Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Review & Spotlight - Size Matters by Alison Bliss @AlisonBliss2

Size Matters by Alison Bliss
Series: A Perfect Fit #1
Publisher: Forever (Grand Central Publishing)
Publication Date: November 29, 2016
Date Read:  November 22, 2016
Source: NetGalley

The rules of (fake) engagement . . .

Leah Martin has spent her life trying to avoid temptation. But she's sick of low-fat snacks, counting calories, and her hyper-critical mom. Fortunately, her popular new bakery keeps her good and distracted. But there aren't enough éclairs in the world to distract Leah from the hotness that is Sam Cooper - or the fact that he just told her mother that they're engaged . . . which is a big, fat lie.

Sam sometime speaks before he thinks. So what started out as defending Leah's date-ability to her judgmental mother soon turned into having a fiancee! Now the plan is to keep up the fake engagement, stay "just friends," and make Leah's family loathe him enough to just call the whole thing off . But Sam has an insatiable sweet tooth, not only for Leah's decadent desserts but her decadent curves. Her full lips. Her bright green eyes. Yep, things aren't going quite according to plan. Now Sam has to convince Leah that he's for real . . . before their little lie turns into one big, sweet disaster.

My Review

This was a fun book!  I love it when a story can balance humor with romance and this one did it really well.  There were plenty of touching moments as well to really tell a satisfying story.  I didn't want to put this book down and ended up reading it in a single day.  I am so glad that I decided to pick this one up.

Sam and Leah are the focus of this book.  Sam is in construction and has sworn off any relationships for the time being after his most recent disaster.  Leah owns a local bakery and isn't sure she will ever meet the right guy.  Leah also has some body image issues that pop up pretty early in the book.  On a whim, Sam tells Leah's ex fiance that they are engaged and soon everyone knows about it.  They must now spend some time with family before they can "break up" and make everyone happy.

As soon as I read this book's summary and noted that there would be a fake engagement, I quickly guessed that they would end up falling for each other.  I was right but the way it happened was a treat to watch.  This pair fit so nicely together and Sam really seemed to become a part of Leah's family almost immediately.  The chemistry between the pair was well done and I was really wanting to see them make it work.  Everything about their relationship felt genuine to me. 

The humor in this book was well done.  I didn't find myself laughing out loud but I was rather amused quite a few times.  Leah and Sam both had a great sense of humor.  I really liked some of the things Sam said to try to make Leah's family dislike him.  The only thing that I didn't care for was how much focus was put on Leah's weight both by Leah and her mother.  I understand why it was a part of the story but wish it had been scaled back just a bit.

I would recommend this book to fans of contemporary romance.  This is the first book by Alison Bliss that I have had a chance to read but I do plan to read more of her work in the future.  I am really looking forward to the next book in this series.

I received an advance reader edition of this book from Forever (Grand Central Publishing) via NetGalley.

The Series - A Perfect Fit
Book #1 - Size Matters
Book #2 - On the Plus Side

About the Author

Credit Julie Abston Photography
Alison Bliss grew up in Small Town, Texas, but currently resides in the Midwest with her husband and two sons. With so much testosterone in her home, it's no wonder she writes "girl books." She believes the best way to know if someone is your soul mate is by canoeing with them because if you both make it back alive, it's obviously meant to be. Alison pens the type of books she loves to read most: fun, steamy love stories with heart, heat, laughter, and usually a cowboy or two. As she calls it, "Romance...with a sense of humor."


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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

New Releases - November 29, 2016 #newreleases #newbooks

November 29, 2016  

It's Tuesday!  That means it is time to make a little bit of room on the bookshelves, load up your ereader, or make your way to your local library.  In other words - It is time to get your hands on a new book!

Here are just a few books that have just been released that you may want to grab soon:

When All the Girls Have Gone by Jayne Ann Krentz
Jayne Ann Krentz, the New York Times bestselling author of Secret Sisters, delivers a thrilling novel of the deceptions we hide behind, the passions we surrender to, and the lengths we’ll go to for the truth...

When Charlotte Sawyer is unable to contact her step-sister, Jocelyn, to tell her that one her closest friends was found dead, she discovers that Jocelyn has vanished.

Beautiful, brilliant—and reckless—Jocelyn has gone off the grid before, but never like this. In a desperate effort to find her, Charlotte joins forces with Max Cutler, a struggling PI who recently moved to Seattle after his previous career as a criminal profiler went down in flames—literally. Burned out, divorced and almost broke, Max needs the job.

After surviving a near-fatal attack, Charlotte and Max turn to Jocelyn’s closest friends, women in a Seattle-based online investment club, for answers. But what they find is chilling…

When her uneasy alliance with Max turns into a full-blown affair, Charlotte has no choice but to trust him with her life. For the shadows of Jocelyn’s past are threatening to consume her—and anyone else who gets in their way...

Size Matters by Alison Bliss

The Heiress and the Hothead by Sabrina Jeffries

Return to the beloved Sinful Suitors series from New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Sabrina Jeffries in this delightfully sexy winter-themed novella!

Stunned by the heat of an unexpected kiss on a cold winter’s eve, two strangers from vastly different worlds turn hotheaded principles into burning passion in Sabrina Jeffries’s charming yuletide story, The Heiress and the Hothead.

The Scottish Duke by Karen Ranney

New York Times bestselling author Karen Ranney returns with the first novel in a new series about dashing, charismatic dukes—and the women who tame them…

Though raised as a gentleman’s daughter, Lorna Gordon is obliged to take a position as an upstairs maid at Blackhall Castle when her father dies. Alex Russell, the Duke of Kinross, is the most tempting man she’s ever seen—and completely unattainable—until, at a fancy dress ball, Lorna disguises herself as Marie Antoinette and pursues an illicit tryst…with scandalous consequences.

Months after his mysterious seductress disappears, Alex encounters her again. Far from the schemer the distrustful duke assumed her to be, Lorna is fiercely independent and resourceful. She’s the one woman capable of piercing his defenses. But when danger threatens Lorna, Alex must prove himself not just the lover of her fantasies, but the man who will fight to protect her.

More Great Books Being Released Today
(Covers link to Goodreads)

What new releases are you excited about this week?

Monday, November 28, 2016

Blog Tour - Winter Halo by Keri Arthur #Review & #Giveaway @kezarthur

I am excited to be a part of the blog tour for Winter Halo.  Be sure to enter to win a copy of City of Light and Winter Halo - This is a series that you don't want to miss!

Winter Halo by Keri Arthur
Series: Outcast #2
Berkley Publishing Group
Publication Date: December 6, 2016
Date Read: September 23, 2015
Source: Net Galley

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Souls of Fire novels comes the second in the futuristic fantasy series that will make you want to keep the lights on...

When the bombs that stopped the species war tore holes in the veil between worlds, they allowed entry to the Others. Now, a hundred years later, humans and shifters alike live in artificially lit cities designed to keep the darkness at bay....

The humanoid supersoldiers known as the déchet were almost eradicated by the war. Ever since, Tiger has tried to live her life in peace in hiding. But in the wake of her discovery that Central City’s children are being kidnapped and experimented on, Tiger’s conscience won’t let her look the other way.

The key to saving them lies within the walls of a pharmaceutical company called Winter Halo. But as she learns more about the facility, Tiger’s mission is derailed by a complication: Winter Halo’s female security guards are being systematically attacked by an unknown force.

Now Tiger must summon all her gifts to stop those responsible for both atrocities—no matter the cost to herself...

My Review

This was a good read.  This is the second book in the Outcast series and it picks up right where the first one left off.  I do think that this is a series that needs to be read in order since it is really a continuation of the events from the first book.  I absolutely loved the first book in this series, City of Light so I couldn't wait to get my hands on the next installment.  It ended up being a entertaining story.

I enjoyed this one but not quite as much as the first in the series.  I really had a hard time getting into this book.  I am not sure if it was because it had been months since I read the first book or what but it took some time for me to really get back into Tiger's world.  Things did pick up quickly for me and before I knew it I was pulled in by the excitement of the story.  I seriously couldn't turn the pages fast enough.  There were enough action and plot twists to really keep the story moving.

I love the characters in this series.  Tiger is such an interesting and strong character.  Being the last of her kind, she has learned to depend only on herself and her ghost friends.  She still cares about others and is willing to risk everything to save lives.  She was created with certain skills and she knows her strengths.  It was just a lot of fun to watch her manipulate situations into to get the information that she needs.

I would recommend this series to fans of futuristic fantasy.  I do think that readers will need to read the first book in the series to enjoy this second installment.  I do wish that this book had wrapped up a little more.  I can't wait to get my hands on the next book in this series because I need to find out what happens next.

I received an advance reader edition of this book from Berkley Publishing Group  via NetGalley.

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Outcast Series
City of Light - Book #1 - My Review
Winter Halo - Book #2
About the Author

Keri Arthur is the New York Times bestselling author of the Outcast series, including City of Light, as well as the Souls of Fire, Dark Angels, and Riley Jenson Guardian series. She has written more than thirty books and has been nominated in the Best Contemporary Paranormal category of the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Awards and has won a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award for urban fantasy.

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Stacking the Shelves #45

I am really excited to participate in Stacking the Shelves, a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews

This has been a great week!  I was on vacation from work all week and I celebrated my birthday.  Thanksgiving just topped off all of the fun along with a little bit of shopping.  I didn't get all of the catching up done that I had hoped to do but I did have a nice time reading and spending time with family.

Digital Books

Everything You Want Me to Be by Mindy Mejia (NetGalley)
The Cutaway by Christina Kovac (NetGalley)

 These books were not even on my radar until I received an email from NetGalley about each of them.  I thought they both looked good so I went ahead and grabbed them. 

What books do you add to your shelves this week? 
Let me know in the comments and be sure to leave a link to your own STS post!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving 2016

I just wanted to take a moment to extend my best wishes to everyone celebrating Thanksgiving.  I hope your day is filled with joy, family, and great food.

I am very thankful for all of my friends and reading in the book blogging community.  Thank you for all of the support that you have given to me over the years - it really means a lot.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Review - The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons

The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons
Series: The Bronze Horseman #1
Harper Collins
Publication Date: May 22, 2001
Date Read:  November 12, 2016
Source: Purchased

The golden skies, the translucent twilight, the white nights, all hold the promise of youth, of love, of eternal renewal. The war has not yet touched this city of fallen grandeur, or the lives of two sisters, Tatiana and Dasha Metanova, who share a single room in a cramped apartment with their brother and parents. Their world is turned upside down when Hitler's armies attack Russia and begin their unstoppable blitz to Leningrad.

Yet there is light in the darkness. Tatiana meets Alexander, a brave young officer in the Red Army. Strong and self-confident, yet guarding a mysterious and troubled past, he is drawn to Tatiana—and she to him. Starvation, desperation, and fear soon grip their city during the terrible winter of the merciless German siege. Tatiana and Alexander's impossible love threatens to tear the Metanova family apart and expose the dangerous secret Alexander so carefully protects—a secret as devastating as the war itself—as the lovers are swept up in the brutal tides that will change the world and their lives forever.

My Review

I have had a really hard time deciding how to rate this book.  I went into the book with incredibly high expectations.  I just knew that I would fall in love with this book largely because I had been told that I would love it.  I didn't love it.  I liked it though and there were parts of it that I liked a whole lot.  There were some sections of the book that didn't work for me nearly as well.  I did enjoy reading this book overall despite my issues.

This book is set in Russia during World War II which is a really interesting period of time to read about.  I did really enjoy the setting and the descriptions relating to the war.  That was really the best parts of the book for me.  The parts of the book set in Leningrad that deal with the hunger and desperation of the characters was incredibly done.  This book would have easily been a 5 star read for me if the whole book had that same level of impact.  I also really liked the last section of the book that was more war focused.

There were other sections of the book that didn't work for me nearly as well.  Tatiana seems really immature during the first section of the book and kind of drove me nuts.  She is young at the start of the story and it really showed.  I also had some issues concerning Alexander's relationship with Tatiana's sister, Dasha.  Alexander is actually Dasha's boyfriend during much of the book so Alexander and Tatiana keep their feelings for each other a secret.  I didn't care for this aspect of the story at all.

This was a book that I think may have been a bit too long.  I found myself growing tired of some parts of the book.  The third section of the book that really focuses on the romance between Alexander and Tatiana was nice but it went on for too long in my opinion.  During that part of the book, they were so removed from the war that it really changed the impact of the story.  I think that the first section of the book could have been cut back as well.

I would recommend this book to fans of historical romance.  There were parts of this book that were really strong and I did enjoy it.  I do plan to continue with the trilogy soon to see what else happens.  

About the Author

Paullina Simons is an internationally bestselling author whose novels include Bellagrand and The Bronze Horseman was born in Leningrad in 1963. As a child she immigrated to Queens, New York, and attended colleges in Long Island. Then she moved to England and attended Essex University, before returning to America. She lives in New York with her husband and children.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

New Releases - November 22, 2016 #newreleases #newbooks

November 22, 2016  

It's Tuesday!  That means it is time to make a little bit of room on the bookshelves, load up your ereader, or make your way to your local library.  In other words - It is time to get your hands on a new book!

Here are just a few books that have just been released that you may want to grab soon:

The Operator by Kim Harrison

On-the-run ex-agent Peri Reed returns bigger and bolder than ever in this second highly-anticipated installment in #1 New York Times bestselling author Kim Harrison's new suspense trilogy, The Peri Reed Chronicles.

Peri Reed’s job eats her mind, but for a special task agent in hiding, forgetting the past can be a blessing.

Betrayed by the man she thought she loved and the agency who turned her into the very thing she fought against, Peri abandoned the wealth and privilege of Opti for anonymity riddled with memory gaps and self-doubt. But when a highly addictive drug promises to end her dependency on those who’d use her as a tool for their own success, she must choose to remain broken and vulnerable, or return to the above-the-law power and prestige she once left: strong but without will—for whoever holds her next fix, will hold her loyalty.

Yet even now as then, a love based on lies of omission might still save her life.

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

The Dare and the Doctor by Kate Noble

With writing that is “nothing less than brilliant” (Booklist) comes the third in the witty, sexy Winner Takes All series from Kate Noble!

Dr. Rhys Gray and Miss Margaret Babcock are friends—strictly friends. But over the course of the year, as they exchange dozens of letters, they share personal details that put them on the path to something more. When Dr. Gray helps Margaret realize her dearest dream and she comes to his defense in the uproar that follows, it seems that their connection cannot be denied. But will their relationship stand the scruples of society and jealous intendeds, or are they destined to be only friends, and nothing more?

The perfect novel for fans of Regency Era romance, The Dare and the Doctor is a clever and passionate love story worth sharing.

Fate of Flames by Sarah Raughley

Four girls with the power to control the elements and save the world from a terrible evil must come together in the first epic novel in a brand-new series.

When Phantoms—massive beasts made from nightmares and darkness—suddenly appeared and began terrorizing the world, four girls, the Effigies, each gained a unique power to control one of the classical elements: earth, air, fire, and water. Since then, four girls across the world have continually fought against the Phantoms, fulfilling their cosmic duty. And when one Effigy dies, another girl gains her power as a replacement.

But now, with technologies in place to protect the world’s major cities from Phantom attacks, the Effigies have stopped defending humanity and, instead, have become international celebrities, with their heroic feats ranked, televised, and talked about in online fandoms.

Until the day that New York City’s protection against the Phantoms fails, a man seems to be able to control them by sheer force of will, and Maia, a high school student, unexpectedly becomes the Fire Effigy.

Now Maia has been thrown into battle with three girls who want nothing to do with one another. But with the first human villain that the girls have ever faced, and an army of Phantoms preparing for attack, there isn’t much time for the Effigies to learn how to work together.

Can the girls take control of their destinies before the world is destroyed forever?

More Great Books Being Released Today
(Covers link to Goodreads)

What new releases are you excited about this week?

Monday, November 21, 2016

#Review & #Giveaway- The Lost Girls by Heather Young @HYoungwriter @WmMorrowBks

The Lost Girls by Heather Young
William Morrow
Publication Date: July 26, 2016
Date Read:  November 5, 2016
Source: Won - LibraryThing Early Reviewer

In the summer of 1935, six-year-old Emily Evans vanishes from her family’s vacation home on a remote Minnesota lake. Her disappearance destroys her mother, who spends the rest of her life at the lake house, hoping in vain that her favorite daughter will walk out of the woods. Emily’s two older sisters stay, too, each keeping her own private, decades-long vigil for the lost child.

Sixty years later Lucy, the quiet and watchful middle sister, lives in the lake house alone. Before she dies, she writes the story of that devastating summer in a notebook that she leaves, along with the house, to the only person to whom it might matter: her grandniece, Justine.

For Justine, the lake house offers a chance to escape her manipulative boyfriend and give her daughters the stable home she never had. But it’s not the sanctuary she hoped for. The long Minnesota winter has begun. The house is cold and dilapidated, the frozen lake is silent and forbidding, and her only neighbor is a strange old man who seems to know more than he’s telling about the summer of 1935.

Soon Justine’s troubled oldest daughter becomes obsessed with Emily’s disappearance, her mother arrives with designs on her inheritance, and the man she left behind launches a dangerous plan to get her back. In a house steeped in the sorrows of the women who came before her, Justine must overcome their tragic legacy if she hopes to save herself and her children.

My Review

I really enjoyed this book quite a bit.  I am not always a fan of books that feature dual timelines but this one worked really well for me.  I ended up liking both of the timelines equally and thought that Lucy and Justine both had an interesting story to tell.  This story was really focused on the characters with the plot building slowly.  I found myself really invested in this group of characters by the close of the book.

This book focuses on Justine and Lucy.  When Lucy died, she left everything to her grandniece, Justine.  Justine has two little girls and lives with her boyfriend in California but feels something missing in her life.  When Justine inherits Lucy's lake house in Minnesota, she takes her girls and moves there in order to get a fresh start.  The transition isn't as easy as Justine expects it to be.

Lucy has her own story to tell and decides to write everything down before her death.  When Lucy was a child, her younger sister, Emily, disappeared from the lake house and has never been found.  Lucy's story tells everything that happened during the summer leading up to Emily's disappearance.  Emily's disappearance was heartbreaking and shaped the lives of Lucy and her family.

This book really showed how one event can impact a family for generations.  Emily's sisters never really moved on with thier life after she disappeared.  I liked watching Justine learn to take care of herself and really decide on what she wanted for herself and her girls.  It takes a lot for her to learn to stand up for herself but I have a lot of hope for her by the end of the book.

I would recommend this book to others.  It was a book that gave me hope and broke my heart all at the same time.  The slower pace was a nice change and I thought it really gave me a chance to connect with the characters.  I enjoyed Heather Young's debut novel and look forward to reading more from this author in the future.

I won a copy of this book from William Morrow via LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

I ended up with two copies so it is time to share one with my readers! Good luck!
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About the Author

Heather Young earned her law degree from the University of Virginia, and practiced law in San Francisco before beginning her writing career. She received an MFA from the Bennington College Writing Seminars, and has studied at the Tin House Writers’ Workshop and the Squaw Valley Writers’ Workshop. She lives in Mill Valley, California, with her husband and two children. The Lost Girls is her first novel.

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Stacking the Shelves #44

I am really excited to participate in Stacking the Shelves, a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews

This was another quiet week at my house.  I didn't get a lot of reading done this week but that's okay.  I spent a large chunk of my free time watching Outlander which I have to say I am liking even more the second time around.  I didn't get a lot of blogging done as the week came to an end because my carpal tunnel has been acting up.  I am on vacation this week so I hope to get some time to rest my hands as well as catch up around the blogosphere.

Digital Books

Someone Like You by Lauren Layne (NetGalley)

I only added one book this week!  I was really surprised to receive an email asking me to review Someone Like You by Lauren Layne.  Her books are always a treat so I am really looking forward to reading it.    

What books do you add to your shelves this week? 
Let me know in the comments and be sure to leave a link to your own STS post!
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