Friday, May 10

Buddy Review: Slashback by Rob Thurman

Buddy reviewing the newest Cal Leandros book with Leslie and/or Hilcia has become a yearly tradition - one that I wouldn't want to break :) So here we go for 2013, our thoughts about the 8th book!

Slashback by Rob Thurman
published by New American Library (ROC) in March 2013

I stopped and let them circle me, first because it was intriguing and, second, because, honestly, what could they do? Only knives, but all armed, and that made them even more interesting. Interesting. Fun.


Taking on bloodthirsty supernatural monsters is how Caliban and Niko Leandros make a living. But years ago—before they became a force to be reckoned with—the brothers were almost victims of a very human serial killer.


Unfortunately for them, that particular depraved killer was working as apprentice to a creature far more malevolent—the legendary Spring-heeled Jack. He’s just hit town. He hasn’t forgotten what the Leandros brothers did to his murderous protégé. He hasn’t forgotten what they owe him.

And now they are going to pay… and pay… and pay...
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Cal Leandros, Book #8

The Story: The blurb has it pretty accurately. There's a new serial killer in New York City - a supernatural one. While it's their job to investigate such case, Cal has no intention of taking this one for multiple reasons: a) they're not getting paid for it and b) they have to focus on Grimm. However, when it becomes apparent that this religious zealot has beef with the Leandros brothers, they don't have much choice than to step in. But this one won't be as easy as they realize as it brings up memories both would prefer remain undisturbed. And as usual, their good friend Robyn Goodfellow is there to give them a hand.

Nath: Wow ladies! Can’t believe that Slashback is already the 8th book in the Cal Leandros series! Whew, time flies! So what did you think of Slashback? Is it still refreshing or becoming too familiar? :)

Leslie: You ladies know this is one of my favorite series - I simply love how Thurman writes the male perspective. I liked Slashback but didn’t love. It felt like it moved slower than the usual pace of the series. And there didn’t seem to be as many fight scenes either. I love the fight scenes! I don’t think the series is at the point where it’s become too familiar. The characters are familiar but not stagnant or boring. I feel Thurman still has more to explore with the Leandros brothers.

The flashbacks. I’m not a big fan of flashbacks and generally try to avoid them. This time I was surprised at how well they worked for me. The plot allowed for a nearly seamless back and forth flow from present day to twelve years prior. I usually find the transitions jarring but not this time. I see the flashbacks as tools to develop the current storyline which they did here. But I also simply enjoyed reading about the young brothers and could see reading maybe a novella about young Cal and Niko - Leandros Brothers: The Early Years. lol

Alternating POV - so happy we get both Cal and Niko’s POV. Niko is such an integral part of Cal, he wouldn’t be Cal without Niko, so the story feels more complete when part is told in Niko’s voice.

Hilcia: I can't believe Slashback is the eighth book of this series and the three of us are still enjoying it. In this particular installment I love that Thurman went back to using both Niko and Cal as narrators again. That was refreshing, particularly Niko's strong and rather sweet voice. Yes, sweet, because his love for Cal comes through the pages and I loved young Niko’s voice.

Leslie, I feel the same way about flashbacks, and in this instance they also worked for me. The flow was excellent between timelines and Thurman tied up the two storylines beautifully. However, I disagree about the pacing. Slashback wasn’t a slow read for me at all! Even with the lack of the usual nonstop action, I read it in two sittings. Yet, this is not one of my favorite books of the series either.

I’m finding that although I still love the characters and there are a few surprises in this book, there is also a certain repetitiveness to the overall story arc. I had a distinct sense of deja vu while reading the story. What about you Nath, what do you think?

Nath: LOL, it’s really no wonder us three get along so well when we have such similar tastes in books and writing styles!! So no surprise, I’m not a fan of flashbacks either, but in this case, they worked for me because they were really integral to the main storyline, actually complemented it. It wasn’t just random scenes, but a whole story in itself and that kept me reading. And of course, add the fact that it was told in Niko’s POV and that was a must-read. I have to say though, I particularly enjoyed these flashbacks because it gave us another look at Cal and Niko’s brotherhood. Yes, we’ve been told they were close since they were young, but here, we were shown :) By the way, I have to say Ms Thurman did such a great job at inserting some surprises in these flashbacks!! And as you both said, the flow between the present and the flashbacks was done flawlessly.

As for the pacing, I’m torn between you guys. On one hand, I know what Leslie means by the lack of fighting and as such, I feel the action wasn’t as good as previous books. However, like Hilcia, I don’t feel Slashback was a slow read. Trust me, I’ve slugged through the first couple of books of this series and I still remember how slow it was LOL. I think the problem here is as much as we enjoyed the flashbacks, they did overshadow the main storyline. Furthermore, because Ms Thurman had to compose with two storylines going on at the same time, she had less pages to develop Cal and Niko’s current case and therefore, had to cut back on the action ^_^; So for me, my issue with Slashback is that the intrigue/mystery part wasn’t as strong as I’d hope.

And you know, Hils, regarding your sense of deja vu... Well I think it was Cal’s monologue again, how he’s dealing with the human and monster sides in him. Can’t be the case because it wasn’t about the Auphe, which by the way, I didn’t mind LOL. Can’t be the flashbacks... so that leaves the characters and mainly Cal :P

Leslie: I’m not sure if it was expectations based on previous books but I did miss the action scenes. Those action scenes tended to break up Cal’s monologues, goodness but he loves to talk to himself! In Slashback, his monologues felt like they dragged on a little too long. I did get that repetitive feeling too. It was a case of too much time spent in Cal’s head. I usually like his dry, self-deprecating humor. Still like it but sometimes I just want him to be more serious and not leave all that responsibility to Niko. Hils, this one took me more than a few sittings to read. Which surprised me since I usually devour this series.

Agree with you Nath, the current case didn’t feel as developed. But the offset was getting to know the brothers in their early years. Even though we’ve known Niko has had a tremendous responsibility since a very early age, it was heartbreaking to see not only how much responsibility he shouldered but how much blame he took upon himself.

Hilcia: Leslie, wow... that’s what happened to me with previous books. That’s interesting. But you know what? I didn’t miss the action all that much, which surprises me. What kept my attention more than anything was the suspense of what was going to happen to Niko and Cal in the storyline set in the past. In this case, the suspense was more effective for me than the actual action.

But yes, Cal’s continuing monologue and struggle between the human and monster sides of himself have become repetitive, that’s definitely part of that sense of deja vu. At this point, I’m losing track of where exactly Cal is on the growth or decompensation scale as a human/monster. He takes one step forward and three back! Also, we already know how deeply Niko and Cal feel about each other, I don’t think it’s really necessary to make it all about “how they would kill or die for each other,” we know that. Can we move on? But, there was also a sense of familiarity about the mystery itself that I can’t put my finger on. I’m referring to the contemporary storyline here, the one set in the past felt fresh and I was very much into that section of the story.

Nath: Hmmm, seems like I can’t help you here, Hils. For me, the repetitiveness came from Cal’s monologues. As you said, he seems to take one step forward and three back, sigh. As you’ve also pointed out, I don’t think we need to be shown again how the brothers would kill for each other. That being said, one thing that I did enjoy in the bromance in Slashback was to see a more human and flawed side of Niko. How he thrived for a bit of normalcy and the fact he’s done some mistakes and does not want to talk about them. Niko always seems so perfect, so level-headed, but at the end of the day, he is human and flawed like everyone else. Ok, less than everyone else, but still LOL.

While Slashback didn’t have as much action as previous books, I thought it made up with some revelations. What did you think of them? Let’s take them one at a time and start with the boys finally finding out the truth about the peris. About time no?

Leslie: I loved getting to know more about the mythology of the peris and seeing their abilities in action. There’s just so much more of this world to explore, I hope we see more of the peris.

Hilcia: Sigh... I love the bromance too, Nath. I just believe that Slashback was a long, involved way to show how Niko finally comes to certain, truthful realizations about Cal’s nature, and Cal realizes what he may be capable of if he continues on a certain path. This was needed, yes, but I wish that Thurman had done so within the already established story arc, instead of going on a tangent by focusing on the peris.

As far as the introduction of angels go, I think that came out of left field at this point in the series! I mean, so far Thurman has introduced multiple mythologies and creatures, but with the angels she goes into the whole Judeo-Christian realm. I don’t really know how I feel about that. I do, however, hope we see more of the peris. I like them.

Leslie: You’re right Hils, it did come out of left field. Almost as if Thurman realized she should have given this background sooner since the peris have been involved in the series for a while now. As for the religious connection, I’m curious as to how far Thurman will take it. I do wonder if this means the peris will become even more prevalent in Cal and Niko’s personal life. Maybe a female peri as Cal’s love interest? Talk about good girl attracted to bad boy! Of course I'm still hoping Georgie comes back. lol

Nath: Actually, the revelation about the peris isn’t coming out of the left field as much as you two ladies think. Did you guys read Ms Thurman’s other series, the Trickster series? Because those two books are very much focused on angels and demons and I guess that’s where Ms Thurman did most of her world building for that aspect. So the knowledge that peris are actually angels have been out there for a while. For me, I was happy that it finally came all together :) I wonder if there is going to be some cross-over... That’d be interesting!

A female peri as Cal’s love interest would be interesting, Leslie. However, if I remember correctly, I have not seen any woman as angels or demons... Even the peris we have seen in the Cal Leandros series have all been male, so I wonder if there are any female peris. In any case, I’m still hoping for the black hair girl that Cal met in that market... was it last book or two books ago?! I’m hoping she is a Trickster :P Cal has already gone the good girl route with Georgie and he really needs someone that can handle herself. Dahlia is not the best example, but at least with her, Cal didn’t have to worry for her ^_^;

Hilcia: Les, I’m SO glad you mentioned Georgie! After reading that rather mysterious scene in the last book, I really thought there would be something, more of a hint about her in Slashback. You know that I’m not a fan of Georgie, but I was actually disappointed that that story arc was not continued in this book. Instead, we got more revelations about Robyn and his relationship with Niko and Cal? What did you ladies think about that?

Nath, it’s interesting that Thurman features peris in her Trickster series, however, I personally don’t follow that series. However, since this is the first time peris as angels are mentioned in the Leandros series, it came out of left field for me! It’s an interesting concept, but she’s going to have to further develop it, or give readers more details, in order to really make it work in this series.

And, lol, I don’t know what woman would put up with Cal!

Nath: Hils, I know what about you mean about the world building. I hope Ms Thurman will flesh it out more in the future for those who missed the Trickster series.

As for Georgie, I think the reason we did not see her at all is because she is so closely tied to the Auphe’s storyline. I’m sure she will be mentioned when Grimm surfaces back. As for the peris, perhaps she’ll incorporate more of the world building in the next book, now that Cal and Niko know. However, I’m not sure to what extent given that New York City is without angels and demons and thus, the peris don’t have much reason to get involved. Also, they are there in sufferance - if it wasn’t for Robyn, they’d have been given the boot, so I think they will continue to keep a low profile.

As for the revelation about Robyn and his relationship with Niko and Cal, I thought it was interesting! I find it’s so much fun and makes the bond between the three even stronger. However, as much as like the connection, that’s the revelation I thought came out of the left field. Although as Robyn said, he’s been dropping some heavy hints recently. Still, there’s a difference between Archilles being your ancestor and you, being a reincarnation of Archilles! Makes me wonder when Ms Thurman had decided on this twist because I’m sure it wasn’t from the beginning! Still, she did a good job at explaining why the Leandros brothers haven’t recognize Robyn and why Robyn jumped on the bandwagon so fast LOL.

Leslie: I’ve read the first book in the Trickster series but don’t remember it. As for there being female peris, it’s possible they are fewer in number and not as “out there” as the males - keeping a lower profile. IDK The black hair girl in the market I don’t think was random either. It was Doubletake when she made her first appearance. (I cheated and checked our buddy review for it) It’s only been one book so I think she’ll be back and hopefully we’ll find out more about her. But I do agree that whomever Cal pairs up with she will need to be strong and able to take care of herself. So yeah, I was also disappointed with no sightings of my Georgie girl. But who knows what she’ll be like when she comes back? She could be all bad-ass. Hey, don’t laugh, it’s possible! lol

Nath: Leslie, you eternal optimist. Not giving up on Georgie, LOL.

Hilcia: Les, I believe that Thurman is saving Georgie for Cal. She’s coming back... I know it. LOL

Leslie: Nope, not giving up on Georgie. I’m stubborn when it comes to her. lol

As for Robin and his relationship with the brothers, I do like knowing they have this long-lasting bond. Fate keeps putting them together because they were meant to be together. Did it come out of left field? I would say no if I had read these books closer together and would have hopefully picked up on the clues. But since my memory is pretty much shot, it did surprise me. But like Robyn said, they were always comparing Niko to Achilles.

I did feel sorry for Robyn, knowing the brothers will eventually die and he must wait and hope to see them again. Like Cal said, Robyn is lonely and those years he gets with the brothers must be that much more treasured with the knowledge they will be gone again. So glad Robyn now has Ishiah now too.

Hilcia: I agree with you Leslie! I also think the revelation about the relationship between Robyn, Niko and Cal makes absolute sense! This worked for me because I think that Thurman was quite clever in how she worked in the details featured in previous books and taken from the interactions among all three men. I particularly liked the surprise in the flashback part of the story. That was kind of fun and at the same time... sad. You know. . . I love Robyn. He is fun and crazy and lascivious, but underneath it all, I feel sad for him. I also hope he keeps Ishiah. :D

Nath: I’m with you two. It is sad that he keeps losing them. At the same time, he knows he’ll see them again. I guess at the end of the day, it’s just bittersweet. Although I gotta love how they met again in this life. The pervert comment LOL. Even at such a young age, Cal could recognize them :P And I think this time, Robyn won’t let go of Ishiah.

So, final verdict on Slashback?

Leslie: It’s a solid installment to the series with some interesting revelations that should keep the story arc moving. The thing is, I’m not sure what direction that arc will take. Is that good or bad? I feel like we should have some idea of where the series is going at this point. I still enjoyed the book but it took too long to finish so I’m going with a B-.

Hilcia: Ladies, I’m conflicted about Slashback. I enjoyed the dual narrative from Niko and Cal’s perspectives, the quick read, and additional depth gained by our main characters in the flashback section. However within the contemporary setting, due to Cal’s repetitive monologue and a sense of deja vu, the storyline suffered. Additionally, I believe that the overall series has stalled and needs to move forward, or as much as I love Cal and Niko, I’ll lose interest. So in the end for me this was no more than a C+ read.

Nath: Jeez, and they say I’m the tough grader! LOL. I’m going with a B. The intrigue was a bit weak and there was some repetition, but the revelations and the flashbacks definitively made up for it :)

Wednesday, May 1

New Releases - May 2013

April was another good month for Nath and I here at Breezing Through.  Yay!  Now May may be a bit problematic...there aren't a lot of new releases we're both interested in.  LOL  She definitely has the urban fantasy and paranormal end of the genre spectrum covered. (Nath: And Ames is taking care of YA, New Adult and historical LOL)

As always, let us know if we missed anything!

May 1

His Risk to Take by Tessa Bailey
published by Entangled Publishing
The greater the risk, the hotter the reward...

Homicide cop Troy Bennett had a reputation on the Chicago PD for being fearless and in control—until the night his daredevil partner is killed during a raid. From that moment on, he swears he’ll never again be responsible for the loss of a loved one. To escape his demons, Troy transfers to the NYPD, bringing him up close and personal with Ruby Elliott, a beautiful, street-savvy pool hustler.

Reckless and stubbornly independent, Ruby embodies everything Troy’s avoiding, but when she walks into O’Hanlon’s Pub and blows his carefully laid plans to hell, Troy knows he has to have her—risks be damned. But there’s a connection between Ruby’s shadowed past and a case Troy’s working involving a notorious Brooklyn felon, throwing her safety into jeopardy. Confronted with his biggest fear, will Troy push Ruby away to keep her safe or fight to keep her in his arms where she belongs?
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Line of Duty, Book #2

Ames:  I recently read and enjoyed Protecting What's His by this author so of course I'm going to scoop up this one.

Game.Set. Match by Jennifer Iacopelli
published by Coliloquy
Nestled along the North Carolina coast, the Outer Banks Tennis Academy is the world's most elite training facility. In this pressure-cooker environment, futures are forged in blood and sweat, and dreams are shattered in an instant.

Penny Harrison, a rising female star, is determined to win the French Open and beat her archrival, Zina Lutrova. But when her coach imports British bad boy Alex Russell as her new training partner, will Penny be able to keep her laser-like focus?

Tennis is all Jasmine Randazzo has ever known. The daughter of two Grand Slam champions, she's hell-bent on extending her family’s legacy and writing her own happily-ever-after...until her chosen Prince Charming gives her the just-friends speech right before the biggest junior tournament of the year, the Outer Banks Classic.

With a powerful serve and killer forehand, newcomer Indiana Gaffney is turning heads. She’s thrilled by all of the attention, especially from Jack Harrison, Penny’s agent and hot older brother, except he keeps backing off every time things start heating up.

With so much at stake, dreams—and hearts—are bound to break. Welcome to OBX: Where LOVE is a four-letter word, on and off the court.
Genre: Young Adult
Series: Outerbanks Tennis Academy, Book #1

Nath: Interesting. Are sports academies going to be the new trend, after The Academy: Game On by Monica Seles? I have to wonder though if Ms Iacopelli got the sport feel better. I'm going to wait for your opinion, Ames, for this one :) By the way, I think the cover should have been more representative.

Ames:  I like tennis movies (but not watching real tennis, go figure lol) so this one appeals to me on that level.  But I also like sports romances AND I like when the heroine plays sports.  Win win win.  I will let you know what I think Nath.  :P

May 7

True To the Law by Jo Goodman
published by Berkley
He was on the hunt for a runaway beauty

“Find her” is the only instruction that private detective Cobb Bridger receives from Richard Mackey. The scion of a wealthy Chicago family, Mackey is desperate to know the whereabouts of the woman who disappeared from his employ, taking with her something of great value. Intrigued as much by what Mackey won’t say about the missing item as he is by Mackey’s description of the missing woman, Cobb accepts the assignment.

And the one true lie that could destroy them both

Bitter Springs, Wyoming, has a new schoolteacher who may or may not be exactly what she seems. Upon making the acquaintance of Miss Tru Morrow, Cobb begins to question the guilt of this golden-haired lady—and the protective feelings she stirs in him. His investigation hinges on understanding where the truth lies. Can he believe in Tru? Or is she just another treacherous woman out to swindle this hardened detective’s heart?
Genre: Historical Romance, Western
Series: n/a

Nath: The blurb sounds very interesting, but at the same time, very simple... and that scares me so much!! Because Ms Goodman has a tendency to surprise me with dark plots... so I'm going to wait for reviews for this one. However, True to the Law does intrigue me.

Ames:  I like Ms. Goodman's writing.  And there's something about school teachers and detectives back in the day that appeal to me.  LOL

Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris
published by Berkley (Ace)
There are secrets in the town of Bon Temps, ones that threaten those closest to Sookie—and could destroy her heart...

Sookie Stackhouse finds it easy to turn down the request of former barmaid Arlene when she wants her job back at Merlotte’s. After all, Arlene tried to have Sookie killed. But her relationship with Eric Northman is not so clearcut. He and his vampires are keeping their distance…and a cold silence. And when Sookie learns the reason why, she is devastated.

Then a shocking murder rocks Bon Temps, and Sookie is arrested for the crime.

But the evidence against Sookie is weak, and she makes bail. Investigating the killing, she’ll learn that what passes for truth in Bon Temps is only a convenient lie. What passes for justice is more spilled blood. And what passes for love is never enough...
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Sookie Stackhouse, Book #13

Ames:  Did I ever mention before that I thought the previous Sookie book was the final installment?  So when I read it and it did NOT answer any questions I was really upset. LOL  Then I figured out there's one more.  SO I think this is the final book of the series and I'm super excited to read it.  I want to know who Sookie ends up with!

The Cursed by Alyssa Day
published by Berkley
Bordertown private investigator Luke Oliver’s beat is the dimensional fold in Manhattan between the human and supernatural realms. But now a secret from his past—the League of the Black Swan—has surfaced. Because Luke isn’t any ordinary P.I. He’s the Dark Wizard of Bordertown, and he never backs down from a fight.

But this time the fight threatens his life and his heart. Rio Jones, the only woman he loved, needs his help against a deadly menace. Luke pushed her away once before, so she’d never fall prey to the curse that threatens to destroy him. He swore he’d never let her go again.

Luke and Rio, with the help of the newly reformed League, must keep evil forces from taking over Bordertown—all the while battling a passion on the razor’s edge between danger and desire. And going to take everything they have just to stay alive.
Genre: Paranormal romance
Series: League of the Black Swan, Book #1

Nath: I was never a big fan of Ms Day's Warriors of Poseidon series, but I'm always on the look-out for new series and always ready to give authors another chance. So I might pick up The Cursed depending on how I feel.

Alien In the House by Gini Koch
published by DAW
Jeff and Kitty Katt-Martini have learned the ins and outs of Washington politics, not to mention how to prevail in intergalactic war and foil dangerous plots. But, in the aftermath of Operation Destruction, the Gower girls’ powers are burned out, the entire A-C population has been “outed” as the aliens living on Earth that they are, and, worst of all, ACE is nowhere to be found.

Then murder and mayhem are served up at an important dinner party at the American Centaurion Embassy, and when the dust settles Alpha Team and the Diplomatic Corps have more problems than just a dead Congressman.

Is there a single criminal mastermind—or multiple enemies—behind all the conspiracies that want Kitty dead and the A-Cs gone or co-opted to become the War Division?

The return of the best assassins in the business, the reappearance of two individuals long-presumed dead, Agent Malcolm Buchanan felled by something no one can identify or cure, and new technology that can block even the most powerful empath on Earth … all of this means the game’s officially afoot.

Then Vance Beaumont comes to Kitty with a wild theory that someone is systematically killing off the House of Representatives...

It’s up to Kitty and the rest of the gang to find out what’s really going on and why. But will they be able to stop the killer or killers before the rest of the U.S. House of Representatives become casualties? And will the replacement Representative for New Mexico’s 2nd District, who happens to be Jeff Martini, be the next to die?
Genre: Science Fiction
Series: Katherine "Kitty" Katt, Book #7

Ames:  I am so far behind on this I'm throwing this up here so people know it's coming out, but I will be waiting until I catch up a bit before buying it.

Time Thief by Katie MacAllister
published by New American Library (Signet)
Outcast due to their ability to manipulate time, shunned by the mortal and immortal worlds alike, a Traveller’s life is anything but easy.

Peter Faa is a member of the Watch tracking down a murderer, and unfortunately, all clues seem to point toward his own estranged family of Travellers. Any of his cousins could be guilty, but which one? They’re all experts in the art of stealing time...

After surviving a lightning strike, Kiya Mortenson is determined to get just one thing in her life right. And if that means taking a job as nanny to five pugs on a campsite in the Oregon wilderness, then so be it. It doesn’t hurt that the job comes with some spectacular male eye candy, including her new boss’s gorgeous grandson. If only she didn’t keep having this strange sense of deja vu...

When Peter discovers his own family is stealing time from Kiya, all bets are off. While she may drive him crazy at times, it’s clear that it’s not just lightning that’s creating some serious sparks between them. And he’s not going to let secrets, lies, or a devious murderer keep Kiya from where she belongs: at his side.
Genre: Paranormal romance
Series: Traveller, Book #1

Nath: Basically, I have the same situation with Ms MacAllister as with Ms Day. Never really got hooked by Ms MacAllister's writing, but this blurb really sounds interesting so Time Thief is definitively on my radar. I like the fact that it's paranormal romance, but with a different premises such as time manipulation.

Down London Road by Samantha Young
published by New American Library
Johanna Walker is used to taking charge. But she’s about to meet someone who will make her lose control...

It has always been up to Johanna to care for her family, particularly her younger brother, Cole. With an absent father and a useless mother, she’s been making decisions based on what’s best for Cole for as long as she can remember. She even determines what men to date by how much they can provide for her brother and her, not on whatever sparks may—or may not—fly.

But with Cameron MacCabe, the attraction is undeniable. The sexy new bartender at work gives her butterflies every time she looks at him. And for once, Jo is tempted to put her needs first. Cam is just as obsessed with getting to know Jo, but her walls are too solid to let him get close enough to even try.

Then Cam moves into the flat below Jo’s, and their blistering connection becomes impossible to ignore. Especially since Cam is determined to uncover all of Jo’s secrets …even if it means taking apart her defenses piece by piece.
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: On Dublin Street, Book #2

Ames:  On Dublin Street was one of my favorite contemporary reads from last year.  I've re-read it a few times already.  I wasn't going to read this one but Wena and Holly both told me that even though Jo isn't the most likeable character in the first book, she's definitely shown in a different light in this book.  And just so you know, they were right.  :P

Levitating Las Vegas by Jennifer Echols
published by Simon & Schuster (Pocket Star)
Nothing up her sleeves...or so she’s been led to believe.

Showgirl Holly Starr is sick and tired of assisting her dad, a celebrity magician, in his Las Vegas casino magic show. As soon as he keeps his promise to her and shares the secrets to his tricks, she can break out on her own. But can she really make it? For years Holly has taken medication to stave off crazy hallucinations that she can levitate objects. Just when she thinks she’s ready to make a career and a life for herself, her medicine—and her luck—run out.

Elijah Brown suffers from a similar delusion—that he can read minds—and he’s out of medicine too. Determined to save himself and his old flame Holly, he kidnaps her and takes her straight to the source, a town high in the Rockies where their medicine is made. What they discover there leads them to suspect their powers are not imaginary after all...and neither is the intense attraction they feel for each other.

They make a pact to stick together as they return to Vegas to confront the people who kept them in the dark so long. But soon they’re pitting their powers against each other in a dangerous world where the nightlife is seductive, domination is addictive, the sex is beyond belief...and falling in love is murder.
Genre: New Adult
Series: n/a

Nath: Jeez, Ms Echols seems to have a lot of books out this year ^_^; I'm not really sure about this book. The word "showgirl" seems deceptive and the blurb just doesn't sound really New Adult. Perhaps I'll just stick to Ms Echols' YA books.

Ames:  I think she's more of a magician assistant, not a typical Vegas showgirl.  This one sounds different and I'm definitely intrigued.

Nath: That's why I said "showgirl" was deceptive. I thought Vegas dancer you know. I guess I'll wait for you to read it. And wow, that's really the official cover?!

Antidote to Murder by Felicity Young
published by HarperCollins Publisher
When an act of compassion misfires, autopsy surgeon Dr Dody McCleland must fight not only for her career, but also for her life.

The body of a scullery maid is discovered in her room. When it emerges that she had recently begged Dody to terminate an unwanted pregnancy, the coroner recommends Dody be tried for criminal abortion causing death. Meanwhile, the one man who might be able to help her, Chief Inspector Matthew Pike, is nowhere to be found. After another woman′s body is discovered bearing all the hallmarks of the same crime, Dody suspects that a rogue doctor is on the loose.

Amid the turbulence of Edwardian London with its mix of strikes, suffragettes, German spies, exotic dancers and an illicit drug trade, Dody must unmask the killer before more girls are butchered and her own life ends on the gallows.
Genre: Historical Fiction
Series: Dr. Dody McCleland, Book #2

Ames:  I enjoyed book 1 in this series (reviewed exactly a year ago!) and I've been looking forward to the sequel for a while now.  The time period is a very interesting one.  I hope this lives up to my expectations.

Icons by Margaret Stohl
published by Little, Brown Books
Your heart beats only with their permission.

Everything changed on The Day. The day the windows shattered. The day the power stopped. The day Dol's family dropped dead. The day Earth lost a war it didn't know it was fighting.

Since then, Dol has lived a simple life in the countryside -- safe from the shadow of the Icon and its terrifying power. Hiding from the one truth she can't avoid.

She's different. She survived. Why?

When Dol and her best friend, Ro, are captured and taken to the Embassy, off the coast of the sprawling metropolis once known as the City of Angels, they find only more questions. While Ro and fellow hostage Tima rage against their captors, Dol finds herself drawn to Lucas, the Ambassador's privileged son. But the four teens are more alike than they might think, and the timing of their meeting isn't a coincidence. It's a conspiracy.

Within the Icon's reach, Dol, Ro, Tima, and Lucas discover that their uncontrollable emotions -- which they've always thought to be their greatest weaknesses -- may actually be their greatest strengths.
Genre: Young Adult - Dystopian
Series: Icons #1

Ames:  I read Beautiful Creatures by this author (collab with another writer) and it was good so I'm looking forward to reading this solo effort of hers.  Plus it sounds interesting!

Nath: Not on my radar because I'm not a fan of dystopian YA, but you never know... Maybe Ames will love it so much I'll feel compelled to read it :)

The Originals by Cat Patrick
published by Little, Brown Books
17-year-olds Lizzie, Ella, and Betsey Best grew up as identical triplets... until they discovered a shocking family secret. They're actually closer than sisters, they're clones. Hiding from a government agency that would expose them, the Best family appears to consist of a single mother with one daughter named Elizabeth. Lizzie, Ella, and Betsey take turns going to school, attending social engagements, and a group mindset has always been a de facto part of life...

Then Lizzie meets Sean Kelly, a guy who seems to see into her very soul. As their relationship develops, Lizzie realizes that she's not a carbon copy of her sisters; she's an individual with unique dreams and desires, and digging deeper into her background, Lizzie begins to dismantle the delicate balance of an unusual family that only science could have created.
Genre: Young Adult, Sci-Fi
Series: n/a

Nath: I loved, loved, loved Forgotten by Ms Patrick. Since then, she's on my list of auto-buy authors for YA. By adding a sci-fi element to her stories, it just makes her books refreshing and different which is perfect for someone like me who doesn't care much about all the high school drama in contemporary YA. I'm curious to see how this one will unfold.

Loki's Wolves by K.L. Armstrong and M.A. Marr
published by Atom
In Viking times, Norse myths predicted the end of the world, an event called Ragnarok, that only the gods can stop. When this apocalypse happens, the gods must battle the monsters--wolves the size of the sun, serpents that span the seabeds, all bent on destroying the world.

The gods died a long time ago.

Matt Thorsen knows every Norse myth, saga, and god as if it was family history--because it is family history. Most people in the modern-day town of Blackwell, South Dakota, in fact, are direct descendants of either Thor or Loki, including Matt's classmates Fen and Laurie Brekke.

However, knowing the legends and completely believing them are two different things. When the rune readers reveal that Ragnarok is coming and kids--led by Matt--will stand in for the gods in the final battle, he can hardly believe it. Matt, Laurie, and Fen's lives will never be the same as they race to put together an unstoppable team to prevent the end of the world.
Genre: Fantasy Young Adult
Series: The Blackwell Pages, Book #1

Nath: Loki's Wolves is a YA collaboration between Kelley Armstrong and Melissa Marr. I'm a huge fan of Ms Armstrong, so there's no question I'm picking up Loki's Wolves. I'm curious because this is different from what I've read of Kelley Armstrong so far :)

May 14

Golden by Jessi Kirby
published by Simon & Schuster
Seventeen-year-old Parker Frost has never taken the road less traveled. Valedictorian and quintessential good girl, she’s about to graduate high school without ever having kissed her crush or broken the rules. So when fate drops a clue in her lap—one that might be the key to unraveling a town mystery—she decides to take a chance.

Julianna Farnetti and Shane Cruz are remembered as the golden couple of Summit Lakes High—perfect in every way, meant to be together forever. But Julianna’s journal tells a different story—one of doubts about Shane and a forbidden romance with an older, artistic guy. These are the secrets that were swept away with her the night that Shane’s jeep plunged into an icy river, leaving behind a grieving town and no bodies to bury.

Reading Julianna’s journal gives Parker the courage to start to really live—and it also gives her reasons to question what really happened the night of the accident. Armed with clues from the past, Parker enlists the help of her best friend, Kat, and Trevor, her longtime crush, to track down some leads. The mystery ends up taking Parker places that she never could have imagined. And she soon finds that taking the road less traveled makes all the difference.
Genre: Contemporary Young Adult
Series: n/a

Nath: Ms Kirby has been on my list of authors to try. Not sure this one is going to be the one, but I'm adding it to my radar :)

Ames:  Is this a road trip mystery novel?  It kind of sounds like it!  LOL  I haven't read this author before but this one sounds intriguing.

Nath: Do you think so? I don't know, it's a bit vague on details.

Inferno by Dan Brown
published by Knopf Doubleday
In the heart of Italy, Harvard professor of symbology Robert Langdon is drawn into a harrowing world centered on one of history’s most enduring and mysterious literary masterpieces...Dante’s Inferno.

Against this backdrop, Langdon battles a chilling adversary and grapples with an ingenious riddle that pulls him into a landscape of classic art, secret passageways, and futuristic science. Drawing from Dante’s dark epic poem, Langdon races to find answers and decide whom to trust...before the world is irrevocably altered.
Genre: Mystery, Fiction
Series: Robert Langdon, Book, Book #4

Ames:  Yes I read Dan Brown.  I like the history and art in his books.  His books are quick, satisfying mystery reads.

May 21

The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler
published by Simon Pulse
Jude has learned a lot from her older sisters, but the most important thing is this: The Vargas brothers are notorious heartbreakers. She’s seen the tears and disasters that dating a Vargas boy can cause, and she swore an oath—with candles and a contract and everything—to never have anything to do with one.

Now Jude is the only sister still living at home, and she’s spending the summer helping her ailing father restore his vintage motorcycle—which means hiring a mechanic to help out. Is it Jude’s fault he happens to be cute? And surprisingly sweet? And a Vargas?

Jude tells herself it’s strictly bike business with Emilio. Her sisters will never find out, and Jude can spot those flirty little Vargas tricks a mile away—no way would she fall for them. But Jude’s defenses are crumbling, and if history is destined to repeat itself, she’s speeding toward some serious heartbreak…unless her sisters were wrong?

Jude may have taken an oath, but she’s beginning to think that when it comes to love, some promises might be worth breaking.
Genre: Contemporary Young Adult
Series: n/a

Nath: This one has been recommended to me by Brie from Romance Around the Corner, so I'm most probably picking it up :) You don't turn your nose to recs :P

Ames:  Wena recommend this one to me.  LOL  So on the list it goes.

Nath: We're so easy, Ames LOL.

May 28

Once Upon a Tower by Eloisa James
published by Harpercollins Publisher (Avon)
Once upon a time...

A duke fell in love

Gowan Stoughton of Craigievar, Duke of Kinross, values order and self-control above all else. So when he meets a lady as serene as she is beautiful, he promptly asks for her hand in marriage.

With a lady

Edie—whose passionate temperament is the opposite of serene—had such a high fever at her own debut ball that she didn’t notice anyone, not even the notoriously elusive Duke of Kinross. When her father accepts his offer… she panics.

And when their marriage night isn’t all it could be, she pretends.

In a tower.

But Edie’s inability to hide her feelings makes pretending impossible, and when their marriage implodes, she retreats to a tower—locking Gowan out.

Now Gowan faces his greatest challenge. Neither commands nor reason work with his spirited young bride. How can he convince her to give him the keys to the tower...

When she already has the keys to his heart?
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Fairy Tales, Book #5

Nath: Sounds interesting, I like spirited heroines :) However, Ms James is often hit and miss for me, so we'll see how I feel when it comes out... and of course, the reviews ;)

Ames:  Another author I love and yet another series I'm far behind in.  *sigh*  I'm still buying this one!

Any Duchess Will Do by Tessa Dare
published by Harpercollins Publisher (Avon)
What’s a duke to do, when the girl who’s perfectly wrong becomes the woman he can’t live without?

Griffin York, the Duke of Halford, has no desire to wed this season—or any season—but his diabolical mother abducts him to “Spinster Cove” and insists he select a bride from the ladies in residence. Griff decides to teach her a lesson that will end the marriage debate forever. He chooses the serving girl.

Overworked and struggling, Pauline Simms doesn’t dream about dukes. All she wants is to hang up her barmaid apron and open a bookshop. That dream becomes a possibility when an arrogant, sinfully attractive duke offers her a small fortune for a week’s employment. Her duties are simple: submit to his mother’s “duchess training”...and fail miserably.

But in London, Pauline isn’t a miserable failure. She’s a brave, quick-witted, beguiling failure—a woman who ignites Griff’s desire and soothes the darkness in his soul. Keeping Pauline by his side won’t be easy. Even if Society could accept a serving girl duchess—can a roguish duke convince a serving girl to trust him with her heart?
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Spindle Cove, Book #4

Ames:  I enjoy Tessa's writing and this series has definitely been a winner for me.  :P

Lover Be Mine by Nicole Jordan
published by Random House Publishing (Ballantine Books)
When Lord Jack Wilde's cousin tries to match him with Lady Sophie Fortin, he isn't too thrilled by the prospect since Sophie's family has long feuded with the Wildes. Nevertheless he attends a masquerade ball in disguise and when he meets Sophie, he's drawn to her. The attraction is mutual-until she learns who he is. Angry that Jack has tricked her into lowering her guard under false pretenses, Sophie declares she doesn't ever want to see him again. But then Jack shows up in unexpected places, driving her crazy with his seductive advances. She doesn't want her parents finding out that she even knows him, let alone succumbed to his passionate kisses. If her father discovers Jack courting her, blood could be shed. Yet, Sophie still wants him and realizes that in order for the star-crossed lovers to be together, they must try to somehow settle the bitter feud between their families once and for all.
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Legendary Lovers, Book #2

Ames:  This is a take on Romeo and Juliet but this one sounds more light-hearted.  I like when the h/h don't like each other too.

It Had to Be You by Jill Shalvis
published by Grand Central Publishing
Ali Winters is not having a good day. Her boyfriend left her, everyone in town thinks she's a thief, and now she's about to be kicked out of her home. Her only shot at keeping a roof over her head and clearing her name is to beg for help from a police detective who's as sexy as he is stern...

After a high-profile case goes wrong, Luke Hanover returns to his hometown for some peace and quiet. Instead he finds a bombshell brunette in a heap of trouble. As he helps Ali put her world back together, the pieces of Luke's own life finally seem to fall into place. Is this the start of a sizzling fling? Or are Luke and Ali on the brink of something big in a little town called Lucky Harbor?
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Lucky Harbor, Book #7

Nath: Wow, book #7 in the Lucky Harbor series already?! Hard to believe. The blurb though isn't doing much for me so I think I'm going to skip this one.

Ames:  I like Jill's writing and her contemporaries are fun reads.  :P

A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams
published by Putnam Adult
Memorial Day, 1938: New York socialite Lily Dane has just returned with her family to the idyllic oceanfront community of Seaview, Rhode Island, expecting another placid summer season among the familiar traditions and friendships that sustained her after heartbreak.

That is, until Greenwalds decide to take up residence in Seaview.

Nick and Budgie Greenwald are an unwelcome specter from Lily’s past: her former best friend and her former fiancé, now recently married—an event that set off a wildfire of gossip among the elite of Seaview, who have summered together for generations. Budgie’s arrival to restore her family’s old house puts her once more in the center of the community’s social scene, and she insinuates herself back into Lily's friendship with an overpowering talent for seduction...and an alluring acquaintance from their college days, Yankees pitcher Graham Pendleton. But the ties that bind Lily to Nick are too strong and intricate to ignore, and the two are drawn back into long-buried dreams, despite their uneasy secrets and many emotional obligations.

Under the scorching summer sun, the unexpected truth of Budgie and Nick’s marriage bubbles to the surface, and as a cataclysmic hurricane barrels unseen up the Atlantic and into New England, Lily and Nick must confront an emotional cyclone of their own, which will change their worlds forever.
Genre: Historical Fiction
series: n/a

Ames:  I really enjoyed Overseas last year and I can't wait to read this one.

A Witch's Handbook of Kisses and Curses by Molly Harper
published by Simon & Schuster
Nola Leary would have been content to stay in Kilcairy, Ireland, healing villagers at her family’s clinic with a mix of magic and modern medicine. But a series of ill-timed omens and a deathbed promise to her grandmother have sent her on a quest to Half-Moon Hollow, Kentucky, to secure her family’s magical potency for the next generation. Her supernatural task? To unearth four artifacts hidden by her grandfather before a rival magical family beats her to it.

Complication One: Her grandfather was Mr. Wainwright and the artifacts are lost somewhere in what is now Jane Jameson's book shop.

Complication Two: her new neighbor, Jed Trudeau, who keeps turning up half naked at the strangest times, a distraction Nola doesn't need. And teaming up with a real-life Adonis is as dangerous as it sounds, especially when he’s got the face of an angel and the abs of a washboard—can Nola complete her mission before falling completely under his spell?
Genre: Paranormal romance
Series: Half Moon Hollow, Book #2

Nath: Not all of Ms Harper's books have been winners for me, but nevertheless, I simply like her writing style. Also based on the blurb, I feel A Witch's Handbook of Kisses and Curses sounds promising :) After vampires and werewolves, I'm looking forward to the witches!