Monday, March 31, 2014

Two for...umm Monday...The One & Only and Left Drowning

**No pictures...blogger is being weird...again**

Left Drowning by Jessica Park

My love affair with Jessica Park started with her YA book, Flat-Out Love (if you haven't read it yet, go now...right now).  She has now earned a spot on my must read author list with her latest book, Left Drowning.  This is definitely NOT a young adult book (read:  lots and lots of naughty bits), and no, the naughty bits are not the reason I love her books *cough*.  She makes you fall in love with her characters, each and every one.  Christopher and Blythe are very, very,  swoon worthy, but it's all the secondary characters that make the book worth reading.  I think Sabin needs his own spin-off...just saying.

Book Description via AMAZON

What does it take to rise from life’s depths, swim against the current, and breathe?
Weighted down by the loss of her parents, Blythe McGuire struggles to keep her head above water as she trudges through her last year at Matthews College. Then a chance meeting sends Blythe crashing into something she doesn’t expect—an undeniable attraction to a dark-haired senior named Chris Shepherd, whose past may be even more complicated than her own. As their relationship deepens, Chris pulls Blythe out of the stupor she’s been in since the night a fire took half her family. She begins to heal, and even, haltingly, to love this guy who helps her find new paths to pleasure and self-discovery. But as Blythe moves into calmer waters, she realizes Chris is the one still strangled by his family’s traumatic history. As dark currents threaten to pull him under, Blythe may be the only person who can keep him from drowning. This book is intended for mature audiences due to strong language and sexual content.

The One & Only by Emily Giffin

This is hard, I rarely write negative book reviews, and I love Emily Giffin, I do, but this book was hard to love or even like, really.  First, there is *way* too much college football.  I am not a football hater, I can sit down and enjoy the game with the best of them, but in a book with 416 pages, it got to be too much.  Also, without spoiling too much, there is a vague ickiness to the storyline.  I just couldn't get past it.  I would love to talk to someone else about this book, to see if it's me (quite possible) or if this just missed the mark.

P.S. I received an ARC...the book comes out May 20.

Book Description via AMAZON

In her eagerly awaited new novel, beloved New York Times bestselling author Emily Giffin returns with an extraordinary story of love and loyalty—and an unconventional heroine struggling to reconcile both.

Thirty-three-year-old Shea Rigsby has spent her entire life in Walker, Texas—a small college town that lives and dies by football, a passion she unabashedly shares. Raised alongside her best friend, Lucy, the daughter of Walker’s legendary head coach, Clive Carr, Shea was too devoted to her hometown team to leave. Instead she stayed in Walker for college, even taking a job in the university athletic department after graduation, where she has remained for more than a decade.

But when an unexpected tragedy strikes the tight-knit Walker community, Shea’s comfortable world is upended, and she begins to wonder if the life she’s chosen is really enough for her. As she finally gives up her safety net to set out on an unexpected path, Shea discovers unsettling truths about the people and things she has always trusted most—and is forced to confront her deepest desires, fears, and secrets.

Thoughtful, funny, and brilliantly observed, The One & Only is a luminous novel about finding your passion, following your heart, and, most of all, believing in something bigger than yourself . . . the one and only thing that truly makes life worth living.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Panic by Lauren Oliver

I LOVED this book, so much so, I finished it in one night, it was *that* good.  It is dark and gritty, the main characters come from some pretty disturbing family situations...think Eminem's mom in Eight Mile.  And the idea that these teens are so desperate to get away from their home lives that they are willing to compete in some seriously dangerous and f'd up games (sorry their is really no other word to describe the panic games).

I really loved the alternating voices of Dodge and Heather...and how Oliver really keeps you guessing at where everyone will end up.  The secondary characters are also both and love and hate them at different points...which is much closer to real life.  Amazon picked another great one for their best of the month.

An Amazon Best Book of the Month, March 2014: Imagine a game that required you to walk, on a dark rainy night, across a narrow plank 50 feet in the air between two water towers. What could be worth that or any of the other terrifying tests of reckless courage in the game of Panic? For Dodge and Heather, graduating high school seniors of Carp, population 12,000, winning means a $67,000 chance at freedom from their claustrophobic town. In Panic, Lauren Oliver's characters are imbued with the emotional intricacy of teenagers hungry for both connection and new beginnings, some hiding secrets that blunt even the most frightening challenge the game can impose. Although there can only be one winner, a competition based on fear shapes powerful new relationships, understanding, and even forgiveness. --Seira Wilson

Monday, March 24, 2014

Be with Me by J. Lynn

Apparently I am going through a phase...I am reading a lot of this "new adult" genre...don't judge.  This is the second in Wait for You series...much like the's delicious.

Book Description via Amazon
Do Teresa and Jase have a real shot at getting together or will life get in the way?
Teresa Hamilton is having a rough year—she's in love with her big brother's best friend, but he hasn't spoken to her since they shared a truly amazing, mind-blowing, life-changing kiss. Then she got out of a terrible relationship. Now an injury is threatening to end her dance career for good. It's time for plan B: college. And maybe she'll have a chance to convince Jase that what they have together is real.
Jase Winstead has a huge secret that he's not telling anyone—especially not his best friend's incredibly beautiful sister. Even though he and Teresa shared the hottest kiss of his life, he knows that his responsibilities must take priority. He certainly doesn't have time for a relationship. But it doesn't help that all he can think about is kissing the one girl who could ruin everything for him.
As they're thrown together more and more, Jase and Teresa can't keep denying their feelings for each other. But a familiar danger looms and tragedy strikes. As the campus recovers, the star-crossed couple must decide what they're willing to risk to be together and what they're willing to lose if they're not. . . .

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Two for Tuesday: Together Alone by Barbara Delinsky and Prodigy by Marie Lu

Together Alone by Barbara Delinsky

This is a book that was originally published in 1995...which surprisingly makes is feel really dated (even though 1995 was like yesterday in my mind).  When one character is trying her hand at dating, she uses the "personals" in, a print ad...I actually laughed out loud.  Imagine, there was actually a time before eHarmony, Match and the like.  That aside, I found myself really enjoying the story.  There were layers of mystery, relationships, love and lust, all interwoven throughout the book.    A good choice for fans of both mysteries and "chick lit". 

From Publishers Weekly

The author of For My Daughters sallies into Judith Krantz and Iris Rainer Dart territory with this somewhat familiar tale of angst among girlfriends. With their daughters off to college, Emily, Kay and Celeste find themselves emotionally adrift in their small Massachusetts town. Emily retreats to baking and redecorating to hide the pain of husband Doug's infrequent (and sexually chilly) visits home, while eighth-grade teacher Kay uses her work as a shield against her police chief husband's attempts to recapture their former intimacy. And divorcee Celeste celebrates her daughter's departure with a nose job and a personal ad she hopes will bring her "wine and roses and music and poetry. And sex." When recently widowed NYPD detective Brian Stasek arrives to join the local police force, Emily becomes drawn to him-and increasingly suspicious about Doug's absences. Celeste, meanwhile, finds an architect who may be too good to be true and Kay, certain that her body has lost its allure, continues to rebuff her baffled husband. Only when Brian reopens the long-closed case of one couple's kidnapped son does Delinsky's story manage a spark that keeps it from being just another suburban melodrama.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc

Prodigy by Marie Lu

This is the second in the Legend Trilogy.  I love, love, loved the first and the second did not disappoint.  Any fans of dystopian fiction will enjoy this series.

From Booklist

Taking up where Legend (2011) ended, the second book in the series finds June, patrician military star, and Day, street fighter and hero of the people, on a freight train to Las Vegas, where they hope to meet up with the Patriots—those opposed to the government of the Republic and its dictator, the Elector. It’s hard to describe the plot without giving up spoilers, but suffice it to say June and Day’s newfound attraction intensifies, even as their issues with trust—and outside sources (including Day’s old friend Tess)—threaten the relationship. Meanwhile, more backstory about the history of the Republic and the Colonies fleshes out the narrative. As in the previous book, the story is told in the alternating voices of June and Day, which are presented in two different typefaces and colors. This is a well-molded mixture of intrigue, romance, and action, where things can change with almost any turn of the page, and frequently do. A soap-operatic turn of events at the book’s conclusion doesn’t hurt at all and will only heighten the clamor for the next title. Grades 8-12. --Ilene Cooper

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Three for the price of one: Wild Cards, Wait for You, and Morning Glory

What do you do for the weekend when you have a house full of sick kids…binge read of course.  Here are three wildly different, but all really good, romancy selections.

Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles

From Booklist

Everything is sliding into place for kicker Ashtyn Parker. She was just voted captain of her high-school football team, which ups her chances at a scholarship to a Big Ten college, and she’s dating Landon, the quarterback. Then bad-boy Derek Fitzpatrick shows up in her life, and everything Ashtyn has planned for is suddenly called into question. Thrown together by awkward family circumstances, Derek and Ashtyn fight their attraction for one another. When everything lines up to place them alone together on a road trip from Chicago to Texas, Derek and Ashtyn have to make some difficult choices when their passion threatens to overwhelm them both. Although this story has been told many times, award-winner Elkeles is very adept at creating three-dimensional characters and setting them up to make life-changing discoveries about themselves in believable ways. She also doesn’t shy away from realistic teen sexuality or language. In alternating first-person points of view, this start to the Wild Cards series shows that sometimes the person you’d least expect can make a huge difference in your life.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: New York Times best-selling author Elkeles created a massive following with her Perfect Chemistry and Leaving Paradise books, and fans will be clamoring for this promising start to a new series. Grades 9-12. --Charli Os

Wait for You by  J. Lynn

From Publishers Weekly

A young woman must come to terms with the secret horror in her past to find love and happiness in this predictable new adult romance by the pseudonymous Lynn (Obsession author Jennifer L. Armentrout). After five hellish years of being called a lying whore in her small Texas town, 19-year-old Avery Morgansten is more than happy to leave for college in West Virginia. There she meets gorgeous, blue-eyed Cameron Hamilton, a fellow student who seems as attracted to her as she is to him. Haunted by her traumatic past, Avery is torn between protecting herself and finding love. The path to romance is long and rocky, and Cam has dark secrets of his own, but eventually both lovers come clean and all loose ends are neatly wrapped up. While Lynn's peripheral characters are fairly one-dimensional, Avery and Cam are compelling. Fans of stories about characters healed by love will find this one moderately satisfying. Agent: Kevan Lyon, Marsal Lyon Literary Agency. (Sept. 3)

Morning Glory by Sarah Jio

From Publishers Weekly

Jio's fifth novel, following The Last Camellia, explores the degree to which time and distance give comfort to those who have experienced loss. In 2008, Ada Santorini's life in New York as deputy editor of Sunrise magazine is shaken by personal tragedy. She leaves her job and rents a houseboat on Seattle's Lake Union, hoping a change of location will provide the healing she needs. Yet her new home has its own tragedy—the disappearance in 1959 of a local woman, Penny Wentworth, which no one in the small, tight-knit community will discuss. When Ada finds a trunk in her houseboat and realizes it belonged to the missing woman, she and her new friend Alex, a neighboring houseboat renter, decide to uncover the truth. The growth of Ada and Alex's relationship as they work together is satisfying, but the beautifully rendered setting emerges as an equally important character. However, the flashbacks to 1959 are so strong that readers may lose patience with the present-day narrative, while the town's secret is too easy to figure out. Fans of Jio's previous works should find that the depth of feeling in her writing overcomes the drawbacks. Agent: Elisabeth Weed, Weed Literary. (Dec.)

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Foreplay by Sohie Jordan

Ok, I am not going to lie, I was just the teensiest bit embarrassed to write that title.  That said…people, this was SO so, so, so good.  Put aside any feminist leanings and the idea that the woman has to get "rescued", just lose yourself in the deliciousness that is Reece and Pepper.  This definitely falls under the "new adult" genre and therefore has lots of naughty bits….you have been warned

Book Description via Amazon

Pepper has been hopelessly in love with her best friend's brother, Hunter, for, like, ever. He's the key to everything she's always craved: security, stability, family. But she needs Hunter to notice her as more than just a friend. Even though she's kissed exactly one guy, she has the perfect plan to go from novice to rock star in the bedroom: take a few pointers from someone who knows what he's doing.
Her college roommates have the perfect teacher in mind. But bartender Reece is nothing like the player Pepper expects. Yes, he's beyond gorgeous, but he's also dangerous and deep—with a troubled past. Soon what started as a lesson in attraction is turning both their worlds upside down, and showing them just what can happen when you go past foreplay and get to what's real...