Saturday, April 26, 2014

Review: Don't Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Don't Look BackDon't Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout 
Release Date: April 15, 2014
Pagecount: 384
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Source: Publisher in exchange for an honest review
Buy It: Amazon | B&N

Description from Goodreads:
Samantha is a stranger in her own life. Until the night she disappeared with her best friend, Cassie, everyone said Sam had it all-popularity, wealth, and a dream boyfriend.

Sam has resurfaced, but she has no recollection of who she was or what happened to her that night. As she tries to piece together her life from before, she realizes it's one she no longer wants any part of. The old Sam took "mean girl" to a whole new level, and it's clear she and Cassie were more like best enemies. Sam is pretty sure that losing her memories is like winning the lottery. She's getting a second chance at being a better daughter, sister, and friend, and she's falling hard for Carson Ortiz, a boy who has always looked out for her-even if the old Sam treated him like trash.

But Cassie is still missing, and the facts about what happened to her that night isn't just buried deep inside of Sam's memory-someone else knows, someone who wants to make sure Sam stays quiet. All Sam wants is the truth, and if she can unlock her clouded memories of that fateful night, she can finally move on. But what if not remembering is the only thing keeping Sam alive?

We all know by now that I am a freaking HUGE fan of Jennifer L. Armentrout. The LUX series is one of my favorites, and she just writes some of the absolute best stuff to swoon over. Since I've been waiting what feels like forever and a half for this book to finally be released, I've had a lot of time to puzzle over what could be up with this book. It seems so different, but I surely expected it to hold that same JLA sparkle that is in everything she writes. 

Alas, this book told another fantastic story that I positively enjoyed the whole way through.

I liked the MC, Sam. Or, more accurately, I liked who the MC was in this book. I did not like who she used to be, but I like to think of them as two totally separate people because her change was so incredibly drastic. Sam was actually a pretty refreshing character. She was honest and open-minded. She did jump to some conclusions a time or two, but I can't really fault her for that. Not with the situation she was in, and especially not while I was doing the same exact thing. Sam handled everything very realistically and I truly liked her.

Carson was awesome. He was such a good guy, and not in an unrealistically perfect way. He was the kind of nice guy who could be anywhere. You know, if all the nice guys you knew were extraordinarily attractive. But seriously--Carson was realistic. And sweet. And so kind. He was patient and kind, and I loved how he was with Sam. He didn't pressure her into anything, and he gave her time to work through everything she needed to without being all kinds of demanding. He even offered to help. Such a sweetheart. 

The romance built up in the most perfect way. Since this is a JLA book, that's not very surprising, but I needed to say it nonetheless. Carson and Sam's relationship was a nice break from the mystery of everything, and it was always a good way to get some straight-up answers. They made a great couple, and it was sweet to see things working out for them in the midst of all the confusion.

The mystery is woven in such a way that I spent literally the whole book being suspicious of every character. Even the ones I adored, like Scott (who was a fantastic big brother) and Carson. I didn't figure it out until the person was revealed and then everything started clicking into place and I was like OHHHHH. But the suspicion this book was just the right amount. It was so close to being too much, because I had a hard time trusting people that I wanted to love--like Scott and Carson--but they ended up breaking through my barriers regardless and I was totally a fan. 

Overall, Jennifer L. Armentrout has written the most perfectly nerve-racking suspense that had me on the edge of my seat from beginning to end. I loved the characters, I was taken away by the story, and I couldn't wait to unravel the mystery. Don't Look Back is very different from Jen's other books, but I loved it just as much as all her others. I really hope Jen writes more suspense, because I seriously enjoyed reading this one!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Review: Lost in Us by Layla Hagen

Lost in Us (Lost, #1)Lost in Us by Layla Hagen 
Release Date: February 14, 2014
Pagecount: 316
Series: Lost #1
Source: Author in exchange for an honest review
Buy It: Amazon | B&N  

Description from Goodreads:
Serena has learned to live with her past, locking her secrets and nightmares deep inside her. But when her boyfriend of six years abruptly leaves her, she’s catapulted back into pain, nursing a broken heart. When indulging in mountains of chocolate doesn’t work, Serena decides the best way to deal with her shattered heart is to indulge in something else. A rebound . . .

The night she swaps her usual Sprite for tequila, she meets James. The encounter is breathtaking.
And best not repeated.

James is a successful entrepreneur in Silicon Valley. A man who has amassed a fortune by taking risks. A man who has shunned commitment completely, and still does. He’s the exact opposite of Serena. But sometimes opposites attract. Sometimes they give in to burning passion. Sometimes opposites are perfect for each other.

James is everything her damaged soul could want. His kisses are intoxicating, his touch out of this world. He makes her forget. He grants her peace from her pain. But as they grow closer, Serena discovers she isn’t the only one with a past. James carries the scars of a past much darker than hers. One that has left him damaged, hurt, and wary of love. A past that gives him the power to shatter her.

Now James and Serena must find a way to mend one another. Or risk losing each other forever

A lot of New Adult contemporaries are cut from something of the same cloth. They have the girl who is just going about her regular ol' life, and then BAM. Mr. Love Interest pops up. They meet, they banter, they fall in love, they fight, they make up, they CANNOT BE TOGETHER! And then they get together and everything's fine, okay. And I know I'm simplifying this a bunch, and I sound kind of meh about it, but I DO enjoy these books. I do tend to need to be in the mood for these books, but I swoon right along with the best of them when reading these stories. I want that couple to get together just like everyone else, and I have fun watching it all fall into place for those two characters. 

But this book...this book is pretty much the same ol' same ol'. But it just didn't work for me. I somewhat liked the book in the beginning, because I thought the two main characters would be all romantic and sweet and get together and it'd be that way for a good portion of the book, and I'd LOVE IT. But nope. And the characters weren't exactly people I was a fan of, either. The whole novel got on my nerves way too much.  

The MC, Serena, didn't really work for me AT ALL. She tried my patience so many times, and her good qualities (like her confidence and general intelligence) were not enough to counter this. For a majority of the book, I was either bored with Serena or I was irritated with her. She narrated the whole book, and she was so wishy-washy about things that she should have been quite sure about. 

Normally, the love interest would make up for the MC if she was annoying me. He'd be sweet and awesome and I'd fall in love. Or he'd bring out the best in her, and I'd be cool with her. JAMES, however, got on my nerves just as much as Serena. It is a well known fact that I am the most jealous person ever. James messed with that way too much. With that one chick (was it Sophie or something? I can't remember her name) and then teasing with that other chick. I know I was supposed to feel for him and whatever, but all I wanted to do was run off and find a better love interest. I wanted a new one. I actually have a nice, hefty list of NA book boys I wish could have taken James' place. Ahhhh.

The relationship between James and Serena was too up and down. I couldn't deal with it. It made me too mad. They'd get together and I'd think that they were FINALLY in for the long haul, and then something would come up again to mess with that. And they'd break up. And not be talking. And tease each other. But they were both still extremely jealous. It was obvious to everyone that they both were still hung up on each other the whole time, which made everything even more frustrating. I was reading this book and trying to convince these characters to just STAY together. Or don't. Just pick one, because they way it was going was making me want to throw things. UUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGGGGH. 

There were parts I enjoyed, however. I liked their relationship in the very beginning, before James made me not like him by doing you-know-what with you-know-who (or maybe you don't--goodness knows I don't remember her name). They did have some cute moments before they started the on-again-off-again thing. I also enjoyed James' character once he decided he was IN the relationship. It didn't bother me much that he couldn't say certain words, because actions speak louder sometimes. I trusted that he'd get there in his own time, and he didn't need Serena's pushing and ultimatums (and that's another aspect of that girl that made me want to hit her). I was also happy with the ending.

Overall, this book did not work for me. It made me angry, and the love interest never completely won me over. I ended up liking him well enough, SORT OF, but I will never forget the things he did to make me feel like a raging jealous lunatic. The main character didn't float my boat either. In the end, I liked the two together, but it was after a ride that ended up way too bumpy for my taste. However, I would not be opposed to reading the next book in the series, Found in Us. Since there are different characters, I think I may like it. Especially I had no qualms with the writing in Lost in Us. Plus, I did quite like Parker...

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Cover Reveal & Giveaway: Love Me to Death by Marissa Clarke

Love Me to Death by Marissa Clarke 
 Release Date: October 28, 2014
Publisher: Entangled Select
Series: Underveil #1
Buy It: Amazon | B&N
Add Love Me to Death on Goodreads!

Medical research scientist Elena Arcos has always lived her life under the radar. When she is shot in a convenience store robbery, Elena finds herself rocketed into supernatural insanity courtesy of a sexy immortal law enforcer. He’s convinced she’s some kind of freaky half-vampire thing and that her deceased dad was the real deal: a blood sucking monster. Yeah, right.

Nikolai Itzov never anticipated battling the urge to kiss the offspring of his father’s murderer. As a Slayer, an elite law enforcer descended from Azrael himself, his orders from the Underveil General are clear: Kill her or die.

Nikolai and Elena find themselves in a life and death battle to stop a plot designed to lift the Underveil and enslave humans. With her analytical mind and his centuries of training, they might be able to foil the plot with their lives and maybe their hearts intact. But in order to succeed, he must help her become the very thing he hates the most: an Undead. 

Marissa Clarke lives in Texas, where everything is bigger, especially the mosquitoes.

When not writing, she wrangles her rowdy pack of three teens, husband, and a Cairn Terrier named Annabel, who rules the house (and Marissa's heart) with an iron paw.
She loves to connect with readers, so follow/friend her on Facebook and Twitter (buttons in the bar above), or shoot her an email from the "Contact" page. 

Marissa Clarke is a pseudonym. Her real name is Mary Lindsey and she also writes young adult novels for Penguin USA. 


Author Links:
Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Newsletter


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Review: Bound by Lies by Hanna Peach

Bound by Lies (Bound, #1)Bound by Lies by Hanna Peach 
Release Date: January 21, 2014
Pagecount: 312 pages
Publisher: Gypsy Publishing
Series: Bound #1
Source: Author in exchange for an honest review
Buy It: Amazon

Description from Goodreads:
Our love is on his terms. He contacts me only through notes − unpredictable and untraceable. When we meet, he can touch me, but I’m not allowed to touch him. When we make love, it’s only after I have been bound and blindfolded. It’s the only time I truly feel alive. Which is why I play along with it. For now.

Caden Thaine is the most sinfully beautiful man I have ever seen. But more than that, his touch sets me on fire. And dear God, do I ache for him. I don’t know where he lives or even what he does. But this doesn’t scare me. My only fear is that one day his messages will stop.

I know he’s hiding something. But that’s okay. I am hiding things too. Like my real name and... who I really am. But the deeper I fall for him, the stronger my curiosity becomes.

I could never have imagined just how much our lives are bound. And that pulling at his tangled web of secrets would cause my own dark past to come back to try and reclaim me. Will we survive? Will our love?

I was so intrigued by this synopsis. It's so mysterious, but it also hints at some kind of fierce love story, which is definitely right up my alley. I didn't know what to make of the main character, but I knew that the guy sounded very much like one I'd like. Technically, this book met my expectations both in the mysterious and in the love story department, but it also fell short in some ways.

I don't think we ever learn the main character's name. Do we? Because I don't remember reading it. Other than that, I can't think of anything really remarkable about her. Which is ironic, because the one thing I remember best about her is that she was nameless. Or at least to me she was. She wasn't terrible, but she wasn't awesome either. I started to like her better in the second half, except for how she stops trusting Caden. Because, I mean, of course I trust him. 

Caden was so...odd. In an attractive way. It was weird. He was so cautious, but also protective and caring. I liked that. I didn't like how he threw around his rules and how if she broke them, they were over. I get that he has his secrets and that he intends to keep them, for the most part, but come on, man. Give her at least the tiniest break. Still, though. I loved him. Because I'm like that. 

Their romance was pretty fast-moving. I don't think I could call it insta-love because of how the trust had to be earned and whatnot, but it was something akin to it. But I didn't find it too annoying. I just wanted them to get closer, and I wanted to spend more time with Caden and I wanted to figure out what was up with the dude. I like to know what's going on with the characters I heart, you know?

The first half-ish of the book was kind of irritating. I was so into the story, but I was also wanting for MORE to happen. I understand that that chunk of the novel was to introduce us to that characters and the situation, but it still felt like a whole bunch of nothing. We don't get to know a lot about our MC, and we only get very specific background information for her. And Caden...we don't get much about him, either. I'm assuming we'll find out more in the next book(s), but in this book I was all kinds of grabby hands for ALL OF THE INFO. 

The second half was way more fast-paced, however. I enjoyed it so much and it was truly the saving grace for this story. I could have done without the MC being all skeptical about Cadan (because I heart hiiiim), but I'm letting that slide for now because she was also somewhat badass at that point. And honestly, if not for all of the happenings in the last 40 or so percent of the novel, I'm not sure I would have been interested in the story enough to want the next book. That said, I am totally Jonesing for what comes next. 

Overall, while the first half of Bound by Lies wasn't the best, the second half totally won me over to this series, these characters, and this author, and turned the book into something I truly enjoyed. I am seriously looking forward to the next book, and I can't wait to find out what comes next!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Review: The Story of You and Me by Pamela DuMond

The Story of You and MeThe Story of You and Me by Pamela DuMond 
Release Date: November 12, 2013
Pagecount: 286
Source: Author in exchange for an honest review
Buy It: Amazon | B&N

Description from Goodreads:

Recommended for New Adult and Mature Young Adult Readers
HEA for Sophie and Alejandro!
She's driven to save her life. He's haunted by breaking one. Some secrets are risky to share. But nothing's more powerful than falling in love...

Nineteen-year-old Sophie has the kind of hope that makes her do weird things--like leave her family and friends behind in her small hometown and travel thousands of miles to a strange city--Los Angeles.

She didn't plan on getting into the middle of a bar fight on the USCLA campus her first night in town. She didn't want to be rescued by twenty-one-year-old Alejandro, the hottest guy she's ever met. She has no time to fall for a guy because her stakes are high--life and death.

Sophie's starting a promising, experimental USCLA Medical study that could heal her debilitating disease. But California's filled with all kinds of alternative healers offering medical miracles. When she ventures on her own to find them, she quickly discovers that L.A.'s a tough city, with bad guys more than happy to take advantage of her.

She hires Alejandro to be her driver and her bodyguard. Their journeys take them to sunny beaches, dicey ghettos, campus hang-outs, gang-infested hoods and celebrity parties. And she learns that healing doesn't always come the way you think you need it.

Sophie's healing is six-foot-two-inches tall, has stunning hazel eyes, black, shiny hair and a rock solid chest that shelters her. Her healing is a smart, gorgeous Alpha Boy with a killer sense of humor--Alejandro.

As they fall in love, she realizes Alejandro isn't your typical college party boy--he has a dangerous past. And Sophie isn't the only one who keeps secrets.

A Story of Hope. A Story of Love. A Story of Redemption.

My expectations for this novel were kind of simple. I just thought this would be a cute romance that I'd swoon over once or twice or several times. I imagined this would be the love story of Alejandro and Sophie. And I was sort of right. Half way. But this book also told how they both moved on from their own individual issues that held them back. Mixing together the elements I expected with the elements I did not expect, I ended up really liking this book.

Sophie was a generally good character. She was strong, she was pretty self-aware, and she was kind. However, she had this habit of jumping to conclusions that got on my nerves. Instead of talking things out, she automatically assumed things and left or something, and I was not okay with that. Plus, she did her fair share of secret keeping. Like, to an annoying level because Alejandro was so accepting. She had literally NO reason to be so uptight with him, especially after he opened up about what was up with him.

Alejandro was magnificent. From the very beginning, I was a total fan. Like, for real. I'm not going to say I was never suspicious or whatever, because he DID leave abruptly a couple times, but he never really gave me a reason to be jealous, and that is a HUGE deal for me since I am the most jealous person ever. Even with book characters. I just am. But Alejandro was great. And sweet. And protective. I heart him. He had his issues, but his secret keeping wasn't as bothersome as Sophie's. Alejandro didn't really let his get in the way of the relationship. So, as I said, I am a fan.

The romance was just as sweet and cute as I'd thought it would be. I have no qualms with how that played out, save for Sophie messing things up. But at least she owned up to it, so I suppose she deserves some points for that. Though the romance was nice, the aspects I wasn't expecting--the deeper ones--sort of dragged the story down a bit. I'm a sucker for sickness stories just like anyone else. I find them interesting, and they can be sweet, and even though I cry, I get SO into them. But I felt like this one never made it to the emotional level a story like that needs. Maybe I never connected with Sophie enough? I don't know, but it didn't work very well for me. 

Another thing that didn't bode well with me--some of the narration. The story is told from Sophie's POV, and that actually turned out to be pretty amusing. But it also meant we were in Sophie's head jumping to her conclusions with her. Generally speaking, this isn't a huge problem. But at some points, Sophie was moving on in a direction I'd never even considered. Like when she asked Alex why everyone called him a driver. I didn't remember EVERYONE calling him a driver, nor was I interested enough to ask about it. I understand that we needed to know his driver status for the rest of the story to work out, but it was an odd jump in conversation, and that happens more than once throughout the story with different topics.

Overall, The Story of You and Me is a cute, fun story. I highly enjoyed the romance, and had a genuinely good time reading this book. There are some flaws within, but they weren't enough to make me dislike the book, and I'd say they were worth dealing with to get the love story aspect. Goodness knows I'm a sucker for a good love story ;)

Monday, April 21, 2014

Cover Reveal: Tempting the Bodyguard by J. Lynn

Tempting the Bodyguard by J. Lynn
 Release Date: May 12, 2014
Publisher: Entangled Brazen
Series: Gamble Brothers #3


A sexy category romance from Entangled’s Brazen imprint…
He can protect her from everyone except himself.
Alana Gore is in danger. A take-no-prisoners publicist, her way with people has made her more than a few enemies over the years, but a creepy stalker is an entirely different matter. She needs a bodyguard, and the only man she can ask is not only ridiculously hot, but reputed to have taste for women that goes beyond adventurous.
Chandler Gamble has one rule: don't protect anyone you want to screw. But with Alana, he's caught between his job and his increasingly hard libido. On one hand, Alana needs his help. On the other, Chandler wants nothing more than to take the hot volcano of a woman in hand. To make her writhe in pleasure, until she's at his complete mercy.
She needs protection. He needs satisfaction. And the moment the line is crossed, all hell will break loose…

# 1 NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY Bestselling author Jennifer Armentrout lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell, Loki.

Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen.

She also writes adult and New Adult romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins. 

Author Links: 


Teaser Tuesday: Chasing Desire by Jennifer Domenico

Chasing Desire by Jennifer Domenico!
Release: June 9th

High on life and all its luxuries, Brayden James has no intention of slowing down. That is until his womanizing ways catch up with him and he gets a much needed wake-up call. Just as he decides to clean up his act, the ultimate temptation enters his life.

When Mackenzie Reed meets Brayden, the attraction is instant and she knows that together they could achieve the kind of career success she’s always craved. But Mackenzie isn’t like most women. She has very good reasons for keeping her heart locked up tight. For her, this isn’t about love. This is about power.

Sparks fly as Brayden and Mackenzie try to avoid the one thing neither of them wanted. Each must choose between the life they’ve worked hard to achieve and the one they never imagined. Will they come to the same decision before it’s too late? Or will a hidden threat keep them apart?


    “Love is not a game, Brayden. People can get hurt and do.”
    “Alright, you obviously have your guard up right now. Just don’t be surprised if I knock down your brick wall.”
    “If we were at home right now I’d sit on your face so you’d shut up.”
    “Don’t say shit like that. I’ll get a stiffy and won’t be able to walk.”
    “That’s your problem.”

 Add To GoodReads

Friday, April 18, 2014

Cover Reveal: Ripped by Katy Evans

Ripped by Katy Evans 
 Release Date: December 16, 2014
Publisher: Gallery Books
Series: Real #5
Pre-Order: Amazon | iBooks | B&N

Every woman wants me--except the one I sing for.
Seattle shakes with anticipation: they call it the concert of the year. They say girls are getting pregnant just thinking about Crack Bikini being in town.
But when you love a girl, you don't leave her with nothing but a ring and a promise.

Any man with half a brain should know..

So what did I expect my girl would do when she saw me again?

Well, for starters, she loathes our music. Particularly the song I wrote about her.

When I sing it, the stadium is in an uproar. Thousands of fans scream my name like

I'm a god--but yeah, not her. Crystal clear: the girl's not happy to see me. 

Black hair, black boots, a bad attitude, that's her -- Pandora Stone is a freaking man-eater and she's out for my blood.

That's alright.

Let her come at me. Because I'm out for her heart and, this time, there's no way she can stop me.

I actually love this. For some reason, I'd been unaware that this book had a rocker, but now that I know...*GRABBY HANDS* (Pfft, as if I wouldn't have had grabby hands anyway. SPOILER ALERT: I would have.) But seriously, I love the guitar, and I am also quite fond of the attractive male. I'm so excited for this book! Katy Evans freaking rocks.

What do you think of the cover? Does the rocker thing make you WANT this book? Or are you feeling meh about it? Let me know what you think!