Monday, March 31

Book Blitz: His Hometown Girl by Karen Rock

His Hometown Girl banner

Today is my stop during the blog tour for His Hometown Girl by Karen Rock. This book blitz is organized by Lola's Blog Tours. The book blitz runs from March 31 till April 13, you can view the whole tour schedule here.



His Hometown Girl by Karen Rock

Blurb:
He'd always managed to best herÖ

Jodi Chapman will do whatever it takes to get top care for her autistic son. If that means going home and convincing local farmers to sell their land, so be it. Even if her biggest opponent, childhood rival Daniel Gleason, is equally determined to convince farmers to buy into his co-op plan. And he's not playing fair.

Facing off against Daniel is the last thing Jodi wants. The attraction that's always fueled their competitiveness is as strong as ever and just as distracting. But with both their futures on the line, and years of distrust between them, how can they ever be on the same side?

You can add His Hometown Girl to your to-read list on Goodreads.


You can buy His Hometown Girl here:

- Amazon U.K. (Print and Kindle

- B&N

- eHarlequin (Print Book)



Karen Rock Farm Anecdote: The Proof is in the Salsa

Although I wasnít raised on a farm, I spent every Sunday and lots of weeks in the summer on my grandparentsí Century dairy farm in Malone, New York. A Century farm means that itís a farm thatís been owned by the same family, continuously, for over a hundred years. My family had raised cattle on that land in upstate New York for over two hundred plus years. It always gave me so much pride whenever we took the turn up their long, sugar maple-lined drive because Iíd imagine that Almanzo Wilder, another Malone farm kid, would have grown up seeing the same things I did. As a huge fan of the Laura Ingalls Wilder series, Little House on the Prairie, this meant so much to me.

Although there were lots of things I loved doing on the farm, spending time with neighbors was also a big favorite. There were lots of excuses to get together and the best ones involved potluck suppers. While these gatherings were friendly affairs, there was something a bit electric and competitive feeling about those suppers. Women brought their best main courses, side dishes and desserts and anxiously watched to see that their pan was scraped clean. My grandmother was just as eager to have her cooking skills praised and/or recognized as the rest. Whenever a potluck approached, weíd spend lots of time discussing what sheíd bringÖ everyone loved her three bean salad, but last time Nancy Martineau had brought the same dish which meant weíd come home with- gasp- leftovers. That could not. Would not. Happen again.

Weíd picked blackberries and her cobbler could not be beat, so we were all set for bringing a desert. As for a main course, we settled on meatloaf with a sweet ketchup sauce on top. It wasnít my Gramís favorite thing to make, but Bernice, who usually provided this staple, had broken a hip and no potluck was complete without it. As the Vice President of the local Daughters of the American Revolution chapter (DAR), my grandmother had the clout to fill Berniceís shoes- temporarily. But a side dishÖ the agonyÖ what if Nancy breeched the unspoken etiquette of who brought what and produced another three bean salad? Gram could make coleslaw but another neighbor always made that. The same was true for potato salad, pasta salad and fruit salad. Pistachio and Ambrosia salads were also popular but other ladies had claimed those long ago too.

So perhaps a hot dish? I voted for scalloped potatoes but Gram reminded me that Marlene always made them. When I suggested baked beans and bacon, the green bean salad topped with fried onions, or creamed baby onions she just shook her head sadly. Nope. The politics of a potluck supper ran deep. It was an insult and a bit of a challenge to bring the same dish another neighbor was known to contribute. Yet we needed something extraordinary to avoid loading a half-filled aluminum tin in the back of the pick-up on the way home.

Then it came to me. Salsa! Weíd been picking tomatoes for days. Jarring them too. And since we also had fresh peppers and onions, we couldnít miss. When I suggested it to Gram, she looked puzzled and shook her head. It would stick out. Sounded too exotic. People wouldnít know what to make of it. But I pressed on, certain that our old-fashioned Yankee potlucks could use a little updating- though I never wanted us to lose the bread pudding or banana cream pies! Finally, if only to make me happy, she gave in and we took a rare trip into town to get some cilantro, hot sauce and tortilla chips.

We ran into Marlene who was very curious about what we had in our shopping cart by the way she kept looking. But I had to hand it to Gram. Once she committed, she was all in and didnít give away a thing other than to observe that ñ yes- the corn was coming along nicely this season. I could have laughed at the shocked look on Marleneís face when she caught sight of the hot sauce jar.

Back home, we chopped, diced and mixed and the smell was so good even my Uncle Bob, a notoriously picky eater, wandered into the kitchen to investigate. We set the bowl in the ëfridge and, since I was spending the night, went to sleep. The next morning, I rushed to the kitchen to find Gram with her head stuck inside the refrigerator, checking on the salsa. It smelled even better than yesterday, but she decided, after tasting it, to add a little sugar to sweeten it. Gram was never big on measuring. She tasted, she looked and she smelled. Thatís how she cooked and despite the lack of scientific measurements, her dishes won prizes at fairs and were the talk of potluck suppers. She was widely known as one of the best cooks in the county. Would her reputation stay intact after this risky potluck contribution?

At the supper, long foldout tables were laid out, end to end in a long ëLí shape with deserts down on one end, main dishes at the other and the sides in the middle. We arrived early to set up and I noticed that, although Gram had set out her meatloaf which earned her cautious praise (no one dared say it looked better than Berniceís), and her berry cobbler, the salsa was nowhere to be found. Had she left it in the truck? After a quick trip to check, I came back empty handed. Weíd worked so hard. Maybe weíd left it at home. My heart sank. I just knew people would have liked this new treat and now theyíd never taste it.

Locals filed in and the noise grew even louder until the minister raised his hand for the blessing. We all bowed our heads, though mine was already low. I barely listened for thoughts of the salsa until I heard him actually say the word. Salsa. Whatís more, he mentioned me. He was giving thanks to me for bringing my first dish to the supper and when I peaked up I saw my grandmother behind the table, her sparkling eyes meeting mine as she nodded at the bowl on the table in front of her. The salsa!

After grace, I joined her to help serve, and she told me sheíd wanted to surprise me. I was so happy that my feet didnít feel connected to the ground. Even better, people were lining up to taste this fresh garden salsaÖ and coming back for more. Suddenly, I felt the pressure and responsibility of having brought a tasty dish. It wasnít until someone scooped out the last spoonful that I breathed easy and shared a jubilant hug with Gram. Iíd done it! My contribution was a hit- especially with the men who confided that they liked spicy food- something you rarely heard up North.

The ride home was full of excited chatterÖ mostly mine. Uncle Bob asked me if weíd kept any more of the salsa back home and I promised him Iíd make more. In fact, from there on out, I always made salsa for potlucks. It became my dish. While I never quite earned my grandmotherís reputation as a great cook, I was happy to contribute to our neighborly gatherings. Itís the best part about being in a close community like ours.






karenAbout the Author:

Karen Rock has adored romance since receiving Harlequin Presents books from her grandmother each summer. She formed her Young Adult writing partnership, J.K. Rock- pseudonym for the CAMP BOYFRIEND series, with her sister-in-law and Blaze author, Joanne Rock in 2011. When Karen heard of a call for submissions to Heartwarming, Harlequinís latest line, she was inspired by the possibilities of writing unforgettable, deeply romantic, tender love stories that mothers would feel comfortable sharing with their daughters. Since then, her first Harlequin, WISH ME TOMORROW came out in September, 2013 and her next novel HIS HOMETOWN GIRL comes out in March, 2014 with three more releases expected this year.

When sheís not writing, Karen loves scouring estate sales for vintage books, cooking her grandmother's family recipes, hiking the ëhigh peaksí, and redesigning her gardens. She lives in the Adirondack Mountain region with her husband, daughter, and two Cavalier King cocker spaniels who have yet to understand the concept of ìfetchî though they know a lot about love. For more information about Karen's upcoming books, check out her website at http://www.karenrock.com, Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/karenrockwrites or follow her on twitter at http://www.twitter.com/karenrock5 . Sheíd love to hear from you!



You can find Karen here:

- Website

- Facebook

- Twitter

- Goodreads

- Pinterest



There is a tour wide giveaway for the book blitz of His Hometown Girl. These are the prizes you can win:

- Grand Prize: $50 gift card and a signed copy of Karen Rock her earlier Heartwarming Wish Me Tomorrow and her YA contemporary romance, Camp Boyfriend.

- Two runner-ups both win a 15$ amazon gift card



His Hometown Girl Grand Prize



For a chance to win enter the rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway





I Still Haven't Read...


This week's pick...




Georgina Kincaid Series by Richelle Mead:

#1 Succubus Blues (Already Read)
#2 Succubus Nights
#3 Succubus Dreams
#4 Succubus Heat
#5 Succubus Shadows
#6 Succubus Revealed

I have long since read and devoured Richelle's YA Vampire Academy series and a few years ago I buddy read the first book in this series with a friend. We both loved it I just haven't had the chance to continue with the series.

Have you read the series?


Sunday, March 30

Review: Fire and Flood (Fire and Flood #1)

Fire and Flood (Fire and Flood #1)
Victoria Scott

Published By: Scholastic (US) / Chicken House (UK)
Publication Date: February 25, 2014 (US) / March 6, 2014 (UK)
Date Read: March 2, 2014
Genre: YA - Dystopia
Source: ARC from Chicken House
Format: Paperback
Pages: 366
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From Goodreads:
A modern day thrill ride, where a teen girl and her animal companion must participate in a breathtaking race to save her brother's life—and her own.

Tella Holloway is losing it. Her brother is sick, and when a dozen doctors can't determine what's wrong, her parents decide to move to Montana for the fresh air. She's lost her friends, her parents are driving her crazy, her brother is dying—and she's helpless to change anything.

Until she receives mysterious instructions on how to become a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed. It's an epic race across jungle, desert, ocean, and mountain that could win her the prize she desperately desires: the Cure for her brother's illness. But all the Contenders are after the Cure for people they love, and there's no guarantee that Tella (or any of them) will survive the race.

The jungle is terrifying, the clock is ticking, and Tella knows she can't trust the allies she makes. And one big question emerges: Why have so many fallen sick in the first place?

After reading and loving Victoria Scott's Dante Walker series I couldn't wait to read her new series. Add to the fact that it's dystopia and I have an unreal love for dystopia series I was so anxious to get started on this series. Fire and Flood has a good storyline and is a great addition to the dystopia genre.

All Tella wants is to go back to how it used to be. After her brother got sick and the doctor's couldn't determine what was wrong with him their whole lives were uprooted and moved to Montana. Tella, more than anything, wants her brother to get better. So when she is given the chance to fight in the Brimstone Bleed Tella is determined to fight and win. Her prize? The cure for her brother. But only one person can win and their is no guarantee that she will survive the race in the first place.

I have such conflicted feelings for this book. I couldn't wait to read it. It sounded like such an awesome book and completely my kind of book. With it being a YA Dystopia novel comparisons to The Hunger Games were bound to happen. I can usually bypass that and see the books as they are on their own... but with this one there is just too much that is completely similar that it's hard to look past it and look for the originality. Tella enters a competition that is a fight to the death to save her brother and some of the competitors start to band together to increase their chances of survival. It's just too similar for comfort with me.

Add this to the fact that I completely and utterly hated Tella. One of my biggest problems with novels is if I don't like the characters then I can't stand the book for the most chance. Tella may be doing the Brimstone Bleed for good and selfless reasons but she is selfish, vain and just completely unlikable to me. Especiall when she started saying how she could have been friends with a girl if she didn't want to kill he because she was beautiful and looked good. Seriously... kill me now!

Fire and Flood was such a tough read for me but it had one majorly redeeming quality... there is one aspect which is totally realistic. Enter the Pandoras. Pandoras are eggs that hatch into an animal that can have magical powers and cannot. I loved this part of the book. It's so original and it was this part of it that really had me keeping reading. I have to be honest that if it wasn't for this part of the book I probably would have DNF'd it.

Fire and Flood is a good storyline and it's jampacked full of action and romance. If you love your Hunger Games eske novels with a new unique aspect and can look away from lots of similarities this is the book for you. I still adore Victoria Scott and her writing is so talented and is an amazing author but this book is just not for me. I am unsure whether I will read book 2 or not.

Early Review: Sweet Reckoning (Sweet Trilogy #3)

Sweet Reckoning (Sweet Trilogy #3)
Wendy Higgins

Published By: Harper Teen
Publication Date: April 29, 2014
Date Read: February 22, 2014
Genre: YA - Paranormal Romance
Source: eARC from Edelweiss and HarperTEEN
Format: E-Book
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From Goodreads:
It’s time.

Evil is running rampant and sweet Anna Whitt is its target. Nobody knows when or how the Dukes will strike, but Anna and her Nephilim allies will do anything necessary to rid the earth of the demons and their oppressive ways.

The stakes are higher than ever, and Anna is determined that the love she feels will be her strength, not a liability. But trying to protect the ones she loves while running for her life and battling demonic forces proves to be perilous—especially as faces are changing and trust is fleeting. When the Duke of Lust sends Anna’s great love, Kaidan Rowe, to work against her, Anna must decide how much she’s prepared to risk.

In the most sensual and fast-paced installment yet, Sweet Reckoning brings all the beloved Neph together one last time to fight for their freedom.

"There was going to be a reckoning here tonight, both sweet and terrible."

Having fallen in love with this addictive Nephilim series with the first two installments Sweet Evil and Sweet Peril I couldn't wait to get my hands on the final installment in the series. When I was accepted for an early ARC from the publisher I couldn't contain my excitement and forgot everything I needed to do and read it... in one sitting.

Sweet Reckoning tells the story of the final leg on Anna and Kaidan's journey to not only free themselves from the evil running their lives but also their fight to finally be together. After all of the drama from the previous installment of the series you'd think they are bound to get a break... think again. Sweet Reckoning is jam packed full of action and drama and swoon-worthy romance.

Wendy Higgins truly mesmorises me. Her writing is completely addictive and I could not put this book down. I was already head over heels in love with these characters and I just could not wait to see what was going to happen to them. The journey to the end is a tough one and it has you sat on the edge of your seat unable to turn the pages quick enough. You will laugh and cry and scream and throw things. Sweet Reckoning is without a doubt an emotional rollercoaster and you will love every single moment.

I have to admit I was slightly concerned about reading Sweet Reckoning. After a few less than satisfying endings to a trilogy I was worried but I needn't have. Wendy gives the fans the perfect ending to the perfect series and I was swooning so hard! It is pure perfection.

Wendy is without a doubt one of my auto-buy authors. I don't even need to know what it is about I will read it purely just because Wendy has wrote it. She sure knows how to write a perfect ending. She is amazing and Sweet Reckoning was utter perfection. I am so sad so say goodbye to this series and these characters but it was perfect and I loved it so much. The best book of the series without a doubt. This is definitely a case of saving the best till last.

"Love is the strongest force. The binding substance. The element worth existing for. That is what makes you pure of heart."





Extra Awesome Quotes:

"I'm afraid of only one thing. Losing you."

"Anywhere with you is my home."

"I need you to know this is different for me. I've never felt like this with someone. I don't just love you, Anna. I adore you."

"Guard your love, for it will lead you through the darkness."

"You're my dream. My only dream."

 

Wednesday, March 26

Waiting on Wednesday


Dark Days
Kate Ormand

Published By: Sky Pony Press
Publication Date: June 3, 2014
Genre: YA - Dystopia
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From Goodreads:
The future world has been divided into sectors--each the same as the other. Surrounded by thick steel fences, there is no way in and no way out. Yet a cyborg army penetrates each sector, picking off its citizens one by one, until no one is left. Behind the sectors' thick walls, the citizens wait to die. Few will be chosen to survive what's coming; the rest will be left behind to suffer. A new world has been created, and its rulers are incredibly selective on who will become a citizen. They want only those with important roles in society to help create a more perfect future.

Sixteen-year-old Sia lives in one of the sectors as part of a family that is far too ordinary to be picked to live. According to the digital clock that towers high above her sector, she has only fifteen days to live. Sia has seen the reports and knows a horrific death is in store for her, but she is determined to make the most of her final days. Sia refuses to mourn her short life, instead promising herself that she'll stay strong, despite being suffocated by her depressed mother and her frightened best friend. Just when Sia feels more alone than ever, she meets Mace, a mysterious boy. There is something that draws Sia to him, despite his dangerousness, and together, they join a group of rebels and embark on an epic journey to destroy the new world and its machines, and to put an end to the slaughter of innocent people.

I have been searching for more UKYA books lately when this one popped up on my search. It's no surprise to anyone how much I adore dystopia novels and this one just sounds incredible. To be honest I was sold by the 'a cyborg army' line. It made my inner-nerd jump up and down and clap their hands like a madman. I am so looking forward to this one. Not only does it sound super cool but it sounds really unique and fresh which is exactly what I am looking for.


Monday, March 24

I Still Haven't Read...


This week's pick...




Touch of Death Series by Kelly Hashway:

#1 Touch of Death (Already Read)
#2 Stalked by Death
#3 Face of Death

I fell in love with this incredible YA Mythology story when I got sent an ARC from Spencer Hill Press. I am such a massive fan of mythology so I can't wait to complete the series.

Have you read this series?


Wednesday, March 19

Waiting on Wednesday


Take Me On (Pushing the Limits #4)
Katie McGarry

Published By: HarlequinTEEN
Publication Date: May 20, 2014
Genre: YA - Contemporary Romance
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From Goodreads:
Acclaimed author Katie McGarry returns with the knockout new story of two high school seniors who are about to learn what winning really means

Champion kickboxer Haley swore she'd never set foot in the ring again after one tragic night. But then the guy she can't stop thinking about accepts a mixed martial arts fight in her honor. Suddenly, Haley has to train West Young. All attitude, West is everything Haley promised herself she'd stay away from. Yet he won't last five seconds in the ring without her help.

West is keeping a big secret from Haley. About who he really is. But helping her-fighting for her-is a shot at redemption. Especially since it's his fault his family is falling apart. He can't change the past, but maybe he can change Haley's future.

Hayley and West have agreed to keep their relationship strictly in the ring. But as an unexpected bond forms between them and attraction mocks their best intentions, they'll face their darkest fears and discover love is worth fighting for

I am sooooo excited for this book! I am such an enormous fan of Katie McGarry and have devoured every single thing she has put out yet. To say I am looking forward to reading West's story would be the understatement of the century. I am seriously dying to read this. I need it like RIGHT NOW!


Monday, March 17

I Still Haven't Read...


This week's pick...


The Chronicles of Ixia by Marie V Snyder:

#1 Poison Study (Already Read)
#2 Magic Study (Already Read)
#3 Fire Study
#4 Storm Glass
#5 Sea Glass
#6 Spy Glass

A good friend of mine is absolutely in love with all things MVS and she got me started on her books. I read and fell in love with the first two books in this series yet I still have to finish the series. I'm hoping to get to this one soon as I love this amazing YA Fantasy series.


Sunday, March 16

Book Haul

Hey Guys,
Here's the books I received this week.

E-Books:


For Review:

The Forever Song (The Immortal Rules #3) by Julie Kagawa

AudioBooks:




Bought:

Rule (Marked Men #1) by Jay Crownover
Demon Kissed (Demon Kissed #1) by HM Ward
Spider's Bite (Elemental Assassin #1) by Jennifer Estep
Cinder (Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer
Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer
Cress (Lunar Chronicles #3) by Marissa Meyer
 Half-Bad (Half-Life #1) by Sally Green



Wednesday, March 12

Waiting on Wednesday


The One (The Selection #3)
Kiera Cass

Published By: HarperTeen
Publication Date: May 6, 2014
Genre: YA - Dystopia
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From Goodreads:
The Selection changed the lives of thirty-five girls forever. And now, the time has come for one winner to be chosen.

America never dreamed she would find herself anywhere close to the crown—or to Prince Maxon's heart. But as the competition approaches its end and the threats outside the palace walls grow more vicious, America realizes just how much she stands to lose—and how hard she'll have to fight for the future she wants.

From the very first page of The Selection, this #1 New York Times bestselling series has captured readers' hearts and swept them away on a captivating journey... Now, in The One, Kiera Cass delivers a satisfying and unforgettable conclusion that will keep readers sighing over this electrifying fairy-tale long after the final page is turned.

I am seriously dying waiting to get my hands on this book. I fell in love with this series in The Selection and even more obsessed in The Elite. I need to know how it all ends. The cover is all kinds of gorgeous and although I admit I'm slightly terrified for the ending based on recent endings to dystopia trilogies I still can't wait to get my hands on this one. Is it May yet?


Monday, March 10

I Still Haven't Read...


This week's pick...


Hush, Hush Series by Becca Fitzpatrick:

#1: Hush, Hush (Already Read)
#2: Crescendo (Already Read)
#3: Silence (Already Read)
#4: Finale

I fell in love with this fallen angel series years ago when the first one released and I read each one as they came out apart from Finale. I don't know whether it was because I didn't want the series to end or what but it's still sat there unread.

Have you read this series?


Sunday, March 9

Wrap Up: February 2014


Hey Guys,
So this is going up suppppeeerrrr late but here is my wrap up for the month of February.

Note: The vlog is for January and February together.



Books Read in February 2014:


Uninvited (Uninvited #1) by Sophie Jordan - 5 Stars
Be With Me (Wait For You #2) by J. Lynn - 5 Stars
Pieces of Olivia by Melissa West - 5 Stars *BETA READ*
The Secret Diamond Sisters (Secret Diamond Sisters #1) by Michelle Madow - 3 Stars
Graduation Day (The Testing #3) by Joelle Charbonnau - 5 Stars
Don't Look Back by Jennifer L Armentrout - 5 Stars
Sweet Reckoning (Sweet Trilogy #3) by Wendy Higgins - 5 Stars

Reviews Posted in February 2014:


Top 3 Books of February 2014:

#3:

 #2:

#1: