Review for When I’m With You (The Jane Austen Academy Series #3) by Cecilia Gray

When I'm With You by Cecilia Gray

TITLE: When I’m With You
SERIES: The Jane Austen Academy Series #3
AUTHOR: Cecilia Gray
PUBLICATION DATE: December 22, 2012
PAGES: 216 pages
SOURCE: Publisher via NetGalley
RATING: 4 bows

Kat is determined to become a successful actress. Acting has been a passion as long as she can remember, so when famous classmate Josh Wickham offers to let her be his assistant on a real movie set over Christmas break, there is no way she can refuse him. She’ll be onset with famous actors and actresses and maybe she’ll get her big break.

As the third novel in this series, all the characters are pretty well established. We get nothing new, just Josh being put squarely back into the bad guy role, which I’m slightly annoyed with. I make no secret that one of my favorite Pride & Prejudice retellings is Lost In Austen, A BBC mini-series. Part of the reason I love it is because of what they do with Wickham’s character, so I always feel like his capable of much more and am disappointed when he is still stuck in the perpetual bad guy for bad guys sake role. There are still three more books in the series, so hopefully that will change.

Plotwise, this was adorable. I have not read any of Austen’s works beyond P&P (I know, shame on me), so I can’t speak to how well it represents it’s source material, but I can say that it is my favorite thus far in the series. Kat’s journey felt very realistic and I loved how she just falls into the role of helper on set, trying to give everyone who is struggling a bit of a hand. I also loved how into acting she is. She is hard-core dedicated to that dream and it was awesome to see that.

Henry, the love interest, was a character I instantly loved. He’s charming and sweet and has a hat obsession I can definitely relate to. Once you know the story of the hats, it’s even sweeter. He’s definitely perfect for our Kat, even if it takes a while for them to finally get it together.

As I predicted after reading the first book in this series, it definitely gets better and better. As the series progresses, we get to see more and more of all the characters, even though the books each focus on a specific couple, the other characters aren’t abandoned. In a lot of novels lately where each book in the series focuses on a specific couple, book 1 will portray two girls (or two guys or a guy and a girl) as best friends and then when book two comes out from the friends perspective, it’s like that bestie was lost because we don’t see them much and that is not the case here. We see all the old characters as we are being introduced to new ones. What you really need to know is this series is great, with interesting characters and good writing. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

****Thank you to Gray Life LLC and Cecilia Gray for providing me with an eARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review****

3 bows
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Review for The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden (The Coincidence #1) by Jessica Sorensen

The Coincidence Of Callie And Kayden by Jessica Sorensen

TITLE: The Coincidence Of Callie And Kayden
SERIES: The Coincidence #1
AUTHOR: Jessica Sorensen
PUBLICATION DATE: December 13, 2012
PUBLISHER: Forever, an imprint of Grand Central Publishing, a division of Hachette Book Group
PAGES: 336 pages
SOURCE: Borrowed
RATING: 4 stars

Callie’s life was changed forever six years ago. Her 12th birthday was the day everything was stolen from her, and it’s one she’ll never forget. After what happened, she curled in on herself and never let anyone get close to her because sh is left with major trust issues. Now, she’s in college and finally found a trustworthy person in Seth, her new bff. Things are going great, until she runs into Kayden, the guy she saved right before she ran off to start college early. Kayden’s entire life has been one abuse. As long as he stays in line, everything is fine, but once he fucks up, well, then he is in for a real beating. One night, things get out of hand and he thinks his life is over, until Callie intervenes. Now, he can’t stop thinking about her and the more he gets to know her, the more he thinks that maybe she is the one who really needs saving.

This story has truly wowed me. I think it’s safe for me to assume that I’m going to love anything that Jessica writes because thus far, all her novels have been right on the money. Callie and Kayden’s story is simultaneously tragic and hopeful. Both characters are beautifully broken and you find yourself rooting for them to find a way to make it work. Callie is so quiet and sweet and absolutely loveable. She’s that girl who was always shunned because, after her twelfth birthday, she dresses badly, acts standoffish, and shuns human interaction. Excluding her family, Callie doesn’t allow anyone to touch her and that makes having friends difficult and a boyfriend impossible. I’m not entirely sure she wanted either. Then she goes off to college and meets Seth, someone who understands the bad things in the past. The two become fast friends and he is the first person she tells her secret to. Then she sees Kayden at attending the same university and is immediately flooded with all kinds of feelings she desperately wants and desperately doesn’t. The push/pull dynamic of her emotions was one of the things I love.

Kayden, on the other hand, shows no sign to the outside world that anything is wrong. He seems like a normal guy, quarterback of the high school football team who gets a scholarship to college with a hot, if somewhat bitchy, girlfriend and has absolutely no qualms with normal human contact. We quickly learn, though, that his hiding a lifetime’s worth of physical abuse. Daddy dearest isn’t the saint the community believes him to be and it’s only a matter of time before he takes things too far. Watching become so overprotective of Callie was another big highlight of the story.

Callie and Kayden’s tale is one of those stories that it’s difficult to watch but impossible to turn away. It reminded me a tiny bit of Hopeless by Colleen Hoover and a whole lot of Wide Awake, that fanfic that I’m gaga about. Both their past are devastating and challenging to get past, but somehow together they manage to start working through their shit. I would almost wager that this novel is better than Ella and Micha….almost. This gets a one star lower rating because it ends in a terrible cliffhanger. Holy fucking shit, that ending redefines the word “cliffhanger.” It’s one of those terrible ones where we get to a pivotal moment and then it’s over and you are dumbfounded. I can’t say I wasn’t warned. My baby sister told me (over and over again) that this was amazing but I needed to wait for the sequel. I just wasn’t expected THAT.

On a side note, I listened to this entire novel on audiobook and I must say the narrator was great. She doesn’t come off as overly whiny and does a great job with changing her voice for each character. I definitely recommend this audiobook version to anyone who enjoys audiobooks.

What it all comes down to, though, is that this story is so enthralling. I started the audiobook with the intent to just listen to about an hour (which is about a tenth of the book) and ended up spending my entire day listening to it. I even went so far as to plug my ipod up to my car stereo so I could continue listening when I had to venture out into the real world. It’s amazing and infuriating and heartbreaking. It’s astonishing enough that as soon as I finish posting this, I’m going to read the second one even though I have a monstrous pile eARCs I need to get through.

Review for Crimson Frost (Mythos Academy #4) by Jennifer Estep

Crimson Frost by Jennifer Estep

TITLE: Spartan Frost
SERIES: Mythos Academy #4
AUTHOR: Jennifer Estep
PUBLICATION DATE: December 24, 2012
PUBLISHER: K-Teen, an imprint of Kensington Publishing Corp
PAGES: 354 pages
SOURCE: Borrowed
RATING: 4 stars

Things are finally working out for Gwen. Sure, Loki has escaped from his eternal prison, but her and Logan finally seem to be on the same page, going out on their first date. Things are looking up…until Logan’s dad arrives with the Proctorate to arrest her for freeing Loki. And everyone at school, beyond a handful of friends and a few teachers believe she really did intentionally help free Loki. Now, she is going to trial to and things don’t look good. Can she convince the Proctorate that she is innocent?

I have to say that this is my favorite so far in this series. It still doesn’t get 5 stars because the ending leaves something to be desired ****SPOILER****what, with Logan leaving and all****END SPOILER****, but it was very entertaining and addictive. Gwen’s back with her normal spunkiness, even with the entire school torturing her and the Powers That Were hounding her for freeing Loki. It weighs down on her a lot, but that doesn’t stop her from being determined to figure out why Reapers broke into the school just to steal some jewelry and who is behind this whole plot to get her thrown in jail for Vivian’s crimes.

We get to see a bit more of Grandma’s kickass-ness. Man, I love that little old lady. And then there is all the extra Logan time we get….yeah do I really need to comment? Sure, he’s cocky and overly self-assured, but he always manages to keep Gwen happy and smiling even at the worst of times and really what more can you ask for? The romance between those two is totally swoon-worthy. I’ve also got to hand it to Estep for keeping me in the dark for a lot of this. Maybe I was denser than I normally am, but I didn’t see the ending coming until Gwen figures it out and I didn’t suspect a certain someone of being a reaper at all until Gwen revealed that he/she was.

This is a great installment of the Mythos Academy series and I can’t wait to read the next one.

Review for Hopeless (Hopeless #1) by Colleen Hoover

Hopeless by Colleen Hoover

TITLE: Hopeless
SERIES: Hopeless #1
AUTHOR: Colleen Hoover
PUBLICATION DATE: December 19, 2012
PUBLISHER: Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster Inc
PAGES: 332 pages
SOURCE: Edelweiss
RATING: 5 stars

Sky Davis’ life is pretty average, apart from her mother’s strict ban on anything technological. Then Dean Holder comes into her life and she is fascinated by him. Sky has never been attracted to a guy. Sure, some of them are pleasant to look at and the kissing isn’t so bad, but no guy has ever made her desperately want to kiss him like Dean does. But the more time she spends with him, the more very old memories start to surface, things that were better left buried and after it’s all out in the open, will she find a way to keep going?

Okay, so before I get to gushing, I want you to go and look at this review: Seriously, go, I’ll wait. You see that comic strip she did? That’s the most accurate depiction of my feelings. Holy fuck this book will screw with you head in the best way possible. It’s just….I can’t even….

Sky is a character I instantly loved. I can see why a lot of people wouldn’t like her, but I could relate to her on so many levels. The further into the story we get, the more I love her. I love that she doesn’t let people walk all over her and how whenever Holder yells at her, she doesn’t try to defend her actions, just tells him simply that she’s in control of her own life and it’s none of his damn business. Then when the kids at school make fun of her and try to be mean to her, she just smiles and doesn’t let it get to her. She’s strong and brave and tough and I adore her.

Then there is Holder….

Holy fuck. I think him and Lucas from Easy need to have a fist fight and whoever wins will be my top swoonworthy fictional male character because I honestly don’t think I can pick. Dark hair that hides his devastatingly blue eyes and a lean muscled body, yes please! He’s personality is a bit all over the place in the beginning, but trust me when I say there is a great reason for that. It’s kind of like Fight Club in a way, you just want to read it again to see how much sense his reactions make after you learn the truth. I love him, just fucking hell, yes, okay? He’s fuckloads of awesome.

Then there are all the side characters. Six, Brecken, Karen, and Jack are have things I love about them, but I especially adore Six and Brecken, for each accepting Sky for what she is and just being awesome themselves. The relationship between Six and Sky is that epic friendship we all salivate over. You know that girl who somehow gets you completely and is always there for you, even when neither of you know how to help your problems. One of my very few complaints about this novel is that when the shit starts hitting the fan, Sky isn’t sure she wants to tell Six. I understand that your past is beyond fucking twisted, but I guarantee you that Six would find a way to help…or at least buy you tons of snickers and ice cream as comfort food.

The writing is just as good (if not better) than Colleen Hoover’s previous novels and the plotline had that awesome thing where it is both predictable and unexpected. I saw a lot of things coming ****SPOILER****especially the stuff about her dad and her relationship with Holder****END SPOILER****, but there was one major plot point that just blew me out of the water.

My only other issue was the sex one. Not that this novel has sex in or anything like that, I mean, I read romance for fuck’s sake, but the way it was handled between Sky and Holder. I’m trying hard to explain this in a nonspoilery way but basically I just think that it would have taken Sky longer to get over her issues. In my mind, just because Holder explains that he loves her and everything he is doing to her is because of that and no other reason, it would overcome what I believe her conditioned responses would be. I could be wrong because I’m not in her shoes, but it just feels like that hurdle was jumped too easily. That was my only major issue and since I could very well be wrong, I refuse to allow it to make me love this story any less.

This novel is a rollercoaster ride of emotions. You will laugh, you will cry, you will shout, and you will love every single second of it and be completely dying for the next installment (which will be from Holder’s POV, only adding to the excitement). Thus far, it’s definitely my favorite new adult novel of the year!

****Thank you to Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster Inc, for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****

Review for The Lady Most Willing…: A Novel in Three Parts (Lady Most #2) by Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, & Connie Brockway

The Lady Most Willing by Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, & Connie Brockway

TITLE: The Lady Most Willing: A Novel In Three Parts
SERIES: Lady Most #2
AUTHOR: Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, & Connie Brockman
PUBLICATION DATE: December 26, 2012
PUBLISHER: Avon, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
PAGES: 384 pages
SOURCE: Edelweiss
RATING: 5 stars

I know that I say this at the beginning of every historical romance review, but I really do need to make more time to get out of that YA drama and delve back in to this amazing stories. Truly, I’m going to find a way to remind myself that, I’ll set a monthly alarm if necessary.

The Lady Most Willing starts off as comical as possible. A Scottish laird with 2 unwed nephews decides to take matters into his own hands by kidnapping the county’s most eligible maidens and holding them somewhat hostage until his nephews are forced to marry one of them. In doing so, he also accidentally naps a Duke as well, and the chaos ensues pretty rapidly upon arrive at Finovair Castle. Knowing that this is a romance going it, we know that the three males will end up engaged to/married to three of the of the four ladies by the end of this, so let’s introduce the cast, shall we?

Firstly, you have John Shevington, Duke Of Bretton who is rather pissed when he realizes that while he wandered out of the ball he was attending in search of a nap in his carry, he was inadvertently taken hostage while his carriage was hijack to transport the ladies. Knowing he must marry well, but not yet ready to do so, he’s lead a leisurely life so far. Then Catriona Burns catches his eye and he begins to think that marrying someone in his station would be a foolish thing indeed when he could make Catriona his Duchess.

Then you have Byron Wotton, Early of Oakley who is a stickler for propriety. From an early age, his father ingrained in him the need to follow all of society’s rules and NEVER bring dishonor to his family’s name. So when he becomes attracted to Fiona Chisholm, a Scot with a reputation of a whore all cross the country, he begins to think that maybe, just maybe, a lady’s reputation may not be the most important thing about her.

Robert Parles, Comte de Rocheforte, Robin to his friends, is never going to be in the marriage mart. He is penniless and every ounce a rake who knows he has nothing to offer a woman and has endeavored never to want any more from one than the pleasure of a few nightly visits. So when the English heiress Lady Cecily Tarleton steps out of the Duke’s carriage, he is enraptured and he knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that he can never have her, he pulls away and spends most of the time hiding until he realizes that she might want him enough to forgive his lack of fortune.

The last lady is Marilla Chisholm. She has only one goal in her life, to marry well. She’s pretty as a picture with buttery curls and bright eyes and she has her sights set on the Duke, then the Earl, and lastly the Comte but when all three end up in another woman’s arms, despite her best attempts to gain their attention, she is at her wits end with frustration. Why would any of them choose another lady over her? Annoy and very determined, Marilla was probably my least favorite character.

Then who can forget the kidnapping uncle? Taran Ferguson is a fifty two year old widower with no sons of his own. He’s grandson, Robin (the Frenchie one, as he would say) is to inherit his castle after he dies and he’s determined to make sure Robin marries well before then. Kidnapping isn’t as grave an offense and they think and one way or another, he has resolved to force their hands if necessary. He’s probably my favorite character. His antics were every bit as outlandish as you can imagine and somehow he’s lovable anyway.

Typically, I eschew anthologies, especially in romance novels, because I feel like they don’t give the characters enough time (or page space) to truly develop and despite the fact that this is a novel, it is essentially an anthology, with a third of the novel dedicated to each of the three couples. However, I couldn’t resist this one because I adore everything Julia Quinn writes (as well as Eloisa James) so I make a point to read anything her name is attached to. It really exceeded my expectations. Even though each story was shorter than I would have preferred, they all felt very thought out and fully formed, allowing each character to develop a believable love for their coordinating partner. As with everything Julia writes, this has a lot of humor. I think that is what I miss the most when I read YA, the humor. Julia’s (and Eloisa, and I’m sure some of it was Connie as well) manages to balance that witty humor with heartfelt romance and steamy sex scenes in such a seamless way that you never doubt it. It was absolutely perfect. I wouldn’t change a thing about it.

****Thank you to Avon for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****