Thursday, February 27, 2014

Book Review, Tour, Giveaway: Incinerate by Tessa Teevan

Incinerate (Explosive, #2)
Incinerate by Tessa Teevan
Explosive #2
February 18, 2014
302 pages
Genre: Contemporary Romance 18+
(Contains: explicit sex scenes, strong language)
Source: eARC from author for Honest review
Book Blurb:
When Knox Wellington opens the door to Charlie Davenport, he's not expecting the fiery brunette with whiskey colored eyes and a feisty personality. Sparks fly immediately, even though their initial meeting is nothing but hostile. Their chemistry is undeniable, but the chip on Knox's shoulder threatens to destroy any hope of him wooing the sweet, southern volunteer sent to help with his rehabilitation.

Little does he know she's no Southern Belle, as she gives as good as she can take. As unexpected circumstances push them closer together, heads butt, patience is tested, and flames ignite as they dance around their mutual attraction, both of them jaded from broken pasts.

They've both been burned before, so when their feelings of lust, desire, and wanting are inflamed in the heat of the moment, will they finally be able to get over the pain of the past or will their relationship be reduced to ashes before it can ever really begin?

*While this book is a standalone, characters from Ignite, book 1, will appear in Knox's story.
My Review:
While I enjoyed Ignite, the first book in the Explosive series, I liked Incinerate even more. I could tell that Tessa Teevan's writing skills really improved from one book to the next. Each book in this series can be read as a standalone, though there are overlapping characters in each one, as well as an overlap in the timeline.
Incinerate starts up where Knox's story exploded in Ignite - where he and Jace are caught up in a roadside bomb. Knox is faced with multiple injuries and his recovery requires more assistance than his independent self wants. Enter Charlie, the fiery volunteer sent to help Knox during his initial recovery. From the start, these two are rubbing each other the wrong way, while at the same time heating up the room with their chemistry. What ensues is two souls, burned by people in their pasts, finding that they may just be the ones to heal each other - that is, if they can figure out how to get along first.
This story grabbed me from the start. I loved how Knox and Charlie met and how they interpret their first impressions of each other. It really set the stage for how their personalities would connect and evolve through conflict and passion. I enjoyed their progression to friends and then more, and I loved getting to know them both individually as well as a couple. Knox is certainly rough around the edges, but I loved the way his softer side came out as his walls fell down. Charlie is a tough chick with a stubborn side that could hold her own, but also just wanted to be loved. While the story did slow down at certain points, the author was able to mix in new plot elements that helped pick things back up again, pulling me back into the story. There are also some super sexy, steamy scenes to look forward to. All-in-all, Knox and Charlie are really great together - when they're not being stupid and stubborn.
Overall, I liked Knox and Charlie's story, getting to know them, seeing their walls come down, and seeing two people open up to love again. The pacing was better than Ignite, though still slow at times, and not too high on the angst side. There are many lovely moments between not only Knox and Charlie, but also their family members and friends, as they start to heal their pasts and look forward to their future. Plus, we get more Jace and Alexa from Ignite, and a really beautiful moment between them, that fans of the first book won't want to miss. We're also introduced to the characters in the next novel, and you can already tell they'll have an interesting story to tell.

IgniteAmazonBn Cover

About the Author
      I'm a twenty six year old book junkie who is also obsessed with sports. Bengals, Buckeyes, Reds are my teams! I work for the government during the day, hang out with Air National Guard on the weekends, and have been married to my own book boyfriend for over seven years. We currently live right outside of Dayton, OH with our two cats.
      If I’m not writing or looking through tons of photos of hot men, all in the name of research, then you can probably find me curled up with my Kindle, ignoring the rest of the world. I love my sports almost as much as I love my books. My other obsessions include red wine, hot men, country music, and all things Grace Potter. 
       I LOVE to hear from readers, so please feel free to contact via any social media site listed below.

Connect with the Author
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Book Review: Ignite by Tessa Teevan

Ignite (Explosive, #1)
Ignite by Tessa Teevan
Explosive #1
October 28, 2013
333 pages
Genre: Contemporary Romance 18+
(Contains: Explicit sex, strong language, alcohol)
Source: Personal purchase
Book Blurb:
After nearly a year and a half of grieving the loss of her husband, twenty-seven year old Alexa Sullivan Tate is headed back to her hometown after a decade of being away. She has no idea her high school crush, Jace McAllister, the guy who stole her heart the same night that he broke it, is more than ready to pick up the pieces.

Jace has spent the last ten years in the Army defusing bomb after bomb, trying to forget the girl who ignited all his passions. Little does he know that the spark still exists.

Ten years ago they had smoldering chemistry, but the spark between them now might light a fuse that leads to an explosion even Jace can't stop. Not that he wants to. If only Alexa can get past her guilt and trust her heart again.

But how do you put it all on the line when you've already lost everything once before?

*Mature Audiences only, 18+. While this is a series, each book will be standalone.
My Review:
Overall, I enjoyed Ignite and this second chance romance. I didn't love it but I solidly liked it and think readers of this genre would too, perhaps even more than I did. I will list a few things that were hits and misses for me.

What I liked:

1. Second Chance Romance: I've read several books with this type of hook, but what I loved about Ignite was that the two main characters actually has good lives between their initial chance and their second chance. Jace and Alexa were best friends in high school, but after a misunderstanding lost touch with each other and thought their chance with each other was over. But in the 10 years they were apart, Alexa fell in love and married a wonderful man. She loved him and they had a good marriage together, until his premature death. Jace, though not as lucky in love, found great fulfillment in his military career. These were not two people dwelling on their losses (though, certainly, they had spent time with the other in their thoughts), but became healthy, functional people who were not completely defunct after missing out on their first loves. I really appreciated that the author gave them lives and fulfillment apart from each other, and it made me respect their attempts at a rekindled romance even more.

2. Loss and Moving On: I appreciated that the author took an honest approach with a woman being widowed in her 20s and how devastating that would be. The situation would be handled differently depending upon the individual, but I liked the care that was used to look at Alexa's situation and how she decided to handle things (or avoid things). The moving on bit was not immediate or without deep and thoughtful deliberation. But the decision to live again was honest and believable.

3. Humor, Friends, and Family: Though at times the humor was hit-or-miss with me, I liked that the author didn't just make this a completely heavy book, as it could have been. Using Alexa's sister, brother-in-law, and niece to give the situations some spunk really helped lift up the storyline. Integrating the pasts and presents of their families also helped give Jace and Alexa more depth as a couple. Brady was also a great help in bringing levity but reality to the situation, and an honest shoulder for Alexa to lean on.

What I didn't like as much:

1. Pacing and Repetition: The beginning of the story really appealed to me and kept my attention, getting into both Alexa's and Jace's minds and feelings. But as the book progressed, I felt like the story itself was not progressing as much as I'd hoped. I appreciated that this wasn't a quickie relationship, but as the pages went by, I was starting to get bored from the same conversations, the same thoughts and feelings, because the story was fairly predictable. I think if the repetition was reconsidered and trimmed down, this book could have been 50-100 pages shorter and paced much better. It was a great story, it just lost a little something for me after a certain point, and a bit more editing would have helped.

2. Too Much Sex: Now, don't get me wrong. I like a good sex scene or more. But when each sex scene is pages and pages long, and the words and descriptions seem to be on repeat, I find myself skimming. And that's what I was doing here after the first few scenes. I don't think each and every time characters have sex needs to accompany a full blow-by-blow description. Because the scenes were nice to start with, but then got repetitive.

3. Deceptive Title: With a title like "Ignite" in the "Explosive" series, I found that half-way through the book I was wondering when the "explosive" or "ignite" part of the story was going to kick in. Sure there were some steamy scenes and all that, but I guess with such intense titles for the book and the series, I was expecting more. Jace deals with explosives in the military, so I'm assuming that's where the titles came from, but we don't get nearly enough of his life away from Alexa in the military as I would have liked. I think if we'd gotten more of the intensity of his life in the field, outside of the one short scene, it might have helped amp up the "explosive" part of the story. Overall, Jace is a pretty easy-going guy, which is fine, but not the intensity I was expecting.

Overall, I love a good second chance romance and Ignite was a good one to fit that bill. Jace and Alexa have a nice story to tell and I enjoyed it for the most part. And no cliffhanger! This is also the first book in a series. Each book can be read as a standalone or in order.

Cover Reveal & Giveaway: Finding My Way by Heidi McLaughlin

I completely love The Beaumont Series by Heidi McLaughlin. If you haven't read this series yet, you can find the links to my reviews in this post and discover why I love this series and this group of characters so much. I'm both excited and nervous about reading Liam's story taking place before Forever My Girl. But one thing I'm sure of, Heidi will do his story justice. Well, here's the fantastic cover for Finding My Way and I think it represents the story perfectly!
 Finding My Way
by Heidi McLaughlin 
Coming April 2014
New Adult Contemporary Romance
The Beaumont Series, #4

Liam Westbury has the world at his feet. He’s the quintessential golden boy. He’s the superstar quarterback for Beaumont High. His girl, Josie, is head cheerleader. He has his choice of colleges just waiting for him.  Except he’s suffocating from all the pressure he’s under and no one understands.
Liam Page is the heartthrob he never wanted to be. He’s successful, smart and in demand by record companies and his adoring fans. Music is his passion, his love, but something’s missing. His nights are lonely and he longs for the girl he left behind. Seeing her in every face in the crowd haunts him with the knowledge that she hates him. Going home has never been an option until now.
Be there when Liam Westbury becomes Liam Page and follow the highs and lows of the Quarterback turned Rockstar as he finds a way back to Beaumont in this prequel to Forever My Girl.
Forever My Girl (The Beaumont Series, #1) My Everything (The Beaumont Series, #1.5)
Forever My Girl (#1): My Review / Amazon
My Everything (#1.5): My Review / Amazon
My Unexpected Forever (The Beaumont Series, #2) Finding My Forever (The Beaumont Series, #3)
My Unexpected Forever (#2): My Review / Amazon
Finding My Forever (#3): My Review / Amazon
Author Information:
Heidi is the author of USA Today, Digital Book World, Amazon and Barnes & Noble Bestselling novel, Forever My Girl.

Originally from the Pacific Northwest, she now lives in picturesque Vermont, with her husband and two daughters. Also renting space in their home is an over-hyper Beagle/Jack Russell and two Parakeets.

During the day Heidi is behind a desk talking about Land Use. At night, she's writing one of the many stories planned for release or sitting court-side during either daughter's basketball games.

Author Links:

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Teaser Tuesday (32): Ignite

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read    
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
IGNITE by Tessa Teevan
Published: October 28, 2013

Ignite (Explosive, #1)

Teaser from location 474 of eBook:
Yes, I was a total and complete idiot. For the third time in my life, I'd lost the girl of my dreams before I ever even had her.

Book Blurb:
After nearly a year and a half of grieving the loss of her husband, twenty-seven year old Alexa Sullivan Tate is headed back to her hometown after a decade of being away. She has no idea her high school crush, Jace McAllister, the guy who stole her heart the same night that he broke it, is more than ready to pick up the pieces.

Jace has spent the last ten years in the Army defusing bomb after bomb, trying to forget the girl who ignited all his passions. Little does he know that the spark still exists.

Ten years ago they had smoldering chemistry, but the spark between them now might light a fuse that leads to an explosion even Jace can't stop. Not that he wants to. If only Alexa can get past her guilt and trust her heart again.

But how do you put it all on the line when you've already lost everything once before?

*Mature Audiences only, 18+. While this is a series, each book will be standalone.

Cover Reveal: Desire (Brightest Kind of Darkness #4)

Release Date: 04/01/14

Summary from Goodreads:
Now that Nara and Ethan are working together to uncover the Corvus’ secrets, they’re confident nothing can stop them.

But while they’ve learned to anticipate dark, outside forces gunning for them, neither is prepared for the insidious evil that slithers its way into their lives, nor the new challenges that surface so close to home.

Despite all the chaos and turmoil around them, the one constant they can depend on is their devotion and loyalty to each other. But as their relationship moves into deeper territory, sometimes the toughest battles are the ones waged within.

While the hunt for answers unravels more layers in the Corvus world, Ethan and Nara uncover new truths about themselves and their intricate connection to the powerful raven spirit.

When boundaries are suddenly redrawn and control shifts, Ethan and Nara will be forced to make choices that could bring them closer together or rip them apart forever.

Books in this series:
(covers linked to Goodreads)
 photo ethan_zps856392e5.jpg  photo brightestkindofdarkness_zps37595052.jpg  photo lucid_zpsd02b0538.jpg  photo destinypt_zpscec99147.jpg

About the Author
P.T. Michelle is the young adult and new adult pseudonym of Patrice Michelle, author of fifteen romance novels and novellas. When P.T. isn’t writing, she can usually be found reading or taking pictures of landscapes, sunsets and anything beautiful or odd in nature.

Author Links:
 photo iconwebsite-32x32_zps1f477f69.png  photo icongoodreads32_zps60f83491.png  photo icontwitter-32x32_zpsae13e2b2.png  photo iconfacebook-32x32_zps64a79d4a.png  photo iconpinterest_zps6fcf02a7.png

Cover Reveal Organized by:

Monday, February 24, 2014

Book Review, Tour, Giveaway: Midsummer Sweetheart by Katy Regnery

Midsummer Sweetheart (Heart of Montana, #2)
Midsummer Sweetheart by Katy Regnery
Heart of Montana #2
February 11, 2014
Boroughs Publishing Group
240 pages
Genre: Contemporary Romance
(Contains: Non-explicit sexual references, some alcohol abuse, some violence)
Source: eARC from publisher for Honest review
Book Blurb:
Erik Lindstrom never had much faith in love. He saw his parents’ marriage collapse and vowed to avoid the same anguish himself. His fiercely protective nature drew him to a career in law enforcement, but he’s managed to keep himself and his heart safe…until now.

Katrin Svenson is in danger. After leaving her home in secret, her only hope for safety seems to lie in the hands of her handsome but aloof protector, who's steeled himself against her deep blue eyes and sunny smile.

Sparks fly between the officer and the nurse, and those sparks turn to fire as Katrin melts the ice surrounding Erik’s heart. Yet a dark force, determined to tear the young lovers apart, must be vanquished before their sweet midsummer nights can turn into a sweet forever.
My Review:

First things first... This is my favorite Katy Regnery book to date! (which is saying a lot since I have enjoyed all of her books.) What I find so special about Katy's books is her writing style. There's something there that completely draws me in, entwining and engaging me in the story, making it feel so organic and natural, not forced or inauthentic.

As for the Heart of Montana series, Midsummer Sweetheart is the second book. I've read the first book, By Proxy, as well as the novella, The Christmas Wish, and I loved them, which is why I've continued this series. Midsummer Sweetheart can be read as a standalone if you haven't had a chance to read the first book yet. You will be spoiled about how the first book ended, but you can easily read By Proxy later if you want to read Sam and Jenny's story and still completely enjoy it. And I would recommend it.

As for the storyline, there was so much to enjoy about Erik and Katrin's story. Erik and Katrin are put into each other's lives as they both move out of town, Erik for work and Katrin to get away from her ex. For two people who have such different views about love, they connect on a level they did not expect, and a beautiful friendship begins, developing into more. But there is so much more to their story than some sparks and warm-fuzzies. There are deeper heart matters to face and an abusive ex to handle, and I loved how Katy developed and revealed it all. There were even a couple of scenes involving Erik's dad that really moved and touched me. But all matters were not heavy. Erik and Katrin are funny and sweet and silly and sexy. And the other family members make great appearances, bringing all their big blondness in masses.

As for the main characters, I loved reading about Erik and Katrin. Now Erik is a bit rough around the edges for a large part of the story. The guy has a set perception of how things are, and it takes a while for his defenses to come down. But I truly loved how Katy went about revealing the depths of Erik and making him face the truths in his life and his heart. And when you really get to know Erik, you'll fall for him, too. Katrin is just terrific. She's not your stereotypical weakling from an abusive relationship. She is strong and smart and hopeful. She hasn't given up on life or love, but she also isn't going to settle. The way she handles Erik made me smile, even in the tough times, because I respected her so much. The two of them together felt so real and right. There was nothing forced about their interactions. And their nicknames and Swedish talk were just perfect! They were a pleasure to read about.

Overall, I loved Midsummer Sweetheart. Erik and Katrin are a wonderful, beautiful couple that I loved getting to know and watching them fall in love. Their story, and the stories surrounding them, had a lovely mix of sweetness, humor, trepidation, spark, hope, and love. I didn't want to put their story down, and I didn't want it to end. I look forward to the rest of the books in this wonderful series.

Author Bio:

Katy is a 2013 NECRWA First Kiss and 2013 NTRWA Great Expectations contest finalist who has always loved telling a good story and credits her mother with making funny, heartwarming tales come alive throughout her childhood. A lifelong devotee of all Romance writing, from Edwardian to present-day, it was just a matter of time before Katy tried her hand at writing a love story of her own. Katy lives in the relative-wilds of northern Fairfield County, Connecticut where her writing room looks out at the woods, and her husband, two young children and two dogs create just enough cheerful chaos to remind her that the very best love stories of all can often be the messy or unexpected ones.

Katy has a Paranormal alter-ego: KP Kelley (Twitter)
Her Paranormal It's You is scheduled for a Winter 2014 release. 
Author Links: Website Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter


By Proxy (Heart of Montana, #1) The Christmas Wish (Heart of Montana, #1.5) Midsummer Sweetheart (Heart of Montana, #2)
BY PROXY (#1):  My Review / Amazon
THE CHRISTMAS WISH (#1.5): My Review / Amazon
MIDSUMMER SWEETHEART (#2): My Review / Amazon

Playing for Love at Deep Haven (Enchanted Places, #1)

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (47) & Weekly Wrap-Up

Weekly Wrap-Up

What I Read:
Two Ravens and One Crow by Kevin Hearne
Prodigy by Marie Lu (finished)
Rumors by Erica Kiefer
Lingering Echoes by Erica Kiefer
Midsummer Sweetheart by Katy Regnery (started)

Audiobooks I Listened To:
Trapped by Kevin Hearne (finished)
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (started)
Reviews I Posted:
Consequence by Shelly Crane (my review)
Once in a Lifetime by Jill Shalvis (my review)
Tyler & Stella by Heidi Joy Tretheway (my review)
STSmall_thumb[2][2]Stacking The Shelves, hosted by Tynga's Reviews, is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!
Won from author Amber Belldene!
Wine & wine glasses from her amazing Blood Vine series!
(my reviews: book 1, book 2, book 3)

eARCs for Review:
White Hart (White Hart, #1) Rare and Precious Things (The Blackstone Affair, #4)
White Hart by Sarah Dalton
Rare and Precious Things by Raine Miller
For My Kindle:
 Two Ravens and One Crow (The Iron Druid Chronicles, #4.5) Ready to Fall
Two Ravens and One Crow by Kevin Hearne
Ready to Fall by Daisy Prescott

Used Book Finds:
Lord John And The Hand Of Devils (Lord John Grey, #0.5, #1.5, #2.5) Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade  (Lord John Grey, #2)
Lord John and the Hand of Devils by Diana Gabaldon
Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade by Diana Gabaldon

Audible Purchases:
Hunted (The Iron Druid Chronicles, #6)
Hunted by Kevin Hearne

Friday, February 21, 2014

Book Review: Tyler & Stella (Tattoo Thief #2)

Tyler & Stella (Tattoo Thief, #2)
Tyler & Stella by Heidi Joy Tretheway
Tattoo Thief #2
February 20, 2014
275 pages
Genre: New Adult Contemporary 18+
(contains: strong language, sex and sexual situations, alcohol)
Source: eARC from author for Honest review
Book Blurb:
Stella Ramsey always says bad boys can’t break your heart. They don’t call, don’t cuddle and don’t send flowers—but what do you expect? No strings means no regrets.

When the biggest story of her fledgling music journalism career nearly ruins her relationship with her best friend, Stella has one chance to redeem herself. She promises the bassist for the rock band Tattoo Thief anything in exchange for behind-the-scenes access. But Tyler doesn’t want anything. He wants everything—and that’s more than Stella is prepared to give.

When Tyler’s explosive secret thrusts Stella into the media spotlight, she must choose between selling the story and telling the truth—and exposing the truth about herself.
My Review:

Tyler & Stella is the second book in the Tattoo Thief series, but it can be read as a standalone. It starts just a bit before where Tattoo Thief left off, but giving us things from Stella's perspective this time. This was very helpful to not only give readers of Tattoo Thief a reminder of where Stella was at the end (and what she had done), but also brings new readers up to speed. So Tyler & Stella can easily be enjoyed by new and old readers to the Tattoo Thief series. And if you enjoy Tyler & Stella, then perhaps you'll then want to pick up Tattoo Thief and get Gavin and Beryl's story, too.

As for the writing of Tyler & Stella, I can honestly say I enjoyed this one so very much. I liked it more than Tattoo Thief, and could really see the author's growth in her writing, character development, and dialogue. This was one of those books I had a difficult time putting down. Not only do we get an interesting storyline, but the characters are well fleshed-out and make you instantly want to know them. We also get a nice group dynamic, which is one thing I love in a series. The story is centered around Tyler and Stella, but we get more of Gavin and Beryl, along with the other band members and their great camaraderie (there are some wonderful male-bonding moments).

As for main characters, I loved Tyler. Absolutely loved him! It was so refreshing to read about a male character that's not your standard "bad boy." The author revealed his character really well, slowly letting us get to know Tyler. There were certain things I figured out about Tyler right away, but that made me appreciate the author's research into him and care with the way she treated him even more. Now for Stella, I didn't really like her in Tattoo Thief, so at the beginning I was really unsure about her. What I appreciated was the way the author revealed who Stella was deep inside. Stella had a rough journey of realization, reflection, trust, and integrity to face. Watching her grow throughout the novel and the way she was eventually able to handle herself was terrific, and she really grew on me. And then watching the relationship between Tyler and Stella play out felt honest and tangible. They were so sweet together, even when they didn't understand each other, and you could feel the deep connection they had to one another. I really liked them.

As for the story, this isn't just a simple boy meets girl romance. This is really the story of two people facing down their pasts. Pasts that hold not only their own mistakes, but the thoughtlessness and cruelty of others, as well as the things in life we have no control over. Yet through it all they must make choices to hide and suffer, or to grow and live. And they must decide what kind of life they want to live, and if the vulnerability in love is worth it. Watching Tyler and Stella grow and change and embrace their lives and love, learning to forgive and be forgiven, learning to trust and hope again, was really a beautiful thing.

Overall, I loved Tyler and Stella's journey of vulnerability, forgiveness, hope, and love. Their story is well-written, with just the right amounts of angst, mystery, friendship, sincerity, heat, love, and the beauty of new beginnings. It is a refreshing addition to the New Adult genre.
4-1/2 STARS

Gavin and Beryl's Story
Tattoo Thief (Tattoo Thief, #1)
Links:  My Review  /  Amazon  /  Goodreads