Thursday, July 31, 2014

Support the Troops

Graphic designed by Book Rock Betty
You guys!! This might be one of my favorite month's ever!! Military men! You all know how much I swoon for a man in uniform and loyalty to his country...sigh. OK, without further ado, here are MY favorite military book boyfriends and I cannot WAIT to see who yours are because I can't wait to add some new books to my TBR pile! Eep!

Book Boyfriends Mentioned
Julian from Stir Me Up
Rome from Rome
Gray from Unraveled
Zsadist from Lover Awakened
Alexander from The Bronze Horseman

Hot Men of the Month
Mathew Clairmont from The Book of Life
Titus from The Perilous Sea
Rowan from Heir of Fire

Who are YOUR favorite Military Men in books?!
Tell me so I can read about them!
And don't forget to add your link below!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Hit Me With Your Best Shot

"There's a peace in this moment--a settling in my soul.
Like I've been searching for home and finally found it."
--Katie McGarry, Take Me On

Genre: YA Contemporary
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pages: 455
Publication Date: May 27th, 2014
Source: Bought
Previous Books in Series: Pushing the Limits & Dare You To & Crash Into You
Goodreads Description

Acclaimed author Katie McGarry returns with the knockout new story of two high school seniors who are about to learn what winning really means.

Champion kickboxer Haley swore she'd never set foot in the ring again after one tragic night. But then the guy she can't stop thinking about accepts a mixed martial arts fight in her honor. Suddenly, Haley has to train West Young. All attitude, West is everything Haley promised herself she'd stay away from. Yet he won't last five seconds in the ring without her help.

West is keeping a big secret from Haley. About who he really is. But helping her-fighting for her-is a shot at redemption. Especially since it's his fault his family is falling apart. He can't change the past, but maybe he can change Haley's future.

Hayley and West have agreed to keep their relationship strictly in the ring. But as an unexpected bond forms between them and attraction mocks their best intentions, they'll face their darkest fears and discover love is worth fighting for.
The Heat Katie McGarry knows how to write a story. She knows how to write a romance. And she knows how to get you emotionally invested in her characters. Oh. Em. Gee. It is crazy to me how each of Katie's stories in the Pushing The Limits world are so unique and special and separate from each other. I love Noah (NOAH!!!!) and Echo as much but differently than I love Isaiah and Rachel and Ryan and Beth and West and Haley. I find this quality as a write incredibly unique and special, just like her stories. It is so difficulty to evoke that kind of emotion time and time again with different characters because they all are so different. These stories are too legit to quit and these characters will always keep me coming back for more.

The Divide I say this with every Katie McGarry book but her attention to class and social spheres is amazing. The themes of her books of bringing two people together from vastly different economic standings and realizing that they are not so different after will never cease to amaze me. It is such a beautiful thing to tear down all social hangups and deal solely with the soul inside.

The Swoon I mean...kickboxing training, sweating, heavy breathing, hitting shit, cages...perfect recipe for hot, hot, hot kisses. The relationship between West and Haley was complex and didn't come easily. Their issues with trust was completely realistic and understandable and watching Haley work through her trust issues was beautiful. West has a few secrets of his own and I totally loved it (no spoilers, sorry). I loved that he loved how strong Haley was.

The Issues Katie continues to tackle very difficult emotional issues in her books. Abuse in all forms is represented in this book and how she tactfully and truthfully deals with them is something I love to read. It is refreshing to read about real life issues in a realistic way. There was no rushing towards healing, it takes time and it isn't easy. I love this about her books. Everything is not perfect in the end but we're on our way to healing. Love love love.

The Absence I know this is West and Haley's story and we got glimpses of Rachel and Isaiah but I would have loved to see a little Noah and Ryan and Echo and Beth. West and Haley were definitely not in the sphere of the other characters so I understand but I'm a greedy as hell PTL reader. Gosh I can't wait for the next book with Noah and Echo!!!!!!

Reserved Seating
This was yet another amazing addition to the Pushing the Limits series. The swoon, the characters, the emotional development, and the issues all come together to make an amazingly complete novel. If you have not read Katie McGarry yet I have no idea what the hell you are waiting for. You're missing out...on everything.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

All The Love

I have to say I LOVE this week's Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and the Bookish! I love me some author love and I love fangirling over our favorites! And keep in mind I only buy books if I LOVE them and want to add them to my growing personal library. So my numbers aren't super high but these are my go-to people. I won't list all the books I own by them just the number and I think you can figure it out from there! Can't wait to see who your favorite authors are! Short and sweet this week, here's m y list!

JK Rowling--16 Books
JR Ward--14 Books (You bet your ass I have the Guide to the BDB)
Richelle Mead--11 Books
Sarah J. Maas--10 Books (I bought the novellas separately at first so I'm counting them and I have multiple copies of ToG and CoM...)
Cassandra Clare--9 Books
Philippa Gregory--8 Books
Karina Halle--8 Books
Jojo Moyes--8 Books
CS Lewis--7 Books

So my list is not grand but it is a snapshot of my favorite authors. I was surprised some of my auto-buy authors didn't make the list! But it's because I only have one copy of each book and they only have 4 books out. Oh well!

Monday, July 28, 2014

First Love Dies Hard

"I could never forget your voice.
You sound like an angel who's gotten her wings dirty."
--Karina Halle, On Every Street

Genre: Adult Contemporary
Publisher: Metal Blonde Books
Pages: 138
Publication Date: March 9th, 2013
Source: Bought
Previous Books in Series: Sins and Needles
Goodreads Description

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.

Takes place six years before Sins & Needles. It can be read before or after Sins & Needles and may also be read as a standalone.


Y’all. Let me premise this by saying I am firmly on Team Camden even though after Sins and Needles, I didn’t even think the discussion of teams would be a element…but ooooh does On Every Street open up that option. Javier. Holy mother hell JAVIER. If you told me I would be swooning for a Mexican drug cartel leader who is on just this side of crazy, I’d tell you that you were nuts…and then you’d promptly point me in the direction of Javier with a stop to surgically remove the foot in the my mouth. FOR REALS.

This is the story of how Ellie met Javier and how they fell in love. Le sign. Javier is terrifying, menacing, mentally unstable…but just so gosh damn irresistible. Shit son. This guy has charms for days and he is an animal in the sack. Like 10 alarm fire this man could seduce a nun and make the Pope go gay. I don’t know about anybody else but as I’m reading and knowing what happens in S&N, I couldn’t tell if he was genuine or not. And as I kept reading, I realized that holy shit, this guy is totally legit and head over heels for Ellie…which makes knowing how the book ends hurt that much worse…

I was reading and reading and hoping and hoping that it would somehow turn out a different way solely to save the heartbreak I know it caused Ellie, but alas, the beauty of foresight, we all knew what was coming.

Now I’m not saying I’m switching allegiances…I’m just saying I’m open to the idea that Ellie and Javier had something very real and very special…and hot damn, it  makes me even more excited for Dirty Angels and his story!

Backstage Pass

Friday, July 25, 2014

Flaskback Friday--A Discovery of Witches

Flashback Friday hosted by Fiction Fare and Swoony Boys Podcast

I initially read A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness prior to blogging...way prior to blogging because I read this book right when it came out thus making this wait for the final book even more agonizing but I digress. But it also leads me into why I was so excited to re-read this book before the final installment came out...and I am so glad I did...

This book is even better the second time around. The characters are so well-developed and complex that going back to the beginning is like visiting old friends. I feel completed transported while reading and I cannot tell you enough how much I love being in Matthew and Diana's world. I can see the Bodlein library, I can perfectly envision Sept-Tours, and I feel like a visitor myself to Sarah and Em's epic house. 

None that make any sense to you? Well, you should definitely put this on your TBR list then. Why? Because while the book is big and the print is small every sentence is, dare I say it?, magical. I truly love reading every word of this book. The writing of Deborah Harkness, while verbose, feels necessary. I can't really explain it more than that except when planning my re-read I told myself I'd be able to buzz through it and skim sections. Not the case. I found myself completely lost in the story, that I already knew, and wanting not to skim anything. That's how I good I find this story and the writing. I love long books because when done well they give you a perfect sense of the story without being rushed. That is exactly this book. SO MUCH PLOT HAPPENS but nothing is rushed or overlooked and all the characters get to know each other and vibe off each other, it is just amazing. 

Did I mention there's a romance?...THERE'S A ROMANCE. And a damn freakin' good one at that. Matthew Clairemont has been in my top ten book boyfriends list for years. He is the first vampire my Twilight phobia heart fell in love with. Le sigh. And he's French. Does that help? It should. I want to faint every time he calls Diana mon coeur. I also want to learn French...sigh. 

SO! Check back next week for my Flashback Friday to Shadow of Night, the second book in the series and then shortly after my review for The Book of Life! Eeep! Excuse me while I go start in on book 2 :)

Ball Status?

Genre: Adult Fantasy & Paranormal
Publisher: Viking Penguin
Pages: 579
Publication Date: February 2011

Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Queen for Humanity

"Stories moved Kelsea most, 
stories of things that never were, 
stories that transported her beyond the changeless world of the cottage."
--Erika Johansen, The Queen of the Tearling

Genre: Adult Fantasy
Publisher: Harper
Pages: 448
Publication Date: July 8th, 2014
Source: eARC provided by publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review

Goodreads Description

On her nineteenth birthday, Princess Kelsea Raleigh Glynn, raised in exile, sets out on a perilous journey back to the castle of her birth to ascend her rightful throne. Plain and serious, a girl who loves books and learning, Kelsea bears little resemblance to her mother, the vain and frivolous Queen Elyssa. But though she may be inexperienced and sheltered, Kelsea is not defenseless: Around her neck hangs the Tearling sapphire, a jewel of immense magical power; and accompanying her is the Queen’s Guard, a cadre of brave knights led by the enigmatic and dedicated Lazarus. Kelsea will need them all to survive a cabal of enemies who will use every weapon—from crimson-caped assassins to the darkest blood magic—to prevent her from wearing the crown.

Despite her royal blood, Kelsea feels like nothing so much as an insecure girl, a child called upon to lead a people and a kingdom about which she knows almost nothing. But what she discovers in the capital will change everything, confronting her with horrors she never imagined. An act of singular daring will throw Kelsea’s kingdom into tumult, unleashing the vengeance of the tyrannical ruler of neighboring Mortmesne: the Red Queen, a sorceress possessed of the darkest magic. Now Kelsea will begin to discover whom among the servants, aristocracy, and her own guard she can trust.

But the quest to save her kingdom and meet her destiny has only just begun—a wondrous journey of self-discovery and a trial by fire that will make her a legend…if she can survive.

The Queen of the Tearling introduces readers to a world as fully imagined and terrifying as that of The Hunger Games, with characters as vivid and intriguing as those of The Game of Thrones, and a wholly original heroine. Combining thrilling action and twisting plot turns, it is a magnificent debut from the talented Erika Johansen

Kelsea Move over people, there is a new head bitch in town. Kelsea. Is. Kick. Ass. Raised by foster parents and hidden away until her 19th birthday when she can ascend the throne, Kelsea is plain, cut off from what is going on in the kingdom she is supposed to take over, and confused more than anything. She wants to be a good Queen and rule with justice but she has no idea how to go about it...yeah, that lasts for about 30 seconds. While she continues to question her actions and wonders what consequences will become of said actions, Kelsea leads with her heart and morals. She lives by the court of humanity and acts accordingly. Her choices are difficult but obvious to her in the sense that she is eliminating as much suffering as she can when she comes upon the horrors that have wracked this country for years. I loved this about it. There was a lot of consideration in her choices but at the end of the day she did what she had to do to keep her people safe. AND she does not back down. I loved seeing her come into her own with her Guard and men everywhere who doubted her intelligence.

Mace We all know how much I love a good Captain of the Guard...and Mace is no exception. He does his job with skill and efficiency. He knows what to do in a crisis. He will protect Kelsea no matter the odds. I love this about it. He has his faults as well, which make me love him even more. He is not perfect but expects himself to be. He has hidden demons and secrets, too. I can't wait to uncover those....I also may or may not want to ship him with Kelsea...he's the front-runner but my vote is still out...

The Story I loooooved how this story evolved and what happened in it. I loved seeing Kelsea make difficult decisions for the good of her people. I loved seeing her being snarky towards her evil and stupid Uncle. The world of Mortmesne is still a mystery and their Queen even moreso. The evil that lurks inside her and how she came to be is fascinating as it is terrifying. I cannot wait for more of this part of the story to be unveiled. What else? OH! WHO IS KELSEA'S FATHER!? I NEED TO KNOW! Sorry...not really...but this aspect I am also dying to know.

The World and the Unknown There is this cloud of mystery surrounding this world and how it came to be. There is no technology in the way we have it now but the book is clearly in the future. They reference JK Rowling and modern medicine we have today but that they don't have anymore. They call places New Europe and New London and I am fascinated and beyond intrigued by how this world came to be. And who is the Fetch?! Is there magic in this world? Who can wield it? I want the next book because I want more answers! Gah!!

The Ode to Readers Kelsea is an avid reader. One of her first goals after getting to the Keep is to fill her room with books. She loves them and can't get enough of them. Hearing her talk about her love of reading made me love her even more. I love when authors do this with their characters. It's like they're thanking the reader right in print because it gives us something to connect to because chances are if you're reading, you like to read.

The Romance There wasn't one. And I'm not in any way downgrading this book because of it. It says something that I freaking loved it and there was no kissing but...will there be kissing?...Please?! I ship Kelsea with three top contenders and I would love it going any way. I did really like that the focus of the story was on Kelsea and her reign rather than her heart, I really did. But future books...maybe?
Backstage Pass
I had actual tears streaming down my face at the end of this book. It is so inspiring and Kelsea is an AMAZING character. I cannot wait to see where the rest of her story goes and what she does during her reign.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Importance of Timing Part II

You guys...YOU GUYS. You all KNOW how much I LOVE all of Jojo Moyes books, right?! So imagine my surprise (more like utter shock) when the amazing Jaime over at Fiction Fare made me aware of a signing that was taking place no more than 20 minutes from where I'm living in San Diego. OH MY GOSH LET THE FREAK OUT BEGIN. Never in my life did I think I would ever have the opportunity to meet her because she is legit one of my all-time favorite authors. Her books touch me on a level that is always personal in some way no matter what the story is. Her stories are magic and she weaves the ordinary into the extraordinary and I cannot ever get enough of her books.

SO! I wanted to do a fun recap of the event at Warwick's Bookstore in La Jolla, California and give a quick and dirty break down of some of the fun facts I learned about Jojo Moyes. Oh, and in case you were wondering...her accent is absolutely lovely and she is so kind in real life. Really. 

Fun Facts I Learned About Jojo Moyes

Why did she write ONE PLUS ONE? 
Reason 1: She wanted to write a story about a good mother. She said literature has too many bad examples or they treat mothers horribly. Such as fairy tales (The Moms are always dead), Harry Potter (Harry's Mom is dead), The Goldfinch (The Mom is dead), and Pride and Prejudice (the Mom in meddling). 

Reason 2: She also wanted to write a "dirty, sexy, funny, great road trip story." Direct quote. I absolutely loved this because the words dirty and sexy to describe a road trip makes the story sound illicit...then you realize they have two children and a big, dirty dog with them...maybe THAT'S why dirty was an adjective...

She Listens To Input From Her Fans
When debating the fate of Norman, she tweeted wondering if she should kill the dog and the overwhelming response from Twitter the next morning was NO…she found it ironic that nobody cares when she kills a human (save one human) but they all care about the dogs. In fact, she once got an email from a reader stating she would never read her books again for the demise of a dog in SHIP OF BRIDES (she promises that isn't a spoiler) 

Her Inspiration For ME BEFORE YOU?
She has personal experience with the question of quality of life thus pushing her to write ME BEFORE YOU and a young athlete recently had befallen a life-changing injury and opted for physician-assisted suicide.

How did she write MBY?
She said ME BEFORE YOU was the easiest book she ever wrote. 
I love that.

Will (see what I did there?) there be more MBY?
Yes, kinda! It's going to be a movie!!! AND it had a female director AND producer AND A-list actors reading for the role of Will...EEP!

Where Did the Story for THE GIRL YOU LEFT BEHIND Came From
The Girl You Left Behind was inspired by a true story of an American reporter who was asked to watch over  a warehouse that contained 1/3 of Europe's stolen art during the liberation of Dachau. So that part in the book? True story.

The Ending of an Era?
She wanted to write The Last Letter To Your Lover because a younger friend or family member (can't remember) never received a love letter and she thought her generation might be the last of the receiver of love letters 

True Life Inspiration...
Jojo says she gets up at 6 am to write every morning...her husband wakes up at 5:55 am every morning to make her coffee, prop her head behind a pillow, and plop her computer on her lap…if that isn’t true love…no wonder she writes such great love stories. 

My favorite fact of the night AND the reason why I absolutely love all her books?
She could get a novel out of any human being she talked for a short amount of time. She says that we all have a story to tell...isn't that just lovely? Ordinary into extraordinary, what did I say?

Seriously though, this was one of the best nights ever and such an amazing event. It was well-organized and just such a great signing. I'm not lying when I say Jojo Moyes is such a nice person to meet and it was an amazing experience to tell her in person how much her books mean to me...even if I was spazzing...just a little. Thank you so incredibly much to Warwick's the event and I can't wait to come back for some more books :)

If you haven't read any of her books yet (what in the actual hell are you waiting for?)
don't forget to check out my VIP reviews for...

The Last Letter To Your Lover
Me Before You
One Plus One
The Girl You Left Behind