December 27, 2013

Top 10 of 2013: Looking to 2014

Top 10 Books I’m looking forward to in 2014
(Published only in 2014)

In order of release date. . .

  1. Lady Thief (Scarlet #2) by A.C. Gaughen (February 11)
  2. Every Second With You (No Regrets #2) by Lauren Blakely (February 17)
  3. The Mistress Rebellion (Brothers Sinister #4) by Courtney Milan (May 1)
  4. The One (The Selection #3) by Kiera Cass (May 6)
  5. Raging Star (Dust Lands #3) by Moira Young (May 13)
  6. The Immortal Crown (Age of X #2) by Richelle Mead (May 29)
  7. Silver Shadows (Bloodlines #5) by Richelle Mead (July 29)
  8. Shimmer (The Rephaim #3) by Paula Weston (July 2014 -- later in North America)
  9. Sisters Fate (Cahill Witch Chronicles #3) by Jessica Spotswood (August 14)
  10. Visions (Cainsville #2) by Kelley Armstrong (August 19)
  11. Encore (Amplified #2) by Tara Kelly (Summer 2014)
  12. Rivals in the City (The Agency #4) by Y.S. Lee (2014)
  13. Mortal Heart (His Fair Assassin #3) by Robin LaFevers (2014)
(Just had to keep in those few extras, even though there aren't firm dates for them yet.)

  1. Prince of Shadows by Rachel Caine (February 4)
  2. The Deep End of the Sea by Heather Lyons (February 13)
  3. White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout (February 25)
  4. What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick (April 15)
  5. To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han (April 22)
  6. #scandal by Sarah Ockler (June 17)
  7. Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally (July 1)
  8. On the Fence by Kasie West (July 1)
  9. Landline by Rainbow Rowell (July 8)
  10. A Blind Spot for Boys by Justina Chen (August 12)

December 25, 2013

Top 10 of 2013: Top 10 New Adult

For everyone celebrating today, I wish you a very Merry Christmas. May your holidays be blessed and filled with love, light, and joy.

Best New Adult Books I’ve Read in 2013
(Published at any time, read in 2013)

Today was a "choose your topic" day, so I chose to list the Top 10 New Adult titles I read this year. There are a lot of bad books in every category, but I feel like New Adult books were both the most popular and most maligned this year. Therefore, I'd love to recommend some of my favourites if you're new to the category or just looking for the best of the bunch.

In no particular order. . .

  1. Rush Me by Allison Parr (I enjoyed how this focused on more than just the romance -- it was really about Rachael navigating the post-grad world as well. Girl is involved in publishing, guy is NFL quarterback.)
  2. A Little Too Far by Lisa Desrochers (This is a book I look back on and feel butterflies in my stomach thinking about how emotionally tied to the story I was. Please don't be squicked out by the step-sibling or almost-priest romance. It works, I swear.)
  3. Price of a Kiss by Linda Kage (This is one of those books where the concept (gigalo!) makes you go "what?!" but the actual story is just lovely. Bonus: a heroine with an emotionally scarring past who is cheery and upbeat, willing to move on)
  4. Only Between Us by Mila Ferrera (Mila is another author who can write "broken people finding one another" stories where you actually believe in the emotions, and where the issues don't encompass all of who the characters are)
  5. One & Only by Viv Daniels (written by Diana Peterfreund under an alias, this one is a perfect example of what I wish more NA was like: college, romance, friends, family -- all these things included in a "what's next??" type of story. Bonus: science geek main characters)
  6. The Thrill of It by Lauren Blakely (This book is gritty, emotional, and beautiful. It so easily could have been over the top because of the subject matter (sex addiction), but Lauren has written flawed characters who are more than their labels)
  7. At Any Price by Brenna Aubrey (Another one where I plead for you to look past the subject matter (girl sells her virginity in an auction), because Brenna has written something so smart, lovely, and romantic)
  8. True by Erin McCarthy (If you hand me another NA where a tattooed bad boy falls for the virgin princess I'm liable to freak out, but Erin McCarthy has written this book and made me love it. That alone is a pretty big endorsement ;))
  9. Stir Me Up by Simone Elkins (Technically a YA, but works well as a YA/NA hybrid. A young, injured veteran deals with his new reality, while a young chef tries to figure out life after high school. Basically: SO. GOOD.)
  10. Deeper by Robin York (comes out on January 28: Ruthie Knox writing under a pen name; a very smart book centred around "revenge porn", a girl dealing with sexual photos posted without her consent -- the fallout from that, and the complicated guy she falls for in the meantime)

If you'd like even further NA recommendations, be sure to check out my NA Recs Shelf on Goodreads.

December 24, 2013

Top 10 of 2013: Best Book Covers

Best Book Covers of 2013
(Published in 2013)

In no particular order. . .

Mind Games by Kiersten White
I remember my jaw dropping when I saw this cover. I love the colours, but I also love all the images that you can just see snatches of underneath.

The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White
Clearly writing about gods helped out Kiersten's "cover karma", because she gets another cover on this list. So gorgeous!

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
I have a feeling this one will make a lot of people's lists, but I just can't help it. The dress, the stars -- it all comes together into something so lovely.

All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill
Epic!! There's not much else to say except I love it.

The Distance Between Us by Kasie West
So simple, but I love the composition of it, the font, etc.

This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales
A perfect picture for the background, and the title treatment is awesome.

Nowhere But Home by Liza Palmer
Just so whimsical and charming.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Loveeee it! A fan art-esque cover is really the only appropriate cover for this book.

How To Love by Katie Cotugno
I may not have cared for the book, but this cover is awesome.

Another Little Piece of My Heart by Tracey Martin
This one is so simple, but there's something about it I really like. The guitars standing in for the main characters are perfect -- it's just so charming and fun.

December 23, 2013

Top 10 of 2013: Best Books of 2013

Best Books I’ve Read in 2013
(Published at any time, read in 2013)

In no particular order. . .

  1. Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers (The characters, the world building... these books are flawless)
  2. The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson (THIS is the way to end a trilogy)
  3. All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill (Epic and exciting!)
  4. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (This book just spoke to my heart)
  5. This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales (So powerful and gorgeous! A must-read for music lovers)
  6. Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas (Another amazing fantasy novel with great characters, steamy romance, and jaw dropping moments)
  7. Shadows by Paula Weston (An Aussie angel book that had me salivating for Book 2)
  8. Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken (I love the characters in this novel, and how this 2nd novel in the series kept things fresh)
  9. Star Cursed by Jessica Spotswood (Not one touch of a second book syndrome here, either. And talk about a killer ending!!)
  10. Cress by Marissa Meyer (These books keep getting better and better, I swear)

  1. The Duchess War by Courtney Milan (I capped the Courtney Milan titles on this list at 1, but I easily could have added Unraveled, among others)
  2. Cinderella Screwed Me Over by Cindi Madsen (So funny and so charming. Loved everything about it!)
  3. Trophy Husband by Lauren Blakely (Smart, funny, and swoony -- a perfect romance)
  4. Tangled by Emma Chase (I've never read a romance written entirely from the male POV, and this one was brilliant. Really dirty, but brilliant)
  5. Sugar Daddy by Lisa Kleypas (I loved how epic this book felt! A story spanning adolescence to adulthood, and I loved where it ended up)
  6. Shadow Fever by Karen Marie Moning (A freaking amazing ending to a dark, but fabulous, series)
  7. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell (So, so charming and relatable)
  8. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes (This book emotionally drained me like nothing else, but it was gorgeous and honest and amazing, too)
  9. The Host by Stephenie Meyer (This is one of those "it could be YA, it sort of fits into NA now, but it was released as adult" titles. Either way, I finally read this one and I actually thought it was amazing)
  10. Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson (This could also fit as YA because of the younger heroine. It's a clean historical romance that proves you don't need graphic scenes to present a completely swoony romance)

December 20, 2013

Exquisite Betrayal by A.M. Hargrove (Excerpt & Giveaway)

Exquisite Betrayal by A.M. Hargrove

A male Romance Author… a convention in Vegas… a female book blogger… a goal to lose her virginity… what next? Find out when you mix all the above!

Fallon McKinley is headed to Vegas for the Wicked Wenches Romance Con and losing her virginity is only one of her goals. The other is to meet her favorite author of romance novels, R.T. Sinclair. What she doesn’t realize is that the sexy green-eyed god she rams into at the airport is the real R.T. When they keep running into each other, she’s shocked, but excited, because the attraction is irresistible.

Ryland Thomas Sinclair doesn’t want anyone to know his true identity. He’s the author that all women love, but everyone thinks he’s a female. He hides his persona behind the public face of his twin sister, keeping his own a secret. But after meeting the lovely Fallon, his intentions to avoid a relationship come to a screeching halt. She’s put an unwanted kink into his perfectly laid out plans. His unusual reaction surprises him because after a heart-shredding breakup a few years ago, he’s managed to avoid women at all costs.

Resisting Fallon becomes more difficult than he imagines. Soon things are spiraling out of control, until a major miscommunication has Fallon walking out of his home and his life. Will Ryland Thomas succeed in losing the woman he loves? Or can he win her back?
Purchase Exquisite Betrayal:
Amazon | B&N | Smashwords | iTunes

Where to find A.M.:
Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest


The jackhammer wakes me up and I can’t figure out where the noise is coming from. Wherever it is, I want it to stop, and fast. It’s splitting my head right open and my brains are spilling out. I inch open my eyes and slam them back shut. The brightness kills me. It sends my stomach churning and the pain in my head worsens. I realize it’s not a jackhammer after all. It’s the throbbing my own skull is producing.

I moan and roll to my side. That tiny movement causes the most violent surge of nausea to roll over me that I’ve ever experienced in my life. I’ve got seconds to get to the toilet. I move to jump out of bed, but I only manage to get my legs tangled in the sheet. My face slams into the floor as I erupt like Mt. St. Helens. I’m not sure what hurts worse now… my throbbing head, my stinging face or my guts. I heave again and then I hear that British accent.

“Bloody fuck, not again. I thought we were over this by now. Thank God I moved the rug.”

The rug? What’s he talking about. Where am I? I give one last gurgle and heave again, and this time it’s nothing more than saliva. I’m now in the dry heave stages of a hangover. I’ve never been this bad before. Truth is, I’ve never thrown up from drinking before, and the way I feel now, I don’t ever want to do it again. I groan in agony. I seriously don’t know which way to turn, I’m that miserable.

“Hang on, I’m getting a cloth.”

Moments later, a cool cloth appears and is bathing my face. It feels nice. But when it leaves, I moan in its absence.
“Better now?”

I nod, careful to move my head slowly.

“Come on,” he starts to untangle my legs, “let’s get you in the bath.”

When my legs are freed, he helps me stand before we walk towards the bathroom. I still have no idea where we are.

“Where am I?” I croak.

“In my hotel room at the Bellagio. You were quite plastered last night, love.”

My thoughts shift back to the night before and my stomach seethes with the simple reminder of those redheaded sluts. Damn Amanda. Or maybe it was Mandy. Hell, I don’t remember anymore, Fact is, I can’t remember a freakin’ thing.

Ryland leads me into the bathroom as I blindly follow him, not daring to open my eyes to the blazing light. If I do, I know I’ll be facing a searing pain so severe that I’ll scream. He picks me up and sits me on the counter, then strangely, I feel cool air wash over my skin. How odd.

I crack open one eye and squeal. I’m topless, my boobs playing show-and-tell and proud of it, too. My nipples are pointed and happy as can be. I swear I can hear them giggling. What the fuck?

He hears me squeak and nonchalantly says, “Sorry, love, but you puked all over your shirt. I had to get it off you and you were braless.” Then he shrugs like he hasn’t a care in the world. And why should he? He’s not the one with his boobs laughing and joking with each other. I slap my hands over them, trying to quiet them down. “A little late for that, don’t you think?”

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Check out the blog tour schedule for reviews, guest posts, interviews, and more chances to enter the giveaway.

December 19, 2013

Sempre by J.M. Darhower

Sempre by J.M. Darhower
Release Date: originally self-published 2012; ebook on November 25, 2013; paperback coming February 25, 2014
Publisher: Gallery Books
Pages: 528
Series: Forever
Review Source: Edelweiss

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)

A sexy novel about two seventeen-year-olds—one a victim of human trafficking; the other the son of the man who enslaved her—who fall in love and question everything they ever believed…
Haven Antonelli and Carmine DeMarco grew up under vastly different circumstances. Haven, a second-generation slave, was isolated in the middle of the desert, her days full of hard work and terrifying abuse. Carmine, born into a wealthy Mafia family, lived a life of privilege and excess.

Now, a twist of fate causes their worlds to collide. Entangled in a web of secrets and lies, they learn that while different on the surface, they have more in common than anyone would think.

In a world full of chaos, where money and power rule, Haven and Carmine yearn to break free, but a string of events that began before either of them were born threatens to destroy them instead. Murder and betrayal are a way of life, and nothing comes without a price—especially not freedom. But how much will they have to sacrifice? Can they escape their pasts? And, most of all, what does it mean to be free
My Thoughts:
Looking back on my reading of this book I just think “ugh”, which is never a good thing. Full disclosure: I stopped reading Sempre at 70%, however I did skim through the rest, so I figure I have a right to share my thoughts (unlike a true DNF where I stop reading within the first 30% or so). I was intrigued by the idea of this book, but I mostly wanted to read it because bloggers whose taste I usually share were raving about it. Well, this is one case where we differ, because I definitely didn’t care for this one. I have to say, though, that it kept me reading that long (and this is a long book, so 70% is a lot of pages), and that’s something.

For this book to really work I think you have to be 100% behind the relationship between Haven and Carmine, and I just didn't really get their connection. They were cute together, I guess, but it felt like Carmine changed for no real reason, with no real trouble… but he was still a very complicated character. I didn’t really understand what made Haven care for him, except for the Stockholm Syndrome aspect of him being the first guy her age she’s ever really known, and the first person to treat her relatively well.

One thing that really distracted me about the book, and that I found problematic, was that Haven didn't worry about her mom more often. I could understand her not trying to escape her circumstances because she’s lived her whole life as a slave and doesn't really understand freedom, but to basically never think about her mom at all except in convenient scenes? Very strange. I was also confused by the way her intelligence was presented. She supposedly teaches herself how to read and soaks up information from Jeopardy like a sponge, which, okay, some people are like that. But then she would be completely naive about certain expressions or customs, while others, that seemed more obscure to me, she totally understood. Like can we talk about the cherry coke thing? Carmine asks her to get him a Cherry Coke, and Haven comes back with a Coke with real cherries in, which surprises Carmine. This clearly indicates that there was Cherry Coke in the fridge. Haven, why would you look past the pop can with PINK CHERRIES on it (no reading comprehension necessary) and instead go for regular Coke and add cherries to it? That is such a dumb little thing, but it really bugged me.

I guess the worst thing about this book, from my perspective, is that it was so high stakes -- like serious actual consequences happening, which I did appreciate -- but I never felt nervous or upset about things. I was actually pretty apathetic while characters were getting killed, and that’s a horrible way to feel. I think I was just so bored with repetitive scenes of things like cleaning the house and making dinner that by the time the action scenes were occurring I just didn’t care at all. The book is so incredibly long, and yet it feels like not a lot happens in it. Perhaps most frustrating of all was the fact that, despite its length, the book feels like it’s missing background information and character development -- you’re thrown into the situation without really knowing how it all works. For some books that can be awesome, but for this one it just felt confusing.

While there’s obviously something about Sempre that has made its readers praise it so much, I clearly missed out on that aspect. Sempre lured me in and made me give it chance after chance, but in the end I just couldn’t care enough to actually finish the book.

The Cover:
Not my fave, but it is very fitting.


Purchase Links:
Kobo | | | Chapters-Indigo (preorder) | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository (preorder)

December 18, 2013

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Release Date: December 10, 2013
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Pages: 374
Series: Starbound
Review Source: Netgalley

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)

It's a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone.

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.

Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?

Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.

A timeless love story, THESE BROKEN STARS sets into motion a sweeping science fiction series of companion novels. The Starbound Trilogy: Three worlds. Three love stories. One enemy.
My Thoughts:
I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that These Broken Stars is one of the most hyped books of this season. Based on the cover (holy gorgeous!) and the concept (the beginning is like Titanic in space!!), I can see why. However, in actuality this book failed to wholly captivate me.

The beginning of These Broken Stars had me totally on board (err, no pun intended, seriously). The Titanic in space feel was amazing, with the different classes in different quarters, the lifeboat-esque escape pods, watching the ship go down… all of that was very real and exciting feeling. I also enjoyed how the book turned into a survival journey, with Tarver and Lilac in this abandoned setting, scared and trying to get help. Even the trope of the misunderstood rich girl falling for the tough hero with a sensitive side worked for me. Probably my favourite element of the book is the parts in between chapters where Tarver is being interviewed (interrogated, really) about the events of the book -- you can see where he's lying or omitting things compared to their narrative, and I loved the way this was presented.

So with all these good things, where did this book go wrong for me? I’m not entirely sure. I can’t say I disliked it, but it just didn’t wow me like I expected it to. Something about the romance, even though I liked the idea, didn’t work for me. The characters seemed to have depth, based on all their hidden layers, but I just didn’t connect with them. There’s also a twist about three quarters of the way through the book and I’m not entirely sure how I feel about it. I didn’t like what happened, and how it was handled was interesting, but not my cup of tea. There’s an almost psychological element that comes up, and I didn’t like how suddenly I wasn’t sure of what was happening.

These Broken Stars is definitely a book that I feel most people will enjoy. Personally, I wanted more explanation for the sci-fi element, and I felt like the book dragged on, especially closer to the end. However, I’ve heard basically nothing but good things about it from fellow bloggers, and there were many great things within the book, so I think it’s one you’ll have to check out for yourself.

The Cover:


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

December 16, 2013

Letters to Nowhere by Julie Cross (Book Blitz + Giveaway)

Letters to Nowhere by Julie Cross
From the International Bestselling Author of the Tempest Series...

Set in the tough world of Elite Gymnastics...

I've gotten used to the dead parents face. I've gotten used to living with my gymnastics coach. I've even adjusted to sharing a bathroom with his way-too-hot son. Dealing with boys is not something that's made it onto my list of experiences as of yet. But here I am, doing it. And something about Jordan--being around him, talking to him, thinking about him--makes me feel like I can finally breathe again. That's something I haven't been able to do lately. He knows what it feels like to be me right now. He knows what it's like to wonder--what now? I think about it constantly. I need answers. I need to know how to get through this. In the gym, if you're struggling, you train harder, you do drills and conditioning. How do I work hard at moving on? At being on my own? And what happens if I might be...maybe...probably falling for Jordan? I mean we live together now. That can't happen, can it? But kissing him...well, let's just say it's not an easy activity to forget.
Buy Letters to Nowhere:
Amazon (99 cents!!) | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

5 Facts About Letters to Nowhere:
  1. Since I started writing the book, I've envisioned my main character, Karen, as a red-headed McKayla Maroney even though I tried my best not to picture her as anyone specific.
  2. I've been around the world of competitive gymnastics for at least 15 years and therefore have depicted elite level gymnastics as true-to-life as possible in this book.
  3. The romance in LtN is not your typical "insta-love" or "fall in love then break up" format. This will please some and disappoint others.
  4. My main character, Karen, has just lost both her parents in a tragic car accident prior to the book's opening however, I don't consider this a typical book about death either because there are so many other elements intertwined and Karen is a fighter, she's constantly driven by one goal or another. It's about rising up after a fall.
  5. LtN is truly the book of my heart because I wanted, for so long, to find a way to combine by two greatest passions - YA Literature and Gymnastics.

Jordan stepped closer, resting a hand on the red brick beside my head. “I’m gonna kiss you.”

My stomach jumped up towards my heart. “What?”

“I’m going to kiss you.” He had this serious, determined look on his face. “I mean, I won’t if you don’t want me to . . .”

I could feel my eyes widen as he leaned closer, my heart hammering faster, every other muscle in my body completely frozen. No words of protest were able to fall from my tongue before his mouth was on mine. My eyes drifted shut, my stomach doing a dozen floor routines beneath my rib cage.

Book 2:
Return to Sender by Julie Cross

If only summer could last forever…

Karen and Jordan might be out in the open with their relationship, but that doesn't make it any easier for them to face events looming in the future. Like Jordan leaving for college halfway across the country. Or Karen's win at a big international gymnastics competition setting the bar high for her future and adding pressure like she's never experienced before.

But when Nina Jones (aka-US Gymnastics Dictator), makes plans for Karen and teammate Stevie to train at a gymnastics camp for a month—the same camp where Jordan coaches—romantic summer interludes replace their fears of being apart. Both Jordan and Karen know that when fall comes, some very tough decisions will have to be made, but for now, it’s stolen kisses, racing hearts, and whispered words.
Buy Return to Sender:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Book 3:
Return to You by Julie Cross

Releasing December 15th 2013

How many dreams can you chase at once?

Even with bad boy, TJ, disrupting their morning workouts, Karen and Stevie’s daily battles with each other are sure to bring both of them closer to a national title at next month’s championships. It’s the kind of feud that creates winning results.

Until a fall from the uneven bars shakes Karen’s rock-solid confidence. Not only does she balk every time she so much as attempts a routine, she’s also facing all this without much support from Jordan. After receiving some bad news, Jordan’s reluctance to listen to reason causes Karen so much frustration she begins to avoid him, needing space to deal with her own issues. He needs someone to force him to make the right choice, he needs his dad to intervene and Karen knows this, but is torn between her loyalty to Jordan and her concern for her coach’s son. Even though both paths lead to the same person—Jordan—it feels like she’s choosing between two different people.

And then there’s the growing tension between TJ and Stevie. They’re obviously on the verge of either ripping each other’s heads off or ripping each other’s clothes off. It’s hard for either Jordan or Karen to tell where those two are headed. Tension is building from every possible outlet and there’s bound to be an explosion of some kind in the very near future.
Letters to Nowhere is currently on sale for 99 cents on Amazon!

About Julie:
Julie Cross is the International Bestselling author of the Tempest series, a young adult science fiction trilogy which includes Tempest, Vortex, and the final installment, Timestorm (St. Martin's Press). She's also the author of Letters to Nowhere (8/13), a mature young adult romance set in the world of elite gymnastics, as well as several forthcoming young adult and new adult novels with publishers like Entangled, Sourcebooks, HarperCollins, and St. Martin's Press/Thomas Dunne Books.

Julie lives in Central Illinois with her husband and three children. She's a former gymnast, longtime gymnastics fan, coach, and former Gymnastics Program Director with the YMCA. She's a lover of books, devouring several novels a week, especially in the young adult and new adult genres. Outside of her reading and writing credibility's, Julie Cross is a committed--but not talented--long distance runner, creator of imaginary beach vacations, Midwest bipolar weather survivor, expired CPR certification card holder, as well as a ponytail and gym shoe addict. You can find her online via twitter, her personal website, email, facebook, Goodreads, or co-moderating the YAwriters section of reddit.

Where to find Julie:
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Amazon | Goodreads

1 ebook copy of Letters to Nowhere, gifted from Amazon. Open internationally.
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December 13, 2013

At Any Price by Brenna Aubrey

At Any Price by Brenna Aubrey
Release Date: December 3, 2013
Publisher: Self-Published
Pages: 298
Series: Gaming the System
Review Source: eARC from author

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)

Achievement Unlocked: Geek Virgin

When Mia Strong, proud geek-girl and popular gaming blogger, auctions off her virginity online, she knows she'll make waves. But what she will not be making is a love connection. Her rules are set in stone: One night. No further contact.

It's a desperate step, but it's the only way she can go to medical school and pay her mother's mounting hospital bills.

Difficulty Level: Millionaire CEO

Adam Drake, the enigmatic auction winner, is a software prodigy who made his first million at seventeen. Now, in his mid-twenties, he's sexy, driven and--as CEO of his own gaming company--he's used to making the rules. Before Mia knows what's happening, he's found the loophole in the rules of her auction. Every stipulation she's made to protect her heart gets tossed by the wayside.

She can't tell if he's playing her...or if he's playing for keeps.
My Thoughts:
I really am in awe of this book, mostly because I was super hesitant to read it because of the subject matter. I read a book about a girl auctioning off her virginity before and I seriously disliked it. The topic itself makes me skeptical and, having read that other book, I wasn’t really looking to read about it again. However something about this book and the way it was presented hinted at a deeper story, so I gave it a chance. I am so, so glad I did, because At Any Price ended up being one of the best New Adult books I’ve read in a long time.

This book presents nuanced characters who feel real. They have some major flaws, but they're lovely as well. You kind of have to take it on faith that Adam isn't just some skeeve who actually wants to buy Mia's virginity, otherwise I think the book would lose its charm. It becomes fairly obvious to the reader early on what kind of connection Adam has to Mia, but I liked that, because falling for a hero who would actually want to bid in an auction like that? So not my thing. So while you can take it on faith that Adam is a good guy, it’s never obvious the full reasons behind his plan, and you have to keep reading while you try and guess the whole story. Beyond the romantic lead, Brenna Aubrey also deserves praise for her portrayal of Heath, Mia’s best friend. It was a refreshing change to have Heath be his own complete person and not fit into the gay BFF caricature that so many fictional gay males are portrayed as.

At Any Price offers such a full and rich narrative. Brenna Aubrey has managed to bring all aspects of Mia's life into this book and make it feel effortless. There's the rich romance which slowly develops from a bud of attraction into a full bouquet of real feelings. There's also Mia's career goals and her overwhelming fear of failure. She’s so scared that her future won't live up to her own goals and expectations, and speaking as someone who has felt this, the author presents it perfectly. There's also the aspect of Mia’s hobby as a gamer and a game reviewer. I thought this was beautifully integrated as something that was important to Mia and that took up her time without having it bog down the text.

At Any Price surprised me in all the best ways. This book takes a taboo subject and presents it with an intelligent twist. You can tell that Brenna Aubrey is aware of feminist issues, of things that girl gamers face, of fandom and blogging. All of these things are depicted perfectly in a book that also manages to portray a swoony but realistic romance. Adam and Mia are a couple who share an attraction and common interests, but they also have barriers that need to be overcome as they work toward building a mutual respect. This book features a good ending that readers will be satisfied with, however I’m also pleased that this series will continue to focus on Adam and Mia, rather than moving on to another couple, the way most romance series do.

The Cover:
A very typical NA cover, but I like it a lot!


Purchase Links:
Kobo | | | Barnes & Noble | All-Romance

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