Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Racquel's 2015 Favorite Books So Far

Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
This Week's Topic:
Favorite Books of 2015 so Far
Racquel's picks: top 10 lololol I ain't about the narrowing down life AT ALL since I really believe that a favorite is a favorite, whether you have 3 favorites or 300. I have to share them all! Beware, this is an amazing list except for one fact: 2 YA book. I'm so far behind on reading YA and I vow that this summer I'm going to read a ton of YA to make up for it!!

01. The Chocolate Kiss by Laura Florand: hands down my favorite book of the year! The writing is absolutely stunning, the setting is Paris and you'll feel like you're there, the romance is an honest to god hate-to-love which is my favorite, it has a hint of magical realism which I LOVE, and finally, macaron and chocolate heaven.

02. Graceling by Kristin Cashore: why didn't anyone tell me Grcaeling is what dreams are made of?! Super romantic, the ultimate OTP, feminist and awesome fantasy? Unbeatable.

03. Say Yes to the Marquess by Tessa Dare: my first book of the year set a high standard! It was so delightful and feminist. I loved it.

04. The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson, narrated by Julia Whelan: This is one of the most beautiful books I've ever read and listening to it on audiobook has turned an already amazing book to an extraordinary experience. I can relisten to this audio for everyday of my life. If you take one thing from this blog or me let be this: Read Dangerous Girls and listen to The Sky is Everywhere. The audio just makes the book even more emotional and journey even more beautiful. I am OBSESSED with the audiobook.

05. The Master by Kresley Cole: I'm on my third read of the year of The Master which has the best and hottest opening scene I've ever read. Plus the heroine is hella feisty AND it's female sex positive. Hell yeah. Here's the 7 chapter excerpt that hooked me from page 1 (literally. This is by far my favorite opening chapter/opening scene in the history of all of books).

06. Ruining Mr. Perfect by Marie Hart: I didn't even want to read this book because I wasn't looking forward to the couple and I only read it to read the book after it but NEVER DOUBT because now Ruining Mr. Perfect is my favorite of the McCauley Brothers series! Funny how life works that way.

07. The One in My Heart by Shery Thomas: Sherry. Thomas. 'Nuff said. This is her first contemporary and it's unique because it has some historical romance themes but it works so well!! So emotional like  you'd expect from The Queen.

08. Brown-Eyed Girl by Lisa Kleypas: I've been waiting for this book for almost FIVE years. I'll never in my life be as excited for a book again! So much of who I am and what I love is shaped up by Kleypas and specifically this series so I can't believe it has come to an end! Good thing Lisa Kleypas never lets me down so I was not disappointed.

09. Suddenly One Summer by Julie James: I've wanted this book for 2 years and after Lisa Kleypas, JJ is the other author that never lets me down. Another smart, funny and sexy read from the Queen of Contemporary!

10. Blamed by Edie Harris: even though this is romantic suspense, it's out of the world ROMANTIC. I mean pure swoony romance. It was heaven. It's really hard for me to find super romantic books. Not sex wise, but straight up romance that make you clutch your heart and happy sigh.
11. Kiss of Steel by Bec Master: okay whatever this is a steampunk romance but I didn't want it to be all by itself! Anyways, I love me some vampires so I was all over this. I love me some steampunk even more, and what I really really, realllllly love is SLOW BURN and holy moly, this was an epic slow burn!!

12. The Shadow and the Star by Laura Kinsale: The MOST unique historical romance I've ever read. I'll never read another romance like this one and I'm still in awe of the research that went into it. Absolutely breathtaking. Also, shoutout to my boy Fabio!

14 The Seduction of Elliot McBride by Jennifer Ashley: my second favorite historical romance series after the Pennyroyal Green series! I LOVE the fact that it's has VICTORIAN Scottish heroes! It's so sexy AND romantic and the big family dynamic is just spectacular. I always love these books.

15. First Comes Marriage by Mary Balogh: it took me a few chapters to get into this but omg when I did I never wanted it to end! Marriage stories will forever by my favorite.

16. Private Arrangements by Sherry Thomas aka QUEEN: one of my new ALL TIME FAVORITE historical romances!! Gigi and Camden hate each other but they have so much chemistry and ugh they're so snarky with each other and it's just BEAUTIFUL to see their journey!!

17. Duke of Midnight by Elizabeth Hoyt: thank you Alyssa for this awesome super forbidden romance!! Who doesn't love a good forbidden romance? and in true Hoyt fashion, it was the perfect mix of epic and swoony.
2015 in two words: LAURA FLORAND. The Chocolate Kiss is my favorite book of the year which I've already reread multiple times and pushed on countless people but the whole series is fanfuckingtastic. I was worried about reading The Chocolate Rose because how can it live up to my favorite book of the year? But it did! It's set in south France and it had all the beautiful elements that Florand SLAYS at. Beautiful setting, mouth watering descriptions, amazing chemistry, amazing romance and swoon for days. The exact same thing for The Chocolate Touch which takes us back to Paris. Another 5 star jackpot. As for Turning Up the Heat, it's a marriage in trouble novella so you know I went into it already loving it because I've said this a million times: I LOVE MARRIAGE STORIES!
So have you read and loved/hated any of these? As always, any similar books I should know about? 
Encore: bae forever&ever.

Friday, June 19, 2015

(Review) Anticipation by Sarah Mayberry

Title: Anticipation
Author: Sarah Mayberry
Series: Brothers Ink, #2
Published: April 2015
Rating: Staying in Tonight
Format: Digital review copy provided by author for honest review. (Thank you!)
Summary: Blue Sullivan knows a player when she sees one. And Eddie Oliveira—charm and sex personified—was born to play. She never wanted him to say goodbye, so for the last ten years she’s ignored the sizzling attraction between them and focused on being the best sidekick a guy could have. Smart girl, right?

Then Blue has a serious accident, and overnight Eddie changes. Suddenly he’s more intense and singularly devoted…to her. With all this sexy attention, it’s hard to stay within the boundaries she’s scrupulously drawn. The temptation, the anticipation builds and, finally, she has to have what he’s offering. Of course Eddie proves to be brilliant. Now, she worries he’s ruined her forever…and she might regret leaping from friends to lovers.
I love that the title of this book is Anticipation, because that is entirely accurate in regards to my feelings about it. I've been looking forward to Blue and Eddie's story since meeting them in Satisfaction last year. While it is not absolutely necessary to read that one first, I would recommend doing so. It is nice to see Blue and Eddie's dynamic from an outsider's perspective before getting a peek at what is really going on beneath the surface. Plus it's just a great book!

Anticipation does not disappoint! I have a serious weakness for I've-loved-you-forever books. From the very first paragraph, you know that is going to be the case with this one. Blue has had feelings for her best friend Eddie for years, but she is trying to move past them. Alas, she is not, much to her dismay, having very much luck.

This book does have a Big Dangerous Incident. That is common enough in romance novels, and it is usually used as the catalyst to make someone - quite often the hero - realize that he does, in fact, have feelings for the heroine, that he cannot go on living with out her, etc. etc. And I don't know about you, but I've been sick of that plot device since the first ten times I read it. BUT in Anticipation, the Incident actually happens in the first chapter. Blue is hit by a motorcycle while crossing the street, and she winds up in the hospital. While Eddie is extremely upset, obviously, the accident is not merely the hit over the head he has always needed to realize he loves her. He already knows he cares deeply about her; they have been friends for years. It is treated seriously, and it has repercussions. It also leads to her staying at his apartment so he can help her recuperate, which is a 100% awesome setup, let me tell you.

One of the reasons I loved this book is that I was so convinced of how Blue and Eddie knew each other inside out. They were friends - close friends, real friends - for years before the book even started, and that shows in all their interactions. They give each other crap. They joke. They fight. But you always know that there is that foundation of caring that will always remain.

I really enjoyed having Blue as a main character. She is an atypical heroine, definitely, and rather difficult. A talented tattoo artist who wears her hair in varying shades of blue, she has walls a mile thick. She is straightforward and blunt, and she doesn't take crap from anyone. I've seen reviews that said she interfered with their enjoyment of the book, but I personally loved her! My heart broke as she struggled against her natural instincts to run away from anything that might wind up causing her pain.

Eddie is a great guy as well, and it is clear that he cares very much about Blue. He also has a great relationship with his brother, a dynamic I very much enjoyed reading. Then there's the chemistry between the two of them (er, "them" being Eddie and Blue, obviously). Yowza! I thought my Nook was going to start shooting sparks at one point.

Overall, Anticipation is definitely a winner. It could be just a standard friends-to-lovers with lots of long-time pining, but Mayberry makes it so much more. She brings the tattoo parlor and the secondary characters to life. Blue and Eddie are flawed people, but she weaves their story together beautifully.

Her life would be so much easier if she could hate him.

Ground rules: anything I can do for myself, I do for myself. Period. End of story. You can, however, bring me food any time you like.

“I can be as gracious as the next person.”
“If the next person is a sleep-deprived rhino with anger management issues.”

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Ten Books Racquel Plans To Read This Summer

Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
This Week's Topic:
 Ten Books I Plan To Have In My Beach Bag This Summer
Racquel's picks: Since Goodreads doesn't count rereads, I'm behind on my challenge. I'm going to aim to read 50 books this summer starting with these:

01. On the Fence by Kasie West: I've recently read The Distance Between Us, my first West (FINALLY) and I loved it so I need to get to her other books!

02. Where Sea Meets Sky by Karina Halle: I read and LOVED Love, In English last year and summer is the perfect time to read this companion sequel! 

03. Rebound by Noelle August: Boomerang is one my favorite books from last year and I've put off the companion sequel for some reason.

04. Ask Again Later by Liz Czukas: I met Liz at RT15 so I think it's finally time to read her books!

05. Going Rogue by Robin Benway: I just read Also Known As and it was delightful in the typical Robin Benway way so I can't wait to read the sequel.

06. Ripped by Edie Harris: the first book, Blamed, is the perfect mix of romance and suspense so I need to read the companion sequel for more swoony times.

07. Capricious by Gabrielle Prendergast: Audacious is an amazing verse novel and I've been stupid by not buying the sequel immediately.

08. Angelfall by Susan Ee: I want to get the series I've been meaning to read forever and since this one just ended, it's the perfect time to binge read.

09. Second Helpings by Megan McCafferty: WHAT AM I WAITING FOR?! I know.

10. Making Pretty by Corey ann Haydu: I just love Haydu's writing and her characters so I suck for not already reading this.
So, any of these also on your lists? Which ones should be a priority?