quotes Jennifer likes


"The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid."— Jane Austen

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

TOP TEN TUESDAY: New Series I Want to Start

Hosted by the ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish.

~Top New Series I Want To Start~

Bitter Spirits (Roaring Twenties, #1)
1. Roaring Twenties series by Jenn Bennett (Historical/Paranormal Romance) 
1920s San Francisco with ghosts?  I'm sold!

Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin, #1)
2. My Fair Assassin trilogy by Robin LaFevers (YA Historical Fantasy) 
I have been meaning to try this series for ages.  I love medieval history and the fantasy element just makes that much more intriguing.

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)
3. Throne of Glass trilogy by Sarah J. Maas (YA Fantasy) 
I have the first book and was waiting for the whole series to be completed.

Secrets of a Wedding Night (Secret Brides, #1)
4. Secret Brides series by Valerie Bowman (Historical Romance) 
I have liked Bowman's Playful Brides series and am anxious for more of her writing.

The Rules (Project Paper Doll, #1)
5. Project Paper Doll series by Stacey Kade (YA Science Fiction)
I liked The Ghost and the Goth and want to read more.

How to Tame Your Duke (A Princess In Hiding, #1)
6. A Princess in Hiding series by Juliana Gray (Historical Romance)
I love royalty in historicals so I'm going to give this one a try.

Alice in Zombieland (The White Rabbit Chronicles, #1)
7. White Rabbit Chronicles series by Gena Showalter (Paranormal Romance)
Love Gena's adult paranormals and will try this even though zombies creep me out.

Splintered (Splintered, #1)
8. Splintered series by A.G. Howard (YA Fantasy)
I'm always interested in Wonderland-inspired books.

Saving the Rifleman (War Girls, #1)
9. War Girls series by Julie Rowe (Historical Romance)
I really want to try this series with World War II nurses.

The Dark Lady (Mad Passions, #1)
10. Mad Passions series by Maire Claremont (Historical Romance)
I got the whole trilogy through Goodreads First Reads program and am excited to get started.

Monday, October 20, 2014

REVIEW: "The Year We Hid Away" by Sarina Bowen

 The Year We Hid Away (The Ivy Years, #2) 
The Year We Hid Away by Sarina Bowen
(The Ivy Years #2)

Goodreads -- Amazon
Author Website

For Ages 17+ (Language, Sensuality)
New Adult -- Contemporary

Rennie Road Books -- Published in May 2014
Ebook, 233 pages
Read in October 2014
Purchased from Amazon

THEMES
Sports, Dual Points of View

SUMMARY
She's hiding something big. He's hiding someone small.

Scarlet Crowley's life was torn apart the day father was arrested for unspeakable crimes. Now the shock has worn off, but not the horror.

It's a safe bet that Scarlet is the only first year at Harkness College who had to sneak past TV news trucks parked on her front lawn just to leave town. But college will be Scarlet's fresh start. Clutching a shiny new student ID -- with a newly minted name on it -- she leaves it all behind. Even if it means lying to the boy she's falling for.

Bridger McCaulley is a varsity hockey star known for being a player both on and off the ice. But a sobering family crisis takes that all away. Protecting his sister means a precarious living arrangement and constant deception. The only bright spot in his week is the few stolen hours he spends with Scarlet.

The two form a tentative relationship based on the understanding that some things must always be held back. But when grim developments threaten them both, going it alone just won't work anymore. And if they can't learn to trust one another now, the families who let them down will take everything they've struggled to keep.



FIRST LINE
"The moment I heard the hum of the garage door opener, I was in motion."

MY THOUGHTS
I thoroughly enjoyed the first Ivy Years book, The Year We Fell Down, and I was intrigued by Bridger's character so I had to jump into The Year We Hid Away immediately.  I continue to be impressed by Sarina Bowen's writing style and ability to make her characters realistic without making them boring.  This book is considerably darker in tone than the first book due to the themes explored, but I found it just as entertaining.

Bridger was introduced to readers in The Year We Fell Down as Hartley's best friend whose home life was getting darker and darker.  Well, this book shows Bridger dealing with the issues associated with having a parent addicted to drugs especially when there is a younger sister involved.  I really admired the way he handled his difficult situation and how determined he was to protect his sister from his mother's lifestyle.  There aren't many college students who would be willing and capable of dealing with the ins and outs of raising an eight year old and I thought Bridger showed real maturity with it.

Scarlet's issues were the hardest part to read about in this book.  Her father was a famous hockey player who has been accused of unspeakable crimes towards children and she is forced to deal with the fallout.  She changed her name and is determined to start a new life at Harkness.  Unfortunately, as her father's trial moves closer, Scarlet is dragged back into her old world and face the possibility that things are even darker than she imagined.

Scarlet and Bridger's relationship started off as one of great friendship.  They each seemed to sense the other had issues, but they never pried or poked at them.  Their comfort level grew until they started to become more than friends.  It was different to have a romance between two people where they had to hide some of the most important aspects of their lives, but I thought Sarina Bowen did a good job with that part.  Obviously, secrets are finally revealed and both Bridger and Scarlet reacted with maturity.

All in all, while there were difficult parts to read in The Year We Hid Away, I came away with a smile on my face.  Both Scarlet and Bridger are likable characters and I was happy to see them find each other amidst external drama.  I am definitely looking forward to continue this series in the future. 



4 STARS


STEAM LEVEL
Glow -- Implied or subtle descriptions of lovemaking.

BOOKS IN THE SERIES
1. The Year We Fell Down
2. The Year We Hid Away
2.5. The Blonde Date
3. The Understatement of the Year

OTHER REVIEWS
Dear Author (B+)
Red Hot Books (B+)
Ellie Reads Fiction (4 Stars)

SIMILAR BOOKS/SERIES
Easy by Tammarra Webber

The Hook-Up by Kristen Callihan

Sunday, October 19, 2014

THEMES AND TROPES (3): Sports in Adult and Young Adult Fiction

This is part of a new (irregular) feature I'm going to be doing on my blog.  Basically, I am going to be focusing one a specific theme (or trope) that I have found in my years as a voracious reader/blogger.  I love finding commonalities between my favorite books and how that helps define me as a reader.  These won't be released on a regular schedule, but just appear randomly.

The first one is going to focus on SPORTS and is organized by featured sport.  

Please note that this is a list of young adult (YA), new adult (NA), adult (CR & M/M) stories so pay attention to the genre information.  Also, while I wish I could say that I have read and recommend all of these, there just isn't enough time in the day.  I am providing links to any reviews I have published for these books and will put a note if I have read it. 

Enjoy and let me know if I missed one of your favorites and I'll add it!


FOOTBALL
Line of Scrimmage by Marie Force (CR) -- I gave it 3.5 stars.
Chicago Stars series by Susan Elizabeth Phillips (CR) -- Favorite is Match Me If You Can (5 stars).
Out of Bounds series by Tracy Solheim (CR)
The Perfect Play by Jaci Burton (CR)
Playing To Win by Jaci Burton (CR)
Hot Stuff by Carly Phillips (CR)
Wicked Game by Mercy Celeste (CR)
Love Irresistibly by Julie James (CR)
Dance With Me by Heidi Cullinan (M/M) -- I gave it 4.5 stars.
Six Ways From Sunday by Mercy Celeste (M/M)
Plan B by S.J.D. Peterson (M/M)
The Hook-Up by Kristen Callihan (NA)
Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles (YA)
Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally (YA) -- I gave it 3 stars.
Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock (YA) -- I gave it 4 stars.

BASEBALL/SOFTBALL
Richmond Rogues series by Kate Angell (CR) -- Here's my 3.5 star review of book one, Squeeze Play.
The Winning Season by Alison Packard (CR) -- Here's my 3.5 star review.
Pacific Heat series by Jill Shalvis (CR)
Changing the Game by Jaci Burton (CR)
Thrown By a Curve by Jaci Burton (CR)
Tempting the Player by J. Lynn (CR)
Hot Number by Carly Phillips (CR)
Caught Running by Abigail Roux (M/M) -- I gave it 4 stars.
Love Hypothetically by Anne Tenino (M/M) -- I gave it 3 stars.
Flirting with Maybe by Wendy Higgins (YA) -- Here's my 3 star review.
Dare You To by Katie McGarry (YA) -- Here's my 4.5 star review.
Shut Out by Kody Keplinger (YA)
Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally (YA)

ICE HOCKEY
Chinooks Hockey series by Rachel Gibson (CR) -- I gave book 2, See Jane Score, 5 stars.
New York Blades series by Deidre Martin (CR) -- I gave it 4 stars.
Taking a Shot by Jaci Burton (CR)
Melting the Ice by Jaci Burton (CR)
Taking Shots by Toni Aleo (CR)
Time Out by Jill Shalvis (CR)
Can't Buy Me Love by Molly O'Keefe (CR)
That Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Molly O'Keefe (CR)
The Year We Fell Down by Sarina Bowen (NA) -- Here's my 4 star review.

SOCCER
MacRieve by Kresley Cole (PNR) -- Here's my 4 star review.
Str8te Boys by Evangeline Anderson (M/M) -- I gave it 3.5 stars.
After Math by Denise Grover Swank (NA) -- Here's my 3.5 star review.
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares (YA) -- I gave it 4.5 stars.

RODEO
Rough Riders series by Lorelei James (CR) -- I gave book 1, Long Hard Ride, 3 stars.

AUTO RACING
Fast Track series by Erin McCarthy (CR)
One Sweet Ride by Jaci Burton (CR)
Crash Into You by Katie McGarry (YA) -- Here's my 4.5 star review.

HORSE RACING
Racing Savannah by Miranda Kenneally (YA)

FIGURE SKATING
Training Season by Leta Blake (M/M) -- I gave it 4 stars.
Being Sloane Jacobs by Lauren Morrill (YA) -- Here's my 4 star review.

SWIMMING/DIVING
Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher (YA) -- I gave it 4.5 stars.
Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher (YA) -- I gave it 4.5 stars.

BOXING/UFC/MMA
Defying the Odds by Kele Moon (CR)
Seducing Cinderella by Gina L. Maxwell (CR)
Jude's Law by Lori Foster (CR)
Conor's Way by Laura Lee Guhrke (HR) -- I gave it 3.5 stars.
Take Me On by Katie McGarry (YA)

RUGBY
London Legends series by Kat Latham (CR)
Too Stupid To Live by Anne Tenino (M/M) -- Here's my 4 star review.

CYCLING
Ride With Me by Ruthie Knox (CR)
Chasing Perfect by Susan Mallery (CR)
Ironman by Chris Crutcher (YA)

GOLF
Fancy Pants by Susan Elizabeth Phillips (CR) -- I gave it 3.5 stars.
Lady Be Good by Susan Elizabeth Phillips (CR) -- I gave it 4.5 stars.

AUSTRALIAN RULES FOOTBALL
Tigers and Devils by Sean Kennedy (M/M) -- Here's my 5 star review.

TENNIS
Game, Set, Match by Jennifer Iacopelli (YA)

CROSS COUNTRY/TRACK
Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally (YA)

Saturday, October 18, 2014

STACKING THE SHELVES (54)

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A great feature hosted by Tynga's Reviews where bloggers get to feature the new books they received over the past week.

 
~BOUGHT~

Darling Beast (Maiden Lane, #7)
Darling Beast (Maiden Lane #7) by Elizabeth Hoyt (historical romance)
One of my favorite HR writers.  Her latest features a lord who is falsely accused of murder and an impoverished actress.

~BORROWED FROM THE LIBRARY~

Secrets of a Wedding Night (Secret Brides, #1)
Secrets of a Wedding Night (Secret Brides #1) by Valerie Bowman (historical romance)
I have enjoyed the first two in Bowman's Playful Brides series and want to read more of her work.  This is her debut novel.


~RECEIVED FOR REVIEW~

Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin, #1) Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin, #2)
Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1) and Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin #2) by Robin LaFevers (YA historical fantasy)
I've been wanting to try this series with nun assassins so I had to take advantage when they were designated Read Now.  Thanks to Netgalley and Houghton Mifflin!

The Eternity Key (Into the Dark, #2)
The Eternity Key (Into the Dark #2) by Bree Despain (YA paranormal)
I really liked the first in this series inspired by the Hades/Persephone myth (The Shadow Prince) and am ready for more Haden and Daphne.  Thanks to Netgalley and EgmontUSA!


***********
WEEKLY RECAP

I READ... 
The Accidental Countess by Valerie Bowman -- Cute historical with unrequited love and a second son determined to prove himself.  
 
Haunted in Death by JD Robb -- Novella where Eve, Roarke, and the gang deal with murder, ghosts, and karma.


Chained By Night by Larissa Ione -- Even better than the first book....creative vampire world with a tormented heroine and a chief hero.

I REVIEWED...

Friday, October 17, 2014

AUDIOBOOK REVIEW: "How To Train Your Dragon" by Cressida Cowell

How to Train Your Dragon (How to Train Your Dragon, #1)
How To Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell; Narrated by David Tennant
(How To Train Your Dragon #1)

Goodreads -- Amazon -- Audible
Author Website

For Ages 10+ (Violence)
Middle Grade -- Fantasy

Little, Brown Books -- Published in 2004
Audiobook, 3 hours and 30 minutes
Read in October 2014
Purchased from Audible

THEMES
Dragons, Comedy

SUMMARY

Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III is a truly extraordinary Viking hero known throughout Vikingdom as "the Dragon Whisperer" ... but it wasn't always so. Travel back to the days when the mighty warrior was just a boy, the quiet and thoughtful son of the Chief of the Hairy Hooligans. Can Hiccup capture a dragon and train it without being torn limb from limb? Join the adventure as the small boy finds a better way to train his dragon and becomes a hero!

FIRST LINE
"Long ago, on the wild and windy isle of Berk, a smallish Viking with a longish name stood up to his ankles in snow."

MY THOUGHTS
This was just adorable and so much fun!  I decided to give it a try after seeing it on sale at Audible and reading a fabulous review over at Quinn's Book Nook.  I am a huge fan of the movie though I did know that the book was very different.  It also doesn't hurt that one of my biggest celebrity crushes ever, David Tennant, is the narrator for the series.

The plot is pretty straightforward.  A young Viking named Hiccup travels with his fellow trainees to pick out a dragon that they will then train in order to become full members of their tribe, the Hairy Hooligans.  Unfortunately, Hiccup is not a normal Viking with his skinny frame and more cerebral personality.  Hiccup is also the son of the chief so the expectations are even higher for him.  Things get complicated during the expedition and Hiccup ends up with a dragon that is the opposite of obedient so he is forced to figure out a way to Toothless to listen enough for him to pass the initiation test.

The best part about this book was the characters.  Hiccup is the perfect hero for boys and girls to read about with his quiet and determined personality.  I think he would be very easy for them to relate to and root for.  I also loved the characterization of Toothless the dragon.  He is completely different than the movie version, but that was okay.  His antics kept me giggling and I especially loved it when he spoke Dragonese to Hiccup.  The other Vikings-in-Training are also entertaining...if not so well-developed as Hiccup.  I particularly enjoyed the scenes with Fishlegs (Hiccup's best friend) and Snoutlout (Hiccup's cousin and rival).  Readers get a little introduction to the other Vikings like Chief Stoik and Gobber the Belch though I'm hoping for more with them in later books.

David Tennant was just amazing as an audio book narrator.  It was great to hear his natural Scottish accent and I was impressed with the different voices he managed to create.  His Toothless was hilarious...as I mentioned above.  This audio book is fairly short and I was easily able to finish it within a few days of driving to and from work.  So I definitely recommend it for fans of creative and comedic fantasy especially for those with young children.

4 STARS


FAVORITE QUOTE
Wartihog put up his hand. "What happens if we can't read, sir?"
"No boasting, Wartihog!" boomed Gobber. "Get some idiot to read it for you."



BOOKS IN THE SERIES
1. How To Train Your Dragon
1.5. How To Train Your Viking
2. How To Be A Pirate
3. How To Speak Dragonese
4. How To Cheat A Dragon's Curse
5. How To Twist a Dragon's Tale
6. A Hero's Guide To Deadly Dragons
7. How To Ride A Dragon's Storm
8. How To Break A Dragon's Heart
9. How To Steal A Dragon's Sword
10. How To Seize A Dragon's Jewel
11. How To Betray A Dragon's Hero

OTHER REVIEWS
Quinn's Book Nook (4 Stars)
Wondrous Reads (A-)


SIMILAR BOOKS/SERIES
The League of Princes series by Christopher Healy
Fablehaven by Brandon Mull
Eragon by Christopher Paolini