Monday, October 20, 2014

Weekly Roundup [10/14-10/20]


Wow, is it Monday already? I can't believe that October is already halfway over! I feel like I was just posting my October TBR list and I still have barely made a dent in the books that I really wanted to read this month. I have been doing a fair amount of reading, just not of the books that have been on my shelf for awhile. That's the life of a book blogger for you! I spent the weekend at home and it was so much fun! I went shopping on Friday and got some new running shoes, which I was ecstatic about. Then, on Saturday, my family and I went to see Gone Girl and had the never ending pasta bowl at Olive Garden. Lunch was delicious and the movie was actually really good! I haven't had the chance to read the book, though I do own it, but I really enjoyed the movie. I'm hoping to see The Best of Me this weekend because it's Nicholas Sparks and his movies are always my favorites. Hopefully that happens! Aside from that, I've just got the normal classes and homework taking over my life. As my last semester ever of college classes, though, I'm getting through it! I hope you all had a great weekend and a good start to your week! 
Book Reviews
Darling Beast by Elizabeth Hoyt
Hope Burns by Jaci Burton

Memes

Miscellaneous

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (119)

Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews where bloggers share what they got throughout the week!

Youtube Video


From Books by the Banks
I went to Books by the Banks planning on not spending any money, but what do you expect when I'm in a room full of books? After talking to Kristen Simmons and Mindy McGinnis, I just couldn't help myself and had to buy copies of the first books in their series. They even signed them for me! It was great and I can't wait to read them! 

From the library 

Why do I keep on getting more library books when I have so many others I have to read? Because there are just so many books that I want to read! After meeting Katherine Howe and Jennifer McGowan at Books by the Banks, I knew I had to read their books and am super excited to read them. Then, I've been meaning to read Jennifer Armentrout's Wait for You series for so long and finally reserved a copy from the library. 

From Publisher


SO MANY BOOKS. All of these have come for me over the past three weeks and I couldn't be more excited! They All Fall Down looks like a really fun read and I can't wait to finally read Lizzy & Jane by Katherine Reay! As always, it's going to be very difficult to decide which books to read first! 

From Estelle 

The fabulous Estelle from Rather be Reading sent me her ARC of Lies We Tell Ourselves. I can't wait to read this one!!! Thanks, Estelle! 

That's it for me! What did you all add to your shelves this week? 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Book Review: Hope Burns by Jaci Burton

Hope Burns (Hope #3)
By Jaci Burton
Release Date: September 30, 2014
Summary: Molly Burnett dreads returning to her hometown of Hope for her sister’s wedding, especially knowing she’ll have to endure a weekend with the one man she never wants to see again. It’s only a couple of days, so Molly will try to forget her painful past with high school sweetheart Carter Richards. Because despite the bitter memories, she still can’t forget what they once meant to each other.

But when Molly is forced to extend her stay, Carter sees this as his second chance to do things right, to start over again with the only woman he’s ever loved. This time, he isn’t going to let Molly run. Together they’re going to confront the past and put it behind them, and hope for a future as bright as the flame that still burns hot between them.


Review: Jaci Burton is one of my favorite contemporary romance authors and I fell in love with the first two novels in her Hope series. When I was reading Molly's story in Hope Burns, though, I found myself not really caring for her relationship with Carter as much as I wanted to. 

Molly Burnett never stays in one place for very long; ever since she went through a horrible breakup with her high school sweetheart, she took off and never looked back. So when she has to go back home for her sister's wedding, Molly plans to be in and out with no run-ins with her ex. Carter Richards is ready to show Molly that he's not the same guy he was in high school, especially when Molly is forced to elongate her stay in Hope. Molly isn't going to let Carter back in that easily, though, and Carter has to fight to keep her in Hope just a little bit longer to finally make her see that there's never been anyone else but her…

From the beginning of the novel, we know that something very emotional happened between Molly and Carter in their past, but we aren't told what it is right away. I wish we had more from their past so that we could understand how in love they used to be and how emotionally damaging their relationship was for them both. Molly constantly talked about how hurt she was by it and how hard it was to trust Carter again, but I had a hard time believing that because the background just wasn't established enough. When it was finally revealed what had really happened back in high school, I felt like we didn't get enough from Carter to understand his emotions that Molly never acknowledged. I wish we got more from Carter than just what he says at the end of the novel so that I could feel more connected to him and understand why he wanted to be with Molly so badly. 

Aside from the characters not really connecting as much as I wanted them to, I still loved the small town life we got from this novel. The story opens with Molly having to go back to hope for Emma and Luke's wedding, whose story we got in the first novel. Des and Logan, the couple from the second novel, show up a bit too and I loved seeing them all so adorable and in love. There were great friendships and relationships among the people in the town and also between Molly and the rest of her family. The small town life really made this novel and I loved how interwoven all of the characters were with each other. 

Overall, I wasn't swooning over Molly and Carter's relationship and Molly's phobia of commitment got a bit old by the end of the novel. However, I still loved how sweet their relationship was and how involved so many other characters were in their lives. While not my favorite of the series, I still recommend trying out the Hope series for some small town characters with big hearts full of lots of love.



Fall TV: What I'm Watching


I like to watch TV. A lot. There's nothing like spending a Friday night snuggled up in bed with a big bowl of popcorn and the newest episode of my favorite show on. This fall, so many new TV shows have started up and some of my favorite old ones have returned. I thought I'd share some things that I've been watching and some pretty great shows I've discovered over the past couple of weeks! 


Stalker
I loved the earlier seasons of Nikita and Maggie Q is just an awesome person in general. When I saw she was going to be in a new show about stalkers, I knew it was going to be good. While it's only four episodes in, Stalker has become a must-see for me. I love how twisted the stalkers are and how down right scary the show can get. Yeah, I've definitely learned to watch the show in the middle of the day rather than in the dark, at night. It can get quite scary! 


How to Get Away With Murder
I was interested in this show ever since I saw the trailer with Viola Davis. The first few episodes have been really good and I love how she works the court room and does everything in her power to prove that her clients are innocent. I'm not sure how the whole past and present part of the show will eventually meet, but I'm definitely interested to see how it all connects! 


A to Z
Oh my gosh, this show. I hadn't heard of this show until I told my sister how awful Manhattan Love Story was. She told me about A to Z and how I might like that one better. Well, she was so right! I fell in love about five minutes into the first episode and can't wait for every new episode. I love how the main guy is from The Perfect Man and how utterly romantic he is. *sigh* It's a cute show and the 20 minutes always go by way too fast. 


Outlander
I know that this show is already over, but OH MY GOSH. I will obsess over Outlander anytime I can because it is just so good. How could they only give us 8 episodes in the first season? And not come back until April? That's so mean! I haven't read the books yet, but I fell in love with Jamie from episode one. If you haven't already, you guys have to watch this show!


Downton Abbey
I had no idea Downton Abbey had already started airing in the UK until it was about 3 episodes in. I've caught up on the first episode but haven't had the time to watch any more. I can't wait when I finally have the time to catch up with the new season! You just can't get enough Downtown!


What shows have you guys started watching this Fall? Any good ones? 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Book Review: Darling Beast by Elizabeth Hoyt

Darling Beast (Maiden Lane #7)
By Elizabeth Hoyt
Release Date: October 14, 2014
Source: Publisher
Summary: A MAN CONDEMNED . . .

Falsely accused of murder and mute from a near-fatal beating, Apollo Greaves, Viscount Kilbourne has escaped from Bedlam. With the Crown's soldiers at his heels, he finds refuge in the ruins of a pleasure garden, toiling as a simple gardener. But when a vivacious young woman moves in, he's quickly driven to distraction . . . 

A DESPERATE WOMAN . . .

London's premier actress, Lily Stump, is down on her luck when she's forced to move into a scorched theatre with her maid and small son. But she and her tiny family aren't the only inhabitants—a silent, hulking beast of a man also calls the charred ruins home. Yet when she catches him reading her plays, Lily realizes there's more to this man than meets the eye.

OUT OF ASH, DESIRE FLARES

Though scorching passion draws them together, Apollo knows that Lily is keeping secrets. When his past catches up with him, he's forced to make a choice: his love for Lily . . . or the explosive truth that will set him free.



Review: I have been dying to get my hands on this novel ever since I heard it was coming out. Historical romance, especially ones by Elizabeth Hoyt, always make me feel warm and fuzzy inside. This time, Elizabeth Hoyt has written an irresistible novel with a daring leading lady and a brooding, mute male lead who will steal your heart with one smoldering glance. I have read two other books in the Maiden Lane series and absolutely loved them, so it's no surprise that I absolutely loved this one too! 

After being falsely accused of killing three of his friends, Apollo Greaves has spent the past four years locked away, abused to the inch of death. Apollo manages to finally escape and finds himself mute and hiding as a gardener reconstructing the pleasure garden of a burnt down theater. Apollo knows he must keep a low profile in order to not risk arrest again, but the new tenant of the theater makes that task more difficult than he had thought. Renowned actress Lily Stump has had to move into the theater with her son and maid, making money secretly writing plays under her brother's name. When her son becomes enamored with the "monster" in the garden, Lily finds herself spending more and more time with the hulking, mysterious man. Apollo and Lily both have their secrets, but being together allows them to forget those secrets and finally give into passions they've so long forgotten…

Oh my gosh, Apollo and Lily are just too cute. I loved how unconventional the two characters were and how unlikely of a couple they became. Lily is an actress and a single mother, which makes her a very scandalous, yet very famous woman in London. Despite her reputation, Lily is very loyal to her son Indio and will do anything to protect him. From the moment Indio discovers Apollo in the garden, it's clear Apollo won't be the stereotypical leading male. He's nicknamed Caliban, a reference to The Tempest that I absolutely loved, and has no use of his voice. Lily falls for his quiet demeanor and the hint of intelligence behind his kind eyes. Hidden in the burned down theater, Lily and Apollo are equals where they can forget their pasts and simply be together. Well, until reality comes crashing down and forces Apollo to face his demons...

While Apollo was hiding as a gardener for the theater, he actual had a true passion for gardening and I thought it was so adorable how he would get excited about this plans for the theater's pleasure garden. Gardening is definitely not a normal profession in historical romances and it was fun to see Apollo invested in a working man's occupation when he grew up in a life of leisure and class. While hiding out is all fine and dandy for the time being, someone out there is the true murderer of Apollo's friends and Apollo has to find out who really committed the crime he was found guilty for. So many people come together to help Apollo and it's fun seeing them investigate and try to uncover who the real murderer is, all while Apollo falls for the witty actress living next door. 

While I love historical romances in general, Elizabeth Hoyt has managed to create incredibly unique characters that take us into the fun life of theater and gardening with a hint of a murder conspiracy thrown into the mix. The romance was sweet and I loved how Apollo wasn't the typical gorgeous, jaw-dropping man but rather a gentle giant who crawled his way into my heart. If you haven't yet, you must pick up the Maiden Lane series. Elizabeth Hoyt knows what she's doing when it comes to writing a historical romance that is both passionate and sweet and impossible to resist. 


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Spotlight + Giveaway: Caged in Winter by Brighton Walsh


Caged in Winter
By Brighton Walsh
Release Date: November 4, 2014
Summary: In this emotional and sexy New Adult debut from Brighton Walsh, the only thing more frightening than commitment is hope…

Aspiring chef Cade Maxwell is immediately, viscerally attracted to Winter Jacobson. But it’s not her mouthwatering curves he’s drawn to—it’s the strange emptiness in her eyes. When Cade saves her from a drunken customer with grabby hands, he’s shocked at her response…

Winter doesn’t need Cade’s help. After a lifetime of getting by on her own, she’s happy to rely on herself. She’s exactly seventy-six days away from graduating college, and if she can hold it together that long, she’ll finally be able to rise above the crappy hand she was dealt.

But now, every time she turns around, Cade is there, ready to push her, smile at her, distract her from her plans. Winter knows she can’t afford to open up—especially to a man she’s terrified to actually want…

Cade

“Okay, now add the flour, but—” It’s too late, a puff of white exploding in Winter’s face before I can get the words out or reach to flip the switch. “You need to turn the mixer to low.”
She spins around, her cheeks covered in random white spots, some of the flour dusting her hair. “You couldn’t say that before, ‘Now add the flour’?” Her voice is low, her eyes narrowed, and I take a step back.
“Well, yeah, I guess I could’ve, but I just sort of figured you’d know enough not to add loose flour to a wildly spinning mixer.”
“Oh, you figured I’d know enough for that, huh? Even after I told you I’ve never made cookies before? Even then?”
She’s advancing on me now, and I shouldn’t be retreating like a scared animal. I have more than a foot on her, a hundred-plus pounds, but she looks pissed. And that glint in her eye tells me she’s up to something. I glance down at her hand, seeing a measuring cup half filled with flour, and I realize what she’s going to do a split-second before she does, but not soon enough to dodge it.
A cloud of white powder hits me straight in the face, and I cough as I inhale some. Wiping away the dust from my eyes, I say, “I can’t believe you did that.”
“Oh, well, I just figured you’d know enough to duck.” She shrugs and offers me a saccharine smile.
“I don’t think you want to start this with me, baby.”
“In case you missed the flour in your face a second ago, I already started it, baby.”
I stare her down, then reach over, grabbing the bowl of melted chocolate—my mom’s secret ingredient in her cookies—and dip my fingers into it. Winter narrows her eyes at me and takes a step back. “Don’t you dare.”
“Where you goin’? I thought you wanted to get messy.”
“No, I wanted you to get messy. I didn’t have a choice with this,” she says as she gestures to where the flour hit her. She darts her eyes down to the bowl of chocolate, then back up to my face. “Don’t, Cade. You’re going to get me dirty, and I have to be at work soon.”
“You maybe should’ve thought about that before you threw a scoop of flour in my face.” I don’t wait for her response before I smear the chocolate down her cheek to her jaw, then all the way down her neck and into the deep V of her shirt, stopping when I feel the swell of her breasts. “Whoops.”
“You did not just do that.”
“Looks like I did.” I shrug, putting the bowl back on the counter before I lick the chocolate from my fingers. She focuses on the act, her lips parted. I lean closer to her, drop my voice, and gesture to the spots of her skin that are covered. “You want me to clean you up, too?”
Glaring, she gives a jerky shake of her head, but a flush works its way up her chest to her neck—one of the tells she’s getting turned on.
I step closer, backing her into the corner until she’s pressed against the cabinets behind her. “Sure about that? It wouldn’t take much. Just a lick or two. Maybe a couple sucks. We’d probably have to take your shirt off, though, and your bra, too. I really got down in there.”
Her head’s tilted back as she stares up at me, her chest rising and falling in quick succession from her labored breathing.
I lean into her space, lick up a path from her neck to her ear. “I think you do. I think you want my tongue all over you, don’t you, baby? I got you all dirty. Seems only fair I clean you up.” Before she can respond, my mouth closes over her shoulder, my tongue tracing along the chocolate I smeared there. By the time I’ve dipped into the neckline of her shirt, my tongue in the valley of her breasts, her nipples are pressed tight against the material, and she’s got a white-knuckled grip on the countertop behind her.
“Want me to stop?”
I wait a second. Two. And when she gives the slightest shake of her head, I take. Gripping her face in my hands, my mouth covers hers, my tongue slipping inside. She groans into the kiss, her hands finally coming up to clutch my forearms.
“Wait.” She wrenches her mouth from mine, turning her head to the side. “Cade, wait. Your sister.”
I focus on licking every stray ounce of chocolate I can find, her hands a counterpoint to her words as she holds me close. “Not home. Gone till four.”
“Shit! Four. I have to be at work at four!”
“We’ve got time. Now stop talking.”
I peel her jeans and panties off, then lift her onto the counter, desperate to feel her around me. With one hand, I fumble with the button of my jeans, the other busy between Winter’s thighs, rubbing soft circles around her clit, getting her ready for me. She’s moaning, her head resting back on the cabinets, and the sight of her there, half naked in my kitchen, is too much. Too fucking much, and I can’t get my goddamn jeans off.
When she notices, her hands are there, opening my jeans and yanking my boxers down just far enough to pull me out. Her hands are around my cock, pumping slowly, and I need inside her now.


About the Author


Brighton Walsh spent nearly a decade as a professional photographer before deciding to take her storytelling in a different direction and reconnect with writing. She lives in the Midwest with her husband and two children.





Tour Giveaway

Waiting on Wednesday (165)

This is a meme hosted by Breaking the Spine where every Wednesday bloggers highlight a book that they are eagerly anticipating the release of!

Perfect Couple (Superlatives #2)
By Jennifer Echols
Release Date: January 13, 2015
Summary: Can your heart be put to a popular vote?

As yearbook photographer, Harper is responsible for capturing those candid moments that make high school memorable. But her own life is anything but picture perfect. Her parents' bitter divorce has left her wondering what a loving relationship would look like. And ever since the senior class voted her and star quarterback Brody the “Perfect Couple That Never Was,” her friends have been on her case to ask Brody out.

Brody doesn’t lack in female admirers, but Harper can't see herself with him. He seems confused about why they were matched together, too. They’re total opposites—the last people in the world who would ever be compatible, let alone the “perfect couple.” Yet ever since the class paired the two of them, they've found themselves drawn together--first by curiosity, then by an undeniable bond.

The trouble is, though they're very attracted to each other and both of them admit this, they have a hard time getting along or even communicating clearly. If they’re the perfect couple, this shouldn’t be so difficult! Soon it becomes clear their class was wrong, and they throw in the towel. But after they walk away, both of them feel so changed from making the effort that they can’t forget each other. What if that means this match made in hell is the perfect couple after all?


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I still haven't managed to read the first book in this series, but I swear I will soon. I have loved Jennifer Echols basically ever since I started reading YA and I always devour her books. This series sounds super cute and I can't wait to enter another one of her YA romance worlds. 

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