Friday, February 28, 2014

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

Beautiful Disaster (Beautiful, #1)
"INTENSE. DANGEROUS. ADDICTIVE. Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and she has the appropriate number of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance from the darkness of her past, but when she arrives at college with her best friend, her path to a new beginning is quickly challenged by Eastern University’s Walking One-Night Stand.

Travis Maddox, lean, cut, and covered in tattoos, is exactly what Abby wants—and needs—to avoid. He spends his nights winning money in a floating fight ring, and his days as the ultimate college campus charmer. Intrigued by Abby’s resistance to his appeal, Travis tricks her into his daily life with a simple bet. If he loses, he must remain abstinent for a month. If Abby loses, she must live in Travis’s apartment for the same amount of time. Either way, Travis has no idea that he has met his match." (Description from

Beautiful Disaster is the second book for our New Adult (NA) book club to read. I picked this one as a follow-up because it's considered a 'classic' in terms of the NA genre. I was a little late to read this book (March 2013) and with the first read through I can't say that I loved it with a passion like other people. Maybe it was Travis and the mystery behind his funny ways. Honestly, I couldn't put my finger on why I liked the story "OK" but not "loved" it. 

When I heard Walking Disaster was coming out, I thought why not try it from a different POV. I'm so glad that I did. Clearly, I needed to understand Travis better for me to be fully behind the couple. Just reading Beautiful Disaster was like watching red flags go up. I knew he loved her and she him but the violence and drama, it was almost too much. After reading Walking Disaster and then rereading Beautiful Disaster, I finally got why it has such a cult following. Hey, I'm willing to admit when I make a mistake about a book and sometimes all I need is a reread or to be in a different mood while reading.

There were some definite swoon worthy moments from Travis and Abby concerning each other. More importantly, I liked the slow build of their relationship from friendship to more. The drama though was 100% college with the he said, she said business. Once misunderstand could erupt into full on disaster. Like Shepley said, when you're OK the world is beautiful and butterflies but when you're not, it's like you take the whole world down with you (not an exact quote). 

The support characters were also wonderful in the story, from America and Abby's friendship to Shepley and Travis's relationship. The Maddox brother's and even Adam all added color and dept to the story. What I like more about this writer and series is that you get more with Walking Disaster and A Beautiful Wedding. So the lingering questions you might have after the epilogue were answered and you're given closure on so many things with the possibility for more...which we'll have when Trent's story comes out. Yea! As a reformed reader of Beautiful Disaster, I would recommend giving it a try. Maybe even start with Walking Disaster first if you're a little worried you might not like it. So drama yes but within reason. Violence, yes but again, within reason. Sexy times, yes but just a little bit. Like I said before, I chose this book as our next book to read since it is considered a classic in the NA genre and rightfully so.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Blitzing Emily by Julie Brannagh

Blitzing Emily (Love and Football, #1)
"All's fair in Love and Football...Emily Hamilton doesn't trust men. She's much more comfortable playing the romantic lead in front of a packed house onstage than in her own life. So when NFL star and alluring ladies' man Brandon McKenna acts as her personal white knight, she has no illusions that he'll stick around. However, a misunderstanding with the press throws them together in a fake engagement that yields unexpected (and breathtaking) benefits.

Every time Brandon calls her "Sugar," Emily almost believes he's playing for keeps—not just to score. Can she let down her defenses and get her own happily ever after?" (Description from

Blitzing Emily is a very sweet story of a football player meeting an opera singer. By now, you must know my weakness for football novels. I'm always willing to give it a chance when you mention love and football. I discovered this book through Bookbub which is an email I receive every day advertising books that are free or under two dollars. I clicked my free preview from Amazon and fell in love with the book almost immediately. Of course, that was after I discovered the female lead character is an opera singer, another activity that I love!

Blitzing Emily is told from both Emily and Brandon's POV. It's a sweet romance with a little bit of sexy thrown in. Emily literally falls into Brandon's life by happenstance and a little thing called Valentines Day balloons. The beginning of the relationship is by chance and a mix-up at the hospital. They soon discover the benefits of having a significant other through the media. This book could have gone the zanny way of silliness galore. Lucky for me it didn't and this is why I will say it's such a sweet novel. We get to see a nice slow progression of the relationship develop. Most times in stories people meet and fall in love right away and then faced with drama nonstop. This story gives you more of a feel of the real world when it comes to falling in love. Give and take with lots of little moments to just discover each other.

The conflict of the book was a little fist shaking for me. I would have loved to get more closure on the person who cause problems. More of a follow-up from Brandon's POV stating what happened to her or what happened in general outside of what Emily learns. Lucky for us, there is a second book in the series about Amy, Emily's sister. 

I would recommend this book to those who are looking for a nice light read with romance. Of course there's conflict and a little drama but this is a read that might keep you warm on these crazy cold winter nights.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Trust in Me by J. Lynn

"It’s Wait for You as you’ve never seen it. Trust in Me lets you in on Cam’s side of the #1 New York Times Bestselling story.

Cameron Hamilton is used to getting what he wants, especially when it comes to women. But when Avery Morgansten comes crashing into his life – literally – he finally meets the one person who can resist his soulful baby blues. But Cam’s not ready to give up. He can’t get the feisty and intriguing girl out of his head.

Avery has secrets, secrets that keep her from admitting the feelings Cam knows she has for him. Will persistence (and some delicious homemade cookies) help him break down her barriers and gain her trust? Or will he be shut out of Avery's life, losing his first real shot at the kind of love that lasts forever?" (Description from

When I first read Wait for You by J. Lynn, I was on the fence about it. I liked it but didn't love it. I first discovered the book on the New York Times Bestseller and wanted to see what the fuss was all about. Maybe it was because I read a ton of books at the tine that had the same type of synopsis...hurt girl not looking for love (and scared of it) finds guy who's awesome. For some reason, it just didn't stick with me.

When Trust in Me came out, I wanted to see if it could change my mind. I have found that by reading a different POV, it gives me a better understanding of what was going on and a whole new appreciation to the story. I'm so glad I gave this story a second chance! Trust in Me was everything I was hoping it would be. The story told from Cam's POV helped make so many things that happened in Wait for You clear.

First and foremost, Cam is a total sweetheart. Maybe not in his time before Avery but you can tell from reading his POV that he's a changed man with her. I loved his devolution to his family and sister. His respect for Avery as well was a nice thing to read. He knew something happened but to Avery but not the what/who/why. He still respected the walls she kept throwing at him and with grace!

When reading Wait for You, you understand why Avery is so skittish. Well, to a point, before her secret is revealed. You know she doesn't trust me and while reading her POV, it felt like I was truly reading a POV from a survivor. Which is great writing but sometimes can be hard on your on soul, feeling for the character and hurting when she makes mistakes she doesn't intend to make because of her experiences. With Trust in Me, you see Cam struggle with the her mistakes as well but with an understanding that something has happened and to be patient.

I also loved reading about his two good friends and their relationship. It's not something you always get to read in a book, a great friendship between two or three guys with complete understanding of each other. One of the best lines in the book (not a direct quote) was when Avery showed up to a party and Cam was enjoying watching her have fun, "I'm going to marry that girl one day." Said so simply and completely threw his friends. It was sweet and laugh out loud funny.

I typically don't tell people to read books out of order, but for this one I just might. If reading from a survivor's point of view can be heavy on your soul as well, I would suggest starting with Trust in Me. Then read Wait for Me. We all get the same Happy Ever After but from a different POV first and with hope going into Avery's POV. The third book in this series Be with Me, a story about Cam's sister and friend Teresa and Jase. I'm currently waiting for the library to get their copy cataloged so I can continue to read this great NA series.

All books for this series are available at our local library, make sure to check out your own local library to see if they have a copy as well!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Entwined with You by Sylvia Day

" The worldwide phenomenon continues as Eva and Gideon face the demons of their pasts, and accept the consequences of their obsessive desires… From the moment I first met Gideon Cross, I recognized something in him that I needed. Something I couldn’t resist. I saw the dangerous and damaged soul inside–so much like my own. I was drawn to it. I needed him as surely as I needed my heart to beat.

No one knows how much he risked for me. How much I’d been threatened, or just how dark and desperate the shadow of our pasts would become.

Entwined by our secrets, we tried to defy the odds. We made our own rules and surrendered completely to the exquisite power of possession." (Description from
I know, you're thinking, not another story about a rich guy trying to teach the virginal girl the ways of the world. Lucky for us, this series doesn't follow that formula. Yes, Gideon is rich but so is Eva. You'll also find that Eva is very independent and knows her own mind. More importantly, they both have issues and deal with them. One of my favorite things was them both excepting the fact they have issues and were willing to go to therapy to deal with it. Things are explained as well. For example, in 50 Shades I felt it took a long time to get to the whys and how, but Eva and Gideon are constantly there asking if the other is OK and explaining motives behind the actions. 
Is the relationship 100% healthy, no. However, the characters recognize this and are working towards a better future. That's where book three has us at in the series. It picked up with Eva returning home in the taxi from Gideon's. I won't go into the who's and whys, I would hate to spoil the story before this point. From there is a slow build of them reestablishing themselves back into society as a couple. 

This is actually my second reading of the story. When I first read it, I was frustrated and disappointed. I felt like it was one wrap over till book four comes out. At that point, I didn't know book four was coming until the last page. At least that kept me from shaking my first. On my second read, I was able to enjoy the story more for what it was...the development and reestablishment of their relationship. We see the characters grow more and begin to really trust each other. Plus, Gideon is sexy as ever.
While this story is filed under Erotic Fiction (EF), I would also consider it in the New Adult (NA) section since Eva is just out of college and trying to establish herself in the world. However, due to the sexy-times in this book and the newness of the NA genre, I get why it's filed under EF. I like to compare the EF books to 50 Shades since everyone has read the book and know what their tolerance in the EF world is. I would say if you rated 50 Shades at 100% sexy times, then this would be at about 75%. Really, nothing beats out 50 Shades in the sexy times and the 'I can't believe I just read that' moments. You also have a lot of fade away scenes in this book. Sexy time to fade to next scene. So, it's not constantly in your face. Finally, where people feel 50 Shades failed on storyline, these books shine and have a few great arcs happening in the story.
This book is the third in the Crossfire series. If Sylvia Day is new to you or the Crossfire, I would start with Bared to You to read all about Eva and Gideon.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

What's on my shelf to read

I just got my hands on a few new advance reader copies (ARCs)! Here’s what's waiting for me:
  • The Wicked Wallflower by Maya Rodale
  • Big Country Sky by Linda Lael Miller
  • Simple Perfection by Abbi Glines
  • Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire (New Adult book group)
  • The Queen's Choice by Cayla Kluver (ARC)
  • White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout (ARC)
All books are from our local library.

I’m currently re-reading Entwined with You by Sylvia Day. Who doesn't love a good re-read on Gideon Cross? I also know a book is going to come out of cataloging from the library and land in my hands...Had to Be You by Robin Kaye, a third and final in the series. More reviews to come soon!

Happy reading!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

QB1 by Mike Lupica

QB 1
"Jake Cullen is a freshman quarterback playing high school football in the high-pressure land of Friday Night Lights (Texas). He is also the brother of Wyatt Cullen, who quarterbacked his team to the Texas State Championship last season--not to mention the son of former NFL quarterback and local legend, Troy Cullen. To be a Cullen in Texas is to be royalty . . . and a quarterback. All of which leaves 14-year-old Jake in a Texas-sized shadow, a tall order for any boy, especially one who's merely a freshman.

While his teammates assume the starting job will be handed to Jake on a silver platter, the truth is that he has to fight for every snap and every ounce of respect. Jake may be a Cullen and he may play quarterback, but he is not his brother or his father. Being a good teammate comes naturally to Jake; being a winner and a celebrity does not. He's just like every other boy--awkward around a pretty girl, in awe of his famous family, and desperate to simultaneously blend in and cast his own shadow.

Inspired by the real-life Manning family of quarterbacks (father Archie, Super Bowl-winning sons Peyton and Eli) and set amid the football-crazy culture of Texas immortalized in Friday Night Lights, QB 1 is a coming-of-age story perfect for the fan of MILLION-DOLLAR THROW, HEAT, and of course FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS." (Description from

QB1 is listed as Junior Fiction (JF) and I honestly don't know why. I have nothing against JF books. I love Harry Potter, I mean LOVE. The kind of love that had me reading all five books in a row and putting off a master's final paper to the very last minute. 

QB1 takes place in high school, following Jake as a freshman, entering his first football season, at the high school level as quarterback. So, with this being placed in high school, I kept asking myself why it was listed as JF. Maybe it's the straightforwardness of the book, the nice path from conflict to resolution without much thrown in to confuse a reader. Or maybe, it's the style of writing and type of words used. This is really a question for our Children's Librarian which I'll ask when I work next. But if you asked me, an average reader, I would say this book could be cataloged right along with other YA novels. I guess, what I'm trying to say is not to be afraid to read it due to the JF listing. It was a great, straightforward read. Something I really appreciated in a week that seemed like I had 100 things going on.

Jake finds himself coming into QB at the number 3 position as a freshman and in the big shadow of his big brother who is off to college as a starter at the QB position. There's a sweetness and innocence to Jake, you don't usual see from a boy's POV. Throughout the book he is able to express himself over problem's and thoughts in concerns to football and the relationship (or lack there of) with his father. Like most boys his age, he stumbled a little with the girl he had a crush on. It was this sweetness that made it such a wonderful book to read.

I also like the development of Jake in maturity. You could feel his doubt and awkwardness at the beginning. It was like I was watching him grow up right from the pages.  My favorite quote near the end that shows this maturity development... (no spoiler alert needed, it doesn't give much away from the description above)...

Jake said, "You know, all my life, there was a part of me wondering if I ever would get outside of Wyatt's shadow, no matter what I did. But I finally realized something this season."

"And what is that?"

"You spend too much time worrying about somebody else's shadow, you never have time to make one of your own."
I'm also a huge, HUGE, fan of football books. Saying that, this is the first book where football terminology was a bit confusing. I might be a huge fan but I really don't have a clue what a blitz or screen pass is. For those who do, I'm sure they will geek out over the full use of terminology. Me? I pushed through it for the story. And it was a great story!

Finally, this is one of those stories that you wish there was a followup for. Maybe senior year or even freshman year at college. Just to read on the growth of the person Jake will become as well as the player he'll develop into. Oh well, I'll just have to imagine it and know he's making the best out of it.

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Perfect Hope by Nora Roberts

The Perfect Hope (Inn Boonsboro, #3)

"Ryder is the hardest Montgomery brother to figure out - with a tough-as-nails outside and possibly nothing too soft underneath. He's surly and unsociable, but when he straps on a toolbelt, no woman can resist his sexy swagger. Except, apparently, Hope Beaumont, the innkeeper of his own Inn BoonsBoro...
As the former manager of a D.C. hotel, Hope is used to excitement and glamour, but that doesn't mean she can't appreciate the joys of small-town living. She's where she wants to be - except for in her love life. Her only interaction with the opposite sex has been sparring with the infuriating Ryder, who always seems to get under her skin. Still, no one can deny the electricity that crackles between them...a spark that ignited with a New Year's Eve kiss.

While the inn is running smoothly, thanks to Hope's experience and unerring instincts, her big-city past is about to make an unwelcome - and embarrassing - appearance. Seeing Hope vulnerable stirs up Ryder's emotions and makes him realize that while Hope may not be perfect, she just might be perfect for him..." (Description from

I recently found myself in another book hangover. Everything I picked up to read just didn't hit the mark. It wasn't the book, honestly, it was me. I needed something familiar, like talking to an old friend when you're in a funk. So, I decided on Nora Roberts and the Boonsboro Inn Trilogy.

Of the three books, book 3, The Perfect Hope was my favorite. Why? It didn't hit the usual formula...Girl and guy meet, fall in love, fight, make-u, and get married. I loved the unique formula of this book. Cranky Ryder and Beauty Queen Hope. Two descriptions that don't even begin to describe the many layers of these characters. One can say that the beginning of their relationship wasn't storybook at all. They both can't decide if they like the other. Yes, they're attracted but do they really like the personality of the other? I loved watching the relationship of these two characters develop from snippy/snooty to interest to like to love. All the ups and downs that happen with a developing relationship without the major fight author's use as a story device. Sure they're a part where both character's are fist shaking at the other but nothing more serious than that.

What I liked about Hope is her strength and personality. She's a Type A personality, something I can relate to but she's also flexible within her order. She learned from past mistakes that really can't be considered her mistake when mislead as she was.

Ryder...who doesn't love a man who loves his dog and can handle power tools? I could stop there but he's gruff personality is just a layer under sweetness in his own sort of way. He's also has a great relationship with his brothers and family. Honestly, you don't see that often in Fiction, a decent relationship all around in the family. He's also not one to handle tears and I loved his mother's reaction to that. She's an awesome book mom!

If we have someone come into the library looking for a romantic book with some comedic ties, I always recommend this series. I usually get the response, "well Nora can sometimes be formulaic." I can't disagree more with this series. It's sweet, romantic with nice arcs throughout the series. Plus you just marvel at these boys and their girls and the wonderful family ties they have and create.

After finishing The Perfect Hope, I feel refreshed and ready to hit a new book again. It looks like that chat with an old friend helped me get excited for new books that are waiting to be read.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking


by Jeff Hertzberg MD & Zoe Francois (Authors) and Mark Luinenburg (Photographer) 

"For 30+ brand-new recipes and expanded ‘Tips and Techniques’, check out The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, on sale now.

This is the classic that started it all – Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day has now sold hundreds of thousands of copies. With more than half a million copies of their books in print, Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François have proven that people want to bake their own bread, so long as they can do it easily and quickly.

Crusty baguettes, mouth-watering pizzas, hearty sandwich loaves, and even buttery pastries can easily become part of your own personal menu, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day will teach you everything you need to know, opening the eyes of any potential baker." (Description from

I know, I usually don't post about non-fiction books but I couldn't help myself. First a little background on me...I was lucky enough to study abroad through Saint Mary's University in Florence, Italy. We actually stayed above Florence in Fisole, Italy at Hotel Villa Bonelli. Three months at the villa with a five star meal every night. Needless to say, I gained 15 pounds from the trip and never, ever ate so good (outside of my mom's kitchen who is also Italian). The bread, oh the bread. It was crunchy and soft and you would dip it in the most amazing olive oil. Honestly, I had dreams about those meals for months after I left. I could never seem to find the right bread that tasted to good and just like I was back in Fisole.

Back to present, I came upon Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day while I was checking books in from the book drop. It intrigued me. Really? Five minutes a day?! My bread maker too all darn day. So, when I'm intrigued with a book, I check it out.

Today, I made the dough which took about 20 minutes and that was for reading and then rereading since I got tablespoon and teaspoon confused. After a quick Google search to correct a measurement mistake, I left the bread sit for two hours. I made three tiny loafs** for dinner and placed the rest of the dough in the fridge. Best part? The dough lasts up to 14 days. I have a feeling we'll run through it before then.

As we sat down to dinner, it was my husband's idea to get the olive oil out. Why not, I thought. Maybe I could pretend to be back in Italy. Imagine my surprise when I dipped my freshly made artisan bread into the oil and took a bite. Oh my goodness! It was like the bread I ate in Italy. Just amazing. I think I might have blanked out there for a few minutes while I was in bread nirvana. The three tiny loafs are gone and so is the olive oil.

I can't wait to make our next batch. I plan on making my own little bobble just for myself to eat alone without sharing. What can I say? It brings back the wonderful memories from my trip to Italy. Now, if only I could find the Bonelli Vineyard wine. That would be perfection for the entire meal and my week.

**Please note that our corn meal was expired so I used plain old flour. It was still amazing and I plan to keep the flour instead of the corn meal. Honestly, why temp perfection at this point?

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Monday, February 10, 2014

In honor of the Olympics...The Ex Games by Jennifer Echols

The Ex Games

"Brace yourself for the battle of the exes...Hayden and Nick used to be a hot item, but their brief affair ended with a highly publicized breakup. Now the two are "just friends," excluding the occasional flirtation.

When Hayden wins the girls' division of a local snowboarding competition, Nick is unimpressed, claiming that Hayden wouldn't have a chance against a guy. Hayden calls Nick's bluff and challenges him to a head-to-head boarding contest. Their mutual friends quickly take sides, the girls on Hayden's and the boys on Nick's, making for an all-out battle of the sexes. This friendly competition is bound to get heated—and they might end up igniting some old flames."

I'm a huge fan of Jennifer Echols and discovered this little gem after reading another book of hers. So, please don't judge a book by it's cover of cute, illustrated artwork and think it's a young YA or Junior fiction novel (which there is nothing wrong with those books, I do love to read them as well). I would consider this book an older YA book. But no matter what, it's a fun book to read that will have you laughing out loud.

I loved the 'voice' of Hayden in the book. She's a strong, girl-power kind of character with one major fear. I know some people think that if you have a fear or show that fear you're less of a person. I find strength in her finally confronting her fear although it does take most of the book. I think it's great for our girls to see that fear and know you can work through it.

This story is also a great romantic comedy and has one of the most epic boys versus girls throw down that I have ever read. What first starts as a friendly competition between six friends becomes a town competition with even Hayden's mom and dad betting on the upcoming race. This was one of the things that made the book so much fun to read, a whole town separating in the boys versus girls to win race.

Learning about the characters in their 'younger' years and how awkward they were as kids was also very fun to read. Learning how something happening in 9th grade could be thrown completely out of proportion by Senior year. Very high school like. Hayden and Nick have great chemistry and you can't help but smile when the fight and then makeup with a kiss.
I picked this book today in celebration of the Olympics and the two gold metals we received in snowboarding so far. I watched and didn't understand half of what the announcer was saying. I was just in awe of these woman throwing it all out there on the course. I also loved the healthy body image they all had. What a great role model for our girls today!
You can find copies at the usual places like Amazon and Barnes & Noble. But you can also find copies of this story at your local library, most likely under the YA section.


      The Ex Games



Sunday, February 9, 2014

Rome by Jay Crownover

Rome (Marked Men, #3)
"Sometimes the wrong choice can be just right . . .

Fun and fearless, Cora Lewis knows how to keep her tattooed "bad boy" friends at the Marked in line. But beneath all that flash and sass is a broken heart. Cora won't let herself get burned again. She's waiting to fall in love with the perfect man—a baggage-free, drama-free guy ready for commitment. Then she meets Rome Archer.

Rome Archer is as far from perfect as a man can be. He's stubborn, rigid, and bossy. And he's returned from his final tour of duty more than a little broken. Rome's used to filling many roles: big brother, doting son, supersoldier—but none of those fit anymore. Now he's just a man trying to figure out what to do with the rest of his life while keeping the dark demons of war and loss at bay. He would have been glad to suffer through it alone, until Cora comes sweeping into his life and becomes a blinding flash of color in a sea of gray.Perfect may not be in the cards, but perfectly imperfect could just last forever . ." (Description from

At lot of stories author's write are the same formula over and over and over again. Bad boy meets good girl, deflowers her, decides he wants to be a better person only after royally messing up. I read so many of these stories my eyes tend to bleed when I read another. What I love about Crownover is that she doesn't use the same formula over and over again. Each story she writes is fresh and new to the character and world she has created.

Rome (AKA Caption No Fun) was never a bad boy. Maybe in the Army he could be considered one bad a*# leader but he was never a bad boy per say. In reality, he's a broken man and lost. He was the protector of his family and unit and when he comes back home he's left wondering who he is and what he wants out of life. Tie that in with PTSD, life gets very interesting for Rome.

Cora is the same as Rome, she's a protector of her friends, who really are like family to her. She's the problem solver and the go-to person in the group when someone needs help. Mesh these two together and how do you not have fireworks? Together they learn about themselves as individuals and as a couple.  Rome is looking for a purpose in life and Cora helps him see that life is amazing and gives him that purpose he's looking for.

For fans of Crownover who have read Rule and Jet, there are great tie-ins from the other books. We get to see more of the character development from the other two couples. We also get to learn more about Remy. I really loved that part. Learning about Remy was sad and joyful all at the same time. He's the one character I wish we could have a prequel to. However, knowing how it ends for Remy, I would think that a prequel would break my heart and force me in a very ugly crying situation.

Finally, the epilogue was epic. One 100% epic and it leads right in to the next book, Nash, which comes out in April 2014. If this series is new to you, I would highly recommend starting with Rule, the first book in the series. I was lucky enough to read a copy from our local library. Happy reading!


      Rome (Marked Men, #3)



Saturday, February 8, 2014

New Adult Fiction is HOT!

An article on the New Adult genre was published in the River Valley Woman magazine this February and I was one of the interviewees. What's great about this article is it talks about NA past the sexy that you can find out there and highlights what makes this emerging genre a new group for book readers. The printed copies are now out and about in the Mankato, MN area but you can find you can find the article in the Archives under February on pages 50-51 at

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Tangled by Emma Chase

Grca_badge_winnerTangled (Tangled, #1)

"Drew Evans is a winner. Handsome and arrogant, he makes multimillion dollar business deals and seduces New York’s most beautiful women with just a smile. He has loyal friends and an indulgent family. So why has he been shuttered in his apartment for seven days, miserable and depressed?

He’ll tell you he has the flu.

But we all know that’s not really true.

Katherine Brooks is brilliant, beautiful and ambitious. She refuses to let anything - or anyone - derail her path to success. When Kate is hired as the new associate at Drew’s father’s investment banking firm, every aspect of the dashing playboy’s life is thrown into a tailspin. The professional competition she brings is unnerving, his attraction to her is distracting, his failure to entice her into his bed is exasperating.

Then, just when Drew is on the cusp of having everything he wants, his overblown confidence threatens to ruin it all. Will he be able untangle his feelings of lust and tenderness, frustration and fulfillment? Will he rise to the most important challenge of his life?

Can Drew Evans win at love?

Tangled is not your mother’s romance novel. It is an outrageous, passionate, witty narrative about a man who knows a lot about women…just not as much as he thinks he knows. As he tells his story, Drew learns the one thing he never wanted in life, is the only thing he can’t live without." (Description from

Since this was a GoodReads winner, who beat out a lot of great NA reads, I wanted to see what the fuss was all about and was holding out for the library to get it in the system. However, after mentioning the book to the buyer, she mentioned the first sample pages on Amazon and how shocking they were (in a very funny way). We debated if it was a book that could go into the library system. It's pretty dirty or more importantly, it's shocking. So, I volunteered myself to be the test reader and bought a copy I now plan on donating to the library. 

On the dirty or sexy factor I would say it wasn't the worst thing I read. If 50 Shades is in the library no problem then this book will be just fine. I think what made it so shocking, so to speak, was that it was told from Drew's POV. 

Have you ever wondered what a guy is thinking or what their thought process is? This book is the perfect example of what really is going on in a man's head. Ok, most men. I know this better than anyone after spending two years on the high school wrestling team and then a year in college. Boys/men do not talk like this to women. It's a secret language that they keep to themselves. It's dirty, gritty and filled with a lot of colorful language. 

While it took me about three chapters to remember that this was how the boys use to talk at dinner it was still pretty eye opening. It was also laugh out loud funny. Have you ever read "He's Just Not That Into You"? Sure you have, most women I know have read that book, even if in secret with a bottle of wine while crying, "why didn't I know/see this." This book, Tangled, is like that but on the dirty male POV. One could say this book is a great read for all the single ladies out there. Most of Drew's "tips" were dead on in a shockingly honest way. 

So once you get over the dirty talk and tips from Drew, it was fun to read this single guys guy fall for a girl that wasn't available. Then watch him work for the relationship, mess up, fall apart and work his bum off to win her. LOVED watching that happen to a guy who had everything easy and ladies falling all over his prior to Kate. I wish we had less thinking in Drew's head and more dialog happening but overall is was a fantastic story. So, I say, give this one a try and give it a few chapters if you're thinking it's a little too dirty.

I'll leave you with a quote from the book so you can see his way of thinking and how it effected his niece...

Kate says to Drew about his niece: "I see now why Alexandra (Drew's sister) started the Bad Word Jar, since you seem to spend so much time with Mackenzie (niece)."
Drew: "What do you mean?"
Kate: "She talks like you. It's not every day you hear a four-year-old say Prince Charming is a douche bag who's only holding Cinderella back."

Now I won't say my husband has said those exact words. It was more like, "Really? He danced with her all night and couldn't get a name? Who does that!" So, pretty close in that thinking department. It had me laughing out loud for a while. And as you can see, a little dirty in the verbiage but still well worth the read!


      Tangled (Tangled, #1)



Sunday, February 2, 2014

Consumed by Emily Snow

"Now that Lucas has declared his love for her, Sienna is sure the drama between them is over.

She’s not afraid of Lucas’s ex-wife or whatever secret the other woman is holding over him. For two blissful days—the remainder of Sienna’s contract with Lucas—they hole up in a vacation house in the mountains of Tennessee, consuming each other. At the end of their stay, Lucas comes to Sienna with a proposition: his band, Your Toxic Sequel, is going on tour with Wicked Lambs, and he wants her with him the entire time. Sienna agrees to work wardrobe and be his official girl.

Life on the road is different from anything Sienna has ever known. Not only does she have to deal with Lucas’s band members, but she’s also forced to be around Cilla, the lead singer of Wicked Lambs, who’s clearly in love with Lucas. Despite horny band mates and a persistent gorgeous rock goddess determined to sink her claws into Lucas, Sienna stays by his side.

Then the threats start.

Lucas’s ex-wife Sam isn’t happy that he’s moved on, and Sam begins harassing Sienna—everything from threatening emails to phone calls and even fake accounts on Your Toxic Sequel message boards slamming her and spreading vicious rumors. Sienna keeps this from Lucas since she knows how bad Sam is for his music.

It’s not until Sienna is attacked by a crazed YTS fan hired by Sam, and Sam starts to aim her verbal threats at Sienna’s grandmother, that Lucas finally reveals his secret. And it’s a big one." (Description from

Devoured is the first in this series by Emily Snow. I discovered Devoured sometime last year on as a suggestion to read. You know, "If you like this, try that book too" suggestion. I think I might even have picked it up for $0.99. Of course, I feel in love with the book. Bad boy rocker with tattoo's and good girl Sienna trying to save the family home. What's not to love? The term "Google is your friend" came from here as well. What resonated with me throughout book one was how Sienna found her inner voice to stand up for herself. It was fun to watch her grow as a character.

So, fast forward a year later. Fans had LOVED this series so much Emily Snow became a New York Times Best Seller. As is usually the case, she was picked up by a mainstream publisher. Here's where things get a little tricky. The thing fans love most about their indie author's is how much interaction we get from them by Facebook, Twitter, newsletters, etc. Indie author's seem to have social media down and understand that fans are what's helping them live their dreams as an author. Now, saying that, I'm not putting down mainstream author's. I love them as well. And some mainstream author's also have social media down with their fans. But what you seem to get with Indie author's is the extras. Extra scenes from different character's POV, extra snippets into the character's personalities, extra interviews as the characters. Those extras seem to create a cult following, including myself.

When Snow was picked up, book two--Consumed, was pushed back for editing and whatnot. Companies have to look at their bottom line and if they see a quarter that's going to need more help on the bottom line, they'll move a book to balance it out. Consumed was moved several times to the fist shaking of the fans and maybe Snow herself. Which is, I think, a lesson the mainstream companies need to learn. Don't piss off the fan base. Honestly! One move date, OK. But four different dates and then a "who knows", not acceptable. Fans support the book business by buying books, indie or mainstream. And it always seems to be the author's that have to deal with the brunt of a bad deal.

Which brings us back to present. Snow decided to take back the rights to Consumed and produce it herself. I don't know if she was just as mad as the fans but taking back the rights to one's book can become a very hairy mess with lots of lawyers involved. Once I heard this, I thought we would never see the book to my sad disappointment. So, you can only imagine my surprise when I was on Facebook and saw that she posted Consumed was live. I might have done a little dance and then proceed to download it right away. I since learned that the link had been taken down. I don't know why but I suspect it was legal stuff involved. The cover has since changed from what I posted above as well.

I'm sure you're wondering where the actual review is of the book. Here goes...of course, I LOVED it. The story gives both POVs from Sienna and Lucas. It was nice to see a maturing of Lucas with his relationship with Sienna and his friendships in the band. We learn that there was a strain in Savor Your by Snow. Watching Lucas work for his relationships was also nice and hearing his thought process gave a lot more to the story so you understood what was going on from his side. In Devoured, we're left wondering at times but having his POV really rounded out the story. Lucas did have some truly swoon worthy moments.

Of course there was drama, drama, drama in the names of Cilla and Sam. Those two ladies and all sorts of crazy. We also learned more about Sinjin and got to see a lot more of him. I wasn't the hugest Sinjin fan in the first book but after reading more in book two, I look forward to reading Sinjin's own story.

Finally, Lucas secret. It's big, huge even. What's more important, he almost, almost let it break him but finally told Sienna what it is. How and why he told Sienna was another story. As a reader, you wish he just came out with it but you also understand why he waited. As for the ending, I was left wanting more. Especially because of the crazy thing that happened. I felt like I was feeling exactly what Lucas was feeling, that we're never going to truly get all of the answers from what motivated a certain character.

I also wanted to post about the drama of Snow getting this book online because I find it to be a valuable lesson for the mainstream seller as well and the consumer. Make sure you support your favorite author's with buys or checking them out at the library. Both count and help an author. More importantly, don't get mad at the author when deadlines change. It's hard to forget that not every author has the JK Rowling power. Most don't even get to choose their covers for books. I love both mainstream and indie author's. I view supporting indie author's is like shopping in your hometown stores instead of the big box retailers. I like to do both and support to economy on all ends. As well as visit the library for my free books.

We're hoping to have this book in the library collection one day. Until then, you can find Consumed through the following link:

Devoured if the first book in the series and can be found at both the library and retailers. Snow also has done an amazing job of providing fans with other stories in this world. If you like Devoured, make sure to check out the other stories as well. They're well worth the read!