Thursday, January 12, 2017

Excerpt and Giveaway: WICKED COWBOY CHARM by Carolyn Brown

Lucky Penny Ranch #4
On Sale: January 31, 2017
Josie Dawson is new in town, but it doesn't take a local to know that Deke Sullivan is trouble—in a smokin' hot package. He's sweet, sexy, and has charmed just about every woman in Dry Creek, Texas. Well, Josie won't be next. She'll keep her distance, even if he is great with babies and makes a mean cup of homemade hot chocolate.
Deke Sullivan really is a one-woman type of guy. He just had to do a lot of looking to find that one woman. Now he thinks he's found her and he won't let a strong, sassy gal like Josie slip away. Just when he's wondering how to convince her he only has eyes for her, they get stranded in a tiny cabin during a major blizzard. If Deke can melt her heart before they dig out of the snow, he'll be the luckiest cowboy in Texas . . .

Josie could hardly take her eyes off Deke’s strong arms as he carried a pile of wood the short distance from the box to the fireplace. To have those arms around her, to cuddle up next to him on one of those bunk beds—she shook her head to get the picture out of it and reached for the tin box of matches on the mantel.
“How many do you need?” she asked.
“Just one,” he answered.
“Confident, aren’t you?”
“Not confidence, just practice, ma’am.” He got the fire going with the first one.
“Impressive,” she said.
“We’ll get it warmed up in here soon enough.”
Josie sat down on the sofa facing the fireplace and took stock of the little cabin. A set of bunk beds covered the wall to her right. A doorway into a bathroom was to her left along with crudely made bookshelves with about a hundred well-worn paperback books. A deck of cards was in the middle of a card table with a couple of folding metal chairs on either side. A second table was fitted into the small corner from the end of the bunk beds to the wall and another oil lamp had been placed in the middle of it.
“We’ll survive,” Deke said.
“Who are you trying to convince? Me or you?” Josie asked.
“Both of us. It’s better than freezing to death in our vehicles. Lord, I wish I would have turned around and gone right back home when the first snowflake hit,” he answered.
“Me too.” She threw one arm over her head and groaned.
“Top or bottom?” Deke asked.
“Well, now that depends on lots of things,” she said before she thought.
Deke whipped around, his eyes big as silver dollars. “What did you say?”
She blushed and quickly covered her blooper. “I don’t care. I could sleep right here. Maybe I’ll wake up to find this is all a dream.”
“Okay then, I’ll take the bottom bunk. Rascal gets restless if he’s not sleeping right beside the bed on his blanket or else on the foot of it. And darlin’, if you wake up and find this is a dream, don’t leave me behind.”
“No way, cowboy. You are stuck with me for the duration of this damned storm.”
“And you, darlin’, are stuck with me.” 


Carolyn Brown is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling romance author and RITA® Finalist who has sold more than 2.75 million books. She presently writes both women's fiction and cowboy romance. She has also written historical single title, historical series, contemporary single title, and contemporary series. She lives in southern Oklahoma with her husband, a former English teacher, who is not allowed to read her books until they are published. They have three children and enough grandchildren to keep them young.

Review: Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson

Blurb from Goodreads:
Growing up, Kate Priddy was always a bit neurotic, experiencing momentary bouts of anxiety that exploded into full-blown panic attacks after an ex-boyfriend kidnapped her and nearly ended her life. When Corbin Dell, a distant cousin in Boston, suggests the two temporarily swap apartments, Kate, an art student in London, agrees, hoping that time away in a new place will help her overcome the recent wreckage of her life.

Soon after her arrival at Corbin’s grand apartment on Beacon Hill, Kate makes a shocking discovery: his next-door neighbor, a young woman named Audrey Marshall, has been murdered. When the police question her about Corbin, a shaken Kate has few answers, and many questions of her own—curiosity that intensifies when she meets Alan Cherney, a handsome, quiet tenant who lives across the courtyard, in the apartment facing Audrey’s. Alan saw Corbin surreptitiously come and go from Audrey’s place, yet he’s denied knowing her. Then, Kate runs into a tearful man claiming to be the dead woman’s old boyfriend, who insists Corbin did the deed the night that he left for London.

When she reaches out to her cousin, he proclaims his innocence and calms her nerves--until she comes across disturbing objects hidden in the apartment and accidentally learns that Corbin is not where he says he is. Could Corbin be a killer? What about Alan? Kate finds herself drawn to this appealing man who seems so sincere, yet she isn’t sure. Jet-lagged and emotionally unstable, her imagination full of dark images caused by the terror of her past, Kate can barely trust herself, so how could she take the chance on a stranger she’s just met? 
My Review:
This was a pretty good mystery and thriller - I was reminded a bit of both Rear Window (the constant watching) and one of my favorite books in this genre, Into the Darkest Corner, while reading this book. That being said, there was a lot to like about this book in the setting and the pace. It was easy and fast to read and almost all of it was interesting.  It was a bit predictable, which is my usual criticism of books in this genre, but it wasn't boring. I think the characters could have been flushed out a bit better to understand their motivations because there was something seriously off in each of them. I felt a real lack of basic understanding with all of the characters except Kate, which is hard when there are multiple POV and you're not connecting with the character.  Still, I enjoyed this one and will look from more from this author.

Her Every Fear came out earlier this week on January 10, 2017, and you can purchase HERE.
They'd met three times and she felt as though she'd known him her entire life. Self-conscious suddenly, she stopped looking at him and picked up her martini again from the table to take another sip. She was drunk, she realized, her fingertips numb against the still-cold glass. She scooped a number of cashews form the small dish on the table and began to eat them, one by one.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: We Shall Not All Sleep by Estep Nagy

 "Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that you are eagerly anticipating.

Today, I am waiting on:  
We Shall Not All Sleep by Estep Nagy

From Goodreads:
The entangled pasts of two ruling class New England families come to light over three summer days on an island in Maine in this extraordinary debut novel.

1964. The Hillsingers and the Quicks have shared the small Maine island of Seven for generations. Though technically family—Jim Hillsinger and Billy Quick married Park Avenue sisters Lila and Hannah Blackwell—they do not mix. Now, on the anniversary of Hannah’s death, Lila feels grief pulling her toward Billy. Jim, a spy recently ousted from the CIA, decides to carry out the threat Lila explicitly forbid: to banish their youngest son, twelve-year-old Catta, to the neighboring island of Baffin for twenty-four hours in an attempt to make a man out of him.

Set during three summer days, Estep Nagy’s debut novel moves among the communities of Seven as longstanding tensions become tactical face-offs where anything is fair game for ammunition. Vividly capturing the rift between the cold warriors of Jim’s generation and the rebellious seekers of Catta’s, We Shall Not All Sleep is a richly told story of American class, family, and manipulation—a compelling portrait of a unique and privileged WASP stronghold on the brink of dissolution.
This sounds so good! We Shall Not All Sleep is scheduled to be released on July 4, 2017, and I can't wait!

What books are you waiting on this Wednesday??

Review: The Chocolate Cure (Love at the Chocolate Shop #4) by Roxanne Snopek

Blurb from Goodreads:
No more chocolate! No more meddling! No more men!

New Year’s resolutions are great. Announcing them in a crowded bar, with a chocolate martini in her hand? Not Maddie Cash’s finest moment. It’s time this new realtor got serious about her life and this time, she means it.

But when hospital volunteering lands her at the bedside of bruised and battered Mick Meyer, who has no knowledge of Maddie’s reputation – and no memory of the kiss he begged from her during that long, pain-filled night, her best-laid plans are put in jeopardy. It’s not just his sweet tooth that’s tempting her.

The hunky bush pilot with the concussion has an old family property to unload. Making this sale could be Maddie’s professional salvation. But when Mick turns on the charm, she’s in danger of forgetting all her best intentions… on chocolate… on meddling… and especially on men.
My Review:
Something about this felt off from the beginning - I'm not sure it was just the writing and editing or something else that I can't properly articulate.  Maddie and Mick both felt undeveloped in their motivations and their attraction to each other - it seemed more like a convenience factor and right place/right time than anything deeper or meaningful. Maddie also drove me a bit bonkers in that she was just all over the place and her "new self" and resolutions seemed silly and unformed.  Mick was just odd - even at the end, I didn't feel like I even knew who he was or what he wanted. I liked the glimpses into Marietta (the site of one of my favorite series, Carrigans of Circle C) but this book didn't live up to the other I read in this series.
The Chocolate Cure came out last week on January 4, 2017, and you can purchase HERE.  I LOVED the first book in this series, Melt My Heart, Cowboy, and am definitely still going to read books 2 and 3!
He'd never had a head injury before. He'd expected the nausea, the dizziness, the confusion. He hadn't expected infatuation. He wanted to kiss that little spot where her throat ticked and bobbed. Was she feeling it too?

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Review: Everything You Want Me to Be by Mindy Mejia

Blurb from Goodreads:
Full of twists and turns, Everything You Want Me to Be reconstructs a year in the life of a dangerously mesmerizing young woman, during which a small town’s darkest secrets come to the forefront...and she inches closer and closer to her death.

High school senior Hattie Hoffman has spent her whole life playing many parts: the good student, the good daughter, the good citizen. When she’s found brutally stabbed to death on the opening night of her high school play, the tragedy rips through the fabric of her small town community. Local sheriff Del Goodman, a family friend of the Hoffmans, vows to find her killer, but trying to solve her murder yields more questions than answers. It seems that Hattie’s acting talents ran far beyond the stage. Told from three points of view—Del, Hattie, and the new English teacher whose marriage is crumbling—Everything You Want Me to Be weaves the story of Hattie’s last school year and the events that drew her ever closer to her death.

Evocative and razor-sharp, Everything You Want Me to Be challenges you to test the lines between innocence and culpability, identity and deception. Does love lead to self-discovery—or destruction? 
My Review:
I don't know what I expected this book to be, exactly, but it was one of those books that grabs from its first sentence to its last.  There is some meandering between timelines and it's told in three POV but it all just worked. I read this one so fast because I was so intrigued and I did not see the ending coming.  I thought I had it figured it out but that was turned on its head at the very end and I loved that! This was my second 2017 release and both it and History of Wolves are set in Minnesota.  Totally unplanned but it was very interesting to think about both book in that context - one in the north of the state and this one in the south. They were both stoic and stark in their own ways. I would also be remiss if I didn't tell you that this author created one of the best formed, articulated and complex characters I've ever read in Hattie Hoffman - such an effortless read but I am sure that writing it took everything.

Everything You Want Me To Be came out earlier this week on January 3, 2017, and you can purchase HERE.  I definitely recommend this one if you like a good mystery!
Out of nowhere I remembered my grandpa's silent, tear-streaked face in that depressing nursing home room. It was probably the last time anyone should be thinking about their dead grandfather, like some final proof of how unnatural I was, but in that moment I understood, finally, how love could be too much for our bodies to hold.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

2016 End of Year Book Survey (+ Giveaway!)

2016 End of Year Book Survey:

(hosted by Jamie @ The Perpetual Pageturner)

Number of books I read: 232.

Number of re-reads: 29.

Genre I read the most from: Contemporary adult.

Best Book I read in 2016?  See my lists HERE (YA) and HERE (Adult) and HERE (Debuts)
tl; dr:  Dear Fang, With Love The Raven King Every Exquisite Thing The Underground Railroad

Book you were excited and thought you were gonna love more but didn’t?
Eligible :(  I love CS and Jane Austen but this was not a good fit

Most surprising (in a good or bad way) book you read in 2016?
Undecided and The Hating Game - I was leery to read both and they ended up to be some of my favorites of the year!

Book you pushed people to read?
Undecided and Every Exquisite Thing

Best series you started in 2016? Best Sequel of 2016? Best Series Ender of 2016?
Best series I started this year: IQ ; The Hatching

Best Sequel of 2016: I finally read (and loved) Dream School, the sequel to Girl

Best series enders of 2016: The Raven King !!!!!!!!!!!

Favorite new author you discovered in 2016?
So many!  See all my favorite debuts HERE and also Lauren Layne, Megan Abbott and Laura Griffin (finally!)

Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
The Hatching

Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
Action packed: In the Barren Ground

Thrilling: Into the Darkest Corner

Unputdownable: I Almost Forgot About You 
The Underground Railroad

Book You Read In 2016 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
Every Exquisite Thing ; The Hating Game

Favorite cover of a book you read in 2016?
Dancing with the Tiger by Lili Wright

Most memorable character of 2016?
Georgia Young from I Almost Forgot About You ; Mrs. Brown from My Mrs. Brown ; Cora from 
The Underground Railroad

Most beautifully written book read in 2016?
Dear Fang, With Love ; The Raven King ; Every Exquisite Thing
; Gold Fame Citrus ; Salt to the Sea The Underground Railroad

Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2016?
Every Exquisite Thing ; Gold Fame Citrus ; The Underground Railroad

Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2016 to finally read?
Kitchens of the Great Midwest ; everything Lauren Layne !!

Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2016?
From Gold Fame Citrus:
"Hoosiers aren't quitters. California people are quitters. No offense. It's just you've got restlessness in your blood."
"I don't," she said, but he went on. 
"Your people came here looking for something better. Gold, fame, citrus. Mirage. They were feckless, yeah? Schemers. That's why no one wants them now. Mojavs.
Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2016?
Shortest: White Hot Christmas by Lauren Layne

Longest: The Chosen by Kristina Ohlsson

Book That Shocked You The Most?
Dear Fang, With Love ; All the Missing Girls

OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)
Adam/ Ronan ; Blue/Gansey

Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year:
Georgia and Wanda from I Almost Forgot About You ; Tess, Ellie and Joline from Fill the Sky

Favorite Book You Read in 2016 From An Author You’ve Read Previously:
The Raven King ; Marked in Flesh

Best Book You Read In 2016 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:
Undecided (thanks Nick!); all things Lauren Layne (thanks Nick and Nereyda!); Into the Darkest Corner (thanks Rachel!)

Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2016?
Reed from The Boy is Back!

Best 2016 debut you read?
So many! But probably The Hating Game and Dancing with the Tiger

Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?
Gold Fame Citrus ; Salt to the Sea ; Fill the Sky

Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?
Undecided ; The Boy is Back ; I Almost Forgot About You ; The Singles Game ; In Real Life

Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2016?
I've never cried while reading a book 

Hidden Gem Of The Year?
Every Exquisite Thing ; Dear Fang, With Love ; Dancing with the Tiger

Book That Crushed Your Soul?
Dear Fang, With Love ; Every Exquisite Thing ; The Underground Railroad

Most Unique Book You Read In 2016?
Gold Fame Citrus ; Jane Steele ; All the Missing Girls

Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?
Eligible (see above!) ; Save Me, Kurt Cobain

New favorite book blog you discovered in 2016?

Favorite review that you wrote in 2016?
Every Exquisite Thing

Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?
This is my first year of really doing discussion posts and I loved it! My favorite was either Should There Be Arcs? or Are Certain Authors Sacrosanct?

Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
I developed a lot of features on my blog this year, including So You Want to Go and I love this Trope Sub-Genre Setting and I'm really happy about this!

Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2016?
More commenting and receiving comments, DISCUSSIONS!, new features above!

Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
It's My Birthday Giveaway
Are Certain Authors Sacrosanct?

Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?
If I Could Make My Favorite Bloggers Read Books, Part 1

Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
I increased my audiobooks a ton this year! I'm listening to them in my car and on the treadmill

Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
I set my GR goal super low (120) and doubled it. YIKES! I also did well with Shannon's and Nicole's Discussion challenge

One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2016 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2017?
The Serpent King ; A Promise of Fire

Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2017 (non-debut)? Etched in Bone ; Blade Bound ; The Perfect Stranger ; Words in Deep Blue ; Boy

2017 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
Piper Perish
Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2017?
Blade Bound  and Etched in Bone !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2017?
Keep up with discussion posts

A 2017 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:
Everything You Want Me to Be by Mindy Mejia

Happy New Year!!!!!!
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2015 survey 2014 survey 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Top Ten Adult Books I Read in 2016 (+ Giveaway!)

1. Dear Fang, With Love by Rufi Thorpe

Beautiful. Heart-wrenching. True.  My review HERE

2. The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Every inch of hype is absolutely real. I couldn't put this down or stop highlighting every astonishing word.

3. I Almost Forgot About You by Terry McMillan

The one I bought for all my friends. I want Georgia Young to be my best friend. My review HERE.

4. Undecided by Julianna Keyes

The kind of NA that you long to find and yet you hardly ever do!  My review HERE.

Dancing with the Tiger by Lili Wright

I still can't believe this is a debut. So good and my favorite cover of the year. My review HERE.

6. The Boy Is Back by Meg Cabot

I had a giant smile on my face the entire time I read this one AND my top book boyfriend of the year! My review HERE.

7. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

Don't let this cover fool you! This was so funny and witty - one of, if not THE, best enemies to lovers stories I've ever read!

8. Marked in Flesh (The Others #4) by Anne Bishop

I cannot believe this series only has one more book; my kingdom for more Simon and Meg! My review HERE.

9. Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye

One of the most unique retellings I've ever read. Started off slow but then became addictive. My review HERE. 

10. TIE You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott and All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

I couldn't pick between these two for the last of my top ten list for 2016. These were my favorite thrillers of the year - I read a lot in this genre and am generally hard to impress but I loved both of these, equally!  My review of You Will Know Me HERE; my review of All the Missing Girls HERE.

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2016 YA |  2016 Debuts | 2015 Adult 2014 YA 2014 Adult 2013 
YA 2013 Adult 2012 YA 2012

What were your favorite adult books this year??  I'll be back tomorrow with my annual end of the year survey! Enter to Win and Link up with yours below!
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