Carrie’s Most Anticipated Books of 2015

I know I’m going to miss a bunch after I send this list to post, but these are just a few of the books that have me biting my nails until they release.   I ordered them by release date to let you manage your excitement.

Tell me in the comments what you can’t wait for! [Read more…]

Joint Review: Deep by Kylie Scott

deepPositive. With two little lines on a pregnancy test, everything in Lizzy Rollins’ ordinary life is about to change forever. And all because of one big mistake in Vegas with Ben Nicholson, the irresistibly sexy bass player for Stage Dive. So what if Ben’s the only man she’s ever met who can make her feel completely safe, cherished, and out of control with desire at the same time? Lizzy knows the gorgeous rock star isn’t looking for anything more permanent than a good time, no matter how much she wishes differently.

Ben knows Lizzy is off limits. Completely and utterly. She’s his best friend’s little sister now, and no matter how hot the chemistry is between them, no matter how sweet and sexy she is, he’s not going to go there. But when Ben is forced to keep the one girl he’s always had a weakness for out of trouble in Sin City, he quickly learns that what happens in Vegas, doesn’t always stay there. Now he and Lizzie are connected in the deepest way possible…but will it lead to a connection of the heart?

Reviewed by Janell and Carrie

Janell: I was not looking forward to this book. Ben didn’t appeal to me at all from the other books, probably because he never did anything, and he never spoke, and he was described as a giant. I like a tall man, but he seemed too large to be sexy. I didn’t think  he would make an appealing hero, so if this wasn’t part of a series that I loved, I wouldn’t have read it.

Carrie: I was very much looking forward to this book because this is the last book in the series and I wanted to see how the author would portray Ben, who was the quiet dude in the background. I was hoping to find out about his deal and how he fit in with the band. 

Janell: When I found out Lizzie was the heroine, I wasn’t too thrilled, either, because it all seemed so incestuous. But what’s weird is that I love how the Stage Dive family is so close and sort of dysfunctional. I like how they hang out and have dinners and party together. I guess I thought Anne’s sister was too easy of a character choice, like all the single people are now nicely wrapped up.

Carrie: I hear what you are saying. Lizzie being the heroine definitley seems like an easy out, but the author has been leading up to this ever since book 2 so I had already accepted it. I agree with you that I love the family atmosphere of the band and it totally makes sense as the guys have basically grown up together. They have a very small circle and, in that sense, Lizzie for Ben seems realistic.

Janell: Let me say nice things now. Sometimes in series books I find the “checking in” with past characters to be pointless, but I didn’t feel that way here. Maybe I’m only complaining because I’m not always a completist, and I find myself reading review books that are late in a series I haven’t read. In those cases, I’m like, “stop having these random people pop in to say hi, and stop having this main character think about the plot of past books.” So, if I’ve read the other books, fine, but if not, it bugs me. Apparently the answer is to read the whole series!

Carrie: I’ll go ahead and disagree here – I LOVE checking in with past characters. It gives me warm fuzzies to see their HEA continuing. 

Janell: I like how Ev is still the mother hen. I loved seeing Anne and Mal’s relationship through another pair of eyes, and I loved Mal’s instant brother relationship with Lizzie.  And I more than loved seeing Jimmy as a dutiful, responsible lover and future father, especially giving advice to Ben. (One of my biggest problems with Lead was that Jimmy’s “I’m in love” revelation came so near the end, and it seemed too easy for him to admit. I wanted to see how he changed after that, but the book ended. So in a way I read the Jimmy parts as the conclusion of his own story, and I was so grateful.)

Carrie: Yes!! Ev is still the most levelheaded of the bunch and I love how she can quickly settle a volatile situation. Mal was a just a wee bit over the top as Lizzie’s insta-brother. I would’ve liked a moment of clarity from him on that front to make it a tad more believable.  However, I totally agree that the best part was Lena and Jimmy – specifically Jimmy. Was he ever more adorable than when lovingly smothering Lena to the point of her telling him to back up a bit? I also loved his authoritarian transformation when giving Ben a lecture. I swear I could totally read another book with him. 

Janell: I thought that Ben as a character was the least interesting of all the guys. The others all had issues from their past, or sadness somewhere. Ben was just always the easygoing guy. Dave wants him to play bass? He plays bass. The other guys are busy with their women? He sits in with another band. The author did a great job of explaining him. I totally get that all he wanted to do was hang out and play music and party, and that was his only goal in life. And I totally understand how he screwed up with Lizzie over and over. He wanted to ignore the problem, then throw money at it and be the least involved. It took him until the very end to commit, and even then I wasn’t sure that he would stick. I like that he admitted to Lizzie that he would keep screwing up so she needed to keep forgiving him.

Carrie: I feel like we never really got to know Ben at all, other than he had a rough childhood and he liked his life the way it was.  While all the other members of the band stayed connected, he floated off on his own and did his thing. He’s so afraid of Lizzie, but I didn’t understand why – just because she was a killjoy that put a wrench in his life? 

Janell: Lizzie, for the most part, was a badass. I loved that she was using her psychology classes to try to win Ben over. I liked how she started the texting thing, and her humor came across in it. I loved how she stood up for herself every time Ben tried to get caveman jealous on her. She was like, no, you are not the boss of me and I don’t care that you don’t like it.

Carrie: I’m going to slightly disagree here. I thought Lizzie gave Ben a lot of chances and waited around secretly hoping he would change his mind. Yes, she didn’t let his caveman attitude go but she also let him come back time after time. 

Janell: At least she realized that she was pathetic, and she kept trying to be done with him. But you’re right, she still let him come back. And that’s going to be the pattern of her life. Now that I look back on it, Lizzie seemed to do the most changing. I wish the book got more into how they worked things out, how they related. Kind of like with Lena and Jimmie, I wanted to see them work past things. If Ben just keeps being Ben, and then keeps apologizing, then I think Lizzie got the bad end of the deal. I mean, she’s attracted to him, and she likes his beard, but what does he do for her? This could totally be my anti-Ben bias, so I hope you can point out some good things about him!

Carrie: I’m afraid I really can’t. Honestly, I don’t really understand how a few texts here and there about inane things suddenly morphs into an all consuming love that Ben must stay away from because he doesn’t know how to love because his parents were awful. 

Janell: One last random thought about the writing style… sometimes I like it, but then sometimes I think Ev and Lena and Lizzie all sound the same in their heads. That conversational, lusty, “can you blame me?” tone. I loved Ev because she was the first. And I didn’t notice it much with Anne, because she was calm and Mal was so crazy (I love Mal forever). I was enjoying Lena being tough, but then the last half of the book she sounded just like Ev, and then Lizzie sounded like that, too. Maybe it’s because they’re all around 21? I don’t know. So I appreciated Lizzie’s psychology insight, but it seemed to fade away as she she focused more on her emotions.

Carrie: I had a couple quibbles with the writing as well. I felt like Lizzie’s character was more of an amalgamation of Ev, Anne and Lena than a separate character. I also didn’t like that the reader is “told” what was going on through conversations that Lizzie was overhearing. I would have rather had some dialogue and interaction between Ben & Lizzie.

Janell: Yes! Their main interaction was text messages! There were phone calls that we were not shown, which seemed like lazy relationship building. Their romance was like, Flirt, Oops, tiptoe tiptoe tiptoe, Sex. No talking. But Ben doesn’t talk anyway. I sound critical, but that’s only because I love. I love the world, and the band, and how they all look out for each other. I just think I’m a little sad for Lizzie.

Carrie: I’m sad that this feels like sort of a throwaway book for me. While I loved checking in with the characters, the romance totally fell flat. I can only hope that there might be a Jimmy, Lena and Baby novella someday!

Janell: I wish the series had been written in a different order! Saving Ben for last was a letdown. I think I’d give it a C+, though, because Jimmy 🙂

Carrie: Sadly, it was only a C read for me.

*ARC provided by publisher

Click to purchase: Amazon

Deep
by Kylie Scott
Release Date: March 31, 2015
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

Carrie’s Most Anticipated Books of 2015

PhotobucketI know I’m going to miss a bunch after I send this list to post, but these are just a few of the books that have me biting my nails until they release.   I ordered them by release date to let you manage your excitement.

Tell me in the comments what you can’t wait for!
[Read more…]

Janell’s Favorite Books of 2014

2014I spent a lot of time this year reading older books, so I hope you don’t mind some oldies at the top of my list.

heirThe Heir by Grace Burrowes (2010)

This book is a few years old, but it was new to me this year, and it has one of my favorite tropes: woman goes undercover as housekeeper. In a nice twist, the Earl of Westhaven doesn’t immediately lust after his new employee. Instead, he appreciates her competency and her baked goods. Anna performs her role well, and she only slowly develops a familiarity with her employer. Let me emphasize “slowly.” This is a long book with a slow burn, which I really enjoyed. [Read more…]

Carrie’s Favorite Books of 2014

2014Lots of great reads in 2014! I could’ve listed a few more but wanted to just give you my most favorite of the year. I especially loved favorite authors that started new series (Callihan, Andrews & Bennett) and new to me authors (Bowen). Bring on 2015!

New Adult

hook upThe Hook Up by Kristen Callihan – Callihan’s foray into New Adult is a smash and my #1 reread of 2014. Star quarterback falls head long for a smart sarcastic girl who wants nothing to do with him. Fantastic tension with well-developed relatable characters with a seriously steamy story made this riveting read.

Click to purchase: The Hook Up

The Year We Fell Down by Sarina Bowen – A new to me author that I’ve fallen for. The first book in the Ivy League series is a sentimental coming of age story with a strong heroine who is navigating a different kind of freshman year after a hockey accident landed her in a wheelchair. It gave me all the angsty butterflies that a first love can give. [Read more…]

Giveaway & Review: Lead by Kylie Scott

leadReviewed by Carrie

I didn’t think it was possible for me to love this series more, but then Scott goes and writes one of the best heroines since Bridget Jones.  Seriously, folks, just buy this book right now and then come back and we’ll gab about its awesomeness.

Jimmy Ferris, the lead singer of Stage Dive, has finally pulled himself out of the dark hole of alcohol and drug addiction.  To give everyone some peace of mind, he employs a “sober companion” to help keep him on the straight and narrow.  The problem is, Jimmy is so surly and difficult that he has a hard time getting anyone to stay.  Then… along comes Lena. [Read more…]

Review: Play by Kylie Scott

playReviewed by Carrie

Sometimes a book comes along that make you feel giddy.   Giddy is a wonderful feeling, especially when you are a person not prone to feeling that way.  Giddiness is infectious – you want everyone to feel the wonderful way you feel.  I am going on record that this book with make you giddy.  It will make you smile and snort with laughter.

Anne Rollins is having a crappy day to add to her not so wonderful life when she comes home to find her roommate took off with a significant chunk of her money and furniture and on the hook for the bills and rent.  [Read more…]

Review: Lick

Reviewed by Janell

Holy cow, you guys. This book. This is the book. Grade: A

Oh, you want more? Fine. Evelyn spends her 21st birthday in Las Vegas, planning to get drunk and have sex. Instead, she gets very, very drunk and marries a rock star. She wakes up in her hotel bathroom with a giant diamond ring on her finger and a hot shirtless guy watching her. With no memories of the night before, she freaks out, vomits, and makes her new husband angry enough that he storms out, planning to annul the marriage.

This story works because of the characters. It’s narrated by Evelyn, and she is not stupid. She knows that getting married at 21 is a bad idea and would interfere with her career plans. She’s also observant, self-aware, brave, and self-deprecating (“If I were him, I’d divorce me and never look back.” “Marriage sucked and husbands were the worst.” “How horrible, being forced to live in the lap of luxury with my wonderful husband. Poor me. I needed a good slap.”).

David, the wonderful husband in question, is not the typical tortured, angsty, alpha male. He has issues, but no big tragedy that he wallows in. He’s not overbearing and controlling. He will punch a guy who touches his woman, but he’ll also listen to his woman explain the touching without going all rage Neanderthal on her. He has a temper, but he also likes to cuddle. He is awesome.

I was so pleasantly surprised by all of the conversations Evelyn and David had. They honestly wanted to figure out a way to make their crazy relationship work. There were no big secrets or silly misunderstandings. Evelyn even knows that withholding information is lying, and that, “if [she] had to demand his faith and affection, it didn’t mean a damn thing.” She’s so opposite of the too-stupid-to-live heroine that it makes me giddy.

Of course they have hot sex all over the place. It takes a little while to happen but then makes up for the delay. Of course they run into some bumps and break up. The fallout is realistic, the make-up is fantasy. I know, the whole plot is fantasy, but the way it’s written made it seem so believable.

I could go on and on, but I don’t want to ruin the experience for you. Just go. Read it. Go on now.

Rating: A

*ARC Provided by Momentum

Click to purchase: Amazon
Lick
by Kylie Scott
Release Date: July 1, 2013
Publisher: Momentum