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Top Ten Tuesday 07

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Top Ten Tuesday is weekly meme hosted The Broke and the Bookish. There is a new topic for each week and the participating bloggers are invited to post their Top Ten lists on it.


Top Ten Book Turn-Offs

1. Cheating, especially when the author condones it. 

2. Love triangles, especially when it is obvious who will be picked eventually.

3. Unrealistic characters - I really hate it when characters turn out to be just stereotypical clich├ęs.

4. Too much violence and cursing - I am not a prude but when there is more swearing and foul language than story, I am definitely not happy with that book.

5. Repetition – sometimes it is just the same phrases used again and again, other times I feel the character repeat the same arguments/discussions/actions without moving forward.

6. Lengthy descriptions of appearance, clothing, make-up. They may be important for the character presentation but when they are too lengthy, they just get boring. 

7. When the author uses letters (hidden and then suddenly revealed) to explain a particular situation.  

8. When previously unknown siblings/relatives appear out of the blue

9. When a character has an abrupt and totally unjustified change of heart, usually a bad boy/girl turns good overnight.

10. Bad book cover - this is not exactly part of the story, but a bad cover can really put me off from buying and reading the book.


What are you turn-offs? Leave me a comment and I will stop by your TTT post to check them out!


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Review: Friends Without Benefits: An Unrequited Romance by Penny Reid

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Title: Friends Without Benefits: An Unrequited Romance (Knitting in the City #2)
Author: Penny Reid
Date of publication: 3 October 2013
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Author's links:
Website / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads

My rating: 4.5 stars



Goodreads Blurb

There are three things you need to know about Elizabeth Finney: 1) She suffers from severe sarcastic syndrome, especially when she's unnerved, 2) No one unnerves her like Nico Manganiello, and 3) She knows how to knit.

Elizabeth Finney is almost always right about everything: the musical merits of Boy Bands are undervalued by society, “benefits” with human Ken-dolls are better without friendship, and the sun has set on her once in a lifetime chance for true love. But when Elizabeth’s plans for benefits without friendship are disarmed by the irritatingly charismatic and chauvinistic Nico Manganiello- her former nemesis- she finds herself struggling to maintain the electric fence around her heart while avoiding electrocution or, worse, falling in love.


My Review

Ms Reid loves big words and she is not afraid to use to them!

If you have read my blog before you  have probably come across Ms Reid's first novel in the Knitting in the City series, Neanderthal Seeks Human: A Smart Romance. I read, loved and reviewed the book when it released back in April. I keep recommending it, including it in different lists and rankings. All this took place while waiting patiently/or not for the next instalment in the series. 

Friend Without Benefits (FwoB) tells the story of Janie's best friend, Elizabeth and Nico. It was just as good as I expected - funny, smart and a bit serious and in short, a real pleasure to read. I didn't think that anyone can replace Sir Quinn McHotpants from my heart but Nico Manganiello simply stole my heart with the mix tape he prepared for Elizabeth. It is definitely one of the most romantic gestures I have read in while, if ever. Ms Reid has treated us to an amazing soundtrack to her novel. While I totally loved the songs Nico chose for Elizabeth, I totally understand her obsession with boy bands. I have to admit that I find her justification for liking them pretty solid and just because I also love me some boy band music, here my pick for this review (You can't go wrong with One Direction, right. Just ask my 6-year old niece :)))


Now, back to the serious part of this review.

The story was told from Elizabeth's POV and I really enjoyed her voice. She had some of Janie's quirkiness and a lot of her own style/weirdness. Her antics had me laughing, made me teary-eyed a few times and I also wanted to slap her sense into her on numerous occasions.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet Nico, the perfect romantic hero - sexy, smart, successful. And not to forget, totally infuriating :) I feel for Elizabeth trying to resist his twinkling eyes and charming smile all the time - it is not an easy feat.  

The story of Elizabeth and Nico was a sort of second-chance-love story. They had an interesting, to say the least, history behind them. They both made mistakes as teenagers and hurt each other but I like how they grew up and evolved and at the present they are more or less grown up. Well, it took Elizabeth a little bit more time and incentive to act like a adult, and she finally did it, it was rather crazy than normal, but it was real and sincere.

We get to see more of the knitting club ladies in this book and to get to know them even better. They are a formidable force and great secondary characters. Speaking of secondary characters, Nico's mother and niece and his family as a whole were just wonderful and had a strong presence in the novel. 

I liked that Ms Reid introduced a more serious element in this novel - Nico's niece suffers from a rare disease. It adds another layer to the story making it something more than a fluffy romance.

A weakness in NSH for me was the lack of epilogue and the fact that I found Qunn's voice in the end in complete mismatch with his characters from the rest of the book. I am happy to say that FwoB has an epilogue, a great one and Nico's voice was very much true to his character - sexy, funny and a bit naughty.

I have just one complaint about this book which takes a half star from perfect rating - Nico speaking Italian. As fun and sexy as it was, I didn't understand everything, thus I couldn't fully enjoy it. I am aware that Elizabeth didn't understand Italian and she didn't care to, but still I think it would be better to have an English translation is included in some form.

In short, if you are looking for a funny, smart romance with great and a bit unconventional characters, I strongly recommend The Knitting in the City series. Neanderthal Seeks Human is currently on sale (0.99$ for US and 3.59$ for International buyers) until the release of Friends Without Benefits on 3 Oct. FwoB will be available for free on 8-10 Oct, so don't miss your chance to get it.

I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.


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Review: Dare You To (Pushing the Limits #2) by Katie McGarry

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Title: Dare You To (Pushing the Limits #2)
Author: Katie McGarry
Date of publication: 28 May 2013
Genre/Themes: Young adult, Romance, Realistic fiction

Author's links:
Facebook / Website / Twitter / Goodreads

My rating: 3.5 Stars



Goodreads Blurb

If anyone knew the truth about Beth Risk's home life, they'd send her mother to jail and seventeen-year-old Beth who knows where. So she protects her mom at all costs. Until the day her uncle swoops in and forces Beth to choose between her mom's freedom and her own happiness. That's how Beth finds herself living with an aunt who doesn't want her and going to a school that doesn't understand her. At all. Except for the one guy who shouldn't get her, but does....

Ryan Stone is the town golden boy, a popular baseball star jock-with secrets he can't tell anyone. Not even the friends he shares everything with, including the constant dares to do crazy things. The craziest? Asking out the Skater girl who couldn't be less interested in him.

But what begins as a dare becomes an intense attraction neither Ryan nor Beth expected. Suddenly, the boy with the flawless image risks his dreams-and his life-for the girl he loves, and the girl who won't let anyone get too close is daring herself to want it all....



My Review

This is the second book in the series Pushing the Limits and it tells the story of Beth and Ryan. I absolutely loved book 1, though Beth definitely was not my favourite character. I was curious to read her story and see how Ms McGarry will manage to make her more likeable. And she did make her more likeable, but not as much as Ryan. 

Dare You To like Pushing the Limit treats a number of serious issues affecting the life of teenagers. The focus is on the relationship between children and parents in all its complexity - Beth felt obligated to take care of her mother who was an addict, Ryan questioned his father's authority and judgement for the first time and had to stand up for himself. Even the relationship between Beth and Scot fell in the scope of parent-children since he took her under his care. 

I liked both the story and the character development in this book. I found Ryan the most appealing and it was invested in all the changes he underwent. Ms McGarry presented in a rather engaging way his struggle to define himself as more than a jock. It was a true coming-of-age story for him. He had to re-evaluate his desires and choices and ultimately to make the best decision for himself. His romantic relationship with Beth was a sort of catalyst for him trying to be himself and not the perfect person everyone saw him to be. 

I understood Beth and her attitude but still didn't like her very much. She seemed stuck in the past, always trying to help her mother, not willing to give Scot and the new life he offered her a chance. I also felt bad for the way she treated Isaiah, trying to tell him what he felt or didn't feel. 

The relationship between Beth and Ryan was a rather complex one. At times it felt like they were going in circles - him never giving up, her never fully trusting him. I was happy that they overcame the obstacles in the end, still I didn't like how Ryan repeatedly treated the whole situation as a game he had to win. His I-don't-lose attitude with regard to everything, including Beth and her feelings, annoyed me a lot. 

I wish the supporting characters, Ryan's friends, his brother Mark, Scot and his wife, were better developed. I think that Scot and Mark were central to the story and deserved more place in it. 

I loved seeing Noah and Echo again and I felt really sad for Isaiah. I am really exciting about his book and hope he finally finds the happiness he deserves. His story, Crash into You, comes out on 15 November.

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Friday Freebies #6

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Here are the books I got for free this week:

Against the Wall (Against the Wall 1) by Julie Prestsater - friends-to-lovers story about high school teachers - sounds like fun read to me - Amazon



Wild Irish Ride (Weldon 1) by Jennifer Saints - second-chance love with a touch of suspense - Amazon



Shocking Heaven (Room 103 1) by D. H. Sidebottom - a rockstar romance, I just can't resist them :) - Amazon 



The Texas Millionaire's Runaway Wife by Mary Malcolm - I am not a big fan of stories about millionaires but the blurb of this one really intrigued me - Amazon



In the Moment by Olivia Jake - older hero and heroine romance, it is a rare find and this one is just released and sounds interesting - Amazon



Note: These were the correct prices/free books at the time of the publication of this post. Please, check them again before buying. I am only posting deals valid for international users, since I based in Bulgaria and very often some sales or free books on Amazon US are only available to US residents.

Follow me on Facebook to keep up to date with the latest freebies and sales I come across. Often they last only a short time and by the time a draft my post on Friday, many of them are no longer available.

Cowboys

Review: Near and Far (Lost and Found 2) by Nicole Williams

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Title: Near and Far (Lost and Found 2)
Author: Nicole Williams
Date of publication: 28 July 2013
Genre/Themes: Contemporary Romance, Cowboys
Author's links:
Facebook / Website / Twitter / Goodreads

My rating: 3 Stars




Goodreads Blurb

There’s optimistic. And there’s Jesse Walker. 

If he wasn’t so charming, his sunny disposition and incessant grin would get old. Fast. 

Falling in love with the broken girl who had at first seemed immune to anything resembling love was the best thing to happen to Jesse since the Walkers adopted him when he was five. 

As Jesse’s life continues at the ranch and Rowen begins making her mark in the Seattle art community, they wonder where the middle ground is. Or if there even is one. 

As push comes to shove, they’re forced to make choices neither are eager to make, and Jesse and Rowen have to face what their lives might look like without the other. 

Can two people with such tragic pasts and different presents expect a promising future together? Whatever the answer, they’ll need a lot more than love to make it.


My Review

This is the sequel to Lost and Found (my review) and continues the story of Jesse and Rowen. I really enjoyed book 1 and not so much this one. What I found cute and sweet in Lost and Found - the reversed love story of the bad city girl falling for the good country cowboy - here seemed boring and even annoying. 

In this book we see god-like, perfect Jesse and troubled, artistic Rowen trying to make their long-distance relationship work. All the tension and miscommunication arising from being apart felt real and for me this was the best part of the book. They lead totally different lives when they are apart, yet they complete each other so fully when they are together. It really made some fairy tale romance.

On the other hand, I was disappointed with the actual conflict in story. It seemed artificial and contrived. Both Jesse and Rowen kept some secrets but the way they reacted when the truth came out appeared way too drastic, even illogical.

I liked the insight we were given into Jesse's past and the abuse he suffered. This just made him more real and lovable. His struggle with the nightmares and the pain were pretty convincing, yet I couldn't understand his conclusion that Rowen cannot rely on him because of that. 

I also wasn't thrilled with the "bad" guys - Jax and Jolene, who tried to break the relationship between Jesse and Rowen. They were too cliche and one-dimensiona. Furthermore, I didn't really see the purpose and value of the whole episode with Cillian. Alex and Syd, on the other hand, fitted well into the plot and created a nice mirror image for Jesse and Rowen's relationship.

What or rather who I really enjoyed in this book was Garth Black. His interactions with the rest of the characters, especially with Jesse and Rowen, were quite entertaining and fun to read. He not only successfully played matchmaker but added a touch of black humour and realistic badassness to the story. 

Overall, I can say that I expected more of this book, but still enjoyed it. Now I am definitely intrigued for the next instalment of the series, Finders Keepers, featuring Mr. Garth Black himself.

Feature

Teaser Tuesday 26

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Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Here are the rules: 

• Grab your current read 
• Open to a random page 
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page 
• Be careful not the include spoilers! 
• Share the title & author so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers. 

I have modified them slightly for my Teasers. It will not be two sentences from a random page but two, usually more, sentences from the pages I have read so far that have struck me as most interesting, original or that I just happen to like a lot.

This week's teaser comes from Friends Without Benefits: An Unrequited Romance (Knitting in the City, #2) by Penny Reid. If you have read my blog before you surely know that I am a big fan of Ms Reid writing and I absolutely loved her first novel, Neanderthal Seeks Human. This is the second book in the series and it is just as fun and hilarious and just a little bit more serious as book one. I just finished an ARC of Friends Without Benefits and you can read my review of it next week. And because Ms Reid writing is rather unique as are her characters, I will share not one but two teasers :) 

"... It was one of those moments where my body ceased listening to my brain.
My brain said: Step away from the naughty hottie.
My body said: ... I like cookies."

"He considered me for a moment, trying to suppress a grin. He bit his top lip, obviously to keep from laughing. "I eye-twinkled at the reporter?""


Synopsis:

Friends Without Benefits can be read as a standalone, is a full length 120k word novel, and is book #2 in the Knitting in the City Series. 

There are three things you need to know about Elizabeth Finney: 1) She suffers from severe sarcastic syndrome, especially when she's unnerved, 2) No one unnerves her like Nico Manganiello, and 3) She knows how to knit. 

Elizabeth Finney is almost always right about everything: the musical merits of Boy Bands are undervalued by society, “benefits” with human Ken-dolls are better without friendship, and the sun has set on her once in a lifetime chance for true love. But when Elizabeth’s plans for benefits without friendship are disarmed by the irritatingly charismatic and chauvinistic Nico Manganiello- her former nemesis- she finds herself struggling to maintain the electric fence around her heart while avoiding electrocution or, worse, falling in love.


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Top Ten Tuesday 06

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Top Ten Tuesday is weekly meme hosted The Broke and the Bookish. There is a new topic for each week and the participating bloggers are invited to post their Top Ten lists on it.


Top Ten Best Sequels Ever 

The first five books on my list are sequels in the true sense of the word. They continue the story from the first book. The remaining five entries are also part of series but they tell the story of different characters.

Where She Went (If I Stay #2) by Gayle Forman - It is one of my absolute favourite books. I love the writing style, the story, even the book cover :)



Prodigy (Legend #2) by Marie Lu - I really enjoy this series and can't wait for the final book, Champion, coming on Nov 5.



Shooting Scars (TAT #2) by Karina Halle - This story just gets edgier, darker, sexier, more awesome with every next book.


Second Chance (First Comes Love #2) by Katie Kacvinsky - I loved the first book and the second just made things even better. Unfortunately, there is no info on the final book yet 


Fever series by Karen Marie Moning - I have included the whole series since I find it that very next book is better than the previous one and Shadowfever is the perfect ending of the story. 
Froi of the Exiles (Lumatere Chronicles #2) by Melina Marchetta - This one continues the story from book one, Finnickin of the Rock, but the focus is on different and new characters and it is just as good as the first and third books.


Dare You To (Pushing the Limits #2) by Katie McGarry - I loved Pushing the Limits and finished Dare You To just last week. It is a good sequel which I enjoyed but didn't like it as much as book one.


Facade (Games #2) by Nyrae Dawn - I really think this book was better than book one, Charade. There is a lot of drama and angst and raw emotion and I am really looking forward to the next book in the series, Masquerade, coming in 2014. 


Instant Gratification (Wilder #2) by Jill Shalvis - I loved the whole series about the Wilder brothers. It is typical small town romance with likeable characters, witty dialogue and some sexy times.


Faking It (Losing It #2) by Cora Carmack - I loved book one, Faking It and I liked its sequel, Faking It. It is cute and fun, somewhat dramatic and predictable, still it was a nice, enjoyable read.


Have you read any of the books on my list, if so did you enjoy them as much as me? Leave me a comment and I be sure to check out your TTT list :)



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Friday Freebies #5

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Freebies:

In Stereo Where Available by Becky Anderson - It seems like a fun chick-lit romance so I added it to my never-ending TBR list - Amazon



Because of Lucy by Lisa Swallow - a recently released NA. The blurb was interesting it is set in the UK for a change - Amazon



You Belong With Me (Love and Dessert #1) by Shannon Guymon - another chick-lit with great reviews on AMZ - Amazon



Simon's Choice by Charlotte Castle - I have to admit that I am scared to read this but it seems worth it - Amazon



Significance (Significance #1) by Shelly Crane - YA paranormal romance. It has some great reviews and is soon to be made into a movie - Amazon 




Note: These were the correct prices/free books at the time of the publication of this post. Please, check them again before buying. I am only posting deals valid for international users, since I based in Bulgaria and very often some sales or free books on Amazon US are only available to US residents.

Follow me on Facebook to keep up to date with the latest freebies and sales I come across. Often they last only a short time and by the time a draft my post on Friday, many of them are no longer available. 


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Review: On Every Street (TAT 0.5) by Karina Halle

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Title: On Every Street (The Artists Trilogy #0.5)
Author: Karina Halle
Date of publication: 9 March 2013
Genre: Realistic Fiction, Contemporary

Author's links:
Website / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads

My rating: 4 stars



Goodreads Blurb

When young con artist Ellie Watt decides to call herself Eden White and go after the drug lord who ruined her as a child, she never expects to fall for one of his henchmen. But Javier Bernal is no ordinary man. Subtly dangerous and overwhelmingly seductive, Eden finds herself passionately in love with Javier, the very person she's set-up to betray. With her body and heart in a heated battle against her deep need for revenge, no one will walk away from this con a winner.

This 50K word (100+ pages) novella takes place six years before Sins & Needles. It can be read before or after Sins & Needles and may also be read as a standalone.



My Review

This is a prequel to Sins & Needles and tells the story of Ellie and Javier which happened six years before the events in Sins & Needles. It can be read before or after S&N or even as a standalone. I personally read it after S & N (following the order publication) and I think it works best in this way.

I liked On Every Street a lot but as much as S&N. It was written in the same engaging style and it carried the same vibe of raw emotions. Its focus was on issues of love and lust, revenge and forgiveness. I found it rather New Adult in nature, since both Ellie and Javier were very young and were in process of figuring out / accepting who they were. This was especially true for Ellie who made some very difficult choices trying to come to peace with her past and move on.

On the surface this was Javier's story, yet the book told us a lot about Ellie was well. I didn't particularly like who she was with Javier but I can relate to her desire to be with him, hence her acceptance of his ways. What we saw in this book was a much younger, more naive Ellie, just a young girl searching for her place in the world. Her relationship with Javier ultimately led the final loss of innocence for both of them.

The book did show why Javier acted the way he did in S&N but that still didn't endear him to me. Ellie started her relationship with him  for all the wrong reasons and based it on a lie, yet I think what he did to her was unforgivable, there are no excuses for his actions in my mind.

On Every Street is a must read for fans of Sins & Needles since it provides an essential background to the story and shows the Ellie and Javier in a different light, revealing yet another layer of their complex personalities.

PS: Since I am very much Team Camden in this series, one possible reason I didn't enjoy On Every Street as much as S & N is the fact that Camden was not present in it. Just saying :)


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Teaser Tuesday 25

04:00


Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Here are the rules: 

• Grab your current read 
• Open to a random page 
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page 
• Be careful not the include spoilers! 
• Share the title & author so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers. 

I have modified them slightly for my Teasers. It will not be two sentences from a random page but two, usually more, sentences from the pages I have read so far that have struck me as most interesting, original or that I just happen to like a lot.

This week I went back reading a YA book, something I haven't done in while and I am really enjoying it. My teaser comes from Dare You To by Katie McGarry. I loved her first book in the series, Pushing the Limits, which I read last year. I was hesitant to pick up book 2 which tells the story of Beth, who I really didn't like very much in PtL, but most of GR friends gave glowing reviews of Dare You To, besides I really like Ms McGarry writing, so I decided to give it a try. I can honestly say that now I see Beth in a new light and Ryan is just awesome. Check the blog later this week for my review of Dare You To. Here is the teaser itself:

"I'm Ryan Stone - ballplayer, jock, leader of the team. But Ryan Stone - writer? I chuckle to myself as I pick the paperwork up off the desk. All of it describes in detail how to continue to the next phase of the writing competition, how to win. Not once in my life have I backed down from a challenge."


Ryan lowers his lips to my ear. "Dance with me, Beth."

"No." I whisper the reply. I hate him and I hate myself for wanting him to touch me again....

"I dare you..."


If anyone knew the truth about Beth Risk's home life, they'd send her mother to jail and seventeen-year-old Beth who knows where. So she protects her mom at all costs. Until the day her uncle swoops in and forces Beth to choose between her mom's freedom and her own happiness. That's how Beth finds herself living with an aunt who doesn't want her and going to a school that doesn't understand her. At all. Except for the one guy who shouldn't get her, but does....

Ryan Stone is the town golden boy, a popular baseball star jock-with secrets he can't tell anyone. Not even the friends he shares everything with, including the constant dares to do crazy things. The craziest? Asking out the Skater girl who couldn't be less interested in him.

But what begins as a dare becomes an intense attraction neither Ryan nor Beth expected. Suddenly, the boy with the flawless image risks his dreams-and his life-for the girl he loves, and the girl who won't let anyone get too close is daring herself to want it all...


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Top Ten Tuesday 05

22:00



Top Ten Tuesday is weekly meme hosted The Broke and the Bookish. There is a new topic for each week and the participating bloggers are invited to post their Top Ten lists on it.

Top Ten Books On My Fall 2013 TBR List 

I have included in my list new releases I just cannot wait to read, some ARCs I need to read asap and some really long series I hope to start this fall. This list is more of wishful thinking than set in stone, still I will try to fulfil it as much as possible.

Friends Without Benefits: An Unrequited Romance (Knitting in the City #2) by Penny Reid – I loved the first book in the series, Neanderthal Seeks Human (my review) and can't wait to read this one (release date - 8 Oct).

Bold Tricks (The Artists Trilogy #3) by Karina Halle – I really, really love this series so far (Sins & Needles - my review, One Every Street - review to come tomorrow, Shooting Scars - my review) and I am excited for the upcoming finale (release date - 15 Oct).

Finders Keepers (Lost and Found #3) by Nicole Williams - Same story here. I loved the first two books in the series and I am sure Garth's story will just as good (he is the bad guy after all, how am I not be excited).

Allegiant (Divergent #3) by Veronica Roth – It feels like I have been waiting for this one forever, I just NEED to read this asap (release date - 22 Oct)

Just One Year (Just One day #2) by Gayle Forman. I loved Ms Forman's If I Stay and Where She Went. I liked Just One Day but not as much as her first series. Still, I am curious to see how the story will end.

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick - I have got an ARC and I am definitely reading it this fall. It's going to be my next read, most likely.

Unbound by Cara McKenna - Another ARC. I haven't read anything by Ms McKenna before but I have read some reviews of her work and I am curious about this one. It may be too much on the erotic side for me but I plan on giving it a try.

Dark Lover (Black Dagger Brotherhood 1) by J. R. Ward  - I have been meaning to try this series for some time now and I hope I will finally do it this fall.

Slave to Sensation (Psy-changling 1) by Nalini Singh. Same as the above. Paranormal romance is not my typical genre, but I like to try new things and there are some great reviews about both these series, so I think it is high time for me to try them and see what all the praise is about.

The Opportunist (Love Me with Lies 1) by Tarryn Fisher - Another series, this time contemporary romance. It was highly recommended to me by my GR friends and I am giving in and reading this, finally :)


I love hearing form you. If you comment with a link to your TTT post, I will make sure to stop by and check it!

Favourites

Review: Shooting Scars (TAT 2) by Karina Halle

13:08

Title: Shooting Scars (The Artists Trilogy #2)
Author: Karina Halle
Date of publication: 20 Aug 2013
Genre: Realistic Fiction, Contemporary

Author's links:

My rating: 5 stars



Goodreads Blurb

Sometimes the right choice can be the deadliest.

When Ellie Watt made the ultimate sacrifice for Camden McQueen, she never thought it would be easy. But walking away with her ex-lover, Javier Bernal, in order to ensure Camden’s safety has brought a whole new set of dangers. With Javier’s plans for Ellie growing more secretive by the moment, Ellie must find a way to stay ahead of the game before her past swallows her whole.

Meanwhile, Camden’s new life is short-lived. Fueled by revenge and pursued by authorities, he teams up with an unlikely partner in order to save Ellie. But as Camden toes the line between love and retribution, he realizes that in order to get back the woman he loves, he may have to lose himself in the process. He might just turn into the very man he’s hunting.

My Review

It is the best book in the series so far for me. The story continues right where S&N left us. There were a few unexpected plot twists which kept me on the edge throughout the whole book. There was more action and less romance compared to the other books in the series. Another difference was the dual POV - we got to hear both Ellie's and Camden's voices. And I have to admit that I being Camden's head was an interesting experience. 

What I really liked about Shooting Scars  was thatMs Halle continued to develop the characters further. They didn't just show different aapects of their personalities, they actually evolved, forced by outside forces and their own sheer will. I found the changes Camden underwent really fascinating and on some level deeply unsettling. His struggle or lack of it to keep the distinction between right and wrong was a treat to read. Ms Halle didn't make her characters any easier to love or hate in this book. She just added another layer of complexity to them, placing them in unpredictable situations and forcing them to make the right decision.

This instalment in the series brought another major player to the scene - Gus. I liked his presence and his relationship/partnership with Camden was crucial for the plot development and for bringing to the fore the new Camden. 

I felt really bad for Ellie and even though I understood the reasons behind her actions it was still painful to see the changes in her. A for Javier, let's just say that I feel no love for him, despite everything he had been through. Theirs was a messed-up relationship and I felt that when Ellie was with him she went back to being Eden - naive, insecure, lost, hopeless. She was exactly the opposite to who she was with Camden. 


ARC

Review: Reckless by Skye Jordan

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Title: Reckless (Renegates 1)
Author: Skye Jordan
Date of publication: 23 Aug 2013
Genre/themes: Contemporary Romance

Author's links:


My rating: 3.5 stars


Goodreads Blrurb

A couture wedding dress designer to the rich and famous, Lexi LaCroix’s image means everything. But crossing paths with a sexier-than-sin, bad-boy biker makes Lexi realize how much living she’s sacrificed for her success and one touch is all it takes to threaten her carefully choreographed life. When that touch fills far more than just Lexi’s physical needs, she finds herself torn between the career she needs and the bad-boy she craves.

Jax Chamberlin gave up the superficial life of acting for the thrill of running his own stunt company years ago. But a recent betrayal proves he’s still too close to the limelight to find a woman who doesn’t plan to use him as a stepping-stone to success. When the charming and mysterious Lexi offers him a totally anonymous hook-up during an out of town trip, Jax accepts. Only Lexi is more sextacular than charming, and Jax wants more.

But Lexi’s got a major hang-up over his renegade lifestyle, and Jax isn’t willing to change his ways. Especially not when he discovers who she really is. Because if she finds out his connections could catapult her to the top of her career, he’s afraid the fantasy woman he’s falling for might just end up like all the other gold-diggers. And this time, it’s not just his bad-boy reputation at risk, but his heart, too.


My Review

Reckless was a funny, steamy read which I really enjoyed. It is a cute romance set in the flashy world of Hollywood and bridal fashion for millionaires. The love story of Jax and Lexi had its fair share of obstacles, but fortunately lacked too much drama and angst.

The way the affair between Jax and Lexi happened from her getting his number to the scene at the fashion show in the end was rather unrealistic and improbable, yet I would just describe their story as the romance of dreams. For me this is a romance we all dream of - perfect people who gorgeous and smart, super rich and successful, meet and immediately share sizzling-hot chemistry and then fall head-over-heels madly in love. It is the perfect fairytale that doesn't happen in real life, yet one can always dream or read about in romance novels :)

The book has a very nice, light-hearted feel to it. It is quite a steamy read, coupled with funny banter between the characters and reading it just puts you in a feel-good, happy mood. There are some obstacles the characters need to overcome en route to their HEA, but they are nothing major, and ultimately love does conquer all. 

My main complaint with this book which defers me from giving it a higher rating is the writing. While I do like short, one-word sentences, they should only be used sparingly, for emphasis. When they are overused, they become distracting and annoying. As a whole the writing style felt simplistic and repetitive and at times it distracted me from the story itself. 

Although I love the happy ending for Jax and Lexi, I would have liked to read an epilogue, or chapter of them further along in the future as a more estalished couple. 

I am looking forward to the next instalment in the series, hoping that it will be about Wes (and Rubi?). I will also be really happy to see more of Jax and Lexi in the next book.

Book Deals

Friday Freebies and Book Deals 04

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Freebies:

Burdern of Breath by Ann Minnett - It sounds like a heavy but ultimately optimistic read and has great reviews -  Amazon


Three short stories accompanying the Jason Mott's novel The Returned. They can be a good way to try this author before going for the novel.






Deals:

Neanderthal Seeks Human: A Smart Romance by Penny Reid - It is on sale for 3.59 (for International buyers) and 0.99 for US until the release of book 2 in the series, Friends Without Benefits, on 8 Oct 2013. It is a great romantic comedy and one of the best books for me this year - Amazon


Note: These were the correct prices/free books at the time of the publication of this post. Please, check them again before buying. I am only posting deals valid for international users, since I am based in Bulgaria and very often some sales or free books on Amazon US are only available to US residents.


ARC

Review: Louder Than Love by Jessica Topper

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Title: Louder Than Love
Author: Jessica Topper
Date of publication: 17 Sept 2013
Genre/themes: Contemporary Romance, Musicians

Author's links:

My rating: 4 stars




Goodreads Blurb

In this powerful debut novel, a young librarian grieves the loss of her husband...and discovers a love that defies classification.

It's been over three years since a train accident made a widow of Katrina Lewis, sending her and her young daughter Abbey back to the suburban town of her youth...the only place that still makes sense. Lauder Lake is the perfect place to hide and heal.

Recluse rocker Adrian "Digger" Graves survived the implosion of his music career, but his muse has long lain dormant. Until Kat hires him to play at her library—not on the basis of his hard rock credentials but rather, because of the obscure kids' TV jingle he wrote years ago. In a case of mistaken identity, Adrian stumbles into the lives of Kat and her comically lovable daughter.

Using tattoos as a timeline, Adrian unfurls his life for Kat. But as the courtship intensifies, it's unclear whose past looms larger: the widow's or the rocker's. Will their demons ever rest, or will they break these soul mates apart?

My Review

I was drawn to this book because it was a story of second chance at love and the hero is just my favourite type - a jaded former rock star. What I got while reading the book was so much more. It is a painfully beautiful story of love and loss, lightened by the innocence and wisdom of a four-year old girl. 

Some books start slow for me, but this one was exactly the opposite - it was too quick. I was given too much information in the beginning - on Kat's past, on her present, on all her friends - and I felt rushed to process it all. All the comparisons between her past in city and her present in the suburbs were a little confusing for me as a foreigner, but as I went on reading I began to appreciate them more as something that set Kat and Adrain apart and at the same time, brought them together. 

I liked Kat a lot and her daughter, even more, but my favourite character in the book was definitely Adrian. He was such a complex character, a tortured soul with heavy British accent, not really looking for a second chance, but ultimately finding it and totally deserving it. I loved everything about him - his rock music past (and future), his love for Kat and Abbey. 

I liked how the relationship between Kat (and Abbey) and Adrian progressed gradually. It felt natural and logical. There was great chemistry between them and find he sex scenes hot and very tastefully done without being explicit. 

A plot line which I didn't particularly like in the story was the lives of Kat's friends. They reminded me too much of the Desperate housewives TV series. They provided a background to Kat's present life in the suburbs but their own family dramas were superfluous to the main story. I really didn't like how Liz's behaviour in a certain situation was handled. It felt like the author condoned cheating or something close to it and I strongly disagree with that. 

On the surface, the cause for their break-up between Kat and Adrian was just a misunderstanding, but in reality, it was the fact that she had not opened up to him at all. I understood Adrian's doubts and frustration with Kat's unwillingness to share her fears and her pain. I liked how they eventually came to terms with the each other's past and were able to see a future for themselves together. 

On this note, I would have loved an epilogue showing us Kat, Abbey and Adrian as a family in the future.

A special mention should be given to all the musical references in this book. I really feel that the fans of rock and metal music will be very happy with this novel. From The Beatles to the bands of the 1990s, music was a main focal point both to the characters and to the story.

The sum it up: This books rocks :))) I strongly recommend it to everybody who loves emotional stories set against the background of the rock music scene.


Faeture

Teaser Tuesday 24

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Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Here are the rules:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• Be careful not the include spoilers!
• Share the title & author so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers.


I have modified them slightly for my Teasers. It will not be two sentences from a random page but two, usually more, sentences from the pages I have read so far that have struck me as most interesting, original or that I just happen to like a lot.
My teaser this week comes from Reckless (Renegades #1) by Skye Jordan. It is a rather hot, fun read where the worlds of movies and fashion collide. It is nothing overly dramtic or angst-filled for a change and I am really enjoying it. 

"Her nerves kicked up. She'd felt so capable when she was flirting with Jax. So sexy. So in control. Now, she felt inept. And incompetent. And ... reckless."

A couture wedding dress designer to the rich and famous, Lexi LaCroix’s image means everything. But crossing paths with a sexier-than-sin, bad-boy biker makes Lexi realize how much living she’s sacrificed for her success and one touch is all it takes to threaten her carefully choreographed life. When that touch fills far more than just Lexi’s physical needs, she finds herself torn between the career she needs and the bad-boy she craves.

Jax Chamberlin gave up the superficial life of acting for the thrill of running his own stunt company years ago. But a recent betrayal proves he’s still too close to the limelight to find a woman who doesn’t plan to use him as a stepping-stone to success. When the charming and mysterious Lexi offers him a totally anonymous hook-up during an out of town trip, Jax accepts. Only Lexi is more sextacular than charming, and Jax wants more.

But Lexi’s got a major hang-up over his renegade lifestyle, and Jax isn’t willing to change his ways. Especially not when he discovers who she really is. Because if she finds out his connections could catapult her to the top of her career, he’s afraid the fantasy woman he’s falling for might just end up like all the other gold-diggers. And this time, it’s not just his bad-boy reputation at risk, but his heart, too.

Flickr Images