Releases and Recommendations: Twist by Kylie Scott

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

Today, I’m anticipating the release of Twist by Kylie Scott, which will be released on Tuesday, November 22, 2016.

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When his younger brother loses interest in online dating, hot, bearded, bartender extraordinaire, Joe Collins, only intends to log into his account and shut it down. Until he reads about her.

Alex Parks is funny, friendly, and pretty much everything he’s been looking for in a woman. And in no time at all they’re emailing up a storm, telling each other their deepest darkest secrets… apart from the one that really matters.

And when it comes to love, serving it straight up works better than with a twist.

I’ve been traveling a lot recently and binge-listened to Kylie Scott’s Stage Dive series, which was wonderfully entertaining. Scott’s writing style is funny, heartwarming, and steamy. So it was a no-brainer to continue on with the spin-off Dive Bar series. Twist is the second book in the series, and I’m very interested in hearing Joe’s story. (I was secretly hoping for Nell’s story, but I’m sure that will come eventually.) However, I am super intrigued by this online dating relationship. Is he going to pretend to be his younger brother? All I know is with Kylie Scott I can expect it to be hilarious.

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Starflight by Melissa Landers

I received Starflight by Melisa Landers in my monthly Uppercase Box.

21793182Life in the outer realm is a lawless, dirty, hard existence, and Solara Brooks is hungry for it. Just out of the orphanage, she needs a fresh start in a place where nobody cares about the engine grease beneath her fingernails or the felony tattoos across her knuckles. She’s so desperate to reach the realm that she’s willing to indenture herself to Doran Spaulding, the rich and popular quarterback who made her life miserable all through high school, in exchange for passage aboard the spaceliner Zenith.

When a twist of fate lands them instead on the Banshee, a vessel of dubious repute, Doran learns he’s been framed on Earth for conspiracy. As he pursues a set of mysterious coordinates rumored to hold the key to clearing his name, he and Solara must get past their enmity to work together and evade those out for their arrest. Life on the Banshee may be tumultuous, but as Solara and Doran are forced to question everything they once believed about their world—and each other—the ship becomes home, and the eccentric crew family. But what Solara and Doran discover on the mysterious Planet X has the power to not only alter their lives, but the existence of everyone in the universe…

Starflight met every one of my expectations based on the synopsis. The world building, or galaxy-building really, was on point and it hit the spot as far as my sci-fi fix. I immediately fell into Solara’s world and enjoyed the different organizations gunning for their ship, whether it was the enforcers or black-market pirates.

The slow burn romance between Solara and Doran was perfect. Their enemies-to-friends-to-lovers story was entertaining and sweet. There is a lot going on in this book, but their story took center stage. The occupants of the Banshee have their own secrets that slowly unravel as Solara and Doran try to guard their own as they make their way to the outer realm.

My favorite scene in the whole book was the pirate challenge. I don’t want to give anything away but it’s a huge turning point for Solara and Doran. It was exciting, leaving me breathless in anticipation. It was very well-written.

The overall themes of second chances and family really shine in this novel. It’s the first book in a series so there were a lot of things left open-ended. With the many plot strings left to play with, I can tell that this series can build into something epic. There is more than one person on the Banshee that can change the world, or worlds, as they know them and I can’t wait to watch it all unfurl.

STARS: 4. 5 of of 5

The Crown by Kiera Cass

The Crown by Kiera Cass is the much anticipated “finale” for Princess Eadlyn as she chooses the man she will marry. I’ve been a fan of the series since The Selection simply because I have an obsession with The Bachelor/Bachelorette and this is as close as I can get in the offseason. (Sidenote: I am sooooo pumped that the Bachelorette begins today!)

Unfortunately, I was deeply disappointed in this book. Let me try to break this down.

26074181When Eadlyn became the first princess of Illéa to hold her own Selection, she didn’t think she would fall in love with any of her thirty-five suitors. She spent the first few weeks of the competition counting down the days until she could send them all home. But as events at the palace force Eadlyn even further into the spotlight, she realizes that she might not be content remaining alone.

Eadlyn still isn’t sure she’ll find the fairytale ending her parents did twenty years ago. But sometimes the heart has a way of surprising you…and soon Eadlyn must make a choice that feels more impossible—and more important—than she ever imagined.

 

  1. Eadlyn spends ZERO face time with her potential suitors.

I don’t know if it’s because The Crown arrived from the Amazon Gods along with Sarah J. Maas’s massive The Court of Mist and Fury, but The Crown was a tiny book (only 279 pages). With Eadlyn only going on one, maybe two(?), dates in the entire novel, this book should have been longer or filled with more face time for the suitors. I understand she’s a princess and has responsibilities blah, blah, blah, but I was unable to root for a potential suitor when there was no face time to understand the characters and fall in the love with them. From the previous book to this one, I forgot who was who and struggled to create an already vague connection.

  1. The ending was rushed.

I feel like this book had a hidden agenda. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not judging the things that caused a certain number of suitors to “bow out,” but the group of suitors started to drop like flies in way too bizarre and oh-so-convenient ways. Again, they were falling out of the competition before I even fully understood who they were, how they felt about Eadlyn or how Eadlyn felt about them. It was tied together too neatly. How do you dump 34 guys and not break someone’s heart? Why wasn’t Eadlyn’s heart breaking? She was too cool about everything. She didn’t show enough emotion.

  1. The events that moved the plot were a bit ridiculous.

I feel like I’m full-out hating right now, but I couldn’t get past how the entire novel is about Eadlyn being a princess who didn’t let anyone tell her what to do but she was rushed into making a decision by a lowly peasant. Ugh!

  1. For a book based on dating, there was no love.

The frontrunner for this novel comes out of nowhere. Usually, I’m a fan of the underdog, but this was totally out of left field. I do agree with her choice, but as a reader, I can only base my feelings on a few short interactions. Eadlyn was so logical and emotionally withdrawn that I hated how there was never a “follow your heart” moment. I had no idea how she was feeling about anyone until the last 20 pages. It was frustrating. I had hoped with the continuation of this series with Eadlyn’s story that we could jump on the roller coaster ride of emotions from one suitor to the next, witnessing her falling in love with multiple people. This simply did not happen. This is evident in the apathetic way each one left. Even one who “proposed” was indifferent.

  1. The Selection was just way better.

It hurts my heart to say it because, ya know, feminism, but there is a reason people prefer The Bachelor to the Bachelorette. Women fighting over a man is just more interesting. Eadlyn’s parent’s story in The Selection was great because a) you were rooting for one person, America b) there were multiple interactions plus rebels to propel the plot and c) you understood what America was feeling unlike Eadlyn. Plus, America was tasked with things to do to win the Prince’s heart. In Eadlyn’s selection, the men hang in the “parlor” all day, every day and don’t compete in anyway. There were no challenges, party-planning events or duels to the death. (Just saying, a duel would have been EPIC!)

Overall, I really wanted to like this book, but the most positive thing I can say is that at least I have closure on who she ultimately chose.

STARS: 2 out of 5

The Edge of Never by J.A. Redmerski

 

The Edge of Never by J.A. Redmerski is a book that’s been sitting on my shelf for a while, but a recent top ten post reminded me of its existence and encouraged me to finally read it. I’m so glad I did.

16081272Twenty-year-old Camryn Bennett had always been one to think out-of-the-box, who knew she wanted something more in life than following the same repetitive patterns and growing old with the same repetitive life story. And she thought that her life was going in the right direction until everything fell apart.

Determined not to dwell on the negative and push forward, Camryn is set to move in with her best friend and plans to start a new job. But after an unexpected night at the hottest club in downtown North Carolina, she makes the ultimate decision to leave the only life she’s ever known, far behind.

With a purse, a cell phone and a small bag with a few necessities, Camryn, with absolutely no direction or purpose boards a Greyhound bus alone and sets out to find herself. What she finds is a guy named Andrew Parrish, someone not so very different from her and who harbors his own dark secrets. But Camryn swore never to let down her walls again. And she vowed never to fall in love.

But with Andrew, Camryn finds herself doing a lot of things she never thought she’d do. He shows her what it’s really like to live out-of-the-box and to give in to her deepest, darkest desires. On their sporadic road-trip he becomes the center of her exciting and daring new life, pulling love and lust and emotion out of her in ways she never imagined possible. But will Andrew’s dark secret push them inseparably together, or tear them completely apart.

The glowing reviews of this book were right. It was intriguing, with its magnetic characters and unrestricted plot line. It was heart-wrenching, with its unexpected twists and deep subject matter. I felt this story. It had an impact on me and I found myself thinking about these characters long after I’d turned the last page.

I enjoyed this book, but I will say that knowing there was a sequel was a bit of spoiler for me. However, I was still misty-eyed during the big reveal at the end. I know some readers commented on the high page count for this story but it flew by for me.

My only issue was becoming briefly distracted when random “planning” –type questions popped into my brain while reading, such as where is their money coming from? For whatever reason I was more worried about whether the logistics were realistic. Granted, the point of their adventure was to be unplanned but my list-making mind could barely comprehend the concept, and I had to hold back my planning tendencies to fully enjoy the book.

Nevertheless, this novel is a good addition to the New Adult genre and I really enjoyed it.

STARS: 4 out of 5

Love in the Light by Laura Kaye

I am in love with this story.

Love in the Light by Laura Kaye is the much-anticipated sequel to Hearts in Darkness. Luckily, I didn’t have to wait as long as others because I only discovered this author last year.

25396316Two hearts in the darkness…

Makenna James and Caden Grayson have been inseparable since the day they were trapped in a pitch-black elevator and found acceptance and love in the arms of a stranger. Makenna hopes that night put them on the path to forever—which can’t happen until she introduces her tattooed, pierced, and scarred boyfriend to her father and three over-protective brothers.

Must fight for love in the light…

Haunted by a childhood tragedy and the loss of his family, Caden never thought he’d find the love he shares with Makenna. But the deeper he falls, the more he fears the devastation sure to come if he ever lost her, too. When meeting her family doesn’t go smoothly, Caden questions whether Makenna deserves someone better, stronger, and just more…normal. Maybe they’re too different—and he’s far too damaged—after all…

First, if you haven’t read the first book Hearts in Darkness, please do. It’s a five-star read that I still think about to this day, especially every time I get into an elevator.

Love in the Light was the perfect sequel. I know I wasn’t the only person who needed more of Mackenna and Caden’s story, and boy did Kaye deliver. The angst in this novel was deliciously excruciating. I was swooning, my heart was breaking and my mind was reeling as I read.

This book is only 193 pages, and it felt like a complete series. I’m still in awe of Kaye’s ability to create characters with such depth with only a handful of words. The emotions were jumping off the page. I felt Caden’s anxiety. I understood Mackenna’s decisions. Their passion for each other was evident and I wanted them to be together more than anything!

The ending was oh so satisfying and it left me sighing in contentment. I devoured this book in a day and now I feel a sense of closure to the piece of my heart that was left gaping at the end of Hearts in Darkness. I am satisfied.

STARS: 5 out of 5

Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs

Fire Touched is the ninth book in the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs. I’m a huge fan of this series and this latest installment delivered.

25776210Tensions between the fae and humans are coming to a head. And when coyote shapeshifter Mercy and her Alpha werewolf mate, Adam, are called upon to stop a rampaging troll, they find themselves with something that could be used to make the fae back down and forestall out-and-out war: a human child stolen long ago by the fae.
Defying the most powerful werewolf in the country, the humans, and the fae, Mercy, Adam, and their pack choose to protect the boy no matter what the cost. But who will protect them from a boy who is fire touched?

I love how Mercy’s world is never boring. There is always another foe or scary thing that goes bump in the night that threatens the pack, and Mercy is always down for kicking ass and taking names. I love that every book adds another character, or race, or layer of depth to the series, where Mercy adds loved ones and enemies to her ever-growing lists.

In this installment, Mercy primarily deals with the fae as various creatures affect the lives of those living in the Tri-Cities. This story had a unique premise (the fire-touched boy) and plenty of action (bloody adventure into faery). I always enjoy supernatural politics whether it be within the pack or among the Gray Lords, and this book had plenty of it.

The relationship between Adam and Mercy is constantly evolving, which, I think, is the cornerstone to these books because Mercy’s connection and love for Adam, his daughter and the pack drives all her decisions. In this book, their romance was more sweet than spicy (if you know what I mean) and I’m a little disappointed about that even though I think this book lacked nothing as a whole.

Overall, I loved it. I devoured it in less than two days and it was the fix I needed. I’m always down for more Mercy. However, I’m hoping for more vampire action next time.

STARS: 4.5 out of 5