Saturday, July 23, 2016

eARC: 345 pages
Release Date: July 19, 2016
Source of my copy: TRSOR/author
Series: Rock Kiss #4
After a lifetime of longing for a real family, Sarah Smith thought she’d finally found her home with rock star Abe Bellamy, even if she knew Abe didn’t love her the way she loved him. But their brief relationship, filled with tragedy and heartache, nearly destroyed her. Alone, emotions in turmoil, and already shaky self-esteem shattered, Sarah struggles to pick up the pieces in the wake of their divorce.

Abe knows he’s to blame for the end of his marriage. Caught in a web of painful memories, he pushed away the best thing in his life – the sexy, smart woman he adores – breaking them both in the process. Then fate throws him a second chance to get things right, to prove to Sarah that she means everything to him. Abe desperately wants that second chance at love...even if he knows he doesn’t deserve it.

But can he convince Sarah – now strong and independent without him – to risk her wounded heart one more time?

I couldn't wait to finally read about School Boy Choir pianist's Abe Bellamy and when I found out his heroine was his ex-wife Sarah, I got even more excited because it's going to be a second-chance romance and I'm a sucker for those, especially ones about a formerly married couple finding love again. Rock Wedding was such a sweet and, at times, heartbreaking read. It wasn't my favorite in the series (Rock Courtship and Rock Hard are) but I very much enjoyed it and rooted for Abe and Sarah to work things out.
Sarah Smith loved her husband Abe Bellamy with all her heart. She knew Abe didn't return her feelings, but she had enough love for both of them. That is, until the night of the anniversary Abe's sister's death, and grieving and angry, Abe verbally lashed out and broke Sarah's heart. She left Abe, and eventually they divorced.

Years later, they reconnect again. Abe knew he made a mistake pushing Sarah away. Although he pushed Sarah away while they were married, he loved her. When he saw her again he knew he needed to win her back into his life. However, Sarah wasn't the girl she was when she first married Abe. She still has feelings for Abe, but she didn't want him too close because she knew he could break her heart all over again and she didn't want to risk it. But, an accidental pregnancy pulls them closer together and Abe became more determined than ever to woo his ex-wife, prove to Sarah that he's going to stay and be there for her and the baby, and make them a family again. But is Sarah ready to risk her heart?

I really enjoyed Abe and Sarah's characters. Sarah was mentioned a few times in the previous books by the other members of School Boy Choir, not always positively so I didn't know what to expect. But finally "meeting" her and learning she suffered through so much heartbreak and terrible loss and somehow rose from it all to become strong and independent, she's become one of my favorite in the series.

Sarah didn't have a happy childhood and was basically living in the streets at fifteen. Then, when she married Abe, she didn't feel like she's good enough for him and his actions asserted her belief. But after her messy divorce, she rose from all that and started a successful business. As for Abe, he was addicted to drugs and alcohol, went to rehab, only to relapse again. He also experienced terrible loss after his beloved younger sister and then his father a short while later both passed away. I just felt for both of them, especially Sarah.

Abe alway had his School Boy Choir bandmates, of course, but seeing Sarah being embraced by the women and the band members was lovely to see. I love the strong friendships--more like family, really--among the men and the women in this series. Nalini Singh does a good job creating these friendship group that you wish you were a part of.

The previous couples from the other books were all secondary characters in Rock Wedding, even Charlotte and T-Rex who were in town for Molly and Fox's wedding--yup, Molly and Fox and the other couples have their weddings in this book!

Nalini Singh's books, whether contemporary or paranormal, are always gold star reads for me and it's no different with Rock Wedding. Like with the previous books in the series, Rock Wedding was quite an emotional read as Sarah and Abe struggle to overcome their issues as individuals and in their relationship. If you're a fan of the Rock Kiss series, Rock Wedding is a must-read for you. If you like rock star romances, consider picking up the Rock Kiss series. If you're a fan of Nalini Singh's paranormal series, then give the Rock Kiss series a try--the books packs the same emotional punch as her other novels in Nalini's signature writing style. Overall, Rock Wedding is a great conclusion to the Rock Kiss series.

Sarah sat on the floor of her living room, books spread out all around her.
Having worked nonstop for days, she’d given herself the afternoon off. First, she’d gone to see her son. The anniversary had rolled around again, and though she hurt, this month wasn’t one of the bad ones. She’d talked to him, told him about her day, left him with a kiss.

Her plan for the rest of the day had been to get into her pj’s and curl up on the couch with Flossie to binge-watch a favorite television series. Then had come the buzz at the gate that made her heart thunder and her skin flush… and the delivery of a most unexpected package.

I hope you’re doing okay today. Say hi to Aaron for me. I’m sorry I threw your books in the pool. I was a dick. – Abe

Sarah stared at the note card again, still not certain she was reading it right. The first two lines, they turned her throat thick, but the rest… He’d been so high that day that she’d have bet her business he had no memory of the ugly incident. Sarah had never forgotten it: she could still feel the wrenching ache of the sobs that had overwhelmed her as she tried futilely to fish out books that had been well and truly drenched.

Abe, meanwhile, had moved on to throwing the pool furniture into the shimmering blue water.

Her fingers trembled as she picked up a leather-bound copy of Jane Austen’s Persuasion. It matched the other Austen novels he’d sent her, the set a lovely reissue packaged for collectors. Beside the fancy collector’s editions lay cheerful paperbacks with laughing couples and/or dogs on the covers.

She stifled a wet laugh. He’d clearly chosen those at random, but it was cute that he’d remembered she liked romances with animals in them. Half the time when she’d read to him or talked to him about her favorites, she’d thought he was mostly asleep. It hadn’t mattered—she’d just liked being with him.

The most surprising book in the package was the one about the entrepreneur who’d gone from rags to riches on stubborn grit and sheer determination.

It gave her a funny, fluttery feeling in her tummy to realize Abe really did take her business endeavor seriously. It wasn’t mockery, not when he’d gone to the effort of choosing these other books with her likes specifically in mind. He’d thought she’d like the book because she was an entrepreneur too.

Her eyes burned.

Her hand went to her phone, but she hesitated, the memories of her awful loneliness while she’d been with Abe holding her in place. Curling her fingers into her palm, she picked up the television remote instead.

She had to keep her distance if she was to have any chance of protecting her battered heart. Because this Abe? The one who sent her flowers and books and who dropped by to make sure she was all right? He was more dangerous than the man who’d broken her to pieces.

© Copyright 2016 by Nalini Singh

Nalini Singh
About the Author
Nalini Singh is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Psy-Changeling, Guild Hunter, and Rock Kiss series. She lives and works in beautiful New Zealand, and is passionate about writing.

If you’d like to explore her other books, you can find lots of excerpts and free short stories on her website. Slave to Sensation is the first book in the Psy-Changeling series, while Angels’ Blood is the first book in the Guild Hunter series. The Rock Kiss books are all stand alone and can be read in any order.

STALK HER: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Hello everyone,
I officially go back to work next week Monday. I'm a little sad because I'm going to miss all of the free time I have to just read or watch Youtube video or nap. But mostly I'm excited because I am going to start my new position as the school librarian!
The library I'm "inheriting."
As for my summer, it was GREAT!

Finally visited Disney World!
The first half of June was pretty chill. There was some reading (alas, less reading that I was hoping), a lot social media-ing and Youtube watching, and mostly napping.

My sisters and I went to see Me Before You the movie. Ultimately, I was disappointed and it wasn't even about the ending. It was well-casted, the setting was gorgeous, and I loved Lou's wardrobe... it was just missing something. I haven't read the book, but after seeing the movie I have not desire to.

Then, my sister and I went to Orlando (along with our entire family because Disney!) for the ALA Annual Conference.

The ALA conference was fun and overwhelming as always. It was my third time going, but this time I went as a librarian rather than as a blogger. It was my sister's first time and she represented our blog.

It was awesome going as a librarian. I got a whole bunch of picture books and middle grade books for my students and the library. I met authors and illustrators, a few whom when learning I'm from Hawaii gave me their cards and said they'd love to do an author visit.

In addition to that my sister and I also got YA books for us. We got almost all of books that we really wanted to get our hands on, as well as some others we weren't expecting we'd find there but we were very excited to get because we're dying to read them.

Leslie and me at the ALA conference in Orlando. 
Here are the YA and adult books (and even a couple middle grades) we got for ourselves at ALA.

These were the must-get books we had on our list.
The other YA books we got.
These are the books we got signed. Unfortunately, we didn't take pictures with any of authors.
The adult and romance books we got. Our mom already read the MacLean and Gibson titles during our flight back to Hawaii.
ALA was fun, but going to Disney World (for the first time) was definitely the highlight of our trip. A huge thanks to Amber at Du Livre who shared her Disney pro-tips with me--they were a big help in planning.

Staycation relaxation!
And then it's July and I was most looking forward to seeing The BFG the movie. It's been years and years since I read The BFG, but I remember it being my favorite of Roald Dahl's books and sadly the movie was a huge disappointment for me. I found it boring and I was not a fan of the little girl who played Sophie. I found her annoying and there was nothing magical or clever about the movie.

Then, we did a girls' staycation relaxation thing with my sister and mom at a really, really nice hotel here on the island. If you guys follow me on Instagram, you might've seen my pictures, but I mostly just hung out by the pool the whole time. I'm not a fan of the beach.

July wasn't as chill as June because I had to start going to work and learn library procedures from the outgoing librarian. I did manage to read more in July than I did in June, but I'll do a separate post for all the books I read this summer and my favorites among them.

Have you read any of the books I got from ALA? I'm definitely picking up A Torch Against the Night first because I'm dying to see what's next for Elias and Laia. Then, maybe I'll pick up Caraval next because everyone who read it already seems to love it.

Until then...

Happy reading,

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Hello everyone,
I am so excited to be part of the blog tour for Goldfish by Nat Luurtsema. I am currently reading it right now and it's such a fun and hilarious book to end my summer vacation with. Also, it couldn't come at a better time since the Summer Olympics are starting very soon.

Lou Brown is one of the fastest swimmers in the county. She’s not boasting, she really is. So things are looking pretty rosy the day of the Olympic time-trials. With her best mate Hannah by her side, Lou lines up by the edge of the pool, snaps her goggles on and bends into her dive…

Everything rests on this race. It’s Lou’s thing.

… or it was. She comes dead last and to top it all off Hannah sails through leaving a totally broken Lou behind.

Starting again is never easy, particularly when you’re the odd-one out in a family of insanely beautiful people and a school full of social groups way too intimidating to join. Where do you go from here? Finding a new thing turns out to be the biggest challenge Lou’s ever faced and opens up a whole new world of underwater somersaults, crazy talent shows, bitchy girls and a great big load of awkward boy chat.

Lou Brown guides us through the utter humiliation of failure with honesty, sass and a keen sense of the ridiculous. This girl will not be beaten.
I'll be sharing my thoughts about Goldfish on a later post. Today, my contribution to the blog tour are hot, sexy competitive swimmers. Here are the top five hottest/sexiest competitive swimmers according to me.

#5: Matt Grevers for his abs
#4: French swimmer Camille Lacourt for his gorgeous eyes
#3: Cullen Jones for his adorable dimples
#2: Nathan Adrian is a hottie
#1: Ryan Lochte because he is my favorite competitive swimmer

The only time I watch sports is during the olympics and call me shallow but I especially enjoy the summer games because of all of the eye candy. Let me know who you think is the sexiest competitive swimmer.

Don't forget to add Goldfish by Nat Luurtsema on Goodreads. It's already available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound, Book Depository, and other retailers.

Follow the rest of the blog tour!
6/20 – Book Briefs
6/24 – Fierce Reads

7/1 – Gone Pecan
7/12 – Undeniably {Book} Nerdy << you're here!
7/15 – Xpresso Reads
7/26 – Ex Libris
7/29 – Novel Novice
8/2 – Page Turners
Happy reading,

Monday, July 11, 2016

Hello everyone,
Maybe you've seen the sexy covers above and was curious about them? Well, here's author Christina Saunders to tell you more about her new series about three sexy brothers who are all lawyers, the bad-ass women (also all lawyers) who loves them, and the shenanigans they all get into.
Author Christina Saunders
First, thanks for reading and reviewing! Second, thanks for letting me come ramble for a minute on your blog. The Bad Bitch Series is near and dear to my heart. Though I'm a full time writer now (as Christina Saunders and also under my pen name, Celia Aaron), I was an attorney for several years before following my writing dream. I served as a prosecutor right out of law school, then worked in private practice defending white collar lawsuits. As you may have guessed, my legal pursuits played into the Bad Bitch Series, as each centers around lawyers.

Lawyers are a strange bunch. We love to drink (too much). We love to argue (too much). And a lot of us live for the drama of the courtroom (too much). I pretty much meet all those tests, and I take those traits even further with my characters. Evan, the heroine of Bad Bitch, is the quintessential hot shot attorney who is a force to be reckoned with. She is undeniably alpha--at least until she meets Lincoln, who is undeniably even more alpha. In Hardass, Washington tries to be the stuffy, uptight attorney with his career on the front burner. He does well at it until Caroline shows up and really turns up the heat. And, in Total D*ck, Kennedy is the unrepentant rake who meets his legal and love match, Scarlett.

All of my characters are spirited, intelligent, and fire in the sack. They spring from my experience and also my imagination (side note: I've never seen an episode of Law & Order in my life). These books aren't ripped from the headlines, but they are sure to take you on a trip and leave you wanting more. I hope you enjoy reading about my three brothers and their sassy women as much as I enjoyed writing about them.

PS Give Evan a chance. Yeah, she's a Bad Bitch, but she has a lot of heart once you get to know her.
PPS The sex scenes are SMOKIN'. Believe it.

Thanks for reading and for having me on the blog! xx

Here are my thoughts about each of the books in the series.

Publisher: Swerve/St. Martin's Press Romance
Release Date: July 5, 2016
Source of my copy: eARC via publisher
They call me the Bad Bitch. A lesser woman might get her panties in a twist over it, but me? I'm the one who does the twisting. Whether it's in the courtroom or in the bedroom, I've never let anyone - much less a man - get the upper hand.

Except for that jerk attorney Lincoln Granade. He's dark, mysterious, smoking hot and sexy as hell. He's nothing but a bad, bad boy playing the part of an up and coming premiere attorney. I'm not worried about losing in a head to head battle with this guy. But he gets me all hot and bothered in a way no man has ever done before. I don't like a person being under my skin this much. It makes me want to let go of all control, makes me want to give in. This dangerous man makes me want to submit to him completely, again, and again, and again...

Michelle's Thoughts:
The Bad Bitch series revolves around the Granade brothers: Lincoln, Washington ("Wash"), and Kennedy. They are all lawyers based in New Orleans. Bad Bitch is the first book in the series and it focuses on Lincoln, the oldest of the brothers and an Assistant United States Attorney, and Evangeline "Evan" Pallida, an attorney from New York and the "bad bitch" of the title.

Evan is the head of her New York law firm, Pallida & Associates, and everyone else serves her and cowers in her wake. She dominates in the courtroom--she's very intelligent and she uses her intellect to turn the law in favor of her clients who are usually white-collar criminals. Most men fear her and are intimidated by her in and out of the bedroom--she's a man-eater and a bitch in every sense of the word.

Enter Lincoln Granade, who is assigned to the same big case as Evan and is opposing counsel. Evan realized she has found her match in Lincoln--both in the courtroom and in the bedroom. Sparks, no, fireworks flew between these two and it was really fun to watch two alphas butting heads.

It did take me a while to get into the story though because I wasn't a huge fan of Evan at first. I'm all for reading about bad-ass women dominating in their field, which Evan definitely was, but she came across as bitchy mean, which I didn't like. Like, how she treated her secretary--Evan was purposely bitchy to her to supposedly help her build some backbone, but I couldn't help putting myself in that secretary's shoes. I also didn't like how she purposely seek white collar criminals as her clients. Once she started showing some vulnerabilities and we learn about her past and why she became the way she was, I started warming up to her.

As for Lincoln's character, he didn't really make that big an impression on me and I neither liked or disliked him. I feel like Evan dominated the novel so much that Lincoln kind of got lost. I read Bad Bitch a couple of weeks ago and all I remember was Evan.

Overall, Bad Bitch was a quick, entertaining read. I basically read it in two sittings, because I did get sucked in the legal drama, and the hot, sexy romance (like, turn-up-the-AC hot).

Publisher: Swerve/St. Martin's Press Romance
Release Date: July 5, 2016
Source of my copy: eARC via publisher
I cave in to no one. My hardass exterior is what makes me one of the hottest defense lawyers around. It's why I'm the perfect guy to defend the notorious Bayou Butcher serial killer - and why I'll come out on top.

Except this new associate I've hired is unnaturally skilled at putting chinks in my well-constructed armor. Her brazen talk and fiery attitude make me want to take control of her and silence her - in ways that will keep both of us busy till dawn. She drives me absolutely 100% crazy, but I need her for this case. I need her in my bed. I need her to let loose the man within me who fights with rage and loves with scorching desire...

Michelle's Thoughts:
Hardass is my favorite out of the three books in the series. It brought to mind this southern legal drama TV show called Reckless that was on CBS back in 2014 (unfortunately, it only lasted for one season but it's available on Netflix), but Hardass is better because we actually get to see our main leads get together and have a happily ever after. Okay, basically Hardass a much, much sexier and steamier version of Law & Order.

Hardass is Washington "Wash" Granade's story. He's a partner in a top law firm in New Orleans and he has to defend the man suspected to be the Bayou Butcher serial killer. The associate assisting him is cheeky and sassy Caroline Montreat, who I loved right away. Caroline isn't from a rich family and she didn't graduate from a top tier law school, but she's very smart and very quick. She's had a crush on Wash, and Wash was attracted to her, but their firm has a strict non-fraternization policy. Since Wash is one of the partners and Caroline is an associate fresh out of law school, there's that forbidden element between them, which complicates their relationship but also makes smexing extra HOT.

I also really enjoyed the mystery in Hardass. Wash and Caroline were trying to prove that their client is not the serial killer, so they had to go out and investigate and talk to some really colorful characters Law & Order style. I did figure out who the killer was before Wash and Caroline, but not that much before which was fun for me because I love a good mystery.

My issue with Hardass was some of Caroline's choices and decisions that could've and did put her in danger. It kind of crossed the TSTL (too stupid to live) line. Also, the confrontation and fight between Wash and the killer in the end ended too quickly and lacked the impact I'm used to from previous reads of the same vein.

Overall, Hardass was an awesome, entertaining read. It has pretty much everything I wanted in my romances: likable characters, super HOT smexy scenes, an interesting mystery, and a plot that moved very quickly and kept me glued to my Kindle.

Publisher: Swerve/St. Martin's Press Romance
Release Date: July 5, 2016
Source of my copy: eARC via publisher
I’m your classic skirt chaser. A womanizer. A total d*ck. My reputation is dirtier than a New Orleans street after a Mardi Gras parade. I take unwinnable cases and win them. Where people see defeat, I see a big fat paycheck. And when most men see rejection, it’s because the sexiest woman at the bar has already promised to go home with me.

But Scarlett Carmichael is the one person I can’t seem to conquer. This too-cool former debutante has it all—class, attitude, and a body that begs to be worshipped. I’ve never worked with a person like her before—hell, I’ve never played nice with anyone before in my life, and I’m not about to start with her. This woman wasn’t meant to be played nicely with. It’s going to be dirty. It’s going to be hot. She’s about to spend a lot of time with the biggest d*ck in town. And she’s going to love every minute of it…

Michelle's Thoughts:
I liked Total D*ck more than Bad Bitch but not as much as I enjoyed Hardass. However, Kennedy is my favorite of the Granade brothers and the mystery is still engrossing.

Scarlett Carmichael's new case involves some high level cyber hacking between two rival tech companies, but before she can bring it to court she first needs to find hard evidence that her client's rival actually did the hacking. She hired Carey, a former hacker to do the tech-y side of things, and Kennedy Granade to act as second chair to Scarlett. When Scarlett first approached Kennedy, he was very dismissive and a total dick to Scarlett, who he assumed was a secretary rather than the intelligent, only female lawyer in her firm. But the case promised a big payout and Kennedy was all about that and then he was all about Scarlett, who, he realized, was more than the buttoned-up, prim and proper lawyer facade she shows the world.

Both Kennedy and Scarlett were both likable and I enjoyed the banter between them. I loved how motivated and tenacious Scarlett was--she didn't let anyone stand on her way, including Kennedy. Kennedy is my favorite of the Granade brothers because he's the most laid-back and easy-going of the three. He's the lovable manwhore, and Scarlett knew she had to stay away from him. She doesn't want to be just another notch in his bedpost and he's the complete opposite of her. But, of course, the attraction between them is undeniable. Scarlett found herself unable to resist Kennedy's charms, while she brings out Kennedy's unexpected protective side.

I found myself laughing more in this book than in the previous two--there was more humor here mostly because of Kennedy. As with the other two books, Total D*ck does not disappoint in the steam factor--Scarlett and Kennedy were hot together. I also like the mystery--not as much as I did the mystery in Hardass because serial killers over cyber hacking any day, but it was still interesting and the final confrontation was much more exciting and not as rushed as in Hardass.

Overall, Total D*ck was an entertaining, satisfying, and sexy read with two likable characters in Scarlett and Kennedy with an interesting mystery. Also, you get an epilogue in which Lincoln and Evan ties the knot and features all three couples.

Final Thoughts About the Bad Bitch Series:
Who can resist those cover, am I right? I'm giving the entire series a 3.5 out 5 stars overall. While the plot in each book isn't anything new, I was highly entertained by all of them anyway. They're fun and steamy, and the mysteries (especially in Hardass and Total D*ck) were interesting. Each book was fast-paced and the writing is excellent and readable. It was great having three intelligent, bad-ass female characters in all three books and the Granade brothers were all very sexy. In her guest post above, author Christina Saunders promises some smokin' hot sex scenes and she does not disappoint. If you enjoy steamy legal romances, definitely look into this series. Each book can be read as a standalone.

Happy reading,

Friday, July 8, 2016

E-book: 160 pages
Publisher: Pocket Star
Release Date: July 11, 2016 (reissued)
Source of my copy: publisher
Series: Rose Hill #4
First introduced in Julie Garwood's magnificent New York Times bestseller For the Roses, the Clayborne brothers of Blue Belle, Montana, have been embraced by millions more through this trio of #1 bestselling novels. Now collected in one volume for the first time, these stories tell of three spirited brothers -- once a mismatched gang of street urchins -- who learn that love flourishes in the most unexpected places.... 

One Red Rose
Thoughtful Adam learns a powerful secret from the irrepressible Genevieve Delacroix -- that true freedom only comes when you trust your heart.

One Red Rose is my second favorite after One White Rose. This is Adam Clayborne's story. He came home to Rosehill on the night before Mama Rose's birthday party to a woman sleeping in his bed. It's Genevieve Delacroix and she said introduced herself as his bride, but later took it back because a man was actually after her and she didn't want to bring trouble to the Claybornes. She left during the middle of the party, but Adam went after her to help her. She's heading to Salt Lake because she didn't think the man after her would travel that far into the West to chase after her, and Adam decided to travel with her to keep her safe.

This was an entertaining read! I really enjoyed Adam's character and Genevieve was sweet and very trusting--at times too trusting. The girl had a bad man after her, and she wanted to stop and talk to every single person they meet on the road. Like Emily in One Pink Rose, Genevieve had a good heart and I get that she's a sweet girl with all the good intentions, but she just acted too young and naive that she sometimes comes off ditzy in a not so attractive way. I still liked her, but at times I wanted to reach in and shake some sense into her because no, Ezekiel Jones wouldn't give up that easily. She also pulled a TSTL move in the end--um, hello, if you hear guns going off you run the opposite way! Let Adam and the marshals do their job because they can take care of themselves and you're just going to add to the problem (which she did) or get yourself killed. I had no issue with Adam though--he's the best.

Adam and Genevieve were both African-Americans, so it was nice having that diversity in my romance read. I do wish the author made that fact more significant to the story, because without the author mentioning the fact that Adam was a runaway slave and Genevieve's ancestors were from Africa, they could have easily been white characters. But, I do appreciate the author having a non-white hero and heroine--how often does that happen in 90s romance?

Overall Thoughts
Each novella was about 150 pages long and were really fun and I enjoyed all three of them very much on their own. I'm reminded again why I couldn't get enough of Julie Garwood when I was in my historical romance phase. I love her style of writing--the mix of humor and heartfelt moments. I love that they have this overarching story arc of the mysterious US marshall Daniel Ryan, who does have his own book in the series (well, he shares it with Cole Clayborne) called Come the Spring and I might check it out because I already miss the brothers. If you miss these novellas the first time around like I did, now is the perfect time to pick them up in e-book form. The Clayborne Brides novellas are definitely a must-read for all Julie Garwood fans.

Get ready for wedding season Clayborne style!

Pocket Star E-books will be releasing Julie Garwood's three stories of the Clayborne brothers a la carte as separate e-books. One Pink Rose will be out on May 9th and will cost $1.99. It will be followed by One White Rose on June 13th ($2.99) and One Red Rose on July 11th ($2.99).

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Release Date: July 5, 2016 << TODAY!!
Source of my copy: publisher
Series: Hundred Oaks
There are no mistakes in love.

Captain of the soccer team, president of the Debate Club, contender for valedictorian: Taylor's always pushed herself to be perfect. After all, that's what is expected of a senator's daughter. But one impulsive decision-one lie to cover for her boyfriend-and Taylor's kicked out of private school. Everything she's worked so hard for is gone, and now she's starting over at Hundred Oaks High.

Soccer has always been Taylor's escape from the pressures of school and family, but it's hard to fit in and play on a team that used to be her rival. The only person who seems to understand all that she's going through is her older brother's best friend, Ezra. Taylor's had a crush on him for as long as she can remember. But it's hard to trust after having been betrayed. Will Taylor repeat her past mistakes or can she score a fresh start?

On a purely enjoyment level I'm giving Defending Taylor
I loved it--it has EVERYTHING I love in a YA contemporary! Defending Taylor is my new favorite novel by Miranda Kenneally. I basically devoured this entire book in a day.

Taylor was under a lot of pressure and works herself to the bone to achieve her goals and her parents' expectations, but she had a pretty great life. She attends a prestigious private school, she's the captain of the soccer team, and she grew up in wealth and privilege as a senator's daughter. Then, everything came crashing down for Taylor after one wrong decision. She was found with numerous Adderall pills that actually belonged to her then-boyfriend Ben. There was also Adderall in her system because she took a couple previously to help her stay up to do her homework. She covered for Ben, saying that the pills were hers because she (being a senator's daughter) thought she'd get a slap on the wrist while Ben, being a scholarship student, would get kicked out. Instead, her father refused to help bail her out of the mess and she got expelled. As she continues to hide the truth about the pills, she realized that her choices had bigger repercussions, especially with her father's chances for re-election.

I really enjoyed Taylor's character. I found her easy to like, and I related to her because my parents had certain expectations and put a lot of pressure on me during high school and college. It was wonderful seeing her grow throughout the novel, seeing her navigate through her new school, meeting new friends, and figure things out and come to important realizations about working hard but also living her life. I was with her the whole way and rooted for her.

My other favorite thing was Taylor's family--I'm adding the Lukens on my short list of favorite families in YA. I love how they're a pretty close-knit family even though her parents are very busy being in politics and her older siblings (twins Jenna and Oliver) are away in college. Her rapport with Jenna and Oliver was fun, but I especially love how Taylor and her dad worked on their relationship.

As with other Miranda Kenneally books, romance plays a big part in the novel and she doesn't disappoint here. The romance was everything I wanted in my YA contemporary. Taylor and Ezra are definitely my new favorite Hundred Oaks couple. Ezra was the sweetest and definitely swoon-worthy. He is Taylor's brother Oliver's best friend and Taylor has had a crush on him forever but miscommunication kept them apart. Taylor was still reeling over what happened with her ex-boyfriend Ben, so it took a little bit for them to get together but once they did they couldn't keep their hands off each other. While this book isn't as explicit as Stealing Parker I still say the romance is more appropriate for older YA readers because things did get pretty hot and heavy. I did love the romance though, and it's great that while it's a big part of the novel it didn't overtake everything. The main story is still about Taylor working through her problems and growing up.

And, if you're like me, and you've read the other Hundred Oaks books then you'll appreciate cameo appearances of characters in previous books, like Jack Goodwin (love interested in Racing Savannah) who was in a few scenes and was mentioned quite a bit (since he used to date Taylor's sister Jenna).

Overall, Defending Taylor was an entertaining, compulsively readable YA contemporary. I absolutely LOVED it! It's also a really good book to read when you're in a reading slump--it's a quick, light read but it has substance that it's not all fluff, great characters, and it has a swoony/steamy romance. If you're a fan of contemporary YAs with a strong romance and/or a fan of the Hundred Oaks series, it's a must-read and you'll devour Defending Taylor like I did.

About the Author
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

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