Friday, March 29, 2013

Brazen Romance Reviews: Chasing Mrs. Right, Game for Marriage, and Private Practice

It's time for some romance reviews around here, this time focusing on some of Entangled's Brazen titles. I love this line, and books like these three are exactly why!

Chasing Mrs. Right by Katee Robert: Broody, haunted guy. Sharp, doesn't believe in love girl. Best friend's brother. These are a few of my very most favorite things, and Chasing Mrs. Right melds them together for one fabulous, hot, fun read. I couldn't get enough of Ian, of how determined he is, even with the things he's running from. Then there's Roxanne, who wants him, but isn't sure how to let herself be with him. I loved the way these two fell for each other, the steps they took both small and large. More so, though, I loved the softness between them, even in the midst of the passion, intensity and even fun. Robert hit that perfect vulnerable note amidst everything else, and this was a book I was sad to see end.

Game for Marriage by Karen Erickson: I am always a sucker for sports books, and something about jocks with bad reps that need some major work gets to me. Luckily, this one didn't disappoint in that regard. Add in the intended one night stand that kicked everything off, and then the no-sex clause Sheridan gets slipped into the contract for this fake-but-real marriage, and this book was a goldmine of laughs, amusement, and tension. Jared is all kinds of sexy, the sort of guy who's certainly sure of himself, yet isn't arrogant in the usual jock way. Instead, he's got this way about him that had me totally melting, and I couldn't help but feel sorry for the position Sheridan was in. Considering the set up of their relationship, it's easy to get why neither side was totally sure how to proceed once these feelings turned real, but man did I root hard for them! With a great voice to it, and the kind of sexual tension that makes my toes curl, I totally recommend this one.

Private Practice by Samanthe Becke: Holy crap, Tyler is one of my favorite book boys. Cocky but sweet, sure of himself yet not really arrogant... and so, so charming, he had me hotter than a furnace for him. I loved watching him try to figure out how to worm his way into Ellie's heart, even while he was able to be in her pants. Even more, though, I loved the banter between these two, and the almost naive, stick up your butt way Ellie acted. There is almost something ridiculous about this book, which is exactly why I loved it so much. With Ellie trying to set aside certain chapters from a sex how-to book, and Tyler wanting to just go with it and let the mood (and his rapidly growing feelings for Ellie) guide things, these two butt heads quite a bit, and yet somehow figure it all out anyhow. But I wouldn't mind some private practice of own with this boy...

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Character Interview + Contest: Ryan from Dare You To

One of my favorite books of last year was Katie McGarry's debut Pushing the Limits... so naturally, I couldn't wait to get my hands on the companion, Dare You To, which focuses on Beth and Ryan's story. It is, as I expected, wrenching and amazing and endearing. So to celebrate the upcoming release of another fantastic novel, I've got an interview with Ryan (holy cow, he makes me melty!), and a chance for you to win an ARC of this must-read book!! So let's get to it!

Describe yourself in three words.

Baseball, loyal, and writing.

What's the first thing you thought when you woke up this morning?

How Beth is. She’s had a rough couple of weeks and while she tries to act like everything that’s gone down isn’t bothering her, I know it is.

So Beth is, admittedly, pretty volatile at times. What's the best and worst thing about that?

Ryan chuckles. Nuclear grade plutonium is more stable than she can be at times. But seriously: when Beth loves—she loves. When she feels—she feels. She’ll call me out on my crap faster than anyone I know and she’d stand up for me or any of our friends in a heartbeat.

But when Beth hurts, it’s hard for her to let anyone help her. She’s working on it though. With Beth, I can’t push her. I have to let her ask for my help. The good part is—she’s asking for help faster than she used to.

Your first meeting with Beth doesn't go so well for you. If you could change it, would you?

No. I love how we met. She was one hundred percent her and I was one hundred percent me. If the two of us are anything, it’s all or nothing.

What's it like to kiss Beth?

Have you ever been with someone and you know the moment you walk away that you’ve left your heart behind because they now own it? That’s what it’s like with Beth. Her lips are soft and she’s so damn tiny. When her body is tucked close to mine and we kiss—I no longer feel like a part of me is missing—I feel whole.

Boxers or briefs?


What's the weirdest dream you've had that you remember?

I had a dream that Beth played short stop while I pitched during the World Series. She kept asking if the game was over yet. In case you’re wondering, Beth doesn’t play ball.

What kind of cookie would you describe yourself as?

Do you realize that no matter how I answer, Beth’s going to ride me over this? The moment I give one type of cookie, she’ll drop that cookie into every conversation we have just to see how long it’ll take me to lose my mind. Because I enjoy my sanity, I think I’ll skip this one.

Thank you, Ryan, for stopping in and tolerating my ridiculous questions!

Now for YOUR chance to win an ARC of this book (trust me, you want this yesterday):

Fill out THIS form to enter.

This contest is US only, and ends April 10.

No entries will be accepted through the comments, but you should totally leave one anyway.

Slide Blog Tour: Mini Contest

I'm incredibly excited to be the next stop on Jill Hathway's Slide tour! With that, it's time for the third contest of the week (release week, at that!! The book hit shelves yesterday, so make sure you pick it up!) so without further ado...

To win a chance at a signed copy of IMPOSTOR, tweet Jill (@jillscribbles) who you’d slide into if you got the chance! (Nothing dirty, now.) Submit your entries by April 1st for consideration. And, yes, this contest is international.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Guest Post: Nova Ren Suma (17 & Gone)

Out last week is one of my favorite books so far this year, by an insanely talented author: 17 & Gone by Nova Ren Suma. This book is mindblowing, breathtaking, and painful, with a stunning execution. And to celebrate the book's release, I've got Nova stopping in today with a guest post, with the next photo she used as inspiration and motivation during the writing of this book.

Last year, when I was deep into writing 17 & Gone, I discovered an exciting new distraction and way to collect images that fascinated me: Pinterest. What started off as maybe one more thing to keep me from writing turned into a great source of inspiration, and my 17 & Gone inspiration board was born. I’d often write with the images up on my screen, staring at them in pauses between paragraphs. On each stop on this blog tour I’m highlighting one of the photos that spoke to me and helped me find my way through the darkness of writing this book.

Source: via Nova on Pinterest

Today’s photo—one that sends a jolting shiver down my spine whenever I look closely at it—is by one of my favorite photographers, Brooke Shaden. Her work is hypnotic and magical all at once, and in this particular image what strikes me the most is the perfect little details: the face pressed to the other side of the wall and protruding, the two thighs and knees, the five fingertips. And of course the single arm that’s gotten through.

It’s a hallucination like one my narrator, Lauren, might have had:

I had to leave this house. I knew how hot the shadowy hands would be, from the fire, how their grip would singe through my flannel shirt and my cotton shirt beneath it and even the shirt beneath that, to what’s left, which was my skin.

Once they touch your skin, you’re theirs.  —from 17 & Gone, page 223
This is how it feels to be Lauren so much of the time, this image, this sense of someone on the other side of the wall forcing their way inside. And at the same time, that’s her, too, caught in walls she can’t dig her way out of, trying to explain what she sees and what she knows, and it’s like no one on the other side can hear her enough to believe her.

For spotlights on more images from my 17 & Gone inspiration board on Pinterest, keep following this blog tour!

Monday, 3/18: Mundie Moms
Tuesday, 3/19: Confessions of a Readaholic
Wednesday, 3/20: The Compulsive Reader
Thursday, 3/21: The Mod Podge Bookshelf
Friday, 3/22: Anna Reads

Monday, 3/25: The Story Siren
Tuesday, 3/26: Here!
Wednesday, 3/27: Radiant Reads
Thursday, 3/28: Presenting Lenore
Friday, 3/29: Book Chic

Book Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Lauren is having visions of girls who have gone missing. And all these girls have just one thing in common—they are 17 and gone without a trace. As Lauren struggles to shake these waking nightmares, impossible questions demand urgent answers: Why are the girls speaking to Lauren? How can she help them? And . . . is she next? As Lauren searches for clues, everything begins to unravel, and when a brush with death lands her in the hospital, a shocking truth emerges, changing everything.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Contest: Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard

Hitting shelves March 21 is the paperback edition of Kirsten Hubbard's (amazing) Wanderlove. This was one of my favorites of 2012, from one of my all time favorite authors! From stellar characters to a lush, vivid setting to some seriously awesome drawings (done by Kirsten herself!), this one captivated me start to finish.

To celebrate it's release, I've got one paperback copy of this book up for grabs! And trust me when I say you want and need this book.

Just fill out THIS FORM to enter! This contest is US/Can only, and ends March 20.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Review + Contest: If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch

SUMMARY: A broken-down camper hidden deep in a national forest is the only home fifteen year-old Carey can remember. The trees keep guard over her threadbare existence, with the one bright spot being Carey’s younger sister, Jenessa, who depends on Carey for her very survival. All they have is each other, as their mentally ill mother comes and goes with greater frequency. Until that one fateful day their mother disappears for good, and two strangers arrive. Suddenly, the girls are taken from the woods and thrust into a bright and perplexing new world of high school, clothes and boys.

Now, Carey must face the truth of why her mother abducted her ten years ago, while haunted by a past that won’t let her go… a dark past that hides many a secret, including the reason Jenessa hasn’t spoken a word in over a year. Carey knows she must keep her sister close, and her secrets even closer, or risk watching her new life come crashing down.


Gripping, painful, potent, raw and beautiful, If You Find Me is a mix of everything I love in a book with a stellar execution. Carey's character goes through such tremendous changes, and is someone I rooted so hard for. With stunning writing and a palpable emotional atmosphere, this one is a breathtaking and amazing debut from a talented writer.

I loved Carey. From the specific way she talked, to her loyalty and devotion to her sister, to her vulnerability and fear. She has had to face so much, far beyond what you can even imagine going into the book. And yet she's come out on top in way or another, scars and all. Carey is an amazing girl, smart and intuitive, yet soft when she needs to be. Her sense of right and wrong is solid, even with her shaky upbringing, and there is just something so resonating about her. I loved watching her navigate the "normal" world, to be so out of touch with things we take for granted. She has to completely learn all the social norms, as well as figure out how to settle into a new house, complete with a real bed, electricity, and running water. All the while trying to protect her sister without smothering her growth. Murdoch completely nails Carey's character, and this is certainly a girl that has suck with me long after finishing the book.

Janessa, Carey's sister, is as equally well done, a star in her own right in the book without detracting from Carey's story. Playing on not only her younger age but the naivity she still holds, Murdoch does a great job of contrasting her own adjusting against Carey's, yet somehow manages to make each character both reliant on the other and solid on their own. Then there's Charles, their father, who finally has the girls back after years of searching. He isn't perfect, yet he is so genuinely good and kind he seems, to me, about as perfect as a man in his situation can be. Willing to go through huge lengths for not only Carey and Janessa, but for Delaney, his teenage stepdaughter as well, Charles is a strong character who adds so much to this story.

The plot of this is mind blowing, so well paced even if nothing more is going on than Carey trying to figure out how to adjust to any one situation. Murdoch holds nothing back on an emotional level, infusing it into everything and keeping readers hooked. With some huge twists thrown in, as well, this is more than a coming of age, and more than a figuring out a new situation kind of book. There is so much to be said about this book, and I cannot wait for more from this obviously skilled writer. She also nails Carey's mindset and voice, a girl who doesn't speak as perfectly as we'd expect, yet reading it isn't in any way frustrating or hard to get into. With how tastefully and respectfull everything is handled, and the tender, sweet romance woven in, this is a total must read.

THE GIVEAWAY: To celebrate this book's upcoming release on March 21, I've got FIVE copies up for grabs, courtesy of St. Martin's.

To enter, just fill out THIS FORM.

Contest is US only, and ends March 17. No entries will be accepted through the comments, but you know you want to leave one.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Author Interview: Stephanie Lawton

Dropping in today is Stephanie Lawton to celebrate the release of her latest book, Shrapnel!

Considering the number of wars in history, what made you decide to go with the Civil War for Shrapnel, rather than another one?

My husband and I were watching an episode of Brad Meltzer's Decoded that focused on the Knights of the Golden Circle, a real group charged with protecting the Confederate gold. Since moving to Mobile from Ohio, we've had to rethink everything we'd been taught (from a Yankee perspective) about the Civil War. Combined with Mobile's Civil War history and my husband's life-long interest in that war, we put our heads together and came up with the basic premise of Shrapnel.

If you were on of the ghosts Dylanie encountered in this book, what would you do?

There are really only three, and they're all extremely different. I can't give too much away, but I'd probably interact with her as much as Jackson, Ethan and Agnes. I imagine it would get pretty frustrating hanging out in limbo with no way to communicate. Finding someone with Dylan's abilities would be totally exciting, and I can see how easy it would be to freak someone out, lol.

Which character was the most challenging for you to write?

Ashley, hands down. She's the most "normal," in that she's a goody two-shoes, easily scared and a bit whiny. Her story and ability is very crucial to Shrapnel, plus she provides a great contrast, but I love writing snarky, sarcastic characters. She got a little easier to write by the end, when she comes into her own.

If you could pair Dylanie, Jake and Ashley with any character from any book, who would you pick for each?

Oh, my. Jake would love Silla from Tessa Gratton's Blood Magic; Ashley would need someone with a strong, level-headed personality, so maybe Michael from Myra McEntire's Hourglass series; and Dylan ... wow. I'm not sure if she needs someone stronger than her or someone she can push around. *checks bookshelf* Dylan and Sabastian from Kelly Keaton's Darkness Becomes Her series are kindred spirits. He'd get a kick out of her dark sense of humor.

What kind of cookie would you describe yourself as?

White chocolate chunk macadamia nut :) I'm so pale I'm almost transparent, I'm a little, uh, "thick," and I'm definitely nutty!

Now for your chance to win 1 of 5 e-copies of Shrapnel, just fill out the form below!

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About the book:

It’s been six years since Dylanie and her family visited a Civil War site and the place came alive with cannon fire. Problem was, no one could hear it but her.

Now she’s sixteen, her dad’s moved out, her mom’s come out of the closet and Dylan’s got a spot on Paranormal Teen, a reality TV show filming at historic Oakleigh Mansion. She’ll spend a weekend with two other psychic teens—Jake and Ashley—learning how to control her abilities.

None of them realized how much their emotional baggage would put them at the mercy of Oakleigh’s resident spirits, or that they’d find themselves pawns in the 150-year-old battle for the South’s legendary Confederate gold. Each must conquer their personal ghosts to face down Jackson, a seductive spirit who will do anything to protect the gold’s current location and avenge a heinous attack that destroyed his family.

About the author:

After collecting a couple English degrees in the Midwest, Stephanie Lawton suddenly awoke in the deepest reaches of the Deep South. Culture shock inspired her to write about Mobile, Alabama, her adopted city, and all the ways Southern culture, history and attitudes seduce the unsuspecting.

A lover of all things gothic, she can often be spotted photographing old cemeteries, historic buildings and, ironically, the beautiful beaches of the Gulf Coast. She also has a tendency to psychoanalyze people, which comes in handy when creating character profiles.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Character Interview + Contest: Vane from Let the Sky Fall

It's release day for one of my favorite books of 2013, Shannon Messenger's Let the Sky Fall! This book is so much fun, and to celebrate, I've got an interview with Vane, the hilarious, awkward, adorkable lead guy for you guys! And because this is a celebration, I've also got a contest, so let's get to it.

So. You're a sylph. What's that like?

Weird. Like, some of the things I can do are pretty cool--and it's nice that all the crazy crap in my life is finally starting to make sense. But I'm still trying to wrap my head around the fact that I'm like ... a mythological creature. And part of me kinda wishes I could at least be something people have heard of.

Admittedly, you have a pretty bad history when it comes to first dates. What's your most embarrassing dating disaster?

Okay, first of all, those disasters weren't my fault. If Audra hadn't been out there playing "Chaperone from Hell" I would've been just fine. Well ... mostly. I might've screwed up a few on my own--but that was sorta Audra's fault too, since I was miserable on those dates because they weren't with her.

I guess the worst time was probably when I took a girl to the date festival. It's this lame carnival thing we have once a year to celebrate a squishy fruit that looks like a bug--but it's one of the only things to do around here so everyone goes. And hey, the date shakes are awesome. But right around the time I started to make my move, there was this loud farting sound--and she refused to believe it wasn't me, even though it WASN'T. There's a reason they call it "breaking wind." And if I needed proof that Audra can be evil, that would be it.

Now that I've poked fun at that, if you could take Audra out, what would be your perfect first date?

I know I'm probably supposed to say something about candlelight dinners and roses and violins and stuff--and if that's what Audra wanted, I would definitely give it to her. But I can't imagine her liking that. Seems like she'd be much happier up in the mountains on a windy night, stretched out on a blanket watching the stars. And I'm happy anywhere she is. Plus, hey, if she gets cold I can think of a few ways to keep her warm...

What's the first thing you thought when you woke up this morning?

Too. Freaking. Early.

Audra likes to train before sunrise and I am NOT a morning person.

Boxers or briefs?

Dude, like I would ever wear briefs. (And um, way to break out the awkward questions!)

What kind of sea creature would you describe yourself as?

Uh... haven't we already established that I'm an AIR elemental? Water isn't really my scene. I mean, I don't hate it. But I kinda prefer AIR. Plus, yanno, I've already found out that I'm one kind of not-human creature, not sure I want to be ANOTHER. Though if you think that's a cop-out answer I'll say Kraken. Just cuz, yanno, it's a KRAKEN.

So there's a bit of a glimpse at Vane! This one is out today, so make sure you pick it up so you can get to know not only him, but Audra as well, plus the awesome world Shannon's created!

Want to know more about Shannon and Let the Sky Fall? Check out all the stops on her tour and her website!

And now it's giveaway time! Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter!

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About the Book:
Published by: Simon Pulse
Order it from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound
Add it to GoodReads
Series: Book #1
READ the 1st 4 Chapters

A broken past and a divided future can’t stop the electric connection of two teens in this “charged and romantic” (Becca Fitzpatrick), lush novel.

Seventeen-year-old Vane Weston has no idea how he survived the category five tornado that killed his parents. And he has no idea if the beautiful, dark-haired girl who’s swept through his dreams every night since the storm is real. But he hopes she is.

Seventeen-year-old Audra is a sylph, an air elemental. She walks on the wind, can translate its alluring songs, and can even coax it into a weapon with a simple string of commands. She’s also a guardian—Vane’s guardian—and has sworn an oath to protect Vane at all costs. Even if it means sacrificing her own life.

When a hasty mistake reveals their location to the enemy who murdered both of their families, Audra’s forced to help Vane remember who he is. He has a power to claim—the secret language of the West Wind, which only he can understand. But unlocking his heritage will also unlock the memory Audra needs him to forget. And their greatest danger is not the warriors coming to destroy them—but the forbidden romance that’s grown between them