Thursday, February 27

Buddy Review: Into the Deep by Samantha Young

Rowena and I made a pact that we would buddy review at least once a month in 2014.  January was a bit of a dud because I picked a crappy book that Wena couldn't even finish. LOL So for February we decided on Into the Deep because a) we realized neither of us had reviewed it and b) we both wanted to re-read it. The sequel comes out in May and I know I wanted to refresh myself on this story.

Into the Deep by Samantha Young
Self-published August 2013
Live young. Live hard. Love deep.

Charley Redford was just an ordinary girl until Jake Caplin moved to her small town in Indiana and convinced her she was extraordinary. Almost from day one Jake pulled Charley into the deep and promised he was right there with her. But when a tragic incident darkened Jake’s life he waded out into the shallows and left Charley behind.

Almost four years later Charley thinks she’s moved on. That is until she takes a study year abroad in Edinburgh and bumps into none other than Jake Caplin at a party with his new girlfriend. The bad-boy-turned-good attempts to convince Charley to forgive him, and as her best friend starts spending time with Jake’s, Charley calls a truce, only to find herself tumbling back into a friendship with him.

As they grow closer, the spark between them flares and begins playing havoc with their lives and relationships. When jealousy and longing rear their destructive heads, Charley and Jake struggle to come to grips with what they mean to one another.

And even if they work it out, there is no guarantee Charley will ever trust Jake to lead her back into the deep...
Genre: New Adult
Series: Into the Deep #1

Ames: Ok, the first time I read Into The Deep I loved it. I didn't care that it ended on a cliffhanger. But re-reading it? Oh man! Jake got on my nerves then Charley got on my nerves. And yet in the end, I still love it. Go figure. haha

Rowena: Same here. When I first read this book last year (I read this book in October of last year so it wasn't even that long ago), I loved it. I thought it was the bomb and I loved both Jake and Charley (though Jake did get on my nerves from time to time) but this time around? Everyone got on my nerves, except for Charley's Dad and mostly Charley's whole family. I seriously wanted to throat punch Jake with a hammer throughout most of the book, but I also wanted to smack Claudia upside her head too.

If Claudia would have taken her head out of Beck's ass for a minute, she would have seen the truth of the matter where Jake was concerned, in Charley's eyes. As her best friend, it was her duty to put Charley's needs first. And she never did. And that pissed me off.

Ames: Oh yeah, Charley's dad is great. I can't wait to see his reaction in book 2 to recent developments!

I agree about Claudia. She saw Charley's breakdown after she ran into Jake the first time. Why would she keep forcing her to hang out with Jake and his friends? Also, Charley should have grown a freaking pair and just stopped hanging out with them on her own. Like she's an American in a foreign she's just going to hang out with other Americans and not get friendly with the locals?

I think the whole point of Charley continuing to hang out with Jake and co. was to show how even though she wanted to be over him, she really wasn't. And that was annoying. LOL I just wish she'd have made more of an effort to stay away.

Rowena: I think I would have liked this book more if Charley kept running into Jake around town, and not because her bestie was trying to bang his best friend, forcing her to hang out with the lot of them. I agree about Charley growing a pair. Take a stand and stop catering to your selfish bestie. STOP HANGING OUT WITH JAKE!

I think I stayed mad at Jake because he took so freaking long to break up with Melissa. Charley's first reaction to him wasn't at all good, so he had to have been an idiot to not know that she wasn't completely over him and it was cruel of him to bring A FREAKING GIRL ON CHARLEY'S TRIP! I can't get over that. I was really bothered by it and that he didn't break things off or not bring Melissa around Charley. I was mad at the whole lot of them. Everyone that wanted Charley to see things from Jake's perspective, give him a chance to explain.

FUCK HIM! She didn't owe him a damn thing and to hell with all of HER FRIENDS trying to tell her otherwise. This is why I was such a big fan of her family. Charley's Dad's reaction to seeing Jake at the airport? OMG, best part of the entire freaking book!

Ames: Ok, not to defend Jake, but he says he met Melissa at the meeting for kids who wanted to study abroad. So Melissa was planning on coming on the trip anyway.

Who know else was a true friend to Charley? LOWE. He took her side in all of this and thought Jake was a freaking idiot.

Jake put himself in an impossible position and it didn't help once he broke up with Melissa. Look at how quickly he ran back to her when she was upset. And then stayed with her until 2 in the morning. Honestly, I can see Melissa saying she's pregnant or something in the next book to create drama for them.

Rowena: Sure, I'll give him that...but that doesn't change the fact that by the time they got to Scotland for CHARLEY'S TRIP, Melissa was his girlfriend. The whole reason he was going to Scotland in the first place was in hopes of seeing Charley. And yeah, he thought that she might have moved on but that doesn't change the fact that after he found out that Charley was on the trip and he reaction to seeing him on the trip with his girlfriend, he stayed with her. He still wanted to be around was a total dick move and Jake kept making it over and over again.

I completely agree with the whole Lowe thing. He was a really good friend to Charley and probably a shit friend to Jake, considering Jake was his friend first. Ha!

Jake was an asshole in this book. There's no getting around that. Regardless of his feelings or where his head was, he did put himself in an impossible situation and he kept making all the wrong choices. When he ran back to Melissa after they broke up and was with her until 2am, I was almost completely done with him. To be honest, I have no idea why I even liked this book...but I did. What's wrong with me? Haha.

Ames: OMG I was just thinking that! Why did I like this book? But I did. I don't doubt the love that Charley and Jake feel. They're both young and immature but once they cement their bond again, they'll be good. I don't doubt that. But I think they're going to have a few more curveballs thrown at them.

Also, our tolerance for bullshit is going down. And Jake is so full of crap his eyes are brown.

Rowena: LMAO! Oh man do I love you, Ames. You're right, Jake is full of crap.

I was thinking about the book and why, after all the stuff that I hated about Jake. What it was about him that completely wrecked me. The stuff that made me fall in love with him even though he made every dick move in the book. It was his speech after he punched Lowe out. It was, like you said, not doubting the depths of their feelings for each other. Jake's feelings for Charley and vice versa. They loved each other and they had a lot to work on but their love for one another wasn't it. That was rock solid and I know that things are going to be rocky in the next book but, I have every faith that they'll fix things. For them (and for me), it'll be worth it.

So now that all of that is out of the way...what grade are you going to give it this time around?

Ames: Exactly!! I don't doubt their love. Plus Jake as a high schooler, when he's wooing Charley to begin with? That's awesome. He's not douchey-Jake at that time. LOL

As much as everyone annoyed me, I still finished the book with an "awww shucks" and a big smile on my face. So a B+. haha You?

Rowena: Haha, same. We're a pair, huh?

Ames:  Yeah. LOL

Next up:
For March, Wena and I decided to read the Avery Shaw Experiment by Kelly Oram. Nath enjoyed it as well as Izzy, so we're intrigued. :P

Friday, February 7

Buddy Review: Bitter Spirits by Jenn Bennett

First buddy review of the year! Yay! Hopefully, Ames and I will keep up with our consistency in 2014 and find books we both want to read and review :) Of course, if a book in our New Releases posts catch your eye and you'd like to discuss it, feel free to contact us for a buddy review!

In the meantime, find out what we thought of Bitter Spirits by Jenn Bennett :)

Bitter Spirits by Jenn Bennett
published by Berkley
It’s the roaring twenties, and San Francisco is a hotbed of illegal boozing, raw lust, and black magic. The fog-covered Bay Area can be an intoxicating scene, particularly when you specialize in spirits…

Aida Palmer performs a spirit medium show onstage at Chinatown’s illustrious Gris-Gris speakeasy. However, her ability to summon (and expel) the dead is more than just an act.

Winter Magnusson is a notorious bootlegger who’s more comfortable with guns than ghosts—unfortunately for him, he’s the recent target of a malevolent hex that renders him a magnet for hauntings. After Aida’s supernatural assistance is enlisted to banish the ghosts, her spirit-chilled aura heats up as the charming bootlegger casts a different sort of spell on her...

On the hunt for the curseworker responsible for the hex, Aida and Winter become drunk on passion. And the closer they become, the more they realize they have ghosts of their own to exorcise…
Genre: Paranormal romance
Series: Roaring Twenties, Book #1¸

Ames: This book wasn’t on my radar until you mentioned it in the January New Releases post. I didn’t really have any expectations, just wanting to read outside the box, but I don’t really care for ghosts. This book didn’t really change that opinion of mine. LOL

Nath: LOL. Quite frankly, Bitter Spirits was on my radar because of the time periods - the 1920s - which I found unusual :) As for the ghosts, I thought they would be a nice bonus, but they turned out to be a very small part of the story. At least, Ms Bennett delivered on the time period and atmosphere! :)

Ames: I liked the time period too. But it confused me a little. There were some words and phrases that were used that I’m not sure were from that time period or if the author was just using them out of context. So of course I’m pulled out of the story enough to go research things to see if they were even in existence. They were in the end but I think the language was a bit too modern for my taste.

I agree that the author delivered on the time period and the atmosphere. But the romance was meh for me.

Nath: See, for me because Bitter Spirits was a mix of historical and paranormal, it gave it leeway in the accuracy department… Also the fact that I rarely pay attention to those details unless they’re in-you-face obvious ^_^;

Yeah, unfortunately, the romance and even the mystery didn’t measure up to expectations. It’s unfortunate because both started off so strong. I really loved the beginning because of the obvious attraction between Winter and Aida. I think the time period gave them more freedom, obviousness, knowledge. Aida wasn’t the ignorant, virginal heroine that is so common in regency historical and Winter was more bold. The problem though is that both the romance and mystery were dragged on sooooo long :(

Ames: I’m usually oblivious to historical details, but these were a bit jarring for me so that’s the only reason why I noticed them.

I thought the beginning was good. It set up a problem and some very interesting characters. I like how Aida saw Winter in a very vulnerable state and set up their attraction from the get go. But the rest of the book didn’t follow through on the promise. Which was unfortunate. I thought the setting was a great choice and I like that there were Chinese characters as well. But the mystery kind of got lost in the story and the characters fell for each other too quickly for it to be believable. Then their miscommunications just got on my nerves. Which again, unfortunate because I did like Aida and Winter.

Nath: Nod nod, I’m with you. I think the problem was the pacing of the story or the fact that the romance and mystery were too separate. The story would focus on the romance for a bit and then, the mystery and back to the romance and so forth instead of the two threads being entwined. Actually, at one point, the mystery totally took the backseat and was almost forgotten. What was forgotten was also the paranormal elements. While Ms Bennett was so focused about the romance, there were no reference to ghosts… and being a medium, I would think that Aida would have a lot more contacts with them.

I did enjoy the secondary characters though. They were fun and interesting. How much do you bet that Winter’s sister and Bo are getting their own book?

Ames: LOL They’ll probably get a book. But I just don’t think Bennett’s writing is for me.

I also thought Aida’s misgivings about having a relationship with Winter were a bit weak. I liked that she was willing to have an affair with him without having to get married. That was refreshing.

Nath: I think it has to do with the time period :)

So does that mean you won’t be picking up the next book?

Ames: That’s exactly what it means.

So overall, Bitter Spirits showed some potential at the beginning but then it kind of went flat for me. I’m giving this one a C.

Nath: Hmmmm. I agree with your overall assessment. Bitter Spirits was really promising in the beginning, but unfortunately, it didn’t follow up on it. I was expecting Bitter Spirits to be a bit more about the paranormal aspect, but in the end, the focus was about the romance… and despite some good banter and interesting interactions, I’m not sure I bought the romance between Aida and Winter ^_^; It’s going to be a C+ from me.

Sunday, February 2

New Releases - February 2014

January seemed a bit like slim pickings when it came to new releases. Thankfully, February has a lot to choose from!  We've got contemporaries, young adults, m/m's and historical fiction and romances to choose from.  What are you looking forward to this month?

February 04

The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski
published by Farrar Straus Giroux
Winning what you want may cost you everything you love

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions.

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin.

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.
Genre: Young Adult, Historical, Fantasy
Series: The Winner's trilogy, Book #1

Ames:   I have seen two positive reviews for The Winner's Curse from bloggers I trust.  One of the reviews was actually funny about positive buzz and how it may turn off some readers so don't read the review.  I thought that was cute and so spot on.

Watch Your Back by Karen Rose
published by New American Library
A cold case reopened. A murderer re-emerging more deadly than ever before…

Baltimore Homicide Detective Stevie Mazzetti has suffered losses no woman should have to endure. And, despite it all, she’s still a fighter. When she learns that her ex-partner might have miscarried justice, she’s determined to put the past to rights, even when she becomes a target.

It’s former Marine Clay Maynard’s job to see the risk in every situation, but he doesn’t have to look hard to find the danger surrounding Stevie. Since the minute he first saw her, Clay has wanted to protect the wounded officer, and he started loving her not long after that. So when Stevie attracts the attention of a vicious psychopath, Clay will do whatever it takes to keep her alive. That is, if he can stay ahead of a killer with everything to lose—and something terrifying to hide...
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Baltimore, Book #4

Nath: I've already bought the UK edition of Watch Your Back, but for the sake of supporting one of my favorite authors, I will also be buying a copy of the US edition. All I can say is if you've been waiting for Stevie and Clay's story, it is here finally and you won't be disappointed. If you're a fan of Ms Rose and have not read the Baltimore series, what are you waiting for? And if you've never read this author, just pick any of her books!!!

Ames:   Karen is an auto-buy author for me.  And here's another series I need to catch up on.  *sigh*  Story of my life!  LOL

Nath: What I said above, Ames!! LOL

Had to be You by Robin Kaye
published by New American Library (Signet)
The last place he expected to find lasting love was back in his hometown…

Slater knew tragedy from a young age, but with the support of his foster family, he turned his life around. Now, back from a stint in the Navy, he’s packed up his motorcycle and returned to Red Hook to help to run the family restaurant—a job that comes with a tantalizing upside. Her name is Rocki.

Flirty, sweet, and outgoing, Rocki brings in crowds as the lead singer of the house band. And although she’s unable to resist the charms of this intense bad boy, she refuses to open her heart to him. Until a family crisis shatters Rocki’s easygoing demeanor, exposing something from her past she’d always hoped would stay hidden.

But Slater knows a thing or two about family secrets—and he sets out to prove to Rocki that their relationship could finally give them both a future worth believing in.
Genre: Contemporary romance
Series: Bad Boys of Red Hook, Book #3

Nath: Have not read any of books of this series and haven't read Ms Kaye for a while... This is on my radar because of the bad boy coming back home to help out in the family restaurant storyline appeals to me. We'll see.

Kaleidoscope by Kristen Ashley
published by Grand Central Publishing (Forever)
When old friends become new lovers... anything can happen.

Sexy, gifted, and loyal, PI Jacob Decker is a tall, cool drink of perfection who had Emmanuelle Holmes at "hello." His relationship with Emme's best friend kept them apart for years, but things have changed. Now that a case has brought him to Gnaw Bone, Colorado, the road is wide open for Emme and Deck to explore something hotter and deeper than Emme dreamed possible. So why is she sabotaging the best thing that's ever happened to her?

It isn't easy to catch Deck off guard, but Emme does just that when she walks back into his life after nine long years. The curvy brunette had her charms back in the day, but now she's a bona fide knockout... and she wants to rekindle their friendship. Deck, however, wants more. Emme's always been the one; she excites Deck's body and mind like no other woman can. But a dark chapter from Emme's past overshadows their future together. Now only Deck can help her turn the page-if she'll let him...
Genre: Contemporary romance
Series: Colorado Mountain, Book #6

Ames:  This series of Ashley's is one of my favourites and yeah, I'm still riding that crazy train.  LOL

Nath: I should really pick up Ms Ashley's books. Maybe this one... but aside from the fact that the H/H are hot for each other, what is the story?!

Melting the Ice by Jaci Burton
published by Berkley
Carolina Preston has only one goal in mind—launching her new fashion line. She needs only one last thing to make it perfect—hockey phenom Drew Hogan. But Carolina and Drew have a history that goes back to their college days, and Carolina doesn’t want the embarrassment of her past to cloud the brightness of her future.

Drew is eager for the chance to show Carolina he isn’t the boy who hurt her back then, but a man now, with the skills necessary to melt the icy exterior of her cold heart.
Genre: Contemporary romance, Sports romance
Series: Play by Play, Book #6

Ames:   I love these covers.  Total objectification.  LOL  I am so behind in this series...

Nath: This could be good :) Not a hockey fan, but for some reasons, the blurb works for me :)

High Seduction 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…

As the chopper pilot for the elite Search and Rescue team Lifeline, Erin Tate is used to handling power. Calling the shots in the air is one thing—in the bedroom it leaves her cold. What she wants is a man strong enough to strip away her control.

Paramedic Timothy Dextor has a wildcard reputation, and the dark appetites to prove it. The only thing missing is a woman he can share them with. Landing a position on the Lifeline squad puts his old flame back within reach. He already knows what Erin needs, and this time he’s not letting her go.

But when an emergency throws Erin and Timothy together in ways they hadn’t anticipated, the stakes are raised—on the job and off. Now they’ll both discover the real meaning of control…and the risks that come from falling in love.
Genre: Contemporary romance/Romantic Suspense
Series: Adrenaline Search & Rescue, Book #3

Ames:   I have enjoyed the previous two books in this series and am looking forward to reading more from the Lifeline team.  I like the characters and the setting.

Nath: Okay, gotta get this off my chest, but isn't the cover a bit weird?! I think it's the "paint" effect... Bleh.

Still haven't read High Passion, but planning to. So High Seduction will depend on that :P

Jaded by Anne Calhoun
published by Berkley
They can’t hide from desire…

After life as a cop in Denver leaves him burned-out, Lucas Ridgeway returns to Walkers Ford, South Dakota, to serve as their chief of police. He’s hoping to start over with a clean slate and avoid any emotional entanglements—even after his next-door neighbor kisses him senseless. Alana is passionate, dedicated, and most importantly leaving town soon. So why not have some fun?

Alana Wentworth comes from a larger-than-life political family, yet all she wanted was to be a librarian. Then after an embarrassing marriage proposal from Mr. Not-For-Her, she jumps at the chance to live her dream for a few months. She wasn't supposed to get involved with the community—or sexy, troubled Lucas. But when the time comes for Alana to put Walkers Ford behind her, she’s not ready. And Lucas may not be ready for her to go
Genre: Contemporary romance
Series: Walkers Ford, Book #2

Ames:  I didn't realize this was book 2 of a series (and a quick look to Amazon means I'm tracking down book 1 asap lol).  I've heard good things about Anne's writing and this one sounds cute.

Nath: Same for me, I've heard a lot of good thing about Ms Calhoun's writing lately and I'm curious :) Plus, the heroine is a librarian :P

Scarlet Devices by Delphine Dryden
published by Berkley

Fresh from university, Eliza Hardison is determined to crusade for workers’ rights until her cousin Dexter, the Makesmith Baron, prevails on her to represent Hardison House in the American Dominion Sky and Steam Rally.

The competition is fierce, but only one opponent really matters to Eliza. Dexter’s protégé, Matthew Pence, was always like a big brother to her. But now she’s grown up, and Matthew has made a break from Hardison House with his own business venture—and made his own entry in the rally.

Matthew intends to win while keeping Eliza safe on the perilous route from New York to San Francisco. As the threats escalate through treacherous skies and uncharted American wilds, though, Eliza and Matthew must work together, discovering a bond deeper than either could have imagined…but is winning the rally more important than winning at love?
Genre: Steamppunk
Series: Steam and Seduction, Book #2

Ames:   I picked up Gossamer Wing for cheap from Chapters (coupon) because Delphine is on my radar.  I haven't read her stuff yet but I liked the sound of this one.

Nath: I haven't been into steampunk and Scarlet Devices wasn't on my radar till Ames put it on :P Gotta say, the blurb of this one really sounds good and exciting!! Can't wait!

Falling Light by Thea Harrison
published by Berkley
Having finally reunited, and fought off The Deceiver for now, Mary and Michael race up the Michigan peninsula to meet Astra before police forces catch up with them. But the closer they get, the less Mary is willing to trust a woman who by her own admission will do anything to finish The Deceiver – even if it means killing Michael and Mary to try again in another life. As they face their final battle unsure if they can trust either side, Michael’s loyalties are tested, making him vulnerable just when Mary needs him most.
Genre: Paranormal romance
Series: Game of Shadows, Book #2

Ames:   I read Rising Darkness in December and I thought it was an interesting concept.  I liked the set up and I definitely want to read more.

Letting Go by Maya Banks
published by Berkley
Josslyn found perfection once, and she knows she’ll never find it again. Now widowed, she seeks the one thing her beloved husband couldn’t give her. Dominance. Lonely and searching for an outlet for her grief and wanting only a brief taste of the perfection she once enjoyed, she seeks what she’s looking for at an exclusive club that caters to people indulging in their most hedonistic fantasies. She never imagined that what she’d find is the one man who’s long been a source of comfort—and secret longing. Her husband’s best friend.

Dash has lived in an untenable position for years. In love with his best friend’s wife and unwilling to act on that attraction. He’d never betray his best friend. And so he’s waited in the wings, offering Joss unconditional support and comfort as she works past her grief, hoping for the day when he can offer her more.

When he finds her in a club devoted to the darker edges of desire, he’s furious because he thinks she has no idea what she’s getting herself into. Until she explains in detail what it is she wants. What she needs. As realization sets in, he is gripped by fierce, unwavering determination. If she wants dominance, he is the only man who will introduce her to that world. He is the only man who will touch her, cherish her…love her. And the only man she’ll ever submit to.
Genre: Erotica romance
Series: Surrender trilogy, Book #1

Nath: Hmmm, is the cover glass art? It's a bit weird, especially those colors....

Ames:   I have no idea but I do not like it.  LOL  However, the blurb has me interested so even though Banks' stuff hasn't been my favorite lately, I'm going to check this one out.

Every Part Of You: Tempts Me by Megan Hart
published by St. Martin's Press
She knows he's the one. He knows he's not ready to commit. So she's going to explore all her options...
Genre: Erotica romance
Series: Every Part of You, part I

Ames:   After Beth Kery's serial a few years ago, I said I wouldn't read another because the format is not for me.  But it's Megan Hart!  I'm such a fan so I'm going to check it out.

Line and Orbit by Sunny Moraine and Lisa Soem
published by Samhain Publishing
What he’s been taught to fear could be his destiny…and his only hope.

Adam Yuga, a rising young star in the imperialist Terran Protectorate, is on the verge of a massive promotion…until a routine physical exam reveals something less than perfection. Genetic flaws are taboo, and Adam soon discovers there’s a thin line between rising star and starving outcast.

Stripped of wealth and position, stricken with a mysterious, worsening illness, Adam resorts to stealing credits to survive. Moments from capture by the Protectorate, help arrives in the form of Lochlan, a brash, cocksure Bideshi fighter.

Now the Bideshi, a people long shunned by the Protectorate, are the only ones who will offer him shelter. As Adam learns the truth about the mysterious, nomadic people he was taught to fear, Lochlan offers him not just shelter—but a temptation Adam can only resist for so long.

Struggling to adapt to his new life, Adam discovers his illness hides a terrible secret, one that the Protectorate will stop at nothing to conceal. Time is growing short, and he must find the strength to close a centuries-old rift, accept a new identity—and hold on to a love that could cost him everything.
Genre: m/m romance, Dystiopian
Series: None

Ames:   I saw a review for this one a while back and I wrote it down to make sure I wouldn't forget it.  It has a very interesting sounding premise and it's m/m.  I like that combination. 

February 10

It's All Geek to Me by J.L. Merrow
published by Riptide Publishing
Jez is on a mission of mercy: to replace a tragically deceased comic book for his injured best mate, Tel. Venturing into the Hidden Asteroid bookstore in London—the temple of geekdom itself—Jez is bowled over by the guy behind the counter.

Rhys is the poster boy for hot geeks: tall, gorgeous, and totally cool. Jez is desperate to impress him, so he bluffs his way through comic book jargon... and then dashes back to the hospital to beg Tel to teach him how to speak Geek.

Tel’s happy to oblige, and Jez is over the moon when Rhys asks him out. He’s even more thrilled when they discover a shared love of rugby, something he won’t have to fake for Rhys. The question is, how long can Jez keep up the deception, and what will happen when Rhys realizes he’s going out with a Fake Geek Guy?
Genre: m/m romance, Contemporary
Series: None

Ames:   Love geeks and I like Merrow's writing.  Win win.

February 11

Split Second by Kasie West
published by Harpercollins Publisher (HarperTeen)
Life can change in a split second.

Addie hardly recognizes her life since her parents divorced. Her boyfriend used her. Her best friend betrayed her. She can’t believe this is the future she chose. On top of that, her ability is acting up. She’s always been able to Search the future when presented with a choice. Now she can manipulate and slow down time, too... but not without a price.

When Addie’s dad invites her to spend her winter break with him, she jumps at the chance to escape into the Norm world of Dallas, Texas. There she meets the handsome and achingly familiar Trevor. He’s a virtual stranger to her, so why does her heart do a funny flip every time she sees him? But after witnessing secrets that were supposed to stay hidden, Trevor quickly seems more suspicious of Addie than interested in her. And she has an inexplicable desire to change that.

Meanwhile, her best friend, Laila, has a secret of her own: she can restore Addie’s memories... once she learns how. But there are powerful people who don’t want to see this happen. Desperate, Laila tries to manipulate Connor, a brooding bad boy from school—but he seems to be the only boy in the Compound immune to her charms. And the only one who can help her.

As Addie and Laila frantically attempt to retrieve the lost memories, Addie must piece together a world she thought she knew before she loses the love she nearly forgot... and a future that could change everything.
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal/Sci-Fi
Series: Pivot Point, Book #2

Nath: I can't wait! I can't wait! I can't wait!! Pivot Point was one of my favorite books in 2013 and I have high hopes for Split Second. Really wonder which direction Ms West is going to take... Only 2 weeks left!! I can't wait!

Ames:   With that kind of anticipation, you have me curious too!!

Once in a Lifetime by Jill Shalvis
published by Grand Central Publishing
Sometimes wrong is oh-so-right

After a wrenching loss, Ben McDaniel tried to escape his grief by working in dangerous, war-torn places like Africa and the Middle East. Now he's back in his hometown and face-to-face with Aubrey Wellington, the hot-as-hell woman who is trouble with a capital T. Family and friends insist she's not the one to ease his pain, but Aubrey sparks an intense desire that gives Ben hope for the future.

Determined to right the wrongs of her past, Aubrey is working hard to make amends. But by far, the toughest challenge to her plan is sexy, brooding Ben - even though he has absolutely no idea what she's done...

Can this unlikely couple defy the odds and win over the little town of Lucky Harbor?
Genre: Contemporary romance
Series: Lucky Harbor, Book #9

Nath: I'll probably pick this one up during one of my slumps because it's Ms Shalvis. It is nice to have something to fall back on.

Ames:   LOL Nath.  Jill's an auto-buy author for me, so I'm getting this one.  And hey, maybe I'll actually try to catch up on the series this year!  I can read a Jill book a month...hmm....doesn't sound like a bad idea.

Nath: Hmmmm, I would space them out more, you might burn out on them with a book a month.

After the Rain by Daisy Harris
published by Samhain Publishing
Henri’s list of bad exes is as long as his arm, but nothing prepared him for his latest, heart-stomping breakup. He thought he couldn’t feel more abandoned, until his ride for a group camping trip bails, leaving him stuck driving for hours with a guy who is absolutely not his type.

After breaking up with his girlfriend of five years, firefighter Logan is working up the nerve to explore his interest in men. He knows he’s gay. He just hasn’t had the guts to do anything about it...until now.

Henri’s big-city attitude and tight jeans push every last one of Logan’s buttons, and when he and Henri have to share a tent, Logan is thrilled. He should have realized Pacific Northwest weather would get wet—forcing them to strip naked.

Though the steam between them is thicker than coastal fog, Henri’s not sure he can let himself fall for another man. Not even the guy who finally treats him right.

Warning: Contains bad ex-boyfriends, even worse weather, and more than your average amount of sex in a tent. May not be suitable for those with germ phobias, outdoor aversions or fear of damp shoes.
Genre: m/m romance, Contemporary
Series: Fire and Rain, Book #2

Ames:  I like Daisy's writing and this one sounds hot hot hot!!!

February 18

Before You Break by Christina Lee
published by Penguin (InterMix)
The star catcher of the college baseball team isn't supposed to have skeletons in his closet. But Daniel Quinn is hiding a guilty past so dark he refuses to let anyone get close. Except there’s something about gorgeous, studious Ella Abrams that goes beyond the electric attraction between them—something that makes him want to open up.

Ella has suffered enough heartache and guilt to fill one of her psychology textbooks, but she keeps that part of herself hidden behind a bubbly exterior. Until she receives an anonymous call while working the suicide helpline and the voice on the other end touches something inside of her that she can’t ignore.

Soon Ella and Quinn’s physical connection heats up, even as their deep and revealing hotline talks intensify. But by the time Ella realizes that her seductive jock and her sensitive caller are the same guy, it might be too late to save him—or to stop herself from falling too far.
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary
Series: Between Breaths, Book #2

Ames:   Holly recommended All Of You by this author so she's been on my radar.  I like jocks and smart girls hooking up and I like that it's the man in this situation who has some emotional baggage.  I'm sick of girls in NA having so much angst.

Every Part Of You: Resists Me by Megan Hart
published by St. Martin's Press
Julia’s started dating other men, just as Henry asked. But it doesn’t mean she’s gotten him out of her thoughts… or dreams.
Genre: Erotica romance
Series: Every Part of You, part II

Ames:   I'm a big fan of Megan's so I'm going to see where she takes us with this serial.

February 25

Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg
published by Scholastic (Point)
For Macallan and Levi, it was friends at first sight. Everyone says guys and girls can’t be just friends, but these two are. They hang out after school, share tons of inside jokes, their families are super close, and Levi even starts dating one of Macallan’s friends. They are platonic and happy that way.

Eventually they realize they’re best friends — which wouldn’t be so bad if they didn’t keep getting in each other’s way. Guys won’t ask Macallan out because they think she’s with Levi, and Levi spends too much time joking around with Macallan, and maybe not enough time with his date. They can’t help but wonder... are they more than friends or are they better off without making it even more complicated?
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Series: None

Nath: Another book I can't wait for! :) I didn't love Ms Eulberg's last release, but Better Off Friends is getting really good reviews! Really looking forward to it!! And I think the relationship Ms Eulberg has chosen to explore is going to be really, really interesting and kind of different :P

Ames:  *sigh* This one is definitely targeted straight at me.  LOL  Can't wait for it, that's for sure. :P

Concealed in Death by J.D. Robb
published by Putnam
In a decrepit, long-empty New York building, Lieutenant Eve Dallas’s husband begins the demolition process by swinging a sledgehammer into a wall. When the dust clears, there are two skeletons wrapped in plastic behind it. He summons his wife immediately—and by the time she’s done with the crime scene, there are twelve murders to be solved.

The place once housed a makeshift shelter for troubled teenagers, back in the mid-2040s, and Eve tracks down the people who ran it. Between their recollections and the work of the force’s new forensic anthropologist, Eve begins to put names and faces to the remains. They are all young girls. A tattooed tough girl who dealt in illegal drugs. The runaway daughter of a pair of well-to-do doctors. They all had their stories. And they all lost their chance for a better life.

Then Eve discovers a connection between the victims and someone she knows. And she grows even more determined to reveal the secrets of the place that was called The Sanctuary—and the evil concealed in one human heart.
Genre: Romantic Suspense, Mystery/Thriller
Series: In Death, Book #38

Nath: Another In Death book to add to my collection :) Sounds like a different kind of cases then what Eve has been investigating lately...

Where Evil Waits by Kate Brady
published by Grand Central Publishing (Forever)
Special Prosecutor Kara Chandler made a name for herself putting violent criminals behind bars. But now, she'll face one of the world's most dangerous assassins...and put her life in his hands.

A killer is hunting Kara Chandler and her son, and systematically taking out anyone she turns to for help. Her only hope for escape is Luke Varon, a hitman for a powerful drug cartel. She's met Luke several times in the courtroom but he's always beaten the system. She's counting on him to do the same now, as he helps Kara fake her death and catch a killer.

But Luke isn't who Kara thinks he is. He's actually a secret agent under deep cover. The last thing he needs is a beautiful distraction like Kara Chandler. But the fear in her eyes is too real to ignore.

Luke assumes the assassin is somehow linked to Kara's late husband, a man who had a hand in several shady business deals. But soon they learn his connection to Kara is even more chilling. This killer has been waiting years for his chance to possess Kara, and now Luke will have only days to stop him.
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Mann Family, Book #2

Nath: This is on my radar because it's a romantic suspense that does not feature any military men or women. The blurb sounds pretty interesting and Ms Brady can write chilling suspense. The only thing that's making hesitate though is that the hero is undercover. Ugh. So we'll see.

The Chance by Robyn Carr
published by Harlequin (Mira)
With its breathtaking vistas and down-to-earth people, Thunder Point is the perfect place for FBI agent Laine Carrington to recuperate from a gunshot wound and contemplate her future. The locals embraced Laine as one of their own after she risked her life to save a young girl from a dangerous cult. Knowing her wounds go beyond the physical, Laine hopes she'll fit in for a while and find her true self in a town that feels safe. She may even learn to open her heart to others, something an undercover agent has little time to indulge.

Eric Gentry is also new to Thunder Point. Although he's a man with a dark past, he's determined to put down roots and get to know the daughter he only recently discovered. When Laine and Eric meet, their attraction is obvious to everyone. But while the law enforcement agent and the reformed criminal want to make things work, their differences may run too deep; unless they take a chance on each other and find that deep and mysterious bond that belongs to those who choose love over fear.
Genre: Contemporary romance
Series: Thunder Point, Book #4

Nath: I've read the first three books of Thunder Point and they're okay. If the series turns out to be the same as Virgin River, I'm not sure I'm ready to embark on it... but I did like Eric in the previous books, so I'm most likely picking up this one.

Ames:   I fell in love with Thunder Point so I'm eager to keep reading about the characters.  I really enjoyed them. 

The Bad Boy Billionaire's Girl Gone Wild by Maya Rodale
published by Harpercollins Publisher (Avon Impulse)
Being good hasn't exactly worked out well for Jane Sparks. Her ex-boyfriend dumped her for being too predictable, and her fake fiancé, Duke Austen, is counting on her good-girl image to repair his bad-boy reputation. But everything changes with the publication of the historical romance novel she wrote based on her fauxmance with the Bad Boy Billionaire. Suddenly she's notorious, scandalous, and causing lots of trouble.

Duke Austen always admired Jane's poise and perfectly demure behavior … qualities that seemed to have vanished once she helped him land a big investment deal. But now that his company is on the verge of a 20-billion-dollar IPO, the stakes have never been higher—and Jane has never been more shocking, provocative, or wickedly irresistible. She's not at all the woman he bargained for, yet she's the only one he wants.

Duke is determined to woo his girl gone wild. She's determined to keep him guessing. But Jane is discovering that there's nothing so appealing as a billionaire who's mad, bad, and dangerously seductive…
Genre: Contemporary romance
Series: Bad Boys and Wallflowers, Book #2.5

Nath: I need to start this series - both historical and contemporary - just to see if it works for me...

Ames:   I do too.  Because these blurbs sound really cute!

When the Duke was Wicked by Lorraine Heath
published by Hapercollins 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…

Lady Grace Mabry’s ample inheritance has made it impossible for her to tell whether a suitor is in love with her—or enamored of her riches. Who better to distinguish beau from blackguard than her notorious childhood friend, the Duke of Lovingdon?

With no interest in marriage, Lovingdon has long lived only for pleasure. He sees little harm in helping Grace find a proper match. After all, he’s familiar with all the ploys a scoundrel uses to gain a woman’s favor. He simply has to teach the lovely innocent how to distinguish honest emotions from false ones. How better than by demonstrating his wicked ways. But as lessons lead to torrid passion and Grace becomes ensnared in another man’s marriage plot, Lovingdon must wage a desperate gamble: Open his heart fully—or risk losing the woman he adores…
Genre: Historical romance
Series: Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James, Book #1

Nath: Ms Heath is one of my favorite historical romance authors, so I'll be picking up this one no doubts :)

Ames:   Did I see the words "childhood friend"? LOL  I loooove friends to lovers plots so count me in for this one.  haha!

Pleasing the Pirate by Sharon Cullen
published by Random House Publishing (LoveSwept)
With her clan’s crops burned and their property confiscated, Mairi McFadden is desperate to free her brother from imprisonment so that he can take his rightful place as chief. Her only hope is the fierce English pirate Phin Lockwood, but the buccaneer laughs at her meager funds. His roving eyes, however, tell Mairi there’s something else he’ll take in exchange for her brother’s rescue. Though she burns with hatred for the English, she’ll do anything to save her clan.

The crown has made it clear that Phin has two choices: bring in a certain Scottish traitor or hang. And he’s not about to let a tiny, whiskey-eyed woman get in his way, even if she is pointing a gun at him. When Phin learns that Mairi’s brother is the very man he seeks, he’s more than willing to use the lass as bait. But as the moment of capture draws near, Phin is surprised by his feelings for the courageous beauty who has him considering risking his life—for someone besides himself.
Genre: Historical romance
Series: None

Ames:   I'm into pirates lately.  LOL  This one caught my eye because of it.

City of Jasmine by Deanna Raybourn
published by Harlequin (Mira)
Famed aviatrix Evangeline Starke never expected to see her husband, adventurer Gabriel Starke, ever again. They had been a golden couple, enjoying a whirlwind courtship amid the backdrop of a glittering social set in prewar London until his sudden death with the sinking of the Lusitania. Five years later, beginning to embrace life again, Evie embarks upon a flight around the world, collecting fame and admirers along the way. In the midst of her triumphant tour, she is shocked to receive a mysterious—and recent—photograph of Gabriel, which brings her ambitious stunt to a screeching halt.

With her eccentric aunt Dove in tow, Evie tracks the source of the photo to the ancient City of Jasmine, Damascus. There she discovers that nothing is as it seems. Danger lurks at every turn, and at stake is a priceless relic, an artifact once lost to time and so valuable that criminals will stop at nothing to acquire it—even murder. Leaving the jewelled city behind, Evie sets off across the punishing sands of the desert to unearth the truth of Gabriel's disappearance and retrieve a relic straight from the pages of history.

Along the way, Evie must come to terms with the deception that parted her from Gabriel and the passion that will change her destiny forever...
Genre: Historical fiction
Series: None

Ames:   I love the sound of this one!  It's definitely something right up my alley.  Can't wait to read it!