Friday, August 15

Buddy Review: Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson

Surprise! Actually, double surprise as 1) we haven't forgotten this buddy review and 2) it's me buddy reviewing with Rowena and not Ames. Poor Ames, she got the reading blues back in July... Lucky for us all, I had read Since You've Been Gone and was only too happy to step in!


Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson
published by Simon & Schuster in May 2014
It was Sloane who yanked Emily out of her shell and made life 100% interesting. But right before what should have been the most epic summer, Sloane just...disappears. All she leaves behind is a to-do list.

On it, thirteen Sloane-inspired tasks that Emily would normally never try. But what if they could bring her best friend back?

Apple picking at night?
Okay, easy enough.

Dance until dawn?
Sure. Why not?

Kiss a stranger?

Emily now has this unexpected summer, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected), to check things off Sloane's list. Who knows what she'll find?

Go skinny-dipping?
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Series: None

Nath: Since You've Been Gone... I really loved Amy & Roger's Epic Detour. That book made me fall in love with Ms Matson's writing. Consequently, I expect to be blown away with every new release. While Second Chance Summer wasn't perfect, there was something to the story, to the writing. It was just so poignant. Unfortunately, with Since You've Been Gone, I feel Ms Matson missed the mark. It wasn't bad per se, but I have to say I struggled a lot with the heroine, Emily, and I guess that affected my overall enjoyment of the book.

Rowena: Aww man, I'm sad to hear that you didn't like this one as much as I did because I this one, a lot. I thought it was cute and I'm not at all ashamed to say that I grinned like a crazy person throughout the entire thing. Her whole romance with Frank and seeing Emily come into her own? I really enjoyed it. This is my second favorite book by Matson, the first being Amy & Roger's Epic Detour. I thought Emily was hard to connect with at first and I wanted to smack her upside her head for relying so much on Sloane to have a life but you see her growth over the course of the book and her journey to having her own life was enjoyable for me.

What didn't work for you?

Nath: Oh I agree, certain parts of the book were great and I did smile. I liked Frank and their entourage and I liked the idea of Emily completing a list of 10 random things. What didn't work for me was Emily. It's exactly as you said... I wanted to smack her for relying so much on Sloane. You were able to overlook this, but I guess I couldn't. Perhaps it's because it hit a bit too close to home... I'm a person who values friendship a lot and it's great to have a best friend who's bigger than life... but it's never okay to me to have no identity. To be happy to be known as 'Sloane's friend', that wasn't okay with me. That was very sad as well as Emily's lack of backbone because of Sloane's absence. For me, Emily was just too dependent on Sloane and the whole "Sloane this, Sloane that" got old very fast :( Yes, she grew throughout the book, but it was a bit too late...

Rowena: I guess because Emily is a teenager, I was okay with letting that stuff slide because in the end, she did learn that it wasn't okay to live in Sloane's shadow and she ended up being her own person so I was glad. The new group of friends that Emily made over the summer was proof that she did learn from her mistakes. They were her friends but she had a personality and a life outside of them. I thought they were really good for her and I thought they were all adorable together.

I loved seeing Frank and Emily grow closer together. I loved the Emily that she was around Frank. She didn't want to be his friend but that didn't stop him from pursuing the friendship anyway. He was so completely different from Emily but so completely perfect for her too. He didn't let her get lost in their new group of friends. She wasn't a sidekick. She was a part of something real and I liked that for her.

Nath: Oh there was definite growth in Emily and it was very well-done. It was good to read about Emily coming into her own person, making her own friends. I also understand that she couldn't just forget/give up on Sloane and in the end, her perseverance really paid off... But at times, she'd think of Sloane and that would annoy me because it would be like almost undoing all her growth ^_^;

I quite liked Frank and the other secondary characters, Dawn and Collins. They were a good group and I enjoyed their interactions... I also thought that some of the things Ms Matson brought up was very realistic such as Collins being a bit jealous of Frank and Emily's friendship and Dawn's reaction to Emily and Frank's kiss. I also really liked Emily's family. Unconventional, but very fun LOL.

Rowena: Yeah but that's only natural when you're trying to build something that you didn't have before. Emily didn't have the confidence to be her own person. She was happy to live in Sloane's shadow so when Sloane up and disappears, she's thrown for a loop. She was forced to build a life for herself and not one that she could share the spotlight with anyone. Everyone slips up every now and again and I thought the slip ups that Emily had were realistic and did show just how much she'd grown over the course of the summer because those slip ups didn't keep her down. It kept her real. She wasn't perfect and I liked that. I liked that she liked the person she was becoming without Sloane and she kept right on fighting the good fight until the very end. And I think my very favorite part of the book (after the romance with Frank, of course) was that even when she built this new life where she was the main show, she didn't forget about Sloane. She needed closure from Sloane's split and she got it.

Overall, I thought Emily proved that she was a lot more than Sloane's best friend and I thought Matson did a fabulous job of showcasing her strengths. I was a grinning machine while reading this entire book. The whole thing just worked for me. I loved the main character, the love interest and the other friends that Emily made along the way. I even loved Emily's family. They were a treat too.

Nath: You're right about Emily not forgetting Sloane. That part, I did like. She changed and grew, but didn't put Sloane in a box labeled "Past" and that was nice. She's definitively loyal :)

I guess I just didn't have your patience. I enjoyed the story and the writing. I really liked the list and how Emily managed to accomplish it :) It's just at times, Emily really got on my nerves and that dimmed my enjoyment of the book a little. As such, I'm giving a B- for Since You've Been Gone.

Rowena: If this had a heroine that was much older than 17 than I probably would have had less patience with the heroine but I just keep the age thing in mind when dealing with YA books. They're young and do dumb things because they're still young where it's still okay to make them. Had they been older, yeah, I'd be right where you were.

I'd give the book a high B. It was very enjoyable for me.

Friday, August 1

New Releases - August 2014

I can't believe it's August already. July went by so fast and it wasn't helped by this horrible reading slump I'm in. Hopefully the wonderful new releases in August will help me get over this slump. There's quite a few I'm looking forward to!

August 5

My Beautiful Enemy by Sherry Thomas
published by Berkley
Hidden beneath Catherine Blade’s uncommon beauty is a daring that matches any man’s. Although this has taken her far in the world, she still doesn’t have the one thing she craves: the freedom to live life as she chooses. Finally given the chance to earn her independence, who should be standing in her way but the only man she’s ever loved, the only person to ever betray her.

Despite the scars Catherine left him, Captain Leighton Atwood has never been able to forget the mysterious girl who once so thoroughly captivated him. When she unexpectedly reappears in his life, he refuses to get close to her. But he cannot deny the yearning she reignites in his heart.

Their reunion, however, plunges them into a web of espionage, treachery, and deadly foes. With everything at stake, Leighton and Catherine are forced to work together to find a way out. If they are ever to find safety and happiness, they must first forgive and learn to trust each other again…
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: The Heart of the Blade. Book #2

Ames: Sherry Thomas is an auto-buy author for me. And this one sounds intriguing.

Nath: Nod nod. I'm not a fan of Ms Thomas, but I agree with you, the blurb is intriguing! Also, I really liked the cover of The Hidden Blade which is the prequel....

Downfall by Rob Thurman
published by New American Library (ROC)
I let it go—all of it. Everything I’d been saving up all my life, building and growing inside me, too much to hold in one half-human body. It pushed and fought to be free with a force that turned me into a bomb with a timer vibrating on zero. I was free.

But so was everything I’d fought so hard not to be...

Brothers Cal and Niko Leandros know trouble when they see it—and then proceed to wipe the floor with it. But now it seems their whole world is falling to pieces. Cal’s nightmarish monster side is growing ever stronger, changing Cal physically as well as mentally. Which is exactly what Grimm—Cal’s savage doppelgänger—wants. And when a covert supernatural organization decides that it’s time to put Cal down before he threatens pretty much everything else in existence, the brothers find themselves in a fight they actually might lose. But the dark temptations Cal has denied all his life may prove to be exactly what can save them.

Even if he must fall forever...
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Cal Leandros, Book #9

Nath: Wow, I can't believe this series is up to book #9!! I love Cal, Niko and Goodfellow and have to say, Ms Thurman is one of the best authors when it comes to bromance LOL. Also, I like how male-centric this series is... but I really wish Downfall will move the storyline along. As much as I like the characters, I'm tired of the whole Cal going bad/evil and the one step forward, two steps back development progression :(

Lay It Down by Cara McKenna
published by New American Library (Signet Eclipse)
Backbreaking days, wild nights, and the hard hum of steel between your thighs...

That’s a life well lived, according to the Desert Dogs—four friends who call Fortuity, Nevada, their badlands home.

Vince Grossier is the self-crowned outlaw king around here. But when Fortuity’s slick new mayor invites a casino development to town, greed isn’t far behind—and it claims Vince’s good friend as its first casualty. With the law turning a blind eye to the mysterious death, Vince must seek his own brand of justice. The pretty photographer hired by the developers might be the key to uncovering the truth. And she’s a temptation too good to pass up.

Finally free of a controlling ex, Kim Paget’s not looking to be taken for a ride—not on the back of some tattooed roughneck’s bike and definitely not in his bed. But when she uncovers evidence supporting Vince’s suspicions of murder, Kim must entrust her safety to a man whose body threatens danger of a whole different kind.
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Desert Dogs, Book #1

Ames: I'm a big fan of Cara McKenna and I've been on an MC binge since late last year. And that's still going strong. I'm all over this one!

The Man Plan by Tracy Ann Warren
published by New American Library (Signet)
What’s a girl to do when the man she’s loved her entire life thinks of her as a little sister? Worse, her own big sister was the one who broke his heart years earlier. For Ivy Grayson, the chance to get him to see her in a different light comes when she receives an unexpected invitation to move into his luxury New York apartment building. Manhattan also just happens to be the perfect place to pursue her wish to become a successful artist. But how many dreams can one woman expect to come true?

Billionaire financier James Jordon has everything a man could want—except love. When Ivy’s family asks him to keep an eye on their “little girl” in the big city, he agrees. But the innocent girl he knew is now a dynamic woman who knows what she wants, and how to get it. He may have promised himself to keep things platonic, but ignoring the game of love isn’t an option. Especially when Ivy is so eager to play.
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: The Graysons, Book #2

Nath: The first book, The Last Man on Earth, was on my radar but I didn't pick it up... so who knows if I'll pick up this one ^_^; But I do like this kind of story when the heroine blooms and hero finally realizes what's in front of him.

An aside - this cover just doesn't work for me. The guy on The Last Man on Earth was yummy, but this one? Or perhaps it's the background color... or the fact his face looks a bit too small for his shoulders... What do you think Ames?

Ames: I agree. Something is off with that model. He's too spiffy. And I'm like you, I like stories where the heroine blooms. I also like heroines who are artists. This one sounds good to me!

The Sweetest Summer by Susan Donovan
published by New American Library (Signet)
Every instinct told Police Chief Clancy Flynn that his island’s claim to fame was nothing but a silly tourist attraction. But now and then, he couldn’t help but wonder if his lifetime of bad romances—starting with the pretty tourist who broke his twelve-year-old heart—could be traced back to a childhood prank involving that very statue....

Then one day the pretty tourist comes barreling back into Bayberry—all grown-up and on the run with her niece. Though Evelyn McGuinness is wanted for kidnapping, she tries to persuade Clancy that there’s more to the story. Now the by-the-book police chief must make the toughest decision of his life: to take Evelyn into custody—or into his arms....
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Bayberry Island, Book #2

Nath: I used to love Ms Donovan's books which is why The Sweetest Summer made it on my radar... but I got to say the blurb is so-so. Really, the police chief is not going to turn in the lady wanted for kidnapping?!

Magnolia by Kristi Cook
published by Simon & Schuster
In Magnolia Branch, Mississippi, the Cafferty and Marsden families are southern royalty. Neighbors since the Civil War, the families have shared vacations, holidays, backyard barbecues, and the overwhelming desire to unite their two clans by marriage. So when a baby boy and girl were born to the families at the same time, the perfect opportunity seemed to have finally arrived.

Jemma Cafferty and Ryder Marsden have no intention of giving in to their parents’ wishes. They’re only seventeen, for goodness’ sake, not to mention that one little problem: They hate each other! Jemma can’t stand Ryder’s nauseating golden-boy persona, and Ryder would like nothing better than to pretend stubborn Jemma doesn’t exist.

But when a violent storm ravages Magnolia Branch, it unearths Jemma’s and Ryder’s true feelings for each other as the two discover that the line between love and hate may be thin enough to risk crossing over.
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Series: n/a

Nath: I don't know, this one caught my eyes for some reasons. Hopefully, it's good! LOL.

Ames: Actually this one sounds cute. Usually neighbor families are feuding or something so with this one featuring friendly neighbors, I think it can be more interesting.

The House of the Four Winds by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory
published by Macmillan (Tor Books)
The rulers of tiny, impoverished Swansgaard have twelve daughters and one son. While the prince’s future is assured, his twelve sisters must find their own fortunes.

Disguising herself as Clarence, a sailor, Princess Clarice intends to work her way to the New World. When the crew rebels, Clarice/Clarence, an expert with rapier and dagger, sides with the handsome navigator, Dominick, and kills the cruel captain.

Dominick leads the now-outlawed crew in search of treasure in the secret pirate haven known as The House of Four Winds. They encounter the sorceress Shamal, who claims Dominick for her own—but Clarice has fallen hard for Dominick and won’t give him up without a fight.
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Series: One Dozen Daughter's, Book #1

Nath: Love the cover and the story sounds like so much fun! But does that mean there'll be 12 books?!

Mortal Danger by Ann Aguirre
published by Macmillan (Feiwel & Friends)
Revenge is a dish best served cold.

Edie Kramer has a score to settle with the beautiful people at Blackbriar Academy. Their cruelty drove her to the brink of despair, and four months ago, she couldn't imagine being strong enough to face her senior year. But thanks to a Faustian compact with the enigmatic Kian, she has the power to make the bullies pay. She's not supposed to think about Kian once the deal is done, but devastating pain burns behind his unearthly beauty, and he's impossible to forget.

In one short summer, her entire life changes, and she sweeps through Blackbriar, prepped to take the beautiful people down from the inside. A whisper here, a look there, and suddenly... bad things are happening. It's a heady rush, seeing her tormentors get what they deserve, but things that seem too good to be true usually are, and soon, the pranks and payback turns from delicious to deadly. Edie is alone in a world teeming with secrets and fiends lurking in the shadows. In this murky morass of devil's bargains, she isn't sure who—or what--she can trust. Not even her own mind...
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Series: Immortal Game, Book #1

Nath: This one was not on my radar, but people in my entourage keeps bringing it up... Guess I'll wait to see their verdict :)

Ames: I thought this one sounded interesting. I like the cover, I like Ann's writing. The blurb is vague enough that I'm not turned off by the paranormal shenanigans. I'm so over paranormal stuff but when its not stated clearly, I'm ok with it. LOL I'll see what reviews say, but for now its on my radar.

August 14

Isla & the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
published by Dutton
From the glittering streets of Manhattan to the moonlit rooftops of Paris, falling in love is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year in France, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to confront the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever.

Their romantic journey is skillfully intertwined with those of beloved couples Anna and Étienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new.
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Series: Anna and the French Kiss, Book #3

Nath: The long awaited finale! Don't really have much expectations for this one... but I wouldn't mind seeing Anna, Étienne, Lola and Cricket again :)

Ames: I want to re-read Anna and Etienne's book and then read Lola's. I know I know, I can't believe I haven't read Lola's book yet either. I'm horrible. LOL

But once I've read them, I'll be all over this one. I know it.

August 19

Visions by Kelley Armstrong
published by Dutton
Omens, the first installment in Kelley Armstrong’s exciting new series, introduced Olivia Taylor-Jones, daughter of notorious serial killers, and Gabriel Walsh, the self-serving, morally ambiguous lawyer who became her unlikely ally. Together, they chased down a devious killer and partially cleared her parents of their horrifying crimes.

Their success, however, is short-lived. While Olivia takes refuge in the old, secluded town of Cainsville, Gabriel’s past mistakes have come to light, creating a rift between the pair just when she needs his help the most.

Olivia finds a dead woman in her car, dressed to look like her, but the body vanishes before anyone else sees it. Olivia’s convinced it’s another omen, a sign of impending danger. But then she learns that a troubled young woman went missing just days ago—the same woman Olivia found dead in her car. Someone has gone to great lengths to kill and leave this young woman as a warning. But why? And what role has her new home played in this disturbing murder?

Olivia’s effort to uncover the truth places her in the crosshairs of old and powerful forces, forces that have their own agenda, and closely guarded secrets they don’t want revealed.
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Cainsville, Book #2

Nath: Have yet to read Omens yet, but it's Kelley Armstrong and she's an auto-buy :)

How the Scoundrel Seduces by Sabrina Jeffries
published by Simon & Schuster (Pocket)
Investigator Tristan Bonnaud has one aim in life— to make sure that his half-brother George can't ever ruin his life again. So when the pesky Lady Zoe Keane, the daughter of the Earl of Olivier, shows up demanding that the Duke's Men find a mysterious gypsy woman, he seizes the opportunity to also hunt for a gypsy friend who knows secrets about George. Tristan doesn't expect to uncover Lady Zoe's family secrets, as well... or end up falling for the woman who will risk all to discover the truth.
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: The Duke's Men, Book #3

Nath: Another auto-buy author! And another series I haven't read yet... Gosh, I'm turning into Ames!! LOL.

Ames: LMAO!! Yes you are!! But I noticed you aren't reading as many historicals this year. You'll get to this one eventually. And I'm interested in this series as well...haha!

Nath: Yeah, I'm over historical this year... Just don't feel it :(

Seducing Lauren by Kristen Proby
published by Simon & Schuster (Pocket)
Now that his best friend, Josh, has happily settled down with his true love on a Montana ranch, small-town lawyer Ty Sullivan starts thinking that maybe single life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. And when Lauren Cunningham’s no-good ex-husband comes after her for an unexpected trust fund, Ty steps in to protect her. But soon he can’t help but think of her as more than a client. Lauren’s in no mood to jump into another relationship, so how can Ty convince her that her mistake wasn’t getting married, but marrying the wrong guy?
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Love Under the Big Sky, Book #2

Nath: I've never read Ms Proby, but this one sounds interesting... Especially with the hero making the first steps. It's always nice to see a guy wanting to settle.

Ames: I bought the first book but haven't read it yet. LOL

August 26

A Scandal to Remember by Elizabeth Essex
published by St. Martin's Press
For too long, Miss Jane Burke’s father has taken advantage of her painstaking research. Heading to the South Seas to make her own name as a scientist despite the crew’s insistence that a woman aboard is bad luck, she isn't prepared to be championed by a handsome ship’s officer who rouses longings inside her as wild as any storm…

For Lieutenant Charles Dance, a post on His Majesty’s survey ship Tenacious is just one more dutiful rung on the ladder of his career. Even a headstrong bluestocking on board is less troubling than the ship’s drunken captain—and the ferocious gales that drive the ship off course. Stranded on a remote island, passion blazes between them as hot as the sun, but it’s Jane’s love Charles wants forever…
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: The Reckless Brides, Book #5

Nath: I'm not crazy about the heroine being a scientist... but I have been enjoying this series and Ms Essex' writing a lot so I'm willing to give A Scandal to Remember a chance. I hope most of the book will be aboard the ship... that'd be fun :)

Ames: What? Why not!  I love heroine scientists! In fact I just re-read Midsummer Moon by Laura Kinsale because I love the heroine and her pet hedgehog! LOL

Nath: I guess it's because in historical, it's always the same setting... the heroine is considered weird, but of course, she's attractive. It feels trite.

Once More, My Darling Rogue by Lorraine Heath
published by Harpercollins Publisher (Avon)
They are England’s most eligible bachelors, with the most scandalous reputations. But for the right woman, even an unrepentant rogue may mend his ways...

Born to the street but raised within the aristocracy, Drake Darling can’t escape his sordid beginnings. Not when Lady Ophelia Lyttleton snubs him at every turn, a constant reminder he’s not truly one of them. But after rescuing her from a mysterious drowning he realizes she doesn’t remember who she is. With plans to bring her to heel, he insists she’s his housekeeper—never expecting to fall for the charming beauty.

While Ophelia might not recall her life before Drake, she has little doubt she belongs with him. The desire she feels for her dark, brooding employer can’t be denied, regardless of consequences. So when her memory returns, she is devastated by the depth of his betrayal. Now Drake must risk everything to prove she can trust this rogue with her heart once more.
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: The Scandalous Gentlemen of St.James, Book #2

Nath: Another auto-buy book, but one I'm up-to-date with :) Been a while since I read an amnesia book... Don't know how I feel about Drake using the situation, but I have faith in Ms Heath's writing!

What I Love About You by Rachel Gibson
published by Harpercollins Publisher (Avon)

Ex-high school cheerleader Natalie Cooper could once shake her pom-poms with the best of them. But she's paid for all that popularity—her husband's run off with what's left of their money and a twenty-year-old bimbo named Tiffany. Leaving Natalie to manage a photo store and having to see some pictures she, well, really shouldn't.


Then she comes toe-to-manly chest with Blake Junger. Exiled to a remote cabin in Truly, Idaho, Blake wants nothing to do with anyone. Instead, he's determined to struggle with his demons and win—all on his own. But the last thing he needs is Natalie distracting him with her luscious curves and breaking down the barriers of his heart.

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Truly, Idaho, Book #3

Nath: Seems to me it's been a while since Ms Gibson has hit one really far out there. Hopefully, this will be it!

Ames: The blurb for this one reminds me of that Molly Harper book, And One Last Thing...which makes me want to read it.

It's in His Kiss by Jill Shalvis
published by Grand Central Publishing
Becca Thorpe has uprooted her life and escaped to the beach. Now's her chance to get away from city living, throw caution to the ocean winds, and live in the moment. Especially if the moment includes the deliciously sexy surfer she meets shortly after arriving in Lucky Harbor. Something about the dark intensity of Sam's eyes and the thrill she gets at his touch convinces her to stay awhile.

Boatbuilder and investment genius Sam Brody is a self-made man who knows how dangerous it can be to mix business and pleasure. But he can't resist offering Becca a job just to hear her laugh and have her near. Yet when her brother comes to town asking for help, will he tempt her back to her glamorous life in the city? Or do Sam and little Lucky Harbor have a chance to win Becca's heart?
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Lucky Harbor, Book #10

Nath: This is my fall-back series :) In the mood for contemporary romance, don't know what to read? The Lucky Harbor series it is :) There's been a positive buzz for It's in His Kiss so I'll be sure to pick this one up eventually :)

Ames: LOL Nath. Jill is an auto-buy author for me. And she's got her own shelf in my room. One day I'll read this series. I did read book 1 last year. hehe

The Homecoming by Robyn Carr
published by Harlequin (MIRA)
At the age of nineteen, Seth Sileski had everything. A superb athlete and scholar, handsome and popular, he was the pride of Thunder Point. Destined for greatness, he lost it all in a terrible accident that put an end to his professional football career when it had barely begun. The people in his hometown have never forgotten what might have been.

Seth has come to terms with the turns his life has taken. But now he's been presented with an opportunity to return home and show his father—and the people of Thunder Point—he's become a better, humbler version of his former self.

Winning over his father isn't the only challenge. Seth must also find a way to convince his childhood neighbor and best friend, Iris McKinley, to forgive him for breaking her heart. With his homecoming, will Seth be able to convince the town, his family and especially Iris that he's finally ready to be the man who will make them all proud?
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Thunder Point, Book #6

Nath: I really enjoyed The Promise which prompted me to read The Chance which was so-so... So where will The Homecoming fall? Yes, I'll read it to find out :) I'm enjoying the Thunder Point community and I like childhood sweethearts story... Hopefully, Seth is good at groveling!

Ames: I've fallen behind on this series. But that's not a bad thing. I'll be able to read them back to back whenever I get around to them!

The Best Kind of Trouble by Lauren Dane
published by Harlequin
She has complete control...and he's determined to take it away

A librarian in the small town of Hood River, Natalie Clayton's world is very nearly perfect. After a turbulent childhood and her once-wild ways, life is now under control. But trouble has a way of turning up unexpectedly—especially in the tall, charismatically sexy form of Paddy Hurley….

And Paddy is the kind of trouble that Natalie has a taste for.

Even after years of the rock and roll lifestyle, Paddy never forgot the two wickedly hot weeks he once shared with Natalie. Now he wants more… even if it means tempting Natalie and her iron-grip control. But there's a fine line between well-behaved and misbehaved—and the only compromise is between the sheets!
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: The Hurley Boys, Book#1

Nath: Wow, two books in the same month with the heroine named Natalie!! How rare!

LOL, I was going to skip this book just because, until I read that the heroine was a librarian. Sigh, how easy are we?

Ames: *gasp* You were going to skip a Lauren Dane novel?  I don't know if we can be friends anymore...LOL

So yeah, Lauren is an auto-buy author for me. :P I will readily read whatever she puts out. :P

Nath: LOL, you can't live without me no matter what I do :P

I Want It That Way by Ann Aguirre
published by Harlequin
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.
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary
Series: 2B Trilogy, Book #1

Nath: Wow, someone is being prolific this month! Two books in a month! But now I'm confused... Scratch my comment above, I think I Want It That Way is the book everyone's been mentioning to me! LOL.

Ames: Really? That's good to know then! I enjoy new adult and Ann Aguirre so I've been waiting for this one to come out. Good to hear people are talking about it already. Hopefully positively?

Tuesday, July 1

New Releases - July 2014

 While June was bleak, July is full of sunshine and new releases! Yay! All is back to normal in my world! I can predict a really good reading month :)

July 01

On the Fence by Kasie West
published by Harpercollins Publisher (HarperTeen)
She's a tomboy. He's the boy next door…

Charlie Reynolds can outrun, outscore, and outwit every boy she knows. But when it comes to being a girl, Charlie doesn't know the first thing about anything. So when she starts working at a chichi boutique to pay off a speeding ticket, she finds herself in a strange new world. To cope with the stress of her new reality, Charlie takes to spending nights chatting with her neighbor Braden through the fence between their yards. As she grows to depend on their nightly Fence Chats, she realizes she's got a bigger problem than speeding tickets-she's falling for Braden. She knows what it means to go for the win, but if spilling her secret means losing him for good, the stakes just got too high.
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Series: None

Nath: I've become an unconditional fan of Ms West after Pivot Point :) So basically, I'll pick up everything she writes. That being said, I do recommend On the Fence. I had the chance to read an eARC and really enjoyed it :)

Ames: I LOVE tomboys!! I haven't read Pivot Point yet but I did like her other book, The Distance Between Us so I'm a fan too. I will definitely be checking this one out. It sounds cute and like something I'd really enjoy.

Then Came You by Jill Shalvis
published by Berkley
Veterinary intern Emily can’t believe she wound up in the small town of Sunshine, Idaho, instead of the Los Angeles clinic she had always imagined. Now she has to put her plans to move to L.A. on hold for a whole year while she fulfills the obligation of her vet school scholarship.

Then Wyatt, her gorgeous one-night stand from a Reno vet conference, introduces himself as her new boss. And Emily is just as drawn to his seductive looks and quiet strength as she was on that very steamy night. She soon learns that Wyatt isn’t just a laid-back doctor, but a delicious alpha male tempting her away from her carefully laid-out plans...
Genre: Contemporary romance
Series: Animal Magnetism, Book #5

Nath: I'm a bit undecided with this one. While Ms Shalvis has enjoyed tremendous success with her Lucky Harbor series, I'm a bit luke-warm. Oh, they are nice reads, but amid all the small town contemporaries, I have difficulty remembering which series they belong to... so not a good sign ^_^; Like this one, the blurb made me think of Hope Flames by Ms Burton. So we'll see...

Ames: Jill is an auto-buy author for me so even though I'm not caught up on this series, I've already pre-ordered this one. And I realized it hasn't come yet. Which is fine...really...since I'm behind. LOL

Straddling the Line by Jaci Burton
published by Berkley
Trevor Shay has it all—a successful football and baseball career, and any woman he wants. But when he finds out his college mentor’s daughter is in trouble, he drops everything to come to her aid.

Haven Briscoe has finally landed a dream job as a sportscaster for a major network. But she hasn't been able to move past the recent death of her beloved father, and it’s affecting her career. A plum assignment following the daily life of sports superstar Trevor Shay might be just the inspiration she needs…

Trevor will do anything to spark life back into Haven, including letting her into every aspect of his world. The chemistry between them flames higher than one of Trevor’s home runs and faster than his dashes to the end zone. But as they grow closer, Haven stumbles onto Trevor’s closely guarded secret, one he’s hidden his entire life. And despite his protests, now it’s Haven’s turn to put everything on hold to help Trevor. Will he let her in and trust her with a secret that could blow his professional and personal world apart?
Genre: Contemporary romance
Series: Play by Play, Book #8

Nath: This one sounds interesting and I like that the H/H have a connection already. However, can someone really have both a football and baseball career?!

Ames: OMG, Nath, I just realized something. Every time I've seen this cover, I thought he had a saddle hung over his arm! Bwahahahaha! I thought JB was going in a different direction with this book. LOL Ah well. Even though a bronc rider would have been hot, I think this will still be a fun, sexy read. I'm just shaking my head over here though, totally clueless. LOL

Gilded Lily by Delphine Dryden
published by Berkley
Hidden identities, scandalous secrets... Deadly attraction.

Frederique Murcheson’s introduction into society hasn’t gone smoothly—some would even call it a disaster. Only Freddie considers her debut a success. Her scheme to become a makesmith has gone off flawlessly. The only thing that could upset her plans now would be if someone discovered that brilliant tinker Fred Merchant is, in fact, a lady in disguise.

Wooing a spoiled heiress is not exactly Barnabas Smith-Grenville’s idea of high espionage. However, considering his brother disappeared on the job, supposedly into the most iniquitous of opium dens, he cannot expect much better. At least the assignment will afford him time to search for his brother, whom he suspects is in spy-related trouble rather than a drug-addled haze.

But when Freddie proves to be both irresistible and the key to the answers he seeks, Barnabas finds himself not only entwined in a scandalous mystery involving lethal submersibles and deranged dirigibles, but also in a dangerous game of the heart…
Genre: Steampunk romance
Series: Steam and Seduction, Book #3

Nath: I still haven't read this author's work, but her blurbs are really interesting. Hopefully, her writing will be too! :)

Ames: I really enjoy Delphine's contemporary erotic romances so I am curious about this series as well.

The Gentleman Jewel Thief by Jessica Peterson
published by Berkley
In an era when ladies were demure and men courtly, one priceless treasure set England ablaze and incited unimaginable scandal and passion—the Hope Diamond.

Heir to an impressive title and fortune, Lord William Townshend, Earl of Harclay, is among the most disreputable rakes in England. Desperately bored by dull heiresses and tedious soirees, he seeks new excitement—with a dangerous scheme to steal the world’s most legendary gemstone from its owner, Thomas Hope. To his surprise, however, it’s not the robbery that sets his blood burning but the alluring lady from whom he pilfers the gem.

A string of bad luck has left the fate of Lady Violet Rutledge’s estate entirely in Hope’s scheming hands. So when his prized jewel disappears from around her neck, she has no choice but to track down the villain responsible for the theft. Only Harclay has his sights set on taking more from her than the necklace—and she’s tempted to surrender anything he desires…

Now, caught in a thrilling game of secrecy and seduction, Violet must find a way to protect her fortune—and her heart—before she loses both forever…
Genre: Historical romance
Series: The Hope Diamond trilogy, Book #1

Nath: You're going to hear me say it many times in this post, I love cat burgler/thief plots and so, any books with that kind of plot automatically goes onto the radar :) The Gentleman Jewel Thief is interesting because it's historical and Violet has to find a way to find the jewel that has been stolen.

The Wickedest Lord Ever by Christina Brooke
published by St. Martin's Press
Can an Indecent Proposal

Eight years ago, a tall, handsome stranger entered Lady Alexandra’s bedchamber and consummated a marriage of the utmost necessity. The Marquis of Steyne had agreed to wed and bed Lord Brute’s admittedly lovely daughter to pay off his mother’s gambling debts. But once the deed was done, Steyne’s lawfully-wedded wife vanished into the night…

Lead to Everlasting Love?

Years later, Steyne has nearly forgotten about his runaway bride. But when he suddenly finds himself in need of an heir, he has no choice but to track her down. Living happily in a small village under an assumed name, Alexandra is surprised to see her husband—and to feel such a strong attraction to him. But she is downright shocked when he asks her to bear him a son. How can they possibly repeat the heated encounter of their ill-fated wedding night…without falling hopelessly in love?
Genre: Historical romance
Series: The Westruthers, Book #3

Nath: I haven't kept up with Ms Brooke's books; however, I know the ones I have read, I have enjoyed. I wonder why the heroine ran away in this one and I like what I have read of the hero.

The Escape by Mary Balogh
published by Random House Publishing (Dell)
After surviving the Napoleonic Wars, Sir Benedict Harper is struggling to move on, his body and spirit in need of a healing touch. Never does Ben imagine that hope will come in the form of a beautiful woman who has seen her own share of suffering. After the lingering death of her husband, Samantha McKay is at the mercy of her oppressive in-laws-until she plots an escape to distant Wales to claim a house she has inherited. Being a gentleman, Ben insists that he escort her on the fateful journey.

Ben wants Samantha as much as she wants him, but he is cautious. What can a wounded soul offer any woman? Samantha is ready to go where fate takes her, to leave behind polite society and even propriety in her desire for this handsome, honorable soldier. But dare she offer her bruised heart as well as her body? The answers to both their questions may be found in an unlikely place: in each other's arms.
Genre: Historical romance
Series: The Survivors' Club, Book #3

Nath: I haven't been wowed by this series so far, but it is Ms Balogh, so it's worth a second, third and fourth chance LOL. I'm curious to see what she has in store for Ben.

Ames: I agree Nath. I only read the first book and it didn't wow me completely. But it's Mary Balogh and so I will check this one out for sure. I do like that they moved away from hard covers.

Never Been Kissed by Molly O'Keefe
published by Random House Publishing (Bantam Books)
As the daughter of a wealthy politician, Ashley Montgomery has had enough of her parents’ expectations for her future and is going her own way, volunteering to work at a refugee camp in Africa. But her act of charity turns dangerous when she takes a boat trip and is abducted by Somali pirates. Enter Brody Baxter, who was a bodyguard for the Montgomery family ten years ago and doesn’t think twice about coming to Ashley’s rescue. Handsome and tough, Brody has always done what needed to be done. So he swoops in, saves Ashley, and brings her to a place where she can rest and recuperate without the glare of the press and her demanding family: Brody’s small hometown of Bishop, Arkansas. But Ashley soon realizes that she’s not the only one in need of healing.

Holed up with Ashley in a tiny apartment over his brother’s bar in Bishop, Brody is tempted and torn in ways he never anticipated. Beautiful Ashley, vibrant despite her ordeal, fearless enough to love him beyond his wall of self-punishment, is now determined to save him. But with a little faith and a lot of love, they just may find happiness in each others’ arms.
Genre: Contemporary romance
Series: Boys of Bishop, Book #2

Ames: *sigh* I never quite finished Wild Child (it was due back to the library before I could finish it...long story short, June was not a good reading month for me) but I am still interested in reading more from Ms. O'Keefe. I like bodyguard stories too. And it's been a while since I read one.

For the Longest Time by Kendra Leigh Castle
published by New American Library (Signet)
For Samantha Henry, it took a ten-year absence to appreciate the close-knit New England town with an appeal all its own...

After a perfect storm of events leaves Sam high, dry, and jobless, she has to head home to Harvest Cove to regroup. Growing up, she was the town misfit, and a brief high school romance that resulted in heartbreak made her realize she was never going to fit in. But now with the support of her mother and an unexpected circle of allies, Sam starts to wonder if she’s misjudged the town all these years.

Life’s been good to Jake Smith. He transitioned from popular jock to town veterinarian without any trouble. But Sam’s homecoming makes him question his choices. The sharp-tongued beauty was never a good fit for the small community, but he’s never forgotten her—or how good they were together. While she makes it clear she’s not about to repeat the past, Jake’s determined to convince her to give him—and Harvest Cove—a second chance.
Genre: Contemporary romance
Series: Harvest Cove, Book #1

Nath: I know I've complained about how many small town contemporary series they are out there... and yet, I'm going to pick up a new one. Well, what option do I have when that's what publishers are pushing out? I'm attracted to For the Longest Time because of the cover... and also I`m curious to see if Ms Castle can transition successfully from paranormal to contemporary romance :P

One thing I do wonder... is that a cat or a dog on the cover?!

Ames: It's a cat. LOL

Riding the Wave by Lorelie Brown
published by New American Library (Signet)
The gray-green swells of San Sebastian haven’t changed in ten years, but Tanner Wright has. The last thing he expects to find back on his home turf is the love of his life....

With a make-or-break world championship on the line, professional surfer Tanner Wright has come back to the coastal California hometown he left a decade ago, carrying only his board and the painful knowledge of his father’s infidelity. Now that Hank Wright is dead, Tanner intends to keep the secret buried to spare his mother and sister the burden.

The last time Avalon Knox saw her best friend’s brother, she was fourteen and he was a twenty-year-old surfer god. She’s never understood or respected the way Tanner distanced himself from the family that has embraced her. But now she has the professional chance of a lifetime: to photograph Tanner for the competition—if he’ll agree.

Out on the waves, they find in each other passion that’s impossible to resist. And Tanner’s not the only one trying to move forward from his past. As the competition heats up, secrets get spilled, and lust takes over. How close can Avalon get to this brooding surfer…without getting burned?
Genre: Contemporary romance
Series: Pacific Blue, Book #1

Nath: Another small-town contemporary romance... This one though, I'm really excited about. I like the coastal sound of it and the unconventional professions of both main characters. I'm really hoping for a wowzer with Riding the Wave :)

Ames: I love that this one is about a surfer. So different from the contemporary heroes I've been reading lately! Also, best friend's sibling! I love that! LOL

Premonitions by Jamie Schultz
published by New American Library (ROC)
Two Million Dollars...

It’s the kind of score Karyn Ames has always dreamed of—enough to set her crew up pretty well and, more important, enough to keep her safely stocked on a very rare, very expensive black market drug. Without it, Karyn hallucinates slices of the future until they totally overwhelm her, leaving her unable to distinguish the present from the mess of certainties and possibilities yet to come.

The client behind the heist is Enoch Sobell, a notorious crime lord with a reputation for being ruthless and exacting—and a purported practitioner of dark magic. Sobell is almost certainly condemned to Hell for a magically extended lifetime full of shady dealings. Once you’re in business with him, there’s no backing out.

Karyn and her associates are used to the supernatural and the occult, but their target is more than just the usual family heirloom or cursed necklace. It’s a piece of something larger. Something sinister.

Karyn’s crew, and even Sobell himself, are about to find out just how powerful it is… and how powerful it may yet become.
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: ?

Nath: Heist plot in an urban fantasy setting, published by ROC. Sold! LOL.

July 08

The Promise by Kristen Ashley
Since his brother’s death, Benny Bianchi has been nursing his grudge against the woman he thinks led to his brother’s downfall. He does this to bury the feelings he has for Francesca Concetti, his brother’s girl. But when Frankie takes a bullet while on the run with Benny’s cousin’s woman, Benny has to face those feelings.

The problem is Frankie has decided she’s paid her penance. Penance she didn’t deserve to pay. She’s done with Benny and the Bianchi family. She’s starting a new life away from Chicago and her heartbreaking history.

Benny has decided differently.

But Frankie has more demons she’s battling. Demons Benny wants to help her face. But life has landed so many hard knocks on Frankie she’s terrified of believing in the promise of Benny Bianchi and the good life he’s offering.

Frankie’s new life leads her to The ‘Burg, where Benny has ties, and she finds she not only hasn’t succeeded in getting away, she’s doesn’t want to.
Genre: Contemporary romance
Series: The 'Burg, Book #5

Ames: I read the 'Burg series recently in one shot. I rarely read a KA series back to back like that but I couldn't get enough. I've been looking forward to this book a lot. LOL It's only been a couple of months but the few glimpses I saw of Benny and Frankie have made me anxious!

Landline by Rainbow Rowell
published by St. Martin's Press
Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. That it’s been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply — but that almost seems besides the point now.

Maybe that was always besides the point.

Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her — Neal is always a little upset with Georgie — but she doesn’t expect to him to pack up the kids and go home without her.

When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything.

That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts...

Is that what she’s supposed to do?

Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?
Genre: Fiction
Series: None

Nath: I'm not too sure about the blurb, but it's Ms Rowell, so I'm definitively giving it a go. I'm glad she doesn't stick to a genre, but seems to be writing what she wants :)

Ames: I am not fond of communicating with the past...but it's Rainbow Rowell so I definitely see some potential with this kind of plot in her hands. :P

Chinese Cooking for Diamond Thieves by Dave Lowry
published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Mariner Books)
Driving home after being kicked out of college, Tucker meets and picks up the mysterious Corinne Chang at a rest stop. Infatuated, and with nothing better to do, he ends up with her in St. Louis, where he gets a job as a chef in a Chinese restaurant. Even though he’s a gwai lo—a foreign devil—his cooking skills impress the Chinese patrons of the restaurant, and his wooing skills impress Corinne when she joins him there as a waitress. But when Chinese gangsters show up demanding diamonds they believe Tucker’s kind-of, sort-of, don’t-call-her-a-girlfriend stole, he and his friends—which luckily include a couple of FBI agents—have to figure out just who is gunning for Corinne and how to stop them. Good thing Tucker is a Mandarin-speaking martial arts master who isn’t afraid to throw the first punch.

With its one-of-a-kind hero, Chinese Cooking for Diamond Thieves is perfect for anyone who loves cooking, Chinese culture, bad jokes, and young love. Diamonds are forever . . . unless Chinese mobsters decide they want them back.
Genre: Fiction
Series: None

Nath: Yes, you've guessed it. This one caught my eyes because of "Diamond Thieves" in the title... but I'm up for the "Chinese Cooking" part too! :P Sounds different and fun.

Ames: Oh wow! The title didn't catch my eye but the blurb did! This is the kind of quirky book I love to read.

The Half Life of Molly Pierce by Katrina Leno
published by Harpercollins Publisher (HarperTeen)
You take it for granted. Waking up. Going to school, talking to your friends. Watching a show on television or reading a book or going out to lunch.

You take for granted going to sleep at night, getting up the next day, and remembering everything that happened to you before you closed your eyes.

You live and you remember.

Me, I live and I forget.

But now—now I am remembering.

For all of her seventeen years, Molly feels like she’s missed bits and pieces of her life. Now, she’s figuring out why. Now, she’s remembering her own secrets. And in doing so, Molly uncovers the separate life she seems to have led…and the love that she can’t let go.
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Series: None

Nath: I don't know what it is about this one that caught my eye. I'm curious and I like plot about amnesia, memories... Hopefully, this one will be as good as it is intriguing.

Through to You by Lauren Barnholdt
published by Simon & Schuster (Simon Pulse)
It starts with a scribbled note in class: I like your sparkle. Harper had casually threaded a piece of blue and silver tinsel through her ponytail in honor of school spirit day. And that carefree, corny gesture is what grabs Penn Mattingly’s eye. Penn—resident heartbreaker of the senior class. Reliably unreliable. Trouble with a capital “T.” And okay, smolderingly sexy.

Harper’s surprised by Penn’s attention—and so is Penn. The last thing he needs is a girlfriend. Or even a friend-with-benefits. The note is not supposed to lead to anything.

Oh, but it does. They hang out. They have fun. They talk. They make out. And after a while, it seems like they just click. But Penn and Harper have very different ideas about what relationships look like, in no small part because of their very different family backgrounds. Of course they could talk about these differences—if Penn knew how to talk about feelings.

Harper and Penn understand their attraction is illogical, yet something keeps pulling them together. It’s like a crazy roller coaster—exhilarating, terrifying, and amazing all at once. And neither knows how to stop the ride…
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Series: None

Nath: My kind of YA books LOL. Two persons that are different and shouldn't be together, but wound up together :) It can be very simple, but if well-written, it'll be an awesome read.

Ames: It's Lauren Barnholdt. I love her writing. This one sounds so freaking cute I can't wait to read it!

Midnight Thief by Livia Blackburne
published by Hyperion
Growing up on Forge’s streets has taught Kyra how to stretch a coin. And when that’s not enough, her uncanny ability to scale walls and bypass guards helps her take what she needs.

But when the leader of the Assassins Guild offers Kyra a lucrative job, she hesitates. She knows how to get by on her own, and she’s not sure she wants to play by his rules. But he’s persistent—and darkly attractive—and Kyra can’t quite resist his pull.

Tristam of Brancel is a young Palace knight on a mission. After his best friend is brutally murdered by Demon Riders, a clan of vicious warriors who ride bloodthirsty wildcats, Tristam vows to take them down. But as his investigation deepens, he finds his efforts thwarted by a talented thief, one who sneaks past Palace defenses with uncanny ease.

When a fateful raid throws Kyra and Tristam together, the two enemies realize that their best chance at survival—and vengeance—might be to join forces. And as their loyalties are tested to the breaking point, they learn a startling secret about Kyra’s past that threatens to reshape both their lives.
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Series: Midnight Thief, Book #1

Nath: Yes, once again, thief!! However, the rest of the story sound interesting as well with a very nice cover.

July 15

Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally
published by Sourcebooks
Annie hates running. No matter how far she jogs, she can’t escape the guilt that if she hadn’t broken up with Kyle, he might still be alive. So to honor his memory, she starts preparing for the marathon he intended to race.

But the training is even more grueling than Annie could have imagined. Despite her coaching, she’s at war with her body, her mind—and her heart. With every mile that athletic Jeremiah cheers her on, she grows more conflicted. She wants to run into his arms…and sprint in the opposite direction. For Annie, opening up to love again may be even more of a challenge than crossing the finish line.
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Series: Hundred Oaks, Book #5

This wasn't on my radar until I saw Rowena's Goodreads... Reading her comments and the blurb, I want it now!!

Ames: What? You weren't going to get it just because its Miranda Kenneally? LOL This woman's writing stole my heart with her very first book. I love that her heroines are athletic.

July 22

Poison Promise by Jennifer Estep
published by Simon & Schuster (Pocket)
Gin Blanco is hard-nosed, sexy, and lethal. Nicknamed “The Spider,” she’s a stone elemental assassin who brings her unique mix of magic and tact to every assignment, no matter the target.

There’s a new drug on the streets of Ashland, and its name “Burn” sums up the potent effect it has on its users. When one of her restaurant employees is threatened by dealers of the drug, Gin steps in to set things straight…
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Elemental Assassin, Book #11

Nath: The Elemental Assassin is one of my favorite urban fantasy series and as such, I'm really looking forward to Poison Promise. I think this is the beginning of a new story arc as well, which makes it even more exciting!!

The Game and the Governess by Kate Noble
published by Simon & Schuster (Pocket)
Three friends. One Wager. Winner takes all.

The Earl—‘Lucky Ned’ Ashby. Pompous, preening, certain that he is beloved by everyone.
The Miller—John Turner. Proud, forced to work as the Earl’s secretary, their relationship growing ever more strained.
The Doctor—Rhys Gray. Practical, peace-loving, but caught in the middle of two warring friends.

Their wager is simple: By trading places with John Turner and convincing someone to fall in love with him, Ned plans to prove it’s him the world adores, not his money. Turner plans to prove him wrong.

But no one planned on Phoebe Baker, the unassuming governess who would fall into their trap, and turn everything on its head…
Genre: Historical romance
Series: Winner Takes All, Book #1

Nath: I'm not sure about the wager, although it does sound interesting... Ultimately though, it's Ms Noble's name on the dover that drew me to this book :)

Ames: I agree. Shes an auto-buy author for me but I think this book sounds cute. I like that it's not exclusively about the peerage. It's good to branch out historically.

July 29

Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews
published by Berkley (Ace)
No matter how much the paranormal politics of Atlanta change, one thing always remains the same: if there’s trouble, Kate Daniels will be in the middle of it…

As the mate of the Beast Lord, Curran, former mercenary Kate Daniels has more responsibilities than it seems possible to juggle. Not only is she still struggling to keep her investigative business afloat, she must now deal with the affairs of the pack, including preparing her people for attack from Roland, a cruel ancient being with god-like powers. Since Kate’s connection to Roland has come out into the open, no one is safe—especially those closest to Kate.

As Roland’s long shadow looms ever nearer, Kate is called to attend the Conclave, a gathering of the leaders from the various supernatural factions in Atlanta. When one of the Masters of the Dead is found murdered there, apparently at the hands of a shapeshifter, Kate is given only twenty-four hours to hunt down the killer. And this time, if she fails, she’ll find herself embroiled in a war which could destroy everything she holds dear…
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Kate Daniels, Book #7

Nath: Can't wait to get my hands on this book! I hope this will be a great read to make up for Magic Rises!

Fast Track by Julie Garwood
published by Dutton Adult
Cordelia Kane has always been a daddy’s girl—her father raised her alone after her mother died in a car crash when Cordelia was just two years old. So when he has a serious heart attack, Cordelia is devastated, and the emotion is only intensified by the confusion she feels when he reveals the shocking truth about her mother.

Cordelia can’t suppress her curiosity about the woman who gave birth to her, and when she discovers the answers to her questions lie in Sydney, Australia, she travels there to get them.

Hotel magnate Aiden Madison is Cordelia’s best friend’s older brother. He’s oblivious to the fact that she’s had a crush on him for years. When he gets railroaded into taking her along to Sydney on his company jet, he unknowingly puts her life at risk. He’s recently angered a powerful congressman by refusing to purchase overvalued land. Congressman Chambers is not a man to let such an offense slide, and he has the resources to get even and to get what he wants.

In Australia sparks are flying between Cordelia and Aiden, but multiple attempts on Aiden’s life are made while Cordelia is with him, and he realizes he must put a stop to the madness before he loses the thing he values most.
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Buchanan-Renard, Book #12

Nath: I'm not a huge fan of Ms Garwood, but I have my eye on this one. The words "hotel magnate" and the Australian setting were enough to seal the deal for me LOL.

Ames: Rowena has been talking about this book and she mentioned the fact that Aiden is Cordelia's best friend's older brother. LOL My ears perked up at that. But I don't know. I'm not a fan of Garwood's romantic suspenses (I cut my romance teeth on her historicals) but I may be tempted by this one. :P

Between the Sheets by Molly O'Keefe
published by Random House Publishing (Bantam Books)
After years of running, Wyatt Svenson has now parked himself in Bishop, Arkansas, trying to do the right thing and parent a son he didn’t even know he had until recently. Over six feet tall and packed with muscles and power, Ty likes to get his hands dirty, fixing his motorcycle at night and keeping his mind away from the mistakes he’s made. Then his pretty neighbor shows up on his driveway, doesn’t bother to introduce herself, and complains about the noise. First impression? She should loosen up. Funny that she turns out to be his son’s elementary school art teacher—and the only one willing to help his troubled boy. Ty needs her. In more ways than one.

Though Shelby Monroe is safe in her structured life, she is drawn to Ty’s bad-boy edge and rugged sexuality. What if she just lets it all go: her worries about her mother, her fear of heartbreak, and her tight self control? What if she grabs Ty and takes a ride on the wild side? “What if” becomes reality—intense, exhilarating... and addictive. But Ty wants more than a secret affair. He wants it all with Shelby. But will she take a chance and open her heart? Ty is determined to convince Shelby to take the biggest risk of her life: on him.
Genre: Contemporary romance
Series: Boys of Bishop, Book #3

Nath: I haven't read any books in this series, but I have my eye on Between the Sheets thanks to Brie's recommendation :)

Ames: Again, haven't finished Wild Child but I am wondering if Shelby is someone I met who had a very interesting encounter with a stranger. LOL Even if not, these books sound cute. Good to know Brie recommended it!

No Strings Attached by Susan Andersen
published by Harlequin (HQN Books)
Some mistakes are worth repeating…

Tasha Riordan's one night with Luc Bradshaw was the best of her life. The following two—when she got thrown into a Bahamian jail on bogus charges—were her worst. Now, seven years later, the undercover DEA agent is back. Invading her town. Her restaurant. Her fantasies. She can't trust a man who lied to her. Yet, neither can she trust herself—not when their chemistry burns even hotter than before.

Learning he has two half brothers shocks Luc. Discovering they live in the same town as Tasha—that's a different kind of thrill. Their mutual lust is still off the charts, but he can't get her to listen to his side of what happened on that long-ago night. Good thing he's got powers of persuasion that go deeper than words. Because nothing has ever felt this right…
Genre: Contemporary romance
Series: Razor Bay, Book #3

Nath: Ms Andersen is on my list of auto-buy authors. This current series of hers hasn't been my favorite, but I have hopes for No Strings Attached because of the H/H :)

The Dog Park by Laura Caldwell
published by Harlequin (Mira)
A couple's best friend?

Stylist Jessica Champlin knows it takes more than a darling goldendoodle to save a marriage. She and her ex-husband, investigative journalist Sebastian Hess, had too many irreconcilable differences for even their beloved dog, Baxter, to heal. So they've agreed to joint custody, and life has settled into a prickly normalcy.

But when Baxter heroically rescues a child and the video footage goes viral, Jess and Sebastian are thrown together again, and her life takes some very unexpected twists. The line of dogwear she creates becomes wildly successful, and suddenly she's in the spotlight with everyone watching—the press, the new guy she's seeing, Sebastian and the past she never imagined she would face again. Soon there's only one person by her side—and it's the person she least expected. She's willing to open up to a new normal…just as long as Baxter approves.
Genre: Contemporary romance
Series: None

Nath: This one caught my eye on Netgalley. I like the cover because that would be me, sitting higher up in the cover - except not wearing a dress ^_^; The blurb is also interesting. I like that it's about a divorced couple bonded by their dog... with a chance of reconciliation.

Ames: This one sounds so cute! I love the fact that it's about a dog bringing a couple back together...maybe. Haha

Let's Get Lost by Ali Alsald
published by Harlequin (Harlequin Teen)
Five strangers. Countless adventures.One epic way to get lost.

Four teens across the country have only one thing in common: a girl named LEILA. She crashes into their lives in her absurdly red car at the moment they need someone the most.

There's HUDSON, a small-town mechanic who is willing to throw away his dreams for true love. And BREE, a runaway who seizes every Tuesday—and a few stolen goods along the way. ELLIOT believes in happy endings…until his own life goes off-script. And SONIA worries that when she lost her boyfriend, she also lost the ability to love.

Hudson, Bree, Elliot and Sonia find a friend in Leila. And when Leila leaves them, their lives are forever changed. But it is during Leila's own 4,268-mile journey that she discovers the most important truth— sometimes, what you need most is right where you started. And maybe the only way to find what you're looking for is to get lost along the way.
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Series: None

Nath: Road-trip book! Ames and I are in! LOL.

Ames: You know it! LOL

A Good Debutante's Guide to Ruin by Sophie Jordan
published by Harpercollins Publisher (Avon)
The last woman on earth he would ever touch...

Declan, the Duke of Banbury, has no interest in ushering Rosalie Hughes, his stepsister, into society. Dumped on him with nowhere else to go, he's determined to rid himself of the headstrong debutante by bestowing on her an obscenely large dowry... making her the most sought-after heiress of the Season.

... is about to become the only one he wants.

But Rosalie isn't about to go along with Declan's plans. Surrounded by fortune hunters, how is she supposed to find a man who truly wants her? Taking control of her fate, Rosalie dons a disguise and sneaks into Sodom, a private club host to all manner of illicit activity—and frequented by her infuriatingly handsome stepbrother.

In a shadowed alcove, Declan can't resist the masked temptress who sets his blood afire... any more than Rosalie can deny her longing for a man who will send her into ruin.
Genre: Historical romance
Series: The Debutante Files, Book #1

Nath: I like that the heroine is taking things into her own hands instead of relying on others. Hopefully, that'll make for a good book :)

Ames: The step-siblings thing gives me pause, but if Declan doesn't want to usher her around, maybe it means it's a new thing and they didn't grow up together. Because ewww. However, this sounds cute so I'll wait for some reviews.

The Winter King by C.L. Wilson
published by Harpercollins Publisher (Avon)
Wynter Atrialan, the Winter King, once lived in peace with his southern, Summerlander neighbors, but when the prince of Summerlea steals Wynter’s bride and murders his young brother, Wynter calls upon a dangerous Wintercraig magic called the Ice Heart and marches against Summerlea.

After three bitter years of battle, a victorious Wynter arrives at Summerlea’s royal palace to issue his terms of surrender. The prince of Summerlea stole Wynter’s bride and slew Wynter’s Heir. He wants the loss replaced. The Ice Heart is consuming him. Wynter hopes holding his own child in his arms will rekindle the warmth in his heart before he becomes the monster of Wintercraig legend, the Ice King.

The Summer King has three very precious daughters whom he loves dearly. Wynter will take one of them to wife. She will have one year to provide him with an Heir. If she fails, he will send her to face the mercy of the mountains and claim another princess for his wife. And so it will continue until Wynter has his Heir or the Summer King is out of daughters.

The plan is perfect—except for one small detail. The Summer King has a fourth daughter. One of whom he is not so fond. And she is a fiercely passionate creature, with a temper as volatile as the forces of her weathergift, the power of storms.
Genre: Fantasy romance
Series: Weathermages of Mystral #1

Ames: I feel like I've been waiting for this one for FOREVER. But it's finally coming!  WOOOOOHOOOOOOOO!

Yeah, I'm excited. LOL