Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Our Top 2013 Reads and Our Can't Wait for 2014 List!



Since it's the last day of 2013, we thought we'd share some our favorite books that released this year. At first is sounded like a really easy task, but we quickly realized that we LOVED so many books it was next to impossible to come up with a Top 5 or 10 list. But we were determined and so we came up with a list that while leaves out many of our faves, it narrows down some of the books that we just can't seem to forget. After going through the large number of titles we read this year, we discovered that the YA titles doubled the NA/Adult so we opted for a Top 10 for YA and a Top 5 for NA/Adult. So check out our top picks for 2013 and compare them to your own. Did any of these make your list?

Meredith's Top 10 YA Books
10.  Life, Love, and Lemons by Magan Vernon
9.  Two by Leigh Ann Kopans
8.  Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare
7.  The Liberator by Victoria Scott
6.  Forgiveness and Permission by C.L. Stone
5.  A Tale of Two Centuries by Rachel Harris
4.  Unbreakable by Elizabeth Norris
3.  The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead
2.  Sentinel by Jennifer L. Armentrout
1.  Origin by Jennifer L. Armentrout


Jennifer's Top YA Books for 2013
Yes I had a very hard time picking 10 books and an even harder time placing them in order as they were all good and some very different than others which makes them harder to rank order/compare. In summary they were all very good. 

13. Blood Bond (Dirty Blood series book #4) 
12. Unbreakable ( Unraveling book #2) by Elizabeth Norris
11. Spring Moon by Princess Sophie Audouin Mamikonian
10. Life, Love, and Lemons by Magan Vernon
9.  The Clockwork Princess (The infernal Devices series) by Cassandra Clare 
8.  The Elite (The Selection series book #2) by Kiera Cass
7.  The Liberator (The Dante Walker series book #2) by Victoria Scott 
6.  A Tale of Two Centuries (My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century Series book #2) by Rachel Harris
5.  Friends vs. Family/Forgiveness & Permission (The Academy Series book #3&4) by C.L. Stone
4.  Sweet Peril (The Sweet Trilogy book #2) by Wendy Higgins
3.  The Fiery Heart (Bloodlines series book #4) by Richelle Mead
2.  Apollyon and Sentinenal (The Covenant Series books #4 and 5) Jennifer L. Armentrout
1.  Origin (The Lux Series book #4) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Meredith's Top 5 NA or Adult Books for 2013 
5.  Rushing into Love by Ashelyn Drake
4.  Catching Liam by Sophia Bleu
3.  Breaking the Reins by Juliana Haygert
2.  Crash into Me by Tracy Wolff
1.  Seven Day Fiance by Rachel Harris

Jennifer's Top NA or Adult Books for 2013
3.  Stir me Up  by Sabrina Elkins
2.  Bitter Sweet Love (The Dark Elements book # .5)
1.  Seven Day Fiance by Rachel Harris

Now for our top 2014 Must Reads:

Meredith's Top 5 books to read for 2014:
5.  The Warrior by Victoria Scott
4.  Alienated by Melissa Landers
3.  City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare
2.  Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead
1.  Opposition by Jennifer L. Armentrout

And can I include a PLEASE-WRITE-THIS-BOOK plea for Jennifer L. Armentrout Covenant series tortured soul SETH??

Jennifer's Top books for 2014
Yes into too many series so can't narrow anything down again! I am excited for them all! Bring on 2014!

8. City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Intruments book #6) by Cassandra Clare 
7. The Warrior (The Dante Walker series book #3)  by Victoria Scott
6.  White Hot Kiss (The Dark Elements book #1) by Jennifer Armentrout 
5.  The One (The Selection series book #3) by Kiera Cass
4.  Drop of Doubt (The Academy Series book #5) by C.L. Stone
3.  Silver Shadows (Bloodlines series book #4) by Richelle Mead
2.  Sweet Reckoning ( Sweet Triology book # 3) by Wendy Higgins
1.  Opposition (The Lux Series book #4) by Jennifer L. Armentrout




We hope y'all have a safe and Happy New Year's Eve! 
Cheers to a new year filled with new books, new authors, new bloggers, and new readers!



happy new year gif photo: count down happy new year gif newyear.gif

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Feature and Follow Friday




What were your favorite books of 2013?

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry Review

Pushing the Limits (Pushing the Limits #1)

Published July 31st 2012 by Harlequin Teen

No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with freaky scars on her arms. Even Echo can't remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal.

But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo's world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.

Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she'll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again

GoodReads

Jennifer's Review:


So I think this is my third book by Katie that I have read. Each one brings something new. This one had had the perfect perspective of real-life problems and real-life relationships.

Echo has issues with her Father, Mother, step-mom, and friends. Whew! That is a lot! Dealing with the loss of her older brother, who died in Afghanistan, and then having no memory of the night that left her scarred - physically and emotionally.  First she has an overbearing dad who tries to control her every decision. Her step mom who used to be her Nanny until she get pregnant by Echo's dad. Her friends who just want Echo to be the same girl she was before all the tragedy. But Echo cant be that girl. She needs to find out what happened and discover the new Echo.

Noah, well let's call him a "player" with the ladies. He has been moved around the foster system since his parents died in a house fire 2 years before. He struggles with seeing his younger brothers who are with a family that wants to adopt them -- will that mean the end of Noah seeing them? Can he fight to get them back?

 Echo and Noah's shared psychologist sets Echo up as Noah's tutor to help him with his school work. At first their link is just a means to end -- they both want to have a look at their files. But soon sparks start to fly.

 The book comes across as real -- I mean I can't relate to either persons situation, but this book is full of things that could and do happen. Noah and Echo relationship is very sweet  -- slow going and realistic. Both characters are hurting and the book takes you through watching them grow and find love and acceptance.




KATIE MCGARRY was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings, and reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry
Christmas

One day, when I'm a millionaire I vow to do this to my house!
Until that day, YouTube will suffice.





Jennifer and I hope that all of you have a very Merry Christmas!


christmas gif photo: Christmas 111.gif





christmas gif photo:  merryChristmas748.gif







christmas gif photo: Christmas 2r7ym8x11.gif








Monday, December 23, 2013

Portable North Pole

I wanted to share with everyone a fantastic website if you have young children. We've been using it for several years, and every year it gets better. The Santa videos you can make for your child are a HUGE hit in our house and this year we are going to have Santa himself check in with the kids on Christmas Eve while en-route to our house. If you haven't heard of Portable North Pole, you really should check it out. Full disclosure, this year I purchased the iPhone app (I think it was around $5) so some of the services we are using may be a bit better than the free version. However, we used the free version in the past.

So check it out here:



Here is the video I made for my four year old. She is still over the moon!





merry christmas gif photo: Merry-Christmas-gif Merry-Christmas-gif-1.gif

Friday, December 20, 2013

Feature & Follow Friday






Check out Parajunkee & Alison Can Read for more information on this Friday blog hop and to sign up and join the fun.


This week an activity:

Pick a book in your favorite genre that you’d recommend to a reluctant reader.



When Cepheus, a dark god, forces seventeen-year-old Ally Ashworth off an isolated overlook, she has no idea she's falling into his world, or that the necklace she's wearing is actually a key--one with the power to ignite the next world war. But she's carried beyond his reach and into the one place where he's powerless... the forest of Gilgamesh.

Ally's never been Miss Popularity, but her outsider status takes on new meaning when she's rescued by Liam Cheveyo and his peculiar friends. After seeing them shape-shift into their freaky animal counterparts, Ally smacks hard into a few truths--magic really does exist and, although getting there took no effort, finding her way back might be impossible.

Feelings between her and Liam begin to grow along with the realization that, in this world, she's stronger and better... until she's caught in a trap set by the creepy spider-boy Cepheus sends to retrieve her. But Ally's not going down without a fight, not after learning the horrible truth about the passageways.

The survival of both worlds depends on it.





You can read my full review on Double Star HERE.  It's one of the first books I ever reviewed on the blog. It's a great YA. I would say it's a contemporary fantasy. It's set in present day, but the heroine suddenly finds herself in another world filled with magic, shape-shifters, and all sorts of bizarre occurrences she just can't explain away. The characters are so well-developed you will fall in love with them all. I'm anxiously awaiting the second book in this series, but you can catch up now with Ally and Liam. Happy Reading!


As always, Happy Friday and Stay Gold




Thursday, December 19, 2013

WHERE YOU’LL FIND ME Cover Reveal and GIVEAWAY!


Today Erin Fletcher and Entangled Teen are revealing the cover for WHERE YOU’LL FIND ME, releasing in early 2014! Check out the gorgeous cover, exclusive excerpt, and enter to win an eARC!




On to the reveal!


When Hanley Helton discovers a boy living in her garage, she knows she should kick him out. But Nate is too charming to be dangerous. He just needs a place to get away, which Hanley understands. Her own escape methods—vodka, black hair dye, and pretending the past didn't happen—are more traditional, but who is she to judge?

Nate doesn't tell her why he's in her garage, and she doesn't tell him what she's running from. Soon, Hanley¹s trading her late-night escapades for all-night conversations and stolen kisses. But when Nate¹s recognized as the missing teen from the news, Hanley isn't sure which is worse: that she's harboring a fugitive, or that she's in love with one.









Exclusive Excerpt

Nate looks me over, from my jacket to my favorite pair of jeans, to the shoes that are bonfire-worthy but still cute. My hair, with the help of a straightener, is so silky that my dark bangs fall into my eyes even more than usual. My eye makeup is amped up. Whether all of this is because of the bonfire or because of who I hoped I’d run into before leaving is open for debate. He reaches up and brushes my bangs away from my face. The split-second touch makes me crave more. “You look gorgeous.”

“Thank you.”

“Where are you headed?”

Though staying here in the garage might be a better option, I say, “A bonfire.”

Nate studies me again, but this time it feels like he’s looking for something deeper. “Don’t you ever get tired of sneaking out?”

“Not really,” I say with a shrug.

He tugs on the zipper of my fleece, lowering it slightly and pulling me closer. “What are you running from, Hanley?”

It feels like my secrets are written all over my face, but I say, “Nothing.”

When he smiles, it’s almost sad. “I don’t buy it.”

I lean in, putting both hands on the car behind him, one on either side, trapping him. “You tell me why you’re living in my garage and I’ll tell you what I’m running from.”

He gives a sly smile and doesn’t budge. “Secrets it is.”

“Secrets it is,” I echo. And even though the small space between us is electric and threatening to disappear, I push off the car and step away. “I’ll see you later,” I say as I open the door.

“Hanley,” he says before I can get too far. “Be careful out there, okay?”

I don’t make any promises.


About Erin:
Erin Fletcher is a morning person who does most of her writing before sunrise while drinking excessive quantities of coffee, believes flip-flops qualify as year-round footwear, and would spend every day at the beach if she could. She has a bachelor’s degree in mathematics (which is almost never useful when writing books) and lives in North Carolina.

You can visit Erin on her website and on Twitter.







Giveaway:
1 eARC of WHERE YOU’LL FIND ME International

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Crash Into You by Katie McGarry


Crash into You (Pushing the Limits #3)


Published November 26th 2013 by Harlequin Teen







From acclaimed author Katie McGarry comes an explosive new tale of a good girl with a reckless streak, a street-smart guy with nothing to lose, and a romance forged in the fast lane

The girl with straight As, designer clothes and the perfect life-that's who people expect Rachel Young to be. So the private-school junior keeps secrets from her wealthy parents and overbearing brothers...and she's just added two more to the list. One involves racing strangers down dark country roads in her Mustang GT. The other? Seventeen-year-old Isaiah Walker-a guy she has no business even talking to. But when the foster kid with the tattoos and intense gray eyes comes to her rescue, she can't get him out of her mind.

Isaiah has secrets, too. About where he lives, and how he really feels about Rachel. The last thing he needs is to get tangled up with a rich girl who wants to slum it on the south side for kicks-no matter how angelic she might look.

But when their shared love of street racing puts both their lives in jeopardy, they have six weeks to come up with a way out. Six weeks to discover just how far they'll go to save each other.


GoodReads


Jennifer's Review

So this is the first book I have read by Katie McGarry. I walked right into Book # 3 of the Pushing the Limit Series which when I realized that I was freaking out! Thank goodness they are stand alone books or I would of been very upset. So while some folks had already come to love Isaiah in previous books and were waiting for this book to come out -- I walked in with no clue and no expectations. I really enjoyed this book and I liked Isaiah...a lot and his relationship with Rachel.  The book totally left me wanting for more so I now I have gone back and bought book # 1 Pushing the limits and am loving Noah.  Review on that one to come soon!

So back to Isaiah - he has definitely not had an easy life -- even before he became a foster kid - his life was tough. Through his last foster home he met his best friend Noah, Noah’s girlfriend Echo, and Beth. They are his only family. Beth has moved on to a new boyfriend so now its just Noah and Isaiah. Isaiah to sum him up is a bad ass with a heart of gold. He has tattoos, piercings, he loves to work on cars, also he is smart, sweet, funny, loving and loyal to his few friends.

Rachel Young -- well she is the exact opposite of Isaiah in a lot of ways. Different world, Different Life, Different upbringing.  She lives at home with both of her parents and her 4 brothers - she and her twin Ethan are the youngest of the bunch but Rachel is definitely considered the youngest -- not Ethan. Though her world may seem picture perfect..it is far far from it. She feels like a replacement for her older sister that died at a very young age. Her brothers, her parents all put an enormous amount of pressure on Rachel to be someone she is not in the vain of keeping her mother happy. To be the replacement daughter for the tragedy they suffered long ago. Even though Rachel is not her sister, Rachel doesn’t want to disappoint anyone so she suffers through living up to their expectations at a physical expense to herself and of course at the expense of losing her true self. The only time she feels free, feels like herself, is when she’s on the road- just her and her 2005 Mustang GT.

So that's exactly how Isaiah and Rachel meet. Rachel is out doing what she loves -- driving her fast mustang. One thing leads to another and both Rachel and Isaiah end up at an illegal street race. Well as you might expect, things go wrong really quickly -- but they get out safely together. Thus starts what you might call a friendship but there is absolutely a spark between them.

They find themselves in a huge situation and they race against the time to fix it so it doesn't cost them possibly their lives at the end.

Isaiah and Rachel's relationship was great. They had an amazing spark that Katie depicted very well and I loved watching it grow and watching them get to know each other. You rooted for them from the beginning. Even they had many differences they also shared lots of things in common which I liked to see -- they both had imperfect family lives, they loved cars, and understood each other.
Rachel and Abby's friendship: This was a great friendship and I hope we learn more about Abby in books to come. Rachel and her hit it off and began fast good friends. They both needed a true friendship in their lives and found a real one in each other.

I really enjoyed the way Katie writes and the characters (Rachel, Isaiah, Noah, Echo, Logan, and Abby)they were real, had real relationships and were lovable despite any flaws they had :-) The alternating POV is wonderful as I loved getting into the minds of both of them.

The only aspect of the story that annoyed me were her brothers - I mean really could they be that clueless about their own sister - to not know the pain she's in - ? then could they really be that overprotective that she couldn't even date? I get being over-protective but to the point that NO boy in the entire school wants to talk to her and she can't date anyone? So over-protective that they don't want her to be happy? I don't have brothers so I'm the first to admit that I don't have a clue if that's a possibility but it definitely made me NOT like their characters at all. All 4 of the brothers kinda grated on my nervous throughout the book (but they didn't have that big of a role so its a small issue overall). All that being said I will be reading book #4 that focuses on Rachel's brother West and maybe I will find a new like for him.

So if want to read a great plot -- fast cards, racing, and shady deals along with a steamy romance then race into reading Crash into You by Katie McGarry!


 

Cover Reveal-Twelve Steps by Veronica Bartles

I am SO excited to be a part of a cover reveal for a fellow Flirt Squad member!
I've had the pleasure of seeing this story go from contest entry (make that amazing contest entry) to now being RELEASED! I can't wait to buy my very own copy of this fantastic book.
But for now, I will relish with all of you in this fantastic cover and give a huge shout out and 
CONGRATS to the lovely Veronica Bartles!


On to the cover...



Twelve Steps
by Veronica Bartles
Release Date: 03/25/14

Book Summary:
Sixteen-year-old Andi is tired of being a second-class sibling to perfect sister Laina. There in Laina's shadow, Andi's only noticeable feature is her pretty awesome hair. And even that is eclipsed by Laina's perfect everything else.

When Andi’s crush asks her to fix him up with Laina, Andi decides enough is enough and devises a twelve-step program to wrangle the spotlight away from Laina. After all, great hair must count for something.

Step 1: Admit she’s powerless to change her perfect sister, and accept that her life really, really sucks. OK, maybe that's two steps in one.

Step 4: Make a list of her good qualities besides great hair. There have got to be at least three good qualities, right?

Step 7: Demand attention for more than just her shortcomings, and break out of her shell. Easier said that done, but worth the effort in the long-run. 


When a stolen kiss from her crush ends in disaster, Andi finds that her prince isn’t as charming as she'd hoped, and realizes she may need a new program--perhaps with less steps!

As cracks in Laina’s flawless fa├žade begin to show, the sisters work together to find a spotlight big enough for both to shine.

About the Author
As the second of eight children and the mother of four, Veronica Bartles is no stranger to the ups and downs of sibling relationships. (She was sandwiched between the gorgeous-and-insanely-popular older sister and the too-adorable-for-words younger sister.) She uses this insight to write stories about siblings who mostly love each other, even while they’re driving one another crazy.   When she isn’t writing or getting lost in the pages of her newest favorite book, Veronica enjoys knitting fabulous bags and jewelry out of recycled plastic bags and old VHS tapes, sky diving (though she hasn’t actually tried that yet), and inventing the world’s most delectable cookie recipes.

TWELVE STEPS is Veronica Bartles's first novel.

Author Links:
 photo iconwebsite-32x32_zps1f477f69.png   photo iconfacebook-32x32_zps64a79d4a.png

Monday, December 16, 2013

Class of '98 by A.L. Player Blog Tour and Review





Class of '98

Summary from Goodreads:
Jackie Dunn and Matt Stewart barely knew each other in high school, back when she was a blue-haired alterna-kid and he was a preppy jock. High school rules dictated they'd never hang out, or sit at the same lunch table, or God forbid, date.

But when a weird storm transports them from their ten-year reunion back to senior year, they have to work together to figure out a way to get back to 2008.

Stuck in high school, Jackie and Matt agree to tough it out. They agree to do everything exactly as they remember, even though that means staying with the boyfriend Jackie knows will betray her, or playing nice with the girl that will someday be Matt’s ex-wife. Soon, they come to rely on one other, even become friends.

Jackie’s just starting to get used to curfews and term papers again, when Matt hits her with the biggest surprise of all: he’s fallen in love with her. He’ll change the past however he has to if it means a future with Jackie. But Jackie’s terrified they’ll not only alter their lives, but the lives of everyone around them.

Back to the Future meets She's All That, Class of '98 is a young adult/adult crossover that will appeal to teens and adults.

Goodreads    Amazon    B&N



Jennifer's Review:
The Class of ’98 by A.L. Player is a story about two 28 year-olds,  Jackie and Matt, who at their 10 year reunion end up traveling back in time to their senior year of high school. This is one of those plots that you are probably familiar with because its been told time and time again. It is a totally cute plot that I have always enjoyed so I was ready to travel back in time with them! I mean knowing what you know now, is there something you would change if you could go back?? Or maybe not change the past, but shake up the future :-)

So first we meet Jackie -- our main female character who is working a dead-end job, getting taken advantage in the workplace because she is single and has no outside life to speak of. Ugh, where did things go wrong...in high school :-) She was hurt badly by her best friend and her high school boyfriend -- so will she do anything this time around? The one annoying thing about Jackie is that she was a little too obessed with not changing anything in the past -- I mean hello? you have a do-over -- change it up! It's not like you love your life in 2008 anyway...


Our main male character is Matt - we don't really know much about what is going on with him in 2008 other than he just got divorced from his high school sweetheart. So where did things go wrong for him...in high school :-)  So Matt is totally up for shaking up the past to create a better future.

The 1998 version of Matt is a popular jock and the 1998 version of Jackie is a blue haired alternative chick. Jackie and Matt didn't give each other the time of day in the true 1998 history, however after meeting again at their 10 year high school reunion and traveling back through time together, they are each others life preservers.
Their relationship grows in a real way (despite Jackie :-))and it was nice to see and get to know them while they got to know each other.  Matt is a good guy and I kinda wanted to shake Jackie for not wanting to change anything in the past for fear it might upset the future. I mean he's sweet, nice, into her and she liked being with him -- what more do you need...grab the good thing that is right in front of you. As you might expect --there is only so much pushing away that a guy can take (when he's laying it all out on the line)...sooo....well just have to read it to find out!

I was particularly drawn to this book because it takes place, for the most part, in the 90s. While I graduated high school in 1993 not 1998 I still got all the references and I loved it.   Who doesn't love a blast from the past! I remember seeing the titanic exhibit when it toured the country.

This was a very quick read being only 238 pages long - i.e. you could read it in one sitting. Was it predictable...of course...but super cute and fun read. If you liked the recent movies of 13 Going on 30 or 17 Again then this is the perfect book for you!


Since we are in the reunion spirit, Meredith has posted a picture of her and myself during our senior year of high school. We were showing our senior spirit, dressed up as skater boys. 
I'm guessing the whole skater thing gives away the decade we graduated in LOL.





About the Author
A. L. Player teaches middle and high school English in Atlanta, GA.  She lives with her guitar-playing, English-teaching husband and their three crazy rescue dogs.  Her last name gets about the reaction you'd expect.
CLASS OF '98 is A.L.'s first novel.









***GIVEAWAY***
4 – ebooks of Class of 98’ + $10 iTunes gift card (INT)


a Rafflecopter giveaway