August 19, 2014

Crossing the Ice by Jennifer Comeaux (Tour Review + Giveaway)

Crossing the Ice by Jennifer Comeaux
Release Date: August 3, 2014
Publisher: Self-Published
Pages: 308
Series: Ice
Review Source: eARC from author

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)

Falling hard never felt so good.

Pair skaters Courtney and Mark have one shot left at their Olympic dream. They vow not to let anything get in their way, especially not Josh and Stephanie, the wealthy and talented brother and sister team.

The heart doesn’t always listen to reason, though...

The more time Courtney spends with sweet, shy Josh, the harder she falls for him. But they are on opposite sides of the competition, and their futures are headed in opposite directions. Will their friendship blossom into more or are their paths too different to cross?
My Thoughts:
When I read a Jennifer Comeaux book I know that I can count on reading a sweet romance, and that was definitely the case here. I loved reading about Courtney now that she’s all grown up. Courtney first appears as a minor character in Jennifer’s first series, though you don’t have to read those books to understand Crossing the Ice. Courtney and her skating partner Mark want nothing more than to go to the Olympics, so it’s incredibly problematic when their rivals (Josh and his sister Stephanie) come to skate at the same rink, under the same coaches. Of course it’s even more problematic when Courtney enjoys Josh’s company much more than she’s willing to admit.

Courtney and Josh are very sweet together. I liked that Josh is the shy guy, hanging back and being friends with Courtney at first, despite his feelings for her. It fit with his character so completely. His inaction when it came to the relationship and his life choices wasn’t always appealing, but it was so completely him. Courtney, on the other hand, is more of a “go getter”, willing to fight for what she wants. The two of them have some very sweet scenes together, and I loved where they ended up.

As always, the skating parts of the book were so well done. I honestly don’t know much about skating at all, but reading about the sport through Jennifer’s writing makes it jump off the page so that you can almost picture the routines in your head. Jennifer also excels at making readers feel what her characters feel. You celebrate with them, and so too you feel their disappointments.

Crossing the Ice is a great story full of characters who I'd love to read more about. If you're looking for a cleaner New Adult read that focuses on the characters lives and choices just as much as it does the romance, I would suggest you pick this book up. Crossing the Ice is a sporty, sweet romance that I would not hesitate to recommend.

The Cover:


Purchase Links:
Kobo | | | Barnes & Noble

Ashley's Favourite Quotes from Crossing the Ice:

It was difficult to pick quotes that weren't too spoilery, but here are a couple short ones to whet your appetite for the book:

He shifted nearer, sliding his hand around to my lower back, and the heat from his touch radiated through my cotton shirt, my skin, and into the deepest cells of my body. I didn't dare look up because there would be only a narrow space between our faces. Between our mouths...
Another flood of emotion hit me, this time like a tidal wave. Lightning illuminated the car, showing me the wanting in Josh's eyes, and everything I felt for him rushed to the surface. I couldn't fight the resistance anymore.

About Jennifer:
Jennifer Comeaux is a tax accountant by day, writer by night. There aren’t any ice rinks near her home in south Louisiana, but she’s a diehard figure skating fan and loves to write stories of romance set in the world of competitive skating. One of her favorite pastimes is traveling to competitions, where she can experience all the glitz and drama that inspire her writing.

Where to find Jennifer:
Website & Blog | Twitter | Facebook


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to follow along with the rest of the tour on Itching for Books.

Sarina Bowen Cover Reveal & Giveaway -- The Understatement of the Year

I'm such a huge fan of Sarina Bowen, so I'm very excited to participate in the cover reveal for her newest novel, The Understatement of the Year. Before you check out the cover, here's a little bit about the book:

The Understatement of the Year (Ivy Years #3) by Sarina Bowen
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age category: New Adult
Release Date: October 1, 2014

What happened in high school stayed in high school. Until now.

Five years ago, Michael Graham betrayed the only person who ever really knew him. Since then, he’s made an art of hiding his sexual preference from everyone. Including himself.

So it’s a shock when his past strolls right into the Harkness College locker room, sporting a bag of hockey gear and the same slow smile that had always rendered Graham defenseless. For Graham, there is only one possible reaction: total, debilitating panic. With one loose word, the team’s new left wing could destroy Graham’s life as he knows it.

John Rikker is stuck being the new guy.
Again. And it’s worse than usual, because the media has latched onto the story of the only “out” player in Division One hockey. As the satellite trucks line the sidewalk outside the rink, his new teammates are not amused.

And one player in particular looks sick every time he enters the room.

Rikker didn’t exactly expect a warm welcome from Graham. But the guy won’t even meet his eyes. From the looks of it, his former… best friend / boyfriend / whatever isn’t doing so well. He drinks too much and can’t focus during practice.

Either the two loneliest guys on the team will self destruct from all the new pressures in their lives, or they can navigate the pain to find a way back to one another. To say that it won’t be easy is the Understatement of the Year.

Warning: unlike the other books in this series, this heartbreaking love story is about two guys. Contains sexual situations, dance music, snarky t-shirts and a poker-playing grandmother.
You can pre-order The Understatement of the Year on Amazon or Kobo (coming soon).

And here's the cover!!

Graham Teaser
And now for a sneak peek into the book! --

Bella grabbed the front pocket of my Vermont sweatshirt and actually pulled me through the din of the most crowded room, toward a table where Graham sat in a booth, across from Hartley.

Ugh. I had no idea this would be so cozy. In fact, there was nowhere for me to sit. For a second there I felt like it was seventh grade all over again, and I didn’t know where to sit in class.

That’s how I met Graham — seventh grade Spanish. We were the two runts in the back row with terrible gringo accents and no friends. The teacher always made the class pair up to practice dialogue. Graham and I were partners.

Hola, Miguel.

Hola, Juan.

Te gusta el futbol?

Sí, me gusta el futbol.

The early days of middle school had been awkward. But this? So much more awkward than that.

“I’ll sit on Graham’s lap,” Bella suggested, grabbing a slice of pizza off the tray.

“Naw, let me find a chair,” I said, turning quickly into the crowd. And lo, by the grace of God, I found one in front of an ancient pay phone. Setting the chair at the end of their booth gave me some much-needed distance. Bella sat on the end, boxing Graham into the corner. Bella’s hand found its way onto my knee about two seconds after I sat down.

Someone filled my glass. “Have a slice?” Hartley offered.

“Thanks, I already ate,” I said quickly. But I sucked back some of the beer. It was pretty wimpy stuff, but I’ll bet the price was right.

“Tell us about your transfer,” Bella prompted while the others dug in. “You said you’d tell it over beers.”

Right. Too soon. “Well,” I hedged. The thing was, I’d told people I was gay many, many times. I was actually pretty good at it. But you don’t say it when you’re all trapped at a table. You have to drop the bomb when your victims are free to walk away from you. Because even the people who are going to turn right back around and be there for you often need a minute to digest the idea.

And the fact that Graham was sitting three feet away, staring at his slice of pizza as if it might reveal the secrets of the universe, made this a particularly bad time. I didn’t want to look vulnerable in front of him. I’d tried that before in my life, and it ended badly. Very badly.

“Thing is, I haven’t had enough beer yet to tell it.”

“There you go with the buildup again,” Bella said, nibbling on a slice.

“Yeah? Well my stories don’t usually disappoint.” That was a bit of pointless bravado. But it was probably true.

I happened to glance toward Graham then. And even in the low light of the pizza place, I saw him freeze. And I realized just how far a little smack talk about stories I might tell would freak him out. I hadn’t meant it like that. But the effect on him was instant and powerful. His jaw went hard and his fist clenched on the table.

Easy, boy. “Tell me about the practice schedule,” I said to change the topic.

About the Author:
Sarina Bowen makes her home in the Green Mountains of Vermont, where she lives with her family, eight chickens and a large pile of skis and hockey equipment. She is a graduate of Yale University.

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

Open internationally!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

I'm so excited for this book! October can't come soon enough. =) In the mean time, check out my reviews for The Year We Fell Down and The Year We Hid Away.

August 18, 2014

I Want It That Way by Ann Aguirre

I Want It That Way by Ann Aguirre
Release Date: August 26, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin HQN
Pages: 352
Series: 2B Trilogy
Review Source: ARC from author

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)

Nadia Conrad has big dreams, and she's determined to make them come true—for her parents' sake as well as her own. But between maintaining her college scholarship and working at the local day care to support herself, she barely has time to think, let alone date. Then she moves into a new apartment and meets the taciturn yet irresistible guy in 1B….

Daniel Tyler has grown up too fast. Becoming a single dad at twenty turned his life upside down—and brought him heartache he can't risk again. Now, as he raises his four-year-old son while balancing a full-time construction management job and night classes, a social life is out of the question. The last thing he wants is for four noisy students to move into the apartment upstairs. But one night, Nadia's and Ty's paths cross, and soon they can't stay away from each other.

The timing is all wrong—but love happens when it happens. And you can't know what you truly need until you stand to lose it
My Thoughts:
Ever since I heard Ann Aguirre was writing New Adult I’ve been looking forward to this book. I was anticipating it so much, and it still managed to live up to my expectations. Seriously. I Want It That Way is full of so much swooning and flailing and so many feels.

I loved how this was a very different story than a lot of New Adult books. This book definitely has a romance as its central plot, but it’s not all about the couple or all about the sex scenes, like so many other NA books are. The book was about Nadia figuring out her life and finding her path: that what everyone else thinks is right isn't necessarily what's right for her. I Want It That Way is also about Ty and his journey of forgiving himself for his past and learning to move on. On the romance side of things, Nadia and Ty have an unforgettable connection. The book is really about them and how well they work together, despite making no sense on paper.

There are so many great aspects to this book. I loved Ty’s son, Sam, and how he and Nadia bonded. Sam was such an adorable kid, and all of his scenes were precious. I also appreciated how Nadia’s roommates and their lives were an integral part of the story. Nadia really has a miniature community with them. Their presence throughout the story and the setting up of couples for the next two books happened so organically, which made for a nice change from many other novels

Basically? I loved Nadia, I loved the character journeys, and most of all I loved the romance. It just felt so real to me. There was heartache and hard decisions (is love worth the fight?), but it wasn’t crazy drama -- it was just real life and how reality can get in the way of what should be an epic romance. Overall, highly recommended to all New Adult fans.

The Cover:


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


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