’s rewriting all the rules…

Marley Lake is no stranger to awkwardness, but getting caught watching a dirty GIF by the company’s hot new IT guy exceeds even her standards. That is, until she realizes he's as turned on by it as she is. But with a big promotion on the line, she refuses to let her current dry spell be her downfall. Maybe.

Austin Rivers has no business lusting after the irresistible editor of Gamers Magazine. He's a secret partner in the business—and technically Marley’s boss. One look at that GIF, though, and he’s ready to install a whole lot more than just software…as long as she never finds out who he really is.

But reality’s not as virtual as it seems, and when Austin’s identity jeopardizes Marley’s promotion, he has to change his game or risk losing the only woman with the cheat code to his heart"

My Thoughts:

It has been a while since I’ve read a Brazen and damn did I need this book. It was so steamy and so fun and just UGH it was exactly what I needed. I love how intelligent and determined the characters are AND they are sexy! So many books don’t focus on the aspects outside of the sexy, but this book does and I can’t even begin to explain how much I appreciate that.

First off, I adored Marley. She is such a strong and capable woman and I love how independent she was. She had goals and desires and she did what she needed to do to reach them. She didn’t let anything hold her back. She owns her gamer and nerdy side and is proud of it. So many women hide this side of them and I love that Marley was proud of it.

And then we have Austin and holy swoons. Austin is one of my new favorite book boyfriends. He is seriously everything I want in a book boyfriend. Alpha without being a douche, sweet and caring, and he is smart and determined. He also is what most people would consider a nerd and damn if that didn’t make me love him more. He isn’t your typical hero and I freakin loved that.

I also loved the side characters. Grant (Austin’s best friend) and Chad (Marley’s brother) were amazing. This is the part of the review where I get down on my hands and knees and start begging for them to get a book because they need a book! Oh how I loved them so.

Now I feel it necessary to discuss this. While this is a steamy fun read, I also think it touches on something very important about women in the business world. Something that as a woman in corporate America, I could really understand. Marley holds back with Austin because she is worried about how her peers will perceive her. And honestly it sucks that she thinks that, but it’s a sad reality. Women constantly think about this in the workplace and have to wonder how others perceive them outside the business world when frankly it’s none of their damn business and also nobody would question a man in this same situation. A woman is looked down on in this situation or she looks like she is angling for something, but a man would get high fives. So I really loved that this book showed that and showed Marley’s struggle and showed that she shouldn't be ashamed or hold back. Okay I’m done now *steps down from soap box*

So in short, Changing His Game was a super fun and steamy read. This is my first book by this author but it will not be my last.

Release Day Event: Sweet by: Tammara Webber

Join us in celebrating the release of SWEET by Tammara Webber! Check out the excerpt and teasers below!

SWEET (Contours of the Heart #3) by Tammara Webber
NA Contemporary Romance

He’s the love of her life, but he doesn’t know it.
She’s his one moment of sacrifice in a lifetime of survival.
He was damaged and wild, but resilient.
She’s always been obedient. Now she’s restless.
Home for the summer between college and med school, Pearl Torres Frank knows two things: Boyce Wynn is the embodiment of everything she should run from, and everything she wants to run to. Rebellious and loud. Unconcerned with society’s opinion of him. Passionate. Strong. Dangerous.
And one more trait he hides from everyone but her:

Boyce watched me, a lit cigarette in one hand and a koozied beer in the other. We hadn’t spoken since that kiss, other than his usual juvenile quips during biology—the ones that drove Mel and Mr. Quinn insane and made Landon smirk and shake his head and had me biting the inside of my cheek to suppress my smile.

At first, I’d been confused, then disappointed, and then angry. I’d worked my way to acceptance, like when I’d known I was drowning and there was nothing I could do. He’d merely gone back to being Boyce Wynn, who did what he wanted and who he wanted. And I’d gone back to being Pearl Frank—star student, social royalty, good girl.

But I couldn’t forget that kiss. The fixed glint of his eyes across the fire said that neither could he.

About the Author:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of EASY and BREAKABLE (Contours of the Heart series - NA), as well BETWEEN THE LINES, WHERE YOU ARE, GOOD FOR YOU and HERE WITHOUT YOU (Between the Lines series - YA/NA).
I'm a hopeful romantic who adores novels with happy endings, because there are enough sad endings in real life. Before writing full-time, I was an undergraduate academic advisor, economics tutor, planetarium office manager, radiology call center rep, and the palest person to ever work at a tanning salon. I married my high school sweetheart, and I'm Mom to three adult kids and four very immature cats.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Weekly Recap 4/26/2015

This was an awesome week for freebies! I grabbed so many awesome sounding books! So for freebies I got: Ignite (this one has been recommended to me so many times), Him and Her, Rock Stars Do It Harder, Redesigned (this is a series I have been really excited to start), Mortal Enchantment, and Dearest Clementine. I also grabbed Champion while it was on sale. I had the first two books in the series so I figured I would grab the third while it was on sale. For review I got The House by Christina Lauren. This book sounds so dark and romantic. Big thanks to edelweiss and Simon & Schuster. I also got Rook for review. I have been really looking forward to this book so big thanks to Scholastic. And last but not least I got a signed copy of Losers Weepers. I ADORED this book and I am really excited to add this one to my shelf. Big thanks to Nicole!

Goodreads Links:
Ignite by: Tessa Teeven
Him and Her Box Set by: Carey Heywood
Rock Stars Do It Harder by: Jasinda Wilder
Redesigned by: Denise Grover Swank
Mortal Enchantment by: Stacey O'Neal
Dearest Clementine by: Lex Martin
Champion by: Marie Lu
The House by: Christina Lauren
Rook by: Sharon Cameron
Losers Weepers by: Nicole Williams

Fire by: Kristin Cashore
Sweet by: Tammara Webber

Top Ten Tuesday: All Time Favorite Authors
Waiting On Wednesday: Strong Enough by: M. Leighton

Other Fun:

Friday, April 24, 2015

Book Review: Sweet (Contours of the Heart #3) by: Tammara Webber

Release Date: April 27, 2015
B&N | Kobo | Amazon UK.
 Source: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

He’s the love of her life, but he doesn’t know it
She’s his one moment of sacrifice in a lifetime of survival.

He was damaged and wild, but resilient.
She’s always been obedient. Now she’s restless.

Home for the summer between college and med school, Pearl Torres Frank knows two things: Boyce Wynn is the embodiment of everything she should run from, and everything she wants to run to. Rebellious and loud. Unconcerned with society’s opinion of him. Passionate. Strong. Dangerous.

And one more trait he hides from everyone but her:

My Thoughts:

This is one of the best books I have read in a very very long time. It’s going to be very hard for me to put the amount of love I have for this book into words. I had extremely high expectations for this book, I mean Easy and Breakable are two of my all-time favorite reads in the history of forever, and Sweet not only met those expectations but it surpassed them by a mile.

First we have Pearl who I absolutely adored. I related to Pearl in many ways and I really got where she was coming from. I loved her determination and that once she made a decision she stuck to it, no matter the consequences. She may be quiet but she is tough and she is smart. Simply put she is a force to be reckoned with, just not everyone knows that.

The one person who does know that is Boyce. Boyce and Pearl have a connection that goes way back, except nobody really knows about that connection. Boyce has had a rough upbringing, and that is putting it lightly. But even with everything he endured, he still became a great man. He took what life gave him and instead of letting it hold him down he took what he had and made something out of it. Not everyone would have been able to do that and it really shows how special Boyce is. He is strong and good and so much more than you would have thought.

Boyce and Pearl together have so much chemistry and it simmers. The anticipation in this one is killer in the best way possible. Those two together are insane. But they are much more than their attraction to one another. First and foremost they are best friends. They know each other well and have been a part of each other’s lives growing up. The two of them have been holding back for so long and it was so nice to see these two finally come together and explode. 

What is even better about Sweet is that it is very much its own story. I’m sure when people saw this was a spinoff of Easy/Breakable they had their worries. Well let me assure you, Sweet is not just Easy and Breakable with new characters. Sweet is very much its own story and it's different and good and amazing and all the other words that can be used to describe something awesome. Sweet brought tears to my eyes on numerous occasions, for both happy and sad reasons. The story got under my skin and into my heart.

Sweet is an incredible read and it is going to be really hard to pick up another book after this one. This is the kind of book that stays with you and doesn’t let you go. This is the kind of book that reminds me why I fell in love with new adult in the first place and it is a stand out read. Please do not miss this one.


About the Author:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of EASY and BREAKABLE (Contours of the Heart series - NA), as well BETWEEN THE LINES, WHERE YOU ARE, GOOD FOR YOU and HERE WITHOUT YOU (Between the Lines series - YA/NA).
I'm a hopeful romantic who adores novels with happy endings, because there are enough sad endings in real life. Before writing full-time, I was an undergraduate academic advisor, economics tutor, planetarium office manager, radiology call center rep, and the palest person to ever work at a tanning salon. I married my high school sweetheart, and I'm Mom to three adult kids and four very immature cats.

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