Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Midnight Queen by Sylvia Izzo Hunter

Publisher: Ace
Publication Date: September 2, 2014
Source: Publisher – Thank you!
Rating: I liked it!

In the hallowed halls of Oxford’s Merlin College, the most talented—and highest born—sons of the Kingdom of Britain are taught the intricacies of magickal theory. But what dazzles can also destroy, as Gray Marshall is about to discover…
Gray’s deep talent for magick has won him a place at Merlin College. But when he accompanies four fellow students on a mysterious midnight errand that ends in disaster and death, he is sent away in disgrace—and without a trace of his power. He must spend the summer under the watchful eye of his domineering professor, Appius Callender, working in the gardens of Callender’s country estate and hoping to recover his abilities. And it is there, toiling away on a summer afternoon, that he meets the professor’s daughter. Even though she has no talent of her own, Sophie Callender longs to be educated in the lore of magick. Her father has kept her isolated at the estate and forbidden her interest; everyone knows that teaching arcane magickal theory to women is the height of impropriety. But against her father’s wishes, Sophie has studied his ancient volumes on the subject. And in the tall, stammering, yet oddly charming Gray, she finally finds someone who encourages her interest and awakens new ideas and feelings. Sophie and Gray’s meeting touches off a series of events that begins to unravel secrets about each of them. And after the king’s closest advisor pays the professor a closed-door visit, they begin to wonder if what Gray witnessed in Oxford might be even more sinister than it seemed. They are determined to find out, no matter the cost…

THE MIDNIGHT QUEEN follows Gray and Sophie, two delightful characters whose lives have suddenly become saturated with intrigue and secrecy. The story contains several unexpected developments, a band of interesting characters, and enough sweet moments to make readers smile.

Although I enjoyed the story, the reason why I liked THE MIDNIGHT QUEEN is that it is so well-written. The vocabulary is at times challenging, while the phrases are unique and not the run-of-the-mill stock descriptions used so often in young adult literature. Hunter did a wonderful job elevating her story and challenging her readers to absorb the pacing and wait patiently for each tantalizing scene.

I certainly enjoyed the first half of the book more than the second, but that is not to say that the second half lacked the quality of its predecessor. The first half of the book dealt more with the mystery of the story and slowly unravels a web of suspense. There was also something sweetly innocent about the first half that I admired.

If you want to read a story that balances mystery and action, you need to add THE MIDNIGHT QUEEN to your reading list this fall!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Be With Me by J. Lynn Blog Tour

Be With Me by J. Lynn
Source: publisher- thank you!
Publication date: Feb 4th
Publisher: William Morrow
Rating: I liked it!
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, change-your-life kiss. She got out of a terrible relationship. And now an injury is threatening to end her dance career for good. It’s time for Plan B – college. And maybe 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 kissing the one girl who could ruin everything for him. As they’re thrown together more and more, Jase and Tess 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

I read WAIT FOR YOU in a flash, and I have been anticipating its sequel for months. With Jennifer’s humor and well-developed ability to write smokin’ hot male leads, I knew that BE WITH ME would be a joyride. In BE WITH ME, Cam’s sister Tessa stars opposite Jase, Cam’s best friend. I enjoyed seeing little bits of Jase here and there in WAIT FOR YOU, so I was thrilled when Jase turned out to be the main attraction in the sequel.

Tessa is a strong character, and I appreciated the tenderness with which Jennifer wrote her character. She has been through quite a bit with her past relationship and ballet injury, and her battles are fought both internally and externally. Jase has an interesting story – one that is unexpected – and it allows him to connect with Tessa and find commonality in those dark moments.

BE WITH ME is a good story, and I liked reading this more authentic experience in the new adult genre. I have read countless Bad Boy/Good Girl NA stories, and they have all started to become predictable. Jennifer’s writing has a spontaneity in it that is both exhilarating and alluring. She understands how to draw in readers and gently guide action before swinging out those blade-like plot twists. I must also point out that Jennifer's writing is maturing beautifully. I have been reading her work since Half-Blood, and while I've always loved her storytelling, I can see the transformation and am impressed.

If you enjoy New Adult, I highly recommend this series. BE WITH ME is a fantastic follow-up to a great book. Everything Jennifer writes is entertaining, but she does something with this series that challenges her readers. I look forward to reading how these characters develop.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Miranda Kenneally Guest Post for Racing Savannah!

The lovely Miranda Kenneally wrote an insightful guest post as part of the blog tour to celebrate the release of the fantastic RACING SAVANNAH.

What do you hope readers gain from reading your books?

Thanks for having me on your blog today! What a great question - I don't think anyone's ever asked me that before.

I know that some readers have been disappointed that all my books aren't mirror images of CATCHING JORDAN, and I've heard other readers are disappointed that RACING SAVANNAH and CATCHING JORDAN aren't as "deep" as STEALING PARKER or THINGS I CAN'T FORGET. But I have been very deliberate in what I write about and who the main girl characters are in my books.

You see, I want to write a variety of books for different types of girls who come from different backgrounds. I want to show that even if a character is poor or rich, they still have every right to work hard and go after their dreams. They still have a right to go after that hot guy, too!

I am thrilled that different readers like and relate to some of my books more than others. I want readers to take whatever they want out of my books, whether one encourages a girl to go after her dreams, or just makes a girl laugh. Readers can like or dislike my books - it's all up to them. 

When I'm reading, I want a good romance, but I also want to learn about something new or visit a place I've never been before. I love reading fiction that involves travel and road-trips.

What do you like most about reading?

 Miranda Kenneally is the author of CATCHING JORDAN, STEALING PARKER, THINGS I CAN'T FORGET, and RACING SAVANNAH. Her fifth book, most likely to be titled BREATHE, ANNIE, BREATHE, is coming out in July 2014. She enjoys reading and writing young adult literature, and loves Star Trek, music, sports, Mexican food, Twitter, coffee, and her husband.

I really enjoyed RACING SAVANNAH and can’t wait to share my review with you this week.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Lair by Emily McKay

The Lair by Emily McKay
Publication Date: November 5th
Publisher: Berkley
Source: Publisher – thank you!
Rating: I liked it
After making it to a resistance base camp in Utah, Lily learned to survive at all costs. But when a Tick attack decimates the fighters, Lily and her pregnant friend, McKenna, decide to make the hard trek north to Canada—and safety. Meanwhile, Mel is being taught how to survive by the very vampire that turned her. Living without her sister is hard, but dealing with the fact that her autism was cured by the vampire bite is an even bigger challenge. But when a monstrous betrayal places Lily in mortal danger, Mel must set out to find her, save her, and begin to unravel the empire of destruction that the Ticks have built.

The Skinny: A fast-paced, interesting sequel

I really enjoyed THE FARM, so when I received a copy of THE LAIR, I sat down and started reading before the UPS wrapping touched the floor. I am usually nervous when reading sequels to books I enjoyed. What if it doesn’t live up to my expectations? What if the author lost that Book 1 magic? I did not experience any of those traditional anxieties because Emily McKay knows how to craft novel-worthy characters and nerve-wracking plotlines.

In THE LAIR, the world McKay created delicately unfolds and we learn more about the characters we met in THE FARM. Mel adjusts to her new life, and we look at the world through her unique perspective. Her emotions and thoughts have been shaped by her experience with Autism, so her lens uniquely interprets the world and provides the audience with an alternative to Lily’s mature, protective outlook. The characters in THE LAIR are exactly the type of people you would want on your side if all hell breaks loose.

Emily McKay is great at writing gripping scenes and throwing out plot twists that will make your head spin. Filled with ulterior motives, backstabbing, and dubious actions, THE LAIR is sure to keep readers on the edge of their seats. Readers of Julie Kagawa’s Blood of Eden will love this series. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Finding It by Cora Carmack Blog Tour!

Finding It by Cora Carmack
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication date: October 15th
Source: Publisher – thank you!
Rating: I really liked it!
Sometimes you have to lose yourself to find where you truly belong...

Most girls would kill to spend months traveling around Europe after college graduation with no responsibility, no parents, and no-limit credit cards. Kelsey Summers is no exception. She's having the time of her life . . . or that's what she keeps telling herself. It's a lonely business trying to find out who you are, especially when you're afraid you won't like what you discover. No amount of drinking or dancing can chase away Kelsey's loneliness, but maybe Jackson Hunt can. After a few chance meetings, he convinces her to take a journey of adventure instead of alcohol. With each new city and experience, Kelsey's mind becomes a little clearer and her heart a little less hers. Jackson helps her unravel her own dreams and desires. But the more she learns about herself, the more Kelsey realizes how little she knows about Jackson.

The Skinny: Best book in the series!

I discovered Cora’s books as a result of New Leaf Literary’s fantastic PR campaign. The various Tumblr posts and tweets inspired me to order LOSING IT, and I was hooked. This series is just so, so good. I laugh at loud, feel tears pool in my eyes, and blush in embarrassment with each book. Cora’s writing style brings a crispness to New Adult and embodies the foundation on which this genre is built.
In FINDING IT, Kelsey bounces around Europe in an attempt to flee from past traumas. She meets Hunt, a man who understands the darkest parts of her personality while simultaneously encourages her to embrace the brightest aspects of her life. The way Hunt and Kelsey evolve feels natural and sweet. I love their chemistry – a slow burn that Cora fuels with each page.

Cora Carmack has the ability to put a spotlight on relatable situations and describes them with precision and honesty. I admire her talent and respect the risks she takes with her characters. She rips them apart, forces them to face their demons, and slowly rebuilds them with threads of hope and buttons of strength.

I really enjoyed FINDING IT, and I highly encourage readers to start this series immediately. It is the type of book that will expand reading palates and expose readers to a talented writer.

Check out the rest of tour!

Thursday, October 17th: Sara’s Organized Chaos
Tuesday, October 22nd: Reading Reality
Monday, October 28th: Oh! Paper Pages
Tuesday, October 29th: Mom in Love With Fiction
Wednesday, October 30th: Why Girls Are Weird
Thursday, October 31st: From the TBR Pile
Monday, November 4th: Let The Read Books
Thursday, November 7th: Tina’s Book Reviews
Monday, November 11th: Cupcake on Books
Thursday, November 14th: Books a la Mode

Cora Carmack is a twenty-something writer who likes to write about twenty-something characters. She’s done a multitude of things in her life—retail, theatre, teaching, and writing. She loves theatre, travel, and anything that makes her laugh. She enjoys placing her characters in the most awkward situations possible and then trying to help them get a boyfriend out of it. Awkward people need love too. Find out more about Cora at her website, connect with her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Sweet by Erin McCarthy Blog Tour and Interview!

Jessica Sweet thought going away to college would finally make her free of her parents’ constant judgments and insistence she play chastity club role model for their church events, but if anything, the freedom has made her realize she can’t go home and be a hypocrite anymore. Tired of dodging their questions, she stays at school over the summer and lands in an unexpected crash pad: Riley Mann’s house.

Sarcastic, cocky, and full of opinions, Riley is also sexy personified with tattoos and biceps earned from working as a roofer all day. Not the right guy for her even if Jessica was looking for a relationship, which she is definitely not. But Jessica knows that Riley hides the burden of having to raise his younger brothers behind that grin and as she helps him get his house in order for a custody hearing, they begin to fall hard for each other, and she is forced to question what she’s hiding herself.

Jessica has never had a problem getting naked with a guy, but when it comes to showing Riley how she truly feels inside, her fear of rejection may just ruin the best thing—the best guy—to ever happen to her…
Welcome to my stop on the SWEET blog tour! If you are looking for a fantastic new series, I highly encourage you to read The True Believers series by Erin McCarthy. I enjoyed reading TRUE, the first in the series, and SWEET is a fantastic sequel.

SWEET explores the stories of Jessica and Riley – two people who seemed destined to rub each other the wrong way. When Jessica moves into Riley’s house for a week, their preconceived notions slowly shatter and they learn more about each other and themselves during their brief cohabitation.

I really enjoyed the emotional depth of SWEET, which was carefully balanced with humor and witty banter. Erin’s writing has a way of pulling readers into the work and allowing the story to blossom around them. The writing is as raw and honest as the characters. Riley and Jessica may be the focus of SWEET but the secondary characters have just as much personality and charisma. I am drawn to each character, and I can’t get enough of this series!

The talented Erin McCarthy graciously answered a few interview questions:

What do you hope readers take away from your work?

I hope readers will take away that there are always shades of gray to people and their lives and that everyone’s choices are theirs to make, no judgment.  And of course, I hope everyone will sigh as the characters fall in love.

Which couple’s story speaks to you more—Rory and Tyler or Jessica and Riley?

I enjoyed writing them both for different reasons.  I was definitely more like Rory at that age—a sharp observer, on the shy side.  So it was satisfying to give her the sexy guy who adores her.  But at the same time, I loved writing the banter between Jessica and Riley and to show that people aren’t always what they seem on the surface.

We briefly meet Phoenix—can you tell us a little about him?

Phoenix is quieter than his cousins, more intense.  He didn’t have the support system of brothers and so he doesn’t attach easily, but when he does, it sticks.  It makes him super sexy, in my opinion, and there are scenes from his point of view, because I wanted to explore his thoughts.
What can we expect from BELIEVE?

BELIEVE has some heart-wrenching moments.  Robin and Phoenix are damaged people and they find solace in each other.  It’s a quieter, more emotional story than SWEET.  The reader will see more of Rory and Tyler and Jessica and Riley in it as well, along with the younger Mann boys.

 Erin McCarthy is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than 40 novels and novellas in the paranormal, contemporary romance, young adult, and new adult genres.  The author is a RITA award finalist and an American Library Association winner of the Reluctant Young Reader award.  She lives with her family in Ohio. 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Biting Bad by Chloe Neill: Giveaway and Blog Tour!

Merit has been a vampire for only a short while, but she’s already seen a lifetime’s worth of trouble. She and her Master, centuries-old Ethan Sullivan, have risked their lives time and again to save the city they love. But not all of Chicago is loving them back. Anti-vampire riots are erupting all over town, striking vampires where it hurts the most. A splinter group armed with Molotov cocktails and deep-seated hate is intent on clearing the fanged from the Windy City come hell or high water. Merit and her allies rush to figure out who’s behind the attacks, who will be targeted next, and whether there’s any way to stop the wanton destruction. The battle for Chicago is just beginning, and Merit is running out of time.

Welcome to my stop on the BITING BAD blog tour! I read BITING BAD a few weeks ago, and I LOVED IT! It is definitely the best book in the series, and I can’t wait for everyone to read this fantastic addition to Meritland. Chloe is visiting several great blogs to let Merit chat about all of the swoony men in the Chicagoland Vampire series. Let’s see what Chloe and Merit have in store for us today!

Hi, everyone, and welcome to the BITING BAD Blog Tour! From July 29, 2013 to August 9, 2013 (click here for full schedule), I’m visiting blogs to give Merit an opportunity to rate the men of the Chicagoland Vampires series–are they “Book Boyfriend” material? Let’s see what she has to say.

Scott Grey, Master
Hair/eye color: Dark brown/dark brown
Species: Vampire
House affiliation: Grey
First appearance in book (book/page): SGB, pg. 302
Thoughts: Scott’s handsome in an athletic, frat boy way, if you prefer that type. He’s standoffish, but he’s becoming more comfortable sharing Cadogan’s fight for the heart and soul of Chicago. And he’s a Cubs fan.
Verdict: B+ / Book boyfriend material for those who love sports, athletes, and those with quiet power.


Chloe has generously provided a giveaway for readers! I will split up the prizes to give a few people a chance to win something. Bookmarks, a tote, a signed copy of Biting Cold, and pens could be yours if you enter the rafflecopter below! I am limiting some of the bigger prizes to US readers, but I will select a few international readers to receive bookmarks! Good luck! I really hope you win!
The fun doesn’t stop here!
Want more chances to win? You can also enter Chloe’s Biting Bad Grand Prize Giveaway, which will run July 29, 2013 through August 9, 2013 on Chloe’s web site.

What is the Grand Prize Giveaway prize?
A personalized, autographed Chicagoland Vampires and Dark Elite novel
A Chicagoland Vampires tote bag
A $50 gift card from Amazon, Indiebound, or Barnes & Noble (Winner’s choice)
A Chicagoland Vampires audiobook
A limited edition BITING BAD All Access Pass and Cadogan House lanyard
Two Cadogan House Koozies, so you can share a beverage with your favorite vamp.
Bookmarks, pens, buttons, and more swag!

Biting Bad Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, July 29 – Rapid Reads, Oh Paper Pages
Tuesday, July 30 – The Consummate Reader
Wednesday, July 31 – Me, Myself & Books Blog
Thursday, August 1 – Reading Rain Blog
Friday, August 2 – VampChix & Bite Club, Rantings of a Reading Addict
Monday, August 5 – Wholly Books, Reading and Writing Urban Fantasy, Paranormal and Romance
Tuesday, August 6 (Release Day) – Cocktails & Books
Wednesday, August 7 – Nocturne Reads, Krista’s Dust Jacket
Thursday, August 8 – Urban Fantasy Investigations
Friday, August 9 – Saucy Wenches, Gizmo’s Reviews

If you are new to the CV series and love well-written books with great characters, I highly recommend the Chicagoland Vampire series by Chloe Neill! Purchase a copy at AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-MillionIndieboundApple iBookstore, or Penguin, fellow bibliophiles!