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ARC August – Intro and Goals

arc-august

So i’m not sure how I missed out on the awesome-ness that is apparently ARC August, but I was just saying to a friend (cough, Naomi) the other day that I had a ton of ARC’s off Netgalley that I needed to get read and reviewed, but I tend to get distracted with BSN (bright, shiny, new) books (yeah, I know ARC’s are BSN as well, but i’m easily distracted, what can I say!). So when I came across a Facebook post about ARC August (thanks Melissa!), I was intrigued and my explorations soon let me to the originators of this event, Octavia and Shelley at Read Sleep Repeat. So even though I’m a few days late, I’m throwing my book pile in the circle and joining in the fun!

It took me some time to examine all the books on my Netgalley account and try to figure out which ones I wanted to tackle during the upcoming month. Part of it was determined by which authors I really like and who get precedence from me when I get ARC’s of their books and others in part to fitting requirements for different reading challenges I am doing.

Planned ARC’s for August:

24737833After the War – Jessica Scott
A terrible loss…
Captain Sarah Anders lost her husband to the Iraq war and has nearly lost the career she loves. Sent to Fort Hood, she only wants to do her job and take care of the daughter she’s raising on her own. She never counted on running straight into a memory she’d tried to forget.
A love he never forgot…
Captain Sean Nichols never got over Sarah. He simply tried to forget her amidst the war and the chaos of combat. But when she’s assigned to investigate his unit, he comes face to face with the woman no war or any amount of time could make him forget.
A dark secret…
As Sarah gets closer to the truth, Sean must accept that actions he took during the war may end the tentative love building between them. And even if Sarah can forgive him, Sean may never be able to forgive himself.

22551743The Truth According to Us – Annie Barrows
In the summer of 1938, Layla Beck’s father, a United States senator, cuts off her allowance and demands that she find employment on the Federal Writers’ Project, a New Deal jobs program. Within days, Layla finds herself far from her accustomed social whirl, assigned to cover the history of the remote mill town of Macedonia, West Virginia, and destined, in her opinion, to go completely mad with boredom. But once she secures a room in the home of the unconventional Romeyn family, she is drawn into their complex world and soon discovers that the truth of the town is entangled in the thorny past of the Romeyn dynasty.

At the Romeyn house, twelve-year-old Willa is desperate to learn everything in her quest to acquire her favorite virtues of ferocity and devotion—a search that leads her into a thicket of mysteries, including the questionable business that occupies her charismatic father and the reason her adored aunt Jottie remains unmarried. Layla’s arrival strikes a match to the family veneer, bringing to light buried secrets that will tell a new tale about the Romeyns. As Willa peels back the layers of her family’s past, and Layla delves deeper into town legend, everyone involved is transformed—and their personal histories completely rewritten.

25570582Rescuing an Angel – Ann Jacobs
One fateful misstep for Gayla Levine was all it took for her once-adoring fiancé to walk away and her demanding father to disown her. Determined to finally turn her life around and embrace her newfound independence, she wants nothing to do with men or relationships—until she meets Dan Newman, a sexy surgeon who sends a shock of electricity through her every time they touch.

Dan Newman has spent his life struggling to overcome his own crippling past by devoting himself to healing others who have suffered. Now a world-class surgeon, he’s confident in his ability to face anything life throws at him—until he meets a headstrong Texas beauty who has his pulse racing and fills his dreams with impossibly sensual visions.

As they fall into a passionate romance that takes them both to the burning edges of pleasure, these two damaged souls must both confront their darkest demons. Because Gayla is haunted by the echoes of being called a failure and torn by the fear that she’ll be rejected once again, and Dan, who has proved his worth to so many others, now must convince himself and Gayla that they deserve the powerful love they’ve found.

25528536Forget Me Not – Erika Marks
When aspiring-writer Mallory Reynolds packed up for New York City, she ditched more than her quiet hometown of Magnolia Bay—she left her high-school sweetheart, Josh Loveless, behind. But when the big city didn’t deliver big contracts on her novels, she turned to writing erotica under the pen name Farrah Ivory to spare her family any embarrassment. Soon, her scandalously-sexy series, The Lost Diaries of Scarlet, is a break-out hit. Just as Mallory begins to enjoy her sweet success, her publisher leaks her true identity and a media firestorm ensues. Exposed, she decides there’s nowhere to hide—except for home.

For Josh Loveless, getting over Mallory Reynolds hasn’t been easy, but he’s done his best to move on. For starters, he’s turned his love of the outdoors and rock-climbing into his own business. And just as things are starting to settle for him, he learns Mallory’s coming home to ride out her scandal, and suddenly his world is turned upside down again…

Can Mallory convince her friends and family that she’s still the same good-hearted girl they knew? And more importantly, can Josh trust the woman she’s become, and give her a second chance to rewrite their love story with a happy ending?

25935349Dodging Temptation – Avery Flynn
On the cusp of closing a multi-billion dollar deal, Dodge Loving can’t afford for anything go wrong at his ultra-exclusive luxury resort, where privacy isn’t just promised it’s guaranteed. So when he finds paparazzi hiding in the bushes, he’ll do anything to get rid of them-even if it means firing their target: the sexy, stuck up bookworm his mom hired.

Harper Conner just wants to be left alone to catalog the resort’s rare cowboy diaries. But after slapping her cheating senator ex-husband during a televised press conference-she’s a hot commodity for the tabloids.

Alone for the first time, without the protection of her political dynasty of a family, she can’t afford to get fired-especially by the Type-A jerk who runs the place. And she definitely should never have kissed him. Now Harper has two choices: get outta Dodge…or fall in love with him.

22009625Best Bi Short Stories – Sheela Lambert (Editor)
Best Bi Short Stories is the first book of its kind, a literary anthology bringing together the very finest representations of bisexuality in fiction. The bisexuality of characters, like in real people, can be invisible to readers unless explicitly brought to their attention. Invisibility leads to underrepresentation, and on bookstore shelves that has certainly been true. Best Bi Short Stories hopes to change that by presenting the very best quality, cast in a bold light. With an all-star author lineup ranging from Katherine Forrest to Jane Rule, Ann Herendeen to Jan Steckel, and curated by longtime bi activist Sheela Lambert, Best Bi Short Stories encompasses several genres. The authors are a diverse group, as well, and Lambert sought representation across age groups, cultures, ethnicities and sexualities in both the authors and stories, demonstrating the richness of bi experience.

18453252Delectable – Adrianne Lee
Montana real estate agent Quint McCoy will tell you that the most important thing is location, location, location. It’s a lesson he learns all too well when he goes incommunicado for a four-week fishing trip to Alaska. While he’s away, his mother Molly turns his office into the pie shop she has always dreamed of, Big Sky Pie. But that’s not the only surprise in store for him.

On her way out of town, Callee McCoy only wants to say a fond farewell to her beloved mother-in-law. But Molly soon persuades Callee to stay and lend a hand at the new shop, even if it means heating up the kitchen with her soon-to-be ex. As Callee and Quint rediscover their recipe for love, they realize that some couples are so sinfully good together that one delectable taste is never enough . . .

18484795A Million Miles Away – Lara Avery
When high school senior Kelsey’s identical twin sister, Michelle, dies in a car crash, Kelsey is left without her other half. The only person who doesn’t know about the tragedy is Michelle’s boyfriend, Peter, recently deployed to Afghanistan. But when Kelsey finally connects with Peter online, she can’t bear to tell him the truth. Active duty has taken its toll, and Peter, thinking that Kelsey is Michelle, says that seeing her is the one thing keeping him alive. Caught up in the moment, Kelsey has no choice: She lets Peter believe that she is her sister.

As Kelsey keeps up the act, she crosses the line from pretend to real. Soon, Kelsey can’t deny that she’s falling, hard, for the one boy she shouldn’t want.

So there it is, my list of books for ARC August…of course, I have some special books set aside to reward myself if I finish these ones, but you’ll just have to come back and see what they are – because I’m not going to reveal them until I reach my goal ;)

Happy Reading!

 
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Posted by on August 5, 2015 in ARC August, Reading Events

 

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Review – All Bets Are Off – Marguerite Labbe

All Bets Are Off
Author: Marguerite Labbe

Review Copy Provided by Netgalley

Book Description
It only takes one night with Ash Gallagher to make Eli Hollister think he’s finally met the right man at the right time. Good thing he doesn’t bet on it, because Ash turns out to be a student in Eli’s class at the local college. Eli can’t deny he’s attracted, but now it’s complicated. He’s already in enough trouble with the department head, a man who would like to see Eli denied his tenure and fired.

Ash is looking forward to taking his life in a new direction. After serving one active-duty stint in the Marine Corps and another in the Reserves, he’s ready to put his military life behind him. The last new experience he’d planned for this semester was to fall in lust with his English professor, but the more Eli resists, the more Ash is determined to have him. Then he discovers Eli’s playing for keeps, and Ash is only interested in a fling… or is he? Between these two, when it comes to life and love, all bets are off.

Book Review
I was lucky enough to meet the author at a recent real-life get together of an online group, so when All Bets Are Off showed up as a review copy on Netgalley and since I had never read anything by this author, I jumped at the chance to read something by her. One of my favorite tropes in books is the forbidden student/teacher relationship, but they are so often hard to find in a way that seems believable. That is one of the things that I loved about All Bets Were Off, the trying to avoid the relationship and the building of sexual tension through-out rather than a quick fling.

The bantering between Ash and Eli was probably one of my favorite parts of the book, especially since they supported different sports teams. It made it seem more real than many relationships in books that just seem forced. The relationship between Ash and his Marine buddies was the other part of the story that I enjoyed – you could tell that the author had really done her research. Being in the military, I am very picky about how the military is portrayed, and I felt that the author did the relationships justice.

I did feel that between the mystery and the freaky department chair, that there was too much going on which took away from the developing romance. I kind of wish that just one of those elements had been focused on vice both of them. But that is just a small complaint. I do know that I will definitely reading more books by the author in the future.

 
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Posted by on August 21, 2012 in Book Review

 

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Review – Quarantine – John Smolens

Quarantine
Author: John Smolens

Review Copy Provided via Netgalley by the Publisher
Expected Publication: September 15, 2012

Book Description
The year is 1796, and a trading ship arrives in the vibrant trading town of Newburyport, Massachusetts. But it’s a ghost ship–her entire crew has been decimated by a virulent fever which sweeps through the harbor town, and Newburyport’s residents start to fall ill and die with alarming haste. Something has to be done to stop the virus from spreading further. When physician Giles Wiggins places the port under quarantine, he earns the ire of his shipbuilder half-brother, the wealthy and powerful Enoch Sumner, and their eccentric mother, Miranda. Defiantly, Giles sets up a pest-house, where the afflicted might be cared for and separated from the rest of the populace in an attempt to contain the epidemic.

As the seaport descends into panic, religious fervor, and mob rule, bizarre occurrences ensue: the harbormaster ‘s family falls victim to the fever, except for his son, Leander Hatch, who is taken in at the Sumner mansion and a young woman, Marie Montpelier, is fished out of the Merrimac River barely clinging to life, causing Giles and Enoch who is convinced she ‘s the expatriate daughter of the French king to vie for her attentions–all while medical supplies are pillaged by a black marketer from Boston. As the epidemic grows, fear, greed, and unhinged obsession threaten the Sumner family and the future of Newburyport itself.

Review
I had previously listened to and reviewed Smolen’s book, The Schoolmaster’s Daughter, so when Quarantine showed up on Netgalley I jumped on the opportunity to read and review it. Having grown up outside of the US, I never really studied US history until college and then it was limited to very specific classes – so my knowledge of the fever that struck the east coast of the US in the late 1700’s is relatively little – most of what I know, I gained from reading Laurie Halsie Anderson’s Fever 1793

There were a variety of things that I enjoyed about the book – specifically the details about how the various medical practices from the time were incorporated into trying to save the town from the fever. I actually felt that if the focus had been solely on the struggle of the town and the quarantine, then the book would have been much better than it was. Unfortunately, it was the other story lines – the town surgeon and his fractured relationship with his family, the relationship between the women who could be construed as the town matriarch and her son and their scheming ways. I also have to admit, when I reached the last page of the book, I was confused with the outcome – yes, they managed to survive the fever and the town moved on, but all the other various plot lines, it was almost like the author had reached a page limit and decided to end it – I just felt like there wasn’t much resolution…

Overall, I don’t think I could give this book more than about 2.5 stars and while I don’t know of any fiction books similar to the subject, aside from the YA by Laurie Halsie Anderson, I would have a hard time recommending this book to many people, unless they were looking for this very specific event. That being said, I am more curious about the time period after reading this, so I am going to see about maybe picking up a non-fiction that discusses the period to read some more.

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2012 in Book Review

 

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The Book Reviewer is in

Accepted Books / eBooks for Review:

The Gingerbread House – Carin Gerhardsen – Review Copy from Netgalley

In a short space of time, several bestial murders occur in central Stockholm. When criminal investigator Conny Sjöberg and the Hammarby police begin to suspect that there’s a link between the murders, Sjöberg goes completely cold. There is a killer out there whose motives are very personal, and who will not be deterred.The Gingerbread House by Carin Gerhardsen is the first in the Hammarby series, thrillers with taut, suspenseful plots and unexpected twists and turns.
 
 
 
Dead Ringer – Allen Wyler – Review Copy from Publisher

While speaking at a Hong Kong medical conference, neurosurgeon Dr. Lucas McCrae slips the cloth off a cadaver’s head during a routine medical demonstration, and is overwhelmed with the shock by what’s staring back at him: His best friend, Andy Baer.
Stunned, McCrae races back to Seattle to discover that Andy is in fact missing and may have been murdered by a gang of body snatchers who operate a legit funeral business and make a fortune by selling recovered body parts to medical researchers.
McCrae teams up with an unlikely pair—a beautiful but hardnosed female cop and a gang member whose family was victimized by the body parts ring—to try and expose a macabre web of corruption that involves law enforcement, politicians, funeral home curators and murdered prostitutes.
 
 
Timeless Desire – Gwyn Cready – Review Copy from Publisher

Two years after losing her husband, overworked librarian Panna Kennedy battles to distract herself from crushing Grief, even as she battles to deal with yet another library budget cut. During a routine search within the library’s lower levels, Panna opens an obscure, pad-locked door and finds herself transported to the magnificent, book-filled quarters of a handsome, eighteenth-century Englishman.
 
 
 
 
Cold Comfort – Quentin Bates – Review Copy from Audiobook Jukebox Solid Gold Reviewer Program

Officer Gunnhildur, recently promoted from her post in rural Iceland to Reykjavík’s Serious Crime Unit, is tasked with hunting down escaped convict Long Ommi, who has embarked on a spree of violent score-settling in and around the city. Meanwhile, she’s also investigating the murder of a fitness guru in her own city-center apartment. As Gunna delves into the cases, she unearths some unwelcome secrets and influential friends shared by both guru and convict. Set in an Iceland plagued by an ongoing financial crisis, Gunna has to take stock of the whirlwind changes that have swept through the country—and the fact that at the highest levels of power, the system’s endemic corruption still leads, inevitably, to murder.

 
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Posted by on July 26, 2012 in The Book Reviewer Is In

 

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Review – What I Didn’t Say – Keary Taylor

What I Didn’t Say
Author: Keary Taylor
Publisher: Self-published/Createspace

Review Copy Provided by Author via NetGalley

Book Description:
Getting drunk homecoming night your senior year is never a good idea, but Jake Hayes never expected it all to end with a car crash and a t-post embedded in his throat.

His biggest regret about it all? What he never said to Samantha Shay. He’s been in love with her for years and never had the guts to tell her. Now it’s too late. Because after that night, Jake will never be able to talk again.

When Jake returns to his small island home, population 5,000, he’ll have to learn how to deal with being mute. He also finds that his family isn’t limited to his six brothers and sisters, that sometimes an entire island is watching out for you. And when he gets the chance to spend more time with Samantha, she’ll help him learn that not being able to talk isn’t the worst thing that could ever happen to you. Maybe, if she’ll let him, Jake will finally tell her what he didn’t say before, even if he can’t actually say it.

Review:
The first thing that caught my eye about What I Didn’t Say was the cover – I found the picture of the boy and girl facing each other, looking like they were whispering to each other to be intriguing. It made me want to know more, and then when I read the description, I was drawn in.

Drunk driving as a topic in YA books is always hard for me to digest because while I was growing up, my father was a fireman for the local fire service and he was often called out to car crashes, many of which involved drunk driving and while he didn’t often talk about it, I was able to gather enough information normally to form a picture of just how bad it was. So the images presented in What I Didn’t Say were really highlighted for me, I could visualize what happened to Jake when the car crashed and he was stabbed through the throat…and this is probably not an image that I want to see in my mind again anytime soon…

I loved seeing the characters grow and make mistakes through-out the book like normal teens do – it was refreshing to see. While I have been on a bit of a YA kick lately, it seems that either the teens in those books either have the appearance of being perfect or are so screwed up that nothing changes during the course of the book…so seeing Jake and Samantha develop and change over the course of the year was fun. I felt that the author did a good job developing the secondary characters – Jake’s parents, his siblings, friends at school…the only one that I truly wanted to bitch slap was Nora, the student body president – why is it that the popular kid that does a crappy job is always the one elected and not a quiet one who could do the job – I would have loved to have seen Samantha in that role.

However, no book is without its weaknesses, for me it was the fact that Jake was entering his senior year of high school and we knew that he wanted to join the AF and be a pilot…ok, well, from the descriptions within he was going to enlist…why was he not pushing to go to the Air Force Academy or ROTC…something which he would have had to have established prior to his senior year and that being said, why was he taking woodshop…that isn’t a class that would endear him to any college program where a strong science focus is needed – which is the way that most military programs are heading today (and yes, I say this from experience, I was in one of the last year groups where it was easy-ish to get a scholarship with a non-technical science degree..)

But that being said, after the accident and once the AF was out of the equation, I felt that the book was strong and engaging. I will definitely be looking for more books by the author in the future.

 
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Posted by on July 22, 2012 in Book Review

 

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