Sunday, August 31, 2014

UPCOMING RELEASES: September 2014

A list of new releases that grabbed my attention for next month.  These are organized by my personal interest level.  As always, release dates are subject to change.

Chained by Night (MoonBound Clan Vampire, #2)
Chained by Night (Moonbound Clan #2) by Larissa Ione -- Goodreads / Amazon
Publication Date: September 30th
Part of a highly original vampire series from one of the best paranormal authors I've ever read.  The hero is the leader of the Moonbound Clan who is facing a series of tests before marrying a member of a rival vampire clan.  I previously reviewed Bound by Night from this series.

Snow Falling on Bluegrass (Bluegrass, #3)
Snow Falling on Bluegrass (Bluegrass #3) by Molly Harper -- Goodreads / Amazon
Publication Date: September 23rd
Love this contemporary series set in my home state of Kentucky.  There are hints of a love triangle in the summary, but I trust Molly Harper.  I previously reviewed My Bluegrass Baby and Rhythm and Bluegrass from this series.

Forged by Desire (London Steampunk, #4)
Forged by Desire (London Steampunk #4) by Bec McMaster -- Goodreads / Amazon
Publication Date: September 2nd
McMaster's intriguing steampunk world is getting even more complicated as Nightwatch partners Garrett and Perry get their own story.  I have reviewed Kiss of Steel and Heart of Iron from this series.

Broken (Redemption, #1)
Broken (Redemption #1) by Lauren Layne -- Goodreads / Amazon
Publication Date: September 2nd
New adult featuring a socialite who moves to Maine in order to escape her past and ends up caring for a young war veteran.  I LOVED the prequel, Isn't She Lovely, and am intrigued by the redemption arc for Olivia.

Fever Pitch (Love Lessons, #2)
Fever Pitch (Love Lessons #2) by Heidi Cullinan -- Goodreads / Amazon
Publication Date: September 30th
Sequel to the wonderful Love Lessons.  Focuses on a geeky violin player and a former high school classmate who brings bad memories.

Festive in Death (In Death, #39)
Festive in Death (In Death #39) by JD Robb -- Goodreads / Amazon
Publication Date:September 9th
I'm still hopelessly behind on this series, but I will catch up eventually!  This installment involves the murder of a personal trainer who has a long list of enemies for Lieutenant Eve Dallas to wade through.

What a Wallflower Wants (Bad Boys & Wallflowers, #3)
What a Wallflower Wants (Bad Boys & Wallflowers #3) by Maya Rodale -- Goodreads / Amazon
Publication Date: September 30th
The conclusion of the Bad Boys and Wallflowers series.  The heroine has trust issues and the hero is determined to remain unwed, but, after getting stranded together, things get complicated.

The Songbird's Seduction
The Songbird's Seduction by Connie Brockway -- Goodreads / Amazon
Publication Date: September 16th
An Edwardian-set romance between an opera dancer and a strait-laced professor.  Brockway is an amazing historical author and I'm excited to see her writing once again.

The Hook Up (Game On, #1)
The Hook Up (Game On #1) by Kristen Callihan -- Goodreads / Amazon
Publication Date: September 8th
Callihan's new adult debut that is getting some serious buzz.  I'm intrigued by the premise of the star quarterback and the one girl who isn't impressed by his fame.

Christmas Brides
Christmas Brides by Various Authors -- Goodreads / Amazon
Publication Date: September 30th
I have this weird obsession for Christmas-themed historical romances so I will definitely hunt down this anthology of novellas from Suzanne Enoch, Alexandra Hawkins, Elizabeth Essex, and Valerie Bowman.

Scandal And The Duchess (Highland Pleasures, #6.5)
Scandal and the Duchess (Highland Pleasures #6.5) by Jennifer Ashley -- Goodreads / Amazon
Publication Date: September 16th
My interest with this series has waned for some reason, but I'm still willing to try this novella.  It features scandalous widow and a womanizing former soldier.

Son of No One (Hellchasers, #6; Dark-Hunter, #23)
Son of No One (Dark Hunters #23) by Sherrilyn Kenyon -- Goodreads / Amazon
Publication Date: September 2nd
The Dark-Hunterverse is another series that I'm conflicted about.  I haven't been impressed with some of the latest releases, but I still have to know what happens.

Mending Him
Mending Him by Summer Devon and Bonnie Dee -- Goodreads / Amazon
Publication Date: September 9th
I adore Devon and Dee's m/m historicals!  This particular story features a quiet country squire and the injured man he is forced to nurse back the health.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

STACKING THE SHELVES (47)

STSmall_thumb[2][2]
A great feature hosted by Tynga's Reviews where bloggers get to feature the new books they received over the past week.

 
~BOUGHT~
Beyond Shame (Beyond, #1) The Curious Case Of The Clockwork Menace (London Steampunk, #3.5) Everything I Know About Love I Learned from Romance Novels
Beyond Shame by Kit Rocha -- I've seen this series around some of my favorite blogs like Smexybooks and was excited to see it for free!

The Curious Case of the Clockwork Menace by Bec McMaster -- Love this steampunk series so I had to pick up this free novella.

Everything I Know About Love I Learned From Romance Novels by Sarah Wendell -- A nonfiction ode to romance novels from the webmistress of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books.

~RECEIVED FROM PAPERBACK SWAP~
One Naughty Night (The Scandalous St. Claires, #1)
One Naughty Night by Laurel McKee -- I haven't read this author yet, but thought I would give her a try.

~RECEIVED FOR REVIEW~
Game (Jasper Dent #2)
Game by Barry Lyga -- I got I Hunt Killers from Netgalley a few weeks ago and had to snap up the sequel as well.

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

I READ...
Talk Sweetly To Me by Courtney Milan
Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Friday, August 29, 2014

NOVELLA REVIEW: "Talk Sweetly To Me" by Courtney Milan

Talk Sweetly to Me (Brothers Sinister, #4.5)
Talk Sweetly To Me by Courtney Milan
(Brothers Sinister #4.5)

Goodreads -- Amazon 
Author Website

For Ages 18+ (Language, Sensuality)
Historical Romance -- Victorian England

Courtney Milan -- Published on August 19, 2014
Ebook, 109 pages
Read in August 2014
Received from Netgalley

THEMES
Novella, Brainy Heroine

SUMMARY
Nobody knows who Miss Rose Sweetly is, and she prefers it that way. She's a shy, mathematically-minded shopkeeper's daughter who dreams of the stars. Women like her only ever come to attention through scandal. She'll take obscurity, thank you very much.

All of England knows who Stephen Shaughnessy is. He's an infamous advice columnist and a known rake. When he moves into the house next door to Rose, she discovers that he's also wickedly funny, devilishly flirtatious, and heart-stoppingly handsome. But when he takes an interest in her mathematical work, she realizes that Mr. Shaughnessy isn't just a scandal waiting to happen. He's waiting to happen to her...and if she's not careful, she'll give in to certain ruination.



FIRST LINE
"There was no way for Miss Rose Sweetly to set down her packages."

MY THOUGHTS
Talk Sweetly To Me is a novella that concludes the fascinating Brothers Sinister series by Courtney Milan.  This is a series that really stands out to me in terms of its character development, attention to historical detail, and, of course, sweet romance.  Things finish up in this world with the story of Rose Sweetly and Stephen Shaughnessy which is not my favorite of Milan's romances, but still stands out in this oft-saturated genre.

Stephen is introduced to readers in The Suffragette Scandal as the son of Irish Catholics who works as a freelance writer for Frederica Marshall's newspaper.  He specializes in satire on political issues and rights debates of the day.  Stephen is also known to be a womanizer who doesn't seem capable of settling down.  Like all of the heroines in this series, Rose is a woman who feels out of place.  She is an English woman of African descent which automatically makes her a social outcast.  She also happens to be a mathematical genius who would rather spend her time computing complicated equations than shopping.

Rose and Stephen meet each other before this novella even begins due to the fact that they are next door neighbors.  I absolutely loved their interactions and how they challenged one another.  I did think that the romance moved pretty quick due to the shorter page length. I  really wish that this had been a full-length story so that the development would have seemed a bit smoother.  But, it was still a sweet love story that forced both characters to take a chance on a life they never thought they would have.  Plus I got to learn a bit about tracking comets and the lost art of people as computers rather than machines.

All in all, Talk Sweetly To Me is another unorthodox historical romance from an author who is definitely not afraid to take risks.  The writing is concise and the message is subtle yet powerful.  I look forward to seeing what Courtney Milan does next.

I received a free copy of this book from Courtney Milan via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.


4 STARS

STEAM LEVEL
Flush -- Detailed descriptions of lovemaking though nothing overly graphic.


FAVORITE QUOTE
"So why is it," she said, "that I have just now noticed that you've only ever come to me about me?  You've asked about my work, my thoughts, my wants.  You set this up for me, and when I balked, you handed me the keys and walked away.  If you wanted me to forget myself, you wouldn't keep reminding me who I am."

BOOKS IN THE SERIES
0.5. The Governess Affair
1. The Duchess War
1.5. Kiss of Midwinter
2. The Heiress Effect
3. The Countess Conspiracy
4. The Suffragette Scandal
4.5. Talk Sweetly To Me

CHALLENGES READ FOR 



 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

THROWBACK THURSDAY-HISTORICAL ROMANCE EDITION (41)

Happy Thursday, everyone! This is a new feature hosted by Buried Under Romance and Love Saves the World.

What is Throwback Thursday: Historical Romance Edition?
Traditionally, Throwback Thursday celebrates nostalgia, asking participants to post a personal photo or an image from their past -- usually from 5 to 10 years ago. There are a lot of book blogs that also do a book-related Throwback Thursday.  Since Tin and Mary C. are unapologetic lovers of historical romances, they've decided to focus on this beloved genre.

Here are the rules:
1. It must be posted on a Thursday.
2. It must be a historical romance novel published before October 2008.

THIS WEEK I AM FEATURING...

Highland Destiny (Murray Family, #1)
Highland Destiny by Hannah Howell
Originally Published in January 2006

When destiny brought Sir Balfour Murray and his wounded brother down the same road as Maldie Kirkaldy, she offered her services as a nurse even as she tried to deny the desire this dark-eyed knight had ignited at first sight. Soon they discover that they both share a mission of vengeance, but Maldie cannot tell him her true identity—to do so would brand her a spy...

Sworn to avenge his family as chief of the Doncoill Clan, Balfour vows to destroy his greatest foe, Beaton of Dubblinn, with Maldie at his side. Yet Balfour knows that he can no more afford to trust her than he can ignore his lust for his sultry beauty. Now, he is not only determined to unearth her deepest secrets, but also to pursue his passion for her. And nothing will stand in his way.


***********
This is the first book in the epic Murray Family series which is at 19 books and counting.  I have read and loved almost of all of these, but (for some reason) I haven't read how it all started.  I do own a copy of this and will read it sometime.  :)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

REVIEW: "Isla and the Happily Ever After" by Stephanie Perkins

Isla and the Happily Ever After (Anna and the French Kiss, #3)
Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
(Anna and the French Kiss #3)

Goodreads -- Amazon -- Book Depository
Author Website

For Ages 13+ (Language, Mild Sensuality)
Young Adult -- Contemporary

Dutton -- Published in August 14, 2014
Hardcover, 339 pages
Read in August 2014
Purchased from Amazon

THEMES
First Person Narrative

SUMMARY
From the glittering streets of Manhattan to the moonlit rooftops of Paris, falling in love is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year in France, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to confront the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever.

Their romantic journey is skillfully intertwined with those of beloved couples Anna and √Čtienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new.


FIRST LINE
"It's midnight, it's sweltering, and I might be high on Vicodin, but that guy--that guy right over there--that's him."

MY THOUGHTS
Fans of Stephanie Perkins's Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door have been eagerly anticipating the publication of Isla and the Happily Ever After for a couple years.  Well, it is finally here and will not disappoint eager readers or newbies.  This book starts off with an adorable scene of Isla (drugged from wisdom teeth surgery) stumbling into a New York City coffee shop and seeing the guy she has been crushing on since freshman year.  This immediately sets the tone by introducing readers to the two adorable leads and expressing a subtle sense of humor.  While I did not enjoy this book as much as its predecessors, I did find it to be a worthy addition to the trilogy and will definitely re-read it in the future.

Isla is the narrator and heroine of this book as evidenced by the title.  She is a student at the same high school that Anna and Etienne went to in Paris.  What I liked the most about Isla was how normal she seemed without going too far with it.  Most YA contemporaries go overboard with showing you how "normal" and relatable the heroine is when readers can easily tell they are anything but.  I really think teenagers will understand Isla's dreamy personality and her confusion about what she wants after high school.  Her development from unsure child to a young woman confident in her decisions was one of the my favorite aspects of the book.

Josh is almost as swoon-worthy as Etienne and Cricket though I have a soft spot for tall, gangly Cricket in my heart.  I loved the fact that he writes/draws graphic novels and how that talent translates into his personality.  I also thought having him be from a politician's family was an interesting twist.  There is a such pressure on him to be the "perfect son" that I could understand why he rebelled the way that he did.  The only issue I had with him was that I wish he had been a bit more open about his feelings regarding school and stuff with Isla at the beginning.  I think that could have saved quite a bit of drama in the long term.

Isla and Josh are unique to this trilogy due to the fact that they have known each other for a couple years as opposed to Anna/Etienne and Lola/Cricket who just met during their books.  I liked this element and how it helped make me believe that they could fall in love so quickly.  I'm not usually a fan of insta-love, but it worked in this book because they have been fellow students for years.  The main conflict was a bit over-the-top for my personal taste though I understood where Isla was coming from.  I did love the Grand Gesture at the end which really helped me believe they were in it for the long haul.

Like with the other books in the trilogy, the setting is almost a character on its own.  There are two main settings in Isla and the Happily Ever After, Manhattan and Paris.  I just adore the loving way that Stephanie Perkins utilizes her cities and has them do more than just act as a place for the characters to move around in.  They seem alive with the way that they are described and revered by the other characters.

While Isla and Josh are the main focus of this book, there are also plenty of entertaining side characters.  Isla's best friend, Kurt, stole practically every scene he was in.  I would love to see Stephanie Perkins write about him in a future book (hint hint!).  It was also great to see the evolution of Isla's relationship with her sister, Hattie, from the beginning of the year until the end.  And, of course, I have to mention the small cameos of Anna, Etienne, Lola, and Cricket.  Those four just make me smile and definitely did so in their short scenes.

Overall, I thought Isla and the Happily Ever After was worth the wait.  I don't think it will beat out my love of Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door, but that is a tall order.  Yeah for another wonderful YA romance from Stephanie Perkins!!



4 STARS



STEAM LEVEL
Blush -- Kisses with no/minor touching.

FAVORITE QUOTE
"I’m…getting there. I’m beginning to think that maybe it’s okay to be a blank canvas.  Maybe it’s okay that my future is unknown.  And maybe," I say with another smile, "It’s okay to be inspired by the people who do know their future."
"It goes both ways, you know."  I link his icicle fingers through mine.
"What does?"
"Artists are inspired by blank canvases."
My smile grows wider.

BOOKS IN THE SERIES
1. Anna and the French Kiss
2. Lola and the Boy Next Door
3. Isla and the Happily Ever After

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Books I Really Want to Read, But Don't Own Yet


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

~Top Ten Books I Really Want to Read, But Don't Own Yet~

Take Me On (Pushing the Limits, #4)
1. Take Me On by Katie McGarry -- I love McGarry's contemporaries and, for some reason, haven't bought this book yet.
 
Shadowdance (Darkest London, #4)
2. Shadowdance by Kristen Callihan -- I enjoyed the previous books in the Darkest London series and need to get this one soon since I just received its sequel (Evernight) from Netgalley.

Wicked Temptation (Nemesis, Unlimited, #3)
3. Wicked Temptation by Zoe Archer -- The Nemesis Unlimited series is so much fun plus I love that this one is going to take place in France!

Code Name Verity (Code Name Verity, #1)
4. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein -- A YA historical that I have been recommended by many bloggers/readers.

Bitter Spirits (Roaring Twenties, #1)
5. Bitter Spirits by Jenn Bennett -- This sounds like a book I would love with the mix of historical and paranormal romance.

A World Without Princes (The School for Good and Evil, #2)
6. A World Without Princes by Soman Chainani -- I really enjoyed the first book in the School of Good and Evil series and am anxious to see what happens next.

Edenbrooke
7. Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson -- Quinn at Quinn's Book Nook keeps telling me I need to read this and I am going to try to find a copy soon.

What I Thought Was True
8. What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick -- Fitzpatrick's debut (My Life Next Door) is one of my favorites so I have to see what else she has written.

Moonlight On My Mind
9. Moonlight On My Mind by Jennifer McQuiston -- I just read McQuiston's Summer Is For Lovers so I am on the hunt for the rest of her backlist.

Cross & Crown (Sidewinder, #2)
10. Cross & Crown by Abigail Roux -- I adore Roux's writing, but have been putting this one off for some reason.


Monday, August 25, 2014

REVIEW: "Once More, My Darling Rogue" by Lorraine Heath


Once More, My Darling Rogue (Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James, #2)
Once More, My Darling Rogue by Lorraine Heath
(Dangerous Gentlemen of St. James #2)

Goodreads -- Amazon -- Book Depository
Author Website

For Ages 18+ (Language, Sensuality)
Historical Romance -- Victorian England

Avon -- Published in August 26, 2014
Ebook, 384 pages
Read in August 2014
Received from Edelweiss

THEMES
Tortured Hero, Tormented Heroine

SUMMARY
Born to the street but raised within the aristocracy, Drake Darling can’t escape his sordid beginnings. Not when Lady Ophelia Lyttleton snubs him at every turn, a constant reminder he’s not truly one of them. But after rescuing her from a mysterious drowning he realizes she doesn’t remember who she is. With plans to bring her to heel, he insists she’s his housekeeper—never expecting to fall for the charming beauty.

While Ophelia might not recall her life before Drake, she has little doubt she belongs with him. The desire she feels for her dark, brooding employer can’t be denied, regardless of consequences. So when her memory returns, she is devastated by the depth of his betrayal. Now Drake must risk everything to prove she can trust this rogue with her heart once more.


FIRST LINE
"At times, Lady Ophelia Lyttleton found herself quite disgusted with those of her gender."

MY THOUGHTS
I adore Lorraine Heath's historicals and also really enjoyed the first book in her new Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James series.  This is a group of books that is a spin-off of her popular Scoundrels of St. James series and appears to be on its way to being just as fabulous.  I am always looking for a good hate-to-love romance so I was excited to try Once More, My Darling Rogue.

Drake Darling was first introduced to readers as young Peter Sykes in Surrender to the Devil when he was adopted by Frannie Darling and her soon-to-be husband Sterling Mabry, Duke of Greystone.  He has grown up quite a bit since that book and now manages the popular Dodger's Drawing Room gentlemen's club.  But, despite his elevated status, Drake is still uncomfortable in high society which isn't helped by Lady Ophelia's Lyttleton's treatment of him.  She does everything she can to make sure he remembers where he came from.  Therefore, when he rescues her from the river and discovers she has lost her memory, he decides to help take her down from her pedestal a bit.

I liked both Drake and Ophelia as individual characters and as a couple.  They both had difficult childhoods that they are trying to escape in very different ways.  Drake is obsessed with his management position and Ophelia is just biding her time in society until she is old enough to gain her inheritance.  They are extremely flawed as evidenced by Drake's grand scheme to trick Ophelia and her initial treatment of him.  Lorraine Heath does a great job showing the journey that each of them has to take in order to work as a romantic couple.  Some of my favorite scenes involved Ophelia trying to learn housekeeping skills while Drake felt guilty and impressed by her ingenuity.

The main issue that I had with Once More, My Darling Rogue was the length of time that Drake kept Ophelia's identity a secret from her.  I kinda understood why he wanted to embarrass her at the beginning, but, as time dragged on, I just got annoyed with him.  Ophelia did need to learn a lesson though I thought it went on way too long for my taste.

Overall, I did like this book.  I just wish that Drake had revealed the truth to Ophelia a bit earlier.  I continue to find the interaction with Feagan's children and their kids to be very interesting.  I am looking forward to seeing the debauched Duke of Avendale get his story very soon.

I received a free copy of this book from Avon via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

3.5 STARS


STEAM LEVEL
Flush -- Detailed descriptions of lovemaking though nothing overly graphic.

BOOKS IN THE SERIES
1. When the Duke Was Wicked
2. Once More, My Darling Rogue

CHALLENGES READ FOR