Friday, June 27, 2014

Feature Friday: Nowhere But Here

Nowhere But Here Cover

Title: Nowhere But Here

Author: Renée Carlino

Genre: Contemporary Romance


About Nowhere But Here:

Nowhere But Here Cover
A Chicago reporter in her mid-twenties unexpectedly finds love in Napa Valley when she’s assigned to spend a week with a famously reclusive genius.

Kate Corbin has lost her spark. From the outside, her life seems charmed. She has a handsome, long-term boyfriend and a budding journalism career at a popular Chicago newspaper. But in reality, her relationship is going nowhere, and she’s quickly losing motivation for what she once believed was her dream job. When her boyfriend dumps her unceremoniously, Kate loses all hope of finding love.

With no living family and few friends, Kate confides in her boss. Trusting that the hungry, ace reporter is buried somewhere deep inside, he gives Kate the opportunity to jumpstart her career. The assignment: to interview the famously reclusive R.J. Lawson, a wealthy tech genius who disappeared years ago but recently reemerged as a Napa Valley vintner. The week takes an unexpected turn, however, when Lawson refuses to divulge any information. Desperate for a lead, Kate turns to Jamie, a vineyard hand who shows her the romance of wine country—and stirs her aching heart. But his connection to Lawson is ambiguous, and when Jamie disappears before the end of the week, Kate is left to investigate another story: the truth behind the man who stole her heart.

USA TODAY bestselling author Renée Carlino explored love and heartbreak in her beautifully written debut Sweet Thing, and her newest novel does not disappoint. For fans of Colleen Hoover, K.A. Tucker, and Katja Millay, Nowhere But Here is a stirring and satisfying romance that you won’t want to put down.

Amazon | iTunes | B&N


To read an exclusive bonus short from Nowhere But Here, click the following link: Nowhere but Here bonus scene

About Renée Carlino:

renee carlinoRenee's first friends were the imaginary kind and even though her characters haven't gone away, thankfully the delusions have. She admits she's a wildly hopeless romantic and she blames 80's movies staring Molly Ringwald for that. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two sons, and their sweet dog June. When she's not at the beach with her boys or working on the next book, she likes to spend her time reading, going to concerts, and eating dark chocolate.


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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Waiting On Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine. It features each blogger's most anticipated books. This week my pick is I WANT IT THAT WAY by Ann Aguirre.

"Nadia Conrad has big dreams, and she's determined to make them come true—for her parents' sake as well as her own. But between maintaining her college scholarship and working at the local day care to support herself, she barely has time to think, let alone date. Then she moves into a new apartment and meets the taciturn yet irresistible guy in 1B….

Daniel Tyler has grown up too fast. Becoming a single dad at twenty turned his life upside down—and brought him heartache he can't risk again. Now, as he raises his four-year-old son while balancing a full-time construction management job and night classes, a social life is out of the question. The last thing he wants is for four noisy students to move into the apartment upstairs. But one night, Nadia's and Ty's paths cross, and soon they can't stay away from each other.

The timing is all wrong—but love happens when it happens. And you can't know what you truly need until you stand to lose it."

Why I Can't Wait: Umm, hello? It's by Ann Aguirre. She could write a book about how to cultivate ant farms, and I'd read it. I love that she wrote a contemporary novel. Her character development is phenomenal, so I'm anxious to see how everything will play out in a very non-end of the world setting. Eek! EXCITED!

Expected publication: August 26th 2014 by Harlequin HQN

*Add it on Goodreads

Monday, June 23, 2014

Review: Breakable (Contours of the Heart #2)

Title: Breakable (Contours of the Heart #2)
Author: Tammara Webber
Published: May 6th 2014 by Penguin Berkley
Source: Finished copy courtesy of the publisher for an honest review

"He was lost and alone. Then he found her.
And the future seemed more fragile than ever.

As a child, Landon Lucas Maxfield believed his life was perfect and looked forward to a future filled with promise — until tragedy tore his family apart and made him doubt everything he ever believed.

All he wanted was to leave the past behind. When he met Jacqueline Wallace, his desire to be everything she needed came so easy…

As easy as it could be for a man who learned that the soul is breakable and that everything you hoped for could be ripped away in a heartbeat."

First line: "I woke with a jerk, screaming."

Thoughts: For those who know me well, EASY is quite possibly one of my favorite books of all time. Even though I have a finished copy on my bookshelf, I also have the ebook on my Kindle app. You know, just in case I need a quick fix. One of the reason I loved EASY so much is because of Lucas, a character so complicated, I could never quite figure him out. When I heard Tammara was writing a book told in Lucas' point of view, I screamed cheers of joy. Immediately, I could hear chants of "Lucas, Lucas, Lucas" in my head. Now, the bigger question is how was it? Did it live up to the all of its hype? Overall, yes. Yes it did.

Each chapter starts off with Landon's point of view and ends with Lucas'. The novel immediately begins with Landon waking up in the hospital after his mother's death. For those who have read EASY, you know how closed off Lucas is to this subject, but you're not sure why or really the circumstances. That comes much later in EASY, but in this case, it jumps right in. Landon struggles with the loss of his mother, the guilt, and the distance his father places between them. How is someone suppose to just move on with their life? Honestly, if it weren't for the Hellers, I wouldn't know how Landon made it as far as he did. Mrs. Heller was Landon's mom's best friend, and soon enough, the entire family accepts him as one of their own. Yet, as most people do, he still struggles with the pain and is ridden with guilt.

Lucas. What a funny guy. When he first sees Jacqueline (who he calls Jackie until they finally meet), he quickly becomes her Edward Cullen stalker. What do I mean by this? Well, he looked her up on the class seating chart and immediately went into Facebook mode. When he found that her page is set to private, he checked out Kennedy's. That's where he learns how long the two have been dating, looks at photos of her, the works. It would be flattering if it weren't so creepy, but hey. People do it all of the time, so it makes it normal, right? Right? Moving on...

I absolutely adored Lucas' dry sense of humor. He has this dark, brooding personality mixed in with a lightheartedness that he only shows towards Jacqueline. I loved that he was a no BS type of guy, yet hides his "Landon" persona when it came to getting closer with her. His struggle with telling her the truth was both entertaining and slightly adorable. He also has this prince charming side, though he's not the romantic "randomly buy you flowers" type of guy. Needless to say, I fell even more in love with him than before.

After a while, I started referring to Landon/Lucas as LanLuc. The alternating personas took me a second to get use to, but I eventually did and enjoyed it. Though I very much enjoyed Landon's story, I personally found Lucas' more entertaining. I love viewing the events from EASY from his point of view. There were certain things he did in EASY that I found to be a bit a-hole-ish, but after reading his thoughts, I now understand why.

All in all, BREAKABLE will most certainly satisfy fans of Tammara Webber. I think I enjoyed EASY more, but it doesn't mean I didn't devour BREAKABLE in two sittings (as work often gets in the way of reading time). I personally think Francis the cat is my favorite character in this book, but maybe it's because I really, really love cats. Needless to say, I cannot wait for the author's next novel. Will she continue writing about this world or will she move on to another one? Either way, I'll definitely need to get my hands on it ASAP!


4 Stars

Favorite Quotes:

“Everyone isn’t logical. Everything doesn’t make sense in the end. Sometimes you have to forget about explanations or excuses and leave people and places behind, because otherwise they will drag you straight down.”

“Luck could be earned and created. It could be discovered. It could be regained. After all - I'd found this girl. I'd found my future. I'd found forgiveness. My mother would have been happy for me...”

“I wanted to put on earphones and plug into her and know what she was hearing when her fingers performed.”

Friday, June 20, 2014

Review: Come To Me Quietly

Title: Come To Me Quietly (Closer To You #1)
Author: A.L. Jackson
Published: January 7th 2014 by NAL Trade
Source: Finished copy courtesy of the publisher for an honest review

"Aleena Moore is content with her life. She has goals and dreams and an easy smile. She also has a secret she holds locked inside.

Jared Holt believes he doesn’t deserve to love or be loved. He destroys everything he touches. Haunted by the mistake that shattered his life, he’s fled from the memory of that pain.

Jared doesn’t know why he’s compelled to return, but finds himself drawn back to the place where it all began. The exact place where it ended. When he runs into his childhood best friend, Aleena’s older brother Christopher, he agrees to share Christopher and Aleena’s apartment while he looks for a place of his own.

Aleena is no longer the little girl Jared remembers from his past and evokes feelings in him he never wanted to feel again. Terrified of destroying her, he fights to keep her away. But her touch is something he can’t resist—the touch that sealed his fate.

Their pasts are intertwined and their futures uncertain. The only truths they know are the secrets they whisper in the night."

First line: "Dashed lines blur until they become a solid line."

Thoughts: There is nothing in this world better than a book that both feels real and brings out those raw feelings in you. From the minute Jared enters the picture (i.e. the first sentence), you're tossed into this world filled with angst, sexual tension, love, and self-hatred. It's intense, and did I mention raw? Okay, well it's worth mentioning again. I fell hard into this world, and I'm not sure if I want to stay or go. Does that make me like Jared? Let's see!

The novel is told through both Aly and Jared's point of views. It's clear from the beginning the two have chemistry and are longing for each other. From trying to find their friendship to maybe becoming something more, the two must unlock emotions in each other that neither have ever felt. Both of them want to save the other and want to be saved. I don't care what Jared says. He IS someone worth fighting for. He IS someone worth loving. It was so frustrating having to read about him trying to either run or pull away over and over again. Entertaining but frustrating. I kept constantly wishing he would just let go, be with Aly, and open himself up. Alas, his past follows him everywhere, and he can't simple let it go.

I love how Aly brings out the best in Jared. She reminds him of what he use to be and kind of fills this void in his life. Yes, he says she can't, but we all know that's not true. On top of that, Aly's brother Christopher is such a great friend and roommate. He's not involved in the novel as much as I would prefer, but I love that he does simple things like giving Aly a kiss on the forehead. It's a little reminder that he's her big brother, he loves her, and he's there for her. The fact that he even wants to help Jared after all of this time, even after Jared's bad boy reputation, speaks volumes of his character and Aly's.

Overall, I really enjoyed COME TO ME QUIETLY. I didn't expect it to be as dark as it was, but I really loved reading about Jared's past, his anguish, and his relationship with Aly. Her thoughts make this novel even better, because those small, rare, sweet moments between the two are just incredible. COME TO ME QUIETLY reminded me of why I fell in love with New Adult novels in the first place, and I recommend it to people looking for a gritty story about overcoming the past (which will probably happen more in the second novel), and finding love at the end of a very dark tunnel.


4 Stars

Favorite Quotes:

“I see beauty and pain. Joy and sorrow. I see the good and I see the bad . . . and I love it all.”

“And it killed me because i could never forget him. Couldn't because he'd permanently etched himself to me, left a part of himself forever within me. For so many year I'd loved him, but when he'd gone this time, he'd taken a part of me captive too, a piece that could never be retrieved because it would always belong to him.”

“Mom once told me Aly had me wrapped around her little finger. She’d been wrong. Aly had held me in the palm of her hand.”

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Review: The One (The Selection #3) by Kiera Cass

Title: The One (The Selection #3)
Author: Kiera Cass
Published: May 6th 2014 by HarperTeen
Source: Bought

"The highly anticipated conclusion to Kiera Cass's #1 New York Times bestselling Selection series, The One will captivate readers who love dystopian YA fiction and fairy tales. The One is the perfect finale for fans who have followed America's whirlwind romance since it began--and a swoon-worthy read for teens who have devoured Veronica Roth's Divergent, Ally Condie's Matched, or Lauren Oliver's Delirium.

The Selection changed America Singer's life in ways she never could have imagined. Since she entered the competition to become the next princess of Illéa, America has struggled with her feelings for her first love, Aspen--and her growing attraction to Prince Maxon. Now she's made her choice . . . and she's prepared to fight for the future she wants.

Find out who America will choose in The One, the enchanting, beautifully romantic third book in the Selection series!"

First line: "This time we were in the Great Room enduring anothr etiquette lesson when bricks came flying through the window."

Thoughts: First of all, if you can help it, do not read the summary. While it doesn't contain spoilers for any of the three books, I feel as though it somewhat cheapens the novel. It makes the book sound so shallow, and THE ONE is anything but shallow. I have been going on and on about this book on Twitter, Instagram, and anyone who will listen to me. I'm probably the worst blogger in the world, because I have not been able to let this book go and move on. In fact, while I was suppose to be reading a book for review, I caught a glimpse of THE ONE still sitting on my nightstand, and indulged in a reread. Seriously, it truly is THAT amazing.

Going into THE ONE, I had many reservations. Here's a quick recap of my thoughts on the previous two novels:

After reading THE SELECTION, though I very much enjoyed it and found it addicting, I couldn't help but dislike our heroine (America). I found her to be so incredibly wishy-washy and arrogant. Does this girl ever think before acting? Alas, even though she wasn't my favorite, I couldn't help but cheer for her.

Now, going into THE ELITE was a whole different story. At one point, I pretty much hated every character. It just felt like neither America, Maxon, or Aspen were being honest or true to themselves. How many times can these people be so ridiculously indecisive? "I love YOU! Wait, I may love someone else. But this person loves me more. La la la...". And I swear, the outbursts from each and every one of them were just plain absurd. Funny thing is, I still kept reading. It still kept me hooked, and I still wanted to know anything and everything about this fascinating world.

Finally, let's talk about THE ONE. Okay, I think it's pretty obvious after reading THE ELITE who America chooses. Honestly, I'm not sure why it is still in question. Is she still kind of wishy-washy in this book? Of course, it's America! In this case, it's only because she isn't truly sure how Maxon feels about her. The tension is sometimes brutal, yet I couldn't get enough of it. I swear, the moments shared between the two (the good ones anyway) are just so irresistible. I swooned so much, I might as well have been floating.

Believe it or not, my favorite character in this particular novel was actually Celeste. It's entertaining and kind of heart breaking watch the final four "compete". Though there can only be one winner, they've found this sense on kinship, and I truly fell in love with each and every one of these girls. Well, maybe not Elise, but I kind of liked her a bit. Maybe.

I really don't want to give any spoilers away, so I'll end my review with this: I have reread this book twice already and am still having difficulty moving on. That's how good it is. I don't care that some parts were cheesy and things ended on a bit of a bittersweet note. None of that changes the fact that I am obsessed and completely in love with THE ONE. It ended the way it should, but also with a twist to keep you on your toes!


5 Stars

Favorite Quotes:

“'Break my heart. Break it a thousand times if you like. It was only ever yours to break anyway.'”

“'I want everything with you, America. I want the holidays and the birthdays, the busy season and lazy weekends. I want peanut butter fingertips on my desk. I want inside jokes and fights and everything. I want a life with you.'”

“But even now I know this isn't a fairy tale. I know that we'll have hard times, confusing times. I know that things won't always happen the way we want them to and that we'll have to work to remember that we chose this. It won't be perfect, not all the time.

This isn't happily ever after.

It's so much more than that.”

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine. It features each blogger's most anticipated books. This week my pick is THIS IS HOW IT ENDS by Jen Nadol.

"If you could see the future, would you want to? After the disturbing visions Riley and his friends see turn out to be more than hallucinations, fate takes a dangerous twist in this dark and suspenseful page-turner.

Riley and his friends are gearing up for their senior year by spending one last night hanging out in the woods, drinking a few beers, and playing Truth or Dare. But what starts out as a good time turns sinister when they find a mysterious pair of binoculars. Those who dare to look through them see strange visions, which they brush off as hallucinations. Why else would Riley see himself in bed with his best friend’s girlfriend—a girl he’s had a secret crush on for years?

In the weeks that follow, the visions begin to come true...including a gruesome murder. One of Riley’s closest friends is now the prime suspect. But who is the murderer? Have Riley and his friends really seen the future through those mysterious binoculars? And what if they are powerless to change the course of events?"

Why I Can't Wait: I have to say, I'm intrigued by the premise. Mysterious binoculars that may or may not allow someone to see into the future? Murder? In the middle of this, I can also already sense a love triangle. Needless to say, I'm looking forward to this novel.

Expected publication: October 7th 2014 by Simon Pulse

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Top Ten Books I've Read So Far This Year

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the fabulous ladies at The Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic is the top ten books I've read so far this year. Honestly, I've probably read maybe 15 books this year thus far (Hey! Don't judge me! I spent a good portion of this year planning my wedding!). Because of this, I'm only going to do a top five books I've read so far this year. Here we go!

1. The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkowski. You guys, I'd like to apologize in advance, because I predict this book will be on many, many Top Ten Tuesdays in the future. It's one of the best books I've read in so long. To put it simply, I love, love, loved it!

2. Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally. Technically, this book hasn't come out yet. I can't help it. I just need to tell you guys how amazing it is, and how it's probably Miranda's best book yet. I'm not kidding when I say everyone should pre-order this book, because you will NEED it the day it releases. Fo'sho.

3. Biggest Flirts (Superlatives #1) by Jennifer Echols. So insanely cute! I think I love Jennifer Echol's romcom stories more than her others. They're just quirky, funny, light reads, and sometimes a girl (or guy) just needs to escape and smile.

4. The One (The Selection #3) by Kiera Cass. Now that's the way to end a trilogy. I don't care if the ending was slightly cheesy or the fact that I just wanted to slap America sometimes (often, actually). None of that mattered, because everything ended the way it should.

5. Breakable (Contours of the Heart #2, aka the companion to Easy) by Tammara Webber. Is it possible to love Lucas even more than I already did? Apparently.

There you have it! What are some of your top ten/five/two books you've read this year?

Monday, June 9, 2014

Review: Say What You Will

Title: Say What You Will
Author: Cammie McGovern
Published: June 3rd 2014 by HarperTeen
Source: Finished copy courtesy of the publisher for an honest review

"John Green's The Fault in Our Stars meets Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor & Park in this beautifully written, incredibly honest, and emotionally poignant novel. Cammie McGovern's insightful young adult debut is a heartfelt and heartbreaking story about how we can all feel lost until we find someone who loves us because of our faults, not in spite of them.

Born with cerebral palsy, Amy can't walk without a walker, talk without a voice box, or even fully control her facial expressions. Plagued by obsessive-compulsive disorder, Matthew is consumed with repeated thoughts, neurotic rituals, and crippling fear. Both in desperate need of someone to help them reach out to the world, Amy and Matthew are more alike than either ever realized.

When Amy decides to hire student aides to help her in her senior year at Coral Hills High School, these two teens are thrust into each other's lives. As they begin to spend time with each other, what started as a blossoming friendship eventually grows into something neither expected."

First line: "You want the whole story, but you don't realize- it's impossible to tell the whole story. "

Thoughts: Going into this novel, I had my doubts. I mean, when a book is being compared to such authors as John Green and Rainbow Rowell, it kind of sets the bar quite high. After all, these are two of my absolutely favorite authors. I have read other books that claimed to meet up to these rockstars' standards, and they most certainly did not. The verdict? I really, really liked it! It's clever, well-written, and just so different than other novels out there. Considering the millions upon billions of YA books out there, I think that's quite an achievement!

Diversity in novels nowadays seems rare. It's like every year, more and more books fall into the "next big thing" category. Remember when TWILIGHT came out, and practically every bookstore in every country was pushing vampire novels? Same goes for THE HUNGER GAMES. So, so many dystopian novels were being shoved into my face, I thought I was going to suffocate. Don't get me wrong, I love both vampire and dystopian novels, but I just got so burnt out on them. With THE FAULT IN OUR STARS movie coming out, it seems like a lot cancer or death related contemporary books are being released. These authors want to make you cry! Eek!

Well, SAY WHAT YOU WILL is a book about two people who don't have a disease that will kill them, but rather conditions that disable them from leading what society deems a normal life. Regardless of the cards life dealt them, they both strive for normalcy. Alas, Amy has a hard time making friends. Matthew (who suffers from OCD) is one of several people her mother pays to be friends with Amy. Matthew is also the only one who isn't afraid to tell Amy what he really thinks. Sometimes harsh, Amy can't help but be fascinated by Matthew's honesty.

They are both outcasts and yet help each other grow in the most beautiful way. I love that their relationship wasn't based around insta-love, but rather real, developing love. Their relationship is, at first, confusing and blundering, but oh so sweet. Besides, isn't that the way first love (especially teenage first love) really is? The author did a great job of conveying this, and I loved it even more because these two aren't your normal characters.

Overall, I really liked SAY WHAT YOU WILL and believe other readers out there will like it as well. To be fair, this isn't a book for everyone. Regardless, everyone should at least give it a try. Aren't we, as readers and bloggers, always complaining that there aren't enough original novels out there? Well, here you go! Here's a book that's not only original, but inventive, charming, and heart-tugglingly honest.


4 Stars

Favorite quotes:

"“This feeling will pass. The fear is real but the danger is not.”

“I am not a victim of fashion or cultural pressure, because there is no place for me in the culture I see. In having fewer options, I am freer than any other teenage I know.”

“Freakishness could happen to anyone at any time.”

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Top Ten Books That Will Be In My Beach Bag This Summer

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the fabulous ladies at The Broke and the Bookish. Hooray! The humidity is here in Texas which can only mean one thing: Summa-Summer tiiiiiime. Whee! This week's topic is the top ten books that will be in my beach bag this summer. Here we go!

1. The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson. I am insanely excited about this book. All I've heard are good things about it, and I can't wait to dig in. Rawr!

2. Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson. I have loved each and every one of Morgan's books thus far, so I already know I'll love this one. Look at the cover. Just look at it! It screams summer book.

3. Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae. I've been putting off buying/reading this book only because I've missed Kristin's first few signings and am waiting for her next one in June. Hello, trip to Italy. The title should really be Wish I Was Going To Italy. Alas, I shall just live vicariously through Pippa.

4. 17 First Kisses by Rachael Allen. For fans of Sarah Ockler and Stephanie Perkins? Done.

5. Blind Spot For Boys by Justina Chen. I do, in fact, have a blind spot for boys. ;-)

6. Wildflower by Alecia Whitaker. Country music, rising stardom, and a boy. Need I say more?

7. Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally. I basically want to live and grow up in Tennessee and Hundred Oaks. It doesn't help that this book involves running, and I've recently (in the past two years) fell in love with running again. The burn in my lungs, the wind in my hair, the book in my hands... Summer perfection!

8. All Lined Up by Cora Carmack. My blogging bestie Karen from For What It's Worth recommended this to me, and since I love Cora's other novels, I had to have it. This screams Friday Night Lights and being from Texas, I love me some football. Cannot wait to tear through this!

9. Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly. Mermaids, war, and royalty. Where can you go wrong?

10. I'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson. Of all the books I'm most excited about this year, this one is easily in the top five. I absolutely adored THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE and have been waiting years (literally!) for Nelson's next novel. Eep! This will definitely be in my honeymoon beach bag and will infinitely give me the sun. :)

There you have it, folks! Some summery, some fantasy, and a touch of realistic contemp mixed into a bag of pure beachy fun! What books are in your summer beach bag?