Friday, 31 October 2014

Love and Other Unknown Variables by Shannon Lee Alexander

Sponsored post: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Entangled Publishing, LLC and NetGalley.
Love and Other Unknown Variables
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Charlie Hanson has a clear vision of his future. A senior at Brighton School of Mathematics and Science, he knows he’ll graduate, go to MIT, and inevitably discover solutions to the universe’s greatest unanswered questions. He’s that smart. But Charlie’s future blurs the moment he reaches out to touch the tattoo on a beautiful girl’s neck.

The future has never seemed very kind to Charlotte Finch, so she’s counting on the present. She’s not impressed by the strange boy at the donut shop—until she learns he’s a student at Brighton where her sister has just taken a job as the English teacher. With her encouragement, Charlie orchestrates the most effective prank campaign in Brighton history. But, in doing so, he puts his own future in jeopardy.

By the time he learns she's ill—and that the pranks were a way to distract Ms. Finch from Charlotte’s illness—Charlotte’s gravitational pull is too great to overcome. Soon he must choose between the familiar formulas he’s always relied on or the girl he’s falling for (at far more than 32 feet per second squared).


Love and Other Unknown Variables by Shannon Lee Alexander

My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars



Love and Other Unknown Variables(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Entangled Publishing, LLC and NetGalley.)

There wasn’t anything horribly wrong with this book, I just didn’t enjoy it.

The characters in this were alright I suppose, but I just couldn’t warm to them. They irritated me a bit in places, and I just didn’t care what happened to them. I did feel quite sorry for everybody involved when Charlotte’s diagnosis came out, but other than that, I just didn’t really get a feel for them.

The storyline in this started out being about one thing, and by the end felt like it was about something completely different. I found the pace quite slow, and I just couldn’t connect to the story at all. I got bored, and just wanted it to end. Even when Charlotte’s diagnosis came out I couldn’t get into the story.
There was romance, but again, I just did not care.

The ending was quite sad, and I did feel quite sorry for the author when I read the message at the end explaining that she went through something similar. It’s for this reason that I’m giving this book 2.5 stars; but overall – I didn’t enjoy this story.
5 out of 10.


Thursday, 30 October 2014

I Want It That Way (2B Trilogy #1) by Ann Aguirre

Sponsored post: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to review basis. Thanks to Harlequin (UK) Limited and NetGalley.
I Want It That Way (2B Trilogy #1)
Blurb (from Goodreads):
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.


I Want It That Way by Ann Aguirre

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I Want It That Way (2B Trilogy #1)(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to review basis. Thanks to Harlequin (UK) Limited and NetGalley.)

This was an okay story, but it dragged.

First of all I have to say that I hate the title of this book, because every time I see it, I get that Backstreet Boy’s song stuck in my head, and it drives me crazy!

Nadia was an okay character, but for someone who should have been fairly intelligent, she was actually pretty stupid at times. If you’re going to date someone who has a child, you have to be prepared for the child to be part of the package. You can’t date someone with a child and never consider that if the relationship does develop, you would end up living with not only the guy, but the child too! I mean it doesn’t take a genius to realise that the child isn’t going to disappear!

The storyline in this was okay, but it really dragged. The sex scenes were mildly entertaining, but I really did not care about the rest of the story, and I got bored. When I did begin to get a little more interested towards the end, Nadia turned into an idiot and screwed everything up, which frustrated me no end!
The ending when it came was then alright, but boy was I ready for this book to end. Maybe now I can finally get ‘I Want it That Way’, or the even more irritating ‘Ebay Song’ by Weird Al out of my head!
Overall; okay, but dragged,
6 out of 10.


Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Need You Now (1001 Dark Nights #7) by Lisa Renee Jones

Sponsored post: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Lisa Renee Jones and Emily McGee.
Need You Now (1001 Dark Nights)
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Life is hard. Life leaves you beaten, broken…alone. Then one day, a stranger touches your hand and you feel something intense, unforgettable, but yet, you want to forget. You need to forget. It’s safer than believing in things you’ve decided don’t exist. You know all about shattered promises and lost hope. You know them so much better than you know this excited, warm, wonderful feeling, and it scares you. He scares you, but he also makes you feel alive again. He makes you realize you haven’t really been living. You’re surviving and you fear he’s the one who’ll make you forget how to keep doing it. But what if he’s the one who changes everything?

Need You Now by Lisa Renee Jones

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars


Need You Now (1001 Dark Nights)(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Lisa Renee Jones and Emily McGee.)

This was a fun and sexy short, with a steamy encounter outside!

Danny was a caring girl, and it was obvious how much she wanted to look after those around her, even her nutty best friend and her in-trouble boss.
Jensen was a bit of a bossy man, but he seemed to make Danny pretty hot!

The storyline in this was okay, and it was interesting the way Danny and Jensen met.
There were a couple of steamy scenes, and one pretty erotic encounter between this pair outdoors!

The ending was good but I was left feeling like I wanted to know more about Danny and Jensen.
Overall; good, sexy short story,
7 out of 10.


Compulsion (The Heirs of Watson Island #1) by Martina Boone

Sponsored post: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Simon & Schuster and Edelweiss.
Compulsion
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Three plantations. Two wishes. One ancient curse.

When loss is all you know, how do you find true love?

Beautiful Creatures meets The Body Finder in this spellbinding new trilogy.

All her life, Barrie Watson has been a virtual prisoner in the house where she lived with her shut-in mother. When her mother dies, Barrie promises to put some mileage on her stiletto heels. But she finds a new kind of prison at her aunt’s South Carolina plantation instead--a prison guarded by an ancient spirit who long ago cursed one of the three founding families of Watson Island and gave the others magical gifts that became compulsions.

Stuck with the ghosts of a generations-old feud and hunted by forces she cannot see, Barrie must find a way to break free of the family legacy. With the help of sun-kissed Eight Beaufort, who knows what Barrie wants before she knows herself, the last Watson heir starts to unravel her family's twisted secrets. What she finds is dangerous: a love she never expected, a river that turns to fire at midnight, a gorgeous cousin who isn’t what she seems, and very real enemies who want both Eight and Barrie dead.


Compulsion by Martina Boone

My rating: 2.25 of 5 stars


Compulsion(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Simon & Schuster and Edelweiss.)
17-year-old Barrie is moving to live with the aunt she’s never met following her mother’s death, but isn’t quite prepared for the secrets she uncovers concerning her mother’s family, and an old family curse.
What is the curse? And can Barrie work out all the family secrets before it’s too late?


I started this book thinking ‘what?’, quickly became bored, and then even when the mystery at the end was revealed, I just couldn’t even feign interest.

Barrie. I don’t even know what to say about Barrie. I thought that her gift for finding lost things would be interesting, but unfortunately I just didn’t really connect with her well. She spoke of things but didn’t explain them – like who the hell ‘Mark’ was (view spoiler), why he dressed as a woman (view spoiler), how her mother died (view spoiler), and a multitude of other things that annoyed me.

The storyline in this was just odd. Too many things weren’t explained adequately (see above), and then when we did get some info dumps they were boring. Barrie’s gift wasn’t all that well used until the end, the curse that was discussed didn’t interest me, and I just got bored.
There was a little bit of romance between Barrie and a boy called Eight (He was Charles Beaufort the 8th – I think), but there wasn’t enough of it to save this book for me.
The ending was okay, and we did get some answers and a little bit of action, I still couldn’t really enjoy this book though, and for me it was just a disappointment.
Overall; confusing and disappointing,
4.5 out of 10.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Get Happy by Mary Amato

Sponsored post: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to EgmontUSA and Edelweiss.
Get Happy
Blurb (from Goodreads):
In this poignant, realistic, contemporary YA by a state master list star, perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen and Gayle Forman, a young songwriter builds a substitute family with her friends in place of the broken family she grew up with.

A hip high school girl who loves music, writes songs, and is desperate for a ukelele, learns to her shock that her father did not abandon her years ago and has been trying to keep in touch. She begins to investigate him, only to discover that he has a new life with a new family, including the perfect stepdaughter, a girl who Minerva despises.


Get Happy by Mary Amato

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Get Happy(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to EgmontUSA and Edelweiss.)
16-year-old Minerva wanted a ukulele for her birthday and instead got a hideous jumper. Because of this she decides to get a job working for ‘Get Happy’ a company that specialises in birthday parties for little kids, in order to buy her ukulele herself.
Will Minerva ever get her ukulele? Can she live with the mermaid costume? And what was so wrong with her that her father abandoned her when she was only 2?


This was a cute and funny story about a teenage girl’s life, and her absentee father.

Minerva was a great character. I loved the way she tried her best, even when things went wrong, and I loved how real and normal she was!

The storyline in this was pretty good, and I really enjoyed it. I loved how funny this book was! The fake-tan disaster, the mermaid costume, and loads of other little things were just laugh-out-loud funny, and I loved this little glimpse into Minerva’s life, even if I didn’t get her obsession with her Ukulele!
There wasn’t really much in the way of romance in this until the very, very, very end. Really, like the last line! But the book didn’t suffer because of this.
The ending to this story was a little heart-breaking, but it was good that things were finally out in the open for Minerva, and that she could finally move on with her life.
Overall; a cute and funny story,
7.5 out of 10.


Release Day Blitz and #Giveaway - Here With Me (Together #2) by Alla Kar


Here With Me (Together #2)
by Alla Kar 
Release Date: 10/28/14
Swoon Romance

Summary from Goodreads:
JADEN BAKER is stoked about college, new friends, and a second chance to erase the memory of being bullied through high school. But moving on comes with a price. Her dad has made arrangements for her to move into her brother’s apartment so her brother can watch over her like she was a baby. But there's a glitch in her dad's plans. There are also two roommates living in the apartment too. Suddenly, living in an off campus apartment with three college-aged boys seems like a bad idea -- but not to Jaden. After all, Cade is pretty damn hot, making the whole forced living arrangement and new baby-sitter a little more tolerable.

CADE JENKINS grew up on the opposite side of the tracks from his best-friend and his privileged little sister. His dad bailed when he was a kid, and he can't help but still care for his drug-addicted mother. But things are looking up. He's met someone. Too bad she's his best-friend's fresh out of high-school, inexperienced little sister. Awkward!

Just when it looks like things might be changing for the better, Jaden finds herself battling severe depression and a broken heart when her high school bully targets her once again. Cade, who'd love to pick up the pieces and make her whole, must fight his own demons and family trouble.

If only they didn't find themselves falling irrevocably in love.

Buy Links:

Book One:

Buy Links for Where You Are:

About the Author
I go by Alla Kar. I live in the Deep South with my husband, Chihuahua and pit-bull puppy. I love to bring southern gentlemen, alpha males and all things new adult to life. I am an Amazon Best-Selling Author!

Author Links:
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GIVEAWAY:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Blitz Organized by:
@allakar1 @swoonromance   

Excerpt 1
“Are you listening to me, Jaden?”
No, not really.
My father’s BMW grinds to a halt in front of my brother’s apartment building. Or should I say my apartment building.
God, this is going to suck.
My freshman year of college, and I’m being forced to live with my older brother. Dad wants me to be safe. He says Adam can show me the ropes and make sure I’m hanging out with the right group of friends. If only that were the case.
The truth is, I have no friends, and Dad wants to make sure I’ll be around other human beings instead of staring at my walls all day long.
He won’t have anyone to watch over me if I stay in a dorm room. What’s he going to do, pay my roommate to hang out with me? With my brother being a social butterfly, I’ll be exposed to people my age. What Dad forgets—or decides to ignore—is that I’m going to be surrounded by half-naked girls all the time. Adam is definitely one of those guys. I love him, he’s my brother, but he’s an ass.
Dad snaps his fingers in front of my face, and I jump. “Huh?”
He ruffles his graying hair and goes to say something when his phone beeps.
“Dr. Baker, here. What can I do for you?” he says into the Bluetooth speaker. “Yes, our appointment is tomorrow. Yes, eleven.”
Dad clicks his pen, and I watch as he pulls out his checkbook. “Jaden.”
I roll my eyes.
Money fixes everything, according to Dad, who’s a psychologist, so he should know you can’t buy happiness. “I’m giving you three blank checks. You get anything you need for school. New clothes. Things for school. All of your books are on your bed upstairs. Nancy’s already got everything you’ll need for your room and classes.”
Nancy is my dad’s secretary and the closest thing I’ve ever had to a mother. I wish she were here. But she has her own kids to worry about.
I fold the checks and slip them into my jeans.
“Are you ready to go inside? See your new room?” He has this fake enthusiastic tone to his voice. He uses it on me like I’m three, not eighteen. It’s the same one he uses on his clients—the ones who need mental help.
“No,” I say, grabbing my purse, which Dad spent a fortune on. “But, like I have a choice.”
Dad frowns, pulls the keys from the ignition, and faces me. The icy look—his real look—is there, but I don’t care. “This should be exciting for you, Jaden.” He reaches for me but withdraws his hand like I might bite him for touching me. His brown eyes narrow and he furrows his thick brows. “This is your chance to make a fresh start. Make friends. Make new memories. Good ones this time.”
 Dad pulls on his tie. “Okay, Dad. Can we go inside now?”
He stares blankly at me for a long while before getting out of the driver’s seat.



Release Day Blitz and #Giveaway - Highballs in the Hamptons (Girlfriends of Gotham #2) by Delancey Stewart


Highballs in the Hamptons (Girlfriends of Gotham #2)
Release Date: 28/10/14
Swoon Romance

Summary from Goodreads:
Natalie Pepper thinks she can just be friends with CJ, the man of her dreams. But after seeing him every day at work – and after he lays it all on the line – it becomes pretty clear that something’s gotta give. She’d admit to herself, and to him, that all she really wants is him…if she wasn’t so afraid of losing the best job she’s ever had (and the life it has made possible).

At least she’s got her friends to distract her. Lulu Rossi is an unorthodox and unpredictable spitfire of a girl who has a habit of saying whatever’s on her mind. And while that attribute entertains friends and intrigues her new boyfriend, Andrew, it might be the one thing that stops their relationship from moving forward. Lulu has unintentionally entered the world of Upper East Side royalty, as her ER doctor boyfriend turns out to be the pedigreed heir to an old money fortune – one that is watched over by his manipulative and exceedingly judgmental mother, Elizabeth “Tippy” Barton.

Natalie’s insane supervisor worsens the situation at work when her own man troubles result in a new “no fraternization” policy, and CJ finally gives up and begins to look for other opportunities. Natalie is forced to decide what is important to her for once and for all. Will it be CJ or her job?

Lulu must prove her worth to Andrew’s family – or make him see that the only person whose opinion really matters is his.

***
Men and Martinis (Girlfriends of Gotham #1)
Release Date: 12/03/13

Summary from Goodreads:
Candace Kanie wins at every game she plays. From the boardroom to the bar, she’s confident, clever, perhaps just a tad overbearing. It’s not easy for a girl like Candace to admit that love may be the one game she can’t win…at least not until she’s willing to change her strategy. In Men and Martinis, Candace Kanie will learn that sometimes to be at the top of your game, you have to hit rock bottom.

Men and Martinis is the first release in Delancey Stewart’s series “Girlfriends of Gotham” – a voyeuristic voyage through the lives of a group of twenty-something girls who dance, date, and drink their way through Manhattan during the days of the dot com boom. During an era when the up-and-comers in New York were partying like Studio 54 had never died, this group of friends discovers that the city is theirs for the taking; and they find their often-hilarious way through the forces that work to redefine the way they know themselves and each other.


Buy Links for Men and Martinis:


About the Author
I'm not big on labels, but there are a few that fit me (not necessarily in this order. Or maybe in this order):
- wine drinker (and wine geek)
- mother of small boys
- military spouse
- writer
- chocolate eater

I've written the Wine Country Romance Series, which ties my love of wine to my love of falling in love... and the Girlfriends of Gotham series, which begins publishing with Swoon Romance in December 2013.

I also love short stories, and my themed collection (all set in the same NYC brownstone across the span of a century) published in 2012. 

Author Links:
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GIVEAWAY:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Blitz Organized by:
@delanceystewart @swoonromance 

LULU -

“Lu,” Maggie said, “what on Earth happened?”
The large, ugly air cast did not fit into any of my heels, so I was wearing my running shoes again, the right one unlaced and bulging.
“I got hurt.” I sat next to Candace and gave her a hard look. She often seemed smug when things did not go my way, and I didn’t feel like putting up with it today. “Did you order my mimosa yet?”
“It’s only eleven forty-five,” Natalie said. “They brought us orange juice. You have fifteen minutes to regale us with the tale of the injury.”
I felt disappointed. My injured ankle meant that I had spent the weekend in my apartment and not out running around, as I would have liked. I hadn’t answered the phone, mostly because I was feeling down and didn’t like people to know me that way. I watched television and felt sorry for myself. Today was my introduction to the world again, and I wanted champagne. I waved at a passing waiter. The rule that restaurants couldn’t serve alcohol before noon on Sunday seemed prehistoric to me.
“It is only ten minutes until noon,” I said. “I’ve injured my foot. The doctor suggested that mimosas would help.” I gave him my best sad eyes.
“Did he now?” The waiter was young, cute. He smiled at me and then gazed around at the other girls. Candace was grinning, her short bob shining as always, and Natalie and Maggie were also putting on their best friendly flirting faces. “I’ll see what I can do.” He walked away.
“I fell down,” I told the table.
“That’s not very entertaining,” Candace said. “Even Natalie’s waxing incident was more interesting than that.”
“We agreed never to speak of that again,” Natalie said in a hushed voice.
“No,” Candace said. “You agreed.”
“How did you fall?” Maggie asked, her dark eyes shining. “What were you doing?”
“I went for a run,” I said.
Candace laughed.
“That is funny because … ?”
“Sorry, I can’t picture you doing anything athletic.” Candace often said “sorry,” but rarely looked sorry.
“Well, I was. I run most days while you are at work. I just don’t feel like I need to tell everyone about it.”
Candace’s eyes narrowed for a minute. She had a habit of telling us about her accomplishments, so I guessed that she would know this was aimed at her.
“Okay, so you were running, and what happened?” Natalie smiled as the waiter returned with mimosas for the table.
“Thank you,” I said to him, raising my glass in a toast. “Now I can properly tell the story.” I took a long sip and then smiled at the girls. “I met a nice man. A doctor.”
“You hurt yourself on purpose to get his attention?” Maggie said.
“No. Don’t be silly. He ran into me. It was just a coincidence. But he knocked me down, and I twisted my ankle when I fell. And he took me to the hospital where he works, and then called me later that night to make a date.”
“So you’re dating a doctor!” Natalie declared.
“Yes, I’m dating a doctor. Dr. Andrew Barton.” I had been looking forward to telling them about him but I was embarrassed about the accident. “We are going out next weekend.”
“Wow,” Maggie said, smiling.
Candace raised an eyebrow and appeared to be thinking about something.
I ignored her and put his card on the table for them to inspect. “He gave me his card. Plus, he treated me at the hospital, so I know he is who he says he is.”
“Andrew Barton,” Candace said. She said his name slowly, as if she were thinking about it. “May I see the card?” She held her hand across to Natalie, who handed the card to her. “Andrew Elliott Bancroft Barton.” Her green eyes narrowed again. “Why does that name sound familiar?”
I reached for the card. “I have no idea.”
“Dating a doctor is a whole new ball game,” Candace said, her voice like a warning. “And one with four names sounds fairly pretentious.”
“He was not pretentious at all.” I felt defensive suddenly and didn’t want to discuss the doctor any more. I pulled my menu in front of my face, trying to discourage Candace from pursuing this conversation.
“It’s not like he’s French, after all,” Natalie said.
I lowered my menu to smile at her. She was trying to lighten the conversation, since Candace had recently fallen in love with a Frenchman named Gregoire. Of course, he wasn’t pretentious at all.
“Gregoire isn’t pretentious!” Candace’s voice rose.
“I’m kidding,” Natalie said, her voice soothing.
“Let poor Lu enjoy a first date at least,” Maggie said.
“Yes please,” I sniffed, folding my menu.
The conversation moved to other topics, and I nursed my mimosa and my foot, trying not to spend too much time thinking about the way Andrew Barton’s eyes sparkled when he smiled at me, and trying even harder not to think about Candace’s warning. Why would dating a doctor be any different than dating any other kind of man? I didn’t know, and I was sure Candace was wrong.