{ARC Review} These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

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Title: These Broken Stars
Series: Starbound #1
Author: Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Published: December 10th 2013
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Sci-Fi Dystopian
Source: ARC copy provided by Allen & Unwin Australia for fair & honest review
Rating: 5/5

BLURB:
It's a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone. 

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help. 

Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?

Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.
--
A timeless love story, THESE BROKEN STARS sets into motion a sweeping science fiction series of companion novels. The Starbound Trilogy: Three worlds. Three love stories. One enemy.

To be honest this is one of the most difficult reviews I've had to write, because I don't know how describe the awesomeness that I just read. THIS BOOK IS EXCEPTIONAL!!! 

REVIEW:
The story:
These Broken Stars starts out so well and just gets better from there. The story is so clever and well written I was completely engaged from the first scene and couldn't put it down. There are twists and turns throughout that I certainly didn't see coming and I'm not ashamed to admit I ugly cried over one particular shocking twist!

Although this story does indeed start out similar to the Titanic movie, with the evacuation pods and the space liner, crashing, this story is more about survival and the mystery surrounding the plant they crash land on. At first Lilac and Tarver's aim is to find a place to wait for a rescue party, but as they start to realise they might never be found, they start to face new threats. Their journey is as much a battle of mental strength as it is physical. They are faced with many challenges that threaten their sanity and lives. To say any more about the story would ruin the enjoyment of this book - JUST READ IT!

The characters:
What I found very surprising was that for the majority of the book we only have the two main characters Lilac & Tarver. I've read other books like this and is hasn't worked - to have only two character carry the entire story is very difficult and it can often become stagnant, but that's not the case here. Both characters are so well developed and the dual POV keeps things moving.

Lilac, the celebrity socialite, is known across the galaxy as daughter of the wealthiest man and builder of the luxury space liner Icarus. But the happy carefree girl everybody sees is somewhat an act. Her father won't allow her to see or talk to just anybody, and he even has her friends and body guards follow her and report back to him if she steps out of line. But away from the social life she knows, on this mysterious planet, she shows us that there is so much more to Liliac and comes to be an amazingly strong character. I can't tell you how refreshing it was to have such a great female MC - AT LAST!!

Tarver, a reluctant war hero, is quite the opposite of Lilac. He comes from a normal loving family and in some ways resents Lilac and her wealthy lifestyle. He sees the stereotypical 'princess' and makes it clear that he doesn't like her. But after their predicament worsens and she remain strong, not falling apart, he finds a new respect for her. And it was at this point that I truly fell for Tarver. He shows a softer side and you can see how much he cares for Lilac.

The romance:
I loved how the romance was built slowly throughout the story. At first they can barely tolerate each other, but after seeing more than just the stereotypically personalities of each other, a tentative friendship starts to develop and eventually turns into something more. Their relationship never felt forced, it was beautiful. The romantic scenes were so incredibly sweet and passionate that I was melting by the end.

The Writing:
I can't praise Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner highly enough for their amazing work! They created such a powerful, emotional and eerie atmosphere. And the pacing is perfect - at no point does the plot drag, it just runs so smoothly, with plenty of plot twists that kept me guessing the entire way. The dual POV is also very effective - I loved being inside both character's minds, and being able to see how they were dealing with the situation. Also in-between chapters we are treated to some intriguing snippets of Tarver being questioned over the entire incident. This often raised more questions than it answered - and I loved that. This is such a well structured story with, all the small threads of the story built to a stunning ending that gave me chills!

FINAL WORD:
I now have a major book hangover after reading this. Whether you love sci-fi and dystopian stories or not it really doesn't matter, this book is definitely worth the read. I am also super excited to hear that the other books in the series will be companion novels - don't get me wrong I love Lilac and Tarver, but to continue their story wouldn't do them justice. These Broken Stars is an epic story of love and survival and is absolutely SENSATIONAL! It's the must read story of 2013!!!

CONTENT:
Sexuality: medium / suggestive fade to black sex scene (not detailed)
Violence: mild-medium / animal attack, mild descriptions of dead bodies
Language: mild
Drugs & alcohol: none

Swoon Thursday #32

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Swoon Thursday is a weekly event hosted by YA Bound.This is how it works:

From the book you’re currently reading, or one you just finished, tell us what made you SWOON. Shout it out on Twitter with the hashtag #YABound, post it here in the comments, or grab the adorable button above and share it on your blog.

This week, I’m SWOONING over:

Title: These Broken Stars
Series: Starbound #1
Author: Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Published: December 10th 2013
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Sci-Fi Dystipian
Source: ARC copy provided by Allen & Unwin Australia
Rating: 5/5 - review will be posted tomorrow

Her face is flushing, lips reddening, her fair skin making it easy to see. The urge to kiss her again is overpowering. This time when I lean in she doesn't break away. I bend my head to hers and slide a hand around the small of her back to pull her in. I tease her lower lip with my teeth and she gasps for a shaky breath.
I pull back a fraction, that tiny distance requiring a monumental effort. "You want me to stop". I manage, barely recognising my own voice, "you tell me"
It takes me a moment to register her dark eyes, her parted lips, the way she lean after me. Her hands curls around the sleeve of my shirt, trembling. It's then I realise my hands are none too steady either.
"You stop now", breathes, "and I'll never forgive you."

I've featured much steamier swoons is the past, but I have to say that this is one of my all time favourites. In the context of the story, this moment was so powerful and got my heart racing!

I seriously can't tell you all how much I LOVED this book!! Such an amazing story, great characters and an epic and beautiful romance!

So what's making you swoon this week?

{Release Day} Suddenly Royal by Nichole Chase

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We are beyond excited to be able to share with you all the release of Nichole Chase's SUDDENLY ROYAL in paperback! This book is gorgeous and will definitely be one you'll want to add to your shelf!

Title: Suddenly Royal
Author: Caisey Quinn
Age Group: New Adult
Genre: Contemporary Romance

BLURB:
Samantha Rousseau is used to getting her hands dirty. Working on a master's degree in wildlife biology while helping take care of her sick father, she has no time for celebrity gossip, designer clothes, or lazy vacations. So when a duchess from the small country of Lilaria invites her to dinner, Samantha assumes it's to discuss a donation for the program. The truth will change the course of her life in ways she never dreamed . . .

As crown prince of Lilaria, Alex D'Lynsal has had his share of scandalous headlines, but the latest pictures in the press have sent him packing to America and forced him to swear off women. That is, until he meets Samantha Rousseau. She's stubborn, feisty, and incredibly sexy. Not to mention heiress to an estate in his country, which makes her everyone's front-page news. While Sam tries to navigate her new world of politics and wealth, she will also have to dodge her growing feelings for Alex. Giving in to them means more than just falling in love; it would mean accepting the weight of an entire country on her shoulders.

Check out my 

AUTHOR BIO:
Nichole Chase is a daydreamer. No, really, just ask any of the math teachers that had the misfortune of seeing her name appear on their class schedule.
For years she has had story lines and characters begging for attention, but she resolutely pushed them aside to focus on more normal (read, boring) jobs.

Well, no longer! She is currently heeding the voices in her head and frantically writing their stories. Ms. Chase is the author of the Dark Betrayal Trilogy, Flukes, and Suddenly Royal (including several short stories).

Nichole resides in South Georgia with her husband, energetic daughter, dog, tortoise, and two cats. When not devouring novels by the dozens, you may find her writing, painting, crafting, or chasing her daughter around the house while making monster noises.

WEBSITE  |  TWITTER  |  FACEBOOK GOODREADS  |  BLOG

A true duchess (or duke!) would never be caught without a tiara on! With news of a secret duchess in town, the paparazzi are everywhere, waiting to catch unsuspecting readers sans royal accessories. So grab your sparkly head gear, head to your nearest bookstore to pick up a copy of SUDDENLY ROYAL by Nichole Chase, and get snapped in style!

SUDDENLY ROYAL by Nichole Chase is on sale from Avon Books on November 26, and we’re celebrating this positively regal release by giving you a chance to pamper yourself like a princess! Pick up your copy of SUDDENLY ROYAL & upload a picture of yourself reading it while wearing a tiara (no royal leaves home without one!) for a chance to win this gorgeous Tranquility Bath Gift Basket from Overstock.com! From 11/26 to 12/6, tweet @avonbooks using hashtag #btwncovers or tag Nichole Chase on Facebook (www.facebook.com/author.nicholechase) with your picture, and a random winner will be announced on 12/7.

You can see all about it at Nichole's post here: 

GIVEAWAY:

Swoon Thursday #31

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Swoon Thursday is a weekly event hosted by YA Bound.This is how it works:

From the book you’re currently reading, or one you just finished, tell us what made you SWOON. Shout it out on Twitter with the hashtag #YABound, post it here in the comments, or grab the adorable button above and share it on your blog.

This week, I’m SWOONING over:

Title: Every Breath
Series: Every #1
Author: Ellie Marney
Published: Sept 2013
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Mystery Romance
Source: ARC copy provided by Allen & Unwin Australia for fair honest review
Rating: 4/5

"Are you going to move back to the country?"…
"Well I'm just not sure now. It's confusing. There are other reasons."
"What other reasons?"
"Oh, uni maybe, and…" I meet his eyes. "Don't you know?" I push a hand through my hair, making a shaky laugh."Here's me, thinking you're some great detective, and you don't even~"
What cuts me off is Mycroft pulling on my sleeve. He pulls at me until I'm off-balance, leaning closer to him than is gravitationally possible, so I have to put my hand out to stop myself falling. My hand comes to rest on his knee, and I'm pretty sure that was his intention all along, but I don't have time or inclination to say anything about it because he's leaning forward to kiss me.
It's a soft, sinking kiss, as though we're tasting honey on each other's lips. It's nothing like I imagined, nothing wild and uninhibited. It's delicate, and gentle, and delicious. Once again I'm caught up in the wonder how how velvety his lips are, how full, the sensation of the kiss and the taste of him, and this time I don't fight it.…

Sorry to stop it there, but you'll just have to read to book to see the rest of the scene…Mwahaha!!

There was a more passionate scene than this, but I chose to feature this one because I just loved how innocent they both are.

I haven't read many YA crime or mystery books before, but I really enjoyed it. Lots of suspense and plenty of teen romantic angst! Mycroft and Rachel share some really sweet and sexy scenes!

So what's making you swoon this week?

{Review + GIVEAWAY} For Real by Chelsea M. Cameron

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Title: For Real
Author: Chelsea M. Cameron
Published: Nov 14th 2013
Age Group: New Adult
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: eARC provided by author for fair & honest review
Rating: 4/5

BLURB:
Two people. One fake relationship. What could go wrong?

When virgin Shannon Travers gets fed up with her friends demanding that she find a boyfriend, she enlists the help of tattooed, mohawk-rocking graphic design student Jett. He’s more than happy to play along with their Fake Relationship, including the Ten Rules of Fake Dating that control-freak Shannon comes up with. Even if he likes to violate them. Repeatedly.

But what happens when Fake Dating starts to feel… not fake anymore? Will Shannon be willing to let go and embrace the first thing in her life that’s ever felt REAL?

REVIEW:
The story:
Shannon Travers, is tired of her friends trying to hook her up with random guys in bars. What's a virgin to do? Make up a fake boyfriend, that's what! And that's exactly what she does. With the help of her new friend Jett, they come up with a set of rules for their new fake romance. But while trying to convince their friends that they are in a relationship, the lines start to blur between what's fake and what's real. And as they both keep breaking these rules, they start to realise they may want to do more than just fake it!

The characters:
Shannon starts out as a very shy girl, who is very easily persuaded by her outgoing friends. I was a little frustrated with her at first, with the way she allowed her friends to push her around. The way they treated her sometimes was not okay and I was really happy to see her grow and stand up for herself by the end.

Jett was quite a different hero than I've read lately. He's confident around Shannon, but around other people I felt it become a lot less secure about himself. He's sweet and very caring towards Shannon. After learning of his family situation and what he's had to go through I fell for him even more. I also loved that he's a graphic designer :)

The romance:
The romance between these two was so sweet. Because they are fake dating, they are both unsure if it's just themselves that have started to develop real feelings for the other. With very little dating experience between them, there are some seriously awkward and absolutely adorable moments between them - I loved it! What was great to see was both characters respected each other and also valued the idea a relationship.

The Writing:
Chelsea has a very distinct writing voice and it worked really well with this story! Shannon's narration was sarcastic and funny and a really enjoyed seeing her personality shine through her internal monologues. What I really liked was that Cameron didn't sugar coat the 'first time' scene. It was real, slightly awkward and a little bit funny.

FINAL WORD:
I really enjoyed this sweet romantic story. It was a little different to a lot of the NA stories out there, and had a real sweet & innocent feel to it. If your a fan of Chelsea's you won't be disappointed!

CONTENT:
Sexuality: medium / sex scene
Violence: none
Language: medium / several f words
Drugs & alcohol: mild



GIVEAWAY

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Swoon Thursday #30

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Swoon Thursday is a weekly event hosted by YA Bound.This is how it works:

From the book you’re currently reading, or one you just finished, tell us what made you SWOON. Shout it out on Twitter with the hashtag #YABound, post it here in the comments, or grab the adorable button above and share it on your blog.

This week, I’m SWOONING over:

Title: Crash Into You
Series: Pushing The Limits #3
Author: Katie McGary
Published: November 26th 2013
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary Romance

My finger's draw up her back and tangle into her hair.
"They'll never separate us."
"Never" she repeats.

Our lips crush together, our bodies pressed tight. An inferno of lips and hands and movements that continues is heat. The blanket falls away as Rachel slides her legs so that she straddles me. On the verge of burning up completely, I groan and cling to her small frame. Her hands drift under my shirt, leaving a singeing trail.

We've become a wildfire. Almost unstoppable. I kiss her neck and the beautiful sounds escaping her mouth encourage me further. My hands skim under her shirt, up her back, linger for seconds near her bra, and I gently nip her ear when I feel lace.

I LOVE this series and Isaiah & Rachel's story is no exception! I have been waiting a long time for Isaiah to get his HEA and Rachel was just perfect for him. She's so sweet and innocent, but I loved how she just let go when she was around him.

So what's making you swoon this week?

{Cover Reveal} Give Me Something by Elizabeth Lee

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Title: Give Me Something
Series: Give Me Something #1
Author: Elizabeth Lee
Published: 16th Dec, 2013
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Genre: New Adult

BLURB:
Here's the deal: I learned a long time ago that sometimes you have to use what you have to make things happen. What I happen to have is a pretty smile, long legs, and the ability to make men believe anything I say. Before you get on your high horse and start judging me, can you honestly say you've never batted your lashes at some guy for a free drink at the bar? That's what I thought.

Keep that in mind as I tell you my story of how I took it one step further. My story is of lies, deceit, manipulation, and love. Yeah, love. Believe me, it fits. Especially when you factor in Nick and Tucker – one had my heart and the other one wanted it all for himself. Which one is which? Well, I can't tell you that. It would defeat the purpose of the story. If I'm going to fill you in about me, Lila Garrison, and my life as a con artist, you're going to need to know all the facts, including the ones about the two guys who made me want to give up the life of fancy clothes, expensive jewelry, fast cars, and easy money. Because sometimes one person can give you something that's more valuable than all of that.

If you're still interested, stick around. Just remember, I'm pretty good at convincing people to do what I want, so if by the end of this whole thing you feel worked over, don't say I didn't warn you.


About the Author:
When I'm not writing or playing the part of wife and mother, you can find me dancing back-up for Beyonce, singing back-up for Miranda, or sunning myself on the beach with a drink in hand.  Here's the thing about being born and raised in a small town—you have a very vivid imagination!  Now, I channel it all to create stories where the girl always ends up with the right guy, first kisses are magical, and a happy ending is just that!
Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Website  |  Goodreads

{Cover Reveal} One Wild Night by Magan Vernon

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Title: One Wild Night
Series: Forever Wild - Episode 1 (serialised novel)
Author: Magan Vernon
Published: December 2013
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Genre: New Adult

BLURB:
One Wild Night Can Change Everything

Valerie Wilder doesn’t do serious relationships. She also doesn’t usually wake up in Vegas next to a male stripper…

A male stripper who happens to be her new husband.

A quickie divorce seems like the answer, but the Nevada legal system doesn’t think so.  When her new husband suggests flying back to Chicago with Valerie she accepts, wondering if one night in Vegas could turn into something much more.

NOTE FROM MAGAN:
I get asked a lot, What is a serialized novel? A serialized novel is basically like a TV show. It’s broken up into episodes. Each story is about fifty pages long, perfect to read in one or two sittings. Each installment will come out every three weeks with six of them total in a season. Each episode will have its own story that will add to the big picture. The basis of One Wild Night is that Valerie Wilder wakes up married to a stripper in Vegas. Each episode follows that story with little plot twists and turns in between.

BEHIND-THE-SCENES VIDEO



About the Author:
Magan Vernon is a Young Adult and New Adult writer who lives with her family in the insurance capital of the world. When not writing she spends her time fighting over fake boyfriends via social media. You can find her online at www.maganvernon.com.

{REVIEW} Christmas Catch by Chelsea Cameron

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Title: Christmas Catch
Series: The 12 NA's of Christmas
Author: Chelsea M. Cameron
Published: Oct 25th 2013
Age Group: New Adult
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: eARC provided by author for fair & honest review
Rating: 4/5

BLURB:
*** Christmas Catch is proud to be a part of The 12 NA's of Christmas *** 
12 New Adult Novellas. 12 Best Selling Authors. November 2013.

Two years ago, when Ivy Emerson bailed from the tiny fishing village she’d grown up in to go to Columbia, Sawyer McCallister was the only thing she was sad to leave behind, and she still didn’t look back. But when her mother guilts her into coming home for Christmas, she crashes headfirst into Sawyer, who’s also returned after being away. 
Now that they’ve both been dragged back to Saltwater, Maine, they might just realize it’s where they belong. Together.

REVIEW:
The story:
After graduating from high school, Ivy was quick to make her escape from her small hometown to go off the college. But this Christmas she's making a reluctant return home. Bumping into her old high school boyfriend, Sawyer, that she left behind, wasn't on the top of her Christmas wish list, but in a town this small is was bound to happen. And they both quickly realise that the sparks are still very much there.

With the help of their loving and meddling families, they find themselves spending a lot of time together over the holidays, reminding them just how much they've missed each other.

The characters:
Ivy may have been against going home at the beginning, but after catching up with her family and Sawyer, she starts to see what she's been missing while away at college. I liked that she learned to appreciate her family and her relationship with Sawyer.

Sawyer is such a sweetie, he works hard at his family's business, even though it's not what he wanted to do. He's strong & committed, but around Ivy he seems a lot younger and more innocent, which I really loved. 

The romance:
Who doesn't love a sweet story of old high school sweethearts rekindling their romance! I loved watching them get to know each other as adults and realise that they're still in love. They recreate some of the little traditions they had as kids and it was so cute! And Sawyer's nickname for Ivy - 'Poison' was really sweet!

The Writing:
Chelsea managed to create a realistic and believable history to the characters and their relationships - not just between Ivy & Sawyer, but also with their families. And to have that in a novella was excellent!

FINAL WORD:
I loved this story, it gave me that warm and toasty feeling, while still be a little sexy too! If your a fan of NA romance, pick this one up for a fun festive read!

CONTENT:
Sexuality: medium / sex scene
Violence: none
Language: medium / occasional f word
Drugs & alcohol: mild


EXCERPT:
“Need some help?” This is not happening.
I turn around slowly. The first thing I see is a truck I haven’t seen since high school. The second is the guy I haven’t seen since high school.
“Ivy?” His hair’s a little longer, and his face is a little leaner. He looks . . . older. But his eyes. They’re still the same.
“Sawyer,” I whisper, because I can’t believe it’s him. What the hell is he doing here?
A car drives behind Sawyer, honks, and he waves them on. The two of us are frozen, unable to move. At least I am. He recovers first.
“I have a chain in the back. I can get you out of there.”
“Okay,” I say as he pulls in front of my car and then gets out. He seems taller, but that can’t be. He’s wearing a thick blue Carhartt jacket, torn jeans and work boots. He moves to the back of the truck and gets a chain out, which he hooks to the tow hook on the back of my car and then to his truck. He hasn’t said a word.
“Okay, get in,” he says and I get back in my car. With a minimum of revving of his engine and mine, we get my car out of the ditch. I get out to thank him.
Instead, I say, “What are you doing back here?” He wraps up the chain and doesn’t meet my eyes.
“My dad died,” he says as he tosses the chain in the bed of the truck. “Bye, Ivy.” And as quickly as he appeared, he’s gone, and the only remnant of is being here is the cloud of exhaust from his truck.
I slump against my car and raise my head. Snow is just starting to fall, melting as soon as it hits the pavement.
This goddamn town.

CHELSEA M. CAMERON’S AUTHOR LINKS:

Website  |  Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads

{Release Day GIVEAWAY} Keep Me Still by Caisey Quinn

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Title: Keep Me Still
Author: Caisey Quinn
Published: August 1st 2013
Age Group: New Adult
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: eARC provided by author for honest review
Rating: 5/5

BLURB:
Layla Flaherty had the perfect life, or close to it. Until a stranger gunned her parents down right in front of her, leaving her with seizure inducing PTSD. After years of trying to pass as normal and failing miserably, she resigns herself to being invisible. But new to town Landen O’Brien sees her, and he likes what he sees. Much to Layla’s surprise, he doesn’t freak out when she has a seizure in front of him. He does the exact opposite, calming her until the tremors subside. But Landen has secrets of his own. Secrets that will either bind them together or tear them apart.

Scarred by loss, Layla leaves her hometown of Hope Springs, Georgia, hoping to put her painful past behind her and start over in college in California. When she runs into Landen at freshmen orientation, she has a choice to make. Reinforce those steel walls she's built up around herself or give the only boy who can keep her still a second chance.

Landen’s more than ready to tear down those walls, but this time when they come crashing down, they might bury her

EXCERPT:
I move the pillow and look at him, overheating instantly at the sight of his mouth and the memory of what he just did with it. I can’t help but wonder how people do these intimate things to each other and then go on with life business as usual. Pass the salt and all that.
            “You are the most dangerous kind of beautiful,” he says, brushing my messy hair away from my face.
I can only imagine what a wreck I look like after that, but with the way he smiles at me, he must actually think I am beautiful right now. I lean in and kiss his mouth. I can taste myself on his lips. It’s kind of strange and kind of a turn on. I pull at his lower lip with my teeth and he groans.
            His voice is raspy against my mouth. “You even taste like peaches, sweet like I knew you would be.”
“What do you taste like, Landen?” I ask, as my sex voice woman comes back to me. “And more importantly, what’s with all the clothes?”

This was seriously one of the best books I have read this year!! 
Check out my 


AUTHOR BIO:
Wearer of cowgirl boots, writer and avid reader of New Adult romance, lover of wine, who is addicted to chai tea lattes. Brand spanking new author of Girl with Guitar and soon to be released novels Girl on Tour, Girl in Love, and Keep Me Still (which may or may not include spanking).

I'm a Gemini, wife, mom, and former high school English teacher living in Birmingham, Alabama. I spend my days chasing a three year old and hiding away with my Macbook. I spend my nights writing because sleep is overrated.

WEBSITE  |  TWITTER  |  FACEBOOK  |  GOODREADS



GIVEAWAY:

{Review} Every Breath by Ellie Marney

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Title: Every Breath
Series: Every #1
Author: Ellie Marney
Published: Sept 2013
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Mystery Romance
Source: ARC copy provided by Allen & Unwin Australia for fair honest review
Rating: 4/5

BLURB:
Rachel Watts is an unwilling new arrival to Melbourne from the country. James Mycroft is her neighbour, an intriguingly troubled seventeen-year-old genius with a passion for forensics. Despite her misgivings, Rachel finds herself unable to resist Mycroft when he wants her help investigating a murder. And when Watts and Mycroft follow a trail to the cold-blooded killer, they find themselves in the lion's den - literally.

A night at the zoo will never have quite the same meaning again...

REVIEW:
The story:
Rachel Watts, the country girl who has just left the only home she's ever known behind for the big city, is feeling lost and homesick. The one small light in her new life is her growing friendship with James Mycroft. One night her new city life, turns even more frightening after stumbling across the murder scene of their friend, Homeless Dave. Mycroft is intent on solving the murder himself - believing that the Police will have little time for solving a murder case of a man with no family to speak of. 

Together they follow clues across the city, with some additional help of their two friends Mai & Gus. There are several suspects, but without hard evidence, the Police ignore their efforts to solve the crime, labelling it as 'sport-killing' - that Dave was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

But Myscroft & Rachel don't give up their investigation. Slowly they get closer to solving the crime, but in doing so are they marking themselves as the killer's next target?

The characters:
Firstly I must say I absolutely loved the diverse range of characters in this book; young, old, boys, girls, indigenous, asian, country & city etc. The best part is that they are not just token characters or stereotypes, they all have a place in the story are a represented realistically & honestly.

James Mycroft, with his Sherlock Holmes type behaviour was a very interesting character. Despite loosing his parents and living with a mostly absent aunty he's incredibly strong & intelligent. However he does have a tendency to get himself into a bit of trouble and is quite impulsive. He also have some very interesting relationships with people around the city - obviously with Homeless Dave, but also tram drivers, cafe owners etc. It gave the impression that he craves friendship and closeness - something he doesn't get at home.

Rachel has quite the opposite personality, growing up in the country it's where she feels at home, the city is too big & too noisy and she misses the open space of the county. But she's slowly adjusting to her new life, with the help of her new friends, Mai, Gus & Mycroft. Rachel is a very independent character, able to look after herself, while also looking out for Mycroft too. She's more emotional than him and has a slightly innocent naivety about her - but I liked that quality in her.

I also loved Rachel's family, while they're far from perfect and certainly had their problems, I felt they represented a normal family. Yes they fought, but when it came down to it, they where all there for each other. It was quite refreshing to the normal YA families that are so often uncaring or simply absent from the story.

The romance:
The relationship between Mycroft and Rachel was a nice mix of sweet & sexy. I loved the innocence of the romance as it slowly built over the course of the story, making it all the more believable. There were also a couple hot & heavy make out sessions that added a little fire to the romance! I look forward to seeing more from their romance in the next books too.

The Writing:
This book has a setting that reminds me a lot of David McRobbie's books, especially Eugene Sandler P.I. (which I absolutely loved!). It's not so much the story, but the overall 'feeling' I got reading Every Breath - the mystery & adventure and the urban environment.

I also loved that Marney doesn't 'dumb down' her teenage characters, they're intelligent and each have their own strengths and weaknesses. She also didn't water down the story for a teenage audience, but respects her reader's intelligence.

FINAL WORD:
I really enjoyed this story, while I did work out who the murderer was before the characters did, it didn't detract from the story and the ending still had a strong impact. I can't wait to continue following Watt's & Mycroft's story in the next two books!

CONTENT:
Sexuality: medium / some heavy kissing & some references to sex
Violence: medium-strong / descriptions of bloody murder scene
Language: medium / some f words
Drugs & alcohol: medium-strong / main character smokes regularly & some minor underage drinking

Swoon Thursday #29

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Swoon Thursday is a weekly event hosted by YA Bound.This is how it works:

From the book you’re currently reading, or one you just finished, tell us what made you SWOON. Shout it out on Twitter with the hashtag #YABound, post it here in the comments, or grab the adorable button above and share it on your blog.

This week, I’m SWOONING over:

Title: Keep Me Still
Author: Caisey Quinn
Published: August 1st 2013
Age Group: New Adult
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: eARC provided by author for honest review
Rating: 5/5
Goodreads  |  Amazon  |  Review

I place a soft kiss on her earlobe and feel her body sag forward as her legs buckle beneath her.
Using my other arm to hold her around the waist and keep her vertical, I whisper, “Here? Is this where you want me to kiss you?”
Her breath comes in quick gasps, and she shakes her head no. So I let my lips skim the side of her face and holy hell, she even tastes like peaches. And I should definitely not be thinking about tasting her, but a torrent of images unleashes itself. I know I’m gripping her too hard, but she doesn’t complain.
I press myself against her and place a chaste kiss on her cheek. “Here?” I ask, doing my best to feign innocence.
“Uh uh,” she groans, and I brush my face against hers until our lips are touching.
“Here?”
“Yes, please,” she says against my mouth, and I try to take it slow, I really do. But when her lips part, opening her to me, I’m done being gentle.
My tongue sweeps inside, desperate for hers. She’s tentative at first. Barely skimming her own tongue against mine with sweet little licks. But I press harder and she matches me. Layla lets her teeth graze my lower lip and I groan. I can’t even concentrate on memorizing each sweet touch of her perfect mouth because the knowledge that I’m the first, the only man to ever have her this way, has me mindless and infuckingsane with need. She’s mine goddammit, and the primal urge to shout it from the rooftops is almost impossible to resist. 

I simply adored Landen & Layla and their story!! And I couldn't resist sharing this scene of their first kiss together. You MUST read this one, it's honest, heartbreaking and absolutely beautiful!



So what's making you swoon this week?

{Review} Off The Market by Magan Vernon

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Title: Off The Market
Series: The 12 NA's of Christmas
Author: Magan Vernon
Published: 1st Nov 2013
Age Group: New Adult
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: eARC provided by author for fair & honest review
Rating: 4/5

BLURB:
*** This book is proud to be a part of The 12 NA's of Christmas *** 

12 New Adult Novellas. 12 Best Selling Authors. November 2013.

Etta Davis didn't have showing a house penciled into her Christmas plans, but with the other realtors already off enjoying their holiday, she'd been stuck with the task. It wasn't all bad though, the house up for grabs used to belong to the family of her high school sweetheart, Andrew Lawson. Though now dilapidated, thanks to its current owners, it still held the power to bring back forgotten memories and turn the routine showing into something else entirely. Particularly when Andrew shows up, wanting to buy the house. Now Etta must decide whether a second chance is worth taking the house, and her heart, off the market

REVIEW:
The story:
I really enjoy stories about second chances at love and that's exactly what this is. After moving away for college Etta breaks up with her high school boyfriend, not wanting to have a long distance relationship. But now she's back living at home and working as a realtor and much to her dislike she's been roped into doing a house showing on Christmas Eve. The old family house of her high school sweet heart no less. But it's not until she opens the door to the sexy face of Andrew Lawson, that she starts to see her Christmas looking up.

The connection between them is still there and as they walk around the old house full of memories they start to reminisce. Can they make their relationship work a second time around?

The characters:
Etta & Andrew have very similar personalities, and listening to their alternating POVs showed that they both have insecurities about how the other feels about them. I felt their characters where a nice change from the opposites attract approach too!

The romance:
For such a short novella I really felt the chemistry between Etta & Andrew. I felt like they where a couple I went to school with and seeing them rekindle their romance was really sweet. Plus Magan wrote some hot and saucy scenes that will spice your Christmas up!! ;)

The Writing:
I love that Magan's characters already knew each other, I felt it made the quick progress of the romance much more believable. I also loved the little memories of from their past that she sprinkled throughout the story - it also helped to give depth to their relationship. Plus being written in dual POV was an added bonus!

FINAL WORD:
Off The Market is a cute, fun and steamy little romance novella about love & second chances. It's a great addition to the 12 Na's of Christmas collection - add this one your Christmas season reading list!!

CONTENT:
Sexuality: medium / sex scenes
Violence: none
Language: mild
Drugs & alcohol: none