Stacking the Shelves (112)

Stacking the Shelves

If these weren’t all ebooks, I’d need to have my head examined. (Yes, I know, even more than I do now)

We are moving back to Atlanta in two weeks, and the point is usually to reduce the amount of stuff that has to be transported. Instead, I’m stocking up on reading material for the trip. I can’t wait until we start picking out audiobooks for the long drive. We’ll just have to play them loud enough to drown out the complaints from the cats in the backseat!

For Review:
An Affair Downstairs (Thornbrook Park #2) by Sherri Browning
Blade on the Hunt (Rowan Summerwaite #3) by Lauren Dane
The Blue and the Grey (Grand & Batchelor #1) by MJ Trow
Come Home for Christmas, Cowboy (Montana Born Christmas #5) by Megan Crane
The Deepest Night (Longest Night #2) by Kara Braden
Diamond Head by Cecily Wong
Falling from the Light (Night Runner #2) by Regan Summers
Garrett (Cold Fury Hockey #2) by Sawyer Bennett
Hungry Like the Wolf (SWAT #1) by Paige Tyler
Hunter of Sherwood: The Red Hand (Guy of Gisburne #2) by Toby Venables
Hush Hush (Tess Monaghan #12) by Laura Lippman
The Importance of Being Alice (Ainslie Brothers #1) by Katie MacAlister
It Must Be Your Love (Sullivans #11) by Bella Andre
Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear
The Mapmaker’s Children by Sarah McCoy
The Marriage Charm (Brides of Bliss County #2) by Linda Lael Miller
Pleasantville by Attica Locke
Sherlock Holmes, The Missing Years: Japan by Vasudev Murthy
Surrender (Devil’s Den #1) by Violetta Rand
Tales of the Alaska State Troopers by Peter B. Mathiesen
The Ultimate Guide to Sex After Fifty by Joan Price

Purchased from Amazon:
Hunter of Sherwood: Knight of Shadows (Guy of Gisburne #1) by Toby Venables
Thornbrook Park (Thornbrook Park #1) by Sherri Browning

Borrowed from the Library:
Baltimore Blues (Tess Monaghan #1) by Laura Lippman
Black Water Rising by Attica Locke
The Devil in the Marshalsea (Tom Hawkins #1) by Antonia Hodgson
Last Night at the Blue Angel by Rebecca Rotert

Stacking the Shelves (98)

Stacking the Shelves

This is pretty much the last two weeks. Lots of interesting stuff. I’m feeding my Sherlock Holmes addiction with not just one but two anthologies, and I bought the Brenda Cooper books just for the covers. (I have the cover of The Diamond Deep on the Detcon t-shirt).

Speaking of Detcon, I bought (or rather Galen bought for me) One-Eyed Jack by Elizabeth Bear. I adore her Promethean Age series (start with Blood and Iron) because it’s one of the best Fae/Earth crossover series I’ve ever read. I’m beyond thrilled that it’s continuing after a 6-year break!

For Review:
Dangerous Calling (The Shadowminds #2) by AJ Larrieu
The Devil in Montmartre by Gary Inbinder
Gentlemen Prefer Curves (Perfect Fit #3) by Sugar Jamison
Hard to Hold On To (Hard Ink #2.5) by Laura Kaye
In the Company of Sherlock Holmes edited by Laurie R. King and Leslie S. Klinger
Left Turn at Paradise (Antiquarian Book Mystery #2) by Thomas Shawver
Lethal Code by Thomas Waite
The Lodge on Holly Road (Life in Icicle Falls #4) by Sheila Roberts
The Magician’s Land (Magicians #3) by Lev Grossman
Slow Hand (Hot Cowboy Nights #1) by Victoria Vane
Two Hundred and Twenty-One Baker Streets edited by David Thomas Moore
While You Were Away by D.J. Davis
Wild (Ivy Chronicles #3) by Sophie Jordan

The Creative Fire (Ruby’s Song #1) by Brenda Cooper
The Diamond Deep (Ruby’s Song #2) by Brenda Cooper
Into Tolari Space (Tales of Tolari Space #0.5) by Christie Meierz
The Marann (Tales of Tolari Space #1) by Christie Meierz
One-Eyed Jack (Promethian Age #5) by Elizabeth Bear
Worth the Weight (Worth #1) by Mara Jacobs

The Sunday Post AKA What’s on my (Mostly Virtual) Nightstand 7-6-14

Sunday Post

The cats still have not completely forgiven us for being away last week. Mellie is perched on top of Galen’s computer tower, pretending I’m not here. I’m waiting for her to pratfall off.

I managed to read a lot of books over the holiday. I’ve discovered that 4 books is my limit. By limit, I mean the limit of reviews I can hold in my head before I have to do a brain dump. That’s today. Along with the laundry and the grocery shopping and the other life chores that don’t get done when you’re out of town.

Freedom-to-Read-HopThere’s still time to get in on the Freedom to Read Giveaway Hop. And if you took a reading hiatus over the weekend, Galen did a wonderful reading list on July 4 of books that are somewhat related to the idea of Independence.

Current Giveaways:

$10 Amazon or B&N gift card in the Freedom to Read Giveaway Hop

Winner Announcements:

The winner of the $10 Amazon Gift Card in the Midsummer’s Eve Giveaway Hop is Jannetta.
The winner of Supreme Justice by Max Allan Collins is Brian O.
The winner of Love & Treasure by Ayelet Waldman is Jeffrey T.

witchlight by sonya clarkBlog Recap:

A+ Review: Witchlight by Sonya Clark
Guest Post by Author Sonya Clark + Giveaway
A+ Review: Harder by Robin York
Freedom to Read Giveaway Hop
B+ Review: C791 by Eve Langlais
The Fourth of July, 2014: a Reading List
Stacking the Shelves (95)



claws of the cat by susan spannComing Next Week:

The Tea Shop on Lavender Lane by Sheila Roberts (review)
Claws of the Cat by Susan Spann (review)
Honor’s Knight by Rachel Bach (review)
Country Roads by Nancy Herkness (review)
Until We Touch by Susan Mallery (review + Q&A + giveaway)

Review: Harder by Robin York

harder by robin yorkFormat read: ebook provided by NetGalley
Formats available: ebook, paperback, audiobook
Genre: new adult romance
Series: Caroline & West, #2
Length: 353 pages
Publisher: Bantam
Date Released: July 1, 2014
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Book Depository

Caroline still dreams about West. His warm skin, his taut muscles, his hand sliding down her stomach. Then she wakes up and she’s back to reality: West is gone. And before he left, he broke her heart.

Then, out of the blue, West calls in crisis. A tragedy has hit his family—a family that’s already a fractured mess. Caroline knows what she has to do. Without discussion, without stopping to think, she’s on a plane, flying to his side to support him in any way he needs.

They’re together again, but things are totally different. West looks edgy, angry at the world. Caroline doesn’t fit in. She should be back in Iowa, finalizing her civil suit against the ex-boyfriend who posted their explicit pictures on a revenge porn website. But here she is. Deeply into West, wrapped up in him, in love with him. Still.

They fought the odds once. Losing each other was hard. But finding their way back to each other couldn’t be harder.

My Review:

deeper by robin yorkIf you have not read the first part of Caroline and West’s story, go back and pick up the monumentally awesome Deeper (reviewed here). The story in Harder is so much deeper if you read where they are coming from.

This pair of stories is exactly what “new adult romance” is supposed to be about: people in that first stage of adulthood who are making decisions that will echo through the rest of their lives, no matter what happens.

In the case of Harder, the story is about whether these two college students will not just face their very adult problems, but also find a way to go beyond survival into thriving in the future.

This story is “harder” because it is both more difficult for Caroline and West to find a way back to each other, and because the theme goes to the question of the ways in which we make our lives harder for ourselves, by closing off options that we think might be hard, instead of striving and finding out.

At the end of Deeper, West leaves both Caroline and college in order to go back to his depressing and depressed home town of Silt, Oregon. It’s not just that his sister needs him, but that West has never believed that he was entitled to a life and happiness of his own. He expected to have to go back, and when it happens, he’s resigned rather than surprised.

He’s always been sure that Caroline deserved better than him, never acknowledging that what Caroline did or did not deserve was not a decision that was his to make.

West tries to push her away, but she’s the only light in his darkness. That he’s made his world darker than it needs to be, all on his own, is not something that he ever considers. But in the middle of too many nights, he calls her just to hear her voice.

And when his mother’s ex-boyfriend shoots his deadbeat father, West calls Caroline. He doesn’t ask for her help, but she gets on the first plane to Oregon. She wants to help. He wants someone to take care of his kid sister Frankie. Caroline wants West back.

West does his worst to make sure she leaves him. And she does, but not before making him think about what he’s doing; to her, to himself, and to his sister.

It’s the hardest thing in his life to realize that every single thing Caroline told him was right. It’s the second hardest to take his sister and his screwed up self back to college. It’s the third hardest to let Caroline all the way back into his life.

It takes him forever to figure out that the best way he can give his sister the good life that he wants for her is to live it with her, with Caroline. Frankie can only learn how to be her authentic self if West can learn it first.

Escape Rating A+: The first half of this story is a hard read. Absolutely excellent, but painfully hard. Deeper ended at the point where Caroline and West separate. It was the right ending for the story, but devastating to read.

Harder picks up where Deeper emotionally left off. Caroline and West are hundreds of miles apart and they have no future together. And neither of them can get over that fact, or move past each other to build a new life.

Of course, West feels that he doesn’t have a life, and isn’t entitled to one. As far as he’s concerned, his only purpose in this world is to protect his sister Frankie. He’s willing to sacrifice himself and everything he might ever be just to keep Frankie safe.

Then the situation hits rock bottom, and the best way for West to keep Frankie safe is to get her out of Silt and away from their neglectful mother. And West only has one place to go; back to Iowa and college. Back to Caroline. Except not.

Deeper was Caroline’s story. West made her see that she was something beyond the terrible pictures, and that if she wasn’t “fine” there was a way to get better.

Harder is West’s story. Caroline refuses to take “fine” for an answer, and refuses to stay out of his and Frankie’s life. Just as he made her think, helped her to get stronger, in Deeper, she does the same thing for him in Harder. But the journey is harder, because they both know what they’ve lost, and because West has so little faith in himself.

If you like contemporary romances featuring real, believable characters facing real problems and coming out strong and together, you’ll love Harder, very, very hard indeed.

***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money or borrowed from a public library and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.

The Sunday Post AKA What’s on my (Mostly Virtual) Nightstand 6-29-14

Sunday Post

I’m still at ALA in Las Vegas, but it doesn’t really matter where the American Library Association holds its Annual Conference, all convention centers look alike on the inside.

This was an especially good week on the blogging/reviewing front. I don’t often have a mostly A Reviews week, but this one was particularly good. It’s great to finally understand what all the fuss has been about on Ancillary Justice and Fortune’s Pawn. They are both excellent SF. At Star’s End was tons of fun, and Supreme Justice was absorbingly good. Next week isn’t too shabby either.

midsummer-smallThere’s still a chance to get in on the Midsummer’s Eve Giveaway Hop, in spite of it being a bit past Midsummer. Plus there’s a Fourth of July hop starting on Wednesday, so yet another chance for a gift card.

Current Giveaways:

Supreme Justice by Max Allan Collins
$10 Gift Card in the Midsummer’s Eve Giveaway Hop

Fortune's Pawn by Rachel BachBlog Recap:

A- Review: Supreme Justice by Max Allan Collins + Giveaway
A Review: Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie
B Review: Clockwork Tangerine by Rhys Ford
A+ Review: Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel Bach
A- Review: At Star’s End by Anna Hackett
Stacking the Shelves (94)



Freedom-to-Read-HopComing Next Week:

Witchlight by Sonya Clark (review + giveaway)
Harder by Robin York (review)
Freedom to Read Giveaway Hop
C791 by Eve Langlais

Stacking the Shelves (91)

Stacking the Shelves

This week, I received a LOT of books for contests that I’m judging, and not much else. Except the second book in Robin York’s awesome Caroline & West series, which I’ve been stalking NetGalley for. I can’t wait!

For Review:
Country Roads (Whisper Horse #2) by Nancy Herkness
Harder (Caroline & West #2) by Robin York
A Heat of the Moment Thing by Maggie Le Page
Island Healing (St. Anne’s Island #1) by Virginia McCullough
Leave the Lights On by Karen Stivali
Southern Fried Blues (The Officers’ Ex-Wives Club #1) by Jamie Farrell
The Spiritglass Charade (Stoker & Holmes #2) by Colleen Gleason
That Summer by Lauren Willig
Training Travis by Cathleen Tully

Dragon Age: The Masked Empire (Dragon Age #4) by Patrick Weekes

Stacking the Shelves (82)

Stacking the Shelves

This week, the stack is short. But while this is being posted, I’m going to be at the Emerald City ComiCon, trying not to pick up too much else!

For Review:
Bloodshifted (Edie Spence #5) by Cassie Alexander
Enemies at Home (Flavia Albia #2) by Lindsey Davis
Marked (Mindspace Investigation #3) by Alex Hughes
Ruin Me by Jamie Brenner
An Unwilling Accomplice (Bess Crawford #6) by Charles Todd

Archer’s Sin (Hearts and Thrones #2.5) by Amy Raby

Borrowed from the Library:
The Spymistress by Jennifer Chiaverini

The Sunday Post AKA What’s On My (Mostly Virtual) Nightstand 3-9-14

Sunday Post

The good thing about being married is that you share things with your spouse. The bad thing is that the sharing sometimes means that you share being sick. I spent most of the week down with a sinus infection, and then I was generous and gave it to my husband.

The good thing (there was one) about the sinus infection was that I spent a lot of time reading. The bad thing is that I have a ton of reviews to write, because sitting at a keyboard and leaning forward hurt like hell. And made my nose run.

Speaking of “real life”, I’ve just become a member of the American Library Association Notable Books Council. Which does just what it sounds, pick the “notable books” of the year. It means I’ll be reading more literary fiction and nonfiction this year, which should be interesting. There’s also a bit of secrecy to the whole thing, since we’re not allowed to say which books are even being considered. So don’t ask!

Current Giveaways:

The Obsidian Heart by Mark T. BarnesIt’s Always Been You by Jessica Scott (ebook) ENDS 3/10
$25 Amazon Gift Card courtesy of Nina Croft ENDS 3/10

Winner Announcements:

$10 Amazon or B&N Gift Card in the Leap Into Books Giveaway – the winner is Ashfa A.
Paperback copy of Cider Brook by Carla Neggers – the winner is Courtney W.
Signed copy of The Obsidian Heart by Mark T. Barnes – the winner is Jo J.

never deal with dragons by lorenda christensenBlog Recap:

A- Review: Bittersweet Darkness by Nina Croft + Giveaway
A Review: Never Deal with Dragons by Lorenda Christensen
C+ Review: Deceiving Lies by Molly McAdams
B Review: Death Defying by Nina Croft + Giveaway
A- Review: It’s Always Been You by Jessica Scott + Giveaway
Stacking the Shelves (79)

slam dance with the devil by nico rossoComing Next Week:

Slam Dance with the Devil by Nico Rosso (review)
Good Together by CJ Carmichael (review)
The Tropic of Serpents by Marie Brennan (review by Cass)
Retribution by Anderson Harp (blog tour review)
Unleashed by Emily Kimelman (blog tour review)

Review: Deceiving Lies by Molly McAdams

deceiving lies by molly mcadamsFormat read: ebook provided by Edelweiss
Formats available: ebook, paperback, audiobook
Genre: Contemporary romance, New Adult romance
Series: Forgiving Lies #2
Length: 336 pages
Publisher: William Morrow
Date Released: March 4, 2014
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Book Depository

Rachel is supposed to be planning her wedding to Kash, the love of her life. After the crazy year they’ve had, she’s ready to settle down and live a completely normal life. Well, as normal as it can be. But there’s something else waiting—something threatening to tear them apart.

Kash is ready for it all with Rach. Especially if all includes having a football team of babies with his future wife. With his line of work, he knows how short life can be, and doesn’t want to waste another minute of theirs. But now his past as an undercover narcotics agent has come back to haunt him … and it’s the girl he loves who’s caught in the middle.

Trent Cruz’s orders are clear: take the girl. But there’s something about this girl that has him changing the rules and playing a dangerous game to keep her safe. When his time as Rachel’s protector runs out, he will turn his back on the only life he’s known, and risk everything, if it means getting her out alive.

My Review:

If you haven’t read Forgiving Lies, the story in Deceiving Lies won’t make sense. If you have read Forgiving Lies, then there is the possibility that Deceiving Lies will drive you crazy.

Forgiving Lies by Molly McAdamsForgiving Lies ends with a horrible cliffhanger. After Rachel and Kash have finally worked through most of their issues, and are getting ready for their wedding, Rachel is kidnapped by members of the gang that Kash and Mason broke apart before the beginning of Forgiving Lies. Fear of revenge by the gang members still on the outside is the reason that the two undercover cops where in Texas in the first place. They were laying low until the case back in Florida was wrapped up.

So Forgiving Lies ends with Rachel kidnapped and Kash immediately going out of his mind at her loss.

But Deceiving Lies does not start with the kidnapping. It starts a few weeks before the kidnapping, so we can see the happy preparations again. While it was good stage setting, I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, because that upcoming abduction was looming in the back of my mind like a dark cloud.

At 16% into the book (thank you kindle app) we finally get that fall off the cliff we’ve been waiting for. Rachel is taken and Kash, predictably, starts going bonkers.

Most of the story is told from Kash’ and Rachel’s alternating points of view. So we switch from Rachel’s imprisonment, and her feelings about those events, to Kash trying to find her.

Rachel is held captive for well over a month. More than long enough for her to develop a weird relationship with the man who both kidnapped her and is protecting her from the other members of his gang. While she doesn’t fall in love with Trent, she comes to rely on him and see him as her protector and refuge against the rest of the gang. While it may not have exactly been Stockholm Syndrome, it felt at least partway there.

Meanwhile Kash and the police are receiving faked video that Rachel is being tortured. As the search goes on, and nothing breaks, Kash goes seriously bad cop. He takes on his undercover hardass persona. even though he’s not undercover. He disintegrates into someone that Rachel might not recognize when she is finally rescued.

Neither of them is the same person they were when Rachel was taken. The question is whether they can find their way back; to being someone who is still capable of loving and being loved by the other person. Can they navigate toward a new future, because they can’t go back to the way things were.

Escape Rating C+: After a fluffy beginning, this is a very dark book. It also doesn’t quite feel like it had a happy ending. It has a resolution on the way to happiness, but it didn’t feel quite happy to me.

There is so much angst in this story while Kash and Rachel are separated, and that takes up a huge part of the book. It may have been necessary for the story, but it was hard to read through. If I hadn’t wanted to find out how things got resolved in the end, I might have stopped, just to get out of the darkness.

The is it/isn’t it/what is it debate about whether or not Rachel was suffering from Stockholm Syndrome, and exactly what her feelings were for her captor/protector Trent, went into the crazysauce. Rachel did not have to fall in love with Trent in order to be exhibiting Stockholm Syndrome. Having Stockholm Syndrome just means that she felt empathy and sympathy toward her captor and had positive feelings for him. Which she did, because he protected her from the really bad guys.

A part of me wishes that Rachel and Kash had gotten their happy ending at the end of Forgiving Lies. Rachel had already been through quite enough for one lifetime. But after the cliffhanger ending, I’m glad I read Deceiving Lies so that I could see them finally have their chance at happiness.

If there is a next book in this series, I hope that it features Kash’ partner Mason. Or even Trent. I just don’t want to see Rachel suffer any more.

This post is part of a TLC book tour. Click on the logo for more reviews.
***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money or borrowed from a public library and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.

The Sunday Post AKA What’s On My (Mostly Virtual) Nightstand 3-2-14

Sunday Post

sci fi romance quarterly issue 2For all you lovers of science fiction romance out there, the latest issue of Sci-Fi Romance Quarterly is out! We have lots of terrific stuff on tap, including interviews with Gail Carriger and Beth Ciotta and an original short story by Danielle Davis. And of course, reviews by yours truly and some of my fellow SFR lovers. Check out the latest issue here — especially Charlee Alden’s editorial about cyborg squirrels!

One of this week’s giveaways is for the second book in a series that I absolutely love, and that totally surprised me. Last year, Library Journal sent me The Garden of Stones by Mark T. Barnes to review. I really enjoy a good epic fantasy, but this was an author new to me. Also, it was published by Amazon’s 47North, and those have been hit or miss for me so far. The story completely blew me away. It has magic, and epically nasty politics, along with a pair of star-crossed lovers and a potentially deadly romantic triangle. Mark is giving away a signed copy of the second book in the series, The Obsidian Heart, and I just can’t recommend this series enough.

natural history of dragons by marie brennanAnd this week we have dragon books. Cass practically forced me to read Never Deal with Dragons, and she should have a review of The Tropic of Serpents by Marie Brennan as well. She gave the first book in the Lady Trent series, A Natural History of Dragons, 15 stars over at Book Lovers last year. I can’t wait to see what she has to say about this one! (I think it’s a question of how many pluses Cass will add to her A. We’ll see.)



Leap-into-books-hopCurrent Giveaways:

$10 Amazon or B&N gift card in the Leap into Books Giveaway
One copy of Cider Brook by Carla Neggers (paperback)
SIGNED copy of The Obsidian Heart by Mark T. Barnes
$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal cash courtesy of Susan Kaye Quinn
(1) $50 Amazon Gift Card, (2) $10 Amazon gift cards and 2 Author swag packs courtesy of Susannah Sandlin

third daughter by susan kaye quinnBlog Recap:

B+ Review: Lovely, Dark and Deep by Susannah Sandlin
Guest Post by Susannah Sandlin on Pirates and Templars + Giveaway
Guest Post by Mark T. Barnes on Starting in the Middle + Giveaway
B Review: Cider Brook by Carla Neggers
Q&A with Carla Neggers + Giveaway
A- Review: Third Daughter by Susan Kaye Quinn + Giveaway
Leap Into Books Giveaway Hop
Stacking the Shelves (78)

Coming Next Week:

Nina Croft Double Feature BannerBittersweet Darkness (The Order #3) by Nina Croft (blog tour review and giveaway)
Never Deal with Dragons (DRACIM #1) by Lorenda Christensen (review)
Deceiving Lies (Forgiving Lies #1) by Molly McAdams (blog tour review)
Death Defying (Blood Hunter #3) by Nina Croft (blog tour review and giveaway)
The Tropic of Serpents (Lady Trent #2) by Marie Brennan (review by Cass)