Stacking the Bookshelves #1

Yup, so I’m following in the footsteps of others who have come before me. I love the idea of sharing the books that we get each week.It makes us more aware of the different types of books that are out there.Books that we might not have known about ordinarily.

This was a very quiet week at the mailbox for me.I was still finishing Ethereal Fury:Gemini Rising as part of a Book Tour that starts soon.I also wanted to finish Cloaks & Veils that I had started over a month ago and finally I received my copy of Still Missing, that I had won in a Goodreads giveaway several months ago,that I really wanted to read.

On Thursday I received a copy of Stillwell by Michael Phillip Cash

I had received an email the week of June 17th asking if I would review this book and after I read the synopsis,I jumped at the chance.

As for the rest of the week,it has been very quiet. I did not buy any books either in hard copy or e-book formats.I’m hoping that next week will be a busier book week.

Reader’s Choice

As a newbie blogger I tend to be a little more cautious than I would be in real life because I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes. I don’t want to discredit the bloggers that have been doing the book blogging thing for multiple years. If I happened to find a great meme or idea,then I do my best to find the original blogger that began it and ask permission to borrow it and tweak it a little bit to fit who I am.

That’s what I did with this new (to me) idea. I borrowed it with permission from Christina at A Reader of Fictions. Reader’s Choice allows me to get to know my fellow readers better.It actually messes with me a bit because I am SUCH a control freak.So allowing others to choose my books for me definitely pulls me out of my comfort zone.

Here is the form

It will likely take me a few days to acquire the book as I am a college student and I don’t have unlimited funds to buy books,although how awesome would that be? When I read a book,I have the right to not like it even if the person who picked it for me absolutely loved it. No one will like all the same books.I think that would make for a pretty boring world.Don’t you think?

Happy suggesting!

Friday Musings

I am still trying to figure out the name for this weekly feature so for now I’m naming it Friday Musings.I am working hard not to tread on the toes of book bloggers who have come before me.Thankfully I have Molli from Once Upon A Prologue to tell me if a name I picked already for a meme has already been used. So thanks Molli.

So today I am going to talk about what got me into reading YA books.Until about 2 years ago I didn’t even know that YA was a book genre.It wasn’t until my friend Katie insisted that I read The Hunger Games that I realized that there was a whole new genre of books that I had never even known about. From the recommendation of The Hunger Games trilogy to the awesomeness that both the Divergent Trilogy & the Shatter Me trilogies have,I am excited to read the next Dystopian novel.

Some people will say that it was the Twilight series that got them into reading YA.I will not be one of them.I am one of the few people who loved the final book of the Twilight series best of all but I would never read the series again. Not when there is so many BETTER YA authors out there. Laura Howard who wrote The Forgotten Ones,R.J. Anderson who wrote Ultraviolet & Dan Rix who wrote Entanglement are all fantastic writers of the YA genre.

Tell me who are yout favorite authors of any genre?

Review: Cloaks & Veils by J.C. Carlson

Author: J.C, Carlson
Published: July 17th,2012
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Available at Amazon.com in multiple versions.Available at Barnes & Noble in paperback.
Synopsis: Disgraced FBI agent Sundara “Dara” McIntyre must monitor a junior agent as punishment for her affair with a Jordanian spy by the name of Tariq.Dara must figure out if recently widowed Caitlin is fit to be in the field. 
Yet this widow has her own secrets much like Dara. Dara begins investigating an operation that seems to raise red flags. An operation that Caitlin & her recently deceased husband Jonathan recently took part in. Dara’s investigation takes her to both Dubi & to Barcelona. But the truth is much harder to find than Dara realizes.And when certain things come to light she begins to wonder if she can trust anyone…even the man who penetrated her hard exterior.
Disclaimer: I bought this book off Amazon.
Review: I got this one as a free e-book from Amazon.It seemed interesting and at the time I needed a book to read. It took me over a month to finish it. Not that I didn’t enjoy it but just after I bought this book I had a plethora of books show up in my mailbox.Which meant this one got pushed to the side.
There was a whole lot of stuff going on in this book.But through it all I really liked Dara. She was a take charge kind of woman.She was a straight shooter & no BS kind of person.I did find it sort of sad that she had no one in her corner aside from Tariq who she had basically been forced to stop seeing. There was never any doubt in my mind that he cared deeply for her.
Now Caitlin was far more complicated than I ever gave her credit for initially.She had lost her husband and she had learned of her pregnancy shortly after Jonathan had died.By the end of the book I was firmly in Caitlin’s corner as I had come to realize that this scheme that she and Jonathan had been involved in,had gotten out of hand.Tony Alvaro & Dominic Cahill are two other players in this crazy game of deception.
I gave this book 4 stars.While I enjoyed it very much,there was not a whole lot of character development in the supporting characters.Outside of Dara,Tariq,Caitlin and Jonathan I don’t feel like I got to know the other characters that well.

Review: Still Missing by Chevy Stevens

Author: Chevy Stevens
Published Date:July 6th,2010
Published by St. Martin’s Press
Available at Amazon.com in multiple versions.
Available at Barnes & Noble in paperback & Nook versions.
Synopsis: On the day that Annie O’Sullivan was abducted,she had three things to worry about: Resolve things with her mother,sell a house and be on time for dinner with her boyfriend.That all changes when she is abducted from a home that she is trying to sell.Still Missing interweaves Annie’s year of hellish captivity into sessions with her psychologist. 
In these sessions,Annie struggles to put her life back in order but she just can’t let go of the lack of answers behind her abduction.Things come to a head with people in her inner circle that she never would have suspected.Does Annie have the strength to learn the truth about people she thought she knew?
Disclaimer: I won this book from a Goodreads giveaway.

Review: Well when I first read the description of this book I thought “Wow reminds me a LOT of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” which I love. So when the book arrived in my mailbox,I eagerly began reading it. While the book itself reminded me a lot of what I imagine the victims’ side of SVU would be like,it was even better than that. It was bone chilling and creepy. It was the kind of book that made me sleep with a bat next to my bed. 
Certain parts of the book scared the living daylights out of me. I’ve been through a lot in my personal life and it’s rare that something can actually scare me but Still Missing did just that. Yet I devoured the book.I finished nearly 3 quarters of the book that first night.I had recently read Chevy Stevens’ newest book Always Watching (I received an ARC of it) and while that one was amazing in it’s own right,the creepiness factor wasn’t there as much as it was in Still Missing.
Annie was amazingly resilient. I tried to put myself in her shoes when she was being held captive by The Freak and I remember thinking that as strong as I think I am,I never would have made it a week much less a year with this man.
I could not really connect with Annie’s relationship with her mother and I think that is based on my own life experience. My mother and I are extremely close.Best friend close.
The relationship with Luke seemed I don’t know…One sided. I never thought I’d say this but I think The Freak had a point. I don’t think Annie was ever really that into Luke. I think Luke was more into her than she was into him.
The relationship with Christina made me smile. Christina was there for Annie in a way that no one else really was. Yes Christina pushed her but I think her heart was in the right place when she pushed Annie.Christina’s viewpoint on friendship was awesome.She viewed their friendship more important than her job.
The Freak was just that. A freak. It gave me the creeps to watch how he talked to Annie and made her actually feel pity for him when all she should have felt was anger at him.There were certain parts of the book where I actually had to put the book down and do something else.Those parts coincided with whenever The Freak was mentioned.These parts also included tears and/or throwing of the book across the room.
Overall this book was simply amazing.It was bone chilling and creepy in a way that really made you feel like you were in the story.Like her newest release I am giving Chevy Stevens’ Still Missing 5 stars. This book,like Always Watching is not for everyone but for anyone who likes a great psychological thriller,you need to read this one.

Cover Reveal: The Fab Life

It’s the life I was born to live: billionaire’s daughters, living amongst the rich & famous. But my mom kept me a secret from my dad. Until now.
I am so out of my league. Fancy parties, expensive cars, and a private school for the elite… It sounds like a dream. But everything is not as perfect as it seems on the outside. Here, the secrets are dirty, and the lies comes easy.
Welcome to my fab life.

Author Bio
 I am a YA/ NA author, with an addiction to NOS & Red Bull energy drinks. My guilty pleasure is the TV series The Lying Game and The Vampire Diaries. I’m 23 years old. I currently live in St Louis, with my husband of 2 years.

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Review: Life After Theft by Aprilynne Pike

Author: Aprilynne Pike
Published: April 30th,2013
Available at Amazon.com in both Kindle & hardcover versions.Also available at Barnes & Noble in both hardcover & Nook versions.

Synopsis: Kimberlee thought she was doomed to haunt her high school forever.She might have been right if she hadn’t met Jeff. Unlike any other of her former classmates,Jeff can both see & hear Kimberlee. Now Kimberlee needs Jeff’s help and Jeff is very reluctant to help her but the idea of her disappearing forever is very tempting to him.Things only get more complicated when Jeff agrees to help her.

Disclaimer: I won this in a book blog giveaway.

Review: I am extremely glad that I decided to read this book before reading the comments posted on various sites.I don’t think I would have enjoyed it as much as I did,if I had read certain comments beforehand.

I actually really enjoyed this book.It was a quick read which I wasn’t expecting.I got the book 22 hours ago and I’m already done.That’s even with a decent night’s sleep and reading other books in between.I am not surprised that this copy was a proof as there were several issues. Only one spelling error BUT there were several formatting issues that were driving me batty.

Oh well, on to the book. Like I said already,I enjoyed it. Having the book be in a guy’s perspective was really awesome as most books have the female narrating the book.I loved that Jeff was a nerd.That was another deviation from typical fiction.

I’m absolutely obsessed with Khail. He was totally awesome and I really loved that there was more depth to him than we initially knew. I loved that he was a wrestler and that he wasn’t a total meat-head like so many jocks in these YA book are.

Sera was totally confusing.Initially I really liked her a lot but by the end I wanted to hang her by her hair.She really didn’t understand how to let go. I truly think that Jeff was only into her because she was in a word, hot. Yes she had substance but we didn’t know the depth of the substance until much later in the book.

Kimberlee was totally messed up but I had the complete opposite feeling about her than I felt for Sera. By the end of the book,I just wanted Kimberlee to be at peace.She had struggled to have some semblance of peace while she was on Earth,so I wanted her to finally find it when she was able to completely be on the other side.

Obviously I am morally against stealing,however Kimberlee wanted to make amends for her actions.I couldn’t vilify her for that.I wanted her to be able to make her amends to those whom she had stolen from.

I was pretty annoyed with Sera.Not only for her apparent inability to forgive Kimberlee,but also for her refusal to share things with Jeff. True intimacy in a relationship requires that both members of the couple be emotionally vulnerable and I just don’t think Sera was there yet.

Ghosts have always fascinated me,so I knew the second I had read the synopsis,that I absolutely had to read this book.I think I would give this book 3.5 stars.I enjoyed it mostly because of the paranormal aspect of it. Kimberlee and Khail were my 2 favorite characters mostly because of their complexities. Sera was complex too but hers was more of the teenage rebellion complexity.Jeff was pretty uncomplicated which bored me a little bit.

In this case,me giving it 3.5 stars is not indicative to how much I actually enjoyed the book

My Bookish Pet Peeves

As of today I will be launching a new weekly feature for my blog. I will be covering different things related to books & blogging every week.From best/worst book covers to best/worst male & female characters.

Today I’m going to be talking about my biggest pet peeves when it comes to books.If you know me in real life I’m pretty sure you’d expect my first answer to be different than what it will actually be.

My number one pet peeve about books is when they have a character that’s “perfect” Gorgeous,smart & with a perfect family with no family skeletons.No person is perfect just as no family is perfect. I tend to get irritated with books that establish a Mary Sue/Gary Stu character. Every single person has some sort of flaw.I would think that writing flawless characters can really get boring.When a character is flawless,they are very one dimensional. Flawed characters add to the story. They are multi-dimensional which make them more interesting and make the reader more interested in them.

Pet peeve number two has to go to editing.There are editors in the world and I wish all authors would use them.I haven’t found many issues with the flow of books,but rather the grammar, sentence structure,syntax & spelling.I hate to brag but I won a school spelling bee when I was in 7th grade.My final opponent was older than me and I still managed to out spell her.Even if the author is not a great speller,there are devices that they can use such as spell check.Of course spell check doesn’t catch everything but it would be a start.

Insta-love is another one that drives me absolutely batty. I have been seeing this one a lot in books lately and it’s just not realistic.I know books aren’t always realistic but love stories should at least be plausible and it should make you root for the couple. In both Sweet Serendipity & Picturing Perfect the insta-love showed up in slightly different forms but it was still the same.

In both of these books,the female character becomes so absorbed in the man in her life that everything else suffers.It was really bad in Sweet Serendipity when the female character had kids but she was so wrapped up in her new boy toy that she didn’t realize that her youngest was slipping into dangerous territory.

I enjoy the love stories that start off slowly and not involve immediate romps in the sack.I like strong,confident women that DON’T need to jump into the sack the second a man smiles at her.A woman that has self respect does NOT need to jump in the sack with any man who simply looks at her.While I am aware that sex sells (look at the horrid Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy) sex alone does not make a compelling read.Well not for me anyway.

Those are three of my biggest pet peeves. Visit next Friday for my next installment.

What are some of your book related pet peeves?

Review: Bed, Breakfast & Bondage (Emerald Valley) by Riley Shane

Author: Riley Shane
Published: November 2012
Available at Amazon.com in Kindle version.Also available at Barnes & Noble in Nook version.

Synopsis: Anaya Bancroft has had her heart broken by Devlin Levi,yet her complete ineptitude in the kitchen of an inn that she co-owns forces her to ask her ex for hep in the kitchen.Just in the kitchen. That’s it. However Devlin has other ideas.He wants 8 nights with her. 8 nights of fantasies.8 chances to prove that they can make this work.If at the end of it Anaya still believes that they can’t make it work,then Devlin will never bother her again.

It’s an arrangement that Anaya can’t resist, even though she’s afraid that Devlin just might break her heart all over again.

Review: Bed, Breakfast & Bondage was just the right amount of funny and sexy.Erotica is definitely not a genre of book that I read most often,but it’s also not a genre that I shy away from. If it’s done right,it can make one hot, sexy book. BB&B was definitely done right.It was clear to me from the start that both Devlin & Anaya were still in love. Anaya could try to deny it to her best friend all she wanted,but Leah and I both knew how she really felt about Devlin.

The sex scenes were done to perfection. I’ve never been able to write sex scenes, so to see them done so brilliantly and without giving body parts stupid names,gave me confidence that I could write sexy scenes just as well. I loved how one of the terms of the agreement was that there would be no judgement on the fantasies and if either of them were not interested in a certain fantasy or it was going in a direction that they were uncomfortable with,it would be stopped immediately. That showed a lot of class to me. Sometimes in these types of books,class is lacking.Then it feels just dirty and like raw animal sex.

I think I am going to give this book 4 stars. 4 only because I really wanted more and I felt like the book went too quickly.I thought I was going to say that I hated the ending but the more I think about it,the more I loved the ending.I need to go read more of Riley Shane’s work now.

Review: Waiting for the Storm by Marie Landry

Author: Marie Landry
Publication Date: April 5th, 2013
Available on Amazon.com in Kindle version. Available at Barnes & Noble in Nook version.

Synopsis: When Charlotte O’Dell loses her mother to illness,she is forced to begin the process of finding herself again.She had lost sight of who she was as she cared for her mother in her last months.Her sister is no help as she is inexplicably angry with Charlotte for reasons Charlotte can only speculate about.Her father is deep in his own grief,seemingly unable to pull himself out of it.The three of them are heading off to a beach house that was once Annie O’Dell’s. It was her last wish that they go spend the summer there.

Once there,things don’t seem to improve. Ella, or Gabriella,as she wants to be called now is hanging out all night with strangers. Their father seems to be sinking further and further into his grief and Charlotte is trying to take care of both of them even though there’s no one to take care of her.

That is,until she meets Ezra.Ezra lives next door to the O’Dell’s and he manages to worm his way into Charlotte’s heart.He has is own demons though and when Charlotte discovers them for herself,it takes her awhile to forgive him for not telling her sooner.The summer at the beach house helps all three of the remaining O’Dell’s in ways none of them expected.

Review: Have you ever read a book that stayed with you minutes and hours after you finish it? This book is of that caliber. I finished it several hours ago and yet it still sits with me. I think of certain parts of the book and I get emotional all over again.That’s the mark of an amazing book.One that can give you so many feelings throughout it. One that can make you smile, laugh and yes, even cry.

Charlotte was a relatable character.It made sense to me that she had lost sight of who she was during the later part of her mother’s illness.Ella’s response made sense too.Grief comes in many forms. Some people soldier on,determined to take care of the family that are left.Some fall off the wagon so to speak and do things they wouldn’t ordinarily do. And still others sink so far down in their grief that they struggle to see the light.All three O’Dell’s could fit those three separate descriptions.

Ezra, Ezra, Ezra.There’s not much I can say about this young man.Except I fell totally in love with him.I loved how there was a lot of depth to him. That’s something that is usually lacking in books like this.What he did not only for his mother but also for the kids that lived on the island.He was flawed which is something that I look for in a book.No person is perfect. Everyone has flaws or have had crappy things happen to them in the past. No one’s life is perfect.

It wasn’t the aggravating love story that I have seen come from Young Adult books lately.It was gradual,which I loved.Ezra wasn’t the type of guy to push Charlotte which made me adore him all the more.Charlotte needed him to be gradual and cautious as she worked to re-emerge back into the world.And Ezra happily obliged.I made the comment while reading,that Charlotte & Ezra were swoon-worthy and it’s completely true.

This book was a perfect summer read and I just couldn’t put it down for very long except when my eyes were closing in protest late at night.I am giving this book 5 stars.It has everything a person could want in a book.I really need to read more of Marie’s books if all of her books are as amazing as this one.