Monday, April 28

Buddy Review: Out of the Shallows by Samantha Young

So Wena and I chose Out of the Shallows to read for our April buddy review. Things didn't go quite as planned...

Oh and spoilers!

Out of the Shallows by Samantha Young
self-published April 2014
Somehow, after everything they’ve been through, Jake Caplin and Charley Redford made their way back to one another. But finding each other and staying together are two completely different things.

When Charley’s world is flipped upside down, she begins to question the choices and decisions she’s made since her arrival in Edinburgh, and in an effort to grip onto what she holds most dear she believes she must sacrifice her love for Jake.

Returning to the States for her senior year, Charley struggles to find peace and happiness. While everyone else seems to be finding themselves in college, Charley is terrified that, along with almost everything else that’s important to her, she’s lost herself.

While friends and family deal with their own tumultuous lives, there is one person resolved to uncover the reason behind Charley’s sudden defection and unhappiness. Refusing to give up without a fight, Jake believes he is the only one who can truly understand what Charley is going through, and this time he’s determined to prove he’s there for her no matter what obstacles are thrown in their way.

However, as Charley strives to make it through the biggest personal journey of her life thus far, there is no guarantee that the woman she is becoming will still need Jake as much as the girl she once was did...
Genre: New Adult
Series: Into the Deep #2

Ames: Even though I wasn't over the moon for Into the Deep, I was letting some excitement build for the sequel to Jake and Charley's story. Big mistake. Out of the Shallows was not the book I was expecting. What about you?

Rowena: I felt like this book was a big let down. There was a lot that got on my nerves with Into the Deep (Jake was a big one) but I was still invested in what these characters were going through. So at first, I wanted to read Out of the Shallows but then you started reading it and I started losing interest. But I had to read it for this review so I dug my heels in and holy crap did I ever understand what you meant every single time you emailed about your progress through this book. It's like Charley took every single nerve in my body and set them on fire. I wanted to punch her in the face so many different times. So much so that I need to gather myself before my blood pressure shoots through the roof, again. :)

Ames: At first when I started, I had some real anxiety going on! Like, what happened to Charley's sister? Was she dead? And then all the jumping around got on my nerves. And then stuff with Charley just kept getting worse. I'm sorry I emailed you but I had to vent as I was reading. And then you did the same so we're all good. LOL

And I agree with what you say about Charley and your nerves. I found her so incredibly selfish in this book. I was annoyed with Jake in book 1 but Charley honestly took the cake in book 2. She took the cake and smashed it into our faces and laughed gleefully about it. Ugh.

Rowena: Ha! And to think that we thought Melissa would be the one to bring the drama in this book. Oh how wrong we were.

This was the book that was supposed to be about Jake and Charley working through all of the drama that wasn't resolved in Book 1 but instead, we get a whole lot of stupid Charley, her family being incredibly selfish and stupid then anxiety thinking someone is dead...and THEY'RE NOT. WTF? And all of the woe is me shit going on with Jake? Ugh, just ugh.

Hell, even Beck and Claudia got on my nerves in this book. And all of the jumping around, six months ago, last night, two weeks ago, that pissed me off too. Stay in one place and time, this isn't a freaking time travel story.

Ames: I really wanted Melissa to pop up and cause more drama. But nope.

I felt bad for Claudia. She really got the shaft from all the adults in her life. I did like how things progressed between her and Beck and I honestly wished we got more. There was a lot of times when Charley did not want to discuss how things were going with her best friend and Beck and there's yet another example of her being selfish. However, I would like a Beck and Claudia book. If he becomes a rock star and how they deal with that. I think that would be nice. And give her some damn resolution with her bio dad! That was one plot point that was kind of left dangling and them made me wonder why even bother if that's how you're going to leave it?

But through all this, the worst part of Out of the Shallows was Charley. She breaks up with Jake for the dumbest reason in the world and then doesn't talk about it with anyone. Why did she have to be such a fucking martyr? UGH

Rowena: Amen!

Beck's back and forth crap with Claudia got on my nerves because with everything that was going on in her life and the way that she was treated by her parents, she didn't need his indecision. He knew what she was going through and yet he kept right on hooking up with girls left and right. I will say that when he finally jumps all in with Claudia, I came to love him. I would definitely want more of their story, instead of getting their story told through Charley's dumb ass POV.

Everything about Charley drove me batty in this book. Her reasons for pulling away from Jake, her reasons for letting her parents dictate what she did with her future and then the way she uses Lowe. Claudia wants a distraction from Beck so Charley's answer is for Claudia to start hanging out with Lowe. He's the perfect distraction. You can get drunk with him, you can cock tease the hell out of him but you don't have to have sex with him and don't worry about putting him in the middle of your relationship with HIS friends. Don't worry about any of that. She's so full of shit that I don't remember why I even liked her in the first place. All of that made me want to punch her in the face. The thing about all of it though, is Lowe let her get away with all of that and Jake just kind of lets her run all over him with absolutely NO explanation. Seriously, just UGH.

Ames: I hated how poor Lowe was treated in this book. He was such a good character and I rooted for him on one level to get Charley in the end. But not after this book. Charley needs to grow the hell up. The way she reacted to everything was extremely immature and I wondered at the end how could Jake even want her with the way she acting?

And I get why he let her walk all over him. He had to prove to her that he'd changed. He pulled the same crap on her and broke her heart. But Charley had him waiting for her for a whole freaking year. Seriously bro, he needed to move on. The back and forth was awful. And honestly, I hated the crap where they'd all hang out (like Claudia and Charley going to that birthday party) knowing how hard it would be to see each other. Especially if they were flirting with others.

Rowena: Was there anything that you did like about this book?

Ames: As much as I love Samantha Young's writing, I have to say no. I don't even like that Charley and Jake ended up together. He deserves better. LOL What about you?

Rowena: Yeah, I didn't like a hot damn thing about this book. But I still love me some Samantha Young. I give this a 1 out of 5. You? Anything else that you want to add?

Ames: Not really. Just that I really enjoy Samantha Young's writing and its such a shame this one didn't work for me. And I agree with the grade you gave, a 1 out of 5.

Okay, Wena and I haven't chosen a book yet for May but wish us luck that it won't be another dud!

Monday, April 14

Buddy Review: Third Degree by Julie Cross

Third Degree by Julie Cross
published by Random House Publishing (Flirt) in March 2014
I used to be “Isabel Jenkins, child prodigy.” As lame as that sounds, at least it was an identity. But now I’m not sure what I am. I just failed the most important exam of my life—the emotional readiness test required to get into a medical residency program—and it turns out my parents can’t stand each other. Now I’m trying to figure out how to pick up the pieces of my life, and that means re-enrolling as a college freshman, but this time I’m shutting the books and majoring in being eighteen.

But so far, my roommate hates me and I’m not into the party scene. The only good thing about school has been getting to know my insanely hot RA. Marshall Collins makes me wonder about everything I missed while I was growing up too fast. Pretty soon we’re hanging out constantly, but for the first time, I find myself wanting more than a no-strings-attached physical relationship. And the lesson I really need is one Marsh definitely can’t teach me: love. Because I’m going to be alone forever if I don’t learn fast.
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary
Series: None

Nath: Last year, I discovered Ms Cross through Letters to Nowhere. This was my first foray in New Adult and I really enjoyed it! So when I heard that Ms Cross was writing another New Adult book, it was a no brainer to pick it up… and share it with Ames :)

So Ames, what did you think of Third Degree?

Ames: I am so glad you brought this book to my attention! I’ve quickly become a fan of Julie Cross’ new adult books and Third Degree was no exception. The heroine, Isabel, reminded me a bit of Christina Yang from Grey’s Anatomy in its early seasons. And I loved Christina’s character.

Nath: That’s actually a very good comparison, Ames. Indeed, Isabel lacked some social skills. I don’t think it was so much because she didn’t have the social experiences that everyone did… but more because she was simply very blunt. I liked that her awkwardness was not all about her IQ like so many genius characters that we’ve seen and the fact that she wasn’t sheltered.

Ames: I agree. She had a genius IQ but going through school so fast made her miss out on very important socialization and rites of passage typical to average children and teens. Plus she was arrogant. She’s almost hard to like at the beginning. But we see her vulnerability so that made me empathize with her character.

Nath: Yes, the arrogance was an issue and so was her inability to accept blame as the psychologist said. As a result, I thought Izzy going to normal college wasn’t a bad idea at all. She needed to interact with people, to understand them a bit more. And seriously, she’s lucky she ran into Marshall! He was such a nice and understanding guy, trying to help her out!

Ames: Marshall was a great character, and I liked his story, not just the fact that he’s a hot nice guy. LOL It was an interesting dynamic considering Izzy’s medical background. Plus with RA’s having rules not to hook up with people on their floor, I just liked their whole set up. :P

Nath: I really liked Marshall’s character and his story. What I liked is that he showed Izzy the other end of the spectrum, what it is to be sick and to care. Sure, it was a bit coincidental that he’d happen to have a chronic disease, but it definitively worked :)

The RA thing didn’t work as well for me. The whole “forbidden” relationship is so over-used nowadays and I’d have rather Marshall be just another guy in the dorm than a RA. Especially given the way it was resolved, you know?

Something else that I would have liked Ms Cross to address was Izzy’s issues with her parents’ divorce. Izzy was put in foster care at a young age and moved around a lot until her parents adopted her. She needs stability and her parents divorce is threatening that stability. I feel that part of the story got swept under the rug and that’s unfortunate.

Ames: I didn’t mind the RA stuff. It gave a bit of an impediment to them getting together right off the bat. It also gave a bit of distance to them at the beginning, which is how Marshall was able to get through Izzy’s defenses and for her to lighten up and let him in.

I agree that the stuff with Izzy’s parents was left unresolved. I wonder if there’s going to be a sequel?

Nath: I think it’s a high possibility, especially since New Adult is so popular right.

As much as I enjoyed Izzy and Marshall’s characters and interaction… I still feel that Izzy was far from being comfortable with normal people. She did open up and I especially liked that she kind of developed a friendship with Justin… but I wonder… Izzy will never be “normal” what with her age and genius IQ, but is there more she can do?

Ames: Hmm...I think maybe Marshall will continue to be a good influence on her in that way. And she did learn not to be afraid of her emotions. I think there’s still room for her to continue to grow. I thought the book ended on a hopeful note. It did for me anyway.

Nath: It definitively did :)

So what’s your grade for Third Degree? For me, it’s a B. I enjoyed Ms Cross’s writing, the story and the characters, but I thought something was missing.

Ames: I’m giving it a B+. I really enjoyed it overall.

Tuesday, April 1

New Releases - April 2014

April is always an excellent month for new releases. No lie. My book budget is going to suffer for sure this month. LOL April has got it all! And I'm really going to need to step up my reading pace if I want to tackle all these great new releases. Because I think releases will just get better as the temperature hopefully eventually starts to warm up. :P

April 1

Her Kind of Trouble by Sarah Mayberry
published by Harlequin (SuperRomance)
It takes one to know one

The moment Vivian Walker spies Seth Anderson she knows they're a match made in hedonistic pleasure. And they both agree their one night together is all about fun, not forever.

Now, years later, Seth remains a favorite memory. Surely the sizzling chemistry has faded, though, right? Apparently not. Because he's still sinfully attractive, and she likes the man he is. When he suddenly becomes a full-time dad to his newborn daughter, Vivian falls hard. Yet despite the responsibilities, he's not a good bet for commitment. And she needs to guard her heart before she gets into trouble!
Genre: Category romance, Contemporary
Series: None

Ames: Harlequin did a very tricky thing. Tricksy hobbitses. They had the paperback release for this book mid-March and the digital release for April 1. I don't like that practice. If I want to buy e, then I'll buy e. Don't try and force my hand.

Enough about that. Sarah Mayberry is an auto-buy author for me so I'll be buying this one. In E-FORMAT.

Nath: Like Ames, Ms Mayberry is an auto-buy author, so I'll pick this one up... Got to say though, the cover and the blurb don't really seem to match ^_^; It'll be interesting to see how the story turns out.

Betting the Rainbow by Jodi Thomas
published by Berkley
Sisters Abby and Dusti Delaney have spent their entire lives on Rainbow Lane, but they dream of something bigger. So when a poker tournament comes to town, Dusti is determined to win enough money to leave. Enlisting expert Kieron O’Brian to teach her the game, sparks begin to fly as they play their hands. But Kieron refuses to stand in the way of her dream, even if it means losing her forever...

After a year of traveling, Ronny Logan is settling into a home on Rainbow Lane, but that’s all the settling she’ll be doing. Ronny refuses to fall for anyone, regardless of the chemistry she has with her neighbor Austin Hawk. Yet something undeniable begins to grow between the two loners—if only they can let their barriers fall and open their hearts...
Genre: Contemporary romance
Series: Harmony, Book #7

Nath: I'm so looking forward to Betting the Rainbow! I've really been looking forward to Ronny's story! And LOL, the poker tournament sounds quite interesting and different :P I'm intrigued now!

The Winter Bride by Anne Gracie
published by Berkley
Damaris Chance’s unhappy past has turned her off the idea of marriage forever. But her guardian, Lady Beatrice Davenham, convinces her to make her coming out anyway—and have a season of carefree, uncomplicated fun.

When Damaris finds herself trapped in a compromising situation with the handsome rake Freddy Monkton-Coombes, she has no choice but to agree to wed him—as long as it’s in name only. Her new husband seems to accept her terms, but Freddy has a plan of his own: to seduce his reluctant winter bride.

Will Damaris’s secrets destroy her chance at true happiness? Or can Freddy help her cast off the shackles of the past, and yield to delicious temptation?
Genre: Historical romance
Series: The Chance Sisters, Book #2

Ames: I've been meaning to read Anne Gracie for forever. This may be the one that gets me off my ass. I like when historical heroines are against marriage. LOL

Nath: I really enjoy Ms Gracie's writing, Ames :) If you have a chance, you should try The Accidental Wedding. That one is my favorite of hers.

As for The Winter Bride, I'm curious to see Freddy and Damaris' story unfold as they were probably the most interesting characters in The Autumn Bride. I also wonder about Damaris' background...

Bloom and Doom by Beverly Allen
published by Berkley
As the co-owner of The Rose in Bloom, Audrey Bloom creates magnificent flower arrangements for brides to be. Though helping to plan a wedding can be stressful, it’s nothing compared to the groom turning up dead.

A designer of eye-catching bridal bouquets—many of them based on the Victorian meanings behind each flower—Audrey Bloom is used to celebrations that end with happily ever after. In fact, every couple she’s worked with is still together, living in wedded bliss. But her perfect record is about to be broken.

Her childhood friend Jenny Whitney has reeled in the most eligible bachelor in Ramble, Virginia, and she’s hired Audrey to design the bouquet. But before Jenny can walk down the aisle clutching her blend of anemone, scabious, and pussy willow (a floral disaster in Audrey’s mind), the groom is found dead—sprinkled with bits of a bouquet. This is bad for business—not to mention for Jenny, who has become the prime suspect. So Audrey decides to do a little digging herself, hoping she won’t be the next Ramble resident pushing up daisies….
Genre: Cosy Mystery
Series: Bridal Bouquet Shop Mysteries, Book #1

Nath: I was looking for new releases and this book caught my eye. I like the premise of this new cozy mystery series and I hope that it delivers :)

Midnight Pursuits by Elle Kennedy
published by New American Library (Signet)
Her job is to stay hidden.
Too bad he can’t take his eyes off her.

Soldier-for-hire Ethan Hayes is the youngest member of an elite mercenary team. While he may be affectionately nicknamed the rookie, the skills Ethan honed as a Marine make him seriously dangerous. But when a sudden distress call puts him in close quarters with a rival, he finds more than his field skills being put to the test.

Juliet Mason stands out as the master thief in a covert group of assassins and spies. Her latest mission is personal—and it’s gone horribly wrong. Juliet may prefer to work alone, but when the rookie comes to her aid in snowy Eastern Europe, she can’t deny they make a good team. But even up against a powerful enemy, their most challenging task yet may be fighting the passion between them...
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Killer Instincts, Book #4

Nath: I'm not into RS featuring ex-military men because it's just being done so much nowadays; however, this one is on my radar because the heroine is a thief and I have a weakness for thieves :P Also, the blurb is quite intriguing and I like that the book seems to take place in Eastern Europe.

The King by J.R. Ward
published by New American Library
Long live the King…

After turning his back on the throne for centuries, Wrath, son of Wrath, finally assumed his father’s mantle--with the help of his beloved mate. But the crown sets heavily on his head. As the war with the Lessening Society rages on, and the threat from the Band of Bastards truly hits home, he is forced to make choices that put everything--and everyone--at risk.

Beth Randall thought she knew what she was getting into when she mated the last pure blooded vampire on the planet: An easy ride was not it. But when she decides she wants a child, she’s unprepared for Wrath’s response--or the distance it creates between them.

The question is, will true love win out... or tortured legacy take over?
Genre: Paranormal romance
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book #12

Ames: I am only 1 book behind on this series. Yay me! I've pre-ordered this one already for my mom. She's all caught up.

The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison
published by Tor Books
The youngest, half-goblin son of the Emperor has lived his entire life in exile, distant from the Imperial Court and the deadly intrigue that suffuses it. But when his father and three sons in line for the throne are killed in an "accident," he has no choice but to take his place as the only surviving rightful heir.

Entirely unschooled in the art of court politics, he has no friends, no advisors, and the sure knowledge that whoever assassinated his father and brothers could make an attempt on his life at any moment.

Surrounded by sycophants eager to curry favor with the na├»ve new emperor, and overwhelmed by the burdens of his new life, he can trust nobody. Amid the swirl of plots to depose him, offers of arranged marriages, and the specter of the unknown conspirators who lurk in the shadows, he must quickly adjust to life as the Goblin Emperor. All the while, he is alone, and trying to find even a single friend... and hoping for the possibility of romance, yet also vigilant against the unseen enemies that threaten him, lest he lose his throne – or his life.
Genre: Fantasy
Series: ?

Ames: I've already seen some positive buzz for this book (not a lot, because that can be off-putting, imo) and this author (under a different name) is good stuff, so I can't wait to read this one. Plus I like this kind of set up.

Nath: I've been looking for fantasy books and this one seems to fit the bill quite well. I love court intrigues and this one seems to have plenty of them... But goblins? LOL.

April 8

The Will by Kristen Ashley
Early in her life, Josephine Malone learned the hard way that there was only one person she could love and trust: her grandmother, Lydia Malone. Out of necessity, unconsciously and very successfully, Josephine donned a disguise to keep all others at bay. She led a globetrotting lifestyle on the fringes of the fashion and music elite, but she kept herself distant.

While Josephine was trotting the globe, retired boxer Jake Spear was living in the same small town as Lydia. There was nothing disguised about Jake. Including the fact he made a habit of making very bad decisions about who to give his love.

But for Josephine and Jake, there was one person who adored them. One person who knew how to lead them to happiness. And one person who was intent on doing it.

Even if she had to do it as her final wish on this earth.
Genre: Contemporary romance
Series: Magdalene, Book #1

Ames: A KA release I'm actually aware of!!  Seriously, KA is a book release ninja and I'm always surprised by her releases. LOL Looking forward to this one. Of course I am.

Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong
published by Harpercollins Publisher (HarperTeen)
In the Forest of the Dead, where the empire’s worst criminals are exiled, twin sisters Moria and Ashyn are charged with a dangerous task. For they are the Keeper and the Seeker, and each year they must quiet the enraged souls of the damned.

Only this year, the souls will not be quieted.

Ambushed and separated by an ancient evil, the sisters’ journey to find each other sends them far from the only home they’ve ever known. Accompanied by a stubborn imperial guard and a dashing condemned thief, the girls cross a once-empty wasteland, now filled with reawakened monsters of legend, as they travel to warn the emperor. But a terrible secret awaits them at court—one that will alter the balance of their world forever.
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Series: Age of Legends, Book #1

Nath: I'm a huge fan of Ms Armstrong, so even though her new YA series haven't gotten great reviews, I'm going to give it a try. I admire authors that end series and try something new :)

The Intern's Handbook by Shane Kuhn
published by Simon & Schuster
Interns are invisible. That’s the mantra behind HR, Inc., an elite "placement agency" that doubles as a network of assassins-for-hire, taking down high-profile executives who wouldn't be able to remember an intern’s name if their lives depended on it.

At the ripe old age of twenty-five, John Lago is already New York City’s most successful hit man. He’s also an intern at a prestigious Manhattan law firm, clocking eighty hours a week getting coffee, answering phones, and doing all the grunt work no one else wants to do. But he isn't trying to claw his way to the top of the corporate food chain. He was hired to assassinate one of the firm’s heavily guarded partners. His internship is the perfect cover, enabling him to gather intel and gain access in order to pull off a clean, untraceable hit.

The Intern’s Handbook is John Lago's unofficial survival guide for new recruits at HR, Inc. (Rule #4: "Learn how to make the perfect cup of coffee: you make an exec the best coffee he’s ever had, and he will make sure you’re at his desk every morning for a repeat performance. That’s repetitive exposure, which begets access and trust. 44% of my kills came from my superior coffee-making abilities.")

Part confessional, part how-to, the handbook chronicles John’s final assignment, a twisted thrill ride in which he is pitted against the toughest—and sexiest—adversary he’s ever faced: Alice, an FBI agent assigned to take down the same law partner he’s been assigned to kill.
Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Ames: Oooh I didn't even hear about this book and now I'm all over it. This sounds really good!  Thanks for bringing this to my attention Nath!!

Nath: Sounds interesting right? It's sound good, fun and different :) Hopefully, it'll also deliver!

April 10

Dare to Desire by Carly Phillips
Quarterback Alex Dare, had it all -- an all-star football career with the Tampa Breakers and his choice of willing women -- until a severe injury forces him into early retirement. When he is offered a ground-breaking position with a rival team, he’s intrigued, but there’s a catch. He’ll be working alongside the same woman he hasn’t been able to get out of his head for too long.

Social worker Madison Evans grew up in foster homes and knows first hand what it means to have-not. She isn't impressed by Alex Dare’s wealth or charm. Not since she fell hard for him once before, only to discover she was just one of his too-easy conquests. This time around Madison refuses to succumb to Alex so easily.

But Alex wants Madison. And if there is one thing Alex does well, it’s to get what he wants. The playboy athlete must prove he’s got game in more places than on the field. He means to prove that he’s a changed man but no sooner does he begin to break through Madison’s defenses when a new opportunity comes knocking and threatens her new-found trust. Can he make Madison take a risk and dare to love?
Genre: Contemporary romance
Series: Dare to Love, Book #2

Ames: I read the first book in this series and even though it was predictable, it was enjoyable. I liked both of these characters when they were introduced in the previous book.

Nath: Ms Phillips is usually hit and miss for me. I didn't read the first book, Dare to Love, but I might pick up this one. I like the playboy athlete trope ^_^;

April 14

Bound to be a Groom by Megan Mulry
published by Riptide Publishing
In the tumultuous summer of 1808, Spain and England are close to war and four young lovers are close to ecstasy.

To carve out an independent life with the woman she loves, Anna knows she must leave her quiet Spanish convent to become a courtesan. To gain experience, she sets her sights on...

Sebastian, whose powerful, aristocratic confidence suits Anna’s mercenary goals. But his arrogance masks a craving for submission that Anna instinctively satisfies. Sebastian soon begs for her hand in marriage, even if it means sharing her with . . .

Pia, who trusts Anna completely—with her body and her future—until she learns of Anna’s hasty marriage. Pia questions their commitment to each other as they leave for London to meet...

Farleigh, the seemingly feckless duke who thinks he’s over Sebastian, the potent Spanish soldier he bedded two years ago.

What begins as a series of erotic escapades soon evolves into a deep, unbreakable bond. Two men and two women who yearn to explore are about to make their wildest dreams come true.
Genre: Historical romance
Series: None

Ames:I cannot wait to read this one. I haven't read this author before but that blurb has me all kinds of excited!!

April 15

The Collector by Nora Roberts
published by Putnam
When professional house-sitter Lila Emerson witnesses a murder/suicide from her current apartment-sitting job, life as she knows it takes a dramatic turn. Suddenly, the woman with no permanent ties finds herself almost wishing for one...

Artist Ashton Archer knows his brother isn’t capable of violence—against himself or others. He recruits Lila, the only eyewitness, to help him uncover what happened. Ash longs to paint her as intensely as he hungers to touch her. But their investigation draws them into a rarified circle where priceless antiques are bought, sold, gambled away, and stolen, where what you possess is who you are, and where what you desire becomes a deadly obsession...
Genre: Contemporary romance
Series: None

Ames: Nora Roberts is an auto-buy. Especially her single title releases. I hope I enjoy this one as much as I loved The Witness.

Nath: For me, Nora Roberts is more than just an auto-buy author... she's a comfort author. Just reading her books, getting back into her writing style sooth me LOL. That's why I keep picking up her books and The Collector won't be the exception.

Once Upon a Billionaire by Jessica Clare
published by Penguin (InterMix)
The Billionaire Boys Club is a secret society of six men who have vowed success—at any cost. Not all of them are old money, but all of them are incredibly wealthy. They’re just not always as successful when it comes to love…

As a member of the royal family in a small European country, Griffin Verdi’s presence is requested at the wedding of the century. The scholarly billionaire feels out of his depth in social situations, so a good assistant is required—especially when dealing with royal etiquette.

Unfortunately for Griffin, he’s stuck with Maylee Meriweather, a pretty, charming, and thoroughly unsuitable woman who doesn’t know a thing about high society—but she sure can kiss. Her lack of polish may sink Griffin, because after all, even his money can’t buy class. But through Maylee’s eyes, he’s starting to appreciate the simple things in life—if simple means the most complicated woman he’s ever met.

Maylee is everything Griffin isn’t—and everything he wants—if he can let down his guard and step outside his sheltered world…
Genre: Contemporary romance
Series: Billionaire Boys Club, Book #4

Ames: I've really been enjoying this series so far and I like this commoner/royalty theme going on here. :P

Hard Time by Cara McKenna
published by Penguin (InterMix)
Annie Goodhouse doesn’t need to be warned about bad boys; good sense and an abusive ex have given her plenty of reasons to play it safe. But when she steps into her new role as outreach librarian for Cousins Correctional Facility, no amount of good sense can keep her mind—or eyes—off inmate Eric Collier.

Eric doesn’t claim to be innocent of the crime that landed him in prison. In fact, he’d do it again if that’s what it took to keep his family safe. Loyalty and force are what he knows. But meeting Annie makes him want to know more.

When Eric begins courting Annie through letters, they embark on a reckless, secret romance—a forbidden fantasy that neither imagines could ever be real…until early parole for Eric changes everything, and forces them both to face a past they can’t forget, and a desire they can’t deny.
Genre: Contemporary romance
Series: None

Ames:  I love Cara's writing and she doesn't shy away from hard topics. I see the same thing going on here. I can't wait.

The Kraken King Part I: The Kraken King and the Scribbling Spinster by Meljean Brook
published by Penguin (InterMix)
A former smuggler and thief, Ariq—better known as the Kraken King—doesn’t know what to make of the clever, mysterious woman he rescues from an airship besieged by marauders. Unsure if she’s a spy or a pawn in someone else’s game, Ariq isn’t about to let her out of his sight until he finds out…

After escaping her fourth kidnapping attempt in a year, Zenobia Fox has learned to vigilantly guard her identity. While her brother Archimedes is notorious for his exploits, Zenobia has had no adventures to call her own—besides the stories she writes. But when she jumps at the chance to escape to the wilds of Australia and acquire research for her next story, Zenobia quickly discovers that the voyage will be far more adventurous than any fiction she could put to paper…
Genre: Steampunk romance
Series: Iron Seas, Book #4 - Part I

Ames: I still haven't read past The Iron Duke. LOL But it's Meljean so I'll be buying this of course. Maybe all the installments will be out by the time I get to this book. :P

Nath: Hmmmmm. The world building of this series hasn't work for me as well as The Guardians series. I think I'm going to wait till the whole book is out before giving it a try...

The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith
published by Poppy
Lucy and Owen meet somewhere between the tenth and eleventh floors of a New York City apartment building, on an elevator rendered useless by a citywide blackout. After they're rescued, they spend a single night together, wandering the darkened streets and marveling at the rare appearance of stars above Manhattan. But once the power is restored, so is reality. Lucy soon moves to Edinburgh with her parents, while Owen heads out west with his father.

Lucy and Owen's relationship plays out across the globe as they stay in touch through postcards, occasional e-mails, and -- finally -- a reunion in the city where they first met.
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Series: None

Ames: I like Jennifer's writing and I like her covers! Her characters always have an interesting way of meeting. And who hasn't imagined being stuck in an elevator with a stranger?

Nath: I gotta agree, she does get cute covers! I'm curious to see how you can build a friendship with such a distance between two people based on one meeting :) If done right, I think this can be very fun :)

What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick
published by Dial Books for Young Readers
Gwen Castle's Biggest Mistake Ever, Cassidy Somers, is slumming it as a yard boy on her Nantucket-esque island this summer. He's a rich kid from across the bridge in Stony Bay, and she hails from a family of fishermen and housecleaners who keep the island's summer people happy. Gwen worries a life of cleaning houses will be her fate too, but just when it looks like she'll never escape her past—or the island—Gwen's dad gives her some shocking advice. Sparks fly and secret histories unspool as Gwen spends a gorgeous, restless summer struggling to resolve what she thought was true—about the place she lives, the people she loves, and even herself—with what really is.
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Series: None

Ames: Another cover I really like! Purple is a fave colour of mine and this cover is gorgeous. :P I haven't read this author before but I know her other book got lots of positive buzz so I'll be getting this one too.

Out of the Shallows by Samantha Young
Charley and Jake’s story concludes in Out of the Shallows…

Somehow, after everything they’ve been through, Jake Caplin and Charley Redford made their way back to one another. But finding each other and staying together are two completely different things.

When Charley’s world is flipped upside down, she begins to question the choices and decisions she’s made since her arrival in Edinburgh, and in an effort to grip onto what she holds most dear she believes she must sacrifice her love for Jake.

Returning to the States for her senior year, Charley struggles to find peace and happiness. While everyone else seems to be finding themselves in college, Charley is terrified that, along with almost everything else that’s important to her, she’s lost herself.

While friends and family deal with their own tumultuous lives, there is one person resolved to uncover the reason behind Charley’s sudden defection and unhappiness. Refusing to give up without a fight, Jake believes he is the only one who can truly understand what Charley is going through, and this time he’s determined to prove he’s there for her no matter what obstacles are thrown in their way.

However, as Charley strives to make it through the biggest personal journey of her life thus far, there is no guarantee that the woman she is becoming will still need Jake as much as the girl she once was did...
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary
Series: Into the Deep, Book #2

Ames: I think, more than any other book, I'm excited for this one this month. I admit I had issues with Into the Deep but Jake and Charley's story still grabs me. The author's been putting up snippets from Jake's POV around on her site and others and omg, I'm loving them. The 15th can't get here fast enough!

April 29

No Sunshine When She's Gone by Kate Angell
published by Kensington
Life's a Beach

Though his family owns the charming beachside town of Barefoot William, Aidan Cates is as down-to-earth as the locals. He's also practical to a fault and doesn't believe some psychic on the boardwalk can predict his future.

Jillie Mac is as free as an ocean breeze, so when the hot stranger and his date mistake her for a fortune teller, she's ready to have some fun. But one devastating secret told, one mistaken identity revealed, and numerous long summer nights later, it's Jillie and Aidan who discover that sometimes love comes with a simple twist of fate.
Genre: Contemporary romance
Series: Barefoot William, Book #3

Nath: I've really enjoyed this series so far and I'm looking forward to get back to Barefoot William!

The Scandalous Adventures of the Sister of the Bride by Victoria Alexander
published by Kensington
The bride and groom cordially request the presence of…

The bride’s sister, Delilah, the very proper widowed Lady Hargate, and Samuel Russell, the groom’s friend, a very eligible, slightly improper bachelor, at their upcoming wedding.

Lady Hargate and Mr. Russell, previously acquainted during one unforgettable night in New York City when caution—and clothing—were thrown to the wind will choose to pretend they have never met before.

The lady plans to avoid love and its complications at all costs. The gentleman intends to change her mind.

Guests are invited to enjoy the many diversions of Millworth Manor—delightful grounds, lavish drawing rooms, secluded corners—and the chance to discover that one night may have been only the beginning…
Genre: Historical romance
Series: Millworth Manor, Book #3

Nath: I love Ms Alexander's writing and am looking to this new release of hers! I hope she keeps this story witty and I think the blurb is somewhat refreshing :)

It Takes A Scandal by Caroline Linden
published by Harpercollins Publisher (Avon)
Sometimes It Takes a Scandal...

Abigail Weston has everything: beauty, wit, and one of the largest dowries in England. Her parents hope she'll wed an earl. Abigail hopes for a man who wants her desperately and passionately. But the money seems to blind every man she meets—except one.

Sebastian Vane has nothing. He came home from war with a shattered leg to find his father mad and his inheritance gone. He's not a fit suitor for anyone, let alone an heiress. But Abigail lights up his world like a comet, bright and beautiful and able to see him instead of his ruined reputation. And it might end happily ever after...

To Reveal Your Heart's Desire

...Until Benedict Lennox begins courting Abigail. Ben is everything Sebastian isn't—wealthy, charming, heir to an earl. Sebastian won't give up the only girl he's ever loved without a fight, but Abigail must choose between the penniless gentleman who moves her heart, and the suitor who is everything her parents want.
Genre: Historical romance
Series: Scandals, Book #2

Ames: Aww, this one sounds like it would be a good read. I've enjoyed Caroline's writing in the past so I'm sure this will be another winner. Loving that purple cover too. LOL

Nath: Love and Other Scandals was one of my favorite historical romance books last year and I'm really looking forward to this sequel! I hope it'll be as good as the first installment :)

How to Lose a Duke in Ten Days by Laura Lee Guhrke
published by Harpercollins Publisher (Avon)
They had a deal...

From the moment she met the devil-may-care Duke of Margrave, Edie knew he could change her life. And when he agreed to her outrageous proposal of a marriage of convenience, she was transformed from ruined American heiress to English duchess. Five years later, she's delighted with their arrangement, especially since her husband is living on another continent.

But deals are made to be broken...

By marrying an heiress, Stuart was able to pay his family's enormous debts, and Edie's terms that he leave England forever seemed a small price to pay. But when a brush with death impels him home, he decides it's time for a real marriage with his luscious American bride, and he proposes a bold new bargain: ten days to win her willing kiss. But is ten days enough to win her heart?
Genre: Historical romance
Series: An American Heiress in London, Book #2

Ames: This is my favorite kind of historical. The marriage of convenience that turns into something more. LOVE IT. Can't wait to get my grubby hands on it.

Nath: I have high hopes for How to Lose a Duke in Ten Days after meeting Edie in the first book, When the Marquess Met His Match. I hope this book will be as fun as the preview indicates :)

The Unexpected Duchess by Valerie Bowman
published by St. Martin's Press
In This Battle of Wits

Lady Lucy Upton’s tongue may be too sharp to attract suitors but her heart is good, and when her painfully shy friend Cassandra needs help she devises a brilliant scheme to help her discourage an unwanted suitor, the Duke of Claringdon. Lucy will hide behind the hedgerow and tell Cass just what to say to discourage the duke…but it turns out that he’s made of sterner stuff than either of them anticipated. And Lucy is shocked to discover that tangling with the tenacious man is the most fun she’s had in ages.

Kisses Are the Best Weapon

Lord Derek Hunt made a promise to his dying friend to marry the demure Cassandra, and for a man who wants nothing more than peace and quiet after the horrors of war, she’ll make the perfect bride. If only the impudent Miss Upton will let him court the girl! Doing battle is the last thing on his mind, but bantering with Lucy behind the bushes is too tempting to resist. And the spoils of this war just may be true love…
Genre: Historical romance
Series: Playful Brides, Book #1

Nath: I love witty banters in books and this one promises some! :) I also like the whole Cyrano concept and find it refreshing that it will be the heroine whispering the words LOL.

Never Entice an Early by Lily Dalton
published by Grand Central Publishing
A Deception Most Reckless

Lady Daphne Bevington would do anything for her maid Kate-including masquerading as Kate and sneaking around the wrong side of London to settle the poor girl's debt. Yet her innocent ruse takes a scandalous turn when "Kate" runs into a handsome gentleman on a secret quest of his own. A moment of passion could cost Daphne her reputation, but how can she ignore the stranger's searing kiss?

An Arrangement Most Wicked

Lord Cormack Northmore is determined to find the immoral peer who ruined his sister. So when he learns that the irresistible woman he knows as "Kate" is the Season's most sought-after debutante, Cormack plans to use her connections to help him set a trap. Now, the closer Cormack gets to uncovering the villain who haunts the ton's ballrooms, the more he realizes that the lovely lady is in danger herself. Will he abandon his quest for revenge-or risk losing his one chance at love?
Genre: Historical romance
Series: One Scandalous Season, Book #2

Ames: The false identity plots don't always work for me but I have a feeling this one will.

The Windflower by Laura London
published by Grand Central Publishing
The classic tale of passion on the high seas, available in print for the first time in 20 years . . .

Merry Wilding is a lady of breeding, of innocence, and of breathtaking beauty. With high hopes for a holiday in England, she sets sail from New York-but the tide of her life is destined to turn. Mistakenly swept aboard an infamous pirate ship, Merry finds herself at the mercy of a wicked crew . . . and one sinfully handsome pirate. Soon she's spending her days yearning for escape, and her nights learning the pleasures of captivity.

Devon Crandall believes Merry is in league with his greatest enemy. He's determined to slowly urge her secrets from her. But along the way, he discovers her beautifully unbreakable spirit . . . and a desire unlike any he's ever known. She is hiding something from him, and yet, each day that passes brings her deeper into his heart. When fierce arguments give way to fiercer passion, can a pirate learn to love a woman? Or will true love be lost at sea?
Genre: Historical romance
Series: none

Ames: This is one of those extremely rare and hard to find books and I'm so glad it's making its way back to the shelves. I've been extremely curious about this one for ages now and I can't wait to read it.

A Wedding by Dawn by Alison DeLaine
published by Harlequin HQN
A hellion on the run.

Lady India Sinclair will stop at nothing to live life on her own terms—even stealing a ship and fleeing to the Mediterranean. At last on her own, free to do as she pleases, she is determined to chart her own course. There's only one problem…

A gentleman determined to possess her.

Nicholas Warre has made a deal. To save his endangered estate, he will find Lady India, marry her and bring her back to England at the behest of her father. And with thousands at stake, he doesn't much care what the lady thinks of the idea. But as the two engage in a contest of wills, the heat between them becomes undeniable…and the wedding they each dread may lead to a love they can't live without.
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: connected to A Gentleman 'Til Midnight

Ames: I really enjoyed A Gentleman 'Til Midnight and I liked Lady India's character so I'm interested to see how her story will play out. Especially considering I didn't like the hero's character in GTM. LOL