Releases and Recommendations: The Bourbon Kings by J.R. Ward

It’s Tuesday! The wonderful day books are released to the world!

Today, I’m anticipating the release of The Bourbon Kings by J.R. Ward, which will be released on Tuesday, July 28, 2015.

23355896The #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Black Dagger Brotherhood delivers the first novel in an enthralling new series set amid the shifting dynamics of a Southern family defined by wealth and privilege—and compromised by secrets, deceit, and scandal….

For generations, the Bradford family has worn the mantle of kings of the bourbon capital of the world. Their sustained wealth has afforded them prestige and privilege—as well as a hard-won division of class on their sprawling estate, Easterly. Upstairs, a dynasty that by all appearances plays by the rules of good fortune and good taste. Downstairs, the staff who work tirelessly to maintain the impeccable Bradford facade. And never the twain shall meet.

For Lizzie King, Easterly’s head gardener, crossing that divide nearly ruined her life. Falling in love with Tulane, the prodigal son of the bourbon dynasty, was nothing that she intended or wanted—and their bitter breakup only served to prove her instincts were right. Now, after two years of staying away, Tulane is finally coming home again, and he is bringing the past with him. No one will be left unmarked: not Tulane’s beautiful and ruthless wife; not his older brother, whose bitterness and bad blood know no bounds; and especially not the ironfisted Bradford patriarch, a man with few morals, fewer scruples, and many, many terrible secrets.

As family tensions—professional and intimately private—ignite, Easterly and all its inhabitants are thrown into the grips of an irrevocable transformation, and only the cunning will survive.

I’m trying not to hyperventilate, because it’s a NEW SERIES FROM J.R. WARD!!!!!! I am so flippin’ excited. She has such a unique writing style and her characters are so badass and one-of-a-kind. I’m ready to delve into the world of The Bourbon Kings. It’ll be interesting to see what J.R. Ward does with simple human beings. Or will they be more than that? I guess I’ll have to wait and see!

Advertisements

Love, In Spanish by Karina Halle

Love, In Spanish is the sequel to Karina Halle’s Love, In English and it’s told from Mateo’s point of view. It’s not a retelling but a continuation of Mateo and Vera’s story.

22470287The companion to the highly emotional, scandalous and USA Today Bestselling love story – LOVE, IN ENGLISH – is finally here! Love, in Spanish is a Love, in English follow-up novel told from Mateo Casalles’ POV. While Love, in Spanish touches on some events that happened in LIE (you know the ones!) it is a whole new story set a year later that continues with Vera and Mateo’s “happily ever after.”

Note: It should be read after Love, in English and it is mostly new material (aka not just rehash of LIE).

***
“She sat beside me on the bus – and she changed my whole life.”

Successful, wealthy and absurdly handsome – Spanish ex-football player Mateo Casalles seemed like he had it all. A high-society wife, an adorable little girl, and flashy apartments in Madrid and Barcelona only sweetened the deal. But there was more to Mateo than met the eye – a life of uncertainty and regret that colored his black and white world.

That was until Vera Miles came into his life like a shooting star. Tattooed, wild and young, Vera seemed like Mateo’s polar opposite at first. But you can’t choose who you fall in love with and the two lost souls did everything they could to be together, all while suffering the grave consequences.

Now with Mateo divorced and living in Madrid with Vera, there is a whole new set of challenges and setbacks facing the couple and rocking the foundation of their star-crossed relationship.

Unfortunately for them, the brighter the star, the faster they burn.

The first book in this series was an emotional roller coaster and seeing the hardships of their relationship from Mateo’s perspective is very interesting, because you get the older man falling for a younger woman perspective. However, because it was told from his older (and more boring) point of view, the book lacked the same spice and passion.

I liked hearing what happened between them, but the book itself was too mundane day-to-day stuff. I wasn’t a fan of the mama drama stuff (however, that was probably very realistic). Mateo is still a nice sweet guy and I’m glad that him and Vera get a happy ever after, but it wasn’t on par with the first book.

STARS: 3.5 out of 5

Love, In English by Karina Halle

Love, In English by Karina Halle was a tumultuous journey and I enjoyed every painful second.

21899546He’s thirty-eight. I’m twenty-three.

He speaks Spanish. I speak English.

He lives in Spain. I live in Canada.

He dresses in thousand-dollar suits. I’m covered in tattoos.

He’s married and has a five-year old daughter.

I’m single and can’t commit to anyone or anything.

Until now. Because when they say you can’t choose who you fall in love with, boy ain’t that the f*#king truth.

***

To a restless dreamer like Vera Miles, it sounded like the experience of a lifetime. Instead of spending her summer interning for her astronomy major, she would fly to Spain where she’d spend a few weeks teaching conversational English to businessmen and women, all while enjoying free room and board at an isolated resort. But while Vera expected to get a tan, meet new people and stuff herself with wine and paella, she never expected to fall in love.

Mateo Casalles is unlike anyone Vera has ever known, let alone anyone she’s usually attracted to. While Vera is a pierced and tatted free spirit with a love for music and freedom, Mateo is a successful businessman from Madrid, all sharp suits and cocky Latino charm. Yet, as the weeks go on, the two grow increasingly close and their relationship changes from purely platonic to something…more.

Something that makes Vera feel alive for the first time.


Something that can never, ever be.

Or so she thinks.

I’m not usually an affair with a married man trope kind of girl. In fact, any kind of book about cheating is usually a huge turn off and I never pick the book up. (Especially after surviving Thoughtless.) However, I heard such great things about this book and I enjoyed the excerpt I read.

I loved this novel because it was realistic. This was a messy situation where love must conquer all including a move half-way across the world and dealing with scorned ex-wifes. I’m getting ahead of myself. Vera was a realistic twenty-something who sleeps around and tries to find herself in an adventure to Spain. Mateo is a realistic older man with a family, a job, responsibilities and feels so weighed down by it all that his heart is crushed by the pressure. When these two meet, it’s like fireworks.

Normally, they would meet and live happily ever after but not here. Vera does everything in her power to forget and get away from Mateo and her feelings since he’s married. Mateo goes back and forth between caution and complete abandon. The forbidden tension between them was wonderful and once they finally decide to get together an appropriate (and realistic!) amount of time goes by. I fell in love with these two.

I could so relate to the “camp” feel of the teaching English trip. It really does feel like you’ve known everyone for a lifetime after a few short weeks. This book was heart-wrenching and heart-breaking. But the ending was satisfying.

If you like turbulent love stories with realistic characters who have passionate chemistry, this book is for you. Give it a try.

STARS: 5 out of 5

Releases and Recommendations: Tracked by Jenny Martin

It’s Tuesday! The wonderful day that books are released to the world.

Today, I’m anticipating the release of Tracked by Jenny Martin, which will be released on Tuesday, May 5, 2015.

23281932The Fast and the Furious gets a futuristic twist in this action-packed debut!

On corporately controlled Castra, rally racing is a high-stakes game that seventeen-year-old Phoebe Van Zant knows all too well. Phee’s legendary racer father disappeared mysteriously, but that hasn’t stopped her from speeding headlong into trouble. When she and her best friend, Bear, attract the attention of Charles Benroyal, they are blackmailed into racing for Benroyal Corp, a company that represents everything Phee detests. Worse, Phee risks losing Bear as she falls for Cash, her charming new teammate. But when she discovers that Benroyal is controlling more than a corporation, Phee realizes she has a much bigger role in Castra’s future than she could ever have imagined. It’s up to Phee to take Benroyal down. But even with the help of her team, can a street-rat destroy an empire?

It had me at “Fast and Furious.” I loved those movies and my husband is a car guy so I have a (somewhat forced) fascination with racing. This book looks so good and the preliminary reviews are positive. I’m also ready for another badass heroine that races cars.

Perfect Kind of Trouble by Chelsea Fine

As a fan of Chelsea Fine and the finding fate series, I was really looking forward to Perfect Kind of Trouble, book two in the series.

18656446Sometimes when perfect falls apart, a little trouble fixes everything . . .

Twenty-one-year-old Kayla Turner has lost everything. After spending most of her life taking care of her ailing mother, she just wants to spot a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. So when her late father-a man she barely knew-leaves her an inheritance, she finally breathes a sigh of relief . . . until she learns the inheritance comes with strings. Strings in the form of handsome playboy Daren Ackwood, her father’s protégé. To see any of her inheritance, she’s forced to team up with him. From his expensive car to those sexy dimples, Kayla’s seen his type before. But Daren isn’t who he seems to be . . .

Struggling to make amends for his family’s mistakes, Daren has a life more Oliver Twist than Richie Rich these days. He’s beyond grateful that James Turner included him in his will, but working with Turner’s princess of a daughter to fulfill his cryptic last wish is making Daren wonder if being broke is really so bad. Still, she’s just as beautiful as she is stubborn, and the more time he spends with Kayla, the less it feels right being without her. Soon Daren and Kayla begin to wonder if maybe the best gift Kayla’s dad could have left them . . . was each other.

I’ve really grown to love the characters that Fine creates. She likes to create arrogant male leads and spitfire heroines and I’m totally on board with that. The premise of this book was so much fun. The scavenger hunt for the mysterious inheritance that may be one dollar or a million dollars was great and having both Kayla and Daren handcuffed together made the whole adventure hilarious. The sexual tension between them sizzled throughout the entire journey and the payoff in the end made it all worth it.

The progression of Kayla’s feelings about her father and discovering all she thought was true was actually lies was heartbreaking. The character growth for both characters was painful but necessary and brought them closer together. Their individual obstacles were actually the same with being broke and practically homeless. Watching them work together to reach the end of the scavenger hunt was heartwarming.

Perfect Kind of Trouble was a satisfying, sigh-worthy romance that was an awesome continuation of the Finding Fate series. The next book, Right Kind of Wrong, will follow another character in the Finding Fate series but this time it’s stubborn Jenna and the tattooed hottie, Jack. (See what I mean about arrogant male leads and spitfire heroines!) I can’t wait to read the next book in this series.

STARS: 5 out of 5

Sacrifice by Brigid Kemmerer

Note: I reviewed the first book in this series Storm but I read the rest of the series so fast that this review for the last book is basically a review for the whole series.

I’m still reeling from the last book in Brigid Kemmerer’s Elemental series. I liked Sacrifice but I was also left wanting. I’m not sure if there are plans to continue the series, but there are no more brothers to talk about unless it’s continued with the newer character Irish (whom I was mysteriously intrigued by).

17149158Earth. Fire. Air. Water.

One misstep and they lose it all. For the last time.

Michael Merrick understands pressure. He’s the only parent his three brothers have had for years. His power to control Earth could kill someone if he miscalculates. Now an Elemental Guide has it in for his family, and he’s all that stands in the way.

His girlfriend, Hannah, understands pressure too. She’s got a child of her own, and a job as a firefighter that could put her life in danger at any moment.

But there are people who have had enough of Michael’s defiance, his family’s ‘bad luck’. Before he knows it, Michael’s enemies have turned into the Merricks’ enemies, and they’re armed for war.

They’re not interested in surrender. But Michael isn’t the white flag type anyway. Everything is set for the final showdown.

Four elements, one family. Will they hold together, or be torn apart?

Kemmerer does not back down from tough content. She talks about real life issues in a very realistic way. Things such as drugs, sexual orientation, rape and death, Kemmerer faces them all head on and I love her for it. For a story about supernatural powers, this series is surprisingly human, emotionally driven and based on a family foundation.

I loved these brothers. All so very different and I commend Kemmerer for creating such unique characters that were similar enough to be brothers but different enough to create and maintain their own storylines within the series. I think Gabriel’s story was my favorite because it was laugh out loud funny. I wanted more from Michael’s story but it was so very raw and emotional. Nick’s had such great growth and triumph, and who could forget Chris, whose story started it all. Hunter was also such an amazing and deep character.

I highly recommend this series to anyone who likes character driven stories with sweet romances and heart-pounding action scenes. I fell in love with the Merrick family and you will too.

STARS: 4 out of 5

Cover Reveal: Minutes Before Sunset by Shannon A. Thompson

I am so honored to be presenting the new cover for the second edition of Shannon A. Thompson’s Minutes Before Sunset published with Clean Teen Publishing. It will be released on July 28, 2015.

Without further ado…

Cover

Two destines. One death.

“Her kiss could kill us, and my consent signed our death certificates.”

Eric Welborn isn’t completely human, but he isn’t the only shade in the small Midwest town of Hayworth. With one year left before his eighteenth birthday, Eric is destined to win a long-raging war for his kind. But then she happens. In the middle of the night, Eric meets a nameless shade, and she’s powerful—too powerful—and his beliefs are altered. The Dark has lied to him, and he’s determined to figure out exactly what lies were told, even if the secrets protect his survival.

Jessica Taylor moves to Hayworth, and her only goal is to find more information on her deceased biological family. Her adoptive parents agree to help on one condition: perfect grades. And Jessica is distraught when she’s assigned as Eric’s class partner. He won’t help, let alone talk to her, but she’s determined to change him—even if it means revealing everything he’s strived to hide.

I read (and LOVED!) Minutes Before Sunset when it first came out. Here’s a snippet of my review:

“This book was brilliant, original and romantic. This is a timeless love story with incredible character growth, action and twists of fate.”

Going back and reading my review made me laugh, because the ONLY issue I had with the book was the cover. And I LOVE the new cover. It better represents what the book is about. I asked for a bit more edge and this cover is definitely edgy! I’m in love with the purple!

About the Author:

pic1Shannon A. Thompson is a 23-year-old author, avid reader, and habitual chatterbox. She was merely 16 when she was first published, and a lot has happened since then. Thompson’s work has appeared in numerous poetry collections and anthologies, and her first installment of The Timely Death Trilogy became Goodreads Book of the Month. She is currently represented by Clean Teen Publishing, and Minutes Before Sunset releases on July 28, 2015.

As a novelist, poet, and blogger, Thompson spends her free time writing and sharing ideas with her black cat named after her favorite actor, Humphrey Bogart. Between writing and befriending cats, she graduated from the University of Kansas with a bachelor’s degree in English, and she travels whenever the road calls her.

Visit her blog for writers and readers at www.ShannonAThompson.com.