Saturday, May 26, 2018

Stacking the Shelves (#283)

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews, in which bloggers share the books and swag they've received in the past week!

So, what did I get in the week of Sunday, May 20th to Saturday, May 26th?

(all links to Goodreads are provided!)

In the mail:

Book nerd t-shirt from Entangled Teen

Thank you, Entangled! I got another package from Entangled but forgot to take pictures. Honestly, this publishing house has been slaying!

Both are unsolicited and new to me! Thank you, Tor and PRH. =)

From NetGalley:

I liked Zero Hour and I'm looking forward to reading this new one!

Review from this week:

(Click on the cover to go to my review!)

Favorite Instagram post from this week:

None this week! (I know, it's getting out of control. Why do I have an Instagram account again?!)

This week was a really good week for me! Most of the time I feel pretty ambivalent about the week, but I can safely say this was a great week. I made some decisions that I feel good about. And it's a long weekend here in the States, so that's something I'm looking forward to. Happy weekend, everyone!

Friday, May 25, 2018

My Favorite YA Summer Reads/Rereads

Happy Friday, bibliovores! Today is another day in which I didn't feel like writing/posting a review, but did feel like posting something... so I'm doing another favorites post! You can check out my favorite books that were recommended to me HERE, my favorite YA books with "blood" in the title HERE, favorite YA books that need a sequel HERE, favorite YA books with hate-to-love romance HERE, favorite books with the word "shadow" in the title HERE, favorite adult books (alphabet style) HERE, favorite Jane-Austen-Inspired YA books HERE, favorite YA foreign editions posts HERE, favorite YA books (alphabet style) HERE, favorite YA books with one-word titles HERE, favorite swoons from YA books HERE.

Here are some of my favorite YA summer reads/rereads! 

    My Life Next Door

I loved all of these! Most of them have a lighter tone to them (hence being on my "summer" read/reread list), and they're all standalone novels! With the exception of To All the Boys I've Loved Before. Standalones make great summer reads!

Do you have any summer-y recommendations for me? Regardless of if the book has anything to do with "summer" itself - recommend any summer-esque reading to me!

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Swoon Thursday (#278): Going Rogue by Chantal Fernando

- From the book you’re currently reading, or one you just finished, tell us what made you SWOON. What got your heart pounding, your skin tingling, and your stomach fluttering

- Try to make the swoon excerpt 140 characters (or less), if you are going to tweet about it. Use the hashtag #YABOUND when tweeting

This week, my swoon is from Going Rogue by Chantal Fernando!

"I guess this is a long time coming for both of us, then," I settle on. "We should enjoy the moment."

"I know I am," he murmurs, bringing me closer to him and kissing me, catching me off guard. My fingers grip his neck as his lips remind me just what I've been missing; heat pools in my lower stomach. His tongue gently touches mine, then he pulls back only to such on my lower lip. He places a soft kiss on my top and lower lip before pulling away and looking into my eyes, and I don't miss the smile in his eyes.

"I've been wanting to do that since you yelled at me from your car," he admits, sending me into a fit of laughter. He joins me.

- eARC, 22%

I adore this series. This book (the third and final one) is great, but book one was my favorite. This particular scene was really sweet. I highly recommend the series!

Preorder Blitz and Giveaway: The Surviving Girls by Katee Robert

Hey y'all! Today I have the preorder blast for The Surviving Girls on the blog today! This is book three of Katee Robert's romantic suspense series. I've read books one and two and really enjoyed both. Do yourself a favor and check out the series!

About the Book:

The Surviving Girls by Katee Robert
Book Three of the Hidden Sins series
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Publication Date: May 29, 2018

Official Summary:

Twelve years ago, Lei Zhang and her friend Emma Nilsson miraculously lived through the notorious Sorority Row Murders that left twenty-one of their sisters dead. Still wrestling with the trauma but finally out of the limelight, Lei and Emma are now devoted to helping other victims find closure. But most disturbing for Lei—beyond the gut-wrenching survivor guilt—is that the killer was her boyfriend. He’s behind bars, but she’ll never lower her guard again.

When a copycat killer targets Lei and Emma, FBI Agent Dante Young is put in charge of anticipating the sociopath’s every move. But what he doesn’t expect is his immediate and overpowering attraction to Lei. The closer they get to each other, the more desperate and terrifying the questions become: Who wants to finish what the killer started—and why?

Now Agent Young vows to protect Lei at all costs. If they have any chance of a future together, first they have to stay alive…

About the Author:

New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Katee Robert learned to tell her stories at her grandpa’s knee. Her 2015 title, The Marriage Contract, was a RITA finalist, and RT Book Reviews named it 'a compulsively readable book with just the right amount of suspense and tension." When not writing sexy contemporary and romantic suspense, she spends her time playing imaginary games with her children, driving her husband batty with what-if questions, and planning for the inevitable zombie apocalypse.

The Excerpt:

Watching the women interact was fascinating on a level Dante wasn’t prepared for. He’d known Lei and Emma lived together, but he hadn’t had the opportunity to take a step back and consider the implications of that arrangement. Emma teetered on the edge of a breakdown and used Lei to pull herself back from the ledge . . . everything made a lot more sense.

They’d formed a symbiotic relationship, of sorts.

There wasn’t much data concerning situations like this one, mostly because they rarely arose, and each case was too individual to tie together in nice, easy studies. It stood to reason, though, that coming out of that sorority house as the only two survivors would send these women into one of two futures. In one, they never saw each other and pretended the other didn’t exist rather than be faced with the perpetual reminder of what they’d gone through.

In the other, they realized that no one would ever know what they went through as intimately as the other person who survived—and leaned on each other as result.

Lei was the one who finally met his gaze, and hell if her inky-dark eyes didn’t take his breath away despite the circumstances. Clarke had pulled both women’s photos on the way over there, but they were old—from their sorority days. Both beautiful in their own way, though they were a study in opposites. Emma had the sweet southern thing going for her, all blonde hair, big innocent blue eyes, and curves that suggested southern cooking. He couldn’t tell if her soft tone was practiced or natural, but it pricked at him every time she spoke.

Lei . . . She was something else altogether. She was petite in a way that should have read frail but reminded him of a blade waiting to be unsheathed. There were muscles beneath her light-brown skin, and he guessed that she’d have no problem keeping up with the monster dog at her feet during a search. Her straight black hair was pulled back into a no-nonsense ponytail, which left her features in stark relief. Beautiful, but doesn’t like to draw attention to it. Might as well have tried to hide the sky.

Fuck, get it together. You’re here to interview them, not to lose your damn mind over Lei Zhang.

Yes, she was beautiful, but he’d dealt with beautiful women before without jeopardizing his professional persona. Dante didn’t know what it was about this woman that called to something in him, but he had to shelve it.

He couldn’t afford to be distracted.

She clasped Emma’s hand but turned her body to face him more fully. “The night of the murders, I let Travis Berkley into the Omega Delta Lambda house. We’d been dating four months and he told me he had a surprise.” Her lips twisted. “It was against the rules, but girls broke the rules all the time.”

He noted her knuckles whitening where she held Emma’s hand, but her voice maintained its steady tone. “We had sex. Approximately an hour later, something changed. I still have problems putting it into words. Travis just . . . shifted. It was like he’d taken off a mask and I didn’t recognize the man beneath. He hit me. A few times.” She absentmindedly touched the little hooked scar on her cheekbone. From Travis’s ring. “I passed out. When I woke up, he’d barricaded my door shut and I could hear their screams.”

Lei’s breath hitched, and it was almost as if she inhaled and Emma exhaled. The blonde lifted her chin. “I was in the basement studying when it started. Finals were coming up, and I was struggling in history and needed the extra study time. The first sign of something wrong was Travis hauling Sarah—” She cut herself off and flinched. “I’m sorry. It’s hard to say their names, even now.”

Clarke huffed out a breath. “You don’t have to name every single girl he killed. We know their names. We know their stories. We just want to hear how it all went down from your perspective.”

They wouldn’t find anything new here. Dante knew it, and he suspected Clarke knew it, too. These two women had told their stories countless times over the years, and if there was information they hadn’t shared before now, he highly doubted this would be the time it’d magically come out.

Hearing the story through their own voices was a whole hell of a lot more jarring than reading it in the file, however.

Emma took them through it. How Travis Berkley brought the entire house of girls into that basement, how he was charming and terrifying and told them that he’d let them go one by one . . . if they did exactly as he asked. It wasn’t until the night was over and no one had come to save them that the remaining girls realized what was happening, and even then, they were too afraid to try to overpower him.

Herd mentality. Travis had to have known he could manipulate the whole group as long as he got them scared and in a single place. They believed the pretty lie because the truth was impossible to wrap their minds around.

Emma’s voice shook. “There were still . . . ten of us left when I realized I wasn’t getting out of that house alive—that none of the girls had gotten out alive like he’d promised. When he took the next girl, I hid under the couch.”

“None of those girls saw you hide?” Clarke frowned. “I find that hard to believe.”

“I don’t know. I don’t . . .” She dropped her gaze as if she couldn’t bear to hold her head up any longer. “We were in shock at that point—just sitting there, lost in ourselves. We didn’t talk. We didn’t even look at each other. We just sat there and . . . contemplated the fact we were going to die. I don’t know if they even noticed I was gone. I hid until every single one of them was gone. And he just . . . walked out.”

“He came for me. I guess it was then.” Lei didn’t shrink in on herself. She seemed to grow taller, sit straighter. “I heard him removing the barricade and I panicked. After listening to that all night . . .” She shook her head. “I knew what would happen if he got back into my room, so I climbed out the window.”

Clarke went still. “I saw the list of your injuries. You had a broken arm, your knee was so fucking swollen you shouldn’t have been able to walk, and you had several head wounds and a handful of broken ribs on top of that. How the hell did you climb out a window?”

Lei shrugged on shoulder. “He would kill me if I didn’t. I figured falling to my death was preferable to letting Travis have me, so I took my chances.”

It was only sheer dumb luck that it was late enough in the morning that a student jogging past saw Lei. By the time he’d come back with help, Lei was unconscious in the flower bed and Travis was gone.

Dante sat back, going over the story again in his head. As he suspected, there was no new information, but they’d have been remiss if they didn’t go over it one more time. He exchanged a look with Clarke. The killings in Seattle held some key differences. He didn’t think any of the girls had willingly let the unsub in, and he had carved his message into their bodies when he was through.

A message that might or might not have been meant for Travis Berkley. Hard to believe that someone who’d gone through the trouble of researching the murders would get the killer’s name wrong, but the alternative was that the girls’ deaths were meant as tribute to someone else. Both possibilities stretched the realm of belief and didn’t make a damn bit of sense.

The tension in the room grew like it was a living thing, coiling and snapping between the four of them. Once Dante and Clarke left, things would move quickly. They had to talk to Berkley. They had to head back to Seattle to go over things again with Detective Smith and the ME. They had to track down this bastard before he continued with whatever plan he’d begun with those girls’ deaths.

Dante, at least, would have the comfort of motion to keep him distracted from the scenes that he’d witnessed. Lei and Emma wouldn’t have even that. He leaned forward, catching Lei’s attention. “We can assign a protection detail. I don’t think you’re in any immediate danger, but if it would help ease your mind, I’ll make some calls.”

Lei’s lips quirked up at the edges, but the smile never came close to reaching her eyes. “Dante—Agent Young—we were in immediate danger the second that asshole singled Travis out as someone he wanted to emulate. We’re more than capable of taking care of ourselves.”

Copyright © 2017 Katee Robert

The Giveaway:

Enter to win a grand prize of a $25 Amazon Gift Card or three (3) runner-up copies of a backlist eBook from Katee Robert!

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday (#282): Fire & Heist by Sarah Beth Durst

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week, I'm featuring:

Fire & Heist by Sarah Beth Durst
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: December 4, 2018

Summary (from Goodreads):

In Sky Hawkins's family, leading your first heist is a major milestone--even more so than learning to talk, walk, or do long division. It's a chance to gain power and acceptance within your family, and within society. But stealing your first treasure can be complicated, especially when you're a wyvern--a human capable of turning into a dragon.

Embarking on a life of crime is never easy, and Sky discovers secrets about her mother, who recently went missing, the real reason her boyfriend broke up with her, and a valuable jewel that could restore her family's wealth and rank in their community.

With a handpicked crew by her side, Sky knows she has everything she needs to complete her first heist, and get her boyfriend and mother back in the process. But then she uncovers a dark truth about were-dragon society--a truth more valuable and dangerous than gold or jewels could ever be.

New Sarah Beth Durst book! I loved Vessel and can't wait to read this new YA book. It sounds really cool!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday (13)

Happy Tuesday! Today I've decided to participate in Top Ten Tuesday, formerly hosted by Jamie at The Broke and the Bookish, now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl.

Today's topic is: 

Best Character Names

Zahra from The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

Casimir from Ruined by Amy Tintera

Solara from Starflight by Melissa Landers

Aileana from The Falconer trilogy by Elizabeth May

Crowe from Devils & Thieves by Jennifer Rush

Aelyx from Alienated by Melissa Landers

Arin from The Winner's Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski

Perry (Peregrine) from the Under the Never Sky trilogy by Veronica Rossi

Aric from Endless Knight by Kresley Cole

Jessamin from Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White

There are so many more names that I can list! These are just the first that come to mind. There's something in a name, that's for sure. Fun fact: two of these names are ones that I'm considering naming my hypothetical potential future children!

Monday, May 21, 2018

Review: Going Rogue by Chantal Fernando

Going Rogue by Chantal Fernando
Book Three of the Cursed Ravens series
Publisher: Pocket Star (Gallery)
Publication Date: August 6, 2018
Rating: 4 stars
Source: eARC from Edelweiss

Summary (from Goodreads):

Love blossoms in the most unexpected of places in this sweet and steamy Cursed Ravens Motorcyle Club title featuring a hunky bad boy and a charming nurse.

The men might tease Rogue and call him pretty behind his back, but no one is going to say that to his face. As the vice president of the Cursed Ravens—and with an unpredictable and unruly temper—respect is given to him at any cost.

But Rogue reins himself in when visits his mother in a local nursing home. Overwhelmed with guilt that he can’t take care of her himself, he can barely handle watching her fade away with dementia. And he knows the staff is exceptional—especially the sweet and beautiful caregiver who pays extra attention to his mom.

It isn’t easy working at a nursing home, but Zoe enjoys spending time with her favorite patient Anne. She knows Anne has a son who dutifully visits her, but when Zoe sees the tall, muscled, handsome stranger, she can tell he’s trouble—beautiful trouble. She knows he’s a Cursed Raven and she knows better than to admit she’s attracted to him. There’s no way her brother will let her hang out with a rival MC member. But as Zoe and Rogue start to get closer, they realize one way or another, they’ll have to fight to stay in each other’s lives. 

What I Liked:

I read books one and two last week, both of which have not been published, and I had been wondering how long it would be before the third book (Going Rogue) would appear on Edelweiss, as its predecessors had. Lo and behold, not two days later, this book showed up on the site, and I downloaded it immediately. I'm jumping the gun here, in posting the review for an August '18 publication in May, but I couldn't wait. I really enjoyed the first two books in this series, and I'm happy to say that I liked Going Rogue

Rogue is the VP of the Cursed Ravens club - he's the backbone of the club, and the one who shoulders much of the responsibility. He always seems to have a lot going on, from helping his club brothers with their new babies, to taking the lead on club deals, to watching his mother wither way in an old-age home, suffering from dementia. It's there that he meets Zoe, the nurse who takes care of his mother. Zoe always knew Mrs. Kennedy had a son, but she never knew he was a tall, darkly handsome, very muscular man with wicked charm and quiet, lethal power. It's lust at first sight, but both of them will quickly start to realize how far they'll go for the other.

I adored Rogue in the first two books, and could not wait for him to get his own book. It's unfortunate that this book is written exclusively from Zoe's first-person POV, but Rogue is still so present and so swoony - it didn't matter that his POV wasn't featured. He dominates the book from start to finish. Rogue is deadly and precise when he needs to be - as the VP of the MC, he has to be. But he's also thoughtful, sweet, and considerate. He's good with babies (none are his own - they're  his "nephews"), and he's a sweetheart of a boyfriend. And he can sing and play the guitar! Throw in the muscles and pretty face, and you've got the full package. (That too. *nudge nudge*)

Zoe is the perfect complement. She is sweet and gentle, which is great for her profession. She has a kind heart and a lot of patience. Mrs. Kennedy (Rogue's mother) likes her a lot, because she is so kind and considerate. But Zoe isn't a passive person; she knows her mind and she's very sassy too. She isn't as aggressive as previous heroines (I don't say "aggressive" in a negative way, mind you), but she isn't passive either. She fits Rogue very well.

The two of them together are fiery hot but also richly sweet. They are a great pair. They have instant chemistry, but they also mesh together well in terms of personalities. Both of them are very selfless and giving.

In terms of the romance, as always, the pair have hot chemistry and this leads to very sexy sexy-times. I only wish there were more sexy times on page! Rogue is super yummy, a "good" type of alpha male. Zoe is sweet and assertive too, and that dynamic works for the pair. 

There are a lot of cameos from the MC members, such as Ace, Knuckles, Shack, and the president. Erin and Celina are very present as well, and there is some surprises along the way involving some of the ladies and gentlemen of the club. I love how the author kept us readers in the loop with the rest of the club. The whole gang is so fun and get along so well.

I have to mention the strong sisterhood that emerges, in this book. Erin and Celina are cousins and always had each other's back, in the previous books. Zoe and her older sister Vanessa are an even stronger pair. But the four ladies together are unstoppable and unshakable. I love how quickly they all become friends and how well they get along and support each other.

The same can be said about the men in the MC. Ace, Knuckles, Rogue, Shack, and Prez have a close bond - especially Ace, Knuckles, and Rogue. They support each other and keep the brotherhood close. Loyalty is everything to these men, and it really shows, in the story. The MC aspect of the story (and series) is alive and well in this book.

The ending is such a wonderful HEA! We get a peek into everyone's future, in the epilogue. But I especially loved Rogue and Zoe's ending. Theirs was hard-fought and almost had a tiny bit of bittersweet something to it, but they worked through their issues. I love how communication is a big part of the resolution, and how quickly the couple works through their problems. This is so important to see, in romances. Anyway, the ending was really satisfying. I'm sad that the series is over (at least I think it is), but I loved the ending.

What I Did Not Like:

I guess there could always be more sex (ha!), and I'm also sad that the series is over. Could Vanessa get her own book, maybe? She is HILARIOUS. I relate to her - I'm not as dramatic as she is (she is awesome, "dramatic" isn't a bad thing), but I'm probably as sassy and exuberant, so I think we'd get along.

Would I Recommend It:

I highly recommend this particular book (it's so sexy and sweet!), but also the entire series. There are so many great aspects of the series. Yes, it's a motorcycle club romance and those always have the rough-and-tumble appeal. But there is also a strong brotherhood, a growing sisterhood, slow-burn sexy romances, tough heroines, swoony heroes... I really enjoyed this series.


4 stars. I'm so sad that the series is over. Part of me is hoping that Vanessa gets her own book. Given that the epilogue of this book goes somewhat ahead into the future, I'm not sure her book would be a thing, but maybe a novella? It would be nice. I adore Vanessa!

Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!