The Sunday Post AKA What’s On My (Mostly Virtual) Nightstand 1-26-14

Sunday Post

As you read this, I am in Philadelphia, trying not to freeze. The American Library Association Midwinter Conference is in Philly. Why, oh why couldn’t they have picked someplace warm this year?

Oh, that’s right, they saved the hot spot for the SUMMER conference. The June conference this year is in Las Vegas! (Yes, I know, it’s a DRY heat)

Current Giveaways:

Late Last Night by Lilian Darcy (ebook)
Tourwide Giveaway from Susannah Sandlin: $25 Amazon Gift Card, $10 Amazon Gift Card and Author Swag Pack

deeper by robin yorkBlog Recap:

A Review: Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone
B+ Review: Forward to Camelot 50th Anniversary Edition by Susan Sloate and Kevin Finn
Guest Post by Susan Sloate on Writing About the Kennedy Assassination
B+ Review: Late Last Night by Lilian Darcy + Giveaway
A+ Review: Deeper by Robin York
B Review: Chenoire by Susannah Sandlin + Giveaway
Stacking the Shelves (75)

Coming Next Week:

share the love giveaway hopThe Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker (blog tour review)
Jewel of the East by Victoria Vane (blog tour review, guest post + giveaway)
The Warrior & the Flower by Camille Picott (blog tour review + giveaway)
Prince of Tricks by Jane Kindred (blog tour review, guest post + giveaway)
The Traitor’s Wife by Allison Pataki (blog tour review, author interview + giveaway)
Share the Love Giveaway Hop

Review: Deeper by Robin York

deeper by robin yorkFormat read: ebook provided by NetGalley
Formats available: paperback, ebook
Genre: New Adult romance, Contemporary romance
Series: Caroline and West #1
Length: 400 pages
Publisher: Bantam
Date Released: January 28, 2014
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Book Depository

When Caroline Piasecki’s ex-boyfriend posts their sex pictures on the Internet, it destroys her reputation as a nice college girl. Suddenly her once-promising future doesn’t look so bright. Caroline tries to make the pictures disappear, hoping time will bury her shame. Then a guy she barely knows rises to her defense and punches her ex to the ground.

West Leavitt is the last person Caroline needs in her life. Everyone knows he’s shady. Still, Caroline is drawn to his confidence and swagger—even after promising her dad she’ll keep her distance. On late, sleepless nights, Caroline starts wandering into the bakery where West works.

They hang out, they talk, they listen. Though Caroline and West tell each other they’re “just friends,” their feelings intensify until it becomes impossible to pretend. The more complicated her relationship with West gets, the harder Caroline has to struggle to discover what she wants for herself—and the easier it becomes to find the courage she needs to fight back against the people who would judge her.

When all seems lost, sometimes the only place to go is deeper.

My Review:

Deeper wraps a heart stoppingly beautiful love story around a life-shattering problem, and shows the strength of spirit of a young woman who grows up stronger for her broken places.

But the problem that begins the story nearly breaks Caroline’s soul and spirit, and is unfortunately all too real in the 21st century combination of constant connectivity, cyberbullying and sexting, mixed with the age-old issues of sexual harrassment and sexual abuse, usually by males over females.

The resultant nasty cocktail is revenge porn, where someone takes what society considers “dirty” pictures of a young woman and bombs them all over the internet without her consent. Because the woman is a legal adult, even though she is photographed without her consent, posting the pictures online is legal. Anything that happens to her afterwards is considered her problem.

And that’s what happens to Caroline Piasecki. Her ex-boyfriend snapped a picture of her giving him a blowjob with his cellphone. When they broke up, he posted the picture everywhere he could think of. Then, of course, he denied having posted it. As if it could have been anyone else.

The damage was done. The scumbag didn’t just post the picture, he posted her name and the name of the college they attended. He wanted to make sure that he trashed her reputation. That everyone who saw her on campus, that anyone who ever Googled her name, saw that picture first.

It was one hell of a spiteful revenge for breaking up with him. Especially since Caroline was planning to go to law school, and that picture is not going to make getting recommendations for internships at law firms any easier.

Caroline is someone who has always had a perfectly orderly life, and now everything is completely out of order. Her plans are ruined. She has tried so very hard to be good. To be careful.

Her universe is shattered. The whispers follow her everywhere. And she can’t help but start to feel them reach inside of her.

It takes Caroline a long time, and a lot of help from her friends, to start to live her life again. A life that is not defined by the whispers and lies.

There is one hell of a lot of strength involved on her part. Also pretty much of a “two-steps forward-one step back” approach to dealing with moving on from the very huge problem.

But the biggest assist she gets is from West Leavitt. He represents a different choice in life. Lots of different choices. West is a young man who seems to be living in the moment, but actually isn’t. Where Caroline plans everything, West looks spontaneous.

But he’s not. What he is, is someone from an entirely different life who has grabbed this brief moment of time for himself, because he’s sure it will be taken away any second. What he doesn’t reveal is much about himself.

At first, West gives Caroline something that no one else does; a space with no BS. He may not disclose much, but he also doesn’t expect her to filter what she’s feeling. She doesn’t have to pretend to be okay.

And out of that lack of pretense, comes everything.

Escape Rating A+: Deeper is a story that will haunt you long after you turn the final page. This is a book that lives up to the promise of the genre tag New Adult; it delivers a deeper, richer story than a young adult novel. In New Adult the protagonist is supposed to have a problem to solve that will have an impact on their adult life. There are no easy answers in this book, only hard questions and tough solutions.

Deeper is Caroline’s journey. She starts the story in the midst of a meltdown of epic proportions, and she’s melting down for reasons that are big and real. She treats the “porn attack” as a problem to be solved, or hidden from, and can’t face people’s scorn. So she hides. She feels as dirty as if she deserved the comments people, mostly men, fling at her everywhere.

The story is her transformation from the young woman who is victimized to the one who stands up for herself. In the beginning, she feels like she IS the pictures. She feels abused. In the end, the pictures are the pictures, but they are not herself. This does not mean she is not being attacked, because she still is, but she is owning her defense.

West’s story is told in counterpoint to Caroline’s. He comes from such a different place than she does, and he conceals everything about who he really is until nearly the end of their relationship. Their love story is very slow building, and that’s a terrific thing. Caroline isn’t ready to love someone until she stops being a victim and starts taking control of her life. And part of that control is telling West that they can’t have a real relationship until he is willing to admit that what they have is actually a relationship.

He wants to protect her, but part of the point of the story is that Caroline has gotten strong enough that she doesn’t need his protection any more. She needs to make her own decisions, and for that to work, she needs his trust, and his truth.

The ending of Deeper will make you reach for the kleenex, because it concludes, exactly where it should, but not where you want it to.

***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 1-19-14

Sunday Post

We live in Seattle…and the Seahawks are in the NFC Championship game this afternoon. I had this brilliant idea to watch the football game today, but there’s a funny stumbling block.

Seattle Seahawks logoWe don’t have cable. We don’t watch enough TV while it’s being broadcast to justify it. We stream everything, but next day or later. I think we use the Amazon Prime subscription mostly for the cheaper streaming.

Galen is still trying to figure out whether we can watch the game live without paying for the view. So to speak. So maybe we’ll watch the game. Or maybe I’ll just read!

Current Giveaways:

Steal Me, Cowboy by Kim Boykin; ebook copy
Tourwide Giveaway: $50 Gift Card from winner’s choice of etailer and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers gift basket from Crista McHugh
Tourwide Giveaway: $50 Gift Card or Spectra Nova necklace, winner’s choice courtesy of Cindy Spencer Pape

After the Golden Age by Carrie VaughnBlog Recap:

B Review: Steal Me, Cowboy by Kim Boykin + Giveaway
B+ Review: Ashes & Alchemy by Cindy Spencer Pape
Guest Post by Author Cindy Spencer Pape on Escapist Fiction + Giveaway
B Review: The Sweetest Seduction by Crista McHugh + Giveaway
B+ Review: Gossamer Wing by Delphine Dryden
A+ Review: After the Golden Age by Carrie Vaughn
Stacking the Shelves (74)

forward to camelot by susan sloateComing Next Week:

Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone (review)
Forward to Camelot by Susan Sloate with Kevin Finn (blog tour review)
Late Last Night by Lilian Darcy (blog tour review + giveaway)
Deeper by Robin York (review)
Chenoire by Susannah Sandlin (blog tour review + giveaway)

Stacking the Shelves (73)

Stacking the Shelves

This is shaping up to be the perfect weekend to stay in and read, although it almost wasn’t. Everything started beeping in the middle of the night; we had a power failure and all the Uninterruptible Power Supplies started fweeping that their power had been interrupted!

It’s a wet, chilly gloomy January day in Seattle. Since we have light after all, it looks like a great day for curling up with a good book.

For Review:
Dark Spirit (Spirit Wolf #2) by Kate Douglas
Deceiving Lies (Forgiving Lies #2) by Molly McAdams
Forward to Camelot: 50th Anniversary Edition by Susan Sloate with Kevin Finn
Haunt Me by Heather Long
Jewel of the East (Devil DeVere #5) by Victoria Vane
King of Thieves (Demons of Elysium #2) by Jane Kindred
Love At Stake by Victoria Davies
The Place I Belong (Country Roads #2) by Inez Kelley
Tempered (St. Croix Chronicles #4) by Karina Cooper
The Third Rule of Ten (Tenzing Norbu #3) by Gay Hendricks and Tinker Lindsay
The Traitor’s Wife by Alison Pataki

Covet Sampler 2013 by Entangled Covet Authors (free at etailers everywhere)

Borrowed from the Library:
Dirty Laundry (Cole McGinnis #3) by Rhys Ford
Dirty Secret (Cole McGinnis #2) by Rhys Ford
The Grendel Affair (SPI Files #1) by Lisa Shearin

Once More with Feeling: The Best Ebook Romances of 2013

LJ 2013 Best BooksIn spite of what the opening paragraph of the article at Library Journal says, this is actually the third year that I’ve been asked to choose the Best Ebook Romances of the Year for Library Journal.

Just check the archives, if you’re terribly curious, here are the links to the 2011 and 2012 lists. This is one of the most fun things I get to do all year that can be more or less labeled as work, even though, as what I call reverse full-disclosure, Library Journal does not pay for the writing of this particular article or for the book reviewing I do for them.

Creating this list is always personal for me. These are books or series that I read or am in the middle of. They are the books that I gave either A ratings or 4.5 or 5 star ratings to, depending on where I did the review. Or in a few cases, B+ reviews of books I absolutely couldn’t get out of my head.

The first year, I was told to list 5 books. Last year, 5-ish. This year, my editor said 10 from the start. I think she figured out that I cheat and list series. I did again this year and went over the limit.

skies of gold by zoe archerArcher, Zoë. Skies of Gold. Avon Impulse. (Ether Chronicles, Bk. 5). ebk. ISBN 9780062241443. STEAMPUNK ROMANCE (4.5 star review)

The first four books in the Ether Chronicles (Skies of Fire, Night of Fire, Skies of Steel, Night of Steel) were on my 2012 list for good reason; this series is simply awesome steampunk worldbuilding. Also we have all the story possibilities inherent in a world war, but with airships and “ether” power. While Skies of Gold is a more than worthy successor to the first four books in the series, it is unfortunately the last book in the series. If you love steampunk romance, you’ll be enthralled. And then sad that it’s over.

forged in blood 1 by Lindsay BurokerBuroker, Lindsay. Forged in Blood I. ebk. ISBN 9781301493357. Forged in Blood II. ebk. ISBN 9781301349876. ea. vol: Lindsay Buroker. (Emperor’s Edge). FANTASY ROMANCE
I’ve adored the first five volumes of The Emperor’s Edge series (The Emperor’s Edge, Dark Currents, Deadly Games, Conspiracy, Blood and Betrayal) so much that I haven’t wanted to see it end. So I’ll confess that I put the entire series on the list even though only the last two books were published in 2013, and I’ve been saving reading the ending for a treat for myself. LJ was slightly puristic about things and only put the 2013 titles as the main entry on the list. The Emperor’s Edge is Epic Fantasy with a touch of Steampunk. The primary story isn’t a romance, but, and it’s a truly lovely but, there is a romantic subplot. Or maybe that’s sub-subplot. Our heroine convinces the best assassin not to kill her, and keeps on convincing him to help her, even though everyone tells her he’s just a heartless killing machine. Of course he’s not. Well, not completely.

[Bittersweet Blood by Nina Croft]Croft, Nina. Bittersweet Blood. Entangled. (Order, Bk. 1). ebk. ISBN 9781622669592. PARANORMAL ROMANCE (A- Review)
What a difference just a few days makes! At the time I wrote the article, I was just about to read the second book in Croft’s Order series, Bittersweet Magic (B+ Review). I didn’t want to jinx things by listing it, but I shouldn’t have worried. What’s so much fun about this paranormal romance series is that the standard definitions don’t really apply; the vampires maintain the Order of the Shadow Accords on Earth to prevent the Fae and the Demons from repeating their use of Earth as the battleground in the long-running Fae/Demon war. The contemporary fallout seems to be over the descendants of the Fae Juliet and the Demon Romeo of that war. But Demons are immortal, so Romeo isn’t dead. But his half blood daughter is ground zero for armageddon, and only the vampires can protect her. Make that one vampire with a personal “stake” in the result. The world-building in this just keeps getting better, and the love stories more complex.

black dog blues by rhys fordFord, Rhys. Black Dog Blues. Coffee Squirrel. (Kai Gracen, Bk. 1). ebk. ISBN 9781301668625. M/M PARANORMAL ROMANCE (4.5 Star Review)
This is a dark and gritty post-apocalyptic urban fantasy much more than it is a paranormal romance. There are several characters in this story who care a great deal for the elfin Kai Gracen, but Kai doesn’t even like himself enough to be ready for more than friendship with anyone else. He’ll get there, but he isn’t there yet. The story drops us into Kai’s world as it is; we know what he knows. We don’t know why or how the sidhe suddenly merged with what used to be our normal, just that Kai has to endure whatever crap gets thrown his way. It’s the person who emerges from the endurance that makes the story. That and dodging the dragons mating over the Mojave Desert.

Take What You Want by Jeanette GreyGrey, Jeanette. Take What You Want. Samhain. ebk. ISBN 9781619213746.
Ignore the New Adult label. Take What You Want is an absolutely marvelous contemporary romance that just so happens to be about two people in college. Ellen can’t go away for Spring Break, so she takes a vacation from herself. Just for a few days, she tries to be someone a bit different; instead of being shy and retreating into her books, Ellen buys sexy clothes on sale, goes to a townie bar and picks up the hottest guy in the place. She pretends to be “New Ellen” for just one night. Josh thinks no-strings-attached sex with a girl that he’s had a crush on since freshman year is a fantastic idea, but he knows exactly who she is. Ellen really doesn’t recognize him without his glasses. The next night is where pretense starts butting up against reality, because he wants to turn their one-night-stand into something more and New Ellen and regular Ellen have a difficult time deciding the difference between what they should want and what they do want.

armies of heaven by jane kindredKindred, Jane. The Armies of Heaven. Entangled. (House of Arkhangel’sk). ebk. ISBN 9781620611067. FANTASY ROMANCE (4.5 star review)
The fall of the House of Arkangel’sk is a deliciously complicated blend of the historic fall of the Russian Imperial House of Romanov with Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen with more than few tablespoons of the deviance, decadence and twisted political machinations of Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel’s Dart. There is love to be found, but the path to reach it leads through dark places, and our preconceived notions of good and evil, right and wrong, do not apply in Kindred’s Courts of Heaven. The best man in the entire series is a demon, although he would never think of himself as good. The biggest fool is a certainly an angel, and he would definitely label himself as such. The series begins with The Fallen Queen (4.5 star review) and continues with The Midnight Court (A Review) before the conclusion in The Armies of Heaven. Prepare to be enthralled.

how to misbehave by ruthie knoxKnox, Ruthie. How To Misbehave. ebk. ISBN 9780345545305. (4 star review)
Knox, Ruthie. Along Came Trouble. ebk. ISBN 9780345541611. (5 star review)
Knox, Ruthie. Flirting with Disaster. ebk. ISBN 9780345541703. (A- Review)
Knox, Ruthie. Making It Last. ebk. ISBN 9780345549297.
ea. vol: Loveswept: Random. (Camelot). 4-vol. set. ebk. ISBN 9780804180436. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
This small town romance series set in central Ohio is all about the Clark siblings, Amber, Katie and Caleb. Knox specializes in contemporary romances where real people solve very real problems while going through major life experiences. The tension in her stories comes from the kind of situations that cause stress in ordinary life; trying to reinvent yourself, trying to maintain a marriage, dealing with grief, not dealing with grief, returning home, being part of the sandwich generation, financial stress. The difference is that Knox makes her characters people that we all identify with and lets them have a fantastically steamy romance while they resolve their problems. Her stories pull at your heartstrings and make you smile. Every single time.

case of the displaced detective omnibus edition by stephanie osbornOsborn, Stephanie. The Case of the Displaced Detective Omnibus. Twilight Times. SF ROMANCE
I adore Sherlock Holmes re-imaginings, with the exception of the whatever-it-is that Guy Ritchie birthed with Robert Downey Jr. (who should stick to Iron Man). But I seriously digress. I read, and reviewed, Stephanie Osborn’s Case of the Displaced Detective somewhat in its originally published parts: The Arrival (A- Review), At Speed (B+ Review) and The Case of the Cosmological Killer (B Review). In the case of Stephanie Osborn’s continuing opus, I very much admire her concept of a Holmes who is not quite our Holmes and has an excuse for being so. She has used theories of quantum physics to create not just a possible universe where Holmes would have been a flesh-and-blood person, but to create causality that would bring that person into our 21st century. He is not quite the “thinking machine” of Conan Doyle’s fiction because he is not supposed to be, and that opens up a world of possibilities. Real human beings, after all, feel real emotions as they solve mysteries. Sometimes they even fall in love.

The Story Guy by Mary Ann RiversRivers, Mary Ann. The Story Guy. Loveswept: Random. ebk. ISBN 9780345548740. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE (A- Review)
There was only one thing wrong with this story. It was too short, and at the time it was written, it was the only thing available by Mary Ann Rivers. The story is absolutely awesome, I wanted more by this author, and there just wasn’t anything else, yet.
What’s a “story guy”? A story guy is someone who may or may not be long-term relationship material, but who will, sometime in the future after the heartache is over, make a terrific story. Librarian Carrie West answers a personal ad from a very hot guy for one hour of kissing in the park every week. The answers to the questions about why this unattached and gorgeous man is willing to settle for so little for himself, and to make sure that no one is able to get attached to him, make for one marvelous and nearly heartbreaking love story. (And if you fall in love with The Story Guy you’ll probably also love Ruthie Knox’ Big Boy.)

Anything for You book coverScott, Jessica. Anything for You. Loveswept: Random. (Coming Home, Bk. 2.5). ebk. ISBN 9781301165766. (A+ Review)
Scott, Jessica. I’ll Be Home for Christmas. Forever Yours: Grand Central. (Coming Home, Bk. 2.6). ebk. ISBN 9781455554249. (A Review) MILITARY ROMANCE
Jessica Scott’s Coming Home series, which began in 2011’s Because of You (A Review) and continued in 2012 with Until There Was You (A- Review), is a military romance series that gets to the heart of what it means to love someone who serves in the military, because author Scott is herself a career army officer and is married to a career NCO. So instead of writing about the glory of the battlefield, she writes about the toll that deployments take on a family with inside knowledge of what it’s like to wonder if someone is coming home, and how hard it is to wait and worry. She’s able to convey the emotional cost to a soldier with a career-ending injury, not just because his body is messed-up, but because he’s lost his purpose and he’s worried about the people he’s left behind. If you want to read a military romance with real heart, read Jessica Scott.

That’s it for this list. The specific requirements for the Library Journal list were that they all had to be ebooks, either ebook-only or ebook-first, or ebook-mostly. In some cases, there is a print available on demand, but the ebook looks like the primary format, or it did at the time. Also, for this list, there had to be a romance in the story. Yes, a couple of times you have to be looking for the romance, it’s not the primary plot. But there had to at least be a romantic element.

I used to be able to put this list in preference order, but it’s gotten too big. And there’s kind of an apples/bananas problem. How do you compare a steampunk romance to a paranormal romance when they are both at the top of their respective trees?

I will do a “best of the year” list next week (which includes a few contributions from my friend Cass!) These type of lists are loads of fun. It’s great to look back and see what I’ve read and which books stick in the mind by the end of the year.

The Sunday Post AKA What’s On My (Mostly Virtual) Nightstand 12-8-13

Sunday Post

There are three book giveaways, two gift card giveaways, and one, I’m not sure what to call it, let’s say a cornucopia giveaway, going on right now. If you want a shot at the $100 gift card, you need to act fast, it ends on Monday. The other giveaways end at the end of the week. But think of all the holiday gifts you might get out of the way with these!

BookPushersLogo240x176On a somewhat more somber, or confusing note. Or possibly both. Until this October, I was a contributor to the late and much lamented Book Lovers, Inc. blog. It was oodles of fun being part of the gang, and I miss the folks. (I miss them so much that Cass, otherwise known as Draconismoi, guest reviews here at Reading Reality, and Cass and I are both Guest Reviewers over at The Book Pushers, where one of our fellow BLI’ers, Has, is a regular).

BLI-buttonBut because the Book Lovers Inc. site is not being updated, it seemed like a good idea to copy all my own reviews from the BLI archive to Reading Reality. Especially since I refer back to my old reviews when I get the next book in a series. I didn’t want to lose track or access to that content. Occasionally there are duplicates. I have a cleanup project in my future. <groan>

Meanwhile, back to the present…Ooh, presents…not yet…darn…back to the blog, I mean.

The Blooding of Jack Absolute by C.C. HumphreysCurrent Giveaways:

Poisoned Web by Crista McHugh — $100 Amazon Gift Card ENDS TOMORROW!
Bittersweet Magic by Nina Croft — $25 Amazon Gift Card
Parts & Wreck by Mark Henry — various books by the author, including signed copies
The Blooding of Jack Absolute by C.C. Humphreys (US/Canada)
When It’s Right by Jeanette Grey — winner’s choice of a title from the author’s backlist.
Bewitching Book Tours Hot Holiday Giveaway

Winner Announcement:

The winner of the print copy of Buying In by Laura Hemphill is Anne A.

Blog Recap:

When It's Right by Jeanette GreyB+ Review: Parts & Wreck by Mark Henry
Guest Post by Author Mark Henry on How Far is Too Far + Giveaway
A- Review: The Blooding of Jack Absolute by C.C. Humphreys
Interview with Author C.C. Humphreys + Giveaway
A- Review: Codex Born by Jim C. Hines
A- Review: When It’s Right by Jeanette Grey
Guest Post by Author Jeanette Grey on New Year’s Resolutions + Giveaway
B- Review: Alien Adoration by Jessica E. Subject
B+ Review: Alien Admirer by Jessica E. Subject
Stacking the Shelves (69)

Coming Next Week:

spirit keeper by k b laugheedOperation Saving Daniel by Nina Croft (blog tour review + author guest post + giveaway)
Lace & Lead by M.A. Grant (review)
Clean by Alex Hughes (review)
The Seduction of Miriam Cross by W.A. Tyson (blog tour review + giveaway)
The Spirit Keeper by K.B. Laugheed (blog tour review + giveaway)

Guest Post by Author Jeanette Grey on New Year’s Resolutions + Giveaway

Take What You Want by Jeanette GreyToday I’d like to welcome one of my very favorite authors, Jeanette Grey. Jeanette is not just the author of today’s book, When It’s Right (reviewed here), but also one of the books on my Best Ebook Romances of the Year list over at Library Journal, Take What You Want (reviewed earlier this year). Last but not least, if you love science fiction romance, she’s a triple threat with her awesome Unacceptable Risk (reviewed here). But today she’s here to talk about…

New Year’s Resolutions
by Jeanette Grey

For the longest time now, I’ve have a love-hate relationship with the idea of making New Year’s resolutions. In theory, it’s great, right? January first marks the beginning of a new calendar, a new year—why shouldn’t it also mark the beginning of a brand new you?

It feels good to set a goal. To articulate your intentions for how you’re going to make things better this time around.

The problem is that it’s almost too easy. Hell, it’s positively simplistic to declare that you’re going to do X, Y, and Z. But no matter how much we might wish it, we wake up on the first day of the new year, and we are, at heart, the same people we were before. Beneath that shiny new resolution, there’s something harder. Something slower and longer and not nearly so glamorous: there’s the work of seeing it through.

Making a New Year’s resolution is the work of a moment. Sticking to it is the work of one moment after another, stretching on and on in perpetuity until the goal has been achieved. If the goal doesn’t have a specific termination point—if it’s more “quit smoking” or “write everyday” and less “lose fifteen pounds”—the slog of adhering to it is literally endless.

As evidenced by those empty parking lots at the gym come February, dedication to changing your ways is infinitely harder than just naming your intention before the clock strikes midnight.

When It's Right by Jeanette GreyIn my new novella, When It’s Right, my heroine, Cassie, has just made one of the worst, most difficult to adhere to resolutions I can imagine: she’d decided she’s going to stop being in love with her best friend, Nate.

She has a plan for this, in theory. She’s going to stop spending as much time with him, she’s going to quit dwelling on him, she’s going to start actively dating again. But the sad fact is that she doesn’t want to do any of these things, and the closeness they currently have is going to be almost impossible to give up.

So when he suggests going on a road trip together for New Year’s Eve, she only hesitates for a moment. This might be her last chance to spend this kind of quality time with him before she follows through with her resolution to get some distance.

Little does she know, though, the trip is going to change everything. And thank goodness, because in the end, the best kind of resolution? Is the kind you never actually had to make in the first place.

Jeanette GreyAbout Jeanette Grey

Jeanette Grey started out with degrees in physics and painting, which she dutifully applied to stunted careers in teaching, technical support, and advertising. When none of that panned out, she started writing. In her spare time, Jeanette enjoys making pottery, playing board games, and spending time with her husband and her pet frog. She lives, loves, and writes in upstate New York.To learn more about Jeanette, visit her website and blog and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.


Jeanette’s giving away one ebook copy of a single-title release from her backlist: winner’s choice of Take What You Want, Unacceptable Risk, A Gift Of Trust, or Letting Go.  To enter, use the Rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review: When It’s Right by Jeanette Grey

When It's Right by Jeanette GreyFormat read: ebook provided by the author
Formats available: ebook
Genre: Contemporary romance, New Adult romance
Length: 78 pages
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Date Released: December 3, 2013
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo

He’s the last resolution she intends to break.

Still licking his wounds after a messy breakup, Nate is at loose ends for New Year’s Eve and itching for a wild and crazy adventure to jolt him out of his rut. Now if he could only convince his best friend, Cassie, to break away for an impromptu road trip to Times Square.

Fun as it sounds, Cassie is reluctant to accept Nate’s invitation. Little does he know, she’s made resolutions of her own—resolutions about finally getting over her long-standing crush on him. Telling herself this trip will be the perfect “last hurrah”, she packs her bag.

The trip is a fiasco from the outset. A car that won’t start, a freak storm that strands them on the side of the road, and a long drive with too much time for true confessions. Cassie’s rocks Nate to the core, leaving him wondering if the best thing that ever happened to him has been right in front of him all along.

Warning: Contains two best friends, a secret crush, and a road trip that leads to tow trucks, unexpected hotel-room sharing, epiphanies, sex, and more.

My Review:

This is a romance for everyone who has made a resolution and then wanted to have one last hurrah. And it’s for every time you’ve thought that a friendship was too good to mess up by trying to go for more.

Because we’ve all been there, done that, and bought the whole closet full of t-shirts. Most of which are ugly and have sick-up stains on the front.

Every once in a while, you do it anyway. And it’s so perfectly right that it works. Just like this story.

Nick and Cassie are the very best of friends. They’re such good friends that whenever one of Nick’s romances with the “bimbo of the season” finally ends, Cassie is the one who steers him home after his tour of the local bar’s whiskey selections and makes sure he makes it into bed still possessed of his wallet and his watch.

She saves the “I told you so’s” until the next day. That’s what best friends are for. What she doesn’t say is that she wanted to crawl into that bed with him. And that she always has.

But that she has never been willing to settle for being another notch on his bedpost. That being Nick’s friend was a much better deal.

But that it isn’t enough any more. She’s tired of waiting for him to be between bimbos so that he has time to spend with her. She’s ready to give up.

Cassie’s New Year’s Resolution is to get over Nick. Once and for all.

However, now that Nick has shed his last and final bimbo, his eyes are open to the truth that’s been beside him all along. Nick’s New Year’s Resolution seems to be to get together with Cassie. Once and for all.

No matter how many miles and tow trucks and stolen purses it takes.

Escape Rating A-: When It’s Right is just right. Like kissing the right person at midnight on New Year’s Eve. It’s a perfect “feel good” romance and ends with the fizz and sparkle of New Year’s champagne.

There’s a tiny part of me that is just the teensiest disappointed that the story wasn’t longer. That we don’t see Nate kiss some of the frogettes, and watch Cassie struggle with the angst of coming to her New Year’s resolution. It might be great to watch their friendship develop into the awesome thing it is. It is definitely awesome and Jeanette Grey lets us see that awesomeness.

But the story ends exactly where it should. With the promise of a sparkly new beginning. Just like the New Year.

***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 11-24-13

Sunday Post

It’s very timey-wimey that the 50th anniversaries of the assassination of John F. Kennedy and Doctor Who share a weekend. They did in 1963, too. In 1963, JFK was killed on Friday, November 22, and Doctor Who premiered on Saturday, November 23. In 1963, there was considerably more attention paid to the assassination of a U.S. President.

In 2013, I’m not so sure.

200px-John_F._Kennedy,_White_House_color_photo_portraitIn 1963, I was 6 years old. Unlike many of my peers, I was not in school that day. I was home with tonsillitis. (I got my tonsils out just before Christmas that year). My memory of that entire weekend is of being home, sick, and that there was nothing else on television except the repeating coverage of the assassination and the funeral. I was bored and I had no one to play with. Not my finest moment, but six-year-olds are fairly selfish.

This time around it’s amazing how easy it is to ignore the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination if you only want to see the coverage of the Doctor Who 50th anniversary special. Which I haven’t seen yet, we have tickets to see it tomorrow night in a theater, but some of the reviews worry me.

Time marches on in its timey-wimey way.

Current Giveaways:

Bittersweet Magic by Nina Croft — $25 Amazon Gift Card
Seductive Powers by Rebecca Royce — $50 Amazon Gift Card
Bewitching Book Tours Hot Holiday Giveaway
Gratitude Giveaways Hop – $10 Amazon or B&N Gift Card

Winner Announcement:

The winner of The Stranger You Know by Andrea Kane is Jo J.

seductive powers by rebecca royceBlog Recap:

A- Review: Tangled Web by Crista McHugh
B Review: Forgiving Lies by Molly McAdams
D/B- Review: Countdown by Michelle Rowen (f/k/a Michelle Maddox)
B+ Review: Bittersweet Magic by Nina Croft + Giveaway
B+ Review: Highland Protector by Catherine Bybee + Giveaway
A- Review: Seductive Powers by Rebecca Royce + Giveaway


Matzoh and Mistletoe by Jodie GriffinComing Next Week:

Buying In by Laura Hemphill (review + giveaway)
In Love With a Wicked Man by Liz Carlyle (review + giveaway)
Matzoh and Mistletoe by Jodi Griffin (review)
Poisoned Web by Crista McHugh (review + giveaway)

Review: Forgiving Lies by Molly McAdams

Forgiving Lies by Molly McAdamsFormat read: ebook provided by Edelweiss
Formats available: ebook, paperback
Genre: Romantic Suspense; New Adult Romance
Series: Forgiving Lies, #1
Length: 371 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Date Released: October 29, 2013
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Book Depository

A matter of secrets …

Undercover cop Logan “Kash” Ryan can’t afford a distraction like his new neighbor Rachel Masters, even if she’s the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen. To catch a serial killer, he needs to stay focused, yet all he can think about is the feisty, long-legged coed whose guarded nature intrigues him.

A matter of lies …

Deceived and hurt before, Rachel would rather be a single, crazy cat lady than trust another guy, especially a gorgeous, tattooed bad boy with a Harley, like Kash. But when his liquid-steel eyes meet hers, it takes all of Rachel’s willpower to stop herself from exploring his hot body with her own.

A matter of love …

As much as they try to keep it platonic, the friction between them sparks an irresistible heat that soon consumes them. Can Kash keep Rachel’s heart and her life safe even as he risks his own? Will she be able to forgive his lies … or will she run when she discovers the dangerous truth?

My Review:

I didn’t know that “New Adult Romantic Suspense” was actually a thing. Apparently it is now, because Forgiving Lies definitely is one. Is it EVER!

It’s entirely possible this book should come with a trigger warning. The stuff that happens to Rachel was seriously creepy. For a book that is being marketed as New Adult, very bad shit happens to Rachel, and not just in the past that she is getting over, but within the story itself.

And readers should definitely be warned that this story is not complete. We think we’ve reached a happy ending, and then the rug gets totally pulled out from under us. Forgiving Lies does not end, but stops on a horrifying cliffhanger of the awful suspense type.

Lest anyone think I’m revealing the ending, I don’t feel I am because I don’t feel like I got an ending. I feel like I got left in mid-air, dangling. The next book in the series, Deceiving Lies, won’t be published until March 2014, and I’m biting my nails here.

If you hate hanging off cliffs, wait until the next book. It IS worth the wait.

But about those Forgiving Lies

There are certainly more than enough of those to go around in this story, and not all of them are actually forgivable.

Kash and Mason are undercover cops in Tampa Bay Florida. When their cover gets blown, they need to lay low and out of town for a while, until the kingpin who has put a price on their heads goes to jail. Their captain sends them to Austin, Texas to work undercover as part of team hunting for a serial killer.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, the women living in the apartment across the hall from them in Austin are Rachel and Candice. This is where everything goes both right and wrong. Candice seems to be a typical bubble-headed, self-centered cheerleader, and Rachel is a woman with too much pain and too many secrets.

Candice and Mason spend the summer as friends-with-benefits, although Mason turns out to be just one of Candice’s many summer playtoys.

But Kash spends the summer not just befriending Rachel, but getting closer to her, even though he knows that he shouldn’t become involved with anyone while he’s undercover.

Rachel’s mixture of pain, vulnerability, bravery and beauty is more than he can resist. When he finally discovers the nature of the ordeal that she’s been through, he vows to protect her in any way that she’ll let him.

He can’t stop himself from falling in love with her, even though he knows there’s a risk that she’ll run when he reveals that he’s been deceiving her the whole summer.

The real surprise is that Kash and Logan’s case has been about Rachel all along.

Escape Rating B: There are some terrific things about this story that made it well worth reading for me. And then there were other factors that drove me insane.

The love story between Kash and Rachel is both heart-warming and sexy. It’s not the typical good girl takes a walk on the wild side, or bad boy is reformed by sweet girl, in spite of what the book summary might lead you to believe. Kash is a cop who enjoys working undercover. He may look like a bad boy, but he is definitely a hero.

Rachel is a strong young woman who is hiding an intense amount of damage. Her parents were killed in an accident and she has never dealt with the grief. Then she was nearly raped by someone she knew and no one believes her. Even worse, her supposed best friend thinks she’s lying and believes her attacker. In fact, she set up the attack, and continues to enable Rachel’s attacker.

Rachel is being stalked by her attacker, and she is certain that no one will believe her. That’s where Kash enters her life.

Even though he doesn’t reveal that he’s a cop, he does reveal himself. And he finally convinces Rachel to do most of the same.

She hides the name of her stalker/attacker, because she doesn’t want Kash to kill him. Kash hides that he’s an undercover cop. They’re pretty even on secrets, and those secrets nearly get Rachel and everyone she loves killed.

The problem character in this story is Rachel’s roommate and supposed best friend, Candice. While I can understand that Candice might believe the best of her cousin, and he’s the man who attacks Rachel in the beginning of the book, what I can’t understand is either her self-centered attitude or Rachel’s willingness to tolerate it. Candice repeatedly locks Rachel out of their entire apartment for the entire night whenever she has a hookup. The entire night! Candice demonstrates a constant disregard for Rachel’s feelings and well-being except when it’s convenient for Candice. Candice’s behavior and attitude result in Rachel’s original attack and assists with the stalking. According to the story, they have BFFs since grade school, but it seems to only go one way.

Kash and Rachel’s love story is wonderful. Kash’s cop buddy Mason is a terrific friend to both of them (and I hope he gets his own story!) But there’s that cliffhanger that steals the ending of the story. There should have been a huge warning label for that.

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.