Thursday, July 19, 2018

Swoon Thursday (#286): Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers


- 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 Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers!


As he looks into my eyes, his smile fades and his eyes grow dark with emotion. Slowly, he leans toward me.

His lips are soft and warm as they touch mine. His mouth moves urgently, as if he is trying to experience every nuance and curve of my lips. The utter rightness of this fills me, for it feels I have waited all my life for just this moment.

His mouth opens slightly, and he shifts the angle of his kiss, nudging my mouth to do the same, and I am lost in a whole new world of sensation. His mouth is soft compared to the strong, callused hands that grip my waist. 

- Kindle copy, 79%




I love this series! What better time to reread it, with the fourth book publishing in February. I can't wait!

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday (#290): The Antidote by Shelley Sackier


"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:


The Antidote by Shelley Sackier
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: February 5, 2019

Summary (from Goodreads):

Magic is not allowed, under any circumstances — even if it could save someone’s life. Instead, there are herbal remedies and traditional techniques that have been painstakingly recorded in lieu of using the mystical arts. Fee knows this, so she keeps her magic a secret.

Except her best friend, Xavi, is deathly ill. He’s also the crown prince. Saving him is important, not only for her, but for the entire kingdom.

Fee’s desperation to save her friend means she can barely contain the magic inside her. And after the tiniest of slips, Fee is thrust into a dark and secretive world that is as alluring as it is dangerous.

If she gives in, it could mean she can save Xavi. But it also means that those who wish to snuff out magic might just snuff her out in the process.



Doesn't this sound fantastic? And look at that gorgeous cover! The designer (Jessie Gang) and the artist (Lisa Perrin) are amazing!

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday (18)


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: 

Favorite Novellas/Short Stories

Here are my Young Adult favorites:


And here are my Adult romance favorites:



I love this topic! These are all novellas and I loved thinking back on the novellas that I've enjoyed. There are far more novellas in the Adult romance world than in YA. I can't complain, either way!

Monday, July 16, 2018

Review: Light Her Fire by Samanthe Beck


Light Her Fire by Samanthe Beck
Book Two of the Private Pleasures series
Publisher: Entangled Brazen
Publication Date: October 20, 2014
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Purchased Kindle copy

Summary (from Goodreads):

He’ll show this good girl the thrill of being bad…

Good girl Melody Merritt is ready to be bad. Fresh out of an unsatisfying ten-year engagement to the town golden boy, she’s determined to make up for lost time. And who better to burn her sterling reputation to the ground than Bluelick’s sinfully sexy new fire chief whose wicked gaze promises complete and utter domination? Yes, please. 

Corrupting the prim and proper Little Miss Bluelick is the most action Josh Bradley’s seen since he transferred from Cincinnati to fast-track his career. He won’t let anything or anyone—not even the delectable Melody Merritt—trap him in this Kentucky-fried Mayberry, but when their searing chemistry yields an unexpected result, he realizes he’s started a blaze that's completely beyond his control…

What I Liked:

I'm on a roll with these backlist reads! I think I'm in some sort of ARC reading slump, and so I've been rereading my favorite books and also knocking out some unread backlist novels that I purchased years ago. Including a slew of Entangled Brazen novels. I love Samanthe Beck's books, and I knew I would enjoy this one. The first book, Private Practice, is one of my all-time favorite Brazen novels.

This novel focuses on Melody, who we meet in book one as a secondary character, and Josh Bradly, the new fire chief of Bluelick. Melody is newly un-engaged thanks to her fiance coming out as gay, and she has her sights set on Josh. Their connection is instant and chemistry is raging hot, but that's not the only fire in town. Someone is starting fires and it isn't random. 

Samanthe Beck's books are always super hot, with great buildup of tension and very sexually compatible characters. Beck proves that it is entirely possible to have an alpha male without him being an alphahole. Fire chief Josh Bradley is a young, tasty alpha male with a commanding air about him, and he is used to giving orders and being obeyed. Melody, on the other hand, is used to being with a kind man who recently came out as gay. She is ready for someone to light her fire (hehe), and take control. See? It works.

Josh is one of my favorite romance heroes. He is alpha and commanding, but neither of those traits are bad traits. He is a natural leader and he's very good at it. He's also very dedicated to his job and excellent at what he does. Have I mentioned how much I love a guy in uniform? Doesn't have to be military. Fire chief works. Josh is a pretty selfless guy, and I have a lot of respect for him. He's commanding in the fire station, commanding in the bedroom, and he's a stand-up, good guy.

Melody is the town's sweetheart, and she deserves the title. She's also a good person, a wholesome small-town girl, and she's a good match for Josh. I liked her steadfastness.

I already talked about how hot this book is, but the romance of the book is also sweet. These two are very good for each other and I could clearly see them falling for each other. Their relationship is somewhat drama-free, even with the gay ex-fiance being a thing. Once Josh found out about that, it wasn't an issue. There is another trope that was introduced late in this book that I usually hate, but I actually liked it in this book. 

The ending was very sweet! I liked the compromise, and realizations. It felt like a very fitting ending for Josh and Melody. I need to read book three to see if Josh and Melody show up in that one!

What I Did Not Like:

I mentioned that there is a particular trope that shows up late in the book that I don't usually like. It's not too bad in this book, but just know that it does create a little bit of drama, but not too much. It isn't so bad. But the trope isn't for everyone (it usually is something I hate).

Would I Recommend It:

If you like steamy adult contemporary romance novels, try this book, or any of Beck's books. Her Compromise Me series is really good, and this series (I loooove book one of this series so much). Beck writes very very hot romance - you are warned!

Rating:

4 stars. Now to read book three, which I don't think I have! Ginny is one of Melody's best friends and I am looking forward to reading her story.


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

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Review: Staking His Claim by Tessa Bailey

Staking His Claim (Line of Duty, #5)

Staking His Claim by Tessa Bailey
Book Five of the Line of Duty series
Publisher: Entangled Brazen
Publication Date: February 3, 2014
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Purchased Kindle copy

Summary (from Goodreads):

He wants her. All of her.

NYPD sniper Matt Donovan is in Hell. Instead of driving his best friend’s little sister home from college, he’s stuck with her roommate—a fresh-faced ray-of-sunshine with a body that makes grown men weep. There’s no way he’ll allow himself to taint the little vixen, no matter how hard she tries to tempt him, so he resigns himself to the longest—and hardest—drive of his life.

Matt’s obvious attraction suits grad student Lucy Mason just fine. She had no idea her brother’s best friend was so deliciously hot. Knowing he’d never have his wicked way with his buddy’s sister, she lies about her identity and seduces him. But Matt’s no fumbling college boy. His desires run deep—and dark—and he wants to teach Lucy what wicked really means.

Matt’s demanding appetites only make Lucy want more. But when her cover's blown, he’s furious—even as his hunger for her becomes insatiable. Matt can’t trust anyone, least of all himself. And he knows all too well that darkness always destroys the light…

What I Liked:

I've had this book for a long time but never got the chance to read it. If you're a regular Eater of Books! reader, you've probably noticed that I've slowed down my ARC reading and have been rereading a lot more, lately. I've also been trying to read old backlist books that I bought or received but haven't read. This is one of them. I love Tessa Bailey's books, and this one was no exception.

Matt Donovan is literally the strong, silent, brooding type. He is a man of very few words with a complicated, heartbreaking past. He's a sniper in the NYPD ESU, and former military. When his NYPD partner Brent asks him to pick up his sister and sister's roommate, Matt doesn't expect to be knock on his butt by Brent's gorgeous sister. Except he doesn't know that Lucy is Brent's sister, because she lies and says she's the roommate. One steamy night is in the books before it is revealed to Matt that Lucy is actually Lucy, Brent's sister. He's furious, but he can't stay away...

Matt is one of the most unique alpha heroes I've come across in a long time. You'd think all alpha heroes are the same, especially the strong and brooding types. I like Matt because he's actually a strong, silent, brooding type. He doesn't say much, but when he does, he makes it count. He is a quiet observer, and he notices a lot. He hates being lied to, especially because of something that happened in the past. He is furious with Lucy for lying to him, but at the same time, he is drawn to her like a moth to a flame. Matt has so many layers, from his military past, to his ex-fiancee fiasco, to his dark desires. Matt needed someone exactly like Lucy to shake him up. 

Lucy is light to Matt's darkness. She is full of life and energy, but not quite in a manic-pixie-girl way (though kind of). Lucy knew lying to Matt was going to lead to trouble, but she did it anyway. She does what she wants and goes after what she wants. But she loves Matt's dominant, possessive side when it comes to her. Lucy is a sweet, hardworking girl and while I didn't like the fact that she lied to Matt as ridiculously as she did, I quickly forgave her. She's not a bad person.

The two of them have seriously hot chemistry. Whew, this book was hot. Matt has a dominant side that likes control, and Lucy has a caring, submissive side that likes to give up control. This dynamic works really well for them as a pair. I personally like alpha heroes especially when the heroine likes alphas - the dynamic works for them. There were so many ~hot~ scenes in this book; never doubt that Tessa Bailey while write scorching romance novels.

They had to work for it, but there is a lovely HEA at the end of this book. There was a lot of push-and-pull, with Lucy hurting Matt, and Matt hurting Lucy, and back and forth, and in the end I think it was a really good ending. These two are great for each other.

Overall I liked this book a lot. It was hot and steamy, but also sweet and romantic. Maybe a little bit of insta-love, but I liked it. And I liked the Brent/Hayden and Daniel/Story cameos (well, not a ton of Story, but that's okay).

What I Did Not Like:

Nothing specific!

Would I Recommend It:

If you like Tessa Bailey's books but haven't read this one, do it! It's super hot. Possibly one of her hottest books. Especially in terms of the dom/sub aspect (it's not really BDSM - the dom/sub terminology isn't used and it's more seen as an alpha/beta type of thing). And the best friend's little sister trope was not annoying at all; usually I don't love the trope, but I thought the reveal to Brent was perfect. Everyone was an adult about things. And hey, there was a HEA. What's not to love? 

Rating:

4 stars. I highly recommend all of the Line of Duty books! I think there might be one that I haven't read but I've read most of them and I love them (especially Officer Off Limits, my first Tessa Bailey book). Do yourself a favor and binge-read the series!


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

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Stacking the Shelves (#290)


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, July 8th to Saturday, June 14th?


(all links to Goodreads are provided!)


In the mail:

Nothing this week!


From Edelweiss:

The Tiger at Midnight


I saw this on Edelweiss the other day and wanted to read it immediately! It's wonderful to see some #ownvoices South Asian YA fantasy novels in the works.


Review from this week:

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


Another boring week. I got no mail, barely read, barely blogged. I am so glad the weekend it here!

Friday, July 13, 2018

My Favorite YA Book Cover Changes

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 other favorites posts in a previous posts (for example). 

Here are some of my favorite YA book cover changes! Last week I did a post on my favorite "original" covers - covers that were advertised before publication, but then the cover changed before publication. This post is all about cover changes that happened after publication, that I liked!

Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer, #1)     Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer, #1)
Shatter Me (Shatter Me, #1)     Shatter Me (Shatter Me, #1)
Rebel of the Sands (Rebel of the Sands #1)     Rebel of the Sands (Rebel of the Sands, #1)
An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes, #1)     An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes, #1)
Chantress (Chantress, #1)     Chantress (Chantress, #1)
Shadow and Bone (Grisha Verse, #1)     Shadow and Bone (Shadow and Bone, #1)


These are just a few of a good number of examples in which I actually really liked the cover change! And these are books I read and loved - this list does not include books I hated (but loved the cover change) or books I've not read (but loved the cover change). Sometimes, change is good! More often than not, it isn't, but that's a list for another day.


Thursday, July 12, 2018

Swoon Thursday (#285): An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson


- 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 An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson!


I became conscious of the fact that his chest felt very solid, and I was straddling his slim waist. Our uneven breathing rocked us against each other slightly. Molten heat pooled in me again, ebbing lower.

I didn't use iron on him.

Instead, I leaned down and kissed him.

[...]

I lost myself in the hypnotizing press of give and take, the odd but intoxicating feeling of joining my mouth with his. Soon I felt Rook's palm slide down my back, and in one graceful, powerful movement he swept me up in his hands. I automatically tightened my legs around his waist and hooked my arms around his neck, boggling at how high off the ground he'd lifted me.

- eARC, 42%



I read this book last year and surprisingly loved it! I'm rereading it and enjoying it even more the second time around. =)

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday (#289): The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi


"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:


The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi
Book One of The Gilded Wolves series
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Publication Date: January 15, 2019

Summary (from Goodreads):

Set in a darkly glamorous world The Gilded Wolves is full of mystery, decadence and dangerous but thrilling adventure. 

Paris, 1889: The world is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. In this city, no one keeps tabs on secrets better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier, Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. But when the all-powerful society, the Order of Babel, seeks him out for help, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance. To find the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin will need help from a band of experts:

An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian who can't yet go home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in all but blood, who might care too much.

Together, they'll have to use their wits and knowledge to hunt the artifact through the dark and glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the world, but only if they can stay alive.



Roshani Chokshi's books are always masterpieces, and I'm sure this one will be no different!

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday (17)


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 Books I’ve Read In 2018 (So Far)

Here are my Young Adult favorites:

    
  
  

And my Adult Romance favorites:
    


To be fair, I've read a fraction of the amount of books I would have read by now, in a past year... I don't know what's wrong with me. Maybe I'm finally discovering life outside of reading (GASP). I miss falling in love with a book though. Recommend me something good?

Monday, July 9, 2018

Review: Legendary by Stephanie Garber


Legendary by Stephanie Garber
Book Two of the Caraval series
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publication Date: May 29, 2018
Rating: 3 stars
Source: eARC from NetGalley

Summary (from Goodreads):

A heart to protect. A debt to repay. A game to win.

After being swept up in the magical world of Caraval, Donatella Dragna has finally escaped her father and saved her sister Scarlett from a disastrous arranged marriage. The girls should be celebrating, but Tella isn’t yet free. She made a desperate bargain with a mysterious criminal, and what Tella owes him no one has ever been able to deliver: Caraval Master Legend’s true name.

The only chance of uncovering Legend’s identity is to win Caraval, so Tella throws herself into the legendary competition once more—and into the path of the murderous heir to the throne, a doomed love story, and a web of secrets…including her sister's. Caraval has always demanded bravery, cunning, and sacrifice. But now the game is asking for more. If Tella can’t fulfill her bargain and deliver Legend’s name, she’ll lose everything she cares about—maybe even her life. But if she wins, Legend and Caraval will be destroyed forever.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval...the games have only just begun.

What I Liked:

I'm actually a bit disappointed by this book, which is of course very surprise given how much I loved Caraval, and given how much everyone has loved Legendary. I felt so meh about this book while reading it, and when I finished it, I was left with a rather sour taste in my mouth. Definitely not what you would want to feel after reading a supposed masterpiece. But these things happen.

Caraval followed Scarlett Dragna, who entered Caraval in order to save her younger sister Donnatella. Legendary follows Tella, who enters Caraval in order to save her and Scarlett's mother Paloma, who has been missing for years. Paloma is trapped in a card of the Deck of Destiny, a cursed deck of cards that contains the Fates. If the Fates are released, chaos will ensue (or something like that). If Legend gets the Deck, he could gain the powers of all of the Fates in the Deck. In order to save her mother, Tella must find the Deck of Destiny. In order to uphold her bargain with a mysterious criminal who gave her information about her mother, Tella must give the criminal Legend's true identity. Tella has neither of those things, and so she must enter Caraval and win - so that she will receive the ultimate prize from Legend. It's a tricky game that Tella is playing, and it is not without consequences - or sacrifices.

In the first half of the book, I was pretty engrossed in the story. I wasn't totally sold on the whole finding-my-mother thing, but I was intrigued, and I liked Tella. I liked seeing Scarlett and Julian, though I hated the unnecessary drama (more on that below). I looooved Dante's appearances. I even loved Jacks' ridiculous, cruel self. The first half of the book was so fascinating.

I liked Tella for the most part. In book one, I pretty much hated her and branded her the most selfish, unworthy sister ever. But I liked her in this book. She is bold and uninhibited, and while she seemed selfish in Caraval, she seems more selfless in this book. It's clear that she loves her sister, but is very guarded. She is selfless when it comes to Paloma, which is how this book came to be. Finding her mother is so important to Tella.

I adored Dante and his wicked, charming self. I actually didn't totally care for him in book one, but he's so swoony and magical in this book. And not just in a love interest kind of way - the game of Caraval would not be the same without his presence. He's a charming devil, but he's also kind and sweet. He has a commanding presence about him and he has a way of popping up whenever he is needed (and whenever he isn't). 

There are many Scarlett/Julian cameos which I appreciate, though I wish they were all happy cameos showing Scarlett and Julian helplessly in love. I guess that will have to wait until Finale. Still, I'm glad that Julian and Scarlett are part of this book, and an important part.

I liked the Dante/Tella romance, but there wasn't nearly enough. The author teased with this romance.

Once I reached the second half of the book, I was kind of finished with it all. I'll talk about all of my dislikes next. I can't even say I liked the ending.

What I Did Not Like:

Ugh, where do I even begin? I just felt so meh about this book at the halfway mark and beyond. What went wrong, you might ask? I have no idea. 

I was never truly sold on the whole I-must-find-my-mother plot. It seemed forced and contrived, like the author desperately needed a good reason to bring back Caraval for a second time in a short period (like The Hunger Games), and so she grasped at straws and came up with Scarlett and Tella's missing mother. I just never bought into that plot. It didn't feel important.

I didn't care for the barely-there tease of a romance that was Dante/Tella. I loved Dante. I liked Tella. I loved Dante/Tella. I didn't love the lack of kisses and swoon.

And the implicated love triangle - for both Tella and Scarlett! Like two completely separate love triangles going on! What the heck! I thought Julian/Scarlett was a done deal but apparently not. You know what I hate? When girls want to make their man jealous and so they flirt with someone else. Or go find their ex. And they call it "exploring their options" or some bull***t and they want to bring about some competition between their man and the ex/side man. For real? This isn't cute. There's nothing wrong with dating. But there IS something wrong when you claim you love someone and yet you go look for your ex or another man just to make the man you love jealous, or some bull***. That's playing games and it's maddening. I'm talking about Scarlett.

Oh but Tella is embroiled in her own love triangle, don't you worry. I know she is in love with Dante by the end of the story, and I know he loves her, but there is another guy that seems to be in love with Tella and noooooooo thank you. I actually LOVE this character and I wouldn't mind a Tella/This Character pairing IF Dante had never existed. Meaning, This Character as a love interest is so unnecessary. Why though. Why.

Speaking of unnecessary, let's talking about all the unnecessary drama that is in this book. I already talked about Scarlett's bull**** that she's pulling with Julian, but I hate that she also let's so many factors bring down their relationship. She takes every little thing as a reason not to trust him. She knows who he is, what his role in Caraval is, and yet she whines about it all the time. I liked Scarlett in the first book. But she really got on my nerves in this book. And as much as I liked seeing her and Julian in this book, I would appreciated it more if there was less drama and more swoon. More of them working together as a couple, rather than Scarlett acting like a crazy girlfriend who runs off to her exes every time she believes something about her man (to put the situation in modern terms; Scarlett technically never runs to any exes, but hopefully you understand the picture I'm trying to paint). The drama is just so unnecessary. But I guess it's middle-book drama?

I think this is part of my frustration with YA these days - the drama is so unnecessary, and sequels tend to suck. In adult romance, a book is a standalone and the story is done within that one book. Thank goodness.

The ending of this book is not a happy ending. For anyone.

Would I Recommend It:

Honestly, this is one of those books where you have to read it yourself. Decide for yourself. 99% of the people who read this book love it, so what do I know? I felt so meh while reading at least half of this book. And the ending made me so sour. Not just because of the obvious love triangles, but because of the drama, and the cliffhanger, and it was just so stupid.

But again, decide for yourself. I would say that if you're on the fence, maybe just stop with the first book. Wait until the third book publishes and binge-read the series. Or just stop with Caraval. Caraval had a lovely ending and you can imagine an epilogue of Scarlett and Julian 40 years down the road, happily ever after. No need to read about unnecessary drama. 

Rating:

2.5 stars -> rounded up to 3 stars. Perhaps I'm being generous, and maybe I just really wanted to love the book. I was so excited about it and so prepared to love it like I did Caraval. But I'm glad I didn't buy this book because I would have regretted. I'm happy to have had the opportunity to review it (I was supposed to post this review two months ago, whoops), but I would have regretted spending the money on it. I will read Finale but it'll be a library request from me.


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