Saturday, June 30, 2012

Review: Tempting the Best Man by J. Lynn

Tempting the Best Man
J. Lynn
Published April 23, 2012 (ebook)
Entangled Publishing
105 pages


Synopsis (from Goodreads): Madison Daniels has worshipped her brother's best friend since they were kids. Everyone thinks she and Chase Gamble would make the perfect couple, but there are two major flaws in their logic. 1) Chase has sworn off relationships of any kind, and 2) after blurring the line between friends and lovers for one night four years ago, they can't stop bickering.


Forced together for her brother's wedding getaway, Chase and Madison decide to call a truce for the happy couple. Except all bets are off when they're forced to shack up in a tacky 70’s honeymoon suite and survive a multitude of "accidents" as the family tries to prove their "spark" can be used than for more than fighting. That is, if they don't strangle each other first…


****************************************************

How excited was I to find out my new favorite YA author, Jennifer L. Armentrout, was writing adult romance novels under the name J. Lynn? Excited enough to buy the book and read it all that same day! (special thanks to Stella and Anna at Book Lovers, Inc. for the great review and cluing me in!) Maybe that caused my expectations to be a little bit too high. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed this book, it just wasn't as memorable as her YA works have been for me. The story centers around Maddie and Chase - who have known each other since they were little kids. Chase was Maddie's older brother's best friend, and Maddie had a crush on him since just about forever. She even tried to do something about it when she thought she was old enough for him to consider her, but he turned her down. And she never got over her mortification - or forgave him for it. Too bad she had to see him all the time - not only during family events, but he also just happened to live in her building and go to her gym. Still she managed to do a pretty good job of avoiding him, until they get thrown together at her brother's wedding. It's so much fun watching them try to ignore those long-repressed feelings -- and of course they fail miserably. And their families wonderfully tease them about it at every chance they get. I'm really looking forward to seeing Chase's brothers more in the future books in this series. My only complaint about this book is that it was too short!
Oh, and the cover reminds me of a B-list straight-to-video movie from the 80s.

Tempting the Best Man: 4/5 stars.
Cover: 2.5/5


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Review: Of Poseidon by Anna Banks

                                                           Of Poseidon
                                                          Anna Banks
                                                 Published May 22,2012
                                                       Feiwel & Friends
                                                  Hardcover, 336 pages
Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Galen, a Syrena prince, searches land for a girl he's heard can communicate with fish. It’s while Emma is on vacation at the beach that she meets Galen. Although their connection is immediate and powerful, Galen's not fully convinced that Emma's the one he's been  looking for. That is, until a deadly encounter with a shark proves  that Emma and her Gift may be the only thing that can save his kingdom. He needs her help--no matter what the risk

This is my first "mermaid" story and I loved it. Mysterious people, legends, traditions and frowned upon romance. This story had a little bit of everything. The story starts out with Emma on summer vacation in Florida with her best friend's family and she literally bumps into a smokin hot mysterious stranger, Galen. moments after their meeting tragedy strikes and Emma's life is upended. When she returns to NJ and has to go back to school, Galen shows up there and is in all of her classes. Galen believes she is like him, not human but Syrena and can not understand why she chooses to live amongst humans. She seems to be  able to talk to fish and if that is so she is of Poseidon and is destined to marry his older brother which really sucks as Galen is falling hard for her. Galen is trying to keep her a secret until he is sure and he is not sure he wants to give her to his older brother as she seems to be his perfect mate. The story also has Galen's twin sister Rayna trying to help as well as Rayna's mate,Toraf. They I thought were fun and brought a little extra something to the story.  I cannot wait to see what happens next as this book leaves off not a cliffhanger,but  a shocking secret is revealed and I am very anxious to see how everyone deals with the fallout. This is Anna Banks first novel and I think she is off to a great start.


Book 3.5/5 stars
Cover  4/5 stars 
                                                        ~~~~~Tanya~~~~~

Throwback Thursday: Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie


Welcome to Throwback Thursday, a weekly meme hosted by The Housework Can Wait and Never Too Fond of Books It’s the nature of book blogging to focus mainly on new releases, but there are thousands of great books out there that haven’t seen the “New Releases” shelf in years. We hope to be able to bring attention to some older titles that may not be at the top of the current bestseller list, but still deserve a spot in your To-Be-Read pile. Be sure to check out all the blogs participating using the linky list at the end of the post.

****************************************************************************

Bet Me
Jennifer Crusie
Originally published August 31, 2004
St. Martin's Press
391 pages
SynopsisMinerva Dobbs knows that happily-ever-after is a fairy tale, especially with a man who asked her to dinner to win a bet. Even if he is gorgeous and successful Calvin Morrisey. Cal knows commitment is impossible, especially with a woman as cranky as Min Dobbs. Even if she does wear great shoes, and keep him on his toes. When they say good-bye at the end of their evening, they cut their losses and agree never to see each other again.

But Fate has other plans, and it's not long before Min and Cal meet again. Soon, they're dealing with a jealous ex-boyfriend, Krispy Kreme donuts, a determined psychologist, chaos theory, a freakishly intelligent cat, Chicken Marsala, and more risky propositions than either of them ever dreamed of. Including the biggest gamble of all-true love.

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I think of my favorite romance novels as some of my best friends. I save them and bring them out when I need comforting or something familiar. 
Bet Me is one of those for me. I cannot even say how many times I've re-read it. At least 5, maybe more like 10. To me, it's just that good. 

There's a reason Bet Me was voted #1 (out of 1,231!) by Goodreads voters in the list of "Best Ever Contemporary Romance Books". It really has it all. Great (yet flawed) romantic leads, wonderfully delightful supporting cast of characters, humor, food... It could use a bit less conflict and bit more sex, but the lack of sex is sort of the point to the book (and when we finally do get to it, it's pretty damn good) so we'll give it a pass on that one. Cal and Min play off each other so well, in what could be a frustrating game of cat and mouse, but Crusie writes it with such ease and humor, it just seems right. And the depth she gives to the characters personalities made me feel like I was part of their group of friends and knew each and every one of them. Details like Min's "couples-only" snow globe collection and Elvis obsession to Cal's dyslexia and hatred of baseball coaching (which he does anyway). I was sad to finish Bet Me because I felt like I was saying goodbye to friends I had come to love. But, I guess that's the good thing about books - when I miss those friends, I just dust my copy off and get to know them all over again. 

Bet Me: 5/5 stars.
Cover: 4/5 stars.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

If I Were You Preview, Giveaway & Contest!

If I Were You (Inside Out Trilogy, #1)
Lisa Renee Jones
Expected publication: August 24, 2012
I just read the first chapter of this book and all I can say is WOW. Lisa Renee Jones is not messing around. It is Hot (with a capital H) from page one and such a seductive tease -- I finished that chapter saying "nooooooo! That can't be it...I want more!" But, alas, I just have to be patient and wait for the book to be released in August (or maybe I'll be one of the lucky ones who get to read an ARC via NetGalley in July).
Based on that one chapter (which you too can read, here) and the blurb, I just know that fans of Fifty Shades of Grey (myself included) are going to LOVE this book. There's a giveaway going on right now on Goodreads for a chance to win one of three copies (click here to enter). While you are there, make sure to add it to your "to-read" shelf and then enter to win a $75 gift card just for doing so - Ms. Jones is going to give away a gift card for every 100 goodreads members who add it! Just fill out the rafflecopter below (details can also be found on Lisa's website). Make sure you spread the word since the more people who add it to their shelves, the more chances to win!!



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday's Words & Quippish Quotes: Happy Birthday!

Supposedly on this day 100 years ago, the song "Happy Birthday" was first published. It had been sung many years before that, and wasn't officially copyrighted until 1935, but today marks "Happy Birthday"'s 100th birthday,(in print anyway). As many of you are now aware, The Revolving Bookcase turned one earlier this month. June also holds the birthdays of two of my favorite living beings in this world, my mom and my dog. So, today's Wednesday's Words & Quippish Quotes is to wish Happy Birthday to them, to us, to the song "Happy Birthday," and to anyone else with birthdays this month. Happy birthday to you.

 and many more.





“Tucker: "But she gave me the perfect gift."
Clara: "What?"
Tucker: "You.”
― Cynthia Hand, Unearthly


“Romance novels are birthday cake and life is often peanut butter and jelly. I think everyone should have lots of delicious romance novels lying around for those times when the peanut butter of life gets stuck to the roof of your mouth.”
― Janet Evanovich


“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”
― Dr. Seuss, Happy Birthday to You!


“Wishing, like sipping a glass of punch, or pulling aside a bearskin rug in order to access a hidden trapdoor in the floor, is merely a quiet way to spend one's time before the candles are extinguished on one's birthday cake.”
― Lemony Snicket, Horseradish: Bitter Truths You Can't Avoid


“And now," he continued, speaking to Milo, "where were you on the night on July 27?"
"What does that have to do with it?" asked Milo.
"It's my birthday, that's what," said the policeman as he entered  'Forgot my birthday' in his little book. "Boys always forget other people's birthdays.” 
― Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth


"There are three hundred and sixty-four days when you might get un-birthday presents, and only one for birthday presents, you know."
-- Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass



“I grabbed a pile of dust, and holding it up, foolishly asked for as many birthdays as the grains of dust, I forgot to ask that they be years of youth. ”
― Ovid, Metamorphoses


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Review: Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris




Unraveling
Elizabeth Norris
April 24, 2012
Balzer + Bray
Hardcover, 445 pages


Synopsis (from Goodreads): Two days before the start of her junior year, seventeen-year-old Janelle Tenner is hit by a pickup truck and killed—as in blinding light, scenes of her life flashing before her, and then nothing. Except the next thing she knows, she’s opening her eyes to find Ben Michaels, a loner from her high school whom Janelle has never talked to, leaning over her. And even though it isn’t possible, Janelle knows—with every fiber of her being—that Ben has somehow brought her back to life.

But her reincarnation, and Ben’s possible role in it, is only the first of the puzzles that Janelle must solve. While snooping in her FBI-agent father’s files for clues about her accident, she uncovers a clock that seems to be counting down to something—but to what? And when someone close to Janelle is killed, she can no longer deny what’s right in front of her: Everything that’s happened—the accident, the murder, the countdown clock, Ben’s sudden appearance in her life—points to the end of life as she knows it. And as the clock ticks down, she realizes that if she wants to put a stop to the end of the world, she’s going to need to uncover Ben’s secrets—and keep from falling in love with him in the process.

   ***********************************************************

Unraveling combines many of my favorite themes in a book - unexplained events, superpowers, apocalypse, and romance - so it's no wonder I was drawn to this book from the moment I read the blurb about it. Teenager Janelle Tenner is hit by a truck, an accident that surely would have killed her. And she knows she died. Just as sure as she knows that Ben Michaels, a kid she's known since middle school, but barely spoken to, somehow brought her back to life. When she starts to snoop around in her dad's FBI files to try to find answers to what happened to her, she ends up uncovering a whole lot more, including some sort of clock counting down. Her investigation draws her closer to Ben and she realizes that he knows a whole lot more about her than she does about him. More questions.

There are many "X-files" references in Unraveling, so it cannot be coincidental that I was frequently reminded of the show while reading this book. I was a huge fan of the show, so I rather enjoyed the similarities, and thought the references were cute (for example, Janelle and her dad often left each other post-its with quotes from the show around the house). I can also see how someone who isn't into the more scientific aspect of sci-fi could find the premise and details surrounding it to be confusing. I read a few reviews were people said there was just too much going on and they became lost. I didn't think that at all. I LOVED the fact that there was actual science behind the theories in Unraveling. I loved that Ms. Norris didn't go out of her way to dumb things down. There seems to be a million apocalyptic books out there now, but I found this storyline to be very refreshing. I honestly wasn't sure how it was going to end - right up till the last page. The only part of the story that annoyed me was the fact that Janelle's mom was incapacitatingly crazy. I feel that plotline where the kids have to take care of the parents has been overdone in YA lately - we saw it in Hunger Games and Jennifer L. Armentrout's Cursed (and sort of in Half-Blood too). And it's always the mom who is nuts. And a dad who is either dead or never home. That annoyed me (but I got over it pretty quickly).

There are, however, two bigger grievances keeping me from giving this book 5 full stars: One, I didn't think there was enough Ben and Janelle time. The romance between them was clearly an important part of the book, but other than one or two really good scenes, we don't really get to see them interact as a boy and a girl who may or may not be in love. I wanted more conversations between them that didn't have to do with the whole "end of the world" scenario. I wanted to really see into those feelings Ben's been keeping secret for almost a decade. The second thing was how the book ended. Is this intended to be part of a series? It seems to be set up as such, but nothing is clearly stated. If this is a stand alone book, I hated the ending - just the last 2 or 3 pages, but still. That's what readers are left with? And come on, enough is enough on the negativity! There are only so many downers you can have in a book and still have it be an enjoyable read. I was really thinking at the end, "Hasn't this poor girl been through enough?" I really do hope there is a book 2 if for no other reason than to see something good happen. Even with this, I still really loved the book and hope to read more from Elizabeth Norris in the future.

Unraveling: 4.5/5 stars.
Cover: 4/5 stars.

Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher at BEA 2012.


Monday, June 25, 2012

Dual Review: Lucky In Love & At Last by Jill Shalvis

I'm going to call books 4 - 6 in Jill Shalvis' Lucky Harbor series, "Lucky Harbor Take 2." Even though these books are technically is in the series, it really should start a new trilogy/series of its own. Yes, it takes place in  the town of Lucky Harbor, and a few of the same secondary characters are present, but barely a mention of the main characters we grew to love in books 1-3. The main characters we do meet in book 4 are clearly set up to be a trilogy: Mallory, Amy, and Grace are friends who hold regular chocoholics meetings (sidenote: how much do I love that the word chocoholics is actually in my spellchecker dictionary?!) but I thought it was weird that these girls weren't present in books 1-3 at all and now all of a sudden they are part of this series? Of course, the people who are mentioned in all the books are the same annoying locals who pry into the lives of its citizens WAY too much for it to be acceptable (yet, somehow it is). Maybe some readers will find these old biddies endearing, but I liked these books in spite of them, not because of them. I felt like Shalvis (whose work I am a HUGE fan of) wanted to start a new series, but was too lazy to develop a new town.


Lucky In Love
 (Book #4 in the Lucky Harbor Series)
Jill Shalvis
Published May 22, 2012
Grand Central Publishing
341 pages
 Despite all that, book #4 (or book 1 of this new trilogy), Lucky In Love on its own is good. Not my favorite of the series, but Shalvis consistently delivers on solid, likable couples. The chemistry between Ty and Mallory is sizzling - that is when they are actually left alone. Those aforementioned town meddlers become increasingly frustrating and I found myself wanting to scream at Mallory to stop allowing people to walk all over her. But, I guess that was the point, because she actually does stand up to them at one point. A satisfying end makes up for the level of annoyance in the first half of the book. And the sexual tension between secondary characters Amy and Matt jumps off the page - those glimpses made me look forward to their story (which just happened to be the next book in the series - see below).

At Last 
(Book #5 in the Lucky Harbor Series)
Jill Shalvis
Published June 26, 2012
Forever
400 pages
At Last is book #5 in the Lucky Harbor series (or really #2 of Lucky Harbor take 2) and  is definitely one of the best and absolutely the most serious of the bunch so far- this is not as light and fluffy as some of the others in the series have been. Shalvis is really good at writing intense, flawed characters that remain likable. Amy and Matt are two of the best of them. As I mentioned in the review of Lucky In Love, their chemistry jumps off the page whenever they are in the same room. They are both really warm, generous people who have had unhappy pasts causing security issues now. At first, you really only see Amy's issues, but then BAM! Matt's history rears up causing trouble as well. Even though you know things will work out because it is, above all, a romance novel, but things get a little murky for a while. That bit of doubt only adds to the gravity of the story. After the abundance of annoying characters and the frustration they caused in the last Lucky Harbor novel, I was really happy this one hardly mentioned the meddling townspeople at all. A great addition to the Lucky Harbor series, I can't wait to read Josh and Grace's story next!

Lucky In Love: 3.5/5 stars.
At Last: 4.5/5 stars.  
Covers: 4/5 (both - they are practically the same cover)

Note: I received ecopies of both of these book from the publisher through NetGalley. This in no way affected the review content.



Sunday, June 24, 2012

Review: Firelight (Darkest London #1) by Kristen Callihan

                                                Firelight (Darkest London #1)
                                                         Kristen Callihan
                                                  Published January 31,2012
                                                       Publisher Forever                                               
                                                            372 pages

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Once the flames are ignited . . .

Miranda Ellis is a woman tormented. Plagued since birth by a strange and powerful gift, she has spent her entire life struggling to control her exceptional abilities. Yet one innocent but irreversible mistake has left her family's fortune decimated and forced her to wed London's most nefarious nobleman.

They will burn for eternity . . .

Lord Benjamin Archer is no ordinary man. Doomed to hide his disfigured face behind masks, Archer knows it's selfish to take Miranda as his bride. Yet he can't help being drawn to the flame-haired beauty whose touch sparks a passion he hasn't felt in a lifetime. When Archer is accused of a series of gruesome murders, he gives in to the beastly nature he has fought so hard to hide from the world. But the curse that haunts him cannot be denied. Now, to save his soul, Miranda will enter a world of dark magic and darker intrigue. For only she can see the man hiding behind the mask.


I should start this by stating I do not read a lot of historical novels. They are just not my cup of tea. I do not enjoy reading about lords, ladies, castles and buggies. When I was younger I read a lot of them but then I just discovered other genres and went away from the historical romance. That being said I had heard a lot about this book and thought if I was going to give a historical a try this would be the book to do it with. I must say I am completely satisfied with that decision as this book was really good. I was a little worried at first as Lord Archer bought Miranda from her father to be his bride and Miranda had never met him. I kept reading and I was really intrigued by the story. Lord Archer hides behind masks and never shows his face. People fear him but he is so sweet and loving towards Miranda. Horrible murders are occurring and people are accusing Lord Archer as he is so mysterious and is known to have quite a temper. Miranda has a few secrets of her own and its great to see how these two learn to trust one another and how far they would each go to save the other. The chemistry/ sexual tension  between Miranda and Lord Archer is amazing. The author did a great job of having these two dance around each other. I kept reading wondering when will they finally kiss, when will Miranda get to see what is behind the mask, what is behind the mask and how did he get disfigured? This definitely is a page turner. I read this book in about 2 days as I had to find out what happens.  This was a great start to this series and I look forward  reading  Moonglow, book two of the series, when it comes out at the end of July. 


Firelight : 3.5/5  stars
cover:  4/5    stars

                    ~~~~~Tanya~~~~~

Friday, June 22, 2012

Review: About Last Night by Ruthie Knox

Congrats! You've found one of the books featured in our giveaway hop! 


About Last Night
Ruthie Knox
Published June 11, 2012
Random House Publishing Group
230 pages 
Synopsis (from the publisher): Cath Talarico knows a mistake when she makes it, and God knows she’s made her share. So many, in fact, that this Chicago girl knows London is her last, best shot at starting over. But bad habits are hard to break, and soon Cath finds herself back where she has vowed never to go . . . in the bed of a man who is all kinds of wrong: too rich, too classy, too uptight for a free-spirited troublemaker like her. Nev Chamberlain feels trapped and miserable in his family’s banking empire. But beneath his pinstripes is an artist and bohemian struggling to break free and lose control. Mary Catherine—even her name turns him on—with her tattoos, her secrets, and her gamine, sex-starved body, unleashes all kinds of fantasies. When blue blood mixes with bad blood, can a couple that is definitely wrong for each other ever be perfectly right? And with a little luck and a lot of love, can they make last night last a lifetime?

Review: First and foremost, this is one hot romance novel. But, it is so much more than that too. And to think after the first few chapters, I was wondering if there was going to be any substance to this beyond really hot sex. There was...SO much more.

Mary Catherine ("Cath") and Nev ("City") fancy each other from afar every morning on the train to work, but it isn't until they meet on that same train very late at night that something more happens. And once that passion is unleashed, it basically sets everything ablaze around it. But, that's all Cath wants it to be - some no-strings attached sex. She has had a tough life and is hard on herself because of it - and very much unwilling to allow herself to believe she is deserving of love and happiness. Nev would like to change that, but that's hard to do with someone who won't even let him buy her lunch or take her to the movies, let alone open up about her past. Plus, he's got some demons of his own to exorcise.

This book starts out hot, and stays hot pretty much throughout. But, it contains such angst and tension and conflict that my heart ached - for both of them: Nev because he wants to hold onto Cath so tightly but knows that hold is extremely tenuous, and for Cath because she is still holding onto her past and won't let in any sort of future. Ruthie Knox creates these wonderfully intricate, multi-faceted characters who manage to be both perfect and so very flawed all at once. Those details, such as Mary Catherine's permanent inventory of all her mistakes in the form of numbered tattoos across her torso, breathe such life into her story, it is nearly impossible to not imagine them in your head as you read. Needless to say, I loved this book. The cover (while hot and sexy, yeah) should be burned because it doesn't do it enough justice (how about a close up of one of those tattoos or paintings described in the book? a phoenix or a city and a heart??) ...this is so much more than a fluffy romance.

About Last Night: 4.5/5 stars.
Cover: 2/5 -- (on any other book 3.5/5)

Note: I would like to thank the publishers for granting me an e-copy of this book via NetGalley for review purposes, but in no way has this affected my review content. 


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Throwback Thursday: The Passions of Chelsea Kane


Welcome to Throwback Thursday, a weekly meme hosted by The Housework Can Wait and Never Too Fond of BooksIt’s the nature of book blogging to focus mainly on new releases, but there are thousands of great books out there that haven’t seen the “New Releases” shelf in years. We hope to be able to bring attention to some older titles that may not be at the top of the current bestseller list, but still deserve a spot in your To-Be-Read pile.


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The Passions of Chelsea Kane
Barbara Delinsky
First published 1992
560 pages

Synopsis: 
After the death of her adoptive mother, thirty-six-year-old Chelsea Kane is consumed by the need to uncover her biological heritage. Taking a break from her successful architecture career, she arrives in the New Hampshire town where she was born, determined to learn the truth, her only clue a tarnished silver key.

One of her first discoveries, however, is something quite unexpected: the irresistibly attractive Judd Street. Buoyed by love and resolution, the determined Chelsea slowly begins to uncover the dark mystery of her past. But as she inches closer to the truth, she realizes that someone is trying to stop her, first by scaring her, then by trying to harm her. The danger escalates until one terrifying night when all secrets are laid bare.


Review:

For my first Throwback Thursday, I thought I'd pick the book that started my love of reading romances: Barbara Delinsky's The Passions of Chelsea Kane. I first read it when I was about 14 or 15. I think I re-read it at least 5-10 times after that. I just LOVED Chelsea and Judd - the chemistry was amazing between them, even when they weren't technically "together", it was still so clear how much they cared for each other. Chelsea was my perfect heroine: smart, strong, independent, but not overly stubborn and didn't let people walk all over her. And Judd was the perfect hero to complement her: handsome, smart, loyal, tough, but not too tough - certain ways he dealt with his dad and Chelsea really tugged at my heart. I also really loved the minor mystery storyline, all the secondary characters and the New England setting. I think it says a lot that 20 years later I can still picture certain scenes in my head - even some of the lines that characters spoke. I think I may just go home, dig out my copy, and reread it again tonight!  5/5 stars. 







Excellent first pick. When I think of what first started my venture into "adult reading" it definitlely was Barbara Delinsky books and this title was a standout. This book had it all, romance, a mystery and very strong memorable characters. After reading this book I remember thinking I had to get more of this author's books. She became a must read author. This is definitley a title that I can read over and over again.It definitley says something about the writing that even after 15 years I can remember the author and title of a book and recommend it to others.   5/5  stars

~~~~~Tanya~~~~~


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Wednesday's Words & Quippish Quotes - Summer!

Happy First Day of Summer everyone! Like every other child, I loved summers growing up, but as an adult I didn't start to really love them again until I bought my house a few years ago. Now every year, I cannot wait for Summer to arrive so I can spend my days out in the yard playing with the dogs, gardening, and of course laying in my hammock reading. So, let us welcome Summer with today's Wednesday's Words & Quippish Quotes: 



“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow fast in movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.” ― F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
“His lips tasted cool and sharp, peppermint, winter, but his hands, soft on the back of my neck, promised long days and summer and forever.”
― Maggie Stiefvater, Shiver
“I'd give all the wealth that years have piled,
the slow result of life's decay,
To be once more a little child
for one bright summer day.”
― Lewis Carroll
“If you want to imagine the future, imagine a boy and his dog and his friends. And a summer that never ends.”
― Neil Gaiman, Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch
“I know I am but summer to your heart, and not the full four seasons of the year.”
― Edna St. Vincent Millay
There is a temperate zone in the mind, between luxurious indolence and exacting work; and it is to this region, just between laziness and labor, that summer reading belongs.  ~Henry Ward Beecher
“One summer morning at sunrise a long time ago
I met a little girl with a book under her arm.
I asked her why she was out so early and
she answered that there were too many books and
far too little time. And there she was absolutely right.”
― Tove Jansson
“Come with me,' Mom says.
To the library.
Books and summertime
go together.”
― Lisa Schroeder, I Heart You, You Haunt Me













Saturday, June 16, 2012

GIVEAWAYS!

I'm not sure if I'm getting better at finding them, or if people are being more generous, but seems there are a TON of great giveaways going on right now. Including, ahem, our blogoversary giveaways (click on the picture on the right sidebar for that!)! Click on the giveaways tab on top to see a list of them all, but a couple of the better ones I've come across I've listed here too:

Read.Breathe.Relax has a giveaway that ends in 2 days for one of 9 books sponsored by HarperTeen.

Author Lisa Renee Jones is hosting a giveaway on her blog for a beautiful Coach purse wristlet to help promote her book, The Legend of Michael (which happens to be on sale this week for 99 cents at Amazon).

[Fikt]shun has a giveaway for the book Shadow and Bone which I've been hearing awesome things about - and it has a really cool cover. :)  

That's just a taste, but be sure to click on the tab above for more great giveaways and come back to check on it often, I update it a few times a week as I come across new giveaways. If you have a giveaway and want me to post it, just send me an email at: BookcaseLaura@gmail.com with the details including a link and end date. Thanks!  


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wednesday's Words & Quippish Quotes: Hugs & Smiles Edition

Did you know that June 11th is "National Hug Day",  and June 15th is "Smile Power Day"? I thought smiles and hugs went nicely together, so they are this week's Wednesday's Words & Quippish Quotes theme -- because who out there couldn't use more smiles and hugs? They say that even forcing yourself to smile throughout the day will make you genuinely happier just by doing so. So, read these quotes, smile, and then go hug someone you love. You'll be happier for it :)  

"Hug O' War" - Shel Silverstein, Where the Sidewalk Ends

"Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened." -- Dr. Seuss
 “Life is short:
Break the Rules.
Forgive quickly.
Kiss slowly.
Love truly.
Laugh uncontrollably.
And never regret anything that makes you smile.” -- Mark Twain
"They invented hugs to let people know you love them, without saying anything." -- Bill Keane
“This is my wish for you: Comfort on difficult days, smiles when sadness intrudes, rainbows to follow the clouds, laughter to kiss your lips, sunsets to warm your heart, hugs when spirits sag, beauty for your eyes to see, friendships to brighten your being, faith so that you can believe, confidence for when you doubt, courage to know yourself, patience to accept the truth, Love to complete your life.” -- Anonymous
 “I don't know where to go. I don't know what comes now." "Don't worry," Will said. "We'll figure something out."  Liesl managed to smile at him. She liked that word: *we*. It sounded warm and open, like a hug.” ― Lauren Oliver, Leisl & Po

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Review: Graveyard Queen Series #3, The Prophet, by Amanda Stevens

The Prophet
(Graveyard Queen Series #3)
Amanda Stevens
April 24, 2012
Mira
352 pages
Synopsis: 
      My name is Amelia Gray.
      I am the Graveyard Queen, a cemetery restorer who sees ghosts. My father passed down four rules to keep me safe and I've broken every last one. A door has opened and evil wants me back.
      In order to protect myself, I've vowed to return to those rules. But the ghost of a murdered cop needs my help to find his killer. The clues lead me to the dark side of Charleston—where witchcraft, root doctors and black magic still flourish—and back to John Devlin, a haunted police detective I should only love from afar.Now I'm faced with a terrible choice: follow the rules or follow my heart.

Review:
       Amanda Stevens is really good at keeping you guessing while reading her books.
       I loved book one in The Graveyard Queen series, The Restorer, in fact it was one of my favorites I read in 2011 (see review). I enjoyed book 2, The Kingdom, as well (see review), but felt it wasn't really connected to the series. I missed Devlin. A lot. Well, in this book, #3 in the series, Amelia Gray has returned home. And in doing so, has returned to Devlin - whether she wants to or not. But, it isn't what you would expect of a romance novel reunion. There is a lot of tension between them, a lot of secrets, a lot of unanswered questions. As they struggle with both his ghosts and their pasts, a lot of new complications get thrown in as well. This is where Ms. Stevens lost me, if just for a short while. It got a little too out there, with ghosts and weird African voodoo magic, and I struggled to relate to anyone or anything for a bit. I think we were left out of the loop for too long and I became increasingly frustrated with all that I didn't understand. Luckily, that feeling didn't last too long, and she drew me right back in quickly. I was more than captivated with the last few chapters and could not put the book down once I got there. I still felt a bit lost after I finished, I wanted a bit more closure and resolution, and because of that I'm very happy to hear that there will be at least one more book in the series (possibly three?!). I just have a feeling that in addition to some more answers, there are going to be a whole lot more questions too!
       In a world where it is difficult to find a unique story to tell, Amanda Stevens does a very good job at doing just that. For that, as well as the bond you're sure to develop with both Amelia and Devlin (and maybe even a ghost or two!), I highly recommend The Graveyard Queen series. A word of caution: you may not want to read them alone in the dark though :)

     The Prophet: 4/5
     Cover: 5/5 (these are some of my favorite series covers)

Note: An ecopy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for review purposes. This in no way affected the review content.


Sunday, June 10, 2012

BEA 2012

Wow, what a week. This is our third year going to the BEA and I think we finally have gotten a good system down. I feel as thought we might actually know what we are doing. The first year we went, it was just for one day and I felt very overwhelmed and was just happy to get a single book and meet anyone. Last year we thought we would go for 2 days, would get to see more authors and get more books and hey we knew how it was now. But this year, I felt as thought I knew how to plan, how the lines worked and which authors would be the longest lines. This year I felt was my most successful year attending the BEA. I had a plan/list of books that I wanted to get, knew times and where people would be and I got to meet some great authors and fellow bloggers.
                                                     
One of the best parts of the BEA is getting to see your favorite authors. Above is a picture I snapped while waiting on the Harlequin YA line, it's of Robin Carr and Jill Shalvis. Jill had just finished signing one of her books in another booth and was cutting through and stopped to say hi to Robin while she was finishing up her signing. All throughout the BEA I would spot authors greeting each other, catching up and discussing books. You can tell there is great admiration and respect among the authors, it's such a great community. One of my favorite spottings was while I was on another really long line for the YA group signing of Veronica Roth, Aprilynne Pike, Elilzabeth Norris & Bethanny Griffin. This signing started at 1pm and the line when I got to it at 11:30 was already 55 people back. While I waited on line 2 other young adult authors, Aimee Carter and Maria V. Snyder hopped on the line and waited with the rest of us to get a chance to meet these wonderful authors and have them sign our books. 
                                            
All throughout the event there are some celebrities out and about signing an upcoming book they have coming out. Here is Jane Seymour signing an Advent Calendar and Michael Ian Black & Meghan McCain signing their book America You Sexy Bitch.


Overall I had an amazing time. By the end of day 2, my back and shoulders were sore and my feet hurt like they have never hurt before, but I definitely would not change a thing. Now all I have to decide is which book to read first.

                                                        ~~~~~~Tanya~~~~~~


HarperCollins Dark Days Authors: Elizabeth Norris (Unraveling), Veronica Roth (Insurgent), Bethany Griffin (Masque of the Red Death), Aprilynne Pike (Destined)
What a week - exactly! I completely agree with Tanya that this was our most productive and best planned out BEA yet. We really had a good system down by day 2. I'd say 80+ books in 2 days is a success. Next year, we'll know to get there even earlier to scout out the floor before the author signings start and grab events calendars from the publishers.


Aimee Carter (Goddess Interrupted), Meagan Spooner (Skylark), and Sarah Maas (Throne of Glass) chat in the Harlequin Booth after signings.
Deborah Harkness (Discovery of Witches) signs her upcoming sequel, Shadow of Night.

      My favorite moments were being the first person to have a book signed by Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass) EVER and chatting for a while with Sylvia Day in the RWA booth. I also was super-excited to finally meet Jennifer L. Armentrout since I've recently become obsessed with her books. I really wanted to get Obsidian's sequel, Onyx, but I'll settle for the next in the Half-Blood trilogy, Deity, and a new book from her, Cursed.

      Since this was our first year there in book-blogging capacity, it was really nice to get to place some faces to the names and blogs I've been getting to know in the past year. I expect next year will be even better! Is it wrong that I'm already looking forward to it?!?

One of my BEA highlights: meeting one of my new favorites, Jennifer L. Armentrout, and having her sign not one, but three books (Obsidian, Deity, and Cursed)!


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wednesday's Words & Quippish Quotes

     Since the past two days were spent at the Book Expo in NYC, I thought today's "Wednesday's Words & Quippish Quotes" should be all about the love of books. Because really, that's what all this is about. While waiting on a long line for a book today, I overheard someone say, "to a book lover, these are like currency -- maybe even more important." And I thought just how true that was. I'd pay 3 times what I do to get to attend the BEA - I just love it -- and books -- that much. BTW, Tanya and I are going to do a joint post describing our wonderful experience there (and posting some great author and book pics!) as soon as we come out of our book coma. :)






“Books are gems: Books which leaves your spine aching from sitting up all night reading them. Books whose characters live in the bright corners of your mind. Books which hold the limits of space and time within them. Books which teach you all that man knows and all that man wants. Books are power.”  ― Philip Womack
"Anyone who has a book collection and a garden wants for nothing." - Cicero
"We shouldn't teach great books; we should teach a love of reading." --B.F. Skinner
“You know you've read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend.” -- Paul Sweeney

“Book lovers will understand me, and they will know too that part of the pleasure of a library lies in its very existence” -- Jan Morris
 “For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.”
                       -- 
Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life



Monday, June 4, 2012

Review: The Fireman Who Loved Me By Jennifer Bernard

Congrats! You've found one of the secret books featured in our Christmas in July Giveaway Hop!


                                                     The Fireman who Loved Me
                                               (A Bachelor Firemen of San Gabriel #1)
                                                             Jennifer Bernard
                                                  Published:  April 24, 2011
                                                                     Avon
                                                          paperback, 373 pages
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Fearless, smoking hot, and single: meet the Bachelor Firemen of San Gabriel. These firemen might be heroes, but it's their bad luck in love that makes them legendary.

News producer Melissa McGuire and Fire Captain Harry Brody couldn't be more different, though they do have one thing in common: they're both convinced they're perfectly wrong for each other. But when Melissa's matchmaking grandmother wins her a date with Brody at a Bachelor auction . . .

Sparks fly. Passion flares. Heat rises. (You get the picture.)

Add a curse, a conniving nightly news anchor, a stunningly handsome daredevil fireman, a brave little boy, a couple of exes, and one giant fire to the mix, and Melissa and Brody's love may not be the only thing that burns.

  
What a great start to a new contemporary series. It was just what I needed. News producer Melissa ran from LA after a bad experience at her job and is back home taking care of her  grandmother, Nelly. Nelly is far from your average wilting flower grandmother. She is full of spunk and wants to see her granddaughter happy and married to a real man, like she was before she passes on. And boy can grandma scheme. Nelly saves her money and tricks Melissa into attending a bachelor auction. And all the bachelors participating are smokin hot firemen. Nelly bids and wins herself a date with the most eligible fireman of the San Gabriel firehouse but by a series of events Melissa ends up out on a date with captain from San Gabriel instead, Captain Brody. The San Gabriel firehouse is famous for its Bachelor firemen, even making the cover of People magazine's sexiest man alive issue, but there is thought that the firehouse is cursed and that while working there you will not be happy in your personal life, destined to be a bachelor.Melissa and Captain Brody have chemistry but both have been burned before so they are both very cautious. It was great fun watching these two dance around each other trying so hard not to admit their feelings for each other. Melissa dates quiet artsy guys not big muscular masculine men.And the captain, he does not like newsfolk, always twisting up peoples words to make a story no matter who they hurt. There is a great supporting cast of characters in this book both on Melissa's side, from the newsroom she works at and Captain Brody's side, hot firemen. The author writes at a good pace and it is sprinkled with humor. I read the book in a day, and I haven't done that in a while. This is a fun, light hearted start to what I am hoping is a long series. Book two is currently out and I ran right out to get it when I finished this book. I can't wait to read about the next fireman to fall. 
 


The Fireman Who Loved Me:  4/5 stars
Cover: 3/5  Stars   ( Loved the dog on the cover)

                                                          ~~~~~Tanya~~~~~

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Review: Dark Kiss by Michelle Rowen

Dark Kiss
(Nightwatchers #1)

Michelle Rowen
Published May 29, 2012
Harlequin Teen
348 pp.
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
I don't do dangerous. 
 Smart, ├╝ber-careful, ordinary Samantha-that's me. But I just couldn't pass up a surprise kiss from my number-one unattainable crush. A kiss that did something to me...something strange. Now I feel hungry all the time, but not for food. It's like part of me is missing-and I don't know if I can get it back. Then there's Bishop. At first I thought he was just a street kid, but the secrets he's keeping are as intense as his unearthly blue eyes. If he's what I think he is, he may be the only one who can help me. But something terrifying is closing in, and the one chance Bishop and I have to stop it means losing everything I ever wanted and embracing the darkness inside me....

Review: I admit, I read this book because I fell in love with the cover. Which is funny, because I read it as an e-book, but I still chose it because of that cover. I just love the monotone blue, the font of the title, and Bishop is exactly how I'd picture him. Sometimes I think it's a risk to put a picture of someone on the cover, but this works. Unfortunately, I didn't like the book quite as much as the cover, but that really only applies to the first 200 pages or so.
      Although sliding right into the overdone paranormal teen romance genre, Rowen's concept is a bit different. It's pre-apocalyptic - if Sam's visions are true anyway - a large black hole-like void is going to swallow up her town and everything in it, including her. A small group of angels and demons have been assembled to try to stop that. But first, they have to find each other and then get along while doing it. This is where Sam comes in - apparently this strange kiss that was way more than a kiss she received from her high school crush, gave her strange abilities (among doing other things) - She is the only one who can help the angel Bishop think clearly enough to finish out his mission.
     I had a bit of trouble getting into it at first. I didn't really connect with the heroine Sam, and actually found her decision making process to be extremely frustrating to read (maybe that's just me, but I feel like I think that a lot about teenage heroines). It took about 2/3 of the book for her to actually make some GOOD choices (and stop being so freakin' gullible) and that's when I feel like the book came into it's own. It didn't help that I really didn't care about what happened to her best friend, who plays a pretty important role in the book - I think I even hoped she died at some point which shows how annoying she was to me. The saving grace (literally?) of this book is the men, specifically the angel Bishop, whose background we don't know, but I'm really interested in finding it out. I also found myself liking his demon counterpart Kraven more and more as the story went on too. Once things started picking up and moving, the book was quite engrossing -- I only hope that book 2 picks up that way and doesn't start out like this one did or I might not make it through it.

Dark Kiss: 3/5 stars. (first two-thirds: 2/5, last third 4/5)
Cover: 5/5 stars.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Blogoversary Celebration!!


We are so happy to be celebrating our one-year blogoversary we want to thank all of our followers with chances to win some great prizes! 
There will be FOUR giveaways, each with different prizes -  All prizes are US Only except the last one which will be international - a $50 gift card to your choice of Barnes & Noble or Amazon.com. We'll have a drawing each week in June, so you you have lots of chances to enter! (note: If you tweet/spread the word on any of the giveaways, that counts for all of them, you don't need to re-tweet/share each one...just let us know how you did it!)
Thanks for a great first year - we look forward to many more!

Week One Giveaway has ended - see end of post for winner.

Week Two giveaway (ending June 16th): A prize pack of up to 6 books (Winner can choose one or all of them!) AND a large Harlequin Shopping Bag (note:  Fathomless has a different cover than the one pictured and  BJ Daniels Justice at Cardwell Ranch (ARC) not pictured))





from BEA 2012 (US Only) 
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Week Three giveaway (ending June 23rd): Winner's choice of 2 books from our favorites of the past year (US Only). 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Week Four (ending June 30th): A $50 gift card to winner's choice of Barnes & Noble or Amazon.com (will be delivered electronically through email)



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GIVEAWAYS THAT HAVE ENDED ALREADY: Week One giveaway (ending June 9th): A prize pack of 4 books from BEA 2011 (US Only).