Month in Review: August 2013

August was a great reading month for me!  I discovered two new authors: Faith Sullivan and Dan Krokos.  Faith Sullivan writes contemporary new adult fiction, and her stories are captivating and compulsively readable.  I read one of her books as a review request, then bought the rest for myself!  Dan Krokos writes YA sci-fi, and I found his False Memory series to be seriously addicting.  Look for my reviews soon.

Reviews Posted (18):
Even in Darkness by Cyndi Tefft 
Everybody's Got a Story by Heather Wardell
He Belongs to Me by Theresa Rizzo
Heartbeat (Heartbeat #1) by Faith Sullivan
Book to Movie Review: Pride and Prejudice
Last Off by Laughton Chandler
Come What May (Heartbeat #2) by Faith Sullivan
Unexpected by Faith Sullivan
Stand By Your Hitman (Bombay Assassins #3) by Leslie Langtry
I Shot You Babe (Bombay Assassins #4) by Leslie Langtry
Paradise by the Rifle Sights (Bombay Assassins #5) by Leslie Langtry
Snuff the Magic Dragon by Leslie Langtry
The Infinite Moment of Us by Lauren Myracle 
Harvest of Gold by Tessa Afshar
The Throne of Glass series novellas by Sarah J. Maas
Second Opinion: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2) by Sarah J. Maas
Elite (Eagle Elite #1) by Rachel Van Dyken

Blog Events/Giveaways/Guest Posts:
Infinityglass Giveaway
Book of the Month: Lying to Meet You by Anna Garner

Books Read (26):
The Redemption of Callie and Kayden (The Coincidence #2) by Jessica Sorensen 
Crossing the Line (Pushing the Limits #1.5) by Katie McGarry 
Red by Alison Cherry
The Shattered Mountain (Girl of Fire and Thorns #0.6) by Rae Carson
The King's Guard (Girl of Fire and Thorns #0.7) by Rae Carson
Snuff the Magic Dragon And Other Bombay Family Bedtime Stories by Leslie Langtry 
Heartbeat (Heartbeat #1) by Faith Sullivan
Come What May (Heartbeat #2) by Faith Sullivan
Unexpected by Faith Sullivan
Here Without You (Between the Lines #4) by Tammara Webber 
Last Train to Omaha by Ann Gillen-Whitely
Fallen (After Trilogy #1) by Traci L. Slatton
Cold Light (After Trilogy #2) by Traci L. Slatton 
Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2) by Sarah J. Maas
Take Me Now (Take Me Now #1) by Faith Sullivan
Anatomy of a Boyfriend (Anatomy #1) by Daria Snadowsky 
A Beautiful Fate (The Beautiful Fate #1) by Cat Mann
False Memory (False Memory #1) by Dan Krokos 
False Sight (False Memory #2) by Dan Krokos 
Anywhere by J. Meyers
Anatomy of a Single Girl (Anatomy #2) by Daria Snadowsky 
Going Home by Jamie Lynn Yeager
Beyond Belief: The Secret Lives of Women in Extreme Religions by Cami Ostman and Susan Tive 
The Bitter Kingdom (Girl of Fire and Thorns #3) by Rae Carson 
Freak of Nature (IFICS #1) by Julia Crane
Intuition (Intangible #0.5) by J. Meyers

How was your August?

Book of the Month: August 2013

My favorite read this month was Anna Garner's Lying to Meet You.  Actually, I read the book last month but Anna asked me to wait to post until after the cover reveal on August 9th.  Lying to Meet You is a funny, sweet contemporary romance that left me smiling and happy.  I loved everything about this book!  Look for my full review on the release date of September 7, 2013.

Does being in a relationship make you a hot commodity in the eyes of would-be suitors?
Chloe Lane is about to find out. When her childhood pal, Ethan Webster, asks her to play the part of his girlfriend in order to test this theory, she reluctantly agrees. As a work-crazed fashion designer, boutique owner and soon-to-be reality show judge, Chloe has no time for a real boyfriend, but being part of a faux pair will do just fine. Not that she has any intention of trying to attract someone else.


Opportunity unexpectedly knocks when Chloe meets fellow reality judge, William Shannon. Super successful and super sexy, this tech whiz entrepreneur inspires Chloe to test Ethan’s theory herself. Now, on top of keeping her fashion business productive, carving out a new role as a television personality, maintaining a fake relationship and attempting to lay the groundwork for a future relationship, she’s lying to William, lying to her friends, lying to her family and quite possibly lying to herself. Will Chloe be able to keep it all together, or are things about to explode?

What was your favorite August read?


Book Review: Elite (Eagle Elite #1) by Rachel Van Dyken

When I won the annual Eagle Elite College Scholarship lottery, I was thrilled. After all, my grandma had just died and I wanted to take care of my aging grandpa -- he couldn't be a farmer in Wyoming forever. And graduating from Eagle Elite meant opportunity.

But I wasn't counting on meeting Nixon.

Nor was I counting on the rules of the Elect.

1. Do not touch The Elect.
2. Do not look at The Elect.
3. Do not speak to The Elect.

And worst of all? Don't discover the secret they hide, because in the end, you may just realize... it's about you.

Release Date: April 14, 2013
Age Group: New Adult
Source: NetGalley

Based on the summary, I thought I knew what to expect from Elite.  I thought it would be your typical boarding-school paranormal type of book.  I was so surprised when it turned out to be something totally different! 

I found Elite to be compulsively readable.  There were times when I wasn't sure if I even liked the book to be reading it as fast as I was, but I just kept reading because I was so intrigued by the mystery.  I love it when the reader is kept in the dark right along with the main character, and Van Dyken uses that concept well in Elite.  I was really surprised when the truth was revealed to Tracey.  

Tracey's feelings about Nixon ran hot and cold, as did mine.  Sometimes I really liked the guy and sometimes I downright hated him.  He was full of contradictions and surprises.  The love story moved too quickly for my taste, but I did enjoy the romance between the two main characters.  There was a Romeo and Juliet theme to the love story, which worked well given the premise of the book.  Elite contained a lot of world-building, which slowed down the story at times, but that makes me think that book two will be even better.

If you like contemporary fiction, I'd recommend Elite.  I look forward to the next book in the series.


Book Review: Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2) by Sarah J. Maas

After a year of hard labor in the Salt Mines of Endovier, eighteen-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien has won the king's contest to become the new royal assassin. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown – a secret she hides from even her most intimate confidantes.

Keeping up the deadly charade—while pretending to do the king's bidding—will test her in frightening new ways, especially when she's given a task that could jeopardize everything she's come to care for. And there are far more dangerous forces gathering on the horizon -- forces that threaten to destroy her entire world, and will surely force Celaena to make a choice.

Where do the assassin’s loyalties lie, and who is she most willing to fight for?

Release Date: August 27, 2013
Age Group: YA
Source: NetGalley

I love this series!  Sarah Maas has done an outstanding job creating the world of Erilea, with beautiful imagery, a cunning heroine, and plot twists which continually take me by surprise.  Not to mention the quietly powerful love story (a love triangle, at that), loyal friendships and shocking betrayals.  Crown of Midnight is easily one of my favorite books of the year.

I love that Celaena is so unpredictable.  She always surprises me, and I never know quite how she'll react in any given situation.  Celaena is a study in contradictions: the feared assassin who is all too good at her job, the loyal friend, the woman in love, and the young girl who loves pretty clothes and desserts.  She is entirely her own person, answering to no one, and her strength throughout the series is gratifying to read about.  Celaena also grows and changes through her experiences and instead of her hardships bringing her down, she rises above her circumstances.  I loved watching Celaena's heart soften as from time to time, she embraces her softer side.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention the absolute shock of a blow Maas delivers at the end of this book.  I liked that Throne of Glass ended with closure, but still open enough for the next book.  Crown of Midnight also had some good conflict resolution, with the beginning of a new journey for all three main characters; but the revelation at the end was truly jarring.  I cannot wait to see what will happen in book three (it can't come soon enough!).  

Maas' imagery in this series is impressive.  She describes Rifthold with such descriptive prose that I could easily picture Celaena's surroundings as I read.  The story's element of magic was so well-construed that I found myself actually believing in magic as I read this book. 

I can tell how much time and effort Maas put into creating this series, and that attention to detail is what makes the Throne of Glass series so extraordinary.  I can't say enough good things about this series, and would recommend it to anyone!   

Second Opinion: Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1) by Sarah J. Mass

I loved Throne of Glass and decided to read it again after reading the four novellas, and to prepare for the release of Crown of MidnightRead my original review of Throne of Glass here

Throne of Glass was just as good the second time I read it.  I really savored the book this time.  The fact that I already knew how it would end helped me to slow down and really appreciate the nuances of Mass's writing.  I felt like I got to know the character better this time around, and I loved that.

Throne of Glass is one of those books that is so good, that I dare not miss a word, because one word can make a difference in the story.  I usually read really quickly, and sometimes find myself reading even more quickly when I'm not in love with a book.  But, when I read books this good, I slow down and make sure I can really enjoy the experience.

I love this series and would recommend it to anyone.  Throne of Glass has something for everyone: action, fantasy, a mystery, a paranormal element, a love story, and a strong heroine.  I can't wait for book two: Crown of Midnight!

Book Review: The Throne of Glass Series Novellas

Click the titles to be taken to each novella's respective Goodreads page.

Release Date: January-July 2012
Age Group: YA
Source: Purchased

I absolutely loved Throne of Glass and I jumped at the chance to read more from Sarah Mass.  I just found out about these novellas and immediately bought all four of them.  I devoured these books over the course of two days, and I liked them so much that I was inspired to re-read Throne of Glass.  Now I'm fully back in Mass's world and ready for the release of Crown of Midnight (book two).

These novellas were a good length: each took me over an hour to read.  All four combined were about the same length as Throne of Glass itself.  I really enjoyed all four novellas, but my favorite ones were The Assassin and the Desert, and The Assassin and the Empire.  I loved getting to know more about Celeana's history, and the events that shaped her personality.  My favorite part of these novellas was watching Celeana fall in love with Sam.  Sam is only hinted at in Throne of Glass, and so I was always really interested in their history.

One thing that really stuck out for me while I was reading these books was just how spoiled and a little bit selfish Celeana is.  Although this sounds heartless of me, I think going to the salt mines of Endovier taught her some well-needed humility.  There were points that I could not believe the way she acted, and I knew that she was unknowingly setting herself up for a fall.

If you are new to the Throne of Glass series, I would recommend reading the four novellas first, then Throne of Glass.  It's an outstanding fantasy series, and one of my all-time favorites!


Book Review: Harvest of Gold by Tessa Afshar

The scribe Sarah married Darius, and at times she feels as if she has married the Persian aristocracy, too. There is another point she did not count on in her marriage-Sarah has grown to love her husband. Sarah has wealth, property, honor, and power, but her husband's love still seems unattainable.

Although his mother was an Israelite, Darius remains skeptical that his Jewish wife is the right choice for him, particularly when she conspires with her cousin Nehemiah to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Ordered to assist in the effort, the couple begins a journey to the homeland of his mother's people. Will the road filled with danger, conflict, and surprising memories, help Darius to see the hand of God at work in his life-and even in his marriage?

A hidden message, treachery, opposition, and a God-given success, will lead to an unlikely bounty.

Release Date: June 17, 2013
Age Group:  Adult
Source: NetGalley

I loved Tessa Afshar's Harvest of Rubies (read my review here) and was so excited to read more of Sarah and Darius' story.  I'm happy to say that Harvest of Gold was every bit as good as Harvest of Rubies.  

I love Tessa Afshar's writing.  I find it to be engaging, well-paced, emotional and inspirational.  Her books never fail to move me to tears, and Harvest of Gold was no exception.

Darius and Sarah are married, but he has not told her that he loves her.  In fact, he is hot and cold with her, pushing her away much of the time, then letting his true feelings show at other times.  I hated that for Sarah: I wanted her to feel loved and accepted by her husband.  Much of Sarah's struggle was based on feeling God's love in the absence of her husband's love. 

I felt that Harvest of Gold was just as much Darius' story as it was Sarah's.  Darius changes a lot during this book, and his journey to faith as well as his acceptance of his difficult childhood provided for a lot of character growth.  The emphasis on parenting in Harvest of Gold really touched my heart.  Now that I am a parent, I find myself drawn to characters going through trying parenting experiences.

I enjoyed reading about the rebuilding of Jerusalem.  It made the book feel very authentic, and while I know that Afshar writes fiction, knowing that her books are based on Biblical events makes them feel slightly educational (and I like that).  

I highly recommend Tessa Afshar's books.  She consistently writes outstanding Christian fiction, and I have given her books as gifts and recommended them many times.      

Book Review: The Infinite Moment of Us by Lauren Myracle

For as long as she can remember, Wren Gray’s goal has been to please her parents. But as high school graduation nears, so does an uncomfortable realization: Pleasing her parents once overlapped with pleasing herself, but now... not so much. Wren needs to honor her own desires, but how can she if she doesn’t even know what they are?

Charlie Parker, on the other hand, is painfully aware of his heart’s desire. A gentle boy with a troubled past, Charlie has loved Wren since the day he first saw her. But a girl like Wren would never fall for a guy like Charlie—at least not the sort of guy Charlie believes himself to be.

And yet certain things are written in the stars. And in the summer after high school, Wren and Charlie’s souls will collide. But souls are complicated, as are the bodies that house them...

Sexy, romantic, and oh-so-true to life, this is an unforgettable look at first love from one of young adult fiction’s greatest writers.

Release Date: August 20, 2013
Age Group: New Adult
Source: NetGalley

First love is one of my favorite things to read about, and The Infinite Moment of Us was a beautiful story about first love.  I love reading about two young adults falling in love, because it brings back those same feelings for me.  Wasn't falling in love for the first (or second) time such a magical thing?  Lauren Myracle captures that all-consuming feeling perfectly in The Infinite Moment of Us.

The book is a first-person narrative with each chapter alternating between Wren and Charlie's perspective.  I like that writing style for contemporary romance, because I love getting in both main characters' heads.  I enjoy seeing what each character really thinks about the same events.

There was a big contrast between Charlie and Wren, both in their life experiences and their histories.  I liked that they acknowledged the differences between them, and worked through them to get closer to each other.  The love scenes were definitely "new adult", but tastefully done. 

The one thing I didn't' like about The Infinite Moment of Us was the ending.  I wished it could have been more conclusive.  Charlie and Wren spent a lot of time geting together, and then some of it at odds with each other, and I would have liked more of their story after the main conflict was resolved.

I really liked The Infinite Moment of Us.  I liked the writing, the story, and the emotions.  I could tell that Myracle is a seasoned author: the book has a confident, assured feel to it.  I would definitely recommend this book and look forward to reading more from Lauren Myracle.

Book Review: Snuff the Magic Dragon by Leslie Langtry

A collection of short stories from National Bestselling author Leslie Langtry...

What do the Minotaur, Rasputin, the first man hanged for murder in America, and the Countess of Blood all have in common? No, they aren't related. They all appeared on the Bombay Family's Hit List! In this collection of Bombay Bedtime Stories, you'll find out what Bombays did before Gin Bombay came along. From pet Dodo birds of the very first Bombay to Ancient Greece and 20th Century Russia, get the stories Bombay children have been told for thousands of years. Stories that have been shrouded in blood-sworn secrecy... until now!

Release Date: July 22, 2013
Age Group: Adult
Source: Review copy from author

I really enjoy Leslie Langtry's writing, and her Bombay family series is a lot of fun to read.  You'd think that a series about a family of assassins would be emotionally heavy reading, but it's not.  These books are a treat for me, and I find myself picking them up when I need to read something that will leave me smiling.  

Snuff the Magic Dragon is a collection of short stories about the Bombay family.  Each story tells one family member's history, and details one of their more memorable "jobs."  I liked that the stories were historical.  The fact that the Bombay family's roots go back to Ancient Greece was mentioned several times in the series, and I was happy to read about the origination of the family business.

I love Langtry's writing.  It's clean, with no overly descriptive prose.  Her characters are all pretty level-headed and have no-nonsense personalities.  I love that!  Each story is told in the first person point of view.  I love a first-person narrative, but initially thought it could be confusing for a collection of short stories, since each chapter started with a new character, but it ended up being perfect for this book.

My one complaint about Snuff the Magic Dragon was that because each short story was so short, there wasn't a lot of depth to the book.  However, this book was a lot of fun to read, and I thought it was a great addition to the series.  If you're new to Leslie Langtry's writing, start with her first Bombaby assassins book: 'Scuse Me While I Kill This Guy.   

Book Review: Paradise by the Rifle Sights (Bombay Assassins #5) by Leslie Langtry

Paris Bombay is looking for lasting love - a real woman to share Harvey Wallbangers with. Instead, he ends up with an assignment that isn't his, a job as the new Bachelor on a reality show, and a number of inconvenient death threats. 

Release Date: October 20, 2011
Age Group: Adult
Source: Review copy from author

After reading and really enjoying the first four books in the Bombay Assassins series, I was pleasantly surprised to see that Paris got his own story---be it a novella, it was still nice to see him get his own happy ever after.

Paris has never been one of my favorite characters in the Bombay family, but I did always like him.  There just wasn't too much about him that I could really identify with.  However, he does have a loyal personality and I really liked the way he treats his sisters and the rest of his family.

I found Paradise by the Rifle Sights to be slightly predictable, but still enjoyable.  It wasn't as good as the other books in the series, but overall, I would still recommend it, and the series as a whole.

Book Review: I Shot You Babe (Bombay Assassins #4) by Leslie Langtry

Perennial grad student Veronica Gale gets more than she bargained for when her latest dissertation project puts her in the path of philosopher/assassin/carnival-ride operator Coney Bombay-and an unsolved murder that might just kill her, too.

Release Date: May 5, 2009
Age Group: Adult
Source: Review copy from author

The Bombay Assassins series is quickly becoming an all-time favorite series for me.  I have been saving the books to read at times when I'm feeling down, and need a funny, light-hearted read to lift my spirits.  

At first glance, you would think that books about a family of assassins would be dark and heavy, but Langtry's series is exactly the opposite.  These books are just plain fun!  In fact, I find them much more satisfying than Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum books, because Langtry's series has more substance, humor and better plots.  There is no plot recycling with this series, like there is with Evanovich's series.

Coney Bombay has long been one of my favorite characters so I was thrilled to read his story.  I have always really enjoyed his cameos in the other books in the series, as he is a very nuanced character with a lot more depth than you would expect.  I was surprised at how much I enjoyed I Shot You Babe, especially considering that I'm not usually a fan of books written from a male POV. 

I loved that the characters in  I Shot You Babe travel the world over, as I really enjoy reading about new places and cultures.  The part of the book that took place in Mongolia was my favorite---I thought that setting was so unique and interesting.  

Coney experiences a lot of character growth, which I always enjoy, and in the end, turns out to be quite the catch.  I highly recommend this series!


Book Review: Stand By Your Hitman (Bombay Assassins #3) by Leslie Langtry

Gadget-lover Missi Bombay's newest mission is on the set of reality TV show Survival, but she may not outlast her super-sexy competitor.

Release Date: 2008
Age Group: Adult
Source: Review copy from author

I am really enjoying this series!  The Bombay Assassin books are fun, light-hearted, witty and just all-around good reads.  They remind me of Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum books, without the disappointment of a slow-moving or recycled plot which I've experienced with the latest installments in the Stephanie Plum series.

Langtry's writing style reads like a conversation between two friends.  The books are written in a first-person point-of-view, with a lot of internal dialogue from the main character.  I love that because I really get to know the main character.  I loved being in Missi's head and knowing everything she was thinking and feeling.  That girl was all kinds of funny!

The premise of the book is a Survivor-type show, produced by a Canadian network.  Basically, Survival is just a poor man's Survivor.  The host and producers bungle everything, leaving Missi and the other competitors to figure things out for themselves.  In the midst of the reality show competitions and eliminations, is Missi's objective for being there: she needs to identify one of the contestants as an arms dealer and 'take him out.'  The only problem is, Missi likes this guy (as a friend, which has never happened before with one of her hits) as is not convinced of his guilt.  To further complicate things, Missi develops a crush on another contestant, her first romantic attachment since her husband died years ago.

What made this book so great was the writing, the humor, and that it was just a fun read.  The 'bad guy' was a surprise---not at all what I was expecting.  I thought that Missi's relationships with her twin teenage boys was so sweet and well-portrayed.  I liked the slow build of the love story, and the way things wrapped up at the end.  

Stand By Your Hitman is my favorite Bombay Assassins book to date and I can't wait to read more from Leslie Langtry! 

Book Review: Unexpected by Faith Sullivan

One day forever changes the destiny of college overachiever, Michelle Rhodes.

Shattered, confused and alone, no one understands the trauma consuming her until she meets Connor Donnelly.

A native New Yorker, he believes he can aid in getting her life back on track. But what if he's even more broken inside?

Offering her a chance at a fresh start, Connor convinces Michelle to move in with him. Hiring her to waitress at his bar, their mutual attraction only complicates matters.

As more details surrounding Connor's past emerge, Michelle uncovers the full magnitude of the loss he's trying to hide. Refusing to let her feelings for him hinder his recovery, she makes a decision that winds up hurting them both.

By sacrificing her heart, Michelle thinks she is helping Connor come to terms with his grief. Little does she know, Connor is gambling everything for the sake of having a future with her.

What happens is truly unexpected.

Release Date:  April 2, 2013
Age Group: New Adult
Source:  Purchased

I have recently discovered New Adult author Faith Sullivan and have made it my mission to read all of her work.  I adore her Heartbeat series, and while I wait for book three, the conclusion to the series, to be released in October, I'm reading all of her other books. 

I really, really liked Unexpected.  The book starts with Michelle, new to college at NYU, witnessing the events of 9/11.  She's all alone in New York, completely new to the city, and knows no one.  She is so terrified and shaken after the terrorist bombings that she returns home to her parents.  

Unexpectedly, she meets Connor at a friend's party.  Connor hires Michelle to waitress at his bar in New York, and offers her a room in his apartment above the bar.  Michelle accepts his offer, desperate to get away from her well-meaning but overbearing parents and hoping to get over the events of 9/11.  

There is a constant attraction between Connor and Michelle but nothing happens between them for what felt like forever (for me).  I liked the slow build to their relationship and the fact that they were friends first.

My favorite part of Unexpected was how Connor and Michelle deal with the emotional trauma of being in New York on 9/11.  That made the book very affecting and moving for me.  Like everyone else, I still remember where I was when I heard the news, and it's something I'll never forget.  Unexpected is not a book about 9/11, it's about how two people come to terms with their experience and loss.  I thought Sullivan did a great job with both Michelle and Connor's emotional recovery.

I loved the way the book ended, it was not what I was expecting would happen, but it was perfect for the story.  I was so happy to have closure: that's something I love about stand-alone novels.  I highly recommend Unexpected, and all of Faith Sullivan's work!

Book Review: Come What May (Heartbeat #2) by Faith Sullivan

Adam is through with love.

He unravels blaming himself for what happened with Katie.

His final moments with her echo through his nightmares.

She owns him body and soul.

To dull the pain, Adam invites a string of women into his bed. Fueled by alcohol and desperation, his meaningless hook-ups provide little comfort. When he closes his eyes, it's Katie he sees.

The only one who helps to ease his guilt somewhat is Jada. But as his new ambulance partner, Adam considers her off limits. He doesn't want to get seriously involved with anyone, much less her. Yet he can't stop fantasizing about the feel of her caramel skin against his.

Despite his intentions, Adam's bond with Jada deepens as they respond to a series of emotional calls. Their mutual attraction becomes undeniable. But how can he give his heart to Jada when it still belongs to Katie?

Release Date: May 29, 2013
Age Group:  New Adult
Source: Borrowed via Amazon Prime

After devouring Heartbeat, and that absolutely devastating and shocking ending, I wasn't sure what to expect from Come What May.  The simple fact that there is another woman mentioned in the summary made me mad.  I wanted more of Adam and Katie, not Adam and someone else.  

After a few chapters, I grudgingly accepted that Katie wasn't coming back and accepted the loss, as Adam does.  I thought I knew Adam after Heartbeat.  Turns out he wasn't nearly the guy I thought he was.  He makes a lot of bad decisions in Come What Me, and it made me lose respect for him at times.  But, he grew on me, and I completely understood why he acted the way he did; I just didn't love him for it.

I like the fact that Adam and Jada are paramedics and that there was more of an emphasis on their work in Come What May.  I thought that part of the story was well-developed and I enjoyed the medical aspect of the book.

Despite myself I grew to really like Jada.  She is strong, level-headed, and very likable.  I found myself rooting for Jada and Adam to get together. The chemistry between them was undeniable and I couldn't believe Sullivan evokes so much passion between the two characters without them ever kissing.

I finished this book just as torn up as i was after finishing Heartbeat.  Sullivan delivers another knockout ending, and I'm still recovering from the aftershocks, hours later.  In fact, I had to write my review to get my thoughts together, in the hopes of clearing my head (and heart) from the emotional turmoil!  I actually wanted to scream out loud in frustration, emotion and shock when i finished the last page.  All I can say is October can't come fast enough for me to find out how it all ends!!

Book Review: Last Off by Laughton Chandler

Four young stowaways — illegal passengers, below even the 3rd class — find themselves on the R.M.S. Titanic, the grandest ocean liner in the world on her maiden voyage. At first unknown to each other, hailing from four different countries, they begin to learn about each others’ pasts as they bide their time in the bowels of the ship, united in their hopes of making a new life in America. When disaster strikes, what will become of them? Who, if any, will be able to escape the epic tragedy Walter Lord described as ‘the death of a small town’?

Release Date: April 15, 2013
Age Group: YA (I think?)
Source: Review copy from author

I love historical fiction, and also really enjoy stories about the Titanic, so I was excited to read Laughton Chandler's novella, Last OffLast Off is about four young teen boys who are stowaways on the Titanic.  

Hugh seemed to be the main character (in my opinion), but the reader gets to know all four boys fairly well.  I appreciated the boys' unique histories, and enjoyed reading about how each came to be a stowaway on the Titanic.  I liked the characters , and found myself quite invested in the outcome of the story.

Last Off is a good length for a novella: it took me just over an hour to read it, and I have no complaints about the length of the book.  I usually bemoan the brevity of most  novellas, but I was completely satisfied with this story.  Chandler made the story just the right length.  Last Off has quite a detailed plot which was full of emotion.

While I found myself irrationally wishing for a happy ending (all the while knowing how a story about the Titanic was bound to end), I thought the ending to Last Off was perfectly suited to the story.  Anything else would have felt inauthentic.  

I liked the twist about the actual sinking of the ship.  I was taken by surprise (I love it when that happens) and thought Chandler's handling of that subject made the story quite interesting.

My one complaint about Last Off is that I felt sort of disconnected from the characters.  I think this is mainly due to the fact that the book is a third-person narrative.  I always find myself not as connected with the characters when reading a third-person POV.

Overall, I did really enjoy Last Off and would recommend it to fans of historical fiction and people who are interested in reading about the Titanic.

I'd So Rather Be Watching Jane Austen (Pride & Prejudice)

Do you have movies that you've watched over and over?  Can you quote entire scenes of dialogue?  Do you know every word, every gesture, every look?  That is how I feel about Pride and Prejudice.  

My favorite version is the 2005 adaptation with Keira Knightley, Matthew Macfadyen and Donald Sutherland.  I never tire of watching this movie---in fact I have watched it so many times my husband sometimes requests it.  Ok, he only requests it when he wants to take a nap because he says it is the perfect background noise to sleep to, but it's a request nonetheless!  

What's your favorite movie?

Book Review: Heartbeat (Heartbeat #1) by Faith Sullivan

Katie and Adam are afraid of love.

She carries the scars of a first kiss gone terribly wrong.

He uproots his life to flee the stinging betrayal of an ex.

When trust is no longer an option, all romance is suspect.

As a young paramedic, Adam rescues people for a living but cannot save himself. Katie, just out of high school, struggles with a tortured home life she cannot escape.

Everything changes when Katie hops into the front seat of Adam's ambulance. Overwhelmed by what they are feeling, neither possess the confidence to make the first move. They walk away from each other, full of regret.

To find her, Adam risks his future. To be with him, Katie sacrifices her security.

Little do they know, what little time they do have, is being measured by a heartbeat that is slowly dying out.

Release Date:  February 5, 2013
Age Group: New Adult
Source: Review copy from author

Reading the summary, you would think that Heartbeat is a typical contemporary New Adult story.  And while there is absolutely nothing wrong with the typical storyline of New Adult fiction (it's quickly becoming one of my favorite escapism genres), Heartbeat offered something more and I loved that.  Faith Sullivan takes a huge risk with Heartbeat and I appreciate that kind of confidence and deviation from the norm.

I found Heartbeat just a little bit slow to start, and actually stopped reading for a couple of weeks, but once I picked the book back up, I found it impossible to put down.  What I liked about this story (besides the risk of the ending) was all of the different elements Sullivan winds into the plot.  Between the trauma of Katie's history and her home life, as well as her persistent health problems, and Adam's heartbreak over his first love gone wrong, there was a lot more to Heartbeat than I expected.  Katie has a weakened immune system and gets sick very often and can't hold down a job because of her health.  I have an immune deficiency and also can't work because of my recurrent infections and so I really identified with Katie.  She is also shy and hesitant to even talk to Adam and that endeared her to me even more.  

Besides the fact that the plot explored all of these elements, Sullivan went one step further and ended Heartbeat with a twist I never saw coming.  The ending of Heartbeat reminded me of something Gayle Forman would do, and I mean that in the most flattering way.  I finished the book with so many questions.   There was so much emotion and I loved that Sullivan kept me guessing long after I finished the book.  I actually emailed Sullivan to ask her one important thing, and she wrote me back (which was so thrilling) and gave me a clue, which prompted me to go back and re-read Heartbeat.  That's something I never do and that alone speaks to the intensity of this book.

Had Heartbeat had the ending I was expecting, it probably would have been just like any other NA series.  Good, but ultimately forgettable.  I find that the stories start to run together, as they often have the same plot points and themes.  I admire Sullivan's courage to change things up.

My one complaint about Heartbeat was how quickly Katie and Adam's relationship moves.  After their initial encounter, they did not meet again for a while and each built the other up in their minds as the perfect person.  When they finally do meet again the relationship moves really, really quickly.  It felt like they were already committed to each other mentally before they ever met again physically.  I was happy for Katie and Adam but wondered at the plausibility of two people falling in love so quickly.

However, this complaint was small in comparison to how good the story was.  I immediately started book two, Come What May, and now my only complaint is that I have to wait until October to read book three, I Am Yours, the conclusion to the series.  If you're a fan of NA contemporary fiction, I recommend Heartbeat.

Giveaway: Infinityglass by Myra McEntire

Thank you to Media Masters Publicity for sponsoring this giveaway.  We're giving away..

A hard copy of Infinityglass
 An Infinityglass poster.  

There will be one winner.  The giveaway runs until August 14 and is open to residents of the US only.

About Infinityglass (Egmont USA, August 6, 2013):

The stakes have risen even higher in this third book in the Hourglass series.

The Hourglass is a secret organization focused on the study of manipulating time, and its members — many of them teenagers -­have uncanny abilities to make time work for them in mysterious ways. Inherent in these powers is a responsibility to take great care, because altering one small moment can have devastating consequences for the past, present, and future. But some time trav­elers are not exactly honorable, and sometimes unsavory deals must be struck to maintain order.

With the Infinityglass (central to understanding and harnessing the time gene) at large, the hunt is on to find it before someone else does.

But the Hourglass has an advantage. Lily, who has the ability to locate anything lost, has determined that the Infinityglass isn't an object. It's a person. And the Hourglass must find him or her first. But where do you start searching for the very key to time when every second could be the last?

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Book Review: He Belongs to Me by Theresa Rizzo

He Belongs to Me is a love story . . . a tale of betrayal and deception and of a young mother's determination to recover what belongs to her.

Forced to leave her baby and tricked into relinquishing her parental rights, four years later Catherine Boyd is back and she'll do anything to regain custody of her son--even reconcile with the husband falsely accused of killing their son's twin.

All in the name of love for a little boy, generations of pain and tragedy are exposed in a courtroom drama.

Release Date: June 15, 2013
Age Group: Adult
Source: Review copy from author

Since I became a parent, I find myself drawn to adult novels about parents and their children.  I am especially enraptured with novels about parents losing a child, whether through death or kidnapping.  That makes me sound quite maudlin, doesn't it?  I think what draws me in about these types of stories is the ever-present fear that it could happen to me.  

He Belongs to Me is about a young mother who will stop at nothing to get her son back, away from her well-meaning but controlling parents.  I found the book to be a little slow to start, and slow again in the middle of the story.  It really took off about halfway through, at which point there was no stopping me: I simply had to know if Catherine would be successful in her quest to obtain parental rights over her little boy.  

I liked Catherine's tenacity and optimistic spirit.  She was an easy character to like, and I really felt for her.  My favorite part of the book was the actual courtroom battle.  That's where the story really took off and I found the legal drama to be very entertaining.  I also loved the ending, which was heartfelt and emotional.

There were times in the book where the characters' actions were irrational and entirely flawed.  I found myself wondering "what in the world are they thinking".  But, characters are human and aren't perfect, no matter how much we would want them to be.

I really enjoyed He Belongs to Me and would definitely read Theresa Rizzo again.