Friday, May 29, 2015

Juneterview! Meet Sara at The Great Catsby

Happy almost-June everybody! Can you believe 2015 is almost halfway over?!? Well, as I was wandering around the blogging world I learned of Book Bloggers International Juneterviews. The idea is bloggers interviewing bloggers in a fun and creative way. I was paired up with Sara from The Great Catsby, and first of all -- I love her blog! Cats! Drinks! Books! What's NOT to love?!

For our Juneterview, we came up with the questions to ask each other and decided to answer them visually. (Side note: This is super fun and everyone should try it!)

The questions:

1. What is your favorite emoticon and why?

2. Favorite book/drink pairing?

3. What five books do you always find yourself recommending to people who ask you for book recommendations?

4. You somehow roped someone into writing your memoirs. What's the name of your book?

5. Other than old books, what would you say is the best smell in the world?

6. Which title in your bookshelf are you least likely to read in public?

7. If you could pick any character from a book to be your sibling, who would you pick?

8. If you were to imagine the pages of the book you are currently reading to be miles, what is the furthest place you could get to? (aka 300 pages is 300 miles.... what's 300 miles from you....)

The answers:

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Blog Tour with GIVEAWAY: Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry

Nowhere But Here RDL Banner  

We are absolutely thrilled to bring you the Release Day Launch for Katie McGarry's NOWHERE BUT HERE! NOWHERE BUT HERE is a Young Adult Contemporary Romance and is a part of Katie McGarry’sThunder Road Series, published by Harlequin Teen. Grab your copy today!!

Nowhere But Here - cover

Amazon ** Kobo ** BAM ** Barnes & Noble ** iBooks ** IndieBound

Add it to your Goodreads Now!

About NOWHERE BUT HERE: An unforgettable new series from acclaimed author Katie McGarry about taking risks, opening your heart and ending up in a place you never imagined possible  Seventeen-year-old Emily likes her life the way it is: doting parents, good friends, good school in a safe neighborhood. Sure, she's curious about her biological father—the one who chose life in a motorcycle club, the Reign of Terror, over being a parent—but that doesn't mean she wants to be a part of his world. But when a reluctant visit turns to an extended summer vacation among relatives she never knew she had, one thing becomes clear: nothing is what it seems. Not the club, not her secret-keeping father and not Oz, a guy with suck-me-in blue eyes who can help her understand them both. Oz wants one thing: to join the Reign of Terror. They're the good guys. They protect people. They're…family. And while Emily—the gorgeous and sheltered daughter of the club's most respected member—is in town, he's gonna prove it to her. So when her father asks him to keep her safe from a rival club with a score to settle, Oz knows it's his shot at his dream. What he doesn't count on is that Emily just might turn that dream upside down. No one wants them to be together. But sometimes the right person is the one you least expect, and the road you fear the most is the one that leads you home.

See an except from NOWHERE BUT HERE after the jump.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

On the Fence by Kasie West

Book Summary
For sixteen-year-old Charlotte Reynolds, aka Charlie, being raised by a single dad and three older brothers has its perks. She can outrun, outscore, and outwit every boy she knows—including her longtime neighbor and honorary fourth brother, Braden. But when it comes to being a girl, Charlie doesn't know the first thing about anything. So when she starts working at chichi boutique to pay off a speeding ticket, she finds herself in a strange new world of makeup, lacy skirts, and BeDazzlers. Even stranger, she's spending time with a boy who has never seen her tear it up in a pickup game.
To cope with the stress of faking her way through this new reality, Charlie seeks late-night refuge in her backyard, talking out her problems with Braden by the fence that separates them. But their Fence Chats can't solve Charlie's biggest problem: she's falling for Braden. Hard. She knows what it means to go for the win, but if spilling her secret means losing him for good, the stakes just got too high.

Flo's Review
What a cute and fun story! I had started this back when I had a copy of the e-book ARC a year ago. I stayed up late one night reading it because it was going to expire off my Nook and I wanted to finish it before that happened. Unfortunately, I couldn't do it, and the book was gone with me only about halfway through. Fast forward to ALA Midwinter this January when I was able to pick up a copy of the book from the Harper booth. I was on a cruise this weekend and needed something fun and light to read while sunning on the cruise ship deck. On the Fence came with me. 

Even though it had been several months since I had read it last, I was able to pick up the story right where I had left off. I loved the relationship between Charlie and her brothers. Being a girl who often finds herself hanging out with just guys and has even heard the comment, "You're like one of the guys!" I could relate to Charlie in some way. But what I really enjoyed about this book was Charlie coming into her own. At the beginning she only sees herself as this tomboy type, but as the story develops she taps into her feminine side and has to learn how to meld the two. There is something almost magical about having these secret conversations in the middle of the night, back to back on the fence. It facilitates an openness and honesty that real life cannot. Charlie and Braden may have gotten to the point where they end up by the conclusion of the story, but it would have taken a lot longer without the fence.

This was my first Kasie West book and I'm ready for more! I have The Distance Between Us on my Nook and a physical copy of The Fill-In Boyfriend, and next time I want a fun read, I'll have to reach for one of those.

Monday, May 18, 2015

I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter

Book Summary
Cammie Morgan is a student at the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women, a fairly typical all-girls school-that is, if every school taught advanced martial arts in PE and the latest in chemical warfare in science, and students received extra credit for breaking CIA codes in computer class. The Gallagher Academy might claim to be a school for geniuses but it's really a school for spies. Even though Cammie is fluent in fourteen languages and capable of killing a man in seven different ways, she has no idea what to do when she meets an ordinary boy who thinks she's an ordinary girl. Sure, she can tap his phone, hack into his computer, or track him through town with the skill of a real "pavement artist"-but can she maneuver a relationship with someone who can never know the truth about her? 
Cammie Morgan may be an elite spy-in-training, but in her sophomore year, she's on her most dangerous mission-falling in love.

Flo's Review
I unfortunately was not connecting with All Fall Down, another book by Ally Carter, so I DNF it. But I had heard a lot about this series and the first audiobook was available at the library, so I decided to give it a try.

I am so glad I did! This story is heartwarming and just completely fun! I love that it plays on the concept of "normal" -- a "normal teenage boy" or "normal teenage girl." Cammie has grown up in this life of spies and spy training, and she is enjoying the opportunity to spend time with a regular teenage boy from the town and do things like go on dates to movies and dances and such. But Cammie's world is far from "normal," so everything she experiences is told through the lens of spy training. Which makes it completely fascinating! I loved hearing about the different classes and the different things the teachers at the Gallagher Academy had done. They had a Career Day at one point, and it certainly did not look like any type of career day I'd ever experienced!

Bex, Liz and Macy and wonderful friends, and I am so looking forward to reading more about these girls in the next books. The end of this story was so so emotional, but so perfect. I think I have found my next series to binge read! I already have a hold on the second book, Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy, and I am impatiently waiting for it to be ready for me to pick up at the library!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

All Fall Down by Ally Carter

Book Summary
This exciting new series from NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Ally Carter focuses on Grace, who can best be described as a daredevil, an Army brat, and a rebel. She is also the only granddaughter of perhaps the most powerful ambassador in the world, and Grace has spent every summer of her childhood running across the roofs of Embassy Row.
Now, at age sixteen, she's come back to stay--in order to solve the mystery of her mother's death. In the process, she uncovers an international conspiracy of unsettling proportions, and must choose her friends and watch her foes carefully if she and the world are to be saved. 

Flo's Review
I'm having bad luck with books lately and this one was another DNF for me. I've said over and over again that I have a hard time with a book if I don't like the main character, especially if it's written in first person. Grace is struggling with the death of her mom, which I understand. But I made it about a third into the book and it wasn't getting any better. On top of that, I thought she was mean. And then she started doing things that didn't make sense even for her -- like not caring about someone but then freaking out and chasing him when he left her, and I just couldn't do it anymore. I think Alexei was supposed to be dark, hot, and mysterious, but he annoyed her and he annoyed me. I liked Noah, but that alone wasn't enough to keep me going. 

But let's end on a positive note. I really enjoyed hearing about life on Embassy Row. I love the backdrop for this story because at its best it has normal high school antics but definitely not in a normal high school setting. The descriptions of living at the embassy and the scenery around it were absolutely fascinating to me. I've decided to try reading Ally's Gallagher Girls series since I didn't finish this book, and so far I'm enjoying it. With that book, too, the setting and scenery are so unique and entertaining.

Jacque's Review

All Fall Down is the first book in Ally Carter's new Embassy Row series.  We are introduced to Grace, who is the sixteen year old granddaughter of the U.S. Ambassador to Adria.  At the age of thirteen she witnessed her mother's murder and now she is determined to find the killer.  Her family insists it was an accident.  They want her to move on and take over the responsibilities of the lady of the house...A.K.A. that her grandmother and mother are no longer around.

While attending a formal event at the palace with her grandfather, Grace is positive she spots her mother's killer.  Her friends, several teens from some of the other embassies, volunteer to help with the investigation.  She needs to prove the "scarred man" killed her mother and stop him from killing again.

I loved seeing how all of the teens used their unique abilities and skills to work together regardless of their nationality.  Megan is a genius who can hack into just about any computer system.  Rosie is a former gymnast who is great on her feet and can tail just about anyone without being detected.  Noah has not only the resources of one embassy, but two.  His Mom is the ambassador for Israel and his father is the ambassador from Brazil.

By the end of the book we discover that appearances are often deceiving.  I don't want to give away any spoilers, but there was a surprise revelation at the end of the book that sets up an entirely new angle for the series.  I can see this turning into the next Gallagher Girls/ spy series with global issues at stake.  While the Russians and Americans may still walk a fine line politically, the children and grandchildren within their embassies see no problem in working together to protect their loved ones.

Ally is off to another great start with this series and I look forward to reading the next Embassy Row novel.  I just hope she will continue to write some additional Heist Society novels as well.  I love Kat and Hale and don't want to see their story end any time soon.  Perhaps they could even make an appearance on Embassy Row someday!  Hint...Hint... That would be an exciting twist for your fans, Ally.

Friday, May 8, 2015

The Heir by Kiera Cass

Book Summary
Princess Eadlyn has grown up hearing endless stories about how her mother and father met. Twenty years ago, America Singer entered the Selection and won the heart of Prince Maxon—and they lived happily ever after. Eadlyn has always found their fairy-tale story romantic, but she has no interest in trying to repeat it. If it were up to her, she'd put off marriage for as long as possible.
But a princess's life is never entirely her own, and Eadlyn can't escape her very own Selection—no matter how fervently she protests.
Eadlyn doesn't expect her story to end in romance. But as the competition begins, one entry may just capture Eadlyn's heart, showing her all the possibilities that lie in front of her . . . and proving that finding her own happily ever after isn't as impossible as she's always thought.

Flo's Review
Ahh! So much love for this book. I read the majority of this in one sitting. I couldn't put it down! I kept wanting to know how the next Report was going to turn out or what Eadlyn was going to do next. I loved that we got to see so much of Maxon and America and how their life turned out. The ending wasn't a cliffhanger, but left us on a good place for Book 5 to start. If you read and enjoyed the first 3 books in the series, then definitely pick this one up. In fact...

I think The Heir is currently my favorite in The Selection Series and I think it's because of the following reasons:

WARNING: These will be spoilers for this book and the other books in the series from here on out, so proceed with caution after the page break.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Sweet by Tammara Webber

Sweet (Contours of the Heart, #3)

Jacque's Review:

I would like to thank Tammara for providing a review copy of Sweet in exchange for an honest review.  I have been a fan of hers since I had the pleasure of reading Easy a few years ago.  I have recommended her books to countless friends, but I should warn the younger readers that this is a New Adult series.  There is adult language and content that is not appropriate for all ages.

Sweet is the third book in the Contours of the Heart series, but each book can be enjoyed separately.  They are all stand-alone novels focusing on a different character.  For those of you who have read Easy and Breakable, Lucas and Jacqueline do make an appearance in this book, but it is very brief.  This is by no means a continuation of their story.

Tammara changed things up a little with this book and used dual narrative instead of just one character's point of view.  Boyce Wynn is Lucas's best friend from high school.  At the age of seven he saved the life of a younger girl who was drowning.  That girl was Pearl Frank, the step-daughter of a local surgeon.  He has been in love with her since the day he pulled her out of the ocean, but he never felt like he was good enough for her.  He grew up with an abusive father who owns the local auto repair shop.

Pearl has been attracted to Boyce since she awoke from her near death.  She went on to become her class valedictorian and was accepted into several medical schools, but she decides to return to her hometown to pursue a graduate degree in marine biology.  Boyce and Pearl have been close friends over the years, but neither of them believed the other was interested in a relationship.  They suppressed their feelings for over a decade, but unforeseen circumstances finally bring them together in this novel.

There are several flashbacks that provide the history of their individual lives as well as their relationship from the time of the accident.  Boyce comes off as a little rough around the edges compared to Lucas, who is personally more my style.  He didn't always make the best choices as a child/teen, but he has come a long way since then.  He is a very hard worker and is motivated to overcome his past.  

Tammara wove a couple of twists into the story that I never would have anticipated.  Both situations added a considerable amount of drama and even danger to what I thought was going to be a "sweet" love story.  I enjoyed seeing these characters grow throughout the book and I felt like the ending was perfect.  I just wish would could have had a little bit more of Lucas ;)

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Tessa Ever After by Brighton Walsh: Blog Tour, Review, & GIVEAWAY!

In this grippingly emotional New Adult novel from the author of Caged in Winter, what you want isn’t always what you need…
Jason’s been living (and loving) the rich playboy lifestyle for five years, but now his parents are pressuring him to get involved in the family business. The last thing he wants is another obligation, but when his best friend moves out of state and asks Jason to look after his sister, he can’t just say no.
Tessa had to grow up way too soon. After dealing with the aftermath of her parents’ deaths, then becoming a teenage mom, she knows the meaning of responsibility. Which is why, at twenty-two, she’s looking for so much more than a party boy. She’s looking for someone who can stand by her and her daughter…forever.

A relationship between them is doomed from the start, but who says they can’t have a little fun? But as Jason gets closer to Tessa—and her daughter—fun starts to turn into something else… Something Jason’s not sure he’s ready for.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Until the Beginning by Amy Plum

Book Summary
When Juneau's clan disappeared, she lost so much more than her friends and family. She soon discovered everything she thought she knew about her life was a lie. Her people's gifts were actually secret abilities that others wanted, desperately enough to kidnap an entire village.
Juneau and her new companion Miles's cross-country journey to find her clan has led them to a game preserve in New Mexico. Now Juneau's people are finally within reach, and she will stop at nothing to save them. But she has a target on her back too, because unbeknownst to her she is the key to unlocking everything. To rescue her people - and herself - Juneau must discover what she, and her abilities, are truly capable of.

Flo's Review
It took me a little while to get into After the End, but after I finished that book I found myself invested enough in the characters to see their story through. Until the Beginning picks up right where After the End left off, which is great because that was a cliffhanger. The theme that ran strong in this book was belief. Throughout the book, Juneau is trying to figure out what she believes. She is discovering that the life she has known up to this point has been lies...but how much of it? Everything? Was there some truth in there? Juneau's journey is one of figuring out her relationship with Whit and the Elders in her clan, knowing that they deceived her for what they felt was good reason. It was also working through everything she has been told and everything she knows and deciding what is Truth to her, through experience and feeling. She had a great arc and I was really happy with where she ended up. 

Miles's journey was belief in himself. He spends a large amount of the book admiring Juneau, and from that feeling worthless and not good enough. He feels out of place in Juneau's world, which is now also his. There is an interesting passage in the book where Miles is explaining to Juneau that it makes one seem arrogant to brag and she doesn't understand it at all. In her mind, you've got to know what your own strengths are so you know what you can contribute to help out. That makes sense and was actually pretty cool. I also felt we left Miles in a good place at the end of this book.

Unfortunately, I had a little trouble getting into this book. I felt it a little slow in the beginning, and I sadly was never fully invested in Miles and Juneau's relationship. But I did enjoy the multi-layer theme of belief,  and I did  like the way the story wrapped up.

Until the Beginning comes out tomorrow, so if you've been waiting for it, you shall wait no more! Thank you to the publisher for providing me a copy in exchange for my honest review.