Friday, August 8, 2014

Blog Tour: Upside Down by Lia Riley (Review & Giveaway)

Title: Upside Down
Author: Lia Riley
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Series: Off the Map #1
Publication: August 5th, 2014 by Grand Central

If You Never Get Lost, You’ll Never Be Found

Twenty-one-year-old Natalia Stolfi is saying good-bye to the past-and turning her life upside down with a trip to the land down under. For the next six months, she'll act like a carefree exchange student, not a girl sinking under the weight of painful memories. Everything is going according to plan until she meets a brooding surfer with hypnotic green eyes and the troubling ability to see straight through her act.

Bran Lockhart is having the worst year on record. After the girl of his dreams turned into a nightmare, he moved back home to Melbourne to piece his life together. Yet no amount of disappointment could blind him to the pretty California girl who gets past all his defenses. He's never wanted anyone the way he wants Talia. But when Bran gets a stark reminder of why he stopped believing in love, he and Talia must decide if what they have is once in a lifetime . . . or if they were meant to live a world apart.


It's always nice when a New Adult story can take the things I love about NA and be twisted into a new novel that I end up loving. Upside Down had all the things I'm used to seeing in the genre--romance, girl with some kind of an issue that makes her actually pretty easy to relate to even though you may not have experienced the same exact thing she did, a guy who used to be...over friendly with a crap ton of girls, and both of the main characters have pasts full of heartbreak and pain. The awesome thing about Upside Down was that it took all of those things, and it all got twisted into a story that didn't FEEL run of the mill. And oh sweet baby goodness, I ended up falling for this story, head over heels.

Talia has OCD. Like, actual OCD. Not the OCD moments we all have at some point. I'm talking legitimate it-messes-with-her-everyday-life-on-a-regular-basis OCD. (Fun fact, that's how you know if you have a disorder. We all have tendencies--but disorders are recognized by interfering with your every day life.) I personally do not have OCD. But I, just like every other person on this planet, have things I struggle with every day. Is my own thing as serious as Talia's? No. But still, I could understand. It also helped that the writing was done so well, that the understanding I already had for OCD took on a more close-up view, being inside Talia's head and all. So yeah. Talia has OCD, and I loved how it made her feel more REAL to me, and I liked how that tied into the story. Other than that, Talia was a pretty gutsy chick. I'd hang out with her any day. And her sense of humor actually made me laugh more than once, which is never a bad sign. 

Bran...oh, Bran. He has his issues. He has his past, and he has trouble adjusting to how things change when Talia comes around. He didn't start out as the most charming fellow, but as the story progressed, his sweeter side peeked out more and more until it was basically his natural state. I very much enjoyed watching that evolution in him. Both he and Talia grew so much throughout this novel, and if I hadn't already loved Bran and Talia (which I totally did), I would have become a fan by the time this story ended.

The romance was so great. Bran and Talia get off to a somewhat rocky start, but they have this connection right away. And instead of jumping into insta-love (seriously, they are both the exact opposite of insta-love), they talk. They learn more about each other. And we get to see them open up more to each other and learn about each other, and grow closer. It was quite beautiful.

One of the coolest things about this novel is that it's set in Australia. I liked seeing that different setting and everything that came with it. That setting, paired with the little twists in the story I'd figured could very possibly echo the same stories I've read before, created a book I turned out to enjoy greatly. There were a few things that nagged on me--such as how unstable Bran and Talia's relationship felt for a larger portion of the book than I'd prefer, and the time...or two...I wished to slap Bran. Also, the jealous feeling I got at a certain part. I did not like that. It was highly effective in adding to all the feels going on in that cluster of crap going on, which added to make the story unique, but I am still not much of a fan of feeling that way. And while I enjoyed the dual POV, as I always do, I would have liked more from Bran's perspective. He was going through so much, and while we did get a decent glimpse of that, I wanted to see MORE. Though part of the reason for that may have something to do with the fact that I heart him. ;)

Overall, Upside Down is a beautiful New Adult story that came with some surprises. I loved Bran and Talia, and enjoyed how real their characters felt. I rode the roller coaster of this novel with them, and I cannot wait to go on another ride with them in the next book! 

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Lia Riley writes offbeat New Adult Romance. After studying at the University of Montana-Missoula, she scoured the world armed only with a backpack, overconfidence and a terrible sense of direction. She counts shooting vodka with a Ukranian mechanic in Antarctica, sipping yerba mate with gauchos in Chile and swilling XXXX with stationhands in Outback Australia among her accomplishments. When not torturing heroes (because c'mon, who doesn't love a good tortured hero?), Lia herds unruly chickens, camps, beach combs, daydreams about as-of-yet unwritten books, wades through a mile-high TBR pile and schemes yet another trip. She and her family live in Northern California.

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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Review: Perfect Kind of Trouble by Chelsea Fine

Perfect Kind of Trouble (Finding Fate, #2)Perfect Kind of Trouble by Chelsea Fine 
Release Date: June 17th, 2014
Pages: 336
Publisher: Forever
Series: Finding Fate #2
Review Copy: e-ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Purchase: Amazon | B&N

Description from Goodreads:
Sometimes when perfect falls apart, a little trouble fixes everything . . . 

Twenty-one-year-old Kayla Turner has lost everything. After spending most of her life taking care of her ailing mother, she just wants to spot a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. So when her late father-a man she barely knew-leaves her an inheritance, she finally breathes a sigh of relief . . . until she learns the inheritance comes with strings. Strings in the form of handsome playboy Daren Ackwood, her father's protégé. To see any of her inheritance, she's forced to team up with him. From his expensive car to those sexy dimples, Kayla's seen his type before. But Daren isn't who he seems to be . . .

Struggling to make amends for his family's mistakes, Daren has a life more Oliver Twist than Richie Rich these days. He's beyond grateful that James Turner included him in his will, but working with Turner's princess of a daughter to fulfill his cryptic last wish is making Daren wonder if being broke is really so bad. Still, she's just as beautiful as she is stubborn, and the more time he spends with Kayla, the less it feels right being without her. Soon Daren and Kayla begin to wonder if maybe the best gift Kayla's dad could have left them . . . was each other.

I absolutely adored Chelsea Fine's first novel in the Finding Fate series, Best Kind of Broken. I felt all of the feels and reading that book was such an experience. So I was positively looking forward to reading this companion novel, especially since this premise was so fun. I mean, seriously. In handcuffs with a hot guy going on a scavenger hunt for an inheritance that could very likely be hefty? Sweet. 

Reading this was an experience, too, except this time I buddy read with Val from Stuck in Books. Fun fact: buddy reading with Val is always hilarious. We had a good time with it. Made a list of characters we hated, made guesses as to what was going on with things, and discussed other stuff we liked or wanted to slap in the novel. By the time we were finished, we both agreed that this book was super flipping good.

Kayla was a character that grew on me. When we first start the story, we don't know much of anything about her other than that she stopped visiting her dad. Which sounds like a total B thing to do, yeah? But as we learned more about her, it came to light that she was actually a pretty cool chick. All she wanted was to be SEEN. For people to pay attention to what she had to say, how she felt, what she thought--instead of focusing on her looks. I liked that Kayla was so self aware, and I also liked that she didn't depend on her looks for everything. She wanted to be around people who weren't shallow. Who listened to her. As I said, she wanted to be SEEN. 

Daren was going through his own internal struggle, as well. He didn't exactly have a great sense of self worth. But goodness gracious, I loved seeing his growth with Kayla. I love this boy. He's my knight in shining manacles. He's such a great guy, but that also got overlooked by most people because of his reputation, a lot of which not even his fault. 

Both Daren and Kayla got dealt some crappy cards in the game of life, and with that they connected. I enjoyed watching that. They both went into the cuffs arrangement with a bunch of assumptions about the other, a majority of those negative. But as they went through the scavenger hunt, they spent more time together and learned more and I loved watching them learn the truth about each other. It led to some fabulous, sweet romance, that made me feel at least twenty levels of HAPPY! 

Remember, I heart Daren. My knight in shining manacles, remember. ;)

Though I really liked this book, I still had a few little issues with it. There were some times when the positioning or just something Kayla and Daren were doing didn't fit logically with how they were wearing the cuffs. Also, I was hoping for there to be an awkward scene in which they tried to use the toilet. We didn't get to see that--though it was mentioned in passing when they got the handcuffs off. And I was hoping for Daren to interact with Pixie at least a little. He mentioned that he needed to have a chat with her, but we never got to see that.

Overall, I highly enjoyed Perfect Kind of Trouble! The premise was fun and the characters were fantastic. I especially loved Daren and his shining manacles! Chelsea Fine's written another great novel and I cannot wait for the next in this series. I'm sure it's going to be just as fabulous as the first two.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Review: The Mephisto Covenant by Trinity Faegen

The Mephisto Covenant: The Redemption of Ajax (The Mephisto Covenant, #1)The Mephisto Covenant by Trinity Faegen 
Release Date: September 27th, 2011
Pages: 438
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Series: The Mephisto Covenant #1
Review Copy: ARCycling in exchange for an honest review
Purchase: Amazon | B&N

Description from Goodreads:
Sasha is desperate to find out who murdered her father. When getting the answer means pledging her soul to Eryx, she unlocks a secret that puts her in grave danger--she is an Anabo, a daughter of Eve, and Eryx's biggest threat.

A son of Hell, immortal, and bound to Earth forever, Jax looks for redemption in the Mephisto Covenant--God's promise he will find peace in the love of an Anabo. After a thousand years, he's finally found the girl he's been searching for: Sasha.

With the threat of Eryx always looming, Jax knows he has to keep Sasha safe and win her over. But can he? Will Sasha love him and give up her mortal life?

What drew me to this book was the fact that romance seemed to be the dominant aspect. They need to fall in love for his redemption--and it isn't just a dramatic teenage thing. It's a legit situation. I was so pumped to read that and see how things went for Jax and Sasha. All in all, I wouldn't say The Mephisto Covenant disappointed me, but I wouldn't say it was as wonderful as I was expecting it to be, either. 

First there's Sasha, who was okay. She wasn't AMAZING or anything, but I didn't completely dislike her, either. She was going through a very suckish situation and dealing the best she could. Do I like the way she dealt with every single thing? Nope. But she didn't do anything too crazy that I wanted to slap some sense into her, either. The only big thing that bothered me was how Sasha took care of the situation with Jax. I get that it was all way out of left field, but it still bothered me that she was so standoffish about everything he had to say and then BAM accepted his help the moment she needed it. She works through that problem, though, which I obviously approved of.

Jax wasn't a bad boy. For all intents and purposes he should be. He was supposed to be. But he wasn't. Pretty sure Sasha had something to do with that. Goodness knows how reckless he might have been before he found Sasha and focused on her. And you know what? I liked that he was so conscientious of Sasha. It showed that he could be a great guy, and I much preferred seeing that side of him as opposed to the brief descriptions of how he was before. And now I totally heart me some Jax.

The romance was actually really nice. Sort of insta-lovey, but I was expecting that going in. It's actually central to the story, so it didn't bother me. Plus, I loved watching their romance develop as the story progressed. At first, it was just a sweet thing that they were looking at in an Anabo/son of Hell way, but then later it turned sweeter and into something that was just them feeling their feels. And yeah, I loved that.

I'd say the biggest issue I had with this story was the world-building. I pretty much understand everything (or at least I think I do), but there was too much info-dump. Not only that, but it happens more than once. With the SAME information. I understand why it happened--Sasha gets her memory wiped at the beginning of the book after she learns a bunch of stuff. But OUR memories weren't wiped. I don't see why we had to go through so many double explanations. Sasha needed them. We didn't.

The writing was good, though I would have preferred the story in first person POV. I liked that it was dual POV, but I feel like I could have gotten more into the story if I'd ACTUALLY been in the characters' heads, you know? There's something more connected about first person, and I tend to be partial to it. Not saying I don't adore any books in third person (ALL of the L.J. Smith books, anyone?), but with some stories, I feel it'd be a better experience from first person. 

Overall, I really liked The Mephisto Covenant. I fell for Jax, ended up on good terms with Sasha by the end of the book, and adored the whole premise. Though this book wasn't all I expected it to be, I found it enjoyable regardless and totally plan to read the next book in the series. 


Monday, July 28, 2014

I'm Joining StuckInBooks!


Yep. You heard that right. I'm joining Val over at StuckInBooks

Val and I have been friends for a while. We first met officially (i.e. in person) at Jennifer L. Armentrout's Opal release party in Houston. Then we ran last year's Lux readathon together, and...yeah. We've been friends for a while. We buddy read together and it's always a great time. 

And then one day, we got talking about co-blogging. After discussing it a bit, we decided we were going to do this thing. 

And now here we are! I even have this wonderful new button: 


I probably love that thing more than I should.

Val welcomed me to the blog today, and you can check that post out here. It's a lovely post and gives me warm fuzzies. It also makes my brother think he's going to be famous. But whatever. To each his own.

Now, there's probably one big question here. I know.

What's going to happen to Just a Booklover?

My answer? I'm not sure. Not right now. What I do know is that my blog is going to still be here. It's going to get very lonely, since StuckInBooks will be my main focus from now on. I am by no means saying goodbye to blogging--I'm just moving.

I'm not really saying goodbye to Just a Booklover, either. Because I'm clingy. But seriously, it'll probably turn into a ghost town.

Here are some things I DO know right now:

- I am 100% SUPER EXCITED to be joining StuckInBooks. We've had this in the works for a little while now, and we've been bursting at the seams to share the news! Seriously, you have no idea how happy we are that we finally get to tell everybody!

- I will keep my 2014 Reads tab updated. Because I really like having that list. It's helpful and makes me feel all reading accomplished.

- I will keep updating my Review Archive. I like having one solid place to go to and see ALL of my reviews, spanning Just a Booklover, Bookish, YA Bound, and now StuckInBooks.

- I still have a little planned for Just a Booklover. For the next week and a half-ish, I have a handful of reviews and one blog tour post planned to go up. So it's not over QUITE yet. It's stuff I've had planned for a while or books I've had reviews laying around for that I've been meaning to post.

- I'm still a part of Bookish and YA Bound. My moving to StuckInBooks has nothing to do with that. :)

Now here are some things I'm contemplating:

- I MIGHT post on here every once in a while. Like, once or twice a month. I'm not sure. I might need a place to post a thing at some point, and I still consider Just a Booklover an option for that. Not exactly my first option, but it's here. It always will be.

- I MIGHT still celebrate my blogoversary and holidays and stuff. But I don't know. I'm kind of playing it by ear on this stuff.

- My Monthly Re-Reads will probably move to YA Bound. I really enjoy doing those re-reads, so I know I'll keep them around. I'm just deciding WHERE I want to do that. My best guess at this moment is YA Bound. It would be my last/first post every month there. But we shall see.

The biggest, most important thing is that StuckInBooks is my new focus. Just a Booklover will always be my baby and I will never ever stop loving this blog, but Val and I have some fun stuff planned for the future over on StuckInBooks. Blogging takes a crap ton of time and can feel like work sometimes, but we're making it fun. We're KEEPING it fun. So yay!

Thank you all so, so much for all your awesomeness. If you're not already following StuckInBooks, you should totally head on over and do that. That blog is so great, I CANNOT EVEN. I'm still stunned that I get to have a part in the greatness.

I heart you all bunches and bunches and am super pumped to start being a part of StuckInBooks!


Friday, July 25, 2014

Cover Reveal: King Tomb by Scarlett Dawn

King Tomb by Scarlett Dawn 
Release Date: October 8, 2014
Publisher: Escape Publishing
Series: Forever Evermore #3

Description from Goodreads:
From Scarlett Dawn comes the stunning, sexy, sensual, surprising, spell-binding conclusion to the best-selling first Forever Evermore trilogy. 

Queen Shifter, Lily Ruckler, has found solace in brutal warfare. Her bloodied fists and bared fangs fill the holes left in her memory, the blank spaces that leave her soul aching and empty. Her only pleasure is in blood; her only salvation is the relationship she has with her infant child, the baby of unknown origins who brings her solace and stability.

When Elder Harcourt summons Lily and her protector Antonio back to the United States, Lily thinks nothing unusual about the change of location. But a standard reconnaissance mission leaves her trapped inside King Zeller’s private quarters, and at his mercy. Surprise attraction rapidly turns to a battle of wills and an intense power struggle that leaves no clear victor but plenty of resentment.

They are not allowed to nurse their wounds. In order to win the war against the Commoners, the King Vampire and Queen Shifter must work together. It should be easy. The war is turning, the battle is deadly, and both Lily and Ezra love the cold cleanliness of combat. But their chance meeting has led to more than an unlikely alliance. Secrets have a way of surfacing, especially on a torn-up battlefield, and Lily and Ezra are about to re-learn all they cannot remember. If they can’t control their emotions and responses, it will be to their own ruin and the destruction of everything around them. 

Scarlett Dawn is the author of the Forever Evermore new adult fantasy series, which include King Hall and King Cave.

She lives in the Midwest, where she loves to 'people watch' and daydream. She adores her music loud and her fries covered in cheese. 

Author Links: 

I'm going to be honest here: This is my favorite cover of the series. Probably has something to do with WHO is on the cover, yes? ;) But other than that, I'm kind of obsessed with the look in his eyes. I've read this book (and I still thank baby Jesus in the manger for the opportunity), and I think his expression is kind of dead on. 

Aaaand, that's all I'm going to say about that because if I say any more I'll start rambling and then I'll start talking about EZRA AND I'LL SHIFT INTO ALL CAPS LIKE I ALWAYS DO WHEN I TALK ABOUT HIM BECAUSE I HEART HIM SO MUCH...

Yeah. That happens. That happened

What do you think of the cover? Have you read any of the books in this series? HOW EXCITED ARE YOU FOR MORE EZRA?! Tell me all of the things! 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Blog Tour: Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally (Review & Giveaway)

Click the banner above to check out the full tour schedule! 

Breathe, Annie, BreatheBreathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally 
Release Date: July 15th, 2014
Pages: 306
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Series: Hundred Oaks #5
Review Copy: e-ARC copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Purchase: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iTunes

Description from Goodreads: 
Annie hates running. No matter how far she jogs, she can’t escape the guilt that if she hadn’t broken up with Kyle, he might still be alive. So to honor his memory, she starts preparing for the marathon he intended to race.

But the training is even more grueling than Annie could have imagined. Despite her coaching, she’s at war with her body, her mind—and her heart. With every mile that athletic Jeremiah cheers her on, she grows more conflicted. She wants to run into his arms…and sprint in the opposite direction. For Annie, opening up to love again may be even more of a challenge than crossing the finish line.

"Breathe, Annie, Breathe is an emotional, heartfelt, and beautiful story about finding yourself after loss and learning to love. It gave me so many feels. Her best book yet." — Jennifer Armentrout, New York Times bestselling author of Wait for You 

I love Miranda Kenneally's books. Catching Jordan is a book that I look back on whenever I need a laugh and Stealing Parker is another book that gives me happy feelings. I've always loved the characters Miranda Kenneally depicts and creates in her stories, and then their situations in the books. Going into Breathe, Annie, Breathe, I expected a book that made me think a bit, touched my heart a bit, and made me laugh a bit. What I got was so much more than that.

Annie is probably my favorite Kenneally MC yet. I loved her strength and determination to fun that race no matter what. Reading this book, I thought a lot about when I used to run for school or cheerleading or whatever. I was never a fan. Annie wasn't either until her boyfriend dies and she makes the decision to run the marathon he'd been training for. And that is such a beautiful thing to do. Starting out with only knowing that about Annie set her off to a great start in my mind and she only rose up in the awesome scale as the book progressed. She wasn't perfect. She had issues to deal with, of course. But she did it. She worked on it, and I admire her so, so much.

Then there's Jere, who--dear goodness--I totally fell for. Head over heels, baby. He was such a unique character with his adrenaline junky ways. And I literally mean it when I say "adrenaline junky." It's his thing. He does dangerous stuff for the thrill, and he gets injured. He has bunches of scars and is always looking for something new to try. I loved how he was dangerous in a way that I've never seen in a book boy before. He's not what I'd call a bad boy. He's a sweet boy. He treats blisters and says encouraging things and is the most wonderful of friends when you need one. The dangerous part comes in with the risk involved with the stuff he chooses to do and I found that so interesting. 

Since I was such a huge fan of Annie from the beginning, I started out sort of hesitant toward Jere. I didn't want him to pop in and mess with Annie or anything. I didn't want to throw the book at a wall. (Especially since I was reading it on my Kindle.) But I warmed up to Jere in no time. That boy is so kind and funny and if he needs a new best friend, I totally volunteer as tribute. So once I realized that Jere was awesome sauce, I started rooting for the couple. And goodness gracious, those two were so great for each other. I could not think of a better match for either of these fabulous people if I tried. 

The writing and storyline of the novel mixed together so well to leave a lasting effect on me. The biggest thing of this story is Annie's internal struggle--both race-involved and life involved and love involved. She's figuring her shiz out. And I FELT this, FELT her story so much. I was right there with Annie throughout this whole story, and I flew through this thing. A day. It took me a day to read this book. It would have been one sitting, but I had to eat dinner. Everything just flowed and the writing was wonderful, and I flat out LOVED this book.

I also enjoyed seeing characters from the previous Hundred Oaks books. It's so fun watching how the stories all tie together. And the title of Breathe, Annie, Breathe? Seriously a favorite of mine. It fits the story so well, and I heart it almost as much as I heart Jere. 

Overall, I am in love with Breathe, Annie, Breathe. This is definitely my favorite Miranda Kenneally novel so far, and Annie's story has a special place in my heart. I adored her and Jere, and it was such a great experience watching their progress throughout the story. I feel so much love right now. 

Growing up in Tennessee, Miranda Kenneally dreamed of becoming an Atlanta Brave, a country singer (cliché!), or a UN interpreter. Instead she writes, and works for the State Department in Washington, D.C., where George W. Bush once used her shoulder as an armrest. Miranda loves Twitter, Star Trek and her husband.

Author Links: 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Vote for Remy!


Hi, lovelies! Today is Remy's second match in the NA Crush Tourney. If you could click the link below, scroll down to the bottom, and vote for Remy, I'd appreciate it so much! 

If you have a minute and would like to spread the word, here are a bunch of graphics you can totally use:

(Two were made by me and the other two were made by Val from Stuck in Books. Val's are the better ones--I love them!)



Thank you all so much for being awesome! :)