1/26/2014

Wallbanger (Cocktail #1) by Alice Clayton

Book I: Wallbanger
When Caroline moved into her new San Francisco apartment, she never imaged that she would get to know her next door neighbor so intimately. The thin wall between her bedroom and her neighbor's bedroom gives her a front row seat to her neighbor's sexual prowess. Night after night, Caroline is privy to the sounds of ecstasy coming through the wall from a seeming endless parade of women.

On a self-imposed dating hiatus after a string of bad dates has sent Caroline's "O" into exile, her neighbor's antics only fuel the frustration. After several sleepless nights, Caroline charges across the hall (in a pink baby-doll nightie) to confront the man responsible for her lack of sleep, only to find herself face to face with Simon Parker, a devilishly handsome photographer.

Soon after their late night encounter, Simon and Caroline's paths begin to cross more and more. Deciding to call a truce when their friends begin dating, Simon and Caroline find that they have quite a bit in common and a friendship between them develops. The only problem is, they are both fighting their own mutual attraction. As the tension continues to build, the couple gives new meaning to the idea that sometimes what you want and what you need are right in front of you.

Alice Clayton delivers a steamy romance with a slash of humor that makes for a great read. The characters are great and Caroline's narrative had me laughing out loud several times throughout the novel. It was just the blend of romance, sex, and humor. The banter between Caroline and Simon was highly entertaining and I enjoyed watching these two characters come together. There is a sequel scheduled to be released in June and at least two other books planned for this series, and I will be picking them up. The upcoming titles and covers are fantastic (see below) and I can't wait to see what's next for this couple and what other adventures Alice has in store for us.

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Coming up in the Cocktail Series...

Book II: Rusty Nailed (June, 2014)
In this sequel to Wallbanger, the second book in the Cocktail series, fan favorites Caroline and Simon negotiate the rollercoaster of their new relationship while house-sitting in San Francisco.

Playing house was never so much fun—or so confusing. With her boss on her honeymoon, Caroline’s working crazy long hours to keep the interior design company running—especially since she’s also the lead designer for the renovation of a gorgeous old hotel on Sausalito. So with her hotshot photographer boyfriend gallivanting all over the world for his job, she and Simon are heavy-duty into “absence makes the heart grow fonder” mode. Neither has any complaints about the great reunion sex, though! Then Simon decides he’s tired of so much travelling, and he’s suddenly home more. A lot more. And wanting Caroline home more, too. Though their friends’ romantic lives provide plenty of welcome distraction, eventually Caroline and Simon have to sort their relationship out. Neither wants “out of sight, out of mind,” but can they create their own happy mid-ground clichĂ©?

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Book III: Screwdrivered (September, 2014)
In the third book in the bestselling Cocktail series, a romantic at heart decides that she will not ever, under any circumstances, fall for the engineer next door.

Viv Franklin is a retired Army captain who now designs software programs. She’s also a romance junkie who longs for a knight in shining armor or a cowboy on a wild stallion or a strapping firefighter to sweep her off her feet. Knowing she’s never going to meet her hero by spending all her time behind her keyboard, she uproots her life to move to California, where she meets an actual cowboy. And—sigh—an engineer. But which man is truly Clark Kent and which is her Superman?

A madcap romantic comedy with unforgettable characters and the promise of true love, Screwdrivered has just what you need.

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Book IV: Mai Tai'd Up (December, 2014)
Synopsis TBA

1/24/2014

Fall Away Series by Penelope Douglas

Book #1: Bully
Jared and Tate were friends, best friends, until everything changed the summer before they started high school. Jared went away to visit his estranged father and when he returned, he was a different person. Now Jared's mission in life is to make Tate's life miserable. For the past 3 years, Jared has humiliated, shut out, and tormented Tate, all without explanation or apology.

When Tate returns for her senior year after spending a year abroad, she is no longer willing to sit back and take Jared's bullying. Determined to push back, Tate begins to stand up to Jared. As the two go head to head, the walls separating them begin to crumble and the pull that has always been between them gets harder and harder to ignore. As the truth comes to light, Tate will have to decide whether she can forgive the past and learn how to trust Jared again. Jared will have to face the consequences of his actions and prove his trustworthiness. But can the two of them really have a future when their past is never far away?

Penelope Douglas is a story telling master! This book is absolutely amazing and deserves 5 giant, gold stars! When I started this book, I hated Jared. I mean, I HATED Jared. He was such a Grade-A A-hole. His best friend, Madoc, wasn't much better, but more on him later. I thought that there was NO way that Penelope could redeem this character, at least in a way that was believable. He was just TOO HORRIBLE and so undeserving of a second chance, at first glance. You all know that I love my book boyfriends damaged, but Jared definitely pushed the line of what is forgivable. And while I was totally on Tate's side from the get-go, I worried that I would lose all respect for her when she simply gave in and forgave Jared's behavior, no questions asked.

Oh how wrong I was! Not only was Penelope able to redeem Jared, but she did it in such a way that made you understand (but still not condone) why he did what he did and what his true motivations were. And while Tate does forgive Jared, she certainly doesn't forget, and makes him work to earn back her trust. Instead of losing respect for Tate, she earned my respect for going toe-to-toe with Jared and not backing down. The result is a story full of angst, passion, and redemption, with a splash of holy hotness! I couldn't put it down and was completely wrapped up in this story from the beginning. Amazing!

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Book #1.5: Until You
Until You gives us the events of Bully from Jared's POV, but is not a straight retelling of Bully. It can be read as a stand alone novel, but I wouldn't recommend reading it until you have read Bully. This is Jared's story and it goes a long way to fill in some of the holes in Jared's back story and fleshes out his character. I loved being in Jared's head, but I'm not sure I would have had the same response to the book had I not read Bully first. I enjoyed being able to see certain events from Jared's POV and this book really enhanced my experience of Bully and made me even crazier for Jared.

It also does a great job of better introducing us to Madoc, Jared's best friend, and his brother, Jax, both of whom are scheduled to get their own books! There is definitely more than meets the eye with these characters. While I hated Madoc in the beginning too (not as much as Jared, but still), it becomes clear that he's not such a bad guy and had his own motivations behind his attacks on Tate. Until You went a long way in changing my opinion of him. We also get to learn more about Jax and his relationship with Jared. I have a feeling that both of these boy will provide for entertaining reads.

As I've said before, I love my book boyfriends to be damaged, and this book solidified Jared's place on my list. I am super excited to see what's next for these characters. 

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Coming up in the Fall Away Series:

Madoc's story: Rival (Fall Away #2) - expected release August, 2014

It’s different within these four walls—behind this closed door, at night, in the dark. I’m not Madoc, and she’s not Fallon. I’m not smiling, cracking jokes, or putting up a front. And she’s not cutting me down with her smart mouth or looking at me and wishing I was a million miles away from her.

Here—in her room, on her turf—is where she’ll let go of everything that makes her fight me everywhere else. I told her that she should lock the door to keep me out. She never does.

Fallon

Madoc thinks that he has me pegged. He thinks that what you see is what you get, and that he’s on top of the world. Three years ago, I was cast aside and kicked out of my home all because of him. The little prince plays a game not even knowing that we’re at war.

Some people call it fighting. Others call it angst. Our parents call it sibling rivalry.

AND...

Jax's story: Native (Fall Away #3) - expected release winter, 2014

1/22/2014

The Destiny of Violet & Luke (The Coincidence #3) by Jessica Sorensen

The Destiny of Violet & Luke is a spin off of the The Coincidence of Callie & Kayden series by Jessica Sorensen. It follows Violet, the enigmatic roommate of Callie, and Luke, the roommate and best friend of Kayden.

Both Violet and Luke appear on the outside to be tough and in control, but both of them are damaged and beaten by their pasts. After her parents are brutally murdered, Violet spends her childhood being passed from foster home to foster home. Haunted by her past, Violet keeps her distance from everyone, shutting down her emotions, and seeking adrenaline rushes when things get to be too much. Luke's life is all about order and control, two things that he lacked growing up with his drug addict mother after his father walked out. He uses alcohol and meaningless sex to block out the memories of his past.

When Violet and Luke's paths cross, the two of them clash instantly, but they can't seem to stay away from each other. Slowly they begin to break down each other's walls and make each feel things that neither one has ever felt before. As they open up to each other about their pasts, they discover a link between them that has the power to destroy everything.

Jessica Sorensen delivers another great one with this novel. Violet and Luke are so damaged that my heart broke over and over again reading their story. These are some seriously damaged people, and I love them for it. The story moved a little slowly, was a bit repetitive at times, and I figured out what the big twist was, but that didn't stop me from being completely wrapped up in this couple's story. These two people are so perfect for each other that it will be tragic if they do not end up together.

The cliffhanger is gut-wrenching and according to Goodreads there will be a sequel entitled The Probability of Violet & Luke. It looks like it will be released some time this year, but a specific release date was not posted. Needless to say, I will be picking this one up as soon as it is released, because I am dying to find out how this story ends. I have a feeling that it will be full of a lot of drama and angst...just how I like it! Fingers crossed for a happy ending!

1/16/2014

Rome (Marked Men #3) by Jay Crownover

“He wasn’t perfect, I wasn’t perfect, but the love we had for each other…nothing was more perfect than that.”

Rome has always known his place. He was the protective older brother, the beloved son who ran interference between his parents and Rule, the soldier. But now that he is back from the desert, he doesn’t know where he fits. He is no longer a soldier and has come back from the desert a broken and changed man.

He couldn’t protect Remy and is struggling to bridge the rift Remy’s secret life caused in his family. Now that Rule has Shaw, he doesn’t need Rome anymore. The memories of his time at war threaten to overwhelm him. Everything that Rome used to define himself has been taken away, and he finds himself adrift in a sea of gray.

After having her heart smashed into a million pieces by her ex-boyfriend, Cora makes a vow that she will only settle for perfection. However when Cora meets Rome, she cannot deny the attraction and feelings that he inspires, even if he is as far from Cora’s idea of perfect as possible. As Cora falls for Rome, she struggles to give up on waiting for “Mr. Perfect” and risk her heart.

Cora becomes the riot of color in Rome’s gray world, and he knows that he has to put his demons to rest or risk losing her. Neither of them is perfect, but they are perfect together…if they are both willing to go all in.

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This book is AMAZING! The Marked Men series is by far one of my favorites. I love each and everyone one of these characters. They are so raw and real, and the journey that Jay takes us on is heart wrenchingly perfect. This series is full of angst, drama, redemption, passion, and is by far one of the best NA series I have ever read. Each book in this series gets better and better, and I love how Jay has woven the stories of this group of misfits together. I highly recommend that you read this series in order, as they each contain spoilers for the previous novels.

Jay delivers another great one with Rome. I love Cora’s spitfire personality and admire Rome’s sense of honor and loyalty (not to mention that he is all sorts of delicious). I loved watching these two imperfect and flawed people find perfection with each other. There were some surprises and it is definitely a page-turner. It’s books like this that make me regret the fact that I have to put them down to eat, sleep and take care of other necessities. I was hooked from the very start and Rome, hands down, has the best cover. Holy hotness! This book is imperfectly perfect.

The best part is that we can expect at least 3 more books in this series! Nash (April, 2014), Rowdy (September, 2014) and Asa (TBD) are all scheduled to get their own books. We got some sneak peaks into Nash’s story and I have a feeling that it will join the ranks of my favorite guilty pleasure reads. 

1/12/2014

The Sweetest Game (The Perfect Game #3) by J. Sterling

The Sweetest Game is the third and final installment in The Perfect Game Series. It is recommended that you read the other two novels before this one as several characters and events from the previous novels are featured in this book.

Jack and Cassie have been through so much, but have always come out together and stronger. As they settle into married life, things finally seem to going their way, until Jack injures his pitching hand. With the fate of his baseball career shrouded in uncertainty, Jack must face an important question - who is he without baseball? As he heals, Jack struggles to define himself and finds that sometimes your priorities in life change. And for the first time in his life, Jack finds himself questioning what he is willing to sacrifice for the game he loves.

Jack F'n Carter. It's always a little sad to say goodbye to one of my book boyfriends, but I have to say that I am quite pleased with how his story concludes. J. Sterling does a perfect job of tying up all of the loose ends and I think that fans of this series will be pleased. The story was a little predictable and lack some of the drama the other two books had, but that makes sense considering this is the end. Everything felt settled, and I think that it was the perfect send off for Jack Carter. I felt that his character grew the most in this book. He became more than just a hot, arrogant ball player in this book. He matured into man - still hot and arrogant, but more grounded and centered. It's amazing how sometimes what seems like a curse can actually be a blessing...giving us room to remember what is truly important in life. The perfect 9th inning for Jack F'n Carter.

1/11/2014

The Mortal Instruments Series (Books IV & V) by Cassandra Clare

Book IV: City of Fallen Angels
Now that the Mortal War is over, Clary returns to her life in New York and all the new possibilities before her. Her mother and Luke are engaged. She is training to be a Shadowhunter and use her new found power. The accords have brought peace to the Shadowhunters and Downworlders. Most importantly, she is free to be with her one true love, Jace.

Her moment of peace seems fleeting as once again strange things begin to happen around her. The bodies of Shadowhunters are turning up in Downwolder territories, threatening the fragile peace between races. Simon is facing his own challenges when his mother discovers that he is a vampire and his love life becomes a little complicated. Worst of all, Jace begins to pull away from her without explanation.

As Clary searches for answers for all mysterious happenings, she discovers that she is the one who set these terrible events in motion. Choices have consequences, and Clary finds herself facing the ultimate consequence of her choice - the loss of those most dear to her.

I love Cassandra Clare's writing. The worlds that she creates are so entrancing, but what I love the most are her characters. The relationships she creates between her characters makes them so special, so endearing, that you become lost in their stories. When I pick up one of Cassandra's books, I get so lost in them that hours can go by in the blink of an eye. I have to admit, I had a hard time getting into this book at first. Not because there is anything wrong with the book, in fact, it is just as well written as all the others, but because I knew that Clary and Jace's happy ending was fleeting and I was reluctant to watch it fall apart. Of course, I wasn't expecting what happened at all. Cassandra has an amazing ability to fool her readers, but in a good way. Just when I think I know where the story is going, it veers off in a direction I never saw coming. It makes for fantastic storytelling and only makes it easier to get lost in her words. Of course, it won't be a Cassandra Clare novel without a torturous cliffhanger, and while this one isn't torturous, it certainly is ominous.

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Book V: City of Lost Souls
When Jace goes missing, Clary must ask herself what she is willing to do to find him. The Clave's mission is to track down Sebastian and destroy him, but destroying him would mean destroying Jace. Jace and Sebastian are now linked by Lilith's magic. What happens to one, happens to the other.

Alec, Magnus, Simon, and Isabelle search for a way to kill Sebastian without harming Jace, seeking answers from anyone - evil and good alike. Meanwhile, Clary follows Jace and Sebastian into an unknown dimension, hoping to protect Jace while discovering Sebastian's plan. Clary quickly realizes that the Jace in front of her, while appearing to be the one she loves, is not entirely himself. She will have to walk a fine line as she tries to get Sebastian to trust her enough to reveal his plans.

What she will discover is that Sebastian plans to burn the world to the ground. A war is coming. He is raising an army of dark Shadowhunters. The fate of Jace's soul is not the only thing on the line. The fate of the Shadowhunters, the fate of the whole world, hangs in the balance...

WOW! That's all I can say after finishing this book. What an ending! Bittersweet. That is how I would describe it. While there are pockets of happiness, there are far more loose ends and uncertainty. I cannot wait for the last book in this series. If we are to judge what is to come by this book, then we are all in store for an epic, apocalyptic ending to this series. I have no doubt that Cassandra will be able to deliver an ending to this series that will meet every one of (and probably exceed) my expectations.

She is amazing and I am in awe of her talent. I know I have said it before, but her ability to create these worlds and characters is just amazing. I love them all. I get so lost in their stories. The journey (emotional and otherwise) that Cassandra's writing takes me on is the perfect escape from reality. As a reader, this is what I ask of an author. To create a world where I can get lost, that transports me to another time and place. It is true that a reader lives a thousand lives within the pages of books, and this is the perfect description of what it is like to experience a Cassandra Clare novel.


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Coming in May, 2014:


Book VI: City of Heavenly Fire

ΕRCHOMAI, SEBASTIAN HAD SAID.

I am coming.

Darkness returns to the Shadowhunter world. As their society falls apart around them, Clary, Jace, Simon and their friends must band together to fight the greatest evil the Nephilim have ever faced: Clary’s own brother. Nothing in the world can defeat him — must they journey to another world to find the chance? Lives will be lost, love sacrificed, and the whole world changed in the sixth and last installment of the Mortal Instruments series!