June 28, 2013

BLOG TOUR REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Tragic (Rook and Ronin #1)

I'm so excited to be part of the Tragic Blog Tour, sponsored by Xpresso Book Tours. Read on for my review then check out the giveaway!

Tragic (Rook and Ronin #1), by J.A. Huss
Published May 20, 2013
Publisher:  Science Future Press
Format: e-copy, obtained from Xpresso Book Tours and J.A. Huss in exchange for an honest review
Genre:  new adult contemporary romance
To Buy:  Amazon  * Barnes & Noble

Rating:  4 STARS

(From Goodreads) Rook Walsh is TRAGIC

Because life so far – just sucks. Some girls get parents. Rook got the foster care system. Some girls get Prince Charming. Rook got an abusive frog. Some girls get lucky…

Rook got a second chance.

And she took it. Because when fate throws you a bone – you grab it with both hands and run.

Antoine Chaput knows the minute he spies Rook in his photography studio that she’s got The Look. The dark and desperate look he must have to land the exclusive TRAGIC media contract.

Rook is paired up with top model, Ronin, and he’s everything her abusive ex-boyfriend wasn’t. Patient, gentle, happy, attentive, and sexy! He knows exactly what to do to make Rook blush for Antoine’s camera.

Rook’s luck changes in an instant and suddenly she’s the darling of the modeling world. It’s a dream job to go with a dream guy and all she has to do is look pretty and follow directions. But there’s always a price to pay – and Rook is about to get the bill.

Before I get on with the official review business, I just have to comment on Tragic's absolutely in-FREAKING-credible cover. If it doesn't catch your attention, you need LASIK. The powdered sugar glitter lips, the perfect red cherry and the use of the super block and super script fonts are book cover design genius. 

Okay - the story. Rook is in a bad place since she has escaped from her abusive boyfriend and now has no money and no place to live. By sheer chance, she ends up with an invite to pose for a renowned photographer, and he ends up giving her a job and an apartment rent-free. Which happens to be in the same building as the photographer and his family. And, his family includes smokin' hot model Ronin who soon has Rook blurring the lines between her job and her life. 

Let's start with Rook. She truly is tragic. Her past is so sad, and mad props to her for taking charge of her life and taking a crazy chance. She does some things that she thinks may go against her moral code, but she justifies it with the massively large paycheck that's been promised to her, which gives her the chance at a truly new life. See? Sad. 

But, then there's Ronin, who she didn't bank on. He's supposed to pose with her in her modeling shoots, and by "pose" I mean make out with her in a BIG way while a bunch of people watch them and move lights and snap cameras. Rook thinks there's no way she can do this, yet, Ronin makes her forget about everyone else, and she begins to think that maybe this is real. Or, maybe not. 
"In the few seconds we twined our gaze together I heard myself ask him to kiss me a million ways in my thoughts, and if I spoke the language of my own desire then I'd know for certain that I almost begged him to do it with the look on my face."
I really loved the modeling aspect in Tragic. It's something I haven't seen in another book, and I appreciate the change of scenery. I loved that, although there was definitely mutual attraction between Rook and Ronin, it wasn't insta-love. It took awhile before any declaration of true feelings happens from either of them. But, boy, Ronin is smooooth with the words when he decides he wants to be. 
"I could describe what you look like, but that's not what I see. You are so much more than a body inside a dress, Rook. You fit me... You stopped me dead in my tracks, you wiped my mind."
Tragic is told from both Rook's and Ronin's POVs, which is my favorite way to tell a story. It was the perfect mix of fun, sexy and... tragic. This was a really fantastic new adult book from J. A. Huss. I can't wait for Manic (Rook and Ronin #2) to come out this summer to see where Rook's and Ronin's relationship goes next.  

About the Author

J. A. Huss likes to write new adult books that make you think and keep you guessing. Her favorite genre to read is space opera, but since practically no one reads those books, she writes new adult science fiction, paranormal romance, contemporary romance, urban fantasy, and books about Junco (who refuses to be saddled with a label).

She has an undergraduate degree in horses, (yes, really–Thank you, Colorado State University) and a master’s degree in forensic toxicology from the University of Florida. She used to have a job driving around Colorado doing pretty much nothing but shooting the breeze with farmers, but now she just writes, runs the New Adult Addiction and Clean Teen Reads Book Blogs, and runs an online science classroom for homeschoolers. 

Fill out the Rafflecopter below  for a chance to win some really beautiful Tragic swag!

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June 27, 2013

Feeling Duped

You may notice my post count for the week is one fewer now than it was at this time yesterday. That is because my New Adult Mondays post from this past Monday, June 24, has been removed. It was a review for AMAZINGLY BROKEN by Jordin Williams. A work that information brought to light today revealed was plagiarized from Tammara Webber's EASY and Jamie McGuire's BEAUTIFUL DISASTER.

Most of you are already aware of this. Let's face it - good drama is good drama. I eat it up as readily as the next person. In case you haven't caught the original post that outed this issue, check out here:  http://dearauthor.com/book-reviews/the-plagiarizing-of-tammara-webbers-easy-by-jordin-williams/

I struggled with whether to post this and give even more page time to this person. In the end, I decided that it was worth posting something so that I could at least apologize to you all for posting something that ended up being a complete and utter farce. I have become quite proud of this blog and its content, and the fact that this has marred my history... well, to be frank, it pisses me the hell off.

What makes me even more angry is that I've read both EASY (my review found here) and BEAUTIFUL DISASTER (my review found here). And LOVED them! I feel like I let both Tammara and Jamie down by not recognizing the shenanigans that went on myself. I know that's an irrational thought, but there it is.

Let me go on record as saying plagiarism is for cowards. If you want to be an author, good for you. It's a great dream and one you should most definitely pursue. Don't be afraid of criticism - it will only make you better. Don't be afraid of rejection - it's to be expected. Don't be afraid of never making it big - the fact that you're expressing yourself and chasing your dreams is impressive and admirable.

But, do not let your fears drive you to copy already celebrated and established works. Because those authors waded through their own sets of fears to get where they are today and by you watering down their words and repackaging them as your own, you're hurting them and selling yourself short.

From what I understand, Amazon has already removed AMAZINGLY BROKEN from it's site, and if you've already purchased it, your money will be refunded. To Tammara Webber and Jamie McGuire, I'm sorry this happened to you, and I'm sorry I was part of the grassroots campaign to market this book. Please know I truly respect both you and your exceedingly difficult job, which you do incredibly well.

This is the last I'm going to speak about this. I'd much rather get back to the fun business of writing reviews, hosting giveaways and doing all sorts of other fun bloggy things. Back to your regularly scheduled programming...

June 26, 2013

REVIEW: Third Grave Dead Ahead (Charley Davidson #3)

Third Grave Dead Ahead (Charley Davidson #3), by Darynda Jones
Published January 31, 2012
Publisher:  St. Martin's Press
Format: audiobook, borrowed from the library
Genre:  urban fantasy
To Buy:  Amazon  * Barnes & Noble

Rating:  4.5 STARS

(From Goodreads) Paranormal private eye. Grim reaper extraordinaire. Whatever. Charley Davidson is back! And she's drinking copious amounts of caffeine to stay awake because, every time she closes her eyes, she sees him: Reyes Farrow, the part-human, part-supermodel son of Satan. Yes, she did imprison him for all eternity, but come on. How is she supposed to solve a missing persons case, deal with an ego-driven doctor, calm her curmudgeonly dad, and take on a motorcycle gang hell-bent on murder when the devil's son just won't give up?

You know how some series start out totally awesome, and each book progressively seems to lose its edge a little more? They become a little less compelling, a little less interesting, a little less awesome with each installment.

Yeah. This is NOT that series.

I have to admit. At the close of the second Charley Davidson book, I was waffling. Although I absolutely LOVE the crime mystery aspect and the grim reaper thing is pretty cool, to be honest, the excessive use of snark was starting to cross the line from cute and endearing into silly and ridiculous. And the thing with Reyes was moving sooooooo slooooooooow.

But... BUT... Third Grave Dead Ahead came at me and whacked me up along side the head. Charley still had a mega mystery to solve and Reyes to deal with and body parts to name, yet it also seems like Charley's maturing a little, dare I say? I still found myself laughing, yet, amazingly, in parts I found myself crying too. Crazy, right?

Third Grave Dead Ahead was exactly what this series needed. It introduced a few new characters in the form of Artemis, Donovan, Eric and Michael. It injected some life into Charley's and Reyes' relationship (or, anti-relationship? I haven't decided. It's definitely non-traditional.). And it gave Charley some seriously HUGE reasons to get serious.

The mysteries were really good ones, as usual. Charley's looking for a missing woman and a potentially missing man. In typical Charley fashion, she takes tons of unnecessary risks and goes to extraordinary extremes to get what she wants. She loves her BFF Cookie and her family fiercely and continues her love affair with her coffee machine. This book wasn't so different that it wasn't unrecognizable. 

This was the best book of the series so far. And it makes me so excited to keep reading and see what happens next. 

June 25, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This is one meme I can get on board with - I LOVE lists! I'll show you mine if you show me yours!

Top Ten Books I've Read So Far In 2013

I'm happy to say that I have read around 20 5-star books so far this year. Which is way more than 1- or 2-star books. So, I guess I'm making out pretty good.

2. Opal (Lux #3), by Jennifer L. Armentrout

3. Unravel Me (Shatter Me #2), by Tahereh Mafi

6. The Indigo Spell (Bloodlines #3), by Richelle Mead

7. Apollyon (Covenant #4), by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Honorable Mention (since, in this case, I found it extremely hard to whittle my 5-star books down to only 10):

Easy, by Tammara Webber
If I Should Die (Revenants #3), by Amy Plum
Twice Tempted (Night Prince #2), by Jeaniene Frost
Spirit (Elemental #3), by Brigid Kemmerer
Shades of Earth (Across the Universe #3), by Beth Revis

June 23, 2013

BLOG TOUR REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Selling Scarlett (Love, Inc. #1)

I'm thrilled to partner with Inkslinger PR on the Selling Scarlett blog tour! Check out my review, then hop down and enter a giveaway for a chance to win your own copy of Selling Scarlett.

Selling Scarlett (Love, Inc. #1), by Ella James
Published April 14, 2013
Publisher:  Barkley's Books
Format: e-copy - obtained from Inkslinger PR in exchange for an honest review
Genre:  New Adult Contemporary Romance
To Buy:  Amazon  * Barnes & Noble

Rating:  3.5 STARS

(From Goodreads) Elizabeth DeVille doesn't belong at a party like this—one where the gowns cost more than her Camry and cigars run higher than her grad school utility bills. Dragged out of seclusion by her best friend Suri, Elizabeth is merely playing dress-up, rubbing elbows with a crowd that banished her troubled family years ago.

Hunter West is tired. Tired of parties, tired of pretending, and tired of trying to right a wrong that haunts him every day. Bourbon heir and professional poker player by day, by night Hunter is gambling with his life in a high-stakes game of crime and blackmail.

When Elizabeth stumbles into Hunter's den of vices, she's a light in the darkness, a flame in the void. And, just like everything he touches, Hunter mars her in a record time. To rectify the damage done, Elizabeth needs money she doesn't have, and she's come up with a foolproof way to get it.

Follow Elizabeth—code-named Scarlett—to the lush Nevada brothel where she'll auction her virginity and risk the only thing that's not for sale: her heart. The highest bidder is a familiar face, with wicked hands and the devil's mouth. And a secret so dark that it could cost her life.

Selling Scarlett raised some interesting questions. Is virginity really such a big deal? If you had a chance to sell it for a crap ton of money, would you do it? 

Ethics graduate student Elizabeth DeVille decides that the answer to that question is yes, and when she makes that decision, she effectively kills two birds with one stone. Well, three, really. She gets money for something she desperately needs. She earns a killer topic for her doctorate thesis. And, she will no longer have her 23-year-old v-card hanging over her head. Especially since the guy she's been saving it for doesn't seem to want it. 

Hunter is a guy who sees himself as seriously damaged goods and not worthy of anything good. So, he engages in seriously self-destructive behavior and allows messed up people to get the better of him over and over again. There's a lot of things I loved about Hunter and a lot of things I didn't really get. I loved who he was with Libby. He was guarded, but tentatively optimistic at times. He tried to be a different person. 

But, who he was with Patricia? I don't know - it didn't quite fit with the other stuff I knew about him. Maybe that was what Ella James was going for. Like two sides of a coin, one side is a guy with lots of potential. The other side is a guy that I really didn't like very much. And, it seemed like he had a hard time deciding whom he wanted to be. The S&M stuff was a little tough to read, and a little unnecessary, I thought. It didn't end up being a major plot driver after all that, so really, what was the purpose of it all?

Libby was a great character. She has a crap life and a very small support system. And a years-long crush on Hunter West. She had gumption, and I really liked that about her. Even when things looked pretty bleak, she found a way out. That's something I can get behind. 

The actual virginity auction was over remarkably quickly. A little too quickly, I thought. There was so much build-up leading up to it, I would've liked it to have been drawn out a bit more. But, Libby's time at the brothel with the other girls was my favorite part of the book. There was such a unique and fun dynamic between all of them. 

The mystery was a good one. I kept changing my mind about who I thought was the culprit. The ending was pretty explosive and exciting. And, the HEA moment was wonderful - aren't they always, though? 

About the Author
I'm a 20-something sci-fi nerd with a journalism degree and a serious York Peppermint Pattie addiction. I spend my days baby-wrangling and dog-chasing and my nights tapping on my laptop and hanging out with my writer/editor husband. A fun day for me involves lots of writing, running, and researching topped off with some quality Kindle time. My life's goal is to find an empty cottage in an enchanted forest, install a solar panel for my laptop, and move in - never to be seen again, except in sweatpants.

Enter below for a chance to win a signed copy of Selling Scarlett!

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June 21, 2013

PREVIEW EXCERPT: Keeping Her (Losing It #1.5)

I've become a total Cora Carmack fangirl in the past few months. I see her name, I buy it. It's that simple. And, then I had the chance to meet her at BEA earlier this month, and I realized that, in addition to her being a super talented writer, she's a super sweet person too! So, when the fine folks at HarperCollins asked if I would like to help Cora promote the upcoming release of the Losing It novella, KEEPING HER, it was a no-brainer. And, hello? It's all from GARRICK'S POV! So, let's get on with it, shall we?

Keeping Her (Losing It #1.5), by Cora Carmack
To Be Published August 13, 2013
Publisher:  HarperCollins/Avon Books
Genre:  New Adult Contemporary Romance
To Pre-order:  Amazon  * Barnes & Noble

(From Goodreads) Garrick Taylor and Bliss Edwards managed to find their happily-ever-after despite a rather . . . ahem . . . complicated start. By comparison, meeting the parents should be an absolute breeze, right?

But from the moment the pair lands in London, new snags just keep cropping up: a disapproving mother-in-law-to-be, more than one (mostly) minor mishap, and the realization that perhaps they aren't quite as ready for their future as they thought.

As it turns out, the only thing harder than finding love is keeping it.

Cora and Jay Crownover (author of the Rule series - AWESOME books, BTW!) will be participating in a Goodreads chat on June 26! To participate, follow this link:  http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/106036-ask-jay-crownover-and-cora-carmack---wednesday-june-26th

Also, HarperCollins/Avon Books will be hosting a FAKING IT (Losing It #2) book club on Cora’s Facebook page on June 27 from 3 - 4 p.m. EDT where you can live chat with Cora about the book and ask her all your burning questions. To participate, go to Cora's Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/CoraCarmackBooks

Keeping Her Preview

COVER LOVING: The King, Into The Still Blue and Before Jamaica Lane

Just this week I've seen three new covers from three of my favorite series, and I'm just beside myself with all the gorgeousness. You ready for this?

1. The King (Black Dagger Brotherhood #12), by J. R. Ward

I know. Shut. Up. Although that's not exactly how I pictured Wrath, I still think this cover is so powerful and dominating - just like Wrath. I am so deliriously excited for The King to come out (and, we have such a long time to wait!). And, I think it's just going to keep getting better and better, too, because I hear through the blogosphere that the book that The Warden is working on now (#13) is going to be about... wait for it... Rhage and Mary. I KNOW!!

And, is it just me, or does he not look a lot like Alexander Skarsgard??

2. Into The Still Blue (Under the Never Sky #3), by Veronica Rossi

The Under the Never Sky series is my most favorite dystopian series of all time. I like it better than The Hunger Games. Better than Divergent. I think this world that the incredible Veronica Rossi has created is so alive and vibrant and scary and beautiful. And, Perry, Aria and Roar have completely captivated me and stolen my heart. Under The Never Sky's cover featured Aria, and for good reason. It was really her story of how she came out of her pod-created shell and really came alive. Through The Ever Night's cover showcased Perry, and as expected, it was all about how he took charge of his life for the first time ever and became the leader he was born to be. The fact that both Perry and Aria are on the cover of Into The Still Blue is very telling, isn't it?

I'm super sad to see this series end but super excited to see how they get Into The Still Blue.

3. Before Jamaica Lane (On Dublin Street #3), by Samantha Young

On the heels of the release of Down London Road (On Dublin Street #2) last month, Samantha Young just released the cover for Before Jamaica Lane (On Dublin Street #3) yesterday. The characters featured on the cover are Olivia and Nate, a couple who were introduced in Down London Road. One of the things about Samantha Young's books that I've loved so far is that characters are not forgotten when the story moves to a new couple. We saw lots of Joss and Braden in book #2. I expect to see plenty of Jo and Cam in Before Jamaica Lane - especially since Nate is Cam's BFF and Olivia is Jo's cousin. I can't wait to read their story!

So, now it's your turn! What do you think? Any new covers you've seen lately that have captivated you? I'm a total cover whore, so tell me about them!

June 20, 2013

REVIEW: Ink (Paper Gods #1)

Ink (Paper Gods #1), by Amanda Sun
To Be Published June 25, 2013
Publisher:  HarlequinTeen
Format: ARC - obtained from BEA
Genre:  YA paranormal
To Buy:  Amazon  * Barnes & Noble * Book Depository

Rating:  4 STARS

(From Goodreads) On the heels of a family tragedy, the last thing Katie Greene wants to do is move halfway across the world. Stuck with her aunt in Shizuoka, Japan, Katie feels lost. Alone. She doesn’t know the language, she can barely hold a pair of chopsticks, and she can’t seem to get the hang of taking her shoes off whenever she enters a building.

Then there’s gorgeous but aloof Tomohiro, star of the school’s kendo team. How did he really get the scar on his arm? Katie isn’t prepared for the answer. But when she sees the things he draws start moving, there’s no denying the truth: Tomo has a connection to the ancient gods of Japan, and being near Katie is causing his abilities to spiral out of control. If the wrong people notice, they'll both be targets.

Katie never wanted to move to Japan—now she may not make it out of the country alive.

I've never read a book like Ink before. I've read a lot of books - over 150 last year and over 100 so far this year. And, among all those books, Ink stands out as something truly different. Let's take a look at why.

The Setting
I do believe this is the only book I've ever read that is set in Japan. Amanda Sun does an excellent job taking me there, even though I've never been there. The towns, schools, landscape, people, culture - it's all here in stunning detail. I want to go there now just to see all these things for myself.

The Concept
Amanda Sun took a page from real Japanese culture and added a really cool paranormal aspect to it. It's taking a little realism and injecting it with the fantastical. This is a story about kids who are affected by a unique power that causes ink to come to life. For some, drawings simply move on the paper. For others, they actually leap off the page. And, it's all tied to ancient Japanese spirits. I really love this concept!

The Art
When you reach a certain age, you stop reading books with pictures. Amanda Sun makes an exception - with good reason - with Ink. The drawings in question throughout the story are featured on the pages of the book, and it is a really awesome addition. I love visual aids.

The love story, although a bit typical and prey to the dreaded insta-love phenomenon, was sweet. It could've been a little further developed. Despite that, I did really like the character of Tomo. He was mysterious, a little scary at times and nice when he wanted to be. Katie, was a little too "damsel in distress" for my tastes. When she gets into trouble, she has a tendency to just scream a lot and flail about. My favorite moment of hers comes right at the end when she finally stops being all wishy washy and makes a difficult decision because it's best for her, not necessarily because it's safe. Finally.

I'm excited to see where Amanda Sun takes this story in the second book. There is plenty of drama and danger left to be had for Katie and Tomo. 

June 19, 2013

REVIEW: Down London Road (On Dublin Street #2)

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Down London Road (On Dublin Street #2), by Samantha Young
Published May 7, 2013
Publisher:  NAL
Format: paperback - I own
Genre:  Adult Contemporary Romance
To Buy:  Amazon  * Barnes & Noble * Book Depository

Rating:  5 STARS

(From Goodreads) It has always been up to Johanna to care for her family, particularly her younger brother, Cole. With an absent father and a useless mother, she’s been making decisions based on what’s best for Cole for as long as she can remember. She even determines what men to date by how much they can provide for her brother and her, not on whatever sparks may—or may not—fly.

But with Cameron MacCabe, the attraction is undeniable. The sexy new bartender at work gives her butterflies every time she looks at him. And for once, Jo is tempted to put her needs first. Cam is just as obsessed with getting to know Jo, but her walls are too solid to let him get close enough to even try.

Then Cam moves into the flat below Jo’s, and their blistering connection becomes impossible to ignore. Especially since Cam is determined to uncover all of Jo’s secrets …even if it means taking apart her defenses piece by piece.

I love feisty, take no crap heroines. One of the things that endeared me to Down London Road right off the bat is that Jo's first meeting with Cam goes very badly. And, she gives him one of the best kiss-off lines ever.
"Well, I guess that makes us a pair. I'm a brainless, morally corrupt, money-grabbing bimbo and you're a jumped-up, pretentious, artsy-fartsy, know-it-all dickhead... See, I can judge a book by its cover too."
Jo is one of my favorite adult contemporary characters. She has incredible strength of character, is so brave and goes after what she wants. I don't agree with all of her choices - sacrificing her own happiness in order to snag a rich man who will take care of her and her brother is almost akin to whoring yourself out to the highest bidder. Her intentions were in the right place, but her actions were sorely lacking.

Cam was no prize at first either. Thinking Jo was cheating on his friend (she wasn't), he is a complete jerk to her. Several times over, in fact. But, when he realizes the error of his ways, he makes up for it in big ways. Cam was amazing. I mean, UH-MAZING.
"What I feel for you... It's all-consuming," he breathed, leaning his forehead against mine again. "It's almost debilitating. It's too much. It's... I can't even describe it, but being with you is... There's this intensity inside me all the time, this... constant pull, desperation... it's like you're branded on me or something. And it bloody well burns."
I thought Down London Road was a really tight story. We see Jo and Cam both go from being one person in the beginning to someone different at the end as a result of their experiences both individually and together. It's the way it should be in a really good story. There doesn't seem to be a lot of veering off into tangents or stalling in the middle. The story moves from one place to the next to the next with fluidity. I was never bored or wondering if it was close to being done yet.

Another thing I loved about Down London Road is that we still saw plenty of Joss and Braden from On Dublin Street. I absolutely LOVE it when authors do this for us. They endear us to characters in book one, and then realize that, even though their story is largely done, that doesn't mean that we're done spending time with them. So, thank you, Sam, for giving us plenty of face time with Joss and Braden (but not so much that I forgot who the main story was all about). It was great seeing them again.

Things were set up perfectly for Nate and Olivia's story, Before Jamaica Lane, which will be out in January 2014 (NO! TOO FAR AWAY!). I can't wait!

June 18, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This is one meme I can get on board with - I LOVE lists! I'll show you mine if you show me yours!

Top Ten Books At The Top Of My Summer TBR List

Initially, I thought this week's list would be nearly impossible. Like many of you reading this, I have many, MANY books on my shelf and on my Kindle that I own but have not read yet. Trying to pick just 10 of them would be really hard.

Then, I decided to simplify things. Below is the list of books that I'm most looking forward to reading with release dates sometime this summer. Of the 10 on this list, I currently only own one (Crown of Midnight). So, without further ado...

1. Until Fountain Bridge (On Dublin Street #1.6), by Samantha Young (releases June 18)
I've read On Dublin Street, and Ellie and Adam were not together. I've also read Down London Road (On Dublin Street #2), and Ellie and Adam ARE together. In Until Fountain Bridge, we finally get to see how it all went down for them.

2. Fifth Grave Past The Light (Charley Davidson #5), by Darynda Jones (releases July 9)
I'm working my way through the Charley Davidson series now, and am loving it! I should be just about ready for book #5 when it releases in early July. 

3. Biting Bad (Chicagoland Vampires #8), by Chloe Neill (releases August 6)
How could I NOT include the next installment of one of my most favorite series of all time?! When we last saw Ethan and Merit, they and the rest of the Cadogan Vampires had decided to go it alone, which comes with its own host of problems. I can't wait to see how it turns out for them.

4. The Redemption of Callie & Kayden (The Coincidence #2), by Jessica Sorensen (releases August 6)
As much as I hate cliffhangers, they certainly do serve their purpose, don't they? Months after reading The Coincidence of Callie & Kayden, I'm still dying to know what happens next after that doozy of an ending. I'm already exercising my "one-click" finger. 

5. Keeping Her (Losing It #1.5), by Cora Carmack (releases August 13)
Oh, Cora, thankyouthankyouthankyou for letting us take a peek inside Garrick's head! Keeping Her is a novella from Garrick's POV, and it follows the events at the end of Losing It. I've read both Losing It and Faking It, so I know how things turn out for Garrick and Bliss already. I'm SO looking forward to seeing how they got there through Garrick's eyes.

6. Afterburn, by Sylvia Day (releases August 15)
I'm a total Sylvia Day fangirl, and I'm seriously hot for her new series, which will include Afterburn and Aftershock (due out in November). This cover is to die for, and the story sounds like just what I've come to expect from Ms. Day - sexy, fun and exciting. 

7. Between the Devil & the Deep Blue Sea, by April Genevieve Tucholke (releases August 15)
I have my favorite genres. Generally thriller/mystery books are not one of them. But, the description and the cover have me incredibly intrigued. This book has been on my TBR list since I found out about it several months ago. 

8. Origin (Lux #4), by Jennifer L. Armentrout (releases August 27)
I do believe that this book is the one I am most looking forward to this summer. I love this series so much, I've read each of the first three books several times apiece. And, after the heartbreaking ending of Opal, I'm desperate to find out what happens next. 

9. Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2), by Sarah. J. Maas (releases August 27)
This is one book I picked up at BEA, and I'm so excited to read it. I fell in love with Celaena in Throne of Glass - she is such a bad ass chick. I bet she'll be a great assassin for the king. And, I'm dying to know if she decides which guy she wants to be with.

10. The Liberator (Dante Walker #2), by Victoria Scott (releases September 3)
The Collector (Dante Walker #1) was one of the big surprises of the spring for me. I loved this book! Dante was such a great reluctant hero, and things between he and Charlie are sure to get complicated moving forward. As if they aren't complicated already now that he's gone rogue. 

June 17, 2013

NEW ADULT MONDAYS: The Edge of Never (The Edge of Never #1)

The New Adult genre - their bad boys and big problems and epic loves make them engrossing tales that are so easy to lose yourself in. What's not to love about that? And, now, thanks to the cool chicks at Bewitched Bookworms, we can show these books the love they deserve in a weekly feature - New Adult Mondays.

The Edge of Never (The Edge of Never #1), by J. A. Redmerski
Published November 15, 2012
Publisher:  Createspace
Format: e-book - obtained from NetGalley
Genre:  New Adult Contemporary Romance
To Buy:  Amazon  * Barnes & Noble * Book Depository

Rating:  4 STARS

(From Goodreads) Twenty-year-old Camryn Bennett thought she knew exactly where her life was going. But after a wild night at the hottest club in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina, she shocks everyone-including herself-when she decides to leave the only life she's ever known and set out on her own. Grabbing her purse and her cell phone, Camryn boards a Greyhound bus ready to find herself. Instead, she finds Andrew Parrish.

Sexy and exciting, Andrew lives life like there is no tomorrow. He persuades Camryn to do things she never thought she would and shows her how to give in to her deepest, most forbidden desires. Soon he becomes the center of her daring new life, pulling love and lust and emotion out of her in ways she never imagined possible. But there is more to Andrew than Camryn realizes. Will his secret push them inseparably together-or destroy them forever?

I am not a spontaneous person. I like a plan. In fact, before big trips, I make plans to make plans. I love lists. Should it be any surprise that I spent six months obsessing and planning for my trip to New York City for BEA? Crazy thing is, I wish I wasn't this way. I think there's a certain thrill to being spontaneous and unafraid of the unknown. You know - throw your crap in the trunk on a whim and take off for points unknown to do God knows what. And that is why I love books so much. They can take you on journeys you don't have the courage to go on yourself in your real life. This is why I loved The Edge of Never.

Fed up with her life, Camryn gets on a bus and decides to go to Idaho when she sees the woman behind the ticket counter eating a baked potato. On the way, she meets Andrew, a guy on his way to see his dying father. They become friends, and decide to jump in his car after seeing his dad and take a trip. Their road trip is one for the record books - something I could only dream of. 

Honestly, Cam annoyed me for, like, 75% of this book. She was cranky and extremely introverted and sometimes even downright mean. And, not just to Andrew. And, really, her life hadn't been that bad up until then. All things considered. And, when she finally realized that she was in love with this man, she refused to tell him so, and didn't tell him that she didn't want to be apart when their trip was over. 

Conversely, Andrew was patient and encouraging and got Cam to do things that she never dreamed she would do. He talked her down and out of her shell, and as a result, they both had the time of their lives. Even though he was hiding a huge secret too, he pushed it aside in an attempt to help Cam get over her own fears and inhibitions. 

The road trip was truly EPIC. The things Cam and Andrew did - lying in the middle of a cow pasture to look at the stars, singing in a bar on a whim, laying on your car in the middle of a rain storm - it's like the craziest bucket list ever. And it brought these two people together faster and made them more connected than anything else could've in their lives. It was kind of inspiring. 

The ending was a complete roller coaster. Redmerski put me through hell for a few moments there! But, it ended up being totally worth it. I hope there are more road trips in this couple's future. Because they're REALLY good at them.  

June 14, 2013

REVIEW: Reboot (Reboot #1)

Reboot (Reboot #1), by Amy Tintera
Published May 7, 2013
Publisher:  HarperTeen
Format: e-book - obtained from NetGalley
Genre:  YA dystopian
To Buy:  Amazon  * Barnes & Noble * Book Depository

Rating:  4.5 STARS

(From Goodreads) Five years ago, Wren Connolly was shot three times in the chest. After 178 minutes she came back as a Reboot: stronger, faster, able to heal, and less emotional. The longer Reboots are dead, the less human they are when they return. Wren 178 is the deadliest Reboot in the Republic of Texas. Now seventeen years old, she serves as a soldier for HARC (Human Advancement and Repopulation Corporation).

Wren’s favorite part of the job is training new Reboots, but her latest newbie is the worst she’s ever seen. As a 22, Callum Reyes is practically human. His reflexes are too slow, he’s always asking questions, and his ever-present smile is freaking her out. Yet there’s something about him she can’t ignore. When Callum refuses to follow an order, Wren is given one last chance to get him in line—or she’ll have to eliminate him. Wren has never disobeyed before and knows if she does, she’ll be eliminated, too. But she has also never felt as alive as she does around Callum.

The perfect soldier is done taking orders.

I'm really digging these books about anti-zombies. I mean, REALLY digging them. Some authors have chosen to address the cool paranormal hook of reanimation, but not into something gross that loves to eat flesh and shuffle about moaning and wailing. Into something more... humanized. And, I want to hug and kiss those authors, because it's taking something that's interesting to me and making it more palatable, especially when it comes to forming some sort of romantic attachment.

So, yeah - I want to hug and kiss Amy Tintera. 

In Reboot's version of future America, a disease has decimated the population so that the entirety of it fits into only the state of Texas. This disease either KILLS you kills you, or kills you then reanimates you, or "reboots" you. The longer you stay dead, the stronger you are when you wake up. And the less of your humanity you retain, too. 

Wren was dead 178 minutes - an extremely long time - before she rebooted. She's the strongest, coldest and scariest reboot on staff. And she gets herself assigned to train newbie, Callum, a mere 22. As she trains him to kill, he trains her to get in touch with her humanity again, which she thought had been lost for good. And, her awkward growing affection toward him causes her to do things she never thought she'd do.

There's really two things going on in Reboot. First is Wren's growing discomfort with HARC and how they treat the Reboots. This all starts when she starts seeing strange behavior exhibited in her only friend and roommate, Ever. Ever is as close to a real zombie that you see in Reboot, and it's scary. Her downward spiral at the hands of HARC causes Wren to have real feelings for the first time in awhile. The gradual build-up of the mystery surrounding the strange behavior of the under-60s was perfectly paced. And, it made me feel so bad for these people who have no control over who they are.

The second thing going on is Wren's reawakening of herself. Much of this stems from her involvement with Callum, who asks questions that no reboot has ever asked before - questions that start with "why," "where," and "how." I loved seeing Wren's self-realization at Callum's hands. Callum is almost child-like in his handling of her, and his innocence is endearing and sweet. He is truly on the other end of the spectrum from the cold and calculating Wren.  

And, what's interesting is that, through the course of the book, they meet somewhere in the middle. Callum is not able to escape completely unscathed from his experience as a Reboot. His experiences at the HARC headquarters tarnish his innocence some and leave him a little scarred and not nearly as happy-go-lucky as he was when he arrived. Conversely, Callum's influence on Wren's life melts away some of her coldness and reminds her about what it was like to once feel... well, anything, really. 

I was so happy that Reboot did not end in an epic cliffhanger. All the elements were there for Tintera to do that to us, but she chose not to. Yet another reason for some serious snuggles. It ended in the perfect place - with many loose ends tied up, but a perfect lead-in to the next book. Which, I will now be waiting for with bated breath. 

June 13, 2013

REVIEW: Entwined With You (Crossfire #3)

Entwined With You (Crossfire #3), by Sylvia Day
Published June 4, 2013
Publisher:  Berkley Publishing Group
Format: paperback - I own
Genre:  Adult Contemporary Romance
To Buy:  Amazon  * Barnes & Noble * Book Depository

Rating:  4 STARS

(From Goodreads) From the moment I first met Gideon Cross, I recognized something in him that I needed. Something I couldn’t resist. I saw the dangerous and damaged soul inside–so much like my own. I was drawn to it. I needed him as surely as I needed my heart to beat.

No one knows how much he risked for me. How much I’d been threatened, or just how dark and desperate the shadow of our pasts would become.

Entwined by our secrets, we tried to defy the odds. We made our own rules and surrendered completely to the exquisite power of possession…

Gideon Cross. Gideon. Cross. Masculine. Sexy. Hot. Sweet. YUM.

Good Heavens. My review of Entwined With You has been reduced to single-word sentences. Maybe this should give you an inkling as to why:
"You're what drives me, Eva. Can you understand that? You're my heart and soul. If something ever happened to you, if would kill me too. Keeping you safe is goddamned self-preservation!"
I know, right? A total case of the "sighs."

I found out right before reading Entwined With You that the Crossfire series will be expanded into two additional books, for a total of five. After reading this book, I'm glad. Compared to Reflected In You, there was almost no action. Not a lot of forward plot progression. Instead of focusing on the forces around Gideon and Eva that threaten to pull them apart, Entwined With You looked more at how the two of them are now working together as an official couple.

In the previous novels, Eva had some serious trust issues, and thankfully, it seems that she's finally worked through those and now has a much more mature outlook on their relationship.
"Now I know what it's like to lose you, Gideon. How badly it hurts. If you shut me out, it's probably going to make me panic a little. You'll just have to be careful of that, and I'll just have to trust that your love is going to stick."
And, let's not forget about the sex. Oh yes - in true Sylvia Day fashion, there's lots of it, and it is absolutely amazing.

There are new plot devices that are introduced that will carry the story forward. Although Gideon and Eva seem to have reached a good place together, that doesn't mean that there aren't a hundred outside forces still trying to pull them apart. Brett the rock star is back and he still wants Eva. Corine is still around and her efforts to get Gideon back have reached epic proportion. Cary and his issues might be problematic. I expect plenty of drama in the fourth book.

And, in the meantime, I will just have to be content with re-reading my favorite parts of Entwined With You over and over again.
"I'd stop the world from spinning for you."
That silly line oddly touched me. "I love you."
"Liked that one, did you?"... "You'll never lose me, angel," he vowed. "Wherever you go, however far, I'll be right here with you."

June 12, 2013


I am so excited to help HarperCollins unveil the cover of its upcoming new adult novel, A LITTLE TOO FAR, by Lisa Desrochers. Check out what Jennifer L. Armentrout has to say about this exciting book:
"More than a ridiculously sexy, HOT read, Desrochers takes you on a wild ride of self-discovery and bittersweet romance." —Jennifer L. Armentrout (J. Lynn), New York Times bestselling author of Wait for You
Well, let's get to it, shall we? Feast your eyes on this beauty:

Have you ever gone just a little too far?

Lexie Banks has.

Yep. She just had mind-blowing sex with her stepbrother. In her defense, she was on the rebound, and it’s more of a my-dad-happened-to-marry-a-woman-with-a-super-hot-son situation. But still, he’s been her best friend and confidant for the better part of the last few years… and is so off limits. It’s a good thing she’s leaving in two days for a year abroad in Rome. But even thousands of miles away, Lexie can’t seem to escape trouble. Raised Catholic, she goes to Confession in hopes of alleviating some of her guilt… and maybe not burning in hell. Instead, she stumbles out of the confessional right into Alessandro Moretti, a young and very easy on the eyes deacon… only eight months away from becoming a priest. As Lexie and Alessandro grow closer, and when Alessandro’s signals start changing despite his vow of celibacy, she doesn’t know what to think. She’s torn between falling in love with the man she shouldn’t want and the man she can’t have. And she isn’t sure how she can live with herself either way. 


In honor of the reveal of this amazing cover, HarperCollins is giving away an awesome swag pack from A LITTLE TOO FAR. Fill out the Rafflecopter for a chance to win!

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Triangles, by Kimberly Ann Miller
To Be Published June 18, 2013
Publisher:  Spencer Hill Press
Format: ARC received from Spencer Hill Press
Genre:  Young Adult Paranormal
To Buy:  Amazon  * Barnes & Noble

Rating:  3.5 STARS

(From Goodreads) A cruise ship. A beautiful island. Two sexy guys. What could possibly go wrong?

In the Bermuda Triangle—a lot.

Hoping to leave behind the reminders of her crappy life--her father's death years ago, her mother's medical problems, and the loser who’s practically stalking her--seventeen-year-old Autumn Taylor hops on a ship with her sister for a little distraction. When she wakes up in the Bermuda Triangle, she fears she's gone nuts for more than one reason: that loser’s suddenly claiming they're a happy couple... a hot guy is wrapping his arms around her and saying "Happy Anniversary"... and suddenly, she’s full of bruises, losing her hair, and getting IV medication. Autumn visits the ship's doctor, hoping for a pill or a shot to make the craziness go away. Instead, she's warned that these "alternate realities" could become permanent.

She just has to ask herself one question—how the hell is she going to get out of this mess?

You know that movie Groundhog Day where the crabby news reporter is inexplicably forced to repeat the same day over and over again, and as a result, he comes to appreciate those around him and realizes what an ass he's been? Well, Triangles is like that. Only featuring a bitchy teenage girl. On a sunny cruise to Bermuda instead of stuck in snowy Punxsutawney. 

Autumn is about to start her senior year of high school. Except, she's not. She's decided to quit school and get out of dodge. Her dad died years ago and her mom has been in a coma the past six months. Autumn's older sister is looking after her and a cute sweet boy, Joey, has been dogging her to go out with him. Thing is, Autumn is convinced that she poisons everyone around her, so she's determined to keep all those who care about her at arm's length. 

The Bermuda cruise is supposed to be a getaway for Autumn and her sister. Except, Joey is on the cruise too. As well as Marcus, the hot bad boy. And, then three mornings in a row after the ship goes through the Bermuda Triangle, Autumn wakes up in a different reality - one where she and Marcus have been together a year, one where she and Joey have been together for two years, and one where Autumn has terminal cancer. 

I kind of love the premise of this book. There's always been so much mystery and intrigue around the Bermuda Triangle. I'm a little surprised that more paranormal books aren't written about it. When Autumn starts waking up in different situations, I was captivated and driven to find out more. 

The beginning of Triangles, however, was a bit slow. Getting to the point where the Autumn starts having her epiphany, was a little difficult for me. Mostly because I pretty much hated Autumn. She was absolutely awful in the first third of the book. I've said it before - it's hard for me to love a book when I don't love the main character. Although my opinion of Autumn did improve later, my irritation at her attitude in the beginning made it hard to wade through. 

Joey, too, was hard to like in the beginning. He seemed like such a wishy washy wimp. The beginning Joey and the end Joey seem almost like two different characters. After Autumn awakens from her last alternate reality and winds up back in the real reality, Joey is strong and brave and sweet and very dateable. In the beginning, he was kinda creepy and stalkerish, honestly. I definitely like the end Joey better. 

There's a lot of things to love about Triangles: the Bermuda Triangle, a cruise ship, end Joey, interesting alternate realities. It's a pretty short novel. At only 175 pages, I finished it in just a few hours, slow beginning notwithstanding. If Autumn was just a little softer and Joey just a little more congruent, Triangles would be really great. As it is, although the beginning needs some work and the characters need a little more development, the ending is satisfying and left me in a good place. 


In honor of the release of Triangles, Spencer Hill Press is giving away a cruise (yes, you read that right) in the Triangles Win A Frikkin' Cruise Sweepstakes. To enter, go to Spencer Hill Press' website. Good luck!

June 11, 2013

RELEASE DAY LAUNCH REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: One Tiny Lie (Ten Tiny Breaths #2)

A big thanks to Inkslinger PR for including Krista's Dust Jacket in the release day launch for One Tiny Lie, by K.A. Tucker. Check out my review, then enter to win an amazing prize of a signed galley of One Tiny Lie! Happy book birthday, Ms. Tucker!

One Tiny Lie (Ten Tiny Breaths #2), by K.A. Tucker
Published June 11, 2013
Publisher:  Atria Books
Format: e-book - obtained from NetGalley
Genre:  New Adult Contemporary Romance
To Buy:  Amazon  * Barnes & Noble * Book Depository

Rating:  5 STARS

(From Goodreads) Livie has always been the stable one of the two Cleary sisters, handling her parents' tragic death and Kacey's self-destructive phase with strength and maturity. But underneath that exterior is a little girl hanging onto the last words her father ever spoke to her. “Make me proud,” he had said. She promised she would...and she’s done her best over the past seven years with every choice, with every word, with every action.

Livie walks into Princeton with a solid plan, and she’s dead set on delivering on it: Rock her classes, set herself up for medical school, and meet a good, respectable guy that she’s going to someday marry. What isn’t part of her plan are Jell-O shots, a lovable, party animal roommate she can’t say ‘no’ to, and Ashton, the gorgeous captain of the men’s rowing team. Definitely him. He’s an arrogant ass who makes Livie’s usually non-existent temper flare and everything she doesn’t want in a guy. Worse, he’s best friends and roommates with Connor, who happens to fits Livie’s criteria perfectly. So why does she keep thinking about Ashton?

As Livie finds herself facing mediocre grades, career aspirations she no longer thinks she can handle, and feelings for Ashton that she shouldn’t have, she’s forced to let go of her last promise to her father and, with it, the only identity that she knows.

It's interesting how different One Tiny Lie is from the first book in the series, Ten Tiny Breaths. Most times, the various books in any one series are fairly similar. Not that the stories or the characters are the same, necessarily, but more like the tone and mood are similar. Not so in this case, and I have to say bravo to K.A. Tucker for keeping it interesting and keeping me engaged. 

One of the things I was most looking forward to before reading One Tiny Lie was getting inside Livie's head. One of the most curious parts of Ten Tiny Breaths for me was how seemingly well-developed Kacey's little sister Livie was, given the tragedy that they had both endured. She seemed sweet, polite and dedicated to school and her loved ones. How was she so normal when her sister was so screwed up?

We find out pretty early on in One Tiny Lie that Livie doesn't have it together quite as much as one would think. She's painfully shy and introverted and totally focused on being absolutely perfect. And, after one wild night, all that starts to change. And Livie does not handle change very constructively. 

Livie was absolutely delightful! She's so awkward, yet not unrealistically so. She's klutzy and seems to say the wrong thing most of the time. Yet, when she really needs it, she reaches deep down and pulls out a mini pair of brass balls, which was so funny and wonderful. Like, when a strange guy grabs her at a party and sticks his tongue down her throat, her first reaction is not to run away. She punches him in the face instead. I love this girl!

But, Ashton... Ashton is the absolute living end. I couldn't get enough of this guy. On the surface, he a complete rake and a man-whore to boot. But, underneath, he's infinitely more complex. He has secrets and tragedy in his life, and I couldn't put this book down until I found out what happened to him. And how Livie's presence in his life might change him. 

And, really, they end up changing each other in huge ways. With a little help from Kacey's - and now, Livie's - therapist, Dr. Stayner (and, seriously - do therapists as cool as him really exist? Because I might have a nervous breakdown just so I can get treated by one of them if they do), Livie does and says things she never thought she would. And, Ashton finally realizes what's most important. 

Where Ten Tiny Breaths was very somber and dark, in contrast, One Tiny Lie was lighter and much more hopeful. I was captivated and engaged from the very beginning - I started it at lunchtime and at midnight, I finished (maybe not the smartest thing I ever did, since I get up at 5:15 every morning *yawn*). I couldn't put it down until I found out what happened and until I saw Livie and Ashton get their HEA.   

About The Author

Born in small-town Ontario, Kathleen published her first book at the age of six with the help of her elementary school librarian and a box of crayons. She is a voracious reader and the farthest thing from a genre-snob, loving everything from High Fantasy to Chick Lit. Kathleen currently resides in a quaint small town outside of Toronto with her husband, two beautiful girls, and an exhausting brood of four-legged creatures. 

Contact K.A. Tucker:

Website * Twitter * Facebook * Goodreads


Three winners will receive a signed galley of ONE TINY LIE by K.A. Tucker. tell me that doesn't get your heart racing! Fill out the Rafflecopter, and good luck!

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Top Ten Tuesday

 Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This is one meme I can get on board with - I LOVE lists! I'll show you mine if you show me yours!

Top Ten Best Beach Reads

For this week's Top Ten Tuesday, we've been asked to list our top ten beach reads. I'm choosing to define that as the books I would choose to read, should I have nothing but two weeks or so to sit on a beach, drink margaritas and read. Since the sun will be shining, the booze will be flowing and the waiters will all be hot and shirtless (What? It's MY dream!), I want to stay in a happy mood. So, these books are all books that make me happy for one reason or another.

1. Twice Bitten (Chicagoland Vampires #3), by Chloe Neill - This is my favorite book in one of my favorite series. Besides the fact that Ethan and Merit have a moment, the book is full of hot shifters - bonus!

2. Halfway to the Grave (Night Huntress #1), by Jeaniene Frost - This is the book that started it all for Cat and Bones. And for me, too. I love this series, and although I love all the books, the first one is the best. From Cat's first VERY memorable line to Bones to the incredible end, this book is pure magic.

3. Obsidian (Lux #1), by Jennifer L. Armentrout - Daemon is snark and hot
sexy goodness rolled into one, and although I love he and Katy together, he was so fun and interesting when he kind of hated her.

4. The Indigo Spell (Bloodlines #3), by Richelle Mead - I spent the first two books in the Bloodlines series trying desperately to like Sydney. In The Indigo Spell, I succeeded.

5. The Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy #6), by Richelle Mead - This is a big, intense book. But, Rose was at her best in it, and the ending is just amazing. An amazing ending to an amazing series.

6. The Iron King (The Iron Fey #1), by Julie Kagawa - The first book I ever read by Julie Kagawa started a teeny obsession with her. I'll read anything she writes, and it all started with a fairy tale.

7. Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades #1), by E. L. James - Do I really need to explain why this book makes me happy??

8. Twisted Perfection (Perfection #1), by Abbi Glines - Woods is, like, the perfect boyfriend. He has a serious hero complex, and I love that about him.

9. Lover Awakened (Black Dagger Brotherhood #3), by J. R. Ward - I know lots of bad stuff happened to Zsadist. It's a very dark and deep book. But, Z's reawakening at the hands and attention of Bella is utterly amazing. And the ending is one of the best book endings ever.

10. Wicked Cravings (The Phoenix Pack #2), by Suzanne Wright - This was such a fun book. The werewolves and the pack mentality are really cool, and the love story is so sweet and hot. There is so much to love about this series.