Friday, December 19, 2014

After Us (Before & After #2) by Amber Hart

After Us (Before & After, #2)Series: Before & After #2
Author: Amber Hart
Publication: December 30, 2014
By: Kensington Teen (K-Teen)
Amazon | Goodreads
3 Stars

Sometimes secrets kill. Maybe slowly, maybe painfully. Maybe all at once.

Melissa smiles. She flirts. She jokes. But she never shows her scars. Eight months after tragedy ripped her from her closest friend, Melissa is broken. Plagued by grief, rage, and the painful memory of a single forbidden kiss.

Javier has scars of his own. Life in the States was supposed to be a new beginning, but a boy obsessed by vengeance has no time for the American dream. To honor his familia, Javier joins the gang who set up his cousin, Diego. The entrance price is blood. Death is the only escape.

Two broken souls could make each other whole again—or be shattered forever.

Our time will come. And we'll be ready.

 
*I received this eARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*


This is the second installment in the BEFORE & AFTER books and can be read as a companion or a stand alone.

I like the cover. It's crisp, clean and still allows readers to form their own opinion of what the characters look like. Dual POVs is a bonus too.

As with the first book, I had issues with the flowery prose and how easily the gang aspect was explained away, but, I guess that's why they call it fiction. I liked both Melissa and Javier, enjoyed seeing how their cultural differences play out with secondary characters and felt the overall story was fast-paced and entertaining. The prose had a poetic feel which added a lightness to the storytelling, but also made it seem rushed at times. (This has more to do with personal preference than anything else, I think.)

Hart does a good job of tying this one together with the first book. Fans of the series won't be disappointed. 




Monday, December 15, 2014

Bad Kitty: Puppy's Big Day by Nick Bruel

Bad Kitty: Puppy's Big DaySeries: Bad Kitty 
Publication: January 6, 2015
By: Roaring Book Press
Amazon | B&N | Goodreads 
5 Stars!

"This eight book in the popular Bad Kitty series features a day in the life of Kitty's ever-slobbering foe, Puppy"--















*I received this ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*


~ Review provided by the 10 year old ~


First Impression: Funny. Good. Hilarious.

What I Liked: I wanted to read this because I like cats. Once I started, I did want to stop until I was done. Bad Kitty is rude which I think is kind of funny. I also liked that it reads like a comic book. It was funny when Uncle Murray got yelled at by the police officer for not carrying a poop bag when he took Puppy for a walk.

I liked this book so much I started writing my own story about "Crazy Cat Mittens". 

Final Verdict: I can't wait for the next one! 





Sunday, December 14, 2014

BLOG TOUR: EXCERPT + GIVEAWAY: A League of Her Own by Karen Rock

A League of Her Own tour banner


 Welcome to Jenuine Cupcakes!

This is my stop for the  A League of Her Own blog tour which is being hosted by Lola's Blog Tours. You can view the complete tour schedule on the website of Lola’s Blog Tours

   

A League of Her OwnAuthor: Karen Rock
Publication: December 1, 2014
By: Harlequin Heartwarming
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble|Kobo | eHarlequin
He was attractive, talented…and way off limits.

Heather Gadway may have been a world-class college pitcher and a top university coach, but she's a rank amateur when it comes to managing the Falcons, her father's struggling minor league team. And when it comes to managing her aggravating attraction to Garrett Wolf, their talented new pitcher. It's going to be difficult enough to make it as the first female manager in the league and prove to her overly critical father she's worthy. No distractions. No missteps. And certainly no romances with players. Everything stands between them—including their troubled pasts—even as Heather's world falls apart and Garrett's the one who's there to catch her…


~ Excerpt ~

“I liked working with the kids today,” he said into her ear, his mouth so close to her flesh that the fine hairs on the back of her neck rose. She relished the sweet brush of his knuckles against the side of her throat as he flipped her ponytail over her shoulder.
“I know how hard that must have been for you,” she said, doing her best to appear cool on the outside. Inside she was a web of conflicting emotions.
“You’re getting me do a lot things I promised myself I wouldn’t.”
When she pulled back, he met her look with grave intensity. “Like what?”
Then came the silence. The long, long silence. Their eyes met until she dropped hers, her heart thumping faster. Red lights flashed. Stop! Leave! Retreat! But her tangled emotions wouldn’t let her wriggle free.
His hand caressed the sensitive spot beneath her chin, and with a gentle pressure, Garrett raised her head until she stared into his deep blue eyes again.
“This.”
Without waiting for permission, he brushed his lips gently over hers. Ohhh…a shiver went through her entire body. The gentle caress melted the last of her defenses into a gooey heap.
His fingers slid along her jawline, and the warmth of his touch radiated past her skin and into her bloodstream. Goosebumps rose on her arms and legs, and her ears rang with the staccato thrum of her heart. He slipped his hand from her jaw to cradle her head. His fingers pulled her ponytail loose and tunneled through the hair that fell down around her shoulders.
He pulled back slightly, his eyes heavy-lidded. His lips hovered above hers, tantalizingly close. The blood pounded so wildly in her veins that she feared he’d sense the vibration. A magnetic pull took over the small distance between their lips. An energy she couldn’t resist. So why was Garrett holding back? Her fingers were wrapped around the back of his neck, running through his hair.
And then it hit her. He was giving her a chance to return his kiss. To show him that she wanted him, and the truth was…more complicated than that. Cold reality doused her, and she leaned back.
She’d kissed Garrett. A player. And worse, a recovering alcoholic who might one day relapse. Someone she could, if she wasn’t more vigilant, become addicted to herself. She couldn’t let that happen.
Scrambling to her feet, she saw the wounded look in his eyes before he covered it with a coat of indifference.
“That was wrong,” she blathered, backing away. “I should never—we should never— We’re not right for each other, I—”
He held up a hand as he got to his feet in his fluid way that was stunning to watch. “I get it. We’ll pretend this never happened.” His gaze roamed in every direction but hers.
It was obvious from the way he braced his body, his tense face, that he was taking this wrong. It wasn’t as though she didn’t want him. She just didn’t trust him with her heart. It was too bruised to take another beating. Even if she wasn’t his manager, his past alcoholism and his uncertain future sobriety were things she couldn’t look past.
She opened her mouth to explain, but his mouth twisted, and he held up a hand.
“Really. It’s fine,” he said, the gravel in his voice denying his words. “Would you like me to take you home?”
She shook her head, wishing his eyes hadn’t turned into mirrors, reflecting only what was outside, keeping her from seeing what he was thinking or feeling.
With a small salute, he turned. “See you, Skipper,” he called over his shoulder as he took off farther down the path, leaving her slumped against the tree in the gathering gloom.
There it was. The respectful address she’d wanted from him on and off the field. Only now she knew that she no longer deserved it. Not after how she’d behaved.
The chaos in her mind cleared. She was under a lot of pressure, thinking with her body instead of her head. In other circumstances, she wouldn’t have let Garrett get that intimate with her. He was a member of her team, nothing more.



~ About the Author ~

Karen Rock
Karen Rock is an award-winning YA and adult contemporary romance author. She holds a master’s degree in English and worked as an ELA instructor before becoming a full-time writer. Currently she writes for Harlequin Heartwarming and her first novel for the line, WISH ME TOMORROW, has won the 2014 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, the 2014 Golden Quill Contest and a finalist in the Published Maggie Awards. The first novel in her co-authored YA series, CAMP BOYFRIEND, has been a finalist in the Booksellers Best and Golden Leaf awards.






~ GIVEAWAY ~

Prizes include:
 ~ $100 Amazon gift card (INT)
~ A set of signed paperback of Wish Me Tomorrow, His Hometown Girl, Someone Like You and A League of Her Own (US only)

A League of Her Own Blog Tour Grand Prize
a Rafflecopter giveaway








Lola's Blog Tours

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Reborn (Altered #3) by Jennifer Rush

Reborn (Altered, #3)Series: Altered #3
Publication: January 6, 2015
By: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Amazon | Goodreads 
4 Stars!

An action-packed, romantic, and suspenseful third book in the Altered series.

The Branch is in shambles, but Anna, Sam, Cas, and Nick can't rest easy. Remnants of the organization lurk unseen and the flashbacks to their old lives are only getting stronger--especially Nick's.

Following scattered memories and clues from his Branch file, Nick sets off alone in search of answers and in search of the girl who haunts his dreams. But the sleepy town where she lives in full of secrets and Nick soon learns that uncovering their shared past may have deadly consequences.



*I received an eARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

Just when I thought I was finished with the ALTERED series, Nick's story show up!

 Nick, who looks like this...
Photo Credit: Author's Pinterest
These covers still remain as some of my very favorites, and not just because of the shirtless good looking guys. REALLY, IT'S NOT. I love how the colors, the coding and the trees all tie into the ALTERED world and bring it to life. 

Click the titles to read my reviews of ALTERED and ERASED (author + character interview).

Like it's predecessors, REBORN has lots of action, lots of suspense and plenty of swoon, but it's unique in that, not only do we FINALLY get inside of Nick's head, but we also get inside someone else's too. A girl someone just in case you didn't figure that out from the blurb. It happens. Besides, the cover model is a little distracting. 

This one didn't suck me in as fast as the first two books did, but that's okay, because once I was hooked (about 1/4 of the way in), I could.not.put.it.down. Watching Nick and---girl's story unfold and weave together through their dual POVs was really cool! Especially since it ultimately created an even bigger picture than the one we had at the end of ERASED (ALTERED #2). 

Sam, Anna and Cas are in it too and there's even a chance for redemption for a certain traitor someone who shall not be named. My only qualm was how fast the ending came. We get these epic fighting scenes with lots of action and butt-kicking and then----it ends. The aftermath is shown, but I kind of felt like I needed more. Especially more Nick with him doing Nickish kinds of things with----people. Or person. (I don't think I'm vagueing too well here.)

Anyway, I AM happy to know this won't be the last we see of the ALTERED world and I am CROSSING ALL THE THINGS that ONE DAY I'll get to read Cas' full story. Maybe he'll even meet/rescue/fall in love with a girl who has pink hair and bakes him Twix cupcakes. Because that would be amazing and I would totally read that story!

Until then, this makes an excellent addition to the series and fans of ALTERED, ERASED, FORGED, and NICK want to read this!






 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Waiting On Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday
 "Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.
 
 
 
 Jesse's Girl (Hundred Oaks) by Miranda Kenneally 
Publication: July 1, 2015
By: Sourcebooks
 Jesse's Girl
 
Everyone at Hundred Oaks High knows that career mentoring day is a joke. So when Maya Henry said she wanted to be a rock star, she never imagined she’d get to shadow *the* Jesse Scott, Nashville’s teen idol.

But spending the day with Jesse is far from a dream come true. He’s as gorgeous as his music, but seeing all that he’s accomplished is just a reminder of everything Maya’s lost: her trust, her boyfriend, their band, and any chance to play the music she craves. Not to mention that Jesse’s pushy and opinionated. He made it on his own, and he thinks Maya’s playing back up to other people’s dreams. Does she have what it takes to follow her heart—and go solo?
 
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16045315-jesse-s-girl
 
 
 This is a no-brainer for me because I will read ANYTHING Miranda Kenneally writes!
 
You can read an excerpt HERE.
 
 
 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

AUDIOBOOK REVIEW: Tantor Audio Edition

* I received these audiobook files from Tantor in exchange for an honest review * 



Princess of ThornsAuthor: by Stacey JayJulia Whelan (Narrator)
Publication: December 9, 2014
By: Tantor Audio
Genre: YA Fantasy 
Amazon | Tantor

Though she looks like a mere mortal, Princess Aurora is a fairy blessed with enhanced strength, bravery, and mercy, yet cursed to destroy the free will of any male who kisses her. Disguised as a boy, she enlists the help of the handsome but also cursed Prince Niklaas to fight legions of evil and free her brother from the ogre queen who stole Aurora's throne ten years ago. 

Will Aurora triumph over evil and reach her brother before it's too late? Can Aurora and Niklaas break the curses that will otherwise forever keep them from finding their one true love?



Story: 4.5 Stars 

I'm often skeptical of re-tellings, but this one was done in such an imaginative way that I was immediately invested in the characters and the outcome of the story. Stacey Jay gives us just enough of the traditional Sleeping Beauty tale (Disney's version at least) to feel familiar yet this Aurora is her own unique character. 

Niklaas was an enjoyable addition and it was refreshing to watch the way their ending unfolded. They have to work at it, admit their mistakes and imperfections but the ending left me completely satisfied. 

"What am I, a petunia?" ~ Aurora

Fans of high fantasy YA, and fairytales will enjoy this.

Audio: 3 Stars  

The sound quality was great and the narrator did a decent job overall, but it sounded as if she had trouble deciding who should have which accent and sticking with it. Aurora often spoke with an Irish accent but fell out of it easily, and Niklaas is supposed to be a 17 year old prince, but sounded more like a 90 year old man from old world England. If the story hadn't been as good as it was, I would have quit this audiobook.

 




Wicked (A Wicked Saga, #1) Series: A Wicked Saga #1
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout, Amy Landon (Narrator)
Publication: December 8, 2014
By: Tantor Audio   
Genre: NEW ADULT (Ages 18+)
Amazon | Tantor 


Things are about to get Wicked in New Orleans.

Twenty-two year old Ivy Morgan isn’t your average college student. She, and others like her, know humans aren’t the only thing trolling the French Quarter for fun… and for food. Her duty to the Order is her life. After all, four years ago, she lost everything at the hands of the creatures she’d sworn to hunt, tearing her world and her heart apart.

Ren Owens is the last person Ivy expected to enter her rigidly controlled life. He’s six feet and three inches of temptation and swoon-inducing charm. With forest-green eyes and a smile that’s surely left a stream of broken hearts in its wake, he has an uncanny, almost unnatural ability to make her yearn for everything he has to offer. But letting him in is as dangerous as hunting the cold-blooded killers stalking the streets. Losing the boy she loved once before had nearly destroyed her, but the sparking tension that grows between them becomes impossible for Ivy to deny. Deep down, she wants… she needs more than what her duty demands of her, what her past has shaped for her.

But as Ivy grows closer to Ren, she realizes she’s not the only one carrying secrets that could shatter the frail bond between them. There’s something he’s not telling her, and one thing is for certain. She’s no longer sure what is more dangerous to her—the ancient beings threatening to take over the town or the man demanding to lay claim to her heart and her soul.


Story: 5 Stars
  
Jennifer L. Armentrout never fails to surprise me. First aliens, then demigods, followed by gargoyles, and now Fae. IS THERE ANY PARANORMAL CREATURE SHE CAN'T MAKE ME LOVE?!

Probably not. 

Read my WICKED REVIEW HERE.
 


Audio: 4 Stars

This was really well done! Amy Landon does a great job of bringing Ivy, Ren and Tink to life.  
 

Monday, December 8, 2014

RELEASE DAY BLITZ: Wicked by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Wicked RWB Banner

 

We are over the moon excited to bring you the Release Day Launch for Jennifer L. Armentrout's WICKED! WICKED is a New Adult Paranormal Romance and the first book in Jennifer’s Wicked Trilogy!

 

 Wicked
Things are about to get Wicked in New Orleans.

Twenty-two year old Ivy Morgan isn’t your average college student. She, and others like her, know humans aren’t the only thing trolling the French Quarter for fun… and for food. Her duty to the Order is her life. After all, four years ago, she lost everything at the hands of the creatures she’d sworn to hunt, tearing her world and her heart apart.

Ren Owens is the last person Ivy expected to enter her rigidly controlled life. He’s six feet and three inches of temptation and swoon-inducing charm. With forest-green eyes and a smile that’s surely left a stream of broken hearts in its wake, he has an uncanny, almost unnatural ability to make her yearn for everything he has to offer. But letting him in is as dangerous as hunting the cold-blooded killers stalking the streets. Losing the boy she loved once before had nearly destroyed her, but the sparking tension that grows between them becomes impossible for Ivy to deny. Deep down, she wants… she needs more than what her duty demands of her, what her past has shaped for her.

But as Ivy grows closer to Ren, she realizes she’s not the only one carrying secrets that could shatter the frail bond between them. There’s something he’s not telling her, and one thing is for certain. She’s no longer sure what is more dangerous to her—the ancient beings threatening to take over the town or the man demanding to lay claim to her heart and her soul.



Excerpt:

It was him. Green Eyes. Ren. That was his name. Now I remembered. I started to step forward, but he beat me to it. Moving as quickly as a damn snake striking, he caught my wrists. He didn’t yank my arms to my sides. All he did was hold my fists away from his face.
A lopsided grin appeared on those full lips. “Can’t say I’m entirely surprised you took a swing at me.”
“Then I guess this won’t surprise you either.” Leaning back, I shifted my weight onto my left leg, but again, Ren outmaneuvered me with a quickness that was sort of embarrassing.
He stepped into what would’ve been a fantastic kick and forced me back against the wall. Then there was nowhere to go, no space whatsoever. My back was against the building, and the entire length of his hard body was pressed against mine.
Son of a bitch.
As if he could read my mind, that grin spread and the dimples played peekaboo. “Now I think we can have a conversation without me ending up bloody.”
I blew out an aggravated breath. “I wouldn’t bet on that not happening.”
 He chuckled, and the sound rumbled through me. I couldn’t even remember being this close to a guy since . . . since Shaun. “Look, I’m sorry for snatching you off the street like a kidnapper, but you were about to make yet another huge mistake.”
His apology was lost on me. “Make another mistake?”
“Yeah, like the one last night that ended with you getting shot.” He dipped his chin, and the yellow glow of the light attached to the wall above us glanced off his broad cheekbones. “I know what you were about to do.”
 “I didn’t make a mistake last night. I was doing my job,” I spat. “And I doubt your job includes grabbing chicks off the street.”
 “That would be a hell of a lot more entertaining, but the moment you thought you could engage that fae last night, you made a mistake. And you were about to do it again, you little ass.”
“Little ass?” I sputtered. “You grabbed me off the street like a serial killer!”
“And I’ve apologized for that even though you should be thanking me. I just saved your life, sweetness.”
Floored, all I could do was stare at him for a moment. “You’re insane.”
“I’m a lot of things, but today I’m your f***ing saving grace.”


 black and white closeup of woman end man kissing   


About Jennifer L. Armentrout:


Author Photo# 1 NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki.


Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV.


She also writes adult and New Adult romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.