Friday, June 24, 2016

Audiobook Review: Before Jamaica Lane (On Dublin Street #3) by Samantha Young

Book info:
TitleBefore Jamaica Lane
Author:  Samantha Young
SeriesOn Dublin Street #3
Genre: NA Contemporary Romance
Published:  January 7th, 2014
Source:  Audiobook downloaded from library

So, if you followed my Goodreads feed as I was listening to this book, you know that I have found a book boyfriend that actually beats Daemon Black from the Lux series by Jennifer L. Armentrout.  His name is Nate Sawyer, and just thinking about him and the story really makes me happy.  Honestly, I'm pretty sure that even though I have loved all the books in this series, I'm pretty sure that this will be my favorite no matter what.  Not just because of Nate, but because I really identified with the main character, Olivia, or Liv.

Olivia is a librarian (hmm, sound like anyone you know?  Like me?) and she is very shy, and not very confident about her looks. She has a lack of sexual experience, only one guy, a long time ago, and only once.  Olivia is the daughter of the man that Johanna Walker, the main character of Down London Road, always looked up to as a father figure.  When Olivia's mother passed away, she and her father moved back to his home, Scotland, and now Olivia works at the university library.  Her best friend is a guy, Nate.  Nate is a bit of a player, but that's okay because Olivia isn't interested in him other than as a friend.  No, Olivia has a crush on a tall, sexy post-grad student that comes into her library all the time.  But Olivia is a lot like me, in that when she's nervous, or around people that she's very attracted to, she can't say anything that sounds intelligent, or can't even talk at all.  So, she decides to enlist Nate's help in teacher her how to flirt.  Once that seems to work, she is able to get a phone number at a bar after all the lessons.  And then, another idea comes to her.  She still feels so inexperienced and unsure at what comes next, physically, that she asks Nate to give her lessons in becoming more sexually confident.  And this, actually includes getting physical with him.  

The two of them try to keep it casual, just friends, not even "friends with benefits", but just Nate giving Olivia lessons, and then otherwise they are just normal around their friends, and still do their normal hang out things.  But as you would expect, feelings start to develop.  When Nate takes Olivia to meet his parents on a trip with their friends, she begins to think maybe he feels the same way.  Until he lets her know that she is mistaken, and that he still is not interested in a relationship, with anyone.  She feels betrayed at the way he behaves, but tries to go on and use the things he taught her to get that postgrad to go out with her.  But Nate may come to realize that not only is he missing his best friend Olivia when she cuts him out from the way he talked to her, but maybe he does actually feel more for her than he thought he would want to.

Nate.  I don't even know where to start.  He's sexy, funny, and I just adore him.  If only I could find a Nate.  For the friendship, the benefits, to make me feel sexy and be able to flirt.  I just love Nate.  I'm pretty sure he'll be my favorite book boyfriend forever.  I can't imagine any guy ever taking his place.  All I can say is thank goodness that I started reading this author because she is going to be at the NOLA Story Con in September. Because I can't even think of how much I would have missed out on if I hadn't read this one.  This is a book I can pick up and open to just about any page and find a steamy sex scene, but it's still sweet, and funny, and makes me happy.  I can only gush about this.  You should read it.  Really.  

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Cover Characteristic: Classrooms

The Cover Characteristic meme is hosted at  Sugar and Snark.   Here are the guidelines:
 Each week we will post a characteristic and choose 5 of our favorite covers with that characteristic. If you want to join in and share your 5 favorite covers with the weeks particular characteristic, then just make a post, grab the meme picture (or make your own) and leave your URL in Linky (so we can visit).
You don’t even need to participate, just stopping by and saying hi would be great! Don’t forget to stop by the other participants!


This one was a little hard.  I found several books with schools on the front, not as many with the classroom.  But here are my top 5.

5.

4.

3.

2.

1.  And my favorite cover is a whole series:

So what do you think of my choices?  Can you think of any other covers with classrooms on them? 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: Torn (A Wicked Saga #2) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where we spotlight upcoming releases that we're eagerly awaiting.  The cover for this was just revealed on Monday, and I knew immediately I had to go ahead and use it for this week's WOW post!    Here's the blurb from Goodreads:

Torn between duty and survival, nothing can be the same.

Everything Ivy Morgan thought she knew has been turned on its head. After being betrayed and then nearly killed by the Prince of the Fae, she’s left bruised and devastated—and with an earth-shattering secret that she must keep at all costs. And if the Order finds out her secret, they’ll kill her.

Then there’s Ren Owens, the sexy, tattooed Elite member of the Order who has been sharing Ivy’s bed and claiming her heart. Their chemistry is smoking hot, but Ivy knows that Ren has always valued his duty to the Order above all else—he could never touch her if he knew the truth. That is, if he let her live at all. Yet how can she live with herself if she lies to him?

But as the Fae Prince begins to close in on Ivy, intent on permanently opening the gates to the Otherworld, Ivy is running out of options. If she doesn’t figure out who she can trust—and fast—it’s not only her heart that will be torn apart, but civilization itself.


I really liked the first one, especially now that I've been to New Orleans I'm excited to read on!  Have you read this series?  Are you a fan of JLA like I am?  What book are you eagerly awaiting this week?

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Review: Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Book info:
TitleHalf-Blood
Author:  Jennifer L. Armentrout
SeriesCovenant #1
Genre:  YA Paranormal Romance
Published:  October 18th, 2011
Source:  Purchased myself

I've pretty much already devoured the Lux series by Armentrout, as well as The Dark Elements series.  But until recently, I hadn't started this series.  I love Roth from The Dark Elements, but Daemon from the Lux series is probably always going to be my number 1 boyfriend, well for an alien that is.  I've seen all the other JLA fans go on and on about Seth from this Covenant series, and so I knew that I needed to read and find out more about him. Especially since I hear "he" will be appearing at the NOLA Story Con in September when I get to meet JLA!!  I had actually read the little prequel book to this series, Daimon, and while it was good, it didn't grab me so much I had to immediately read on.   It was a quick read though, and so I have the background that goes with this first book.  I have to say that this first official book in the series was definitely good though!  Not that I had any doubt it would be with JLA as the author.

The main character is Alexandria.  She is a half-blood, the child of a mortal and a Hematoi - a pure blood.  So she is not as special as those who were born to two pure bloods.  Her mother had recently taken her and snuck away from the Covenant where students are trained to fight daimons, or if that doesn't work out for them, they become slaves/servants to the Hematoi.  But Alexandria's mother was just killed by daimons, and Alexandria barely escaped after killing one of the daimons herself.  When they catch up to her again, she is saved this time by the Sentinel Aiden.  Aiden is a Hematoi that also lost his parents to daimons.  And a boy she's always had a little crush on, even if that kind of relationship between pure-bloods and half-bloods is not allowed.  But when he brings her back to the Covenant, she begs for a chance to go back to become a Sentinel herself, instead of having to go live with her stepfather and be his slave.  

She is given the chance to try to prove that over the summer she can catch up with the students she would join in with the following school  year, and Aiden volunteers to personally help her train and get ready.  So now she is around him every day, having to put aside her feelings for him. But it's not just a teen emotion drama issue.  The daimons are coming closer to the Covenant, and there are more killings.  And then, the Apollyon, a very special Sentinel in that they had special powers and were born in order to keep the Hematoi from trying to fight the gods, shows up at the Covenant.  And that is when we meet Seth.  Alex feels a weird connection to him right away, and sees tattoos or words on his skin that no one else seems to see.  And suddenly there is more to what is going on in her life.  More to why her mother took her and ran from the rest of their world.  More to why her stepfather is now coming back into her life, and suddenly cares about her.  

I am glad I have already purchased the next book in the series as I am ready to go on as soon as I can fit it in.  I don't know that I'm in love with Seth yet, but I can see it coming soon probably.  And I guess I need to go find the book trailers that the actors who play these characters are in?  Is that thing?  I keep seeing pictures of the characters, but they are not on the covers of these books.  Anyway, another great book from JLA, sucking me into another one of her imaginative worlds that I can't keep myself from wanting to be a part of.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Review: Timely Death Series by Shannon A. Thompson

Book info:
Title:  Minutes Before Sunset, Seconds Before Sunrise,  and Death Before Daylight
Author:  Shannon A. Thompson
SeriesTimely Death
Genre:  YA paranormal romance
Published:  July 28th, 2015;  August 25th, 2015; and September 15th, 2015
Source:  Purchased myself

So, I picked up the first book in this series when I found out the author was going to be appearing at the Barnes and Noble where I work during B-Fest.  Of course as I sped through the page-turning first book, I had to buy the next two books before I finished it, so that I could read right through the series without having to stop.  I finished all three in about a week's time, not quite finishing the last one when I got to meet the author and get them autographed.  In case you missed my post last Sunday, here I am with the author, Shannon A. Thompson, who is standing on my right, the left side of the picture.


Anyway, since I sped through the series, and I'm so behind on reviews, I'm going to do all three as mini-reviews in this post.  I'll just say that I enjoyed them all, and could barely put them down to do anything else.  Including going into the store the day I got to meet the author!

Minutes Before Sunset (Timely Death #1):
There are two main characters in this story, and we get the story from both points of view through alternating chapters.  First is Jessica, who has just moved to town with her adoptive parents.  It turns out that she actually was born in this town, and her parents died in a car accident.  She immediately makes two friends, Crystal and Robb.  But she gets stuck in the only open seat in her homeroom next to the other main character in the book, Eric Welborn.  Eric used to be best friends with Robb and Crystal. But when another car accident caused the death of one of their friends, things changed.  At first Eric is standoffish with Jessica, like he is with everyone else at school.  Until she is tired of having to depend on him to make sure she gets a good grade on a project she was stuck being his partner on.  Soon a friendship develops between them, as much as it can as secretive as Eric continues to be.  You see Eric is a shade, he's not completely human, but during the day he looks like a human, while at night he looks like his shade self.  Eric is kind of the "chosen one" and on the day he turns 18 he is supposed to fight against the "chosen one" of their enemies, the lights.  

Eric has run into an unknown shade at the river nearby.  He keeps her a secret, and trains her, as she didn't even realize she was a shade until she met him and began talking to him.  As the story goes along, we will find out that Jessica's past has a connection to Eric's life, and that both Jessica and Eric have secrets.  I will say, I knew who the unknown shade was.  I'm pretty sure it is easy to figure out as you read.  I won't give it away though, I'll let you read for yourself!  Which you definitely should.  

Seconds Before Sunrise (Timely Death #2):
Of course, if you haven't read the first book, I can't promise I won't slip up and give any spoilers for that one, so STOP RIGHT NOW, if you don't want those.  Jessica and Eric found out from the prophecies that Jessica is actually the third descendant, or "chosen one", something that doesn't always come around.  As a shade, she and Eric fall in love, as the prophecy predicted, but she could be used by the light side to fight against the darks.  So she chooses to have her memory of being a shade and all the prophecy erased, so that she can try to stay safe, and help the dark side to stay with the advantage.  Only it is so hard for Eric to pretend that he isn't in love with her.  And memories seem to keep slipping through, confusing Jessica.  Eric has a horrible car accident during all this stressful time of preparing for his 18th birthday, and Jessica, even though she only remembers Eric as her homeroom partner, races to his side in the hospital to check on him.  But as things start to change, and the memories start to come back to Jessica, it will seem more important to give her memories back to her so that she can help the dark fight.  As the lights start coming to them, as they figure out that Eric is the descendant, it also becomes clear that there is more about the prophecy they don't know, as well as that they must figure out just who is the light descendant as well.  Friends and loved ones will die in the fight, spurring on the search for a way to make sure that Eric defeats the light side, and deciding just how Jessica staying alive may affect them all.

Death Before Daylight (Timely Death #3):
Again, if you haven't read the first two, you'll need to STOP RIGHT NOW to avoid any spoilers.  As more and more details of the prophecy become clear, there are more and more fine lines that are becoming crossed in the fight between the two sides.  There are new types of shades/lights.  Most of the shades seem to be losing their powers, other than Eric and Jessica.  Something that Eric's mother left for him will be come essential in helping Eric and Jessica stay alive in the battle.  Friends will become known who before weren't even known to be anything other than human.  Ghosts from the past, Eric's mother, Jessica's parents, will show just what their deaths or lives contributed to the end game.  Jessica will learn that whether Eric or the other descendant dies, she will then have to become the leader of whichever side has lost.  And this makes her worried that the shades will no longer trust her, knowing that she may be, and even is in the process of getting a light side.  Eric and Jessica will be tortured by the light, both will try to sacrifice in order to save the other's life.  And in the end, it will be their love for each other that will help them to find out just how they can save their own families, as well as maybe save both sides in the end.

As I said, this was a great series.  My only issue is that even with all that we learned in this wonderfully built world, I felt like I was still missing something.  Nothing that kept me from understanding and enjoying the story, but it just seemed like maybe some details were missing?  I don't know.  I loved the stories, and it all made sense to me in the end, so maybe my thoughts here are crazy.  But that little niggling feeling is all that kept me from giving each book 5 stars on Goodreads.  I gave it 4, more like a 4.5 if I could give half stars.  But I highly recommend this series, and I look forward to reading more from this author!  The author is really great, she was so good to talk about writing, along with the other author there, who I will talk about when I get her book read and reviewed, probably next month.  On her website she gives writing advice, and is very much available to talk to!  Here is her website:

www.shannonathompson.com

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Sunday Post #61 and Stacking the Shelves June 19th, 2016

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted  @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news ~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead. See rules here: Sunday Post Meme.  Still crazy busy!  But looking forward to my retreat this coming weekend where I will be by myself and hopefully do lots of writing, reading, and maybe some sightseeing.  Anyway, on with this post.

Last week on the blog:
 It's been a busy week, with lots of working at the bookstore. And then, on Friday, I had planned to go to the gym right after I got off work at 2 pm at the bookstore. But they didn't have a lunch break scheduled for me, and so after being there 5 hours, I was starving. So I had to eat right after, and then I went home and kind of decided a nap sounded better. So today I did the gym right after work, because I guess my whining about no lunch break yesterday got me one today!  So I guess you could say I'm on track with my exercise goal so far.  Now, I think my reward for the last exercise goal met is going to be the books I've been buying.  I didn't do too bad with actual purchases for myself this week, but I did spend a little bit more than I'd prefer on a planner for next year for  my blog.  It was just so cute, that I couldn't not buy it!  It is Kate Spade, and you'll see the picture down below in the Stacking the Shelves portion of this post.  I was also worried at first that I would only have one review this week,  until I once again decided to put off my discussion post idea till next week, and add the ebook reviews in.  Plus, there were nine of them to share! 

Coming up this week on the blog:
  • Reviews:  Timely Death Series #1-3 by Shannon A. Thompson, Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout, and Before Jamaica Lane by Samantha Young (audiobook)
  • Waiting on Wednesday
  • Cover Characteristic:  Classrooms/schools
  • Discussion Post - If you have a blog, do you still post your review on other sites?
Now, as I mentioned, I'll be going out of town on either Thursday, or Friday morning. At the moment it depends what time I can drop my dogs off at the place they're staying while I'm gone.  I'm excited, it's somewhere I've never been. But I'm also a bit nervous about the drive itself.  I live in Kansas City, Missouri, and I'm going to drive to Fort Collins, Colorado.  I've never driven by myself that long of a distance.  The GPS's touchscreen in my car doesn't work, so I can't program in the address.  I can still see the map on it, just can't program it.  But, it should be a pretty straight drive, I-70 until almost Denver, then I'll take a little different route to skip driving right through Denver.  My plan was to just use the time for writing and reading and relaxing. But everyone keeps telling me I need to go to the mountains or do something while I'm there.  So I guess I may try to go do a hiking trail or something one day while I'm there. That will also get my exercise in.  Then on Monday I'm going to drive back to Kansas City.  The other thing I have to do is figure out if I am going to try to subscribe to a service for a week in order to get wifi while I'm there.  I don't want to do a hotspot through my cell phone because I'm on my brother's bill and I don't want to use up all our plan.  But I'm not sure if there is anyway to do it through my home cable/internet.  So that is something I'm going to do some research on this week.


 Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.  It is a way for us to share the new books we have collected.  I did much better with buying physical books this week.  Not so great with downloading the free e-books though.  I did get a package from a friend, Mary at Bookhounds, some books she was not wanting anymore.  I also got the prize from the I Read YA week that I won as well!

Physical books:




I purchased a copy of Nash by Jay Crownover which I just finished listening to the audiobook of last week.  I needed a copy to get signed!  I think Nash might be my favorite of the Marked Men so far!  On the left is the cool new planner/organizer for 2017 that I bought at the Barnes and Noble where I work.  It is a Kate Spade Barnes and Noble exclusive, and I love it!  It wasn't cheap, but with my 30% discount, I went ahead and bought it to be ready for next year!  And, since there are some e-galleys already available for books that are published next January, I can already start using it.




The ARC was a little extra surprise!  And I was so excited to see it because it was one of the samplers at the B-Fest last weekend, and from the little bit I read, I am very excited for it!

   
Mary at Bookhounds emailed and asked me if I wanted any of these books she was going to be cleaning out, and I said yes!  Now, the dachshund book was a little surprise, but a cute one!  One of the books, the Melissa de la Cruz one at the bottom is for my school library, I'm going to take it in for my students, but the rest are for me!  Unfortunately I can't remember if I have the other book in the Earth and Sky series by Megan Crewe, hoping I do, so that I can have a complete set!  I haven't finished the series by Cynthia Hand, so I needed that one. And then I need to read that Sarah Rees Brennan series, and I think now I have all of them!  The Dream Thieves ARC by Maggie Stiefvater may actually be one I end up trading.  We'll see.  

E-galleys:





  All three of these are from Edelweiss.  Before I can read the second one I'll have to hurry up and read my ARC of Wolf by Wolf I guess. And the last one sounds so spooky!

Free or cheap e-books:

















All of these are from Amazon. And I'm pretty sure all of them are free, except for Wednesday by E.L. Todd. That one was $4.99, and I bought it because I got a $5 credit on Amazon for downloading their mobile app.  Although the app itself can't be used for downloading digital books.  Weird.  

So, once again too many ebooks, but all were pretty much free, so if I get to them, great, if not, oh well!

How did your shelves change this week?