JRYFB – Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

29th Mar 2013 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2013, Jess Reads Your Favorite Books, Reviews, Reviews by Jess

JRYFB – Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

JRYFB – Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. MaasThrone of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #1
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Pub Date: August 7th 2012
Pages: 404
Format: eARC | Source: NetGalley
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
4 Stars

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king's council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she'll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.

Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she's bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her... but it's the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead... quickly followed by another.

Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

Throne of Glass was selected for me to read by Alexa of Alexa Loves Books. I hadn’t realized how much I missed a good historical fantasy story until I started reading Throne of Glass. Alexa, thank you SO much for making this your pick!

 Throne of Glass had so many elements I love in stories like these. It had intrigue, and romance, and a girl who can kick lots of butt! I felt this story was a combination of other great books with strong heroines. Poison Study, Graceling, The Hunger Games…Throne of Glass can join those ranks. The world-building was also very interesting, but I am looking forward to learning more about the magic side of things, hopefully in the next book.

I thought Celaena was an interesting character. She was charming and at times a little childish, but I never got annoyed with her, which was good. I found her very endearing and felt like I would indulge her, like a little sister. She was very smart and skilled at being kick-ass in general. I think I am definitely going to be reading the prequel novellas though, to get more familiarized with her backstory as this books jumps in when she’s already spent a year in “prison.”

This book’s love interests (yes, plural!) were a bit confusing to me for a while. I couldn’t really tell where things were going with either of them. But by the end I was totally on board with one certain one. Team Chaol, where you at?! :D On the one hand, Celaena is really physically attracted to Prince Dorian, but he’s kind of like the forbidden fruit, with her being an assassin and possible the King’s Champion next. While she’s really infatuated with him, Dorian believes himself completely in love with her. And then we have Chaol, the Captain of the Guard. There isn’t really anything romantic between them for a while, but I think this pairing has the substance to last if it does happen. There is respect there, and friendship, and definitely some longing. I look forward to see how their relationship blossoms (hopefully) in the next book.

Throne of Glass was an exciting story with mystery, magic, and romance. It’s also the beginning to what I imagine is going to be an even more intense sequel, and I, for one, can’t wait to read it.

Whose Favorite Books Is This?

alexacollage

Alexa is one of the sweetest people I have come to know from blogging/twitter. If you are not following her, YOU MUST! Here’s what she had to say about her pick:

I chose Throne of Glass for you to read because it was one of my favorite debuts of 2012 AND it was a fantasy novel (and I happen to love fantasy quite a lot!). Sarah J. Maas did an incredible job with her storytelling, and I had high hopes that you would enjoy reading about Celaena. Plus, I do adore the love triangle in this book (even though we all know that I’m personally rooting for Chaol).

YEAH! Team Chaol in da house!! :D

Where to find Alexa:
Blog: http://www.alexalovesbooks.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/alexalovesbooks

Next Month’s Selection…

Random.org has selected…

AprilLena02

AprilLena01

Looks like it’ll be Lena’s selection, For Darkness Shows the Stars! Look for my post and review in April!

 

 

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Review: Vortex by Julie Cross

28th Mar 2013 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2013, Reviews, Reviews by Jess

Review: Vortex by Julie CrossVortex by Julie Cross
Series: Tempest #2
Published by St. Martin's Griffin
Pub Date: January 15th 2013
Pages: 368
Format: Hardcover | Source: Publisher
Genres: Time Travel, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
4 Stars

Julie Cross's Vortex is the thrilling second installment of the Tempest series, in which the world hangs in the balance as a lovelorn Jackson must choose who to save.

Jackson Meyer has thrown himself into his role as an agent for Tempest, the shadowy division of the CIA that handles all time-travel-related threats. Despite his heartbreak at losing the love of his life, Jackson has proved himself to be an excellent agent. However, after an accidental run in with Holly—the girl he altered history to save—Jackson is once again reminded of what he's lost. And when Eyewall, an opposing division of the CIA, emerges, Jackson and his fellow agents not only find themselves under attack, but Jackson begins to discover that the world around him has changed and someone knows about his erased relationship with Holly, putting both their lives at risk all over again.

Many of you might not know this, but I was the first to post a review on a blog or Goodreads of Tempest back in 2011. I had been lucky enough to get an ARC of Tempest at ALA and one day Julie Cross tweeted that she couldn’t wait until the first review went up on Goodreads. I stepped up and said “I’ll do it!!” It’s definitely one of my most fun blogging memories. I loved Tempest, and it a lot of the same ways, I loved Vortex too.

Though Vortex was a 4 Star rating for me (ahem, thanks Julie for noticing it went down one star from Tempest! LOL), I didn’t lose any love for the story or characters. I think it was just middle book syndrome; a lot of training and such. I still loved the main characters and even came to love some new ones. There’s no denying that Julie Cross has a great, current voice and that her characters ring so true. I still loved all the intricacies of this world Cross has created. I know some have had a hard time following along with the particulars of the time travel in this series, but it’s actually never been a problem for me. I can, for the most part and to the best of my ability, picture the timelines.

We get a heck of a lot more information in Vortex, and if you had a hard time keeping up in Tempest, you might find yourself drowning in this one. Maybe not so much in the beginning, but oh man, once the timelines thing comes up, you better be paying attention. For me it’s a really fun thing trying to keep it all straight. Vortex will also keep you guessing as to who is one what side and even what side is the right good or bad one. It’s crazy!

There’s no denying that there isn’t a series out there like Tempest, and for that alone you should totally give this a shot. It’s full of suspense and action and a totally hot Jackson. Gosh, I still love that guy! I do want to plead for one particular character though: Adam. Ms. Julie Cross!! WHY?! I very much look forward to the next installment in this crazy ride.

What Some Friends Had to Say About It…

Sophie @ Mundie Moms – “If you’re in the mood for intrigue, time travel and a character who is on a journey of self-discovery that leads him into more questions than answers, pick up the Tempest series.

Kate @ Ex Libris – “The ending of this installment was both romantic and heart-stopping.  It was quite a cliffhanger and January of 2014 seems very far away right now!

Yara @ Once Upon a Twilight – “Julie once again nails it and her writing style flourishes even more in Vortex.

About Julie Cross

I’m the International Bestselling author of the Tempest series, a young adult science fiction trilogy which includes Tempest, Vortex, and the final installment, Timestorm. I’m also the author of the Letters to Nowhere series, 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, Random House, and St. Martin’s Press/Thomas Dunne Books.

I live in Central Illinois with my husband and three children. I’m a former gymnast, longtime gymnastics fan, coach, and former Gymnastics Program Director with the YMCA. I’m a lover of books, devouring several novels a week, especially in the young adult and new adult genres. Outside of my reading and writing credibility, I’m 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.

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Recommend The Most

26th Mar 2013 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2013, Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Recommend The Most

You know it’s true. I talk about these books quite A LOT! The truth is, they all hold a special place in my heart and I just want to share my heart with you guys. So here are my Top Ten:

 

1. Outlander (Outlander #1) by Diana Gabaldon
2. Succubus Blues (Georgina Kincaid #1) by Richelle Mead
3. The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
4. Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1) by Laini Taylor
5. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
6. On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves
7. Fool’s Gold series by Susan Mallery
8. Until There Was You by Kristan Higgins
9. This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen
10. The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

 

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Review: Three Sisters by Susan Mallery + Q & A

25th Mar 2013 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2013, Guest Posts, Reviews, Reviews by Jess

Review: Three Sisters by Susan Mallery + Q & AThree Sisters by Susan Mallery
Series: Blackberry Island #2
Published by Mira
Pub Date: February 26th 2013
Pages: 352
Format: Paperback | Source: Publisher
Genres: Contemporary, Women's Fiction
Buy the book! | Goodreads
4 Stars

After Andi Gordon is jilted at the altar, she makes the most impetuous decision of her life – buying one of the famed Three Sisters Queen Anne houses on Blackberry Island. Now the proud-ish owner of the ugly duckling of the trio, she plans to open her own pediatric office on the first floor, just as soon as her hunky contractor completes the work. Andi's new future may be coming together, but the truth is she's just as badly in need of a major renovation as her house.

When Deanna Phillips confronts her husband about a suspected affair, she opens up a Pandora's Box of unhappiness. And he claims that she is the problem. The terrible thing is, he's right. In her quest to be the perfect woman, she's lost herself, and she's in danger of losing her entire family if things don't change.

Next door, artist Boston King thought she and her college sweetheart would be married forever. Their passion for one other has always seemed indestructible. But after tragedy tears them apart, she's not so sure. Now it's time for them to move forward, with or without one another.

Thrown together by fate and geography, and bound by the strongest of friendships, these three women will discover what they're really made of: laughter, tears, love and all.

As the synopsis says, Three Sisters had laughter, tears, love and all. I was incredibly happy to jump back to Blackberry Island. It sounds like a place I want to visit, though I don’t know how I’d do living an island life. I actually applaud Andi for taking the plunge and moving there on her own after being left at the altar. That takes serious guts. The setting this time around was at the highest point of Blackberry Island, where three historical houses sit. They are the Three Sisters. I loved that by being up there on their own, the three residents are kind of destined to be like their own little family and that their kids can all grow up together.

Each of the ladies in Three Sisters has their own issues to deal with. I loved that they were able to bond over talking about them to each other and drinking lots of wine helped too. I think the easiest to like is Andi because she’s so caring. And I enjoyed Boston’s eccentricities. But I think I empathized the most with Deanna because she’s the mom of the group, so all the problems she has with motherhood really made me care for her. She was the only to make me cry a few tears! lol

While the ladies take the spotlight in this book, I really enjoyed the men too, even if at times I wanted to yell at some of them. They were definitely not without flaws, which I appreciated because it made the relationships more real. And you know I love all those smexy moments! :D

I think people will be able to find something or someone in this book to relate to. Three Sisters really is book that has it all. Amazing characters, beautiful setting, and touching stories…what more could you ask for? I look forward to more books from Susan Mallery set in this wonderful island.

Q&A with Susan Mallery, Author of Three Sisters

With more than 25 million books sold worldwide, New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery is known for creating characters who feel as real as the folks next door, and for putting them into emotional, often funny situations readers recognize from their own lives. Susan’s books have made Booklist’s Top 10 Romances list in four out of five consecutive years. RT Book Reviews says, “When it comes to heartfelt contemporary romance, Mallery is in a class by herself.” With her popular, ongoing Fool’s Gold series, Susan has reached new heights on the bestsellers lists and has won the hearts of countless new fans.

Susan grew up in southern California, moved so many times that her friends stopped writing her address in pen, and now has settled in Seattle with her husband and the most delightfully spoiled little dog who ever lived. Visit Susan online at www.SusanMallery.com and www.facebook.com/susanmallery.

1) What are some writing quirks or rituals that you have in order to keep you focused?

I’m not sure I’d call it a quirk or a ritual, but looking at my mortgage statement helps me focus. Writing is a joy – I love it – but it’s also my job, and I have a lot of people depending on me to meet my deadlines. A good work ethic is something I admire in others, and it’s something I require of myself.

2) clip_image002What does your writing space look like?

I work at a big wooden desk in my home office. One of the biggest luxuries of working at home is that my dog Nikki comes with me to the office every day. She snoozes while I write, but still, she’s good company. When the characters make me laugh, Nikki will run over to join the fun. She’s very wiggly when she’s excited.

By the time I reach the end of a book, the desk surface is littered with sticky notes, reminding me of something that needs to happen. Then I clear it all away and start the next book.

3) The Three Sisters Queen Anne houses and Andi Gordon’s home restoration play a large role in your new book. How are architecture and home renovation a part of your real life?

I’ve moved so many times that my friends stopped writing my address in pen. (Not as much of an issue now as it was before we saved all our addresses digitally.) Which means I’ve spent many a happy hour staring at paint swatches, trying to decide between shades of taupe. I never had a contractor as sexy as Wade, though, I’m sorry to say.

I’m addicted to HGTV. My new favorite show is the Property Brothers. You can’t go wrong with two cute brothers. I’m especially fond of the one who knows his way around power tools.

However, I’m not sure I’d have the patience to take on a renovation project as extensive as Andi’s. She was in a bad state when she bought the house on Blackberry Island. She had just been left at the altar by a man she’d dated for ten years. He wasn’t ready, he said. After ten years. So when she saw this beautiful old Queen Anne house in need of love, it called to her.

4) What do you love about writing romance novels?

I love the happy endings. As a reader, I get angry when I’ve invested my emotions into a book and then it ends badly for the characters. I have been known to throw a book against the wall. I don’t think an unhappy resolution makes a book deeper or more realistic. When readers pick up my books, they can relax into the experience because they’ll know that no matter what pain the characters might feel, they will find their way to a happy ending. I can’t even imagine writing a book that doesn’t end happily. The characters would haunt me for the rest of my life!

5) If you could choose one romantic character from literature to jump off the pages and become real, who would you pick?

Jane Austen’s Mr. Darcy – oh wait, he did come to life. He goes by Colin Firth now.

About Susan Mallery

With more than 25 million books sold worldwide, New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery is known for creating characters who feel as real as the folks next door, and for putting them into emotional, often funny situations readers recognize from their own lives. Susan’s books have made Booklist’s Top 10 Romances list in four out of five consecutive years. RT Book Reviews says, “When it comes to heartfelt contemporary romance, Mallery is in a class by herself.” With her popular, ongoing Fool’s Gold series, Susan has reached new heights on the bestsellers lists and has won the hearts of countless new fans.

Susan grew up in southern California, moved so many times that her friends stopped writing her address in pen, and now has settled in Seattle with her husband and the most delightfully spoiled little dog who ever lived. Visit Susan online at www.SusanMallery.com.

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Review: Things I Can’t Forget by Miranda Kenneally + Guest Post

21st Mar 2013 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2013, Guest Posts, Reviews, Reviews by Jess

Review: Things I Can’t Forget by Miranda Kenneally + Guest PostThings I Can't Forget by Miranda Kenneally
Series: Hundred Oaks #3
Published by Sourcebooks Fire
Pub Date: March 1st 2013
Pages: 320
Format: ARC | Source: Publisher
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
5 Stars

SOME RULES WERE MEANT TO BE BROKEN.

Kate has always been the good girl. Too good, according to some people at school—although they have no idea the guilty secret she carries. But this summer, everything is different...

This summer she's a counselor at Cumberland Creek summer camp, and she wants to put the past behind her. This summer Matt is back as a counselor too. He's the first guy she ever kissed, and he's gone from geeky songwriter who loved The Hardy Boys to a buff lifeguard who loves to flirt...with her.

Kate used to think the world was black and white, right and wrong. Turns out, life isn't that easy...

I’ll tell you what I soon won’t forget…this book, that’s what!

Miranda’s books have always struck a chord with me. I’ve always been able to relate on some level, therefore making her books really memorable for me. But what she did to me with Things I Can’t Forget was beyond that. I hung on every word of this book like it my life depend it on it.

I’ve often found myself struggling with religious beliefs and my meaning in this life, whether there’s a heaven and if I’m headed there when I die or I’ll just seize to exist. My point is, all those things made it easy for me to empathize with Kate. Because even though we may not have struggled about the same things sometimes, I’ve struggled with something having to do with who I want to be. Kate’s a girl whose world is no longer as black and white as it used to be and it’s affecting her deeply. I felt sad for Kate a lot while reading this book. I even cried for/with her at certain moments in the story. I just felt for her.

One of the things I loved most about this book was the fact that it was about good people. Everyone was likable. Well, except maybe for the camp director. What a B! lol But anyway, for this book to be filled with so many good people and the story not be boring is, to me, a great accomplishment. Better yet, to have the love interest be unbelievable swoony and amazing, funny, and sexy is like the Holy Grail. It’s nice to not have a boy break the girl’s heart in a book every now and then, y’all! We don’t always want to read about bad boys, right?! Think of Wes from The Truth About Forever…Matt is on that level. SA-WOON!

Another great part about this book was Matt and Kate’s families. They were loving and supportive and GOOD PEOPLE! I love reading about close families. They make me smile more than anything.

I loved how big a role Parker and Will (from the previous book, Stealing Parker) played in Things I Can’t Forget. I felt better to see how well she was doing and I can’t think of a better person to help Kate with what she’s going through.

This is for sure my favorite Hundred Oaks book so far. I’ve loved every book more than the last and I hope that trend continues, but Things I Can’t Forget will definitely hold an irreplaceable spot in my heart. :)

Guest Post

Top Ten Secret List: Learn about ten upcoming characters from THINGS I CAN’T FORGET and RACING SAVANNAH (Dec. 2013)

1. Kate Kelly: Kate is the heroine of THINGS I CAN’T FORGET. Kate is 18, a recent high school graduate, and she’s working as the arts and crafts director at a summer camp, where she meets up with Matt Brown, the boy who gave her her first kiss.

2. Matt Brown: Matt is the love interest in THINGS I CAN’T FORGET. Matt is 20, in a fraternity, and plays the guitar. He’s also training to run a marathon barefoot! He’s getting over a bad breakup with his ex-girlfriend when he meets Kate. Is Kate really the girl for him, or will dating again just lead to more heartbreak?

3. Emily Mansfield: Emily is Kate’s former best friend. They got into a fight after high school, and without her, Kate doesn’t know who she is anymore.

4. Ian Hot Boy With No Last Name: In THINGS I CAN’T FORGET, Ian is the wild crazy guy who cracks me up. He likes to fool around with his girlfriend in inappropriate places and refers to many people as “douches,” but he has a big heart and a soft side. I never gave him a last name, but I love him. Ha!

5. Parker Shelton: In STEALING PARKER, Parker doesn’t have many girlfriends. In THINGS I CAN’T FORGET, she doesn’t get along with Kate at first, but as they get to know each other, is there a chance for a real friendship?

6. Savannah Barrow: Savannah is the heroine of RACING SAVANNAH. She’s 17, a senior in high school, and she works at a high-stakes horse farm, doing everything from hauling hay to shoveling manure to mopping floors. She’s been living in the servants’ quarters all her life, but she wants nothing more than to become an exercise rider and work with the horses that compete in big races like the Kentucky Derby.

7. Jack Goodwin: Jack is the farm owner’s sexy son. Jack is being groomed to take over the farm one day, so his father makes him manage the estate and staff. Even though he’s attracted to Savannah, Jack knows he won’t be considered a responsible, gentlemanly farm owner if he goes after a member of his staff.

8. Marcus Winchester: Marcus is the villain of RACING SAVANNAH. Marcus is a rival farm owner’s son, and he has a past history with Savannah, which doesn’t make Jack too happy.

9. Rory Whitfield: Rory works on the horse farm in RACING SAVANNAH. He’s the younger brother of Will Whitfield (Corndog!) from STEALING PARKER. Rory lives next door to Jack and Savannah and he’s Savannah’s closest friend. Rory is in the drama club and wants to sell a screenplay to Hollywood.

10. Vanessa Green: Vanessa is the younger sister of Ty Green, the love interest from CATCHING JORDAN. Vanessa has a thing for Rory Whitfield… and is rather shocked that Rory has Star Wars sheets and sleeps with a Chewbacca stuffed animal.

About Miranda Kenneally

Growing up in Tennessee, Miranda Kenneally dreamed of becoming an Atlanta Brave, a country singer (cliché!), or a UN interpreter. Instead she writes and works for the State Department in Washington, D.C., where George W. Bush once used her shoulder as an armrest. Miranda loves Twitter, Star Trek and her husband. Visit www.mirandakenneally.com

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Review: Rush by Maya Banks

18th Mar 2013 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2013, Reviews, Reviews by Jess

Review: Rush by Maya BanksRush by Maya Banks
Series: Breathless #1
Published by Berkley
Pub Date: February 5th 2013
Pages: 416
Format: Paperback | Source: Publisher
Genres: Adult, Erotica, Romance
Buy the book! | Goodreads
2 Stars

Gabe, Jace, and Ash: three of the wealthiest, most powerful men in the country. They’re accustomed to getting anything they want. Anything at all. For Gabe, it’s making one particular fantasy come true with a woman who was forbidden fruit. Now she’s ripe for the picking...

When Gabe Hamilton saw Mia Crestwell walk into the ballroom for his hotel’s grand opening, he knew he was going to hell for what he had planned. After all, Mia is his best friend’s little sister. Except she’s not so little anymore. And Gabe has waited a long time to act on his desires.

Gabe has starred in Mia’s fantasies more than once, ever since she was a teenager with a huge crush on her brother’s best friend. So what if Gabe’s fourteen years older? Mia knows he’s way out of her league, but her attraction has only grown stronger with time. She’s an adult now, and there’s no reason not to act on her most secret desires.

As Gabe pulls her into his provocative world, she realizes there’s a lot she doesn’t know about him or how exacting his demands can be. Their relationship is intense and obsessive, but as they cross the line from secret sexual odyssey to something deeper, their affair runs the risk of being exposed—and vulnerable to a betrayal far more intimate than either expected.

Well, here’s the thing about this book. Yes, it’s Erotica and I don’t usually review them on the blog…but it’s written by Maya Banks. I love her KGI series! So when I received this for review, of course I wanted to read it! And overall I liked it. I liked it WAY more than Sylvia Day’s Bared to You, another Erotica novel I reviewed on the blog, but I wasn’t totally invested in Gabe and Mia’s story. I am beginning to think that these “Fifty Shades of Grey” type of books are not for me though.

My biggest issue with Rush was Gabe. There really wasn’t much I liked about the way he was. He never really showed much emotion and it made it hard for me to find any romance in the sexual encounters between him and Mia. And there were a ton of sexual encounters, but they all seemed overly brash. I wish there had been less sex and more connection/relationship building, which kind of sucks to say about and Erotica novel but it’s how I felt. I think what saved him in the end for me was how he came around in the end, even though it was after some major f’ups with Mia. Mia was definitely likeable but she would just go along with everything. I get that they signed a contract where she agreed to all this stuff but I thought maybe she’d try to get Gabe to be less cold with it all.

While I enjoyed Mia and Gabe’s story well enough, I kept thinking about the other two guys we meet in this book, Jace and Ash. They have something reeeeeally interesting going on and I am BEYOND intrigued to figure them out! I think a lot of the times they were what kept me reading this book, so I definitely look forward to reading Fever and Burn.

About Maya Banks

Maya Banks is a USA Today and New York Times bestselling author whose chart toppers have included erotic romance, romantic suspense, contemporary romance, and Scottish historical romance.

She lives in the South with her husband and three children and other assorted babies, such as her two Bengal kitties and a calico who’s been with her as long as her youngest child. She’s an avid reader of romance and loves to dish books with her fans and anyone else who’ll listen! She very much enjoys interacting with her readers on Facebook and Twitter as well as in her Yahoo! Group.

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Review: The Best Man by Kristan Higgins + Guest Post

14th Mar 2013 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2013, Guest Posts, Reviews, Reviews by Jess

Review: The Best Man by Kristan Higgins + Guest PostThe Best Man by Kristan Higgins
Series: Blue Heron #1
Published by HQN
Pub Date: February 26th 2013
Pages: 432
Format: Paperback | Source: Publisher
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Buy the book! | Goodreads
5 Stars

Sometimes the best man is the one you least expect…

Faith Holland left her hometown after being jilted at the altar. Now a little older and wiser, she's ready to return to the Blue Heron Winery, her family's vineyard, to confront the ghosts of her past, and maybe enjoy a glass of red. After all, there's some great scenery there….

Like Levi Cooper, the local police chief—and best friend of her former fiancé. There's a lot about Levi that Faith never noticed, and it's not just those deep green eyes. The only catch is she's having a hard time forgetting that he helped ruin her wedding all those years ago. If she can find a minute amidst all her family drama to stop and smell the rosé, she just might find a reason to stay at Blue Heron, and finish that walk down the aisle.

Guys, I’m sitting here wanting to do nothing more than to go read The Best Man again. Now! I want to re-read it now!! But first I have to tell you how much I loved it.

The Best Man opens up with Faith getting left at the altar. Even though it’s a terrible thing to happen to someone, Kristan Higgins made it humorous. This book has lots of humorous moments. And lots of touching moments, as well as infuriating ones and sexy ones. This book had it all!

I loved the chemistry between Faith and Levi. The love-hate thing they have going on is beyond fun to read. The anticipation of waiting to see when they’ll finally get together almost kept me reading straight through the night. I loved that they had history from their childhood that also added to their connection now. I ate up all the flashbacks. It just made the story so much more well rounded to know their history and it made my own feelings toward them more real.

I empathized with Faith right away, so it wasn’t hard for me to like her from the beginning. She’s hilarious. And Levi, Mr. Chief of Police, was totally sexy, but, oh man, was he a grumpy one! And he was so obsessed with Faith’s rack! I did find myself wishing he’d stop bringing it up. Not that I don’t believe guys think about a girl’s rack that much, it’s just that it got old reading about it. He was also so closed off. He definitely makes our girl work for it. But, Lord, he turned out to be one amazing guy. I’m in love, you guys. *SIGH*

Faith comes from this big family and, oh my God, they cracked me up!! From her grandparents who’ve been married 65 years and seem to hate each other, to her oldest sister, whose husband is hell bent on spicing up their sex life. Oh! And lets not forget her ex-fiancé who is like part of the family. I couldn’t get enough of them all!

I cannot fully express the feeling in my heart after finishing this book; full of love and hope and smiles, is a start. I hope you guys will pick up this book and feel the same things.

Guest Post

When you come up with an idea for a novel, how do you envision it?

Generally, most of my books start with a one-line idea: what if you were left at the altar? What if your ex-fiancé was dating your sister? From there, the idea starts multiplying into scenes, almost like a cell dividing. Initially, I come up with what I call anchor scenes: pivotal scenes that are usually very funny or very sad (or both). Then I start building sections of the book around those scenes.

Secondary characters, time of year and setting also play a big role in forming the book. My books are never just about the hero and heroine, because I like to write realistic love stories. To that end, my characters have jobs and families, friends and community that play heavily into their lives and the blossoming love story. That’s another aspect I think about a lot—who are the other players, and how will their lives weave into the protagonists’? What do they show about the characters? How can they both gum up the works and smooth the way?

In some respects, I’m an insecure writer. Starting a book that will be 400+ pages long is a daunting task! To minimize the flailing I think every writer suffers, I like to outline…a lot. I start with the above, then work into a three-act synopsis, then go to a scene-by-scene outline. Of course, once I start writing the first draft, a lot changes, but the outline is a touchstone. Sometimes it holds up brilliantly; other times, it’s almost unrecognizable from the final product. Either way, it’s a necessary part of the process for me. Sometimes I have to wade through a lot of muck to get where I’m going; sometimes, it’s clear sailing. Obviously, I prefer the easier route, but I don’t always get a say. The story has tremendous power of its own, and sometimes it feels like I’m just along for the ride.

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About Kristan Higgins

Kristan Higgins

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristan Higgins writes down-to-earth romantic comedies…real life, true love and lots of laughs.

Kristan fell in love with romance at the age of 13, when she stole her grandmother’s copy of Shanna by Kathleen Woodiwiss. Much of her adolescence was spent mentally rewriting the end of Gone With the Wind. After a career in public relations and advertising, she started writing fiction when her children graced her life with simultaneous afternoon naps. She is the author of seven romantic comedies and absolutely loves her job. Mom of two great kids, wife of a heroic firefighter and owner of a very cute mutt, Kristan lives in Connecticut.

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Waiting on Wednesday: The Program

13th Mar 2013 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2013, Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday: The Program

Waiting on Wednesday: The ProgramThe Program by Suzanne Young
Series: The Program #1
Published by Simon Pulse
Pub Date: April 30th 2013
Buy the book! | Goodreads

Sloane knows better than to cry in front of anyone. With suicide now an international epidemic, one outburst could land her in The Program, the only proven course of treatment. Sloane’s parents have already lost one child; Sloane knows they’ll do anything to keep her alive. She also knows that everyone who’s been through The Program returns as a blank slate. Because their depression is gone—but so are their memories.

Under constant surveillance at home and at school, Sloane puts on a brave face and keeps her feelings buried as deep as she can. The only person Sloane can be herself with is James. He’s promised to keep them both safe and out of treatment, and Sloane knows their love is strong enough to withstand anything. But despite the promises they made to each other, it’s getting harder to hide the truth. They are both growing weaker. Depression is setting in. And The Program is coming for them.

 

I’ve had my eye on this one for quite a while now! I’m so happy it’s not too far off now! It just sounds really awesome. :D

 

 

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books At The TOP Of My Spring 2013 TBR list

12th Mar 2013 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2013, Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Books At The TOP Of My Spring 2013 TBR list

I wish I could just be like, ALL THE BOOKS. ALL THE BOOKS are at the TOP of my Spring 2013 list!! But this is Top Ten, my friends. So here’s where I struggle to narrow it down for you. Because I love you. And I like to follow instructions. haha.

 

1. Clockwork Princess

– I’m pretty sure this book might break me. Eeeep!

 

2. Lover at Last

– I’ve been waiting to read Qhuinn and Blay’s book FOREVER.

 

3. The Moon and More

– I have this and it’s killing me not to read it already. GAH!

 

4. This Is What Happy Looks Like

– I’m looking forward to being all swoony over this book soon!!

 

5. Requiem

– Now that it’s here, I’m afraid to read it!!

 

6. Eleanor & Park

– After all the amazing things people are saying?! Yeah. TOP!

 

7. Someday, Someday, Maybe

– I love Lauren Graham, so I can’t wait to read this!

 

levitatinglasvegas8. Levitating Las Vegas

– I LOVE JEN ECHOLS! And after loving Star Crossed, I’m read to read more adult books from her. :)

 

9. The Sea of Tranquility

– Again, another book with a lot of praise and I’m looking forward to checking it out!

 

10. An Inquiry Into Love and Death

– I really enjoyed The Haunting of Maddy Clare so I’m looking forward to reading more from this author.

 

 

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Review: Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks

11th Mar 2013 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2013, Reviews, Reviews by Jess

Review: Safe Haven by Nicholas SparksSafe Haven by Nicholas Sparks
Published by Grand Central Publishing
Pub Date: December 18th 2012
Pages: 325
Format: eBook | Source: Purchased
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Buy the book! | Goodreads
4 Stars

The #1 New York Times bestseller and soon-to-be major motion picture is now available as an enhanced ebook and features a behind-the-scenes look at the movie.

When a mysterious young woman named Katie appears in the small North Carolina town of Southport, her sudden arrival raises questions about her past. Beautiful yet self-effacing, Katie seems determined to avoid forming personal ties until a series of events draws her into two reluctant relationships: one with Alex, a widowed store owner with a kind heart and two young children; and another with her plainspoken single neighbor, Jo. Despite her reservations, Katie slowly begins to let down her guard, putting down roots in the close-knit community and becoming increasingly attached to Alex and his family.

But even as Katie begins to fall in love, she struggles with the dark secret that still haunts and terrifies her . . . a past that set her on a fearful, shattering journey across the country, to the sheltered oasis of Southport. With Jo's empathic and stubborn support, Katie eventually realizes that she must choose between a life of transient safety and one of riskier rewards . . . and that in the darkest hour, love is the only true safe haven.

(The enhanced ebook includes video clips from the movie, interviews with Nicholas Sparks, Julianne Hough, Josh Duhamel, and Lasse Holstrom, stills from the set, costume design sketches, b-roll, a video tour of the set narrated by Nicholas Sparks, and an intereview with Nicholas Sparks and Lasse Holstrom about translating books-to-film).

I’ve been a big fan of the movies made from Nicholas Spark’s books. But for some reason, I never felt inclined to read his books. In a way, I felt that they would ruin the movies that I loved, because we all know the books are always better. Always. But something about this one just called out to me. The movie trailer intrigued me so much. And so I read Safe Haven. And I loved it.

Safe Haven is all about starting over. Katie is a woman who has successfully run away from her abusive husband and is now starting over with a new identity in a speck of a town. Alex is a guy who sees something in Katie that draws him to her, which he hasn’t felt since he lost his wife. Their relationship is such a nice, slow, romantic build up. I was smiling every time they were together. It definitely wasn’t easy for Katie to let her guard down, but seeing Alex with his kids and seeing how amazing he was with them certainly helped a lot.

And Katie might have also not realized she liked Alex if it had not been for her friend Jo, who kept bringing him up. I liked Jo a lot. She was funny and such a great listener. She definitely helped Katie come out of her shell.

We also get to see what Katie’s abusive husband is up to after she’s gone. The suspense of waiting to see how he finds her eventually, because you know he does, is really nail biting at times. He was really terrifying. And the way his mind worked was totally disturbing.

The biggest twist comes in the end and I can’t say I saw it coming. Of course it makes perfect sense NOW, but it was TOTALLY EERIE reading that part at night, in bed, with the lights out!

The enhanced content was cool if you’re interested in the movie. It had some clips and also some interviews with the stars and with Nicholas Sparks. I enjoyed them.

And the movie…

I enjoyed the movie a lot! I thought the actors were great portraying the characters. Julianne Hough and Josh Duhamel had great chemistry together. And of course, I shed some tears. DAMN YOU, NICHOLAS SPARKS!! There were some details that were changed that actually worked for the film version, mainly having to do with the Katie’s husband. I think it’s totally worth the watch. :)

 

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Waiting on Wednesday: Gorgeous

6th Mar 2013 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2013, Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday: Gorgeous

Waiting on Wednesday: GorgeousGorgeous by Paul Rudnick
Published by Scholastic
Pub Date: April 30th 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads

When eighteen-year-old Becky Randle’s mother dies, she’s summoned from her Missouri trailer park to meet Tom Kelly, the world’s top designer. He makes her an impossible offer: He’ll create three dresses to transform Becky from a nothing special girl into the most beautiful woman who ever lived.

Becky thinks Tom is a lunatic, or that he’s producing a hidden camera show called World’s Most Gullible Poor People. But she accepts, and she’s remade as Rebecca. When Becky looks in the mirror, she sees herself – an awkward mess of split ends and cankles. But when anyone else looks at Becky, they see pure five-alarm hotness.

Soon Rebecca is on the cover of Vogue, the new Hollywood darling, and dating celebrities. Then Becky meets Prince Gregory, heir to the British throne, and everything starts to crumble. Because Rebecca aside, Becky loves him. But to love her back, Gregory would have to look past the blinding Rebecca to see the real girl inside. And Becky knows there’s not enough magic in the world.

A screamingly defiant, hugely naughty, and impossibly fun free fall past the cat walks, the red carpets, and even the halls of Buckingham Palace, Gorgeous does the impossible: It makes you see yourself clearly for the first time.

 

I already love this book just from the synopsis. And that cover is really pretty!! Though it does make me think of the movie Shallow Hal, haha.

 

 

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Top Ten Tuesday: Series I’d Like To Start But Haven’t Yet

4th Mar 2013 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2013, Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Series I’d Like To Start But Haven’t Yet

Oh, man. I hope I don’t get a flailing for any of these, haha. Here we go!

jessicadarling1. Jessica Darling

– I KNOW! I’ve had the whole series on my Kindle FOR YEARS, y’all! It’s going to happen in 2013.

2. Fever

– I own this whole series too! I need to finally meet this Barrons, no?

3. Lumatere Chronicles

– I wanted to SO BADLY join the read-along happening right now of this series, but it didn’t happen for me. :( Other commitments got in the way. SADZ!

luxe4. Luxe

– Friends, I will not lie to you…I own this whole series. Mainly because the covers are sooooo lovely! But I do want to read them soon.

5. Heist Society

– I LOVE Ally Carter and when I got Perfect Scoundrels signed, I told her I’d be starting this series soon. So I must do it. :)

6. Unearthly

– I was going to finally start this series when Boundless released, but now I don’t know if I can handle the FEELS! UGH! I’ll probably be getting to it sooner than later.

hourglass7. Hourglass

– SO MANY people love this series! And I love these covers! And I love time-travel! (This has some time-travel, right?)

8. Raised by Wolves

– Own the whole trilogy. I need me some more werewolves in my life.

9. Glass / Healer

– I am a huge fan of Maria. V. Snyder’s Study and Insiders series, and so I don’t know why I haven’t gotten to these yet. :/

10. Chaos Walking

– I KNOW! lol Thought I’d round off this list the way it started…with a well loved series that I have yet to read. *SIGH*

chaoswalking

 

 

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Review: Emblaze by Jessica Shirvington

4th Mar 2013 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2013, Reviews, Reviews by Jess

Review: Emblaze by Jessica ShirvingtonEmblaze by Jessica Shirvington
Series: The Violet Eden Chapters #3
Published by Sourcebooks Fire
Pub Date: March 5th 2013
Pages: 464
Format: eARC | Source: NetGalley
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
4 Stars

Once again Violet Eden faces an impossible choice ... and the consequences are unimaginable.

Violet has come to terms with the fact that being part angel, part human, means her life will never be as it was.

Now Violet has something Phoenix - the exiled angel who betrayed her - will do anything for, and she has no intention of letting it fall into his hands. The only problem is that he has something she needs too.

Not afraid to raise the stakes, Phoenix seemingly holds all the power, always one step ahead. And when he puts the final pieces of the prophecy together, it doesn't take him long to realize exactly who he needs in order to open the gates of Hell.

With the help of surprising new allies, ancient prophecies are deciphered, a destination set and, after a shattering confrontation with her father, Violet leaves for the islands of Greece without knowing if she will have a home to return to...

Friends, I continue to be impressed with this series, both in story and writing. This third installment was really tough at times. Lincoln and Violet are totally down on their situation after what they learned in the last book, so there was a lot of sadness, a lot of despair. They were constantly fighting with themselves, fighting against their feelings. It was not easy and it was not fun at times. In Emblaze, you kind of know what the story is leading to toward the end of the book. It’s clear that there will be another big showdown with Phoenix, but this time the stakes are higher than ever.

I found myself really intrigued with Phoenix’s real motives. Even though I still dislike him, I cannot help wonder what his game plan is, what his real intentions will be in the end. I must say I was surprised by him. I won’t go as far as saying I like him, but I did soften toward him by the end, and I don’t loath him as much.

Also? I was totally surprised by the ending! Was not expecting it. Maybe I just missed the signs or something. I am really anxious to see where this will lead.

I am now more convinced than ever that this series could make a great tv show. Oh, you hadn’t heard? Yeah, it’s being adapted into television with the CW Network, Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment and CBS Television Studios!!

Now here’s your chance to win a copy and see for yourself!

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About Jessica Shirvington

Jessica Shirvington is the author of THE VIOLET EDEN CHAPTERS also known as THE EMBRACE SERIES, stand alone novel, BETWEEN THE LIVES and has an exciting new duology called DISRUPTION on the way in 2014.

An entrepreneur, author, and mother living in Sydney, Australia, Jessica is also a 2011 & 2012 finalist for Cosmopolitan’s annual Fun, Fearless Female Award. She’s also one of the lucky few who met the love of her life at age seventeen: Matt Shirvington, a former Olympian and current sports broadcaster for Foxtel and Fox Sports. Married for twleve years with two beautiful daughters, Sienna and Winter, Jessica knows her early age romance and its longevity has definitely contributed to how she tackles relationships in her YA novels.

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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