Thursday, April 10, 2014

Cover Reveal: Make it Count by Megan Erickson

Make it Count by Megan Erickson
Expected publication date: June 3rd, 2014
William Morrow Impulse
Contemporary NA
Add to Goodreads
MAKE IT COUNT by Megan Erickson kicks off the lighthearted, funny, and sexy Bowler University series! Readers will love the fresh new series filled with laughter and lots of fun in this debut novel!

Kat Caruso wishes her brain had a return policy, or at least a complaint hot-line. The defective organ is constantly distracted, terrible at statistics, and absolutely flooded with inappropriate thoughts about her boyfriend's gorgeous best friend, Alec...who just so happens to be her brand new college math tutor. Who knew nerd was so hot?

Kat usually goes through tutors like she does boyfriends--both always seem to bail when they realize how hopeless she is. It's safer for her heart to keep everyone at arm's reach. But Alec is always stepping just a little too close.

Alec Stone should not be fantasizing about Kat. She's adorable, unbelievably witty, and completely off limits. He'd never stab his best friend in the back...

But when secrets are revealed, the lines of loyalty are blurred. To MAKE IT COUNT, Alec must learn messy human emotions can't be solved like a trigonometry function. And Kat has to trust Alec may be the first guy to want her for who she is, and not in spite of it.
I'm so very excited about this cover and book!! According to Erickson, the heroine is Brazilian and the hero has a pompadour (link). I AM IN. Erickson also has a self-published novel, Anchor Me, out.

About the author:
MEGAN ERICKSON grew up in a family that averages 5’3” on a good day and started writing to create characters who could reach the top kitchen shelf.

She’s got a couple of tattoos, has a thing for gladiators and has been called a crazy cat lady. After working as a journalist for years, she decided she liked creating her own endings better and switched back to fiction.

She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, two kids and two cats. And no, she still can’t reach the stupid top shelf.

Monday, April 7, 2014

|Review| Written in Red + Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop

I'm going to review the first two books in The Others fantasy series, Written in Red and Murder of Crows  I've heard PLENTY of excellent things about this series and decided to buddy-read them with Heather
I think people associate fantasy with a historical like quality and, while The Others is set in a world with (some) modern technology, it is a completely different earth than what we know. So this is not urban fantasy series like I thought it would be (its been incorrectly labeled as that by some reviewers).

Actually, the first two books were NOTHING like I thought they would be. I thought they would be faced paced, because UF books usually are usually fast paced but most of Written in Red is world building. But despite that, these books are addictive. Unputdownable. Anne Bishop has reimagined a whole new world where humans are not the ones who dominate but rather the scary animals who can take up a human form or something resembling a human form. The Others view humans as meat and they barely tolerate them. This is not something I've ever read before. You have paranormal books where the creatures are hidden to the average human and books where they're not but I've never before read a book where the humans are portrayed as the barely-tolerated-can-be-wiped-out-at-any-moment creatures.

The series follows Meg, who runs away from a prison like compound she lived at. She finds herself hiding from the people looking for her at a Courtyard. A Courtyard is a place where The Others live like people, like a mini town, rather than just roaming the wild. In a Courtyard, humans aren't allowed in and human laws don't apply (so you can get eaten by a wolf! Or a bear! Or a vampire!). Meg takes the job of being the Courtyard Liaison which pretty much means she's the mailman. The Others order things from human run places (example: movies) but humans are too scared to deliver these things to The Others. Meg is the in-between girl.

Written in Red is rich in detail and world building. I never found it overwhelming and I don't think anyone would. It's very addictive. I wanted to know what Meg is (unfortunately, the summary & reviews on Goodreads don't mark this as a spoiler and openly mention what she is, except it is a spoiler!! I didn't read the summary or reviews before going in so I didn't know) and see how she navigates life outside the prison-compound she was held at and how she deals with The Others. Meg is VERY innocent because the compound she was held at monitored exactly what information she learned and they didn't allow her to know anything or to be exposed to anything. Nothing. Nada. So essentially, Meg is a child in a grown ups body. So 1) Meg had to deal with learning the normal human ways and 2) learn how to deal with The Others.

Next, you have Simon, a Wolfgard and the leader of the Courtyard. Simon, unlike most of the Others creatures, wants to have some relationship with humans. He wants to observe their ways. He doesn't exactly LIKE humans, but he's not as hateful as others. 

There are *hints* of romance between Meg and Simon in both books but its oh so slow, which FITS these books and characters. Because firsts of all, Meg is untouched by everything. The only thing she knows are pictures she was shown in the prison-compound. Nothing else. You can't go from that to romance. So I like seeing Meg and Simon learn more about themselves and the world around them and eventually the romance will come. There are bunch of side characters that make the books even better. Vlad, Henry, Tess, Winter. I was telling Heather how I would love love love to read books about any of the side characters.

I have only one complaint regarding the series and its not really a bad thing. The books are told in 3rd person and it shifts POVs. Meg. Simon. A nice policeman. Some of the side characters. The bad guys.  So many POV changes which is not something I personally like. I (somewhat) understood the necessity of it and I keep telling myself to get over it but honestly, it took away some of the enjoyment of the two books. But otherwise, I have nothing bad to say. I couldn't put either book down. I didn't want to finish them. I could read about this world forever. In fact, I currently have a book hangover thanks to both Written in Red and Murder of the Crows. I need more of The Others!!

There is no need for me to go into detail about each book because of spoilers but just know this series is very, very, very addictive and all the high praise its been getting? I totally understand why. Now I'll impatiently go wait for book 3 which I know I will DEVOUR.

Rating (for both books): [B+] Very addictive series and I want more, more more!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

(Review) Three Weeks with Lady X by Eloisa James

Title: Three Weeks with Lady X
Author: Eloisa James
Series: Desperate Duchesses, #7
Published: March 25, 2014 (Avon)
Rating: Stay Up 'til 2 AM
Format: Digital review copy received from publisher in exchange for an honest review (Thank you!)
Summary: Having made a fortune, Thorn Dautry, the powerful bastard son of a duke, decides that he needs a wife. But to marry a lady, Thorn must acquire a gleaming, civilized dwelling, the specialty of Lady Xenobia India St. Clair.

Exquisite, head-strong, and independent, India vows to make Thorn marriageable in just three weeks. But neither Thorn nor India anticipate the forbidden passion that explodes between them. Thorn will stop at nothing to make India his. Failure is not an option. But there is only one thing that will make India his—the one thing Thorn can't afford to lose: His fierce and lawless heart.
When I first read that Eloisa James was going to write another Desperate Duchesses book, there may have been a happy dance. Of the super spazzy variety. While I do adore her fairy tale books, there is just something about her Desperate Duchesses series that is simply magical without any fairy dust needed.

I'll be honest: I went into this one knowing absolutely nothing about it. I do that sometimes with authors I trust, just for the fun of it. I like to be surprised by what they have in store. (Although now that I think about it, I just realized that the last time I was SUPER burned by a misleading totally-didn't-match-the-book blurb, it was an Eloisa James book. It happened with the most recent one, and it also happened with Thorn's father's book. Huh. Maybe my subconscious is onto something.) But I digress. Blurb or no, I enjoyed every moment between the covers of this book.

Lady Xenobia (better known by her middle name, India) was a fantastic heroine. She was colorful, unique, bold, yet traditional in many ways and demanding of respect. I enjoyed every moment with her. She was a career woman of sorts, in high demand by the members of the ton as, basically, an overhauler of households. India redesigned rooms, decorated, eliminated incompetent staff, and hired new servants when needed. She had made quite the reputation for herself, but India also wanted to marry. She decided to take one more job before retiring: the household of Tobias "Thorn" Dautry.

Thorn was quite the hero. He was as untraditional as could be, a richer-than-Croesus illegitimate son of a duke (the Duke of Villiers, nonetheless!) who had spent the first 12 years of his life as an orphan and a mudlark. Those years had shaped him in many ways, even though he was living as a gentleman now. He needed more than simply his money to appease the mother of the woman he wanted to marry; he needed a respectful residence. So he bought one, albeit one with a rather debauched former owner who displayed erotic art in the front hall. Enter India, hired by Thorn's stepmother to overhaul his new abode. Thus, despite their initial dislike, India and Thorn were forced to work together

Because of this set-up, much of the beginning stage of their acquaintance/friendship was formed through letters. I always, always love when novels have epistolary portions. There's just something about reading the written, personal communication between two people that is so fun and intimate and telling. It is a marvelous way to get to know the characters; I love it when the personalities shine through the writing. I am always amazed at what can be conveyed through simple word choice and placement. While there were only a few missives in Lady X, every bit was splendid. I laughed aloud more than once. It also served as a delightful way to deepen Thorn and India's friendship while they were apart.

Throw in a few "friendly" kisses, an adorable little girl, some witty banter, and a mildly pornographic statue or two, and you will understand why I fell so thoroughly under the spell of Three Weeks with Lady X. I couldn't put it down! It was entertaining, charming, and completely addicting. Color my expectations met: James has written another winner!
“Lady Xenobia, I adore you!”

“I would suggest that you place yourself in the hands of Monsieur Devoulier.”
“Why that tailor in particular?” Thorn drawled, thinking with some satisfaction of the various coats Devoulier had made for him over the years. He might not choose to dress like a peacock on a daily basis, but that didn’t mean he hadn’t the clothing to do so.
“He excels in making shortfalls less obvious,” she said coolly. And damned if she didn’t glance at his crotch.

Her eyes glittered. “Are you attempting to intimidate me?”
“Absolutely not. I’m merely attempting to clarify your thoughts on the subject. Because since I haven’t managed to sack you – not that I ever officially hired you – I might as well know my new employee’s opinion of me.” [...]
“First, Eleanor hired me, no you. And second, you are the bastard son of a duke.”
“Do you realize that you are the first lady who has ever said the word ‘bastard’ aloud to me?”
She looked him straight in the eye. “The word has more than one meaning”