Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Coming April 2nd
Love Irresistibly by Julie James
FBI/US Attorney Book 4

From the author's website

A former football star and one of Chicago’s top prosecutors, Assistant U.S. Attorney Cade Morgan will do anything to nail a corrupt state senator, which means he needs Brooke Parker’s help. As general counsel for a restaurant company, she can get a bug to the senator’s table at one of her five-star restaurants so the FBI can eavesdrop on him. All Cade has to do is convince Brooke to cooperate—and he’s not afraid to use a little charm, or the power of his office, to do just that.
A savvy businesswoman, Brooke knows she needs to play ball with the U.S. Attorney’s office—even if it means working with Cade. No doubt there’s a sizzling attraction beneath all their sarcastic quips, but Brooke is determined to keep things casual. Cade agrees—until a surprising turn of events throws his life into turmoil, and he realizes that he wants more than just a good time from the one woman with whom he could fall terrifyingly, irresistibly in love . . .

Check out an excerpt HERE
Be sure to mark it as to-read on Goodreads HERE
Also, if you haven't read books 1-3 you can find them on Amazon

Lovely, Dark, and Deep by Amy McNamara

Lovely, Dark, and Deep by Amy McNamara

Goodreads Blurb

A resonant debut novel about retreating from the world after losing everything—and the connections that force you to rejoin it.

Since the night of the crash, Wren Wells has been running away. Though she lived through the accident that killed her boyfriend Patrick, the girl she used to be didn’t survive. Instead of heading off to college as planned, Wren retreats to her father’s studio in the far-north woods of Maine. Somewhere she can be alone.

Then she meets Cal Owen. Dealing with his own troubles, Cal’s hiding out too. When the chemistry between them threatens to pull Wren from her hard-won isolation, Wren has to choose: risk opening her broken heart to the world again, or join the ghosts who haunt her.

A good story about heartache, losing loved ones, and losing yourself. 

After losing her boyfriend in a car accident, Wren Wells escapes her life to stay with her artist father. She meets Mary, Cal, and Zara who each help her come back to life, just not the life she once knew. 

Wren's struggles against her overbearing mother, sometimes absent father, and rising panic attacks.  In Mary she finds a friend. Zara provides the nurturing that Wren's mother lacks. And with Cal, Wren finds acceptance and love. 

The story is interesting, but the writing style is at times choppy, and I often felt large chunks of story were missing. It's still a good read. 

3 out of 5 stars.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Also Known As by Robin Benway

Also Known As by Robin Benway

Goodreads Blurb

Being a 16-year-old safecracker and active-duty daughter of international spies has its moments, good and bad. Pros: Seeing the world one crime-solving adventure at a time. Having parents with super cool jobs. Cons: Never staying in one place long enough to have friends or a boyfriend. But for Maggie Silver, the biggest perk of all has been avoiding high school and the accompanying cliques, bad lunches, and frustratingly simple locker combinations.

Then Maggie and her parents are sent to New York for her first solo assignment, and all of that changes. She'll need to attend a private school, avoid the temptation to hack the school's security system, and befriend one aggravatingly cute Jesse Oliver to gain the essential information she needs to crack the case . . . all while trying not to blow her cover.

I love it when I read a book and even though I know there's going to be the whole boy-meets-girl thing, I'm so into the story that even though I've read 15% of the book with no meet cute, I'm not screaming for it to hurry up and happen already.

At sixteen years of age, super-spy Maggie Silver is on her first solo assignment; befriend a fellow student, Jesse Oliver and gain information on his father. The problem is that none of the files mentioned how incredibly cute or devastatingly sweet Jesse Oliver can be. (JSYK, He's swoony sweet.) For the first time in her life, Maggie is learning how to navigate the turbulent waters of high school and friendship while trying to convince her parents that everything is under control.

This is the second book by Robin Benway that I have read. (The first was Audrey Wait!) She has a fun and quirky style that I absolutely love. She also has a way of telling a story that causes me to get lost in her world. 

Lastly, I have to mention that Benway has a way of introducing music in her stories without interrupting the flow of the story. I love when an author shares the playlist that's been in his/her head as the story is being written.

5 out of 5 stars.

Party by Tom Leveen

Party by Tom Leveen

Goodreads Blurb

It's saturday night in Santa Barbara and school is done for the year. Everyone is headed to the same party. Or at least it seems that way. The place is packed. The beer is flowing. Simple, right? But for 11 different people the motives are way more complicated. As each character takes a turn and tells his or her story, the eleven individuals intersect, and reconnect, collide, and combine in ways that none of them ever saw coming.

This was a quick read for me. 

It's the biggest party of the year and we get eleven different points of view of the same night, only not really. Each person shares their version of the night's happenings, but with very little overlaps. We learn each teenager's hopes and fears for the future. As each story unfolds, we see lives that are intertwined and woven together in ways that surprise the characters.  We also realize that each person just wants to be seen, really seen, and accepted for who they truly are.

I enjoyed this debut novel by Tom Leveen and look forward to reading more.

4 out of 5 stars.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist 

by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Goodreads Blub
It all starts when Nick asks Norah to be his girlfriend for five minutes. He only needs five minutes to avoid his ex-girlfriend, who’s just walked in to his band’s show. With a new guy. And then, with one kiss, Nick and Norah are off on an adventure set against the backdrop of New York City—and smack in the middle of all the joy, anxiety, confusion, and excitement of a first date.

This he said/she said romance told by YA stars Rachel Cohn and David Levithan is a sexy, funny roller coaster of a story about one date over one very long night, with two teenagers, both recovering from broken hearts, who are just trying to figure out who they want to be—and where the next great band is playing.

Told in alternating chapters, teeming with music references, humor, angst, and endearing side characters, this is a love story you’ll wish were your very own. Working together for the first time, Rachel Cohn and David Levithan have combined forces to create a book that is sure to grab readers of all ages and never let them go.

I thoroughly enjoyed this wonderful wild ride.

Nick is a promising young lyricist and also the bassist for a queer-core punk band. After a gig one night he introduces himself to Norah by asking her to be his girlfriend for five minutes in order to avoid his ex. A life altering kiss kicks off a night of mistakes, miscommunications, and misinterpretations. 

Nick and Norah bond over musical interests, a shared sense of humor, and a plate of Polish meats. As they get to know each other better, they each take the opportunity to grow and move beyond the hurts of the past. 

This story is humorous even as it stretches the reader. It caused me to evaluate my beliefs and my heart to swell. I fell in love with both Nick and Norah as well as their entire supporting cast.

5 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Best Man by Kristan Higgins

The Best Man by Kristan Higgins

Goodreads Blurb

Sometimes the best man is the one you least expect….  Faith Holland left her hometown after being jilted at the altar. Now a little older and wiser, she's ready to return to the Blue Heron Winery, her family's vineyard, to confront the ghosts of her past, and maybe enjoy a glass of red. After all, there's some great scenery there….

Like Levi Cooper, the local police chief—and best friend of her former fiancĂ©. There's a lot about Levi that Faith never noticed, and it's not just those deep green eyes. The only catch is she's having a hard time forgetting that he helped ruin her wedding all those years ago. If she can find a minute amidst all her family drama to stop and smell the rosĂ©, she just might find a reason to stay at Blue Heron, and finish that walk down the aisle.

It's no secret that I'm a huge Kristan Higgins fan, but I now have a special place in my heart reserved specifically for the Holland family. 

Faith Holland left home years ago after being dumped at the alter. Heartbreak over her failed attempt to get married and childhood guilt cause Faith to spend a few years away from home making a new life for herself. The first person she sees upon returning to her hometown in New York is the man responsible for breaking up her wedding, Levi Cooper. Make that Chief of Police Levi Cooper. 

I liked this story for many reasons, but the main one would be the healing journey that the main characters take. They are all flawed and in need of repair. Even so, I love that they don't look to fix each other. Real life happens, and along the way Faith learns to forgive herself and to trust in love again.

This is Book One of Blue Heron series and all I can say is, "Gimme Book Two right now."

5 out of 5 stars.

A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty

A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriart

Goodreads blurb

The first in a rousing, funny, genre-busting trilogy from bestseller Jaclyn Moriarty!

This is a tale of missing persons. Madeleine and her mother have run away from their former life, under mysterious circumstances, and settled in a rainy corner of Cambridge (in our world).

Elliot, on the other hand, is in search of his father, who disappeared on the night his uncle was found dead. The talk in the town of Bonfire (in the Kingdom of Cello) is that Elliot's dad may have killed his brother and run away with the Physics teacher. But Elliot refuses to believe it. And he is determined to find both his dad and the truth.

As Madeleine and Elliot move closer to unraveling their mysteries, they begin to exchange messages across worlds -- through an accidental gap that hasn't appeared in centuries. But even greater mysteries are unfolding on both sides of the gap: dangerous weather phenomena called "color storms;" a strange fascination with Isaac Newton; the myth of the "Butterfly Child," whose appearance could end the droughts of Cello; and some unexpected kisses...

I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley.  The worlds created by the author are amazing and detailed.  The characters are richly drawn, but I just did not connect.  I'm convinced that many readers will enjoy this tale, but while beautifully written and quite unique, this story is just not my cup of tea.  

2.5 out of 5 stars

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Goodreads blurb

It's 1986 and two star-crossed teens are smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you'll remember your own first love--and just how hard it pulled you under.

 A cross between the iconic '80s movie Sixteen Candles and the classic coming-of-age novel Looking for Alaska, Eleanor & Park is a brilliantly written young adult novel.

First of all I have to say that I am the "big" girl with crazy red hair who married the half-Korean boy who never quite fit in. I like to say that the characters were based on myself and my husband.  Anyway, on to the story.

I'm sitting here wondering how a girl like me, a total HEA kind of gal, can read this book and the only word that comes to mind is PERFECTION. The writing style is flawless. The characters are more authentic than any I've ever read. The emotions are almost physical in their nature. This book is just fabulous. 

Park's mom is written with a frightening degree of accuracy. She is the embodiment of my Korean mother-in-law, if Lee were an Avon sales lady from the 1980's. 

Park is the unequaled in the world of fiction. He has a sharp dislike for Eleanor at first and has a tendency to be outright rude to her. As we learn more about Park, we see that his initial reaction to Eleanor is a direct result to being half Asian in a predominately white environment. He didn't understand why she would dress in a way that makes her stand out, a complaint he ponders often in the beginning. To someone who has spent his life trying to fit in, her choices are a mystery. As the story moves forward, Park begins to accept and eventually love these very qualities about Eleanor. It is these seemingly outrageous decisions that cause him to tell her that she's the bravest person that he knows.

And Eleanor...God bless Eleanor in all of her Big Red crazy-haired glory. It is through Eleanor's character and Park's reactions to her that I was able to think back to the early days of dating my husband and see what it is that he was able to see in me.

Just Breathe by Janette Paul

Just Breathe by Janette Paul

Goodreads Blurb

Opposites attract in this funny, touching and deliciously romantic novel as hippie Dee meets millionaire businessman Ethan - and her calm world is turned upside down...

Dee Nichols is a free-spirited yoga teacher, albeit a broke one. But she's not interested in money or possessions or thinking too far into the future. After surviving a terrible car accident, she's just happy to be breathing.

Then Dee meets Ethan Roxburgh at a Christmas party. As the head of Roxburgh Holdings, and a regular in the social pages, he's the opposite of what Dee wants in her life. Until a job modelling yoga in a TV commercial turns Dee into an overnight celebrity…

Thrust into a whole new world of business and PR (as well as high-heels and plunging necklines) Dee is out of her comfort zone and suddenly Ethan is perfect – as a mentor. Or would be, if she wasn't so damn attracted to him. After all, he'd never look twice at a short, accident-prone yoga instructor with market-stall couture …

Then Ethan does look twice - and life gets sweet and sexy as hell.

Written by Jaye Ford under her alter ego Janette Paul.

I have discovered that I have quite a soft spot for many Australian writers.  I love their lyrical writing style and openness.  Also, I just enjoy reading about places I've never seen.

Dee Nichols touts herself as a free-spirit, but it turns out she's actually keeping herself chained down.  A painful past and oppressive mother keep Dee from making any sort of decision that might involve a future.

As Ethan spends time with Dee, mentoring and introducing her to important business contacts, he causes her to examine her present situation and evaluate the choices she has made.  Dee and Ethan grow closer emotionally and physically, but Dee's fears once again keep her from moving forward toward happiness.

I really enjoyed it.

4 out of 5 stars.

Emily & Einstein by Linda Francis Lee

Emily & Einstein by Linda Francis Lee

Goodreads blurb

Emily Portman is an up-and-coming New York City editor whose life is everything she imagined it would be. She has a job she loves and a beautiful Upper West Side apartment with her husband, Sandy. But everything changes in one night when Sandy dies in a tragic accident, and soon Emily is stunned to discover that her marriage was made up of lies. Haunted by distorting memories of the man she lost, Emily’s only comfort is a mysterious, scruffy dog named Einstein, who comes into her life at just the right moment—and stands by her side as she confronts her own past, and embarks on finding new and true love.

After losing her husband, NYC editor Emily Portman loses herself.  She tries to bury herself in her work, but finds herself behind on deadlines and at a loss for new ideas.  The accidental discovery that her life with her husband, Sandy, was a lie causes Emily to turn to her newly adopted pet for comfort and strength.

Increasing calls from her in-laws lawyer, the threat of losing of her apartment, and a surprise visit from her irresponsible little sister further complicate Emily's days, and the ruggedly handsome new neighbor muddies her thoughts.  And while Emily can't quite put her finger on it, there is definitely something weird going on with her dog, Einstein.

This book was nothing like what I was expecting, and I'm glad.  This was a fresh take on learning to love and trust and I'm glad I took the risk.

5 out of 5 stars.