Tuesday, September 24

Buddy Review: The Distance Between Us

All right, it has been a while since Nath and I did a buddy review.  But hopefully we're back into a groove.

The Distance Between Us by Kasie West
published by Harper Teen in July 2013
Money can't buy a good first impression.

Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers learned early that the rich are not to be trusted. And after years of studying them from behind the cash register of her mom's porcelain-doll shop, she has seen nothing to prove otherwise. Enter Xander Spence—he's tall, handsome, and oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and the fact that he seems to be one of the first people who actually gets her, she's smart enough to know his interest won't last. Because if there's one thing she's learned from her mother's warnings, it's that the rich have a short attention span. But just when Xander's loyalty and attentiveness are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn't a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she'd ever realized. With so many obstacles standing in their way, can she close the distance between them?
Genre:  Young Adult
Series:  n/a

Nath: So, so, so Ames! What did you think of The Distance Between Us? :P For me, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but in the end, I did enjoy this book :)

Ames: I know what you mean. I was kind of thinking it would be a bit of a miss for me because of the wealthy/not wealthy aspects of the story. But luckily, I enjoyed it. I mean, I had some issues, but overall I enjoyed it.

Nath: Nod nod, I had a few niggles as well, but more on that later! Why don’t we start with the good aspects of The Distance Between Us? :) One of them for me was the characters. There was a nice cast of characters although I have to say, Cayman and Xander made the book for me :) I liked that they were flawed which made them feel more realistic.

Ames: Yes, I really enjoyed the characters as well. Cayman has that sarcastic sense of humour that I get so well. And Xander. He was a good character as well. He was not what Cayman was expecting and I liked that. He wasn’t a stuck up rich kid. He was genuinely nice and definitely yummy. I also liked Cayman’s friend and the band members.

Nath: That’s actually what was so interesting between the two! Xander was genuinely a nice and yummy young man... but he’s had a privileged upbringing. And while he didn’t lord it over Cayman, there were still instances where it showed. Like not knowing where stuff were in his own kitchen, the beckoning movement, etc. It doesn’t make Xander a bad guy because his family is rich and I’m glad that’s how Ms West portrayed it. I’m also glad that Cayman wasn’t embarrassed by her own lifestyle. That she wasn’t over-conscious about being poor. In a way, Cayman and Xander saw each other as equals and that was very refreshing. That’s why the book worked so well and made their romance believable :)

Between, I also liked Cayman’s friend and the band members :) Although they didn’t have such a big presence, Ms West was able to show that there is more underneath the surface, that there is depth :)

Ames: The other thing I liked about Cayman and Xander were the ‘non-dates’ they had. Their excuse to hang out with each, by finding out what potential careers they could have, I thought that was cute and something that could happen in reality.

And now the good stuff, what didn’t you like? LOL

Nath: LOL, okay. This is not a real big issue, more like a niggle, but I thought Cayman and Xander should have been college-age instead of high schoolers. The whole emphasis on their career was actually quite interesting and I think, something real that people really face… but the way Cayman and Xander behaved, some of the stuff they actually did, it seemed a bit too mature for 16-17 years old. Just one or two years older would have made it better in my opinion… especially in Xander’s case since his father is pushing him into the family business. By the way, I liked that the parents were present in The Distance Between Us and that Cayman and Xander actually had interactions with them.

Ames: I agree. I thought Xander acted way older than his age. For Cayman, she was very mature, I felt like she tried to put a lot on her shoulders, trying to help her mom out. I liked that the parents were present in the story as well. But that was one of the things that frustrated me - Cayman’s mom. She had some big secrets and it bothered me that she was trying to hide stuff from Cayman.

Another thing was the grandparents that showed up at the end of the story. I felt like things were left unsaid between them and Cayman and with her mom too. There needed to be a heart-to-heart somewhere in the ending and we didn’t get one.

Nath: I kind of understand why Cayman’s mom kept some secrets - at least, the business ones - from Cayman. Cayman already shouldered a lot of the responsibilities, knowing how badly the business was doing… In a way, she was just trying to protect her daughter. The secret concerning her background though, she definitely shouldn’t have hidden it. I think there’s just so much you should do because of pride… Depriving your daughter from good grandparents and a better lifestyle, I don’t think it was worth it.

I agree with you about a heart-to-heart talk. I think there should have been an epilogue or something more. Perhaps there will be a sequel? Otherwise, my only other complaint about The Distance Between Us was Tic… not the character, but his relationship with Cayman. It was just too vague… He was like the third party, but without really being one because I don’t think Cayman was really interested in him… I think Ms West should have either left it out or really make him into a love rival for Xander, not the in-between stage that it was.

Ames: Tic was interested, but he could see which way the wind was blowing. I’m glad that he wasn’t a rival. I know Tic’s presence made Xander realize that there were other people interested in Cayman. I was ok with that. There are enough love triangles in YA. LOL

Any final thoughts?

Nath: So true. It’s not that I really wanted a love triangle, it’s just that I would have liked Cayman to be more assertive where Tic was concerned, with her feelings.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Distance Between Us. It wasn’t without flaws, but the writing style and voice, as well as the characters made up for them :) And I think the not knowing, the fumbling feeling just made what Cayman and Xander were going through more real, because it was new for the both of them. I’m giving this book a B :)

Your final thoughts, Ames?

Ames: I’m giving it a B as well. I enjoyed it but some things bothered me. In the end though, I really liked Cayman and Xander. :P

Monday, September 9

Buddy Review: Between the Lines by Tammara Webber

Wena and I were doing so well posting a review once a month.  Whoops!  But things have a way of falling by the wayside when summer rolls around.  That's our excuse.  LOL

But now we're back!

Between the Lines by Tammara Webber
self-published in 2011
Reid Alexander is used to getting what he wants – and what he wants next is his newest costar, Emma Pierce. The universe is lining up nicely to grant his wish, until he’s confronted with two unexpected obstacles on location: a bitter ex-girlfriend and a rival for Emma’s affections.

Emma Pierce just got her big break after years of filming commercials and made-for-TV movies. Winning the lead role in a wide-release film – opposite the very hot Reid Alexander – should be a dream come true. But Emma’s heart is hiding a secret fantasy: she wants to be a normal girl.
Genre: Young Adult
Series: Between the Lines #1

Ames: Ok Wena. You reading this book inspired me to re-read it, something I had wanted to do to review it. So thank you. And I'm glad you read it. Wasn't it cute?

Rowena: It really was. I’m kind of mad that it took me so long to read this book. I enjoyed getting to know the different characters and even though I spent a good deal of the book confused over who the love interest was…in the end, I LOVED the guy that Emma ended up falling for and I had high hopes for the other guy. This was such a good read. What did you think?

Ames: I honestly forgot how much I enjoyed it. I really liked the set up - young actors doing a modern interpretation of Pride and Prejudice...which also kind of acted out in their personal lives too! What makes it great is Emma and the other characters. You feel like you're right there with them, on set and then in their hotel rooms, getting to know each other. A book that can immerse you into it like that is always a fun time.

Rowena: I totally agree with that, I was so immersed in this story that I continued right on with the second book right after I finished this one. I loved getting to know Emma and Reid, even though Reid’s character left much to be desired. He was such a prick and I had no idea how Webber was going to turn that shit around, considering I didn’t like him very much. But in the end, I decided that he wasn’t completely irredeemable so I came to like him in the end….and want more from him. Though to be honest, it wasn’t until the second book that I absolutely, irrevocably fell in love with Emma’s love interest. Love, love, love that guy.

Ames: I loved Emma's love interest right from the get-go. Even before he was a possible love interest. LOL I really liked his character and that scene on her bed, when they kiss? Wowzers. haha

Reid's character...I felt like his internal dialog was very true to a young man his age, with his experience. Like he just wanted to get into girls' pants. But I definitely felt there was some character growth with him and a lot of that had to do with Emma. This book is such a winner because she's such a good character. She had a good head on her shoulders and that always makes a difference for me.

Rowena: Yeah, I know what you mean about the character growth in Reid. You could tell that there was a lot of room for him to grow and with Emma’s influence on him, I just knew he was going to make it. With me, I was so confused on who the love interest was because I was so sure that it was one persons since we were inside his head but what I thought was completely different from what actually was and I thought that was very clever of Webber.

Can you tell if a person is drunk through emails? I wonder.

The one character that I couldn’t bring myself to like in this book was Brooke. For some reason, she really rubbed me the wrong way, even when the shit hits the fan at the end and her story comes pouring out. I just didn’t like her.

Ames: I think you can tell someone is drunk through email. One doesn't pay too close attention to spelling. LOL

Brooke, I was ambivalent about her and then I felt a bit of sympathy for her once some of her backstory came to light. She seemed ok to me because she hung out with the girls and even with the stuff that went on between her and Reid, she didn't outright tell Emma to back off. Not until later, when she was drunk. And she didn't stop being Emma's friend when Emma and Reid started dating.

Rowena: I wanted to be ambivalent but I knew that I probably wasn’t going to like her much as her story progressed and even finding out the full story didn’t help her cause in my book. I shook my head because that was handled so badly but both parties and them being young wasn’t a good enough excuse for their actions.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I enjoyed getting to know the characters (even the characters that I didn’t like all that much) and I really, really got into Emma’s story. I didn’t blame Emma for getting caught up in the dazzling world Reid introduced her to and I really loved that she tried to stay true to who she was and who she wanted to be. She was a good influence on Reid and she gave me hope that Reid will be redeemed. I also adored the hell out of Graham and wanted more from him. If anything, that was what I thought was missing from this book. More Graham. I’m glad to see that it was fixed in the next book in this series. Love, love, love me some Graham. Brooke? Meh.

Ames: I agree, this book needed more Graham. He was a good character and I'm glad we get some of his POV in the next book.

Another thing I thought was handled well was Emma's relationship with her father. She had so much anger towards him and she kept it bottled up inside. I thought her whole story arc was handled in a realistic way and that even pertains to her relationship with her father. She didn't want to be a mega movie star the way her step-mother was kind of forcing her to be. She wanted to do indie movies and be somewhat regular. Her experience with Reid really strengthened that conviction. And then the stuff with her dad, that was good. She was such a well-rounded character and that's why I loved this book so much.

Rowena: I agree. This book was written in a way that stayed true to each character and their backgrounds. I thought Webber did a great job of portraying each character in a light that was true to what she was trying to portray. She did that really well with both Emma and Reid. It was an all around great read and I’m glad you brought it to my attention. I really enjoyed it.

I’d give this book a very high B….but mostly because there wasn’t enough Graham in this one. What about you?

Ames: This one gets a B+ from me. I enjoyed it tremendously both times I read it. :P

Sunday, September 1

New Releases - September 2013

Wow, hard to believe we're already in September! Summer is almost over, noooooo! :( Although usually, it means that there are a lot of good releases coming up... Unfortunately, it's not the case this year :( I don't know, September feels a bit anemic this year. Yes, we still have quite a lengthy post, but there's a lot more books that are "maybes" than "for sure." Actually, that's how the whole year of 2013 has felt like... Perhaps I should be glad the year is going by so fast...

Let us know if we missed some interesting books!

September 3

Her Favorite Rival by Sarah Mayberry
published by Harlequin (SuperRomance)
A new meaning for office politics

Audrey Mathews has worked hard to get here. Now she's up for a promotion and nothing will stand in her way—including Zach Black. He's hot, smart and the competition. When they're assigned to the same project, she's shocked at how much she actually likes about him …and how much she misjudged him.

Before long Audrey is seriously falling for Zach—and indulging in an affair that's against company policy. And the stakes rise when it's clear only one of them can get ahead. So where do they draw the line between competition and love? Especially when she doesn't want to lose either the promotion or the guy….
Genre: Category romance, Contemporary
Series: Connected to Her Favorite Temptation

Nath: Ms Mayberry is on my auto-buy list of authors which is why I couldn't wait and actually requested Her Favorite Rival from Netgalley. I should be writing my review very soon :) For now though, I recommend Her Favorite Rival for those who wants to read a solid story :)

Ames:  This one sounds cute.  Sarah is an auto-buy author for me as well.  And I'm glad to hear you recommend it, Nath.

High Passion by Vivian Arend
published by Berkley
LIFELINE: an elite search-and-rescue squad based out of Banff, Alberta. Specializing in high-risk rescue missions, this team goes wherever the job takes them…

Alisha Bailey left a life of privilege for the dangerous but thrilling world of search and rescue. Denying the lure of attraction to her teammate is another sacrifice she’s made to prove to everyone—including her family— that she’s more than a pretty face or a business commodity.

Since their training days, Devon Leblanc has used the competitive fire between them to hide his fascination with the petite beauty. When a natural disaster forces their rivalry aside, heated passion finally flares between them. Sexual pleasure slowly gives way to a new appreciation for each other’s skills—on the field and in the bedroom.

But when unexplained accidents begin happening to the Lifeline team, their newfound unity may be their only hope for survival…
Genre: Contemporary romance, Romantic Suspense
Series: Adrenaline Search & Rescue, Book #2

Nath: Ames and I reviewed the first book of the series, High Risk, earlier this year. I liked the premise of the series and enjoyed the story enough to want to check out High Passion :) Interested to see how the romance between Alisha and Devon will develop!

Ames:  I really like that this series takes place in Canada.  :P  And I'm looking forward to Alisha and Devon's relationship proceeds because they didn't really like each other in High Risk, if I remember correctly.

Nath: There were undercurrents between them, Ames. You cannot annoy each other so much without a good reason... and attraction is a good reason :P

Against the Ropes by Sarah Castille
published by Sourcebooks
He scared me. He thrilled me. And after one touch, all I could think about was getting more…

Makayla never thought she’d set foot in an underground mixed-martial arts club. But if anyone needs a medic on hand, it’s these guys. Trouble is, at her first sight of the club’s owner she’s the one feeling breathless.

All sleek muscle and restrained power, the man they call Torment plays to win at any cost. Whether it’s in the ring or in the bedroom, he knows exactly when to use a soft touch and when to launch a full-on assault. He always knows just how far he can push. And he’s about to tempt Makayla in ways she never imagined…
Genre: Contemporary romance, Sports romance
Series: None

Nath: Oh, this wasn't on my radar, but it sounds interesting! The setting sounds good! Let me know how it is, Ames!

Ames:  I will.  Isn't that cover yummy?

Nath: LOL, I'm more interested by the blurb :P

Flirting with Fortune by Erin Knightley
published by New American Library (Signet)
An Honest Deception

Sir Colin Tate has never imagined marrying for money. But debts left by his artist father have put his siblings’ futures in danger. To wed an eligible heiress, this independent-minded Scot must play by restrictive rules—until an irresistible lady dares to pursue her passion for art…and him.

An Unexpected Desire

Lady Beatrice Moore can spy a fortune hunter as expertly as she captures subjects on canvas. But when she meets the striking son of Britain’s most celebrated painter, the attraction is instantaneous—blinding her to the possibility that he could ever be one of those schemers…

An Unthinkable Dilemma

Then the truth comes out, shattering Lady Beatrice’s faith in the mischievous yet kind man who has captured her heart. With reputations and fortunes hanging in the balance, Colin and she must find a way to trust in a love that cannot be proven—or face an unfathomable loss.
Genre: Historical romance
Series: Sealed with a Kiss, Book #3

Nath: I've read the first book in this series, More Than a Stranger, and enjoyed it. The second book didn't really appeal to me because of the storyline, but I'm interested in Flirting with Fortune. Mostly because I really liked the glimpse of Beatrice that we've got in More Than a Stranger :P Still, this story sounds cute.

Ames:  I don't think I've read this author before but the set-up for this one definitely sounds good.  This one is on my radar now!

Blue by You by Rachel Gibson
published by Harpercollins Publisher (Avon Impulse)
They say you never forget your first time, but there's nothing Blue Butler and Kasper Pennington would rather forget than their brief but fiery teenage love affair. Yeah, it was hot while it lasted, but then he went off to join the Marines, leaving Blue in New Orleans. She's tried to block him from her mind for good, but nothing can really erase the feeling she had when she was with him.

And now he's got the nerve to return—leaner, meaner, and strong enough to pull her into his arms and kiss her senseless. Blue's a successful businesswoman now, with no time to figure out what went wrong all those years ago. But Kasper knows she's the one woman for him … and now he's got to prove it to her all over again.
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Military Men, Book #1.5 (?)

Ames:  I haven't read a Rachel Gibson in forever!  I think the premise of this one makes it a good place to get back on the RG bandwagon.  I like lovers reunited and Marines.

Nath: I like the cover :P I think I'm going to wait for reviews for this one.

September 10

The Untamed Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley
published by Berkley
To redeem her family’s disgraced name, Lady Louisa Scranton has decided to acquire a proper husband. He needs to be a man of fortune and highly respectable in order to restore both her family's lost wealth and reputation. She enters the Marriage Mart with all flags flying, determined to find the right bachelor. But Louisa’s hopes are dashed when the Bishop of Hargate drops dead at her feet—and she is shockingly accused of murder! Soon, Louisa’s so-called friends begin shunning her, because the company of a suspected killer is never desirable in polite society. The problem comes to the ears of Detective Inspector Lloyd Fellows, by-blow of the decadent Scottish Mackenzie family and an inspector for Scotland Yard. He has shared two passionate kisses with Lady Louisa–and vows to clear her name. For not only does he know she’s innocent, he recognizes he’s falling for the lovely lady. Fellows is Louisa's only hope of restoring her family's honor—and it is he alone who intrigues Louisa in a way that may be even more scandalous than murder…
Genre: Historical romance
Series: Highland Pleasures, Book #5.5

Nath: I wasn't aware of this novella, probably in preparation for the next installment in the series, The Wicked Deeds of Daniel Mackenzie, coming out in October... I've disconnected from this series back with The Duke's Perfect Wife, but I'm definitively going to be reading The Wicked Deeds of Daniel Mackenzie... Perhaps The Untamed Mackenzie is a good book to catch up with the second generation of Mackenzies...

Ames:  I re-read Ian's book a while back and Lloyd was always someone that stood out for me.  He was so angry and for good reason.  But since I haven't exactly kept up with this series (Isabella's was the last one I read) so I don't know if he was ever mentioned again.  I'm looking forward to reading this one.

Nath: Wait, Lloyd was in Ian's book?! I'm all lost now LOL.

Ames:  Yeah, he was the Inspector that was after Ian, remember?

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
published by St. Martin's Press
A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love.

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan...

But for Cath, being a fan is her life — and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words... And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?
Genre: Fiction, Young Adult (?), Contemporary
Series: None

Nath: Ms Rowell has become an author whose books I look forward to because of her writing, but also her uniqueness. What I mean is that she writes the stories that she wants and doesn't follow trend. I'm really looking forward to Fangirl even though I'm a bit apprehensive because I have no idea of the Simon Snow series that is mentioned in the blurb and wonder if it'll affect my enjoyment of the book... Still, my concern has not stopped me from pre-ordering the book LOL.

Ames:  Nath, I think the Simon Snow series is something that the author made up.  And I agree, Rainbow is a very unique writer and I really her enjoy her books and her characters.  I've pre-ordered this one, but I think I need to re-read Attachments in the meantime.  Haha

Nath: Oh! Oh... Well that's one thing less to worry :) Now I can just enjoy the book LOL.

September 15

Cake by Lauren Dane
published by Harlequin (Cosmo Red Hot Reads)
She won’t be satisfied with just one bite...

Art student-slash-bike messenger Wren Davis pursues what she wants. And what she wants now is Gregori Ivanov, rock star of the Seattle art scene. With his tattoos, piercings and sensual sneer, Gregori is the ultimate bad boy. Wren’s gotten to know the man beneath the body art, too—and it only makes her crave him more.

But Gregori loves women like he loves cake and champagne—intensely, but only for the moment. And after Wren experiences just how scorching sex with Gregori is, she’s determined to show him that just one taste won’t be enough...
Genre: Contemporary romance, Erotica
Series: None

Nath: From the title, I thought this was another book in the Delicious series!

Ames:  This one sounds hot.  And I love that Wren is a bike messenger!

Nath: That something that appeals to me as well :P

September 17

Thankless in Death by J.D. Robb
published by Putnam
Lieutenant Eve Dallas has plenty to be grateful for this season. Hosting Roarke’s big Irish family for the holiday may be challenging, but it’s a joyful improvement on her own dark childhood.

Other couples aren’t as lucky as Eve and Roarke. The Reinholds, for example, are lying in their home stabbed and bludgeoned almost beyond recognition. Those who knew them are stunned—and heartbroken by the evidence that they were murdered by their own son. Twenty-six-year-old Jerry hadn’t made a great impression on the bosses who fired him or the girlfriend who dumped him—but they didn’t think he was capable of this.

Turns out Jerry is not only capable of brutality but taking a liking to it. With the money he’s stolen from his parents and a long list of grievances, he intends to finally make his mark on the world. Eve and her team already know the who, how, and why of this murder. What they need to pinpoint is where Jerry’s going to strike next.
Genre: Mystery, Romantic Suspense
Series: In Death, Book #37

Nath: Always looking forward to an In Death book :) I just can't stop picking them up and seriously, not sure I want to. I just hope that the blurb didn't reveal too much ^_^;

September 24

Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller
published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Stolen as a child from her large and loving family, and on the run with her mom for more than ten years, Callie has only the barest idea of what normal life might be like. She's never had a home, never gone to school, and has gotten most of her meals from laundromat vending machines. Her dreams are haunted by memories she’d like to forget completely. But when Callie’s mom is finally arrested for kidnapping her, and Callie’s real dad whisks her back to what would have been her life, in a small town in Florida, Callie must find a way to leave the past behind. She must learn to be part of a family. And she must believe that love--even with someone who seems an improbable choice--is more than just a possibility.
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Series: None

Nath: This wasn't on my radar, but it sounds quite good! Thanks Ames!

Ames:  I've been seeing some early reviews for this book and they're good.  They definitely caught my interest.  And it's amazing because both her parents are ALIVE.  I'm sick and tired of the trend in YA to have one parent die.  BLEH.

Nath: I seconded, not that I've been reading that many YA lately...

Charming by Elliott James
published by Orbit
John Charming isn't your average Prince...

He comes from a line of Charmings — an illustrious family of dragon slayers, witch-finders and killers dating back to before the fall of Rome. Trained by a modern day version of the Knights Templar, monster hunters who have updated their methods from chainmail and crossbows to kevlar and shotguns, he was one of the best. That is — until he became the abomination the Knights were sworn to hunt.

That was a lifetime ago. Now, he tends bar under an assumed name in rural Virginia and leads a peaceful, quiet life. One that shouldn't change just because a vampire and a blonde walked into his bar... Right?
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Pax Arcana, Book #1

Nath: I've been on the look-out for new urban fantasy series and this blurb caught my attention. It sounds quite different and I think I'll be giving it a a try :)

The Counterfeit Mistress by Madeline Hunter
published by Penguin (Jove)
The Beauty. The Spy. And the Beholder.

A refugee from the war in France, Marielle Lyon has established herself at the fringes of London society. Claiming to be the niece of an executed aristocrat, Marielle welcomes the gossip that she is a spy. The more eyes she has watching her, the better protected she is—and the better chance she has of saving her father’s life.

A warrior at heart, Alban Norwood, Viscount Kendale, would still be in uniform if not for his older brother’s untimely death. After all he’s seen, Kendale doesn’t trust the French—or their femmes fatales. He has set up a surveillance network to ferret out undercover agents, and he believes he’s found one in the delicate, mysterious Marielle.

Ready to pounce on his tempting prey, Kendale arranges a meeting with Marielle, who is more beautiful and more cunning than he anticipated. But the Viscount is ready to do whatever it takes to unmask her—even if it means playing a game of seduction…
Genre: Historical romance
Series: Fairbourne Quartet, Book #3

Nath: Having really been in the mood for historical romance this year, but I'm putting this book on my radar because it's Ms Hunter and the blurb sounds interesting. It's the time period I think :P

Run to You by Rachel Gibson
published by Harpercollins Publisher (Avon)
There's nothing like fleeing Miami to ruin a girl's day. Stella Leon's bartending gig was going fine until gorgeous ex-Marine Beau Junger decked her mob-connected boss, spirited her out of the city, and claimed that Stella's half-sister—the one with the perfect life—sent him. Now Stella has no choice but to go along for the ride... and seduce Beau's military-issue socks off... The Marine Corps was Beau's escape from his old man's legacy of naval heroism and serial philandering, but no amount of training could prepare him for the day he looked in the mirror and saw his father staring back. The answer: swear off meaningless sex. Oh, and find a way to make Stella Leon quit being so damn hot...
Genre: Contemporary romance
Series: Military Men, Book #2

Nath: Wow, it feels like it's been a while since Ms Gibson's last release... Her latest books haven't really been working out for me, so I think I'll be waiting for reviews before I pick up Run to You. Still, it's Rachel Gibson and that's why this book is on my radar.

Ames:  This one sounds cute.  I like bartenders and Marines.  haha

Nath: LOL.

Always on my Mind by Jill Shalvis
published by Grand Central Publishing
There's nothing like the real thing

After dropping out of pastry school and messing up her big break on a reality cooking show, Leah Sullivan needs to accomplish something in her life. But when she returns home to Lucky Harbor, she finds herself distracted by her best friend, Jack Harper. In an effort to cheer up Jack's ailing mother, Dee, Leah tells a little fib - that she and Jack are more than just friends. Soon pretending to be hot-and-heavy with this hunky firefighter feels too real to handle...

No-strings attachments suit Jack just fine - perfect for keeping the risk of heartbreak away. But as Jack and Leah break every one of their "just friends" rules, he longs to turn their pretend relationship into something permanent. Do best friends know too much about each other to risk falling in love? Or will Jack and Leah discover something new about each other in a little town called Lucky Harbor?
Genre: Contemporary romance
Series: Lucky Harbor, Book #8

Nath: Friends to lovers is one theme that I enjoy a lot. Add in the heroine does some kind of cooking and I'm in :)

Ames:  *sigh*  Best friends to lovers with a firefighter?  SWOON

Two Times as Hot by Cat Johnson
published Kensington
One Good Girl...
After her sister snags a hot Oklahoma cowboy, Emma Hart figures it’s her turn to saddle up. And with two country boys pursuing her at once, she’s in for a wild ride...

Two Sexy Guys...
Lieutenant Colonel Logan Hunt can’t deny the heat between him and Emma is fierce. But Logan isn’t looking for anything serious...just a chance to blow off some steam. So why is he crazy jealous when he sees pro bull rider Jace Mills trying to charm Emma into bed?

Winner Takes All...
Logan knows he and Emma could have something special—and not just because she’s smokin’ hot. Now he has to find a way to prove that even a no-strings-attached guy like him can stick around for the long haul…
Genre: Contemporary romance
Series: Oklahoman Nights, Book #2

Nath: I discovered Ms Johnson in the anthology He's the One. I really liked her entry in that one and so, I want to give one of her full-length novels a try :) Not sure about the love triangle, but who knows? Plus, I like that the story takes place in a city, especially one that I don't know :P

Ames:  Ok, I'm a fan of cowboys and bull riders and I'll definitely want you to let me know if you liked this one, Nath.  :P

The Sugar Cookie Sweetheart Swap by Donna Kauffman, Kate Angell and Kimberly Kincaid
published by Kensington
For friends Clara, Abby and Lily, only one thing is more delicious than the Pine Mountain holiday cookie exchange – finding the right man before they ring in the New Year!

Where There's Smoke... by Donna Kauffman

When flames from a recipe gone disastrously wrong send hunky firefighter Will Mason to pretty Clara Parker's rescue, the sparks really begin to fly! And once Will gets a taste of Clara, he aches for more than just a little sugar from the famously single food columnist...

The Gingerbread Man by Kate Angell

Folks have always told fun-loving Abby Denton that her anatomically correct Gingerbread cookies are... impressive. But those erotic cookies have nothing on the sexy stranger Abby saves from a snowy country road. Could Lander Reynolds be the Christmas treat she's truly been longing for?

Sugar And Spice by Kimberly Kincaid

When caterer Lily Callahan goes up against hotshot pastry chef Pete Mancuso in the bake-off of the season, the stakes are high--and scandalously passionate. Will the gorgeous gourmand steal Lily's heart--and the top prize in the Christmas cookie competition?
Genre: Contemporary romance
Series: None

Nath: I only pick up anthologies when there's an author I'm interested in who has an entry. In The Sugar Cookie Sweetheart Swap, I'm looking forward to Ms Angell and Ms Kauffman's short stories - two out of three, that's pretty good :P

Going Once by Sharon Sala
published by Harlequin (Mira)
As raging floodwaters engulf her Louisiana hometown Nola Landry is stranded on high ground, the unwitting witness to the brutal murder of three fellow survivors. Finally rescued in the aftermath of the storm, no one is willing to believe a story as horrific as hers—until three FBI agents arrive on the scene…one of whom Nola knows very well.

Tate Benton has been tracking the so-called Stormchaser serial killer for months, never expecting the trail might lead him home, or to the woman he cannot forget. Home is now a ravaged town full of memories—of love, of disappointment, of past mistakes. The investigation brings Nola back into his life. Long-buried feelings resurface, and the former lovers try to pick up the pieces in the wake of the disaster.

Amid the relief effort the killer lingers, determined to silence Nola forever. In the Stormchaser's twisted mind the pain is far from over and hers is just beginning.
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Forces of Nature, Book #1

Nath: I have this one on my radar because it's Ms Sala, but not sure I'll be picking it up. I've had problems with the last few books of hers that I have read... Plus the setting of this one somehow sounds similar to her Storm Front trilogy from a few years ago. Guess I'll wait for reviews before making a decision.

The Stranger You Know by Andrea Kane
published by Harlequin (Mira)
It begins with a chilling phone call to Casey Woods. And ends with another girl dead.

College-age girls with long red hair. Brutally murdered, they're posed like victims in a film noir. Each crime scene is eerily similar to the twisted fantasy of a serial offender now serving thirty years to life - a criminal brought to justice with the help of Forensic Instincts.

Call. Kill. Repeat. But the similarities are more than one psychopath's desire to outdo another. As more red-haired victims are added to the body count, it becomes clear that each one has been chosen because of a unique connection to Casey - a connection that grows closer and closer to her.

Now the Forensic Instincts team must race to uncover the identity of a serial killer before his ever-tightening circle of death closes in on Casey as the ultimate target. As the stalker methodically moves in on his prey, his actions make one thing clear: he knows everything about Casey. And Casey realizes that this psychopathic won't stop until he makes sure she's dead.
Genre: Mystery/Thriller, Romantic Suspense
Series: Forensic Instincts, Book #3

Nath: This series hasn't wowed me so far, but there's something about it that I'm enjoying. I'm hoping that this one will be the one, especially since the case is connected to Casey :)

Midnight Lies by Ella Grace
published by Random House Publishing (Ballantine Books)
It's always hotter at midnight.

The winds of fate have blown cruelly on a family that once had it all: money, power, prestige. The lives of three beautiful daughters were forever changed when, on a sultry night in Midnight, Alabama, a murder-suicide shattered the Wilde family. The girls grew up to live separate lives but now have returned home, each to face a danger no one can see coming.

Former homecoming queen Samantha surprised everyone by going into law enforcement, but beneath her tough fa├žade lies a wary heart. The tragedy that struck her family is an ever-present reminder that nothing is ever as it seems. When the man she loves, Quinn Braddock, a doctor and Iraq war veteran, is accused of murder, Samantha assumes the worst. Brokenhearted, her confidence shattered, she returns to Midnight. Though exonerated, Quinn still feels the sting of Samantha’s doubt, but he can’t forget his feelings for her and follows her. Soon after his arrival, a shocking murder terrifies the town, and once again, Quinn is under suspicion. This time, Samantha will not turn her back on the man she loves—even if it means walking into a killer’s trap.
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Wildefire, Book #2

Nath: I've been on the look-out for good romantic suspense books... However, I don't want ex-military characters. Maybe Midnight Lies will be what I'm looking for :) I'm hoping so...

Captain's Paradise by Kay Hooper
published by Random House Publishing (Bantam Books)
When Robin Stuart was plucked, drenched and shivering, from the stormy seas, she clung desperately to the arms that had reached for her - but had she escaped from one terror into another? She'd been too close to danger not to recognize it again in the savagely beautiful man who'd pulled her from the water. Michael Siran was tough, fearless, confident - and an expert at playing dangerous games, but from the moment the terrified siren with bewitching eyes grabbed him and held on tight, he was captured by something he could never let go. Michael trusted no one, but Robin insisted on sharing his mission, determined to prove herself by facing the demons that had always pursued her. Michael knew the odds were against them, but when the heat of Robin's need fed his own fire, a passion born in turmoil and fueled by peril made hedging his bets impossible...Could he make her understand that heroes are human, that her courage ran as deep as his love?
Genre: Category romance, Contemporary
Series: Hagen, Book #9

Nath: Confession time, I haven't read the last few books in this series, but yet I'm buying them... What can I say, I'm a collector at heart, Ms Hooper is one of my favorite authors and if these books weren't being re-printed, they'd be really hard to come by... so might as well take advantage of the opportunity :) And who knows... one day, I might read them and then, I'll have them all!