November 29, 2013

Switched by Cassie Mae

Switched by Cassie Mae
Release Date: December 2, 2013
Publisher: Random House Flirt
Pages: 240
Series: n/a
Review Source: Netgalley

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
Ever since high school, Kayla has been crazy for gorgeous football player Talon. But before she could muster the courage to tell him, he became a hot item with her beautiful BFF, Reagan. The only person who knows Kayla’s secret is Wesley, Talon’s best bud—and he’s got it bad for Reagan. Now they’re all in college together, hanging out 24/7. For Kayla, seeing the two lovebirds together is absolutely unbearable. So Kayla and Wesley hatch a plot to drive them apart before Talon has a chance to give Reagan the Christmas gift she’s been waiting for.

Soon enough, the once happy couple is fighting. Reagan suddenly can’t get enough of Wesley’s goofy sense of humor, and Talon seems to be paying more attention to Kayla than a guy who’s “only a friend” ever should. But just when everything seems to be falling into place, Kayla and Wesley accidentally spend a night together and discover a hitch in their plan they never considered: that switching partners may not lead to a perfect ending after all.
My Thoughts:
When I picked up Switched I was in the mood for something sweet, and that’s exactly what I got. This is such a fun and romantic story, and I can easily see myself re-reading it when I’m in the mood for something that will make me happy.

The scenes with Wesley and Kayla plotting together are so cute because you can see the chemistry between them right away. What’s good is that you can also see why Kayla likes Talon, because he’s a really sweet guy. Reagan on the other hand is one character I would have liked to have seen toned down or changed a bit. She comes across as over the top and uncaring for most of the book, which is unfortunate when both Wesley and Talon are supposed to be in love with her.

I don’t think it’s too spoilery (based on the synopsis) to say that I loved Wesley and Kayla together. They’re both so oblivious for so long, but even still I loved how much they cared about each other. How they acted around each other was just precious, and their chemistry is explosive.

Kayla is a bit of a naive character, but I appreciated that. So many New Adult characters are super mature, which doesn’t always feel realistic for a university freshman. It was nice to see Kayla and Wesley be immature sometimes. The characters are so comfortable together as friends, but moving beyond that is an occasionally awkward (but totally sweet) process. I loved seeing them figure out who and what they really wanted.

If you’re looking for a completely fun and swoony friends-to-lovers romance, with a little bit of a twist, then definitely don’t pass by Switched.

The Cover:
It's not bad, but it reminds me way too much of the Losing It cover concept. I would have liked something with the two characters together, maybe sitting in front of the fire like in one scene, or something that involves the other two main characters.


Purchase Links: | | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

November 27, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (38)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where bloggers feature upcoming book releases that they're looking forward to.

This week I'm eagerly anticipating...

Landry Park
by Bethany Hagen

Publisher: Dial (Penguin)
Release Date: February 4, 2014
Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Downton Abbey meets The Selection in this dystopian tale of love and betrayal

In a fragmented future United States ruled by the lavish gentry, seventeen-year-old Madeline Landry dreams of going to the university. Unfortunately, gentry decorum and her domineering father won't allow that. Madeline must marry, like a good Landry woman, and run the family estate. But her world is turned upside down when she discovers the devastating consequences her lifestyle is having on those less fortunate. As Madeline begins to question everything she has ever learned, she finds herself increasingly drawn to handsome, beguiling David Dana. Soon, rumors of war and rebellion start to spread, and Madeline finds herself and David at the center of it all. Ultimately, she must make a choice between duty - her family and the estate she loves dearly - and desire.
Add to Goodreads

Vikki from Razorbill Canada is calling this one "nuclear Downton Abbey"... so yeah, pretty epic. Madeline sounds like a great character, and I'm looking forward to getting to know her and David.

November 26, 2013

My thoughts on the Kobo Aura

You may recall that I reviewed the Kobo Aura HD earlier this year, and absolutely loved the product. Needless to say I was excited to check out their newest eReader, the Kobo Aura.

First of all, I love how Kobo markets themselves to readers, and continues to make devices that are primarily for reading. I don't mind reading on my phone sometimes, but I like having a device that's meant strictly for books. And I like how Kobo is reaching out to the blogging community, because it just makes sense. I would trust a real review of a product from someone whose blog I follow, because they're using the device in the same way I would. They probably have similar needs and wants for an eReader, more so than a tech reviewer.

So Kobo is marketing themselves to bloggers, and appealing to book lovers, which is something I like. I was excited to check out this new device and compare it to ones I had used before, but I was even more psyched when this is what I received:

You can't really see from the photo, but the package was YA themed, with a The Perks of Being a Wallflower quote on the tag, and the items inside all related to being on a journey (slippers to keep you grounded, tumbler & tea to remind you of home, and popcorn for a snack along the way) -- very cute.

Now onto the Aura itself. I'll separate my review into categories, like I did last time.
The Screen:
Kobo describes it as "6" ClarityScreen and a high res, edge-to-edge low-glare Pearl E Ink screen". The screen on the Aura is decent, but it's not as good as the Aura HD. I mean, obviously the Aura HD has an HD in its name, which lets you know it's good. The Aura HD has 265 dpi, 1440 x 1080 resolution while the Aura has 1024 x 758, 16 level grey scale. It's an actual, considerable difference if you're used to text that's incredibly crisp and clear. In that way, it's a bit of a downgrade, though that's not to say it's not good. It's all about what you're used to.

The actual screen itself is both awesome and strange. What's awesome is how the screen is all one flat level (see more in the Body Design section), but what's strange is the screen itself. It has a "micro-thin coating for durability and even light distribution", but that coating is very visible in certain kinds of light. It looks like a glaze, and in the sunlight it makes the screen look a bit uneven. And yet other times you don't even notice it.

While the Aura HD was incredibly touch sensitive, I find the Aura to be hit or miss. Sometimes I can turn the pages with ease, and other times there's very little response, and I have to tap the screen in certain places for it to work.

Comfort Light:
I think because of the crispness of the Aura HD text, the light looks much nicer on that eReader. However, it is still a fabulous feature on the Aura, one that I use all the time. After almost 8 months of using front lit eReaders I don't think I'd ever go back to one without. I love how it doesn't hurt your eyes like a back-lit device (e.g. iPhone, or most colour tablets), yet it gives you the convenience of being able to read anywhere.

The processor is 1 GHz, same as on the Aura HD. I find it slow to delete books off the device, and lately I've noticed a lag of a couple seconds between shutting the eReader off and when the sleep page actually shows up. However, it's very good with opening books and turning the pages. There's no real blinking when turning the pages, even when you're making use of the Comfort Light. Compared to the Kobo Touch or other original models, it has a very quick response time.

Body Design:
My first thought when I picked up the Kobo Aura is: "It's so light! It's so thin! It's TINY!!!" My biggest complaint about the Aura HD (which you can tell that I really like overall) is that it's so heavy. The Aura HD is 240 g, so the Aura is a breeze to hold at 174 g. You seriously wouldn't believe the difference 66 g can make. I also never cared for the back of the Aura HD, the thick plastic being so slippery and smooth. Here the Aura has a bit of an angled back, but far less so than the Aura HD's. It's fairly flat, but it has a bit of a texture to it, making it much easier to keep a grip on. I think my favourite back is still the quilted one on the Kobo Touch, but the Aura's texture definitely grew on me over time.

As I mentioned when talking about the screen, the whole front of the Kobo Aura is flat. Visually I really like this! At first I thought it was a bit tough to hold the black edge of the device without turning a page, but I've gotten used to it. It's also nice not to have a lip over the screen, because I can tell you from personal experience how much cat hair gets stuck in there. The screen, as previously mentioned, is 6", which is the same as the Kobo Touch, but the body design is smaller overall, making it super easy to throw in your purse, without it being as small as the Kobo Mini (4 x 5.2 x 0.4 in -- which I consider too small).

Operating System/Interface:
The way the Aura works is basically the same as the Aura HD, and I really love it. You can read more of my thoughts here. With this update to the system there was a change of how you can sort your books from "Shelf" to "Collection", but they work the same way. They also added the ability to sync to your Pocket account, letting you read saved articles on your eReader. I can see this being a nice way to read fanfics or other online stories in a way that's portable and easier on your eyes.

Yes, how the Aura handles PDFs gets its own section, which shows you how excited I am about this. On previous Kobo models you would have to go into a special setting to change the zoom percentage of a PDF. You can do that on the Aura as well, but you can also simply pinch and zoom with your fingers, just like you would on an iPhone. It also allows you to change the page with a simple finger tap on the right or left, rather than having to drag to the edge of the actual PDF page. I get a lot of eARC PDFs for review, so this makes things so much easier -- it's a real time saver.

There are so many good things about the Kobo Aura, and I really like it overall. One thing that didn't really fit into another category is that the battery life is amazing. It lasts longer than any other Kobo device I've used, and it charges incredibly quickly. If I could make a hybrid model of the Aura HD's screen and the weight of the Aura, as well as how it handles PDFs, I would be a happy person.

The Kobo Aura retails for $149.99. Those in USA and Canada can buy directly from the Kobo site. Canadians and those in other markets have many more purchase options, which you can find here.

All quotes and specs about the Aura are taken from the Kobo Aura page on the Kobo site.

I am required to state that my opinions are honest and that I received a free sample of this product.

You can find Kobo on Twitter and Facebook.

November 23, 2013

Miranda Kenneally Pre-order Giveaway

I'm happy today to share a post on behalf of Sourcebooks:

They’re from two different worlds, but Savannah isn’t exactly one to follow the rules. . . get the next contemporary novel from blockbuster YA novelist Miranda Kenneally: RACING SAVANNAH!

Right before her senior year, Savannah’s father whisks the family off to Tennessee to work as head groom at fancy Cedar Hill Farms. Savannah finally sees it as the perfect opportunity to earn extra money as an exercise rider—no matter how many others don’t want a girl around the barn. But she’s also caught the eye of Jack Goodwin, the owner’s son. She knows the rules: no mixing between the staff and the Goodwin family. But Jack has no such boundaries. With her dream of becoming a jockey, Savannah is not going to let someone tell her a girl isn’t tough enough to race. Sure, it’s dangerous. Then again, so is dating Jack.

We’ve put together a fun campaign to thank readers for pre-ordering: send us your proof of pre-order and we’ll send you this fabulous horseshoe key chain!

A Gift for You, for Pre-Ordering RACING SAVANNAH by Miranda Kenneally

We have a special offer for U.S. and Canada YA fans for the release of RACING SAVANNAH by Miranda Kenneally in stores in a little over three weeks! If you pre-order the book, we will send you an exclusive horseshoe key chain—perfect for any busy teen on the go! You have until December 2 or until quantities run out.

Here’s how to get your charm:

1. Pre-order the book (print or eBook) through any retailer (Barnes & Noble, Amazon, your local independent bookseller/Indiebound, Books-A-Million, Hastings, etc.)

2. Email your proof of purchase (receipt or picture of the receipt) to Put “Racing Savannah Pre-Order” in the subject line. Don’t forget to include your home address (US & Canada only please) so we can send you the horseshoe key chain! If you’ve already pre-ordered this book—not a problem! Send us your receipt!

3. You will get an email back confirming when the items have been sent out.

4. Enjoy Racing Savannah when it comes out in December!

Optional: take a pic of you and your horseshoe key chain and share it with Miranda Kenneally or Sourcebooks Fire on Twitter! You can find Miranda @mirandakennealy and Sourcebooks Fire @sourcebooksfire.
I love when publishers do fun things like this. I think it really shows how they value their readers, giving you a little something extra. And yay for Canada being included! I actually received my key chain the other day, and it's quite cute.

Here's all the info on Racing Savannah:

Racing Savannah by Miranda Kenneally
Release Date: December 3, 2013
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pages: 304

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)

They’re from two different worlds.

He lives in the estate house, and she spends most of her time in the stables helping her father train horses. In fact, Savannah has always been much more comfortable around horses than boys. Especially boys like Jack Goodwin—cocky, popular and completely out of her league. She knows the rules: no mixing between the staff and the Goodwin family. But Jack has no such boundaries.

With her dream of becoming a horse jockey, Savannah isn’t exactly one to follow the rules either. She’s not going to let someone tell her a girl isn’t tough enough to race. Sure, it’s dangerous. Then again, so is dating Jack…

November 21, 2013

Christmas Catch by Chelsea M. Cameron

Christmas Catch by Chelsea M. Cameron
Release Date: October 25, 2013
Publisher: Self-Published
Pages: 72
Series: n/a
Review Source: eARC from Ink Slinger PR


Two years ago, when Ivy Emerson bailed from the tiny fishing village she’d grown up in to go to Columbia, Sawyer McCallister was the only thing she was sad to leave behind, and she still didn’t look back. But when her mother guilts her into coming home for Christmas, she crashes headfirst into Sawyer, who’s also returned after being away.

Now that they’ve both been dragged back to Saltwater, Maine, they might just realize it’s where they belong. Together.
My Thoughts:
This was a sweet novella! I fell very quickly for Ivy and her family, and for the relationship between Ivy and Sawyer.

I’d actually love to read this story in full-length novel form, because then I’d get to spend even more time with the characters and get even more details and back story. However, what we’re given here is pretty great. I loved the history between Ivy and Sawyer, and how it couldn’t help but be repeated. I also enjoyed the open happy ending. There’s the promise of something good, and a reassurance that the characters will have their happily ever after, even if you don’t know the specific details of how.

A very fun Christmas novella, well worth checking out.

The Cover:
Would have liked it more Christmas-y, but it's not too bad.


Purchase Links:
Amazon | B&N | Kobo

Where to find Chelsea:
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

For more information on all 12 New Adult Christmas novellas, visit

November 19, 2013

Trouble Comes Knocking by Mary Duncanson (Embrace Blog Tour)

Trouble Comes Knocking by Mary Duncanson
Release Date: November 11, 2013
Publisher: Entangled Embrace
Pages: 179 (Kindle)
Series: Trouble
Review Source: eARC through InkSlinger PR

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
It’s hard not to answer when trouble comes knocking.

A girl who can’t forget…

Twenty-two-year-old Lucy Carver is like Sherlock Holmes in ballet flats, but her eidetic memory is more albatross than asset, and something she usually keeps hidden. When she notices that something’s amiss at her dead-end job, she jumps at the chance to finally use her ability for good. That is, until, a man is murdered, and she becomes the target of the killer.

A detective on his first case…

Detective Eli Reyes is overbearing, pompous, way too hot for Lucy’s own good, and seems as determined to ruin her relationship with her boyfriend, John, as finding the murderer. He brings Lucy in on the case, thinking she can help him get to the truth, only to cut her loose when he realizes he’s gotten far more than he ever bargained for.

A past that won’t go away…

When memories from her childhood invade her present, Lucy discovers a mystery bigger than she could have imagined. With the killer still after her, and Eli nowhere to be found, she takes things into her own hands, determined to expose the truth no matter what—before trouble comes knocking…again.
My Thoughts:
One thing I can definitely say about Trouble Comes Knocking is that it felt different from any other New Adult novel I’ve read, which can only be a good thing in a market oversaturated with near identical plots. This book had a mystery element, and it was centred on Lucy as a character. It actually felt like a hybrid New Adult/Adult story, though that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Lucy was a character I think most people can identify with, in that she feels lost and she isn’t entirely happy with how her life has turned out so far. What makes Lucy unique is a past that she doesn’t understand, and the fact that she has an eidetic memory: something that sounds awesome, but has given her more trouble than it's worth.

I was intrigued by the mystery aspect of this novel, and I didn’t figure out the whole plot until it was revealed, which is a nice change. There was definitely some intense action going on, making it exciting to read. On the romance side of things there was a sort-of love triangle, but I didn't mind it too much. One guy Lucy likes from the beginning. John seems sweet and he’s everything that she usually likes, but he’s also a bit suspicious (at least from the reader’s perspective). And then there’s Eli, who’s a bit off limits, as he's the detective supervising Lucy’s involvement on a case. However, the scenes between him and Lucy are full of chemistry and longing. I'm definitely Team Eli.

One element that I found a teensy bit lacking was the look into Lucy's past. It seemed strange that she hadn’t tried to figure out her past before now, and that once she found out some information she wasn’t more concerned about it. However I did like how high stakes that element of the book was, and I understand that this aspect of the story will be continued in the next book (unlike the main mystery, which was solved within this volume).

Overall this is a book that I genuinely enjoyed, both for the plot and the characters. I would gladly read on in this series once the next book is released.

The Cover:
Not a favourite, but I like that it's different.


Purchase Links:
Amazon | | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

About Mary:
Mary Duncanson, who also writes as Mary Malcolm, lives in North Texas with a menagerie of animals and feral roommates. She is currently looking to adopt a husband, preferably housebroken, preferably as silly as her. When she’s not corraling her household, she’s talking to the characters in her head and hoping they talk back. When she’s not doing all that, she can be found wandering around Central Market with a happy, drooly foodie look on her face. Do not judge her, it is her Mecca.

Mary’s been writing since she was a teenager though spent quite a few years studying toward becoming a doctor before she realized she wanted to be a full-time author. Unfortunately, the people who own her student loans still want to be paid for the years they supported her medical dreams. Mary lives on a steady diet of coffee and chocolate and believes, like Eleanor Roosevelt, that people should believe in the beauty of their dreams. She also believes people should ignore the word should because really, it’s kind of a judgmental word. Mary dreams of one day living as a full-time, well paid novelist (hint, hint) and also of one day traveling to Chile to pay homage to her soul mate, Pablo Neruda.

Where to find Mary:
Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

About Embrace:
EMBRACE…endless possibilities. A new adult imprint from Entangled, launching November 11th! You can follow them and get more information about future titles at @EPEmbrace or their Facebook.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

November 16, 2013

Ink My Heart by Jean Haus (+ Giveaway)

Ink My Heart by Jean Haus
Release Date: November 12, 2013
Publisher: Amazon Skyscape
Pages: ??
Series: Luminescent Juliet
#2 (can be read as a standalone)
Review Source: eARC from AToMR Tours

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
Even if he weren’t the lead singer of the popular college band, Luminescent Juliet, Justin Noel would have his pick of women. And he does pick. Nightly. Tattooed, blonde, and green eyed, he flashes his dimples and females swoon.

Except for one.

Tattoo artist, Allie Landon, rarely dates, and especially not men like Justin. Though he’s hot enough to melt off permanent ink, she’s done with the bad boy type. But when the ex who broke her heart wants to reunite, desperation has Allie introducing her latest client as her boyfriend. Justin’s more than happy to play the part. He’s completely intrigued by the sexy artist and college student.

However, Allie’s life isn’t what it seems. There’s little room in it or her shattered and confused heart for Justin. But as Justin remains persistent, ignoring the growing attraction—both physical and emotionally—between them becomes more difficult than tattoo removal.
My Thoughts:
I thought I would change up my reviewing style today and go back to the “like, dislike, conclusion” format that I’ve used occasionally in the past.

  • The book as a whole was a good story, and I thought that Justin and Allie were a good fit for each other
  • Allie is a character who I enjoyed reading about. She’d been through a lot, yet she was a strong person who had done well for herself, and she was very caring of those around her
  • Seeing the band again, even though they almost came across as hating each other most of the time, was fun; the little glimpses of Romeo and Riley (main characters from the first book) were really fun, especially seeing from Justin’s perspective how awesome they were together

  • Even though I liked Justin and Allie, I felt like there was a “getting to know you” period missing from the book
  • Justin went from total player to fully committed with no real in between: he pursued Allie at first because she’s gorgeous and then continued to go for her because she was playing hard to get -- I wanted to get more in his headspace over why he decided that Allie was different and why she was worth ignoring all the usual girls he had
  • Also re: Justin, I wanted more internal musings about why he had acted like that in the past, more of a realization of what he was doing to them and to himself

  • I think if I wasn’t already invested in the secondary characters from the first book (read: Justin) I probably would have wanted even more to make this stand out from other “broken girl and bad boy reforming himself for her” stories
  • Overall a decent read, with engaging writing and likeable enough characters, though I still prefer In the Band (the first book) in terms of story and main characters

The Cover:
Not my favourite.


Purchase Links:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Chapters-Indigo

About Jean:
Jean Haus writes young adult and romance novels. She reads a lot too. Anything with a bit of romance has the possibility of being loaded on her Kindle. She even does a bit of cooking, which is actually quite good. She also golfs in the beautiful summers of Michigan with her awesome husband and son, but she cooks way, way better than she golfs.

Where to find Jean:
Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook

a Rafflecopter giveaway
You can follow along with the tour HERE.

November 14, 2013

Off the Market by Magan Vernon (Promo)

OFF THE MARKET by Magan Vernon

Etta Davis didn't have showing a house penciled into her Christmas plans, but with the other realtors already off enjoying their holiday, she'd been stuck with the task. It wasn't all bad though, the house up for grabs used to belong to the family of her high school sweetheart, Andrew Lawson. Though now dilapidated, thanks to its current owners, it still held the power to bring back forgotten memories and turn the routine showing into something else entirely.

Particularly when Andrew shows up, wanting to buy the house. Now Etta must decide whether a second chance is worth taking the house, and her heart, off the market.
Excerpt from Off the Market:

I looked over the garage at the now rusted backboard. It seemed like only yesterday that Andrew stood on the ladder, wearing his new Bulls jersey, forcing me to stand in the driveway to make sure he got it centered over the garage. The backboard was still crooked, just like it always was since I didn't have a keen eye for getting it level. But Andrew didn't move it. He said he loved it just the way it was because it was my version of straight and he loved me.

Love. That was a word I hadn't heard in a long time. I had a brief string of bad dates in college and my mom always tried to set me up on dates with her friends’ or co-workers’ sons, but none of them worked out. None of them had that spark. That thing that made my stomach do somersaults.

I stepped out of the car, shaking the thoughts of my past life out of my head while my heels dug into the freshly fallen snow. I cursed myself for not putting on some sort of winter footwear. It was a holiday after all, so the client couldn't have complained about my footwear when he was the one inconveniencing me.

I walked up the small path way, now lined with broken solar powered lights, to the big white door. Quickly, I swiped my broker card in the realtor lock box. The green light blinked and I pushed open the door.

There hadn't been more than a handful of showings in the year the house had been listed, but I never once showed it. I was always afraid to come back. Afraid it would have the same feeling as it had now. Like I was coming home.

I'd spent more time in the now faded foyer, underneath the broken chandelier, than I did in my parents’ house. There were prom pictures taken on the grand staircase and nights I spent cuddled with Andrew on the living room couch across from the now dilapidated fireplace.

Mrs. Lawson used to keep the house so nice. She always had candles burning and every single light fixture would shine. The owners after the Lawsons obviously didn't have as much pride in their home. It didn't take long for the bank to foreclose on it and for my real estate company to get tapped to re-sell it. I almost wished I could buy it myself, fix it up and restore it back to its former glory. But I had neither the money nor the time for such things. My life had become my work and without a family of my own there was really no need for the grand four-bedroom house.

A soft knock came at the front door.

"That must be the client. He'd better put in an offer," I muttered, smoothing out my skirt and walking to the front door.

"Hello, I'm —"

I stopped, my mouth still wide open, because standing in the doorway was one of the former residents of the house, Andrew Lawson.

Buy Off the Market:
Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iTunes

Where to find Magan:
Website | Facebook Fan Page | Twitter | Goodreads

There's still time to enter the 12 NAs blitz giveaway, so check that out HERE.

For more information on all 12 New Adult Christmas novellas, visit


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