Monday, October 26, 2015

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: Not That Easy, by Radhika Sanghani {ends 11/3}

"So, this must be the famous girlfriend," said Chris. I looked at him weirdly. Why was he talking about Holly like that? "Ellie, right?"

I stared at him. He was smiling at me, waiting for an answer. I turned to look at Nick. He was smiling too. What the fuck? Why wasn't he correcting his brother?

No one had spoken yet and Chris's smile was beginning to wane. Holly looked at me curiously as she puffed on what I had now realized was an e-cigarette.

OH GOD. HE'D TOLD THEM I WAS HIS GIRLFRIEND. Nick wasn't my fuck buddy at all - he was my goddamn boyfriend and he hadn't bothered to tell me.

Oh fuck fuck fuck. It was fine. This was a good thing. I could do this. 

This book is the sequel to Virgin, which I reviewed last year, and the main character, Ellie, is back, and still making me laugh. In the first book, she was 21 and looking to lose her virginity; now that she has, she's looking for some one-night stands, so that she can talk with her friends about them and have more in common. She reminds me a bit of Georgia Nicolson in another series I like, and the result is a funny read.

Official synopsis:
Ellie used to be a virgin, but now she’s a woman with sexual experience. Well, some sexual experience. She also has debt, an unpaid magazine internship, and three flatmates who left her with the single room to match her single status.

That’s okay. She doesn’t want a boyfriend anyway—she wants several. And if the sex is exciting enough, her ruthless magazine editor boss can exploit her dating life for a column.

After countless hook-ups, a disastrously fiery encounter with some heat lube, and one orgasm class, Ellie is faced with the sad reality of her sexual ineptitude. But when she starts to witness the emotional wreckage she’s leaving in her wake, Ellie realizes that sex can be hard, and there’s a down side to giving it up too easy.

This book also reminds me of My Big Fat Greek Wedding (movie) because Ellie is Greek, and her mom is a "typical" Greek mom; always worrying about Ellie and Ellie asks her for loans (since she's at an unpaid internship currently), saying she wants to make moussaka or other Greek foods. 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: Smoke, by Catherine McKenzie {ends 10/26}

I take a ragged breath, but all I get is smoke for my troubles.

"Aren't I, though? Everyone wants to blame the hoemowner. I could leave it at that. I should leave it at that."

"But you don't think it's him?"

"It might be, but maybe not."

"You have to do what's right."

"Do I?"

He looks at me, at for the first time since we met, I'm not exactly sure what he's thinking.

"You always do what's right. That's who you are."

"What if I don't want to be that person anymore?"

"You can't run away from yourself. I'd have thought you knew that by now."

This is the newest novel by Catherine McKenzie, author of Spin and Arranged, among others, and it's different from her previous books that I've read. This one focuses on Elizabeth and Ben, who have just decided to get divorced, but haven't told anyone yet; while at the same time, a fire threatens to unravel their small town, and Elizabeth decides to help in whatever way she can and put her marital troubles on hold, for the meantime.

Official synopsis:
From the internationally bestselling author Catherine McKenzie comes an evocative tale of two women navigating the secrets and lies at the heart of a wildfire threatening their town.

After a decade-long career combating wildfires, Elizabeth has traded in for a quieter life with her husband. Now she works as the local arson investigator in a beautiful, quaint town in the Rockies. But that tranquil life vanishes when she and her husband agree to divorce, and when a fire started in nearby Cooper Basin begins to spread rapidly. For Elizabeth, containing a raging wildfire is easier than accepting that her marriage has failed.

For Elizabeth’s ex-friend Mindy, who feels disconnected from her husband and teenage children, the fire represents a chance to find a new purpose: helping a man who lost his home to the blaze. But her faith is shattered by a shocking accusation.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: In His Keeping (Slow Burn #2), by Maya Banks {ends 10/20}

Review by: Rachel Gonzales

Maya Banks is the author of over fifty novels, including multiple New York Times and USA Today bestsellers. In His Keeping is the second novel in her “Slow Burn” series of romances with “psychic elements.”

Official synopsis:
Arial knows the rules that keep her safe. She’s been following them since she was a little girl: Do not tell. Do not show. But in a moment of terror, facing an attacker intent on taking more than just her life, Ari has no choice but to unleash the psychic powers she’s been hiding since childhood.

Now, with her abilities revealed, a bigger threat looms - something that makes her question everything she thought she knew about her parents and her secretive upbringing. But this isn’t a fight she can face on her own.

As the head of Devereaux Security, Beau Devereaux is not stranger to the strange. But when he takes on a new client - a beautiful young woman with an extraordinary gift - Beau isn’t prepared for the extent of his attraction to her. What began as a simple assignment, just another job, quickly turns personal as Beau discovers he’ll do anything at all to protect Ari. No matter what it costs him personally. Even his heart and soul.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: The Appearance of Annie Van Sinderen, by Katherine Howe {ends 10/19}

"Do you think ...," Wes says, and I can feel his pulse thrumming fast under his skin. "Annie. Do you think it's possible to love more than one person?"

I stare long and hard at him. That word hangs in the air between us.

Did he say it?

Did I hear it?

Or is it what I wanted him to say?

It's impossible to see his expression in the dark. I can only the outline of his hair, his jaw, and his shoulders as he turns to me. A knot unties itself in my chest.

I whisper, "Yes."

This book is a ghost story, but the word "ghost" is never used in it; the one time someone starts to ask if Annie is a ghost, she cuts them off, saying she doesn't like "that word." The story takes place in present-day NYC, as well as 1820s NYC, and if you love historical stories, you will love this one too.

Official synopsis:
It’s summertime in New York City, and aspiring filmmaker Wes Auckerman has just arrived to start his summer term at NYU. While shooting a séance at a psychic's in the East Village, he meets a mysterious, intoxicatingly beautiful girl named Annie.

As they start spending time together, Wes finds himself falling for her, drawn to her rose petal lips and her entrancing glow. But there’s something about her that he can’t put his finger on that makes him wonder about this intriguing hipster girl from the Village. Why does she use such strange slang? Why does she always seem so reserved and distant? And, most importantly, why does he only seem to run into her on one block near the Bowery? Annie’s hiding something, a dark secret from her past that may be the answer to all of Wes’s questions . . .

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Book Review: The Fire Sermon, by Francesca Haig

Review by: Rachel Gonzales

It was midharvest when they came. I felt it first. Had been feeling it, if I were honest with myself, for months. But now I sensed it clearly, a sudden alertness that I could never explain to anybody who wasn’t a seer. It was a feeling of something shifting: like a cloud moving across the sun, or the wind changing direction.

This first novel in a planned trilogy begins the story of seer Cass, living in a future that is terrifyingly backward and inhumane, who must endure not only her visions, but also the knowledge that she is the twin sister of Zach, a powerful man who will stop at nothing to protect her - but why?

Official Synopsis:
Four hundred years after a nuclear apocalypse, the Alphas have inherited the earth - or what’s left of it. All humans are born in pairs, the deformed Omegas getting split from their flawless twins and exiled to bleak farming villages while the Alphas exploit and oppress them almost unto death. But despite their claims of superiority, the Alphas cannot escape one harsh fact: Whenever one twin dies, so does the other.

Cass is a rare Omega whose mutation is psychic foresight - not that she needs it to know that as her powerful twin, Zach, ascends the ranks of the ruling Alpha Council, she’s in grave danger. Zach has a devastating plan for Omega annihilation. Cass has visions of an island where bloody Omega resistance promises a life of freedom. But her real dream is to discover a middle way, one that would bring together the sundered halves of humanity. And that means both the Council and the resistance have her in their sights.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: History of the Vampire (Vanderlind Castle #4), ends 10/17

"I need you to think very closely about what you've seen here today," Mrs. Denkler said. "I need you to think about your relationship with Jessie Vanderlind. I understand that he's a very handsome young man and I'm sure he can be charming when he chooses, but I hope you also understand that pursuing such a relationship might not be such a healthy choice for a young girl like you." She reached out and squeezed my shoulder again, this time in a much firmer grip. "You might want to consider seeking other employment, if working here at the castle makes you uncomfortable." The strength of her grip increased, making me squirm under pressure. "But mind me when I tell you not to discuss what you've seen here," she said. "About Arthur. The good people of Tiburon don't need to know anything more about him. If the blood donations were to stop, then that could make things very unpleasant for a great many people."

I'm a big fan of Gayla Twist's novels, and this one was no different. It's technically the 4th book in the Vanderlind Castle series; it can be read as a standalone, in my opinion, but it's better to read the other books in the series first.

Official synopsis:
Before Jessie fell in love with Aurora, he knew her as another girl. This is their story:

“I couldn’t help that I was in love with Colette Gibson, but it did complicate things. Ending my romance with her would be the right thing to do. Turning her into a member of the undead would be the selfish thing to do. And conjoining with Colette for the rest of her life, and the rest of my eternity, would be the foolish thing to do. I knew all of that. The only problem was that I couldn’t see clearly which path to take. By the time the sun set and I climbed out of my coffin for the evening, I knew only one thing for sure; I had to see her.”

From the author: Even though this is a prequel to the first three Vanderlind Castle books, it is best to read the story as book 4. I’ve included a few Easter Eggs for readers and there are many spoilers if you read the books out of order. It’s up to you, of course, but I wrote the book to be experienced after the first three stories.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Quick Pick: The Royal We, by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

  • Opening lines: (Prologue)
    I don't know what to do.

    The calls and texts are starting to pile up, relentless and suffocating. I'm afraid of what will happen if I don't give him what he wants, and I'm afraid of what will happen if I do. The TV isn't soothing my nerves, given that global hysteria over my impending wedding is the lead story on every channel. 
  • Reason I picked up the book: I had heard a lot about this book, and I started reading it on my tablet on Southwest's site (yay for free books while in the air!) during my recent L.A. trip - only the first 7 chapters were provided, and after those I was already hooked. 
  • And what's this book about?
  • American Rebecca Porter was never one for fairy tales. Her twin sister, Lacey, has always been the romantic who fantasized about glamour and royalty, fame and fortune. Yet it's Bex who seeks adventure at Oxford and finds herself living down the hall from Prince Nicholas, Great Britain's future king. And when Bex can't resist falling for Nick, the person behind the prince, it propels her into a world she did not expect to inhabit, under a spotlight she is not prepared to face.

    Dating Nick immerses Bex in ritzy society, dazzling ski trips, and dinners at Kensington Palace with him and his charming, troublesome brother, Freddie. But the relationship also comes with unimaginable baggage: hysterical tabloids, Nick's sparkling and far more suitable ex-girlfriends, and a royal family whose private life is much thornier and more tragic than anyone on the outside knows. The pressures are almost too much to bear, as Bex struggles to reconcile the man she loves with the monarch he's fated to become.

    Which is how she gets into trouble.

    Now, on the eve of the wedding of the century, Bex is faced with whether everything she's sacrificed for love-her career, her home, her family, maybe even herself-will have been for nothing.
  • Favorite Paragraph: ... I was increasingly nervous. Intellectually, I knew I wasn't being introduced to the extended family as anything more than Nick's friend, and that Cilla and even Bea being there would bolster that cover. But I wasn't the kind of moneyed or titled aristocrat with a plummy accent and a Bentley that Nick's relations were used to; I was a first-time skier whose father made comfortable appliances for beer lovers. I didn't know how any of that would go over with them, no matter what they thought he and I were to each other - and on that score, Richard was still in severe, sometimes apoplectic denial.

    Gaz studied me, then raised his glass. "No need to panic," he said. "We'll keep you out of the blast radius."

    As we clinked wine glasses, mine cracked and squirted thick red port all over my couch.

    "Don't tell Cilla about that," Gaz warned. "She'll say it's an omen."

    "I don't believe in omens," I said.

Friday, October 2, 2015

GIVEAWAY: You'll Be Thinking of Me, by Densie Webb {ends 10/9}

Author Densie Webb (you read that right - Densie, not Denise) has a new book out, and two of my lucky readers will win a copy.

Official synopsis:
A chance encounter with a celebrity, an impromptu video, and a shiny new espresso machine. It all added up to a juicy tale for 24-year-old Rachael Allen to share with friends. But when her best friend posts the video online, bizarre threats, home break-ins, and deadly gifts from an obsessed fan follow close behind. Mick Sullivan, the star in her video, offers to help and in the process, Rachael discovers that despite his reputation as a player of Olympian caliber, he’s down-to-earth—and emotionally damaged. He has secrets; some he’s shared only with his pseudo best friend. Others he's shared with no one. But there's one secret he’s hidden from himself, washed away by too many beers. Despite wildly divergent life paths, their shared southern roots (and a passion for good music) creates a common thread that draws them together. As the threats escalate, and their relationship deepens, Rachael struggles to accept Mick’s past—and his present. And she is forced to confront her own obsessive love to ultimately decide if being with Mick Sullivan is worth the collateral damage.

YOU'LL BE THINKING OF ME is the story of Rachael's serendipitous encounter with a celebrity, her brush with obsessive love, and the bittersweet gift left behind by the very person fixated on destroying her life.

About the author:
Densie Webb is a full-time freelance writer/editor of nonfiction, mainly health and nutrition topics. She is currently working on two other novels, a paranormal romance novel and a women's fiction (family drama) book. She would eventually love to write fiction full-time. 


Enter via the widget below. Giveaway will end on Friday, October 9th, at 11:59pm EST, and winners will be notified the next day via email, and have 24 hours to respond, or an alternate winner will be chosen.

Two winners will win a paperback copy of You'll Be Thinking of Me.

U.S. and Canadian residents only, please.

Good luck!

You'll be Thinking of Me

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