Favorite Friday (#17) - Better Than Perfect by Simone Elkeles

Have a favorite book? Series? One that you've just read or are currently reading? Favorite Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Books and Swoons where we spotlight some of our Favorite Reads. Everyone is welcome to join. Just enter your information on the linky or leave us a comment!

This week pick is: Better Than Perfect by Simone Elkeles


Ashtyn's life just got complicated. Her boyfriend is being distant and her sister's back at home after ten years - with a stepson in tow!

Derek has a perfect body, THE sexiest smile and a car - Ashtyn's only way to escape from her crazy life. But Derek likes to play by his own rules and is keen to take Ashtyn on a ride she'll never forget. As they spend more and more time alone together, will Derek's flirty games drive Ashtyn wild?

*This book also goes by Wild Cards and had another cover* 

This is one of my favorite books. Simone Elkeles knows how to creates great characters full of depth. I love the premise of the story and Ashtyn is a strong female character which is rare. This story has all of the elements that I look for in a great story. It's a must read!

About the Author

Simone Elkeles is a New York Times and USA Today best selling author of novels for teens. Simone's books have won many awards including being YALSA Top Ten Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, being named to the YALSA Popular Paperbacks and Teens Top Ten lists, and added to the Illinois "Read for a Lifetime" Reading List. Simone also won the coveted RITA award from the Romance Writers of America for her book Perfect Chemistry. Simone is especially proud of the fact that the Illinois Association of Teachers of English named her Author of the Year.

Author Links: Website / Twitter / Goodreads / Facebook / YouTube

I hope you can join us in sharing and talking about some of your favorite reads. Book talk always make me happy. 

What are one of your favorite reads?

Review: Sweet Reckoning by Wendy Higgins


Sweet Reckoning (Sweet Trilogy #3)
Author: Wendy Higgins
Release Date: April 29, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Personal Copy
Review by: Nahomi
It’s time.

Evil is running rampant and sweet Anna Whitt is its target. Nobody knows when or how the Dukes will strike, but Anna and her Nephilim allies will do anything necessary to rid the earth of the demons and their oppressive ways.

The stakes are higher than ever, and Anna is determined that the love she feels will be her strength, not a liability. But trying to protect the ones she loves while running for her life and battling demonic forces proves to be perilous—especially as faces are changing and trust is fleeting. When the Duke of Lust sends Anna’s great love, Kaidan Rowe, to work against her, Anna must decide how much she’s prepared to risk.
4.5 stars out of 5 stars


I'm always a little hesitant when it comes to the final book of any series, because so often I am disappointed with the ending. But this wasn't the case with Sweet Reckoning; this story is fast paced and full of suspense. For most of the book we don't know what is going to happen from one minute to the next. I was devouring the pages as fast as I possibly could just so I could see how everything would turn out.

I love how the relationship between the Nephilim friends and her human friends has developed. I love how Patty kind of just takes everyone in and they all love her. It's great that Anna was able to integrate both of her worlds. Her relationship with Kai definitely takes an unexpected turn but I love how they interact with each other. Kai is funny and sarcastic throughout most of the book.

I didn't give this book a five because at times things felt a little too convenient when it came down to the resolution of the conflict. I didn't feel like it was a hindrance to the entire story but it still felt like the easy way out on occasion.

I found this to be a very emotional read, so get your tissues ready. There were definitely some major plot twists that left me open mouthed and in shock! Wendy Higgins packed Sweet Reckoning full of surprises!  
      

Waiting on Wednesday (#89)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spinethat spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Morning swooners!

This week pre-publication "can't wait to read" selection is:

Expected Release Date: February 2, 2015

Synopsis:
An eShort, features Max and Sara Stella (from Beautiful Stranger) as they struggle to balance passion and play with the arrival of their new beautiful bundle of joy.
I am so excited about Beautiful Beloved! Max and Sara are my favorite characters from the Beautiful Bastard series and I can't wait to see how things are going for them.

What are you "Waiting on?"

Review: For Real by Alison Cherry


For Real
Author: Alison Cherry
Release Date: December 9, 2014
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Source: NetGalley
Review by: Jenn
No parents. No limits. No clue what they're in for.

Shy, cautious Claire has always been in her confident older sister's shadow. While Miranda's life is jam-packed with exciting people and whirlwind adventures, Claire gets her thrills vicariously by watching people live large on reality TV.

When Miranda discovers her boyfriend, Samir, cheating on her just before her college graduation, it's Claire who comes up with the perfect plan. They'll outshine Miranda's fame-obsessed ex while having an amazing summer by competing on Around the World, a race around the globe for a million bucks. Revenge + sisterly bonding = awesome.

But the show has a twist, and Claire is stunned to find herself in the middle of a reality-show romance that may or may not be just for the cameras. This summer could end up being the highlight of her life... or an epic fail forever captured on film. In a world where drama is currency and manipulation is standard, how can you tell what's for real?
3.5 stars out of 5 stars
*I received an eARC of this book from the publisher but it did not influence this review in any way.*

So interesting tidbit that I want to share with you about this book. I requested this book on NetGalley on whim thinking that, while it sounded interesting, I was not expecting to get approved because the publisher is Delacorte Press/Random House and I don't typically get approve from them. Imagine my surprised once I got my approval email for this book. I'm just really glad that they did approved me because I ended up devouring this book in one afternoon.

For Real follows the story of two sisters doing an Amazing Race type of reality show in order to get revenge on one of the sister's ex-boyfriend. Claire is the shy sister while Miranda is the outgoing and popular one. They're both so different but they end up balancing each other out. I have to admit that I didn't like Miranda up until the last moment. I thought that she was selfish and condescending and didn't care about what happened with Claire if it didn't benefit her. Claire, on the other hand, always tried to helped out Miranda up until she decided to stand up for herself.

Their relationship is very typical and I enjoyed how they both learned how much the other has changed. Miranda thought she knew her sister and vice versa with Claire. So they were both acting like they always did but hadn't taken the time to re-learn themselves. See, Miranda is a recent college grad and Claire is still in high school. They haven't been living in the same house for 4 years, so they haven't seen how the other has changed. Once Claire stood up for herself and both sister spoke out how the other made them feel, it truly made them realize that they're still growing as people so they shouldn't put each other in box and stop them from growing.

I love the plot of this book. I thought it was very fun and quick but I feel like I got to know these characters. Especially some of the secondary characters. They were definitely an interesting bunch and my only complaint is that I wish we had gotten to know some of them better. The twist with Claire's love interest was very nicely played. I kind of figured it out but it still sucked for Claire. I did enjoyed how Miranda managed to support Claire in the end. You don't mess with sisters.

Alison Cherry did a great job at creating a wonderful dynamic between Claire and Miranda. Their relationship felt very real and authentic. I love reading stories that focuses on relationship with those that are our first friends because there is nothing like some siblings love and rivalry. For Real was a great read and it went by so fast that I didn't even realize how fast I was blowing through the pages. I think as my first Alison Cherry book, I'm looking forward to reading more from her.

Quotes (#87)


Morning Swooners,

The semester is over!!! This is the start of a great week...I have no school! I feel like a new person today! Okay, so I am a little over excited about not being in school. Either ways lets get on with our quotes for the day.


“What is so marvelous about living today is that it is possible to extend, like a flower, spreading petals in all directions.”
~Carolyn Kizer

“The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven..”
~John Milton, Paradise Lost

“The past beats inside me like a second heart.” 
~John Banville, The Sea

“These days I must take the world in small and carefully measured doses. It is a sort of homeopathic cure I am undergoing, though I am not certain what this cure is meant to mend. Perhaps I am learning to live amongst the living again. Practising, I mean. But no, that is not it. Being here is just a way of not being anywhere.”
~John BanvilleThe Sea

“Happiness is something that comes into our lives through doors we don't even remember leaving open.” ~Rose Wilder Lane

“Making the best of things is a damn poor way of dealing with them. My life has been a series of escapes from that quicksand.”
~Rose Wilder Lane

“That luminous part of you that exists beyond personality–your soul, if you will–is as bright and shining as any that has ever been....Clear away everything that keeps you separate from this secret luminous place. Believe it exists, come to know it better, nurture it, share its fruits tirelessly.” ~George Saunders

Hope you have a wonderful week!

Review: Dirty Rowdy Thing by Christina Lauren


Dirty Rowdy Thing (Wild Seasons #2)
Author: Christina Lauren
Release Date: November 4, 2014
Publisher: Gallery Books
Source: ARC provided by publisher
Review by: Jenn & Nahomi
Despite their rowdy hookups, Harlow and Finn don’t even like each other...which would explain why their marriage lasted only twelve hours. He needs to be in charge and takes whatever he wants. She lives by the Want-something-done? Do-it-yourself mantra. Maybe she’s too similar to the rugged fisherman—or just what he needs.
Jenn's rating: 5 stars out of 5 stars
Nahomi's rating: 5 stars out of 5 stars
Overall rating: 5 stars out of 5 stars
*We received an ARC of this book from the publisher but it did not influence this review in any way.*

Jenn:
I don't know how they do it, but Christina Lauren have managed to knock it out the park again with Dirty Rowdy Thing. I was completely sucked into the story and I couldn't read fast enough. Harlow and Finn kept me on my toes and had me LOLing. They were the perfect pair and I just love them together.

I really love getting to know Harlow and learning how much her close knit of people mean to her. In a way, I can relate to her. She's the kind of person that keep people at arms length until she knows you. But once you've become part of her life, she would do anything for them. She makes it her mission to do anything in her power to make her friends and family happy. Which is something that Finn is not exactly used to and brings me to my next point. Finn is used to taking care of everything and being in control. So being around Harlow made things a little difficult for Finn. Since they are alike in that way, they had to learn to give and take. There was an occasion in the story where there was a misunderstanding that bothered me but I did enjoy how it was resolved in the end.

Being a Christina Lauren book, you know that the smexy times had to be AMAZING, right? Well, they were. There were so many times that just left me speechless and I'm so jealous of Harlow because HOLY.CRAP is Finn Roberts one talented man. There were so many times where I was fanning myself and wondering where I can find myself a Finn of my own.

This was amazing, funny, sweet, hot read. The characters kept me laughing and the story kept turning pages and I love the little glimpse into the other characters' lives that we got. I can't wait until the next book. The wait might just kill me. At least I can console myself that we get more of Christina's and Lauren's words in April as we return to the Beautiful Bastard world again. Can't wait!

But seriously, where can I get Finn? I have something that I need for him to, uh...do. Ahem. Go buy this book, trust me. It's AMAZING.

Nahomi:
Well said Jenn, I agree with all of the above. But I would like to add a few more things that I really enjoyed. Besides Finn and Harlow's relationship I really liked Harlow's family dynamic. Her relationship with her parents and especially dad really caught me off guard; I really love their interaction.Christina Lauren did a phenomenal job integrating family into this novel. I loved being able to see the world through Harlow's perspective and felt I could really identify with her on a lot of different levels.

The only thing I really had an issue with was the ending just because I really wanted to see what happened after they made up. I was dying to get an epilogue but just because I wanted stay in Harlow and Finn's world a little longer. I can't wait to see what is coming next for the gang of the Wild Seasons!


Favorite Friday #16 - Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Have a favorite book? Series? One that you've just read or are currently reading? Favorite Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Books and Swoons where we spotlight some of our Favorite Reads. Everyone is welcome to join. Just enter your information on the linky or leave us a comment!

This week pick is: Landline by Rainbow Rowell


Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. That it’s been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply — but that almost seems beside the point now.

Maybe that was always beside the point.

Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her — Neal is always a little upset with Georgie — but she doesn’t expect to him to pack up the kids and go home without her.

When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything.

That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts . . .

Is that what she’s supposed to do?

Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?

You all know how much I love Rainbow, right? If you hadn't, well now you know because this is my second time using a Rainbow book and we've been only doing Favorite Friday for 16 weeks. Rainbow manages to create such real and authentic characters that you feel like you know them in real life. If you haven't read her books, I say RUN and get her books. Any one, I'm not being picky. Go on now.

About the author:

Rainbow Rowell writes books.
Sometimes she writes about adults (Attachments and Landline).
Sometimes she writes about teenagers (Eleanor & Park and Fangirl).
But she always writes about people who talk a lot. And people who feel like they’re screwing up. And people who fall in love.
When she’s not writing, Rainbow is reading comic books, planning Disney World trips and arguing about things that don’t really matter in the big scheme of things.
She lives in Nebraska with her husband and two sons.

Author's links: Website / Twitter / Facebook / Tumblr
I hope you can join us in sharing and talking about some of your favorite reads. Book talk always make me happy. 

What are one of your favorite reads?

Waiting on Wednesday (#88)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spinethat spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Morning swooners!

This week pre-publication "can't wait to read" selection is:

Expected Release Date: January 27, 2015
Synopsis:
Cody and Meg were inseparable.
Two peas in a pod.
Until . . . they weren’t anymore.
When her best friend Meg drinks a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room, Cody is understandably shocked and devastated. She and Meg shared everything—so how was there no warning? But when Cody travels to Meg’s college town to pack up the belongings left behind, she discovers that there’s a lot that Meg never told her. About her old roommates, the sort of people Cody never would have met in her dead-end small town in Washington. About Ben McAllister, the boy with a guitar and a sneer, who broke Meg’s heart. And about an encrypted computer file that Cody can’t open—until she does, and suddenly everything Cody thought she knew about her best friend’s death gets thrown into question.
It Gayle Forman and anything Gayle Forman writes, I will read. That's my motto and I hope you also follow that as well.

What are you "Waiting on?"

Review: The Good Chase by Hanna Martine


The Good Chase
(Highland Games #2)
Author: Hanna Martine
Release Date: December 2, 2014
Publisher: Berkley
Source: Berkley
Review by: Jenn
Gleann, New Hampshire’s annual highland games always deliver the best of Scottish culture—rowdiness, rugby, whiskey, and unexpected romance…

Even though Shea Montgomery’s swanky bar and distinguished palate have made her a highly regarded whiskey connoisseur, she’s happiest bringing her favorite spirit to various highland games around New England. Her demanding ex made her wary of men obsessed with money and status, and she’s now more comfortable in the country than in the city. Still, when a gorgeous rugby player straight from Wall Street barrels into her whiskey tent, she’s tempted to change her mind…

J.P. Byrne went from poor beginnings to international high roller by using his charisma and wit, and holding fast to his dreams. A strong, independent woman like Shea is exactly what he’s looking for, only he has no idea how to prove he’s more than his three-piece suits—especially when he’s spent years doing just the opposite.

But as Shea and Byrne battle old demons, they discover together that the best remedy for past pain is a good, stiff shot of present pleasure…

4 stars out of 5 stars
*I received an early copy of this book from the publisher, but it did not influence this review in any way.*

I was extremely happy when I first got this book in the mail. I've been looking for an adult book to read and from the synopsis, The Good Chase sounded like an interesting concept. The main character, Shea, is basically a whiskey connoisseur and that little difference made me pick up the book. Reading the way we book lovers and bloggers do, we seem to find ourselves in a rut and reading the same thing over and over again. But even the little difference of a job, say Shea being a whiskey connoisseur, makes things all the more fun. I found that detail, so fascinating because, while I'm a wine lover, I've been so scared about whiskey because it more a "man" drink but after this book, I'm definitely willing to try some whiskey.

We first meet Shea as she running a whiskey tasting booth in a highland game and in comes tall, sexy, rugby playing Byrne and *fans self* woah baby. The sexual tension between Shea and Bryne is so palpable that Shea has to try to talk herself out of her attraction towards him. I personally think she was crazy but once we learn of her reasons why, I can see where she was coming from. What follows is some extreme flirting and UST that had me wanting to do this:
When they finally did come together? DEFINITELY made up for all the wait. Both Shea and Byrne are very independent and not afraid to take charge of their life and decisions. So seeing them both come to the realization that depending on one another wasn't such a bad thing. They slowly learned, through both of the messes that blew up at them, that they were stronger together. 

Hanna Martine managed to create a story I simply could not put down. I read The Good Chase in just a couple of hours in the afternoon because it was so good. The ending felt a little too perfect and cliche, but it left me feeling all warm and fuzzy inside. I truly hope that Ms. Martine write another book in this universe. I want to go back and read the first book in series because The Highland Games left me wanting more of these rugby men. And I think that's never a wrong thing.

Release Day Launch + Giveaway & Excerpt - Breaking the Rules by Katie McGarry



Breaking the Rules
(Pushing the Limits #1.5)
Author: Katie McGarry
Release Date: December 8, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
A summer road trip changes everything in this unforgettable new tale from acclaimed author Katie McGarry.

For new high school graduate Echo Emerson, a summer road trip out west with her boyfriend means getting away and forgetting what makes her so . . . different. It means seeing cool sights while selling her art at galleries along the way. And most of all, it means almost three months alone with Noah Hutchins, the hot, smart, soul-battered guy who's never judged her. Echo and Noah share everything--except the one thing Echo's just not ready for.

But when the source of Echo's constant nightmares comes back into her life, she has to make some tough decisions about what she really wants--even as foster kid Noah's search for his last remaining relatives forces them both to confront some serious truths about life, love, and themselves.

Now, with one week left before college orientation, jobs and real life, Echo must decide if Noah's more than the bad-boy fling everyone warned her he'd be. And the last leg of an amazing road trip will turn . . . seriously epic.

And don’t forget to read the first books in the Pushing the Limits Series…
Excerpt
There’s nothing like the rush of being chased by the great Noah Hutchins...
I hold my breath and strain to listen past the late-day birds singing in the branches above. The fine hair on the back of my neck rises as if Noah has appeared behind me and deliciously blown over my skin. I close my eyes. He’s so near I can imagine his body wrapped around mine.
Noah is wily and good at seeking, but I’m crafty and better at hiding. I edge to the side again and in painfully slow movements look behind me and...
“Gotcha.”
I scream. Loudly. My heart ramming through my chest. Birds’ wings beat together as dozens of them take to the sky. The moment I spot the laughter in Noah’s chocolate-brown eyes, my scream quickly morphs into a fit of giggles. He reaches for me, but I stumble back from the solid arm attempting to sneak around my back.
“You’re not getting away this time.” Noah’s deep voice vibrates down to my soul.
Noah’s arm slides one way and in a maneuver so slick it seems choreographed, I slip to the side, once again barely dodging his grasp.
“You’re too slow,” I taunt as I gain traction and sprint for the field of untamed wildflowers. The white-and-yellow daisies brush against my legs as I push forward. My skirt swishes against my thighs, and I love how the smooth material grazes my skin. Clean air fills my lungs, and my blood beats manically in my veins. Never in my life have I felt so alive. So high that I’m soaring.
“I’m letting you win,” he calls out.
“You are not.” I slow and pivot to watch as he struts behind me. The tall grass and flowers reach his jean-covered legs. For once, his dark hair doesn’t hide his eyes, and I love the spark of naughtiness in them. “You’re sore that you’re losing.”
He flashes the type of grin that encourages tingles. “You’re becoming cocky, Echo.”
I laugh, and the sound causes his smile to widen. Even though he’s slow in his approach, his wide gait closes the distance between us faster than I’d like. I steadily walk backward, unable to tear my eyes off the fluid way he moves. “Now, now. Out of the two of us, we both know you own that title.”
“Own it, wear it, I am it. I’ve never claimed differently.”
Nope, he never has. Noah is exactly who I see. A few months away from Kentucky, away from home, the rough foster kid is evolving into a man.
“Hey, Echo.” Noah gestures with his chin that he has something important to say, and I stall, watching as his gaze falls to my midriff. “Your tank rode up.”
I peer down and in a heartbeat realize my mistake when grass rustles and Noah grabs my waist. In a dizzying circle, my arms wrap around his neck and somehow we both end up on the ground. Me on top. Noah on the bottom. As always, Noah becomes my safe place to land.
With a wink, Noah rolls us, reversing our positions, but I don’t complain. I dream of his body over me. The heavy sensation is familiar and addictive. Noah skims his nose along the side of my neck, and the pleasing tickle causes me to suck in air.

“I won,” he whispers against my skin.
I find myself in a waking dream as I savor his caresses. “Did not.”
Noah presses a kiss to that sensitive spot behind my ear. A stream of warmth floods my

body. Longing for more, I twist to expose my neck.

“Did, too.” His hands roam, sliding to my side. I melt and tense at the same time. We’re in the wide open, but I can’t stop the way my body molds to his. My fingers bunch the material of his shirt as I play with the idea of removing it. We’re far from the walking trail, far from the campsite. How many people, besides Noah and me, allow themselves to wander to the point of being lost?
“You said you could find me in five minutes,” I say softly. “That was longer than five minutes.”
“Echo,” he says as he raises his head. His fingers begin this little dance. Moving up then slowly down. Each down is slightly lower and promises very wicked things.

“Yes?”
“I’ve got you beneath me and not a person in sight. That’s winning.” A peacefulness unfurls within me. I have to agree. That is winning. 


Giveaway
About the author:




KATIE MCGARRY was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings, and reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan.
Katie would love to hear from her readers. Contact her via her website, katielmcgarry.com, follow her on Twitter @KatieMcGarry, or become a fan on Facebook and Goodreads.
Author's links: Website / Goodreads / Twitter / Facebook

Release Day Launch organized by: InkSlinger PR


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