Thursday, January 19, 2017

Lauren's Most Recent Book Haul

I honestly can't remember the last time I threw together a book haul post, so that must mean it's been too long! Here's a few books I bought over the last couple of weeks. Some were on sale and a couple just caught my eye!

What's in your latest book haul?

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Top Ten Underrated/Hidden Gem Books We've Read In The Past Year Or So

For future Top Ten Tuesday topics & info on how to participate, click here!

This Week's Topic
Top Ten Underrated/Hidden Gem Books We've Read In The Past Year Or So

Lauren's Picks

To narrow my list down, I chose books that had less than 500 reviews on Goodreads.

This was one of those crazy ass novels that will make you WANT to lose your mind. I loved it. You'd love it. Read it.

The characters' emotions in this book left me reeling, exhausted, and honestly kind of powerful. No matter what your culture may ask of you, you are your own person and can decide what you want your life to be. 

A novelist who dives deep to catch his next big book break to take care of his family, a cult leader behind bars just giving this father enough to stay interested in his story, and a bored daughter who begins to find this infamous cult leader a tad interesting. Yes, yes, yes... to all the above.

Aren't you already interested just from the title? Yeah, I was too. But this was post-apocalyptic sci-fi at its best. The main characters will break your heart in the best possible way.

Jamie's Picks

5. Iron Cast by Destiny Soria: Out of all the 2016 releases I read I really think this is one that went under the radar! It's a wonderful historical fantasy with two best friends you will absolutely fall in love with! 

6. Walking On Trampolines by Frances Whiting: This is definitely one of the most underrated adult fiction books I read recently. It's such a gem of a novel and if you like rich characters (albeit not always likeable) and lots of complicated friendship and family goodness...pick this one up!

7. Summers At Castle Auburn by Sharon Shinn: I read this book in March of 2016 and I just can't stop thinking about it. I want to reread it soon because it really just was the most delightful little fantasy gem. I had picked it up at the library on a whim because I had heard of people talk about Sharon Shinn but I had never heard of this particular novel as one that people talked about. DEFINITELY a hidden gem as it is an older YA fantasy!

8. Little Black Dresses, Little White Lies by Laura Stampler: This is another 2016 release that I think went under the radar and was such a fun underrated romp for me! If you are looking for a light ~chick-lit~ type read in the vein of classic Sophie Kinsella or Meg have to check this one out! 

Kimberly's Picks

9. The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearn: Another audio book gem. Who doesn't love a guy that quotes Shakespeare? The show gets stolen by Oberon every single time. He is hands down my favorite from literature. Not even just a favorite animal, but one of my favorite characters! 

10. Stolen Songbird by Danielle Jensen : Loose Beauty and the Beast retelling. Trolls. Magic. Mystery. Amazing world building. Banter. Smart, capable lead characters. Enticing romance.  Read it! It's a trilogy and all of the books are out now.

What hidden gems or underrated books have you guys read lately?

Monday, January 16, 2017

Julia Reviews Between the Devil and the Duke by Kelly Bowen

Title/Author:  Between the Devil and the Duke by Kelly Bowen
Publisher/Year Published: January 31, 2017 by Forever
How I got this book: I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Why I read this book: The first two books I liked, and now I wanted to know what Lavoie had in store for his Happily Ever After. 
Rating: 4.5 stars

Their love was always in the cards.He should have thrown her out. But when club owner Alexander Lavoie catches a mysterious blonde counting cards at his vingt-et-un table, he's more intrigued than angry. He has to see more of this beauty—in his club, in his office, in his bed. But first he'll have to devise a proposition she can't turn down. 
Gossip said he was an assassin.Common sense told her to stay away. But Angelique Archer was desperate, and Lavoie's club offered a surefire way to make quick money—until she got caught. Instead of throwing her out though, the devil offers her a deal: come work for him. Refusing him means facing starvation, but with a man so sinfully handsome and fiercely protective, keeping things professional might prove impossible.
 We have come to book three, my friends. As soon as I received the request to review this book, I was excited and eagerly awaiting a moment to sit and devour it. Enter the holidays, and I was golden.

We have come to book three of the Season for Scandal series. Alex owns a high end gaming establishment that has featured in previous stories. Angelique is a down on her luck Lady of the ton who desperately needs money for her family, and luckily for her she is super good at counting - and counting cards. I don't want to give too much away because the plot progresses forward fairly quickly. The summary above is actually pretty decent with what you get without giving too much away.

The thing that I love about Bowen's novels is that she brings such a breath of originality into the sometimes tedious stale nature of historical romance. While we still have a titled lady, we have a mysterious gaming hell owner. And that titled lady? Well there is more to her than meets the eye and a very driving motivation behind all of her un-Lady like behavior. It drives the plot forward at a breakneck speed, which meant lots of late night reading for me.

Alex and Angelique were great characters. Both were strong and well developed. They stood on their own solidly, but also worked off each other in a way that made their chemistry all the more enticing. And their chemistry was quite satisfactory.

I've enjoyed all three books in this series so far, but this one was probably my favorite. The only thing I don't get is the title. It sort of set my expectations for a conflict between some of the characters that never came. I wonder if they just needed to use the word Duke...

Anyway, the best part for you guys, dear readers, is that this book can totally be read standalone and you lose nothing. It doesn't really spoil any of the other books, and you don't really need to know the past two at all the enjoy the third. There are some subtle call-backs you'll miss, but nothing major.

I like how Bowen is developing as a historical romance author and I am definitely going to keep an eye out for more books in the future.

Thanks for the early review copy, Forever! If you are interested in reading my last two reviews for the series you can find them here: Duke of my Heart and A Duke to Remember

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Top Ten 2016 Releases We Meant To Read But Didn't Get To (But TOTALLY Plan To)

For future Top Ten Tuesday topics & info on how to participate, click here!

This week's topic: Top Ten 2016 Releases We Meant to Read But Didn't Get Around To (But TOTALLY plan to) 

Julia's Picks: 

1. Shadowbound by Bec McMaster: A new series from Bec McMaster!! I want it in my hands and in my already read shelf with five stars hopefully.

2. All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders: One of my co-workers gave me this book about six months ago and told me I would enjoy it. So it's been in my house and on my shelf since. Hopefully I can get around to it soon. 

3. Duke of Sin by Elizabeth Hoyt: I fell off the romance bandwagon last year and thus most of the series' that I follow religiously because a little less so... thus I want to get back on this train!!

Daisy's Picks:

4. P.S. I Like You by Kasie West: I LOVE Kasie West and this sounds adorable and the cover is just the cutest, I really need to pick this up soon!

5. My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows: I've enjoyed books by all of these ladies separately and now they've come together to create this? NEED IT.

6. The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson: I've heard everybody raving about this and I need to just get it together and pick it up!

Kimberly's Picks:

7.  A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. SchwabI was so so excited for this! Preordered and everything. And... I'm just now reading it at this moment. Oops? 

8. Aerie by Maria Dahvana HeadleyI LOVED Magonia. Right up my alley. I've read it once and listened to it again. I was SO ready for Aerie. But somehow oi just haven't finished it. I started the audio book while I was painting my kitchen and then my phone boot looped (essentially it turned into a brick. Do NOT buy the LG G4!!) And... I still haven't gotten to it. Soon! 

Jamie's Picks:

9. The Midnight Star by Marie Lu: I was so excited for this because I LOVE this series but then I went through a crazy reading slump since the fall basically and never got to it. HIGH on my priority list for this year!!

10.  The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig: This was one of my most anticipated debuts of this year and I just never got to it but the sequel is coming out so I plan to finally read it!!

What books are on your list??  

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Top Ten 2017 Debuts We Are Excited For

For future Top Ten Tuesday topics & info on how to participate, click here!

This week's topic: Top Ten 2017 Debuts I'm Excited For

Jamie's Picks:

1. When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon: this looks like an adorable contemporary YA romance that is totally up my alley!

2. Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson: This one sounds like one of those super compelling and unputdownable reads that will have me up late at night reading!

3. Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller: Pirates!!! Enough said for me.

4. Wait For Me by Caroline Leech: I'm always looking for new Historical YA releases and this one set in 1945 is definitely on my list!!

Julia's Picks:

5.  Becoming Bonnie by Jenni L. Walsh: 1920s historical fiction about the girl who would become half of the famous Bonnie and Clyde duo? Yes please. 

6. Feast of Sorrow: A Novel of Ancient Rome by Crystal King: I love reading books about ancient Rome, and going back there this past October made me want to read more about Rome again.

Jana's Picks:

7. Caraval by Stephanie Garber: This pick equals me cheating because I read this one last week, but guys it is AMAZING. So unique and good and wonderful and mysterious and exciting. 

8. Song of the Current by Sarah Tolcser: A fantasy set in a magical world with waterways, pirates, dangerous cargo, and danger. Sounds awesome!

9. Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones: This one has received early buzz, and I'm super excited! There's a Goblin King and people say it's a beautiful story.

10. Romancing the Throne by Nadine Jolie Courtney: Gotta love a boarding school book! And there's a prince!

Excuse me while I plug my reading challenge, which I host over on my personal book blog! If you're a fan of debuts and want to read and review them for chances to win awesome prizes (like debut books and signed swag donated by 2017's debut authors) then you should really join the 2017 Debut Author Challenge!

That Artsy Reader Girl

What about you guys?? Tell us what debuts you are excited about!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Daisy Talks About Reading Places

So this is actually one of the pictures I took with my phone while we were in the Maldives (we left this beautiful place only 9 days ago as I'm writing this and I miss it already). It's one of the most gorgeous places that I've ever had the privilege to just sit in a beach chair all day and READ. We also went swimming and snorkling and went for lovely walks on the beach and dinners and they had the BEST EVER banana bread (seriously, the lady at the bakery recognized the boyfriend and asked if he was really there again, but I craved the deliciousness) and it was just amazing.

And while that's obviously all very interesting to me, what I actually came here to do is discuss something book-related. When I go on vacation, I always try to select some books that are going to be special to me, because the thing is, while I don't always necessarily remember EVERY detail of a book I read, I pretty much always remember where I was when I was reading them. I think I've talked about how reading outside makes it seem more real before on here, but where I read a book also makes an impact. Do you guys have the same thing?

I mean, I can vividly remember reading The Crimson Crown while I was sitting in the on-call room during a 24-hour shift. And reading Emma mostly on the train while I was in my first year of college. And obviously I remember reading Empire of Storms on this beach. I think where I read things affects both my appreciation of the book and the place. Though I couldn't have hated this perfect spot on the beach, even if I'd tried REALLY hard.

So, what about you guys? Does it work the same for you? What are some of the best places you've read a book so far? Or dream places you'd want to read?

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Top Ten Best Books Of 2016

For future Top Ten Tuesday topics & info on how to participate, click here!

This week's topic: Top Ten Best Books Of 2016 (you choose -- best books overall of what you read regardless of pub date, of a particular genre, 2016 debuts, 2016 releases, etc)

Julia's Picks:
1. The Martian by Andy Weir - I really liked this book and was glad I read it before I saw the movie. I liked the book more, just a bit because the movie was amazing as well, but the book just captured more of his "Oh no. I am stuck on Mars" point of view. 

2. Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith - Ah, the Cormoran Strike series. I really love this, and this one was slightly different than the other two since it focused on a case that directly affected Strike and Robin. JK Rowling really writes some engaging stuff in this series. 

3. Say Yes to the Marquess by Tessa Dare - I didn't read a lot of romance novels this year, but I read a lot of Tessa Dare. I think this one was my favorite I read. Her books are always so funny and heartwarming. The best kind of novel. I can just devour them. 

Jamie's Picks:
4. Salt To the Sea by Ruta Sepetys: Ruta's books have all been amazing to me but I think this was her best yet. If you love historical fiction, check this one out!

5. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas: this book is a early 2017 release but I read it this year and OH MY is amazing and super important. Truly. I love Starr and her family has been added to my fave fictional families list. I can't wait til this book gets the world talking because there is SO much to talk about!

6. One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid: all of her books have been favorites for me and I was so excited for this one and wowwowow one of the most visceral responses I had all year reading.

7. Summers at Castle Auburn by Sharon Shinn: I randomly grabbed this book at the library in March and hadn't heard anything about it except knew people liked Sharon Shinn but I always heard people talk about her other books. This book is one I will reread next year for sure. It made me so truly happy and just charmed the pants right off me. The best part is my friend Gillian read it after I reviewed it and then she raved about it and this amazing chain reaction happened and others fell in love with it as much as we did and it was one of those moments that reminded me how important it is to still rave about the backlist books you read and love because there are so many people who might also find their new fave book that went under the radar!

Jana's Pick:
8. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas: I'm sure this comes as no surprise to anyone who knows me! I loved this book even more than ACOTAR!! I love Rhys and the Night Court and the swooooons!

Lauren's Picks:
9. The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood - I know I'm at Atwood fan girl, but her latest novel blew me away yet again. Her prose is perfectly worded without the clutter of excess details that have seemed to drag on for me this year. She knows how to take an otherworldly society and topple it over with grace. This is easily one of my all time favorite Atwood novels, be it is definitely my favorite read of 2016. 

10. The Fold by Peter Clines - Science fiction, a little fantasy, and all the amazingness wanted all wrapped up with a bow. This was an amazing science fiction novel for 2016 that I honestly just may have to pick up again in 2017!

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