Saturday, February 17, 2018

Stacking the Shelves (#269)


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, February 10th to Saturday, February 17th?


(all links to Goodreads are provided!)


In the mail:



It's here! The B&N exclusive edition. I already read this novella and loved it!





From Edelweiss:



I just featured this as a Waiting on Wednesday choice, so I'm quite pleased to see it on Edelweiss!


Reviews from this week:

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


Favorite Instagram post from this week:

A post shared by Alyssa (@theeaterofbooks) on


This week was painfully busy at work but I got through it! I'm excited for this three-day weekend. It's supposed to snow and I'm not really interested in that so I hope it's not much. On to the next week!

Friday, February 16, 2018

My Favorite Swoons from YA Books

Hey friends! Today is yet another day in which I didn't feel like writing/posting a review, so I'm doing another favorites post! You can check out my favorite YA foreign editions posts HERE, favorite YA books (alphabet style) HERE, and favorite YA books with one-word titles HERE

In the spirit of Valentine's Day (week), here are some of my favorite swoons from YA books!

Note: this isn't a definitive list, as usual! You can see all of my Swoon Thursday posts HERE.


She pressed her lips to his, softly at first. His hands circled her waist, and he parted his legs, pulling her closer to him. His fingers slipped beneath her shirt, tracing the bare skin of her back, and it didn't matter that she had something to tell him, because she'd forgotten how to talk.

She climbed into his lap, letting her knees rest on either side of him. Her lips left his for a moment, and he leaned forward to catch them again.

She'd kissed him before. She'd kissed him in this bed before, even. But this was different. This was her body on fire, her brain turned to mush. This was nothing but him and the heat of his breath on her mouth.




"What are you doing to me, you plague of a girl?" he whispered.

"If I'm a plague, then you should keep your distance, unless you plan on being destroyed." The weapons still in her grasp, she shoved against his chest.

"No." His hands dropped to her waist. "Destroy me."

The bow and arrow clattered to the ground as he brought his mouth to hers.

And there was no turning back.

She was drowning in sandalwood and sunlight. Time ceased to be more than a notion. Her lips were hers one moment. And then they were his. The taste of him on her tongue was like sun-warmed honey. Like cool water sliding down her parched throat. Like the promise of all her tomorrows in a single sigh. When she wound her fingers in his hair to draw her body against his, he stilled for a breath, and she knew, as he knew, that they were lost. Lost forever.


Lightning flashed outside, bright and hot. They moved at the same time, his mouth meeting hers, hungry and gentle and warm. His chiaan [energy] poured into her, faster than before, and it fused with her own, twining through Nalia. She tried to resist it, didn't want to be this close to Raif, to be distracted from what she knew she had to do -

Raif leaned against the table next to them and pulled her closer, his kiss deepening until she didn't know what was her and what was him. The kiss lasted forever, and no time at all. It was the first experience Nalia had of feeling safe, truly safe, and for a while it didn't matter that this might be the last beautiful moment of her short life.




She smelled the clean, male scent of him, felt the rougher texture of his skin against her cheek, and drew a shaking breath. That pulse she had so brutally suppressed hammered into every part of her body, her fingers bunching with sensation. She found herself turning her face to meet his careful progress, her lips finding the soft curve of his mouth. They both paused, breath mingling, and then she felt the warm pressure of his tongue against her own, the taste of him, salt and wine, merging with the clean smell of his skin. It was startling and tender... and then it changed. Something wild crashed through her, a wave of throbbing energy that drove her up against his body, her fingers winding hard into the short crop of his hair. She felt him sway back, his breath catching into a gasp. She opened her eyes and saw the shock in his face flare into something more primal. She wrested him back to her mouth, any tenderness subsumed by animal need. He wrapped his arms around her, drawing her hard onto his chest, both of them locked into the dizzying sensation of their mouths and tongues and bodies pressed against each other. She felt as if she wanted to crawl into his skin, taste him, touch him, fill herself with him.


"Don't talk." I press a kiss to her throat, feeling her pulse racing beneath my lips, its rhythm confirming that her blood is rushing as fast as mine."

"Niklaas wait, I -"

I slip my hand from her hair, trapping her jaw between my fingers as I fit my mouth to hers, cutting her off with a kiss. She moans, a panicked sound that surprises me as it vibrates across my skin, but when I part my mouth, she parts hers, too, her lips gliding over mine with a ragged sigh. She doesn't pull away, and after a moment I regain the courage to angle my head, then rushing out, warming the whisper of space between her mouth and mine.

A whisper is too much.



So I didn't say anything else as I closed the last of the distance between us.

He said he would have torn the desert apart looking for me. And I felt in that kiss his desperation as his mouth found mine.

It wasn't enough with Jin; it was never enough. His hands were in the mess of my torn palace clothes, trying to find me under the too-heavy stitching and the weight of the gaudy khalat. One hand tangled into my hair, pulling away the delicate gold circlet that still clung there. He freed it from my hair, casting it aside, pulling pieces of the palace away from me, trying to return me to him.

It was like being caught in a wildfire, desperate for breath, like if we stopped we would extinguish. Without thinking, I pulled my hands away from his chest. It took one quick movement for my torn khalat to join his shirt in the heap on the groun, until I was waring nothing but the thin linen chemise underneath.


"Tell me you're real."

"I'm real," I whisper. "I'm still here. I can ask you more questions, if you'd like."

"Later," he says.

Then Kiaran's lips are on mine. Hard. Desperate. Like he can't get enough of me; like I'm going to disappear. As if at any moment, he's going to wake up from this dream and I'll be gone.

Kiaran kisses me like he's about to lose me all over again.

He isn't gentle. There's no softness, no hesitancy, no delicate touches. And I don't want kind. I don't want gentle. My desire is just as fierce, just as demanding. I grasp the back of his shirt, digging in toughly with my fingernails. More. I want more. I need this. I need him. I pull back only briefly to yank off my shirt, the rest of my clothes, his. Then it's Kiaran's skin against mine and we're both burning, kissing, biting, clawing. It's a physical urgency, a devouring need, a benediction of yes, now, more.


Her breath was so short she could hardly speak. She had one hand on his chest, the rhythm of it fast and hard beneath her palm. He was so beautiful, and so unsure, and she had never been more so.

"Sophia...," he whispered.

She slipped her other arm around his bruised neck and put her lips on the pulse at the case of his throat.

He made a noise somewhere deep in his chest, and then he had his mouth on hers, hard, holding her head still as she was pressed back, rattling the shelves, and then back again until she hit the wall. All at once she was boiling, frantic, trying to kiss him more, hold him closer with fistfuls of his shirt, pinned by his body to the painted plaster. He seemed to have forgotten his worries about noise. It was a long time before his lips broke away and he put his forehead against hers, breath coming fast.


He pushed me inside, kicked the door shut, and flung me back against it, his mouth hot and fervent on mine. I locked my arms around his neck, drowning in sensation. He felt warm, solid, and tough. His weight crushed me, delicious and real. I'd imagined this moment. I'd dreamed about it, but my imagination was a poor substitute for the real thing. My blood seemed to melt, pouring through me in throbbing surges and leaving me light-headed.

He ran his hand up my arm, and I quivered.

At my response, his arms, which had been braced on either side of my shoulders, tightened around me.

I hung my fingers on the waistband of his jeans, trying to balance myself. My knees felt slippery, weak. Desire washed over me, each new wave quicker and sharper. When my fingertips brushed the smooth skin where his jeans rode his hips, he shivered and kissed me harder. 


Juliana laughed lightly and opened her mouth to argue but Spencer was no longer hesitant. He placed his bandaged hand behind her head and drew her close. With his other hand, he gently tilted her chin and then slowly trailer his fingertips down the side of her neck, until his neck until his hand came to rest on her shoulder. He pulled her closer still, even as their lips touched.

It was a tender kiss at first. Their lips barely met. But the warmth of their shared breath, the press of their bodies and the heat pulsing between them lengthened the kiss and deepened it. Juliana grabbed tightly at Spencer's lapel.

She heard a soft moan and a hum of pleasure but had no idea which one of them made which sound. It didn't matter. Her eyes were closed, and the only things that existed in the world were Spencer's tender strength and the sense of intoxication rushing through her body, warming her all over. 



I post a new swoon every Thursday! You can read all of them by clicking the button below. There are many more good ones - these are just ten of my favorite!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Swoon Thursday (#264): The Bastard's Bargain by Katee Robert


- 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 The Bastard's Bargain by Katee Robert!


She inhaled and exhaled slowly, trying to calm her racing heart. "I'm fine."

"I know." He slipped one hand along her jaw to guide her face up, and then he kissed her as if he'd done it a thousand times before. This wasn't the claim of ownership their last had been. He brushed his lips across hers one, twice, a third time, and then traced the seam of her mouth with his tongue. Asking.

She gave herself over to the kiss, to him, parting her lips even as she tucked her arms into his jacket to wrap around his waist.

- eARC, page 83



I'm almost finished with this book and so far I'm loving it! This series is one of my favorite adult romance series - I highly recommend all of the books. =)

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday (#268): The Darkest Legacy by Alexandra Bracken


"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 Darkest Legacy (The Darkest Minds, #4)

The Darkest Legacy by Alexandra Bracken
Book Four of The Darkest Minds series
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date: August 7, 2018

Summary (from Goodreads):

Don't miss the hotly-anticipated new novel in the New York Times bestselling Darkest Minds series by Alexandra Bracken, just in time for the major motion picture adaptation of The Darkest Minds, starring Amandla Stenberg and Mandy Moore! Told through the eyes of beloved character Zu, now seventeen, this harrowing, standalone story of resilience, resistance, and reckoning will thrill loyal fans and new readers alike. 



Ahhh, now I need to reread books one and two, and actually read book three! This is a companion novel following Zu,  but I definitely want to get back into this series' world before reading this new book. I'm excited!

Cover Reveal: Getaway Girl by Tessa Bailey


Today is cover reveal day! I'm so excited to help share the cover of Getaway Girl by Tessa Bailey. This is the latest self-published standalone by Bailey and it is bound to be excellent!


Ready to see the cover?


Here it is!


Getaway Girl by Tessa Bailey
Publication Date: March 26, 2018

Official Summary:

This unlikely getaway driver never expected to help the mayor escape… 

After a six-year absence, Addison Potts is back in Charleston to stir things up. And what better place to make her villainous return than her estranged cousin’s wedding? Only, the nuptials hit a snag when the bride doesn’t show, leaving Addison to play getaway driver for the jilted groom. A groom whose heartbreaking smile and deep, southern drawl she should not be noticing…

Elijah Montgomery Du Pont is the future mayor of Charleston. From his military career to city hall, every detail of his life has been meticulously planned. Until now. His only respite from life’s sudden upheaval is Addison, his new, improbable best friend. She makes him happy. Grounds him. And public disapproval be damned, he’s not willing to give her up. But with an election on the line and public pressure rising, Addison—and the cruel hand of fate—might not give him a choice. 



About the Author:


Tessa Bailey is originally from Carlsbad, California. The day after high school graduation, she packed her yearbook, ripped jeans and laptop, driving cross-country to New York City in under four days. Her most valuable life experiences were learned thereafter while waitressing at K-Dees, a Manhattan pub owned by her uncle. Inside those four walls, she met her husband, best friend and discovered the magic of classic rock, managing to put herself through Kingsborough Community College and the English program at Pace University at the same time. Several stunted attempts to enter the work force as a journalist followed, but romance writing continued to demand her attention. She now lives in Long Island, New York with her husband of eight years and four-year-old daughter. Although she is severely sleep-deprived, she is incredibly happy to be living her dream of writing about people falling in love. 



What do you think of the cover? Have you read any of Tessa Bailey's books? Does this friends-to-lovers contemporary romance novel appeal to you?

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday (2)



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: 

Love Freebie! (Romances, swoons, OTPs, kisses, sexy scenes, etc.)

Here are ten of my favorite YA romance novels!

    My Life Next Door
    
  
  


Bonus! Here are ten of my favorite adult romance novels!

    
      
  
  


Note that these are just ten of each and not necessarily my "top ten". I love romance and could easily name at least twenty more of each age level!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Review: Shadowsong by S. Jae-Jones


Shadowsong by S. Jae-Jones
Book Two of the Wintersong series
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: February 6, 2018
Rating: 2 stars
Source: eARC from NetGalley

Summary (from Goodreads):

Six months after the end of Wintersong, Liesl is working toward furthering both her brother’s and her own musical careers. Although she is determined to look forward and not behind, life in the world above is not as easy as Liesl had hoped. Her younger brother Josef is cold, distant, and withdrawn, while Liesl can’t forget the austere young man she left beneath the earth, and the music he inspired in her. 

When troubling signs arise that the barrier between worlds is crumbling, Liesl must return to the Underground to unravel the mystery of life, death, and the Goblin King—who he was, who he is, and who he will be. What will it take to break the old laws once and for all? What is the true meaning of sacrifice when the fate of the world—or the ones Liesl loves—is in her hands?

What I Liked:

Shadowsong wasn't what I expected. Where Wintersong was focused on Liesl and the Goblin King's connection and relationship, Shadowsong was focused on Liesl and her relationship with her brother Josef. I thought this book would focus more on the Goblin King, from what I'd heard last year. Instead, the Goblin King was barely mentioned in this book. I was disappointed in that regard, and disappointed in the lack of music and whimsy in this book. It was a dark book, which I respect and admire, but it was nothing like Wintersong and nothing like my expectations following the announcement of this sequel. 

This book takes place six months after Liesl leaves the Underground, and the Goblin King. She has been writing to her brother, desperate to hear how he is doing in Vienna, with his prestigious music instructor. One day he writes back, stating that the instructor is dead, and for her to come to Vienna. With the help of a mysterious benefactor, Liesl is able to travel to Vienna with her sister Kathe. They find Josef, but Josef is no longer who he wants was. He is distant and disinterested. And there is something strange about Liesl's benefactors. All the while, the Great Hunt is roaming the earth, and the barrier between worlds is thinning. Liesl must travel back to the Underground and make a final stand as the Goblin Queen, in order to save her world, or theirs.

The author's note talks about Liesl's bipolar disorder (or "madness", as bipolar disorder was not understand during this time period). Possibly the best/most well-written aspect of this book is the darkness and madness that Liesl struggles with. Liesl is constantly wrestling with herself - is she mad? Or is she lost in her sanity? She feels her loneliness acutely, just as she feels guilt and shame over her brother's distance from her. I may not have enjoyed this book or reading about this darkness in Liesl, but I have to admit that all of it was well-written. 

The same can be said about Josef's "madness". This book is written mostly from Liesl's first-person POV, but with certain parts of a chapter written from Josef's third-person POV. There was another portion of certain chapters featuring a tale of old, which comes together at the end of the book. The story is significant though not immediately at first. This is also the case with Josef's state of mind.

I also liked the ending - it is an excellent ending and makes perfect sense to me. Any other ending would have been ruination to the series. I love how it wasn't all up to Liesl, and that other characters had important choices that made all the difference.

I didn't really care for this book, but there were aspects of the book that were very well-written and deserving of recognition. But for the most part, this book didn't work for me.

What I Did Not Like:

The first thing I will start with: this book is incredibly boring. I kid you not, I fell asleep around the 25% mark and woke up an hour later, and decided that I was done with the book. I ended up picking it up the next day and finishing it, but not without doing a little skimming here and there (which is something I hate doing and rarely do). I had such a hard time reading this book. It felt like nothing was happening, and even when things were happening, I just didn't care. There was a lot of self-introspection going on, and I wasn't all that interested.

Part of it definitely had to do with the writing. To me, the author's descriptiveness was excess and really hurt the story. There were paragraphs upon paragraphs describing this or that, in flowery writing and in my head I was thinking, get to the point! THOSE were the passages that I ended up skimming, as I mentioned above. I didn't need those fluffy descriptions. It was too much, and added to the rising boredom.

The story itself felt like it had no direction. What was the point? Find Josef... okay? Once she found Josef, I couldn't understand where the story was supposed to go. How was finding Josef significant to saving the world? The "saving the world" bit seemed so forced and cliche, especially when that exact phrase dropped in the story.

The other part was the lack of the Goblin King. I thought this sequel was pitched as readers getting to see more of the Goblin King and his journey above ground, or something like that? And yet... the Goblin King is present in literally the LAST SCENE of the book? I'm confused, fam. I feel deceived. And in any case, pitch or no pitch, the Goblin King wasn't in this book. HOW can you go from Wintersong, where the Goblin King was infused into every word of every page, to Shadowsong, where the Goblin King is an afterthought to everything?

Not that I was against Liesl trying to reach her brother and blah blah blah. It was interesting to see Liesl and Josef's relationship break down and come apart - they had a lot to work through. But for a series that is built on and around the Goblin King, how disappointing is it to find barely a trace of the "austere young man" - or even the wolf with no heart - within the pages of this installment.

So there is nothing about Liesl and the Goblin King's relationship - none of the burning, passionate, frantic romance, none of the thick, cloying emotions. In fact, there is barely any of the sweeping, living music that filled Wintersong. Yes, there is mention of music here and there, especially when Liesl catches up with Josef in Vienna - but just barely. All of the things that made Wintersong so intriguing - the Goblin King, the ruthless romance, the masterful music - was not present in Shadowsong.

In essence, I found Shadowsong to be a pale whisper following the crescendo that was Wintersong

Would I Recommend It:

I can't say I recommend Shadowsong, or Wintersong. Shadowsong is a disappointing follow-up to Wintersong - it almost felt unnecessary, and wrong. Like the author went the wrong way when pushing the series in one direction or the other. I didn't really like Wintersong, but I liked Shadowsong even less. It paled in comparison to Wintersong, and I didn't even find Wintersong that great.

Rating:

2 stars. It's a shame I didn't enjoy this book (nor its predecessor) because the covers of the books are just so gorgeous. I'm tempted to buy them anyway just to have them on my shelf but I didn't enjoy the books enough to spend money on them. (Note: I received a review copy, for free, courtesy of the publisher. Nothing illegal/pirating involved here, in case anyone was thrown by my statement about money.)


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