Wednesday, May 24, 2017

New Release + Giveaway! Chance at Redemption by Samatha Harris

I am so excited to share Chance at Redemption - and the giveaway where you can win the entire series! I actually discovered this series through a giveaway when I won a copy of the first book. And I loved it! When it was time for the second book to release I jumped at the chance to take part in the blog tour. And now I'm so happy to be sharing the third and final book in the Madison Square series. While the books can easily be read as stand alone novels, I would urge you to read all three books so you don't miss any of the fun! 

Chance at Redemption
Samatha Harris
(Madison Square #3)
Published by: Limitless Publishing
Publication date: May 23rd 2017
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Gwen Stevens had a privileged life until her father spoke three little words that turned her world upside down. “You’re cut off.” 
Broke and desperate, Gwen is forced to accept a waitressing job, but this glimmer of hope has a price. As if being a cocktail waitress isn’t bad enough, she has to do it in a dive bar called The Den, and her bad luck doesn’t stop there. She also needs to deal with the new owner, a blue-eyed, self-righteous ass determined to make her life miserable. 
Liam Sinclair walked away from the entitlement and obligation his family planned for him, vowing to make his own way in the world… 
Adjusting to life as a new business owner, Liam has experienced more than his fair share of setbacks. When his only waitress breaks her leg, his sister takes it upon herself to hire a replacement—a spoiled, self-indulgent hothead with too much makeup and more than enough attitude. Gwen represents the world he’s trying to escape, a world of excess and greed that he was never cut out for. 
Appearances can be deceiving, and first impressions aren’t always right… 
Despite their apparent differences, the tension between them turns to a fiery passion that neither of them can resist. Together they find balance and learn to appreciate the simpler things in life. But Gwen soon discovers that old habits die hard, and one mistake is all it takes to ruin everything. 
Forgiveness must be earned, but even a villain deserves a chance at redemption…
When Gwen finds herself cut off from her oh-so-privileged lifestyle she is furious. How dare her father do this to her?! Needing to pay her bills until she can cajole herself back into her father's good graces, Grace accepts a job offer from a stranger. A waitressing job. At a dive bar. So beneath her.

Liam is the new owner of The Den and when Gwen walks in to his bar he knows she's nothing but trouble. Unfortunately, his sister offered Gwen a job without his knowledge and he's in desperate need of a waitress. So he agrees to a trial run. Heaven help him.

Let me just lay this out there: Gwen isn't likable - at first. Nor is she meant to be. She is spoiled, snobbish, and expectant - with a bad attitude to match. And watching as Liam put the poor little rich girl in her place, time and time again, was priceless. Liam also grew up surrounded by wealth and privilege but wanted no part of the expectations that came with it. So he had Gwen pegged from the start and constantly called her on her diva tendencies. It provided so much humor and I loved the snarky banter between them. 

The evolution of the relationship between Liam and Gwen was an absolute joy. Their dynamic was explosive and just jumped off the page. I have to admit I was nervous to read about Gwen as a main character because I remember her well from the first book in the series. No way was I going to be able to pull for Gwen! Shame on me for doubting Samatha Harris because at her skillful hand Gwen experienced the kind of character growth that had my heart aching for her while cheering for her happy ending. 

In addition to Liam and Gwen, there is a excellent cast of secondary characters that are richly drawn and add much to the story. Liam's friends, the other bar employee's, Gwen's family... they all combine seamlessly to make a complete story that had me hooked. Those that have read the previous books will be thrilled with the inclusion of characters they already know and love.

Chance at Redemption is told in dual first-person points of view and I loved getting the his-and-her perspectives. Both voices were unique and completely believable. So often in dual POV I find myself with a strong preference for one voice over another. Not so here. I was completely invested in both characters and appreciated each perspective. 

Fans of contemporary romance will love this story of forgiveness, second chances and starting over. Samatha Harris has created a cast of characters that are so genuine and so relatable that you'll want to inhale all three books - and then ask for more. 

Samatha “Sam” Harris lives near Baltimore, Maryland with her husband David and daughter Ava. Born in Florida, she migrated north which most people agree was a little backwards. She has been an artist all of her life, a Tattoo Artist for more than ten years, and a storyteller since she was a kid. 
Sam has a slightly unhealthy love for Frank Sinatra, classic movies, and Jazz and Blues music, but her first love will always be reading. From Romance, to Thrillers, to Historical Fiction and everything in between, she loves to become a part of the story. As a writer she tells the stories that she would want to read.


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Summer TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme 

There are so many books I hope to get to this summer. 
Some new releases, some older... but I'm excited for them all!

Until It Fades - K.A. Tucker | Good Boy - Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy | Alex, Approximately - Jenn Bennett
Wish You Were Here - Renee Carlino | Anna and the French Kiss - Stephanie Perkins
All Closed Off - Cora Carmack | Who Do You Love - Jennifer Weiner | The Edge of Never - J.A. Redmerski
Under the Lights - Abbi Glines | Amour Amour - Krista & Becca Ritchie

What's at the top of your Summer TBR?  

Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Sunday Post #56

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
It's a chance to share news - a post to recap the past week on your blog, 
showcase books and things we have received, and share news about what is
coming up on your blog in the week ahead. You can find the info here:

We got some much-needed rain today and more is on the way. Wildfires in the surrounding areas have been impacting our air quality for weeks (smoke and ash in the air) so hopefully the rain will go a long way in helping the firefighters.

The Husband and I went to see Everything Everything today. It fell into the good-not-great category for me. I felt like it was missing the charm of the book but that was to no fault of the actors (Amandla Stenberg and Nick Robinson were wonderful). I just wasn't a fan of some of the earlier scenes and wished Maddy and Olly's text conversations had been presented differently.But it was still a pretty solid adaptation. Did anyone else go see it this weekend?

Tuesday, May 16
Best in Books | April 2017

Wednesday, May 17
Top 5 Wednesday:
Books with a Summer Vibe

Friday, May 19
Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

Making Faces - Amy Harmon

Torn (Wicked Saga #2) - Jennifer L. Armentrout
Vision in Silver (AUDIO) - Anne Bishop
A Court of Mist and Fury (AUDIO) - Sarah J. Maas
(A little refresher before I dive into ACOWAR)

The Crown's Fate - Evelyn Skye
(Because I've been waiting for almost a year)
The Upside of Unrequited - Becky Albertalli
(Because I just had to have a physical copy - in addition to the e-arc)

How to Save a Life - Emma Scott
(Because it sounds so intriguing)
Like a Memory - Abbi Glines
(Because it's Abbi Glines)

How was your week? Any new books? Any news to share? 
You know I want to hear about it! :)

Friday, May 19, 2017

Review: Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

Series: Wintersong #1

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retelling

Release Date: February 7, 2017

Format: Kindle

Source: Overdrive library loan

Find it here: GoodReads | Amazon

All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, Mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. But when her sister Kathe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her. The Goblin King agrees to let Kathe go - for a price. In exchange for her sister's freedom, Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the Goblin King and he accepts.

Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her - musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl's life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the Goblin King's bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn just what it is they are willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world.

It's not often that I reach for fantasy. It's just not my genre. But every now and then a synopsis jumps out at me and I set aside my contemporaries for a walk into another world. (And naturally the mention of the Goblin King gave me David Bowie vibes in all his 1980's, eye-linered, choppy-haired, singing glory as Goblin King Jareth. - See: Labyrinth) Reading that Jae-Jones initially started Wintersong as a sort of Labyrinth retelling sealed the deal.

What I got from Wintersong was a mixed bag. Some things I loved, some not so much. While I caught only minor nods to Labyrinth, there was still plenty to enjoy. On the plus side, Liesl was not the typical beautiful YA heroine (finally!). She was described (many times) as plain - the homely sister of the village beauty. Thumbs up for having a lead who was not the devastatingly pretty girl that everyone fawned over. It made it easier to relate to Liesl's feelings of desire: the desire to be the pretty one, the desire to be special, the desire to be the one who garnered all the attention. Like the attention of the Goblin King. And he is where the real story and the real draw was for me. The Goblin King was so mysterious, so complex, and so enigmatic that I was desperate to know more. I would have loved to have had a dual POV in this one - to be inside the Goblin King's head. The mere thought makes me giddy. 

Despite my fascination with the Goblin King, Wintersong wasn't without its problems. There were a lot of times where I was just plain confused - trying to determine what was really happening, what was just a dream or hallucination, what it all meant. And I don't know if that was due to the execution, the writing style, or maybe it was just me. The writing had a hazy, dreamy sort of quality that, while beautiful, too often left me scratching my head wondering what exactly was happening. In addition, the in-depth passages about musical composition were so detailed and so frequent that it became tedious. As someone with no musical training or ability, it all went right over my head and was wasted on me. 

I will say that the ending got to me. It wasn't what I wanted or expected and therefore wasn't really satisfying, but it was emotional and left me a bit heartsick. So, despite the slow pace of this one (a lot of detail without a lot happening), I have no doubt that I will pick up the next book to learn the fate of Liesl and the Goblin King. 

3.25/5 STARS

Have you read Wintersong? What did you think?

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Top 5 Wednesday: The Summer Vibe

Top 5 Wednesday was created by Lainey at GingerReadsLainey.
Click HERE for a complete list of participants and future topics.
This week's Top 5 Wednesday topic is all about summer. 
I'm going with books I've read that have a summer vibe. 

I'll Meet You ThereHeather Demetrios
Demetrios created a setting that was so realistic that I could almost feel the stifling heat inside Sky's trailer and see it shimmering off the pavement of the parking lot at the motel where she worked. 

Summer Sisters
Judy Blume
It's been almost 20 years since I read this one but I still remember how engrossed I was in this story of two friends who bonded every summer on Martha's Vineyard and how the book spanned years in their lives. Such a perfect beach read.

Fallen Too Far
Abbi Glines
The Rosemary Beach series is like my own form of book crack. They also scream summer to me. They're fast reads (most of them under 250 pages), they're addictive, and they're fun. 

The Edge of Juniper
Lora Richardson
I read this YA contemporary last summer after being approached by the author (always dicey) and ended up falling in love with this story. Taking place over the course of a summer, Fay is visiting her cousin in Juniper Indiana in what what becomes a pivotal summer in all their lives.

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
Ann Brashares
This whole series is based on a group of girls who, after being together all their lives, now find themselves spending the summer apart. I've reread the series a couple times and have mixed feelings about it, but it's still a quintessential YA summer read.

What book just screams summer to you?

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Best In Books | April 2017

Best in Books is a monthly feature created by BookTuber Hope Ortego
A playlist of her Best In Books videos can be found HERE.

Welcome to my Best in Books for April! Yeah, I'm a little late this month but better late than never. Maybe? Best in Books was created by my friend Hope and she was kind enough to let me join in on her feature (because she's awesome that way). Her BookTube channel is linked above and I hope you'll check her out. Now on to all the best bookishness in April...

Meg from Murder of Crows
Not only do I find The Others series to be unique and original, I feel the same about protagonist Meg Corbyn. Because of what she is, a cassandra sangue (or blood prophet), Meg maintains an almost child-like innocence and sweetness. Add that to the fact that she is new to navigating the world around her (after being held in a compound up to this point), and Meg is naive and many experiences are completely new to her. Despite all this, Meg maintains an almost dogged determination to learn, to understand, and to make a life for herself. She is so kind, she completely charms those around her, and I love reading about this sweet young woman. 

Nick from Forever With You 
Nick had been something of a mystery throughout other books in the series (it didn't help that I read the last couple out of order). So I loved getting his story and understanding who he was. He found himself in such unfamiliar territory when it came to his relationship with Stephanie, and yes he had a few missteps along the way, but when things got real he was amazingly supportive, said all the right things and basically was everything she needed. It was obvious Nick loved and adored Stephanie long before the actual words were said. Armentrout has always written book boyfriends that I love and Nick was no exception.

Wicked by Jennifer L. Armentrout
I re-read Wicked last month in anticipation of picking up the second book in the series and was reminded of how much I love Tink. The little brownie stole every scene he was in and provided such comic relief.

Grabbing a scarf off the chair, I threw it at him. 

He caught it, clutching it to his chest as he flew into the air. "You gave Tink a scarf. Tink is free!" He flew out into the hallway like a little cracked-out fairy, screeching, "Tink is freeeeee!"

Ren looked at me. "What the actual f**k?"

I sighed. "He's obsessed with Harry Potter. I'm sorry."

Tink darted back into the room, holding the scarf to his bare chest. "There is no reason to apologize when it comes to Harry Potter."

"You do remember what happened to Dobby, right?" I said.

"S**t." Tink's eyes widened and he dropped the scarf.

The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay
Not exactly a plot twist. And The Sea of Tranquility might not typically be a book you think of when it comes to twists and turns. But an OMG! Moment? Oh yes. The last two words in the book, actually. It made perfect sense, and there was a feeling of coming full-circle, but I also never saw it coming. Those last two words made my jaw drop. And I loved it.

Always by Sarah Jio

I downloaded the audio version of Always on a whim after seeing Grace at Rebel Mommy Book Blog review it. While I did have a couple issues with it (full review coming soon), overall I truly enjoyed this story of second chances and love that lasts. I loved the shifting timeline, I loved the mystery aspect, and I truly loved Cade. I'm so glad I took a chance on this one.
it rode in on
Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

This took a little bit of thought because I had some really enjoyable reads in April, but Letters to the Lost was so much more than I was expecting. Kemmerer had me completely invested in the two main characters and my heart ached for their struggles. Tackling issues of grief and guilt, Letters to the Lost wasn't maudlin and didn't become mired down in schmaltz. Instead it showed the the loneliness and isolation grief could cause but also the healing power of reaching out and human connection. Add in the amazing character development and Letters to the Lost was a real stand-out read.  

Now it's your turn: What was the best book you read in April?