Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Rome in Love by Anita Hughes

Rome in Love: A NovelAuthor: Anita Hughes
Publication: August 4, 2015
By: St. Martin's Griffin
Amazon | B&N | Goodreads 

From the author of LAKE COMO comes the story of a young actress who lands the lead in a film that is shooting in Rome, bringing about difficult life choices, new friendships, and a chance at love.

When Amelia Tate is cast to play the Audrey Hepburn role in a remake of Roman Holiday, she feels as if all her dreams have come true. She has a handsome boyfriend, is portraying her idol in a major motion picture, and gets to live in beautiful Rome for the next two months.

Once there, she befriends a young woman named Sophie with whom she begins to explore the city. Together, they discover all the amazing riches that Rome has to offer. But when Amelia’s boyfriend breaks up with her over her acting career, her perfect world begins to crumble.

While moping in her hotel suite, Amelia discovers a stack of letters written by Audrey Hepburn that start to put her own life into perspective. Then, she meets Philip, a handsome journalist who is under the impression that she is a hotel maid, and it appears as if things are finally looking up. The problem is she can never find the right time to tell Philip her true identity. Not to mention that Philip has a few secrets of his own. Can Amelia finally have both the career and love that she’s always wanted, or will she be forced to choose again?

With her sensory descriptions of the beautiful sites, decadent food, and high fashion of Rome, Hughes draws readers into this fast-paced and superbly written novel. Rome in Love will capture the hearts of readers everywhere.

*I received a copy of this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

This was my first Anita Hughes book and I enjoyed it. It's well-written with engaging characters, and an interesting premise---not everything or everyone are as they appear to be. The alternating POVs were a nice touch as was the setting of Rome. I almost felt as if I had gone there myself. Almost. :)

Fans of Audrey Hepburn and the movie Roman Holiday will most definitely enjoy this. 

~ About the Author ~

ANITA HUGHES is the author of Rome in Love, French Coast, Lake Como, Market Street, and Monarch Beach. She attended UC Berkeley’s Masters in Creative Writing Program, and has taught Creative Writing at The Branson School in Ross, California. Hughes lives in Dana Point, California, where she is at work on her next novel.

Monday, August 3, 2015

The Bourbon Kings (The Bourbon Kings #1) by J.R. Ward

Publication: July 28, 2015
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Black Dagger Brotherhood delivers the first novel in an enthralling new series set amid the shifting dynamics of a Southern family defined by wealth and privilege—and compromised by secrets, deceit, and scandal....

For generations, the Bradford family has worn the mantle of kings of the bourbon capital of the world. Their sustained wealth has afforded them prestige and privilege—as well as a hard-won division of class on their sprawling estate, Easterly. Upstairs, a dynasty that by all appearances plays by the rules of good fortune and good taste. Downstairs, the staff who work tirelessly to maintain the impeccable Bradford facade. And never the twain shall meet.

For Lizzie King, Easterly’s head gardener, crossing that divide nearly ruined her life. Falling in love with Tulane, the prodigal son of the bourbon dynasty, was nothing that she intended or wanted—and their bitter breakup only served to prove her instincts were right. Now, after two years of staying away, Tulane is finally coming home again, and he is bringing the past with him. No one will be left unmarked: not Tulane’s beautiful and ruthless wife; not his older brother, whose bitterness and bad blood know no bounds; and especially not the ironfisted Bradford patriarch, a man with few morals, fewer scruples, and many, many terrible secrets.

As family tensions—professional and intimately private—ignite, Easterly and all its inhabitants are thrown into the grips of an irrevocable transformation, and only the cunning will survive.

*I received a copy of this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

If the old school drama sagas Dallas and Dynasty got married and had a baby, it would be named The Bourbon Kings.

The infamous Dynasty pond scene referenced in the book.  

I'm not part of the BDB fandom (I've only listened to two of the books) but give me a second-chance-at-love story with a southern setting, throw in some horses and tall a glass of sweet tea and I'm sold. Usually.

The summary gives the impression this is Lane and Lizzie's story when really, it's the entire Bradford clan's story, or the start of it anyway. The characters are intriguing, and multiple POVs give it that "bigger picture" feel, but also make it hard to keep track of what's going on. Each time a new character was introduced, I was pulled out of the story which was not only frustrating, but made connecting with or caring about any of them, difficult.

Despite this not being a "me" book, I can appreciate that it's the start of an epic series that readers who enjoy a full cast and lots of drama will love.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

BOOK BLITZ: A Summer Like No Other by Elodie Nowodazkij

Publication: July 30. 2015

She’s his best friend’s little sister. He’s the biggest player of them all.
They shouldn’t be together. But this summer’s just too tempting.

Sixteen-year-old Emilia Moretti’s goal for the summer is simple: forget her brother’s best friend—Nick Grawsky—ever existed. It should be easy: He’s spending his summer in the Hamptons, adding girls in tiny bikinis to his list of broken hearts. Guarantee he won’t be telling them they’re like his little sisters. This summer, Emilia won’t stay awake at night thinking about him. She’ll need flawless ballet movements to have a shot at next year’s showcase, and she’s finally ready to search for her birth parents. But when Nick decides to stay in the city, Emilia’s resolve disappears in a pirouette. Maybe it’s the spin they needed to be together. As long as she doesn’t get stuck believing in happily ever after…

Nick is tired of pretending to be the happy, let’s-have-fun guy. His father wants him to change his career from professional dancer to…lawyer. He needs to put all of his focus on dancing to prove to Daddy Dearest he’s good enough to make it big. And he may have a case of the bluest balls in history courtesy of Emilia. She’s off-limits: The bro code with Roberto even forbids the dirty thoughts he has about her. Besides, he’s not boyfriend material. He only has time for flings, for girls who don’t expect much, for girls he doesn’t want to kiss goodnight. He knows he should resist her, but he’s not sure he wants to…

At least for this summer.

It’s going to be a summer like no other.

Buy it now :) 
(Special price of $0.99 ends on Sunday August 2nd)

 ~ Excerpt ~ 

[From Chapter 9 – Em]

“What do you want?” I call.

“Can I come in?” he asks, and his voice sounds way too serious. With the way he was looking at me during dinner, I know he’s not about to tell me that I’m right and Dad’s wrong.

But I also can’t leave him in the hallway after he’s used our secret knock.

“Whatever,” I reply and hide my face under my arm.

The door screeches open and he clears his throat three times. “I don’t understand,” he says and nudges me. “Don’t be a baby, look at me.”

“According to you, I’m the baby of the family anyways,” I whine. I hate it but I can’t help it. From time to time, I revert to my twelve-year-old self—insecure and whiny. When Roberto was fourteen and pushing my buttons.

“You’re acting like one.” He sighs. “Come on Em, let’s talk about this.” He pauses.


“Because of course I’m not being rational. Of course, there’s something wrong with me for wanting to meet my parents. Of course there’s something wrong.” I look up at him.

“And in one second, you go from baby to drama queen,” he says. I would be offended if he didn’t smile the way he does. It’s his half smile, the one he only has when he gets hurt and doesn’t want to show it. Roberto never wants to show he has feelings.

“What do you want to tell me?” I sit up and pat the spot next to me. Instead of sitting there, he pulls a chair over and sits in front of me, boring his eyes into mine.

“I’m afraid you’re going to get hurt,” he says.

“But isn’t that supposed to be my decision?”

“Wasn’t that supposed to be your birth parents’ decision?” He pauses. “Listen, they abandoned you outside this hospital for a reason. They may not want to be found. And let’s say you do find them; what are you going to do?”

I glance at my nails…they’re still pinkish from the last nail polish I used. I don’t chew

my nails, but I have a very big urge to check my hair for split ends. I run my hair through my fingers, and Roberto gently slaps them away.

“I’m not saying it’s easy for you. But I don’t want it to become even more difficult. What do you want to find? Why are you even doing this?”

“Because I don’t know who I am. I’m afraid of what I could find, but I’m even more afraid of not finding anything. I’m afraid that a part of me will always wonder, always worry.”


ASLNO Giveaway
To celebrate the release of A Summer Like No Other, I have set up a giveaway with pretty special prizes
(including a leather bracelet from Chloe + Isabel)

You have mannnnny ways to enter and you have an entire month to do so!

Link to participate: http://smarturl.it/ASLNOgiveaway Open internationally.
Thank you SO MUCH!!!

Other books by the author:
One, Two, Three – available now (AmazonB&NiTunesKobo)
One Dream Only – Free! (AmazonB&NiTunesKobo)
Always Second Best – Available for pre-order (Amazon)


~ About the Author~

Elodie Nowodazkij was raised in a tiny village in France, where she could always be found a book in hand. At nineteen, she moved to the US, where she learned she’d never lose her French accent. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Modern Language & Linguistics, and later earned master’s degrees in German Cultural Studies and European Studies. Unbeknownst to her professors, she sometimes drafted stories in class. Now she lives in Maryland with her husband, their dog and their cat. She's also a serial smiley user.

Connect with Elodie Nowodazkij:

Facebook reader group (chat with the author, early excerpts, ARCs opportunities, giveaways…) – https://www.facebook.com/groups/954159761294820/
Newsletter (Exclusive bonus scenes, regular updates, videos, giveaways…) – http://elodienowodazkij.us3.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=4fe2ebb3f95df52e0954e0044&id=f404024751
Instagram: https://instagram.com/enowodazkij/

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

BLOG TOUR: A School for Brides by Patrice Kindl

Series: Keeping the Castle #2  
Author:  Patrice Kindl  
Published: July 14, 2105
By: Viking Books for Young Readers 
Amazon | Goodreads

The eagerly awaited companion to the award-winning Keeping the Castle.

The Winthrop Hopkins Female Academy of Lesser Hoo, Yorkshire, has one goal: to train its students in the feminine arts with an eye toward getting them married off. This year, there are five girls of marriageable age. There’s only one problem: the school is in the middle of nowhere, and there are no men.

Set in the same English town as Keeping the Castle, and featuring a few of the same characters, here’s the kind of witty tribute to the classic Regency novel that could only come from the pen of Patrice Kindl!

Limerick #4

Once there was a secret lover;
In silence and stealth he did hover.
  He sent the lass a letter
  But alas! she liked him better
With his person and his prose undercover.

Limerick #5

I’m hoping that you’ll take a look.
It’s not too short nor too long
And it sells for a song,
And you can read it on Kindle or Nook.

~ About the Author~

PatriceI was born in Alplaus New York in 1951, the youngest of four daughters. My father is a mechanical engineer, my mother a housewife. My family is very nice – I like them all a lot. As a child I loved animals and read obsessively.
We had (still have) a family cottage on Lake George. The people who live next door are life-long friends. On summer weekdays during my childhood there were ten females in the two houses, no males. As a result of this background I feel that I understand girls better than boys, which is why I write primarily for girls.
Education and other jobs:
After high school I went to Webster College in St. Louis, Missouri. Oddly enough, given the location, it was a well-thought-of theater school. I attended for a year and a half and then (this was the 60’s, early 70’s) dropped out and decamped for New York City and a real drama school (not a liberal arts college like Webster). I appeared in a few television commercials, waitressed, auditioned and did a little modeling.
After three or four years of this sort of thing I realized I was going nowhere fast. I came back upstate and worked, at first full-time and then, after I married and my son was born, part-time, as a secretary at a consulting engineering firm called Encotech. As a result, I am an excellent touch typist today, which is handy for a writer.
I only began writing seriously when I was in my late thirties and was first published in my early forties. While I worked on OWL IN LOVE (my first book) I became involved in a program called Helping Hands, in which I raised two monkeys to be aides to quadriplegics. You can check it out at www.helpinghandsmonkeys.org. You can see a photograph of Kandy on this page and Susi on the FAQ page.
My husband Paul is president of Encotech (that’s where I met him). My son Alex is 25. He and his art rock band Bible Study (no religious connotation) live with us part-time. They rehearse directly over my office, so it is lucky that I think they are great musicians (Click here to listen to one of their songs). The vocalist is one of America’s few female Master Falconers. When the band is in residence we also have several hawks or falcons.

Friday, July 24, 2015

BOOK SPOTLIGHT: Resonance by Erica O'Rourke

Resonance (Dissonance #2)Series: Resonance (Dissonance #2)
Author: Erica O'Rourke
Publication: July 21st 2015
By: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers

As a Walker between worlds, Del is responsible for the love of her life—and the fate of millions—in this thrilling sequel to Dissonance.
Del risked everything to save Simon, and now he’s gone, off in another world with no way for Del to find him. 

She’s back at the Consort—training to be a Walker like everyone in her family. But the Free Walkers have other plans for her. This rebel group is trying to convince Del that the Consort is evil, and that her parents are unwittingly helping the Consort kill millions of people. The Free Walkers make Del the ultimate promise: if Del joins their fight, she will be reunited with Simon.

In agreeing, Del might be endangering her family. But if she doesn’t, innocent people will die, and Simon will be lost to her forever. The fate of the multiverse depends on her choice... 


~ About the Author ~


I write books about girls who make their own fate and fall for boys they shouldn't.

I live outside Chicago. I like to travel but I'll never really leave this city.

I prefer cookies to cake (even cupcakes), television to movies, and autumn to all the other seasons.

I like sushi, naps, coffee, and driving stick shift.

I hate fish, emoticons, bridges, and talking about myself.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Brown-Eyed Girl (Travis Family #4) by Lisa Kleypas

Brown-Eyed Girl (Travises, #4)
Series: Travis Family #4
Author: Lisa Kleypas
Publication: August 11, 2015 
By: St. Martin's Press/Piatkus 
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads 

Wedding planner Avery Crosslin may be a rising star in Houston society, but she doesn't believe in love--at least not for herself. When she meets wealthy bachelor Joe Travis and mistakes him for a wedding photographer, she has no intention of letting him sweep her off her feet. But Joe is a man who goes after what he wants, and Avery can't resist the temptation of a sexy southern charmer and a hot summer evening.

After a one night stand, however, Avery is determined to keep it from happening again. A man like Joe can only mean trouble for a woman like her, and she can't afford distractions. She's been hired to plan the wedding of the year--a make-or-break event.

But complications start piling up fast, putting the wedding in jeopardy, especially when shocking secrets of the bride come to light. And as Joe makes it clear that he's not going to give up easily, Avery is forced to confront the insecurities and beliefs that stem from a past she would do anything to forget.

The situation reaches a breaking point, and Avery faces the toughest choice of her life. Only by putting her career on the line and risking everything--including her well-guarded heart--will she find out what matters most.

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

After binge reading the other books in this series two years ago, the wait for this one felt like an ETERNITY. And I was SO excited to finally, FINALLY get Joe Travis' story, but to be honest, it fell short for me.

Yes the writing is amazing and the characters are entertaining, and yes, Joe Travis is a swoony alpha male like the previous leading men, but the story itself was lacking. 

I wasn't expecting a time jump from where Smooth Talking Stranger left off and this one began, but Joe has already healed physically, mentally, and emotionally. He's moved on with his life almost as if the incident was no big deal or like people are involved in boat explosions and nearly die from their injuries every day.

The complex relationship all of the Travises have had with their surly patriarch is part of the reason I enjoy this series so much. The elder Travis added bark, bite and humor. Aside from a mention here and there, he's barely a blip on the paper. (highlight to see spoiler)

The elder Travis, who has been a pretty significant if not contentious character throughout the books, is dead and gone. We're told about the time following the accident when Joe moves back home and he and his father finally work out all of their issues, but we don't get to see any of it. That was disappointing.

Compared to the rest of the series, Brown-Eyed Girl is a bit of a departure and I *get* that Joe has always been the lone Travis, but still.
(The original summary which up until a month ago Amazon still had up, detailed a more contentious relationship between Avery and Joe.) One would think that after he almost DIED in the last book, he might have more of a connection with his family now. Instead, we get more of Avery's story, her friends and her life. (highlight to see spoiler) Perhaps if her ex-fiance had made a reappearance it would've added some much needed spark to the romantic tension or something

A good story, just wasn't the one I was expecting. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Most Likely To Succeed (Superlatives #3) by Jennifer Echols

Most Likely to SucceedSeries: The Superlatives #3
Publication: August 4, 2015
By: Simon Pulse
Amazon | B&N | Goodreads 
4.5 Stars!

In this sexy conclusion to The Superlatives trilogy from Endless Summer author Jennifer Echols, Sawyer and Kaye might just be perfect for each other if only they could admit it.

As vice president of Student Council, Kaye knows the importance of keeping order. Not only in school, but in her personal life. Which is why she and her boyfriend, Aidan, already have their lives mapped out: attend Columbia University together, pursue banking careers, and eventually get married. Everything Kaye has accomplished in high school; student government, cheerleading, stellar grades; has been in preparation for that future.

To his entire class, Sawyer is an irreverent bad boy. His antics on the field as school mascot and his love of partying have earned him total slacker status. But while he and Kaye appear to be opposites on every level and their friends keep conspiring to throw them together. Perhaps the seniors see the simmering attraction Kaye and Sawyer are unwilling to acknowledge to themselves

As the year unfolds, Kaye begins to realize her ideal life is not what she thought. And Sawyer decides to finally time to let down the facade and show everyone who he really is. Is a relationship between them most likely to succeed or will it be their favorite mistake?

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

I have been WAITING for Sawyer's story since I first met him in book one of this series and MOST LIKELY TO SUCCEED does not disappoint! 

In case there was any confusion, this is the line for Sawyer...
Behind me.

There's been a lot of talk about the need for diversity in YA books and this is the first (contemporary) series I've come across recently, that does diversity and does it WELL. From the covers to the characters to the stories they tell. Readers are guaranteed to find at least one character then can identify with.

All three of the books in this series include Jennifer Echols' signature banter and romantic tension, but Kaye and Sawyer do not have it easy, that's for sure. Whether it's his reputation, her mother's need for control or Kaye's desire to always do what's expected, these two are in for a bumpy albeit entertaining ride! 

The rest of the SUPERLATIVES cast appears too making for a well-rounded reading experience.The ending felt abrupt. I was hoping that was because there would be one final book, even a novella/epilogue that takes place at graduation or right after, but it doesn't appear so.

Still, MOST LIKELY TO SUCCEED makes great addition to THE SUPERLATIVES series!

Favorite Quote:  "I have an excellent memory for turning down money."