Month: June 2014

Las Vegas Bound!

Posted June 27, 2014 by Jana in About Me / 1 Comment

And so I’m off this morning with my mom and my little sister for a girls road trip to Las Vegas! I’m going to be at ALA Friday evening (tonight), Saturday, Sunday, and Monday and would LOVE to see you! Tweet me @SweetestJana, and we will figure out where to meet/see each other. I’ll be tweeting about the conference, plus I’ll be updating via Instagram so follow along and see what I’m up to if you won’t be there (seriously, I want you there, though). Be sure to say hi if you see me first!

Things on the blog will be quiet. This summer has not been what I was hoping for… I got extremely sick, and the blog has been SOO quiet! Hope that changes soon. :) At least I’m finally well enough to think I will survive ALA. :) I’m super excited!


Suddenly Last Summer by Sarah Morgan | Book Review + Giveaway

Posted June 23, 2014 by Jana in Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Book Review, Giveaway / 3 Comments

Suddenly Last Summer by Sarah Morgan | Book Review + Giveaway

Suddenly Last Summer by Sarah Morgan | Book Review + GiveawaySuddenly Last Summer by Sarah Morgan
Series: O'Neil Brothers #2
Also in this series: Maybe This Christmas, Sleigh Bells in the Snow
Published by Harlequin on June 24, 2014
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Romance
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher (Netgalley)
Amazon Add to Goodreads
3 Stars
Fiery French chef Élise Philippe is having a seriously bad day. Not only have the opening day plans for her beloved café fallen apart, but Sean O'Neil is back in town, and looking more delectable than ever. Last summer, they shared an electrifying night together…and the memories have Élise really struggling to stick to her one-night-only rule! Her head knows that eventually Sean will be leaving, so all she can do is try to ignore her heart before she spontaneously combusts with lust.

Being back in Vermont—even temporarily—is surgeon Sean O'Neil's worst nightmare. For Sean, returning home to the Snow Crystal Resort means being forced to confront the reasons and the guilt he feels about rejecting his family's rural lifestyle years ago. But discovering that Élise has settled in Vermont and still sets his blood racing is a very welcome distraction! Thinking he can persuade her into a replay of last summer is tempting, but remembering how good they are together is going to make walking away more difficult than he could imagine…

Words can not begin to express how excited I was when I finished book #1 in this series, Sleigh Bells in the Snow (see my review), last Christmas and found out that each of the fine O’Neil brothers was going to to get their own book and their own love story! Just so you know, this book can totally stand on its own. But why would you want it to? You’ll be sad you missed Jackson and Kayla’s love story. Anywho, I loved reading about Sean (the sexy surgeon) and his relationship with his brothers in this first book, and I was very eager to get my hands on his story! While I did not love it as much as I loved Sleigh Bells in the Snow (because this book had no Christmas in it, and I’m kind of a crazy Christmas person), I did enjoy this sweet romance. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. As was with the first book, I LOVE the setting of this series! The Snow Crystal, a quaint ski resort in Vermont, is just as charming in the middle of summer as it is the week before Christmas. And since the weather is warmer now, our beloved characters spend more time outside doing things like kayaking, hiking, camping, and repairing the lodge. I think the best thing about summer here, though, is watching a shirtless, glistening Sean build a deck in the sun. Oh, and kissing in the rain happens. Up against trees. Summer is good in Vermont.

2. Yay for familiar faces! I loved seeing Kayla and Jackson (cute couple from Sleigh Bells in the Snow) again. It was fun to see how their relationship has developed, and listen in on some of their future plans. The entire family at the resort is back, and they are just as sweet and welcoming as ever. I said this book can stand alone, but readers who already know these characters will be delighted to catch up with them.

3. Élise was not really my kind of girl, which was disappointing. She’s a French chef, and is very fiery and dramatic. She jumps to a lot of conclusions, forms opinions without having all the facts, talks before she thinks, and uses her painful past as a crutch way too often. This girl is high maintenance to say the least. But that’s ok! She was definitely a unique character to read about, and did not fit the usual mold. I did wish she would loosen up a little, though. As readers learn more about her, though, and discover her story, they will understand why she is the way she is. I did end up liking her more at the end of the book than I did at the beginning.

4. I really, really liked Sean. He’s devoted to his work, yet he’s got a pretty big soft spot for his family. He is constantly thinking about the people he has the opportunity to save through his talents as a surgeon. He has a pretty heroic moment in this book, and I just love how he is so passionate about helping people. If only everyone felt about their jobs the way Sean feels about his. This characteristic makes him extremely likeable, and that passion makes him, well, passionate.

5. I felt like a lot of the same conversations kept happening. Élise thinks about her past, and how Jackson (Sean’s brother) basically saved her from a pretty sucky life. Then Jackson thinks about this same thing. Then Élise talks to Jackson about it. Then Jackson talks to Sean about it a little. Then Élise tells Sean about it. And all the while, grandpa has known about Élise‘s past, and hopes someone will be able to help her. There’s just a lot of repetition in conversation topics, and I got a bit bored with the hashing and rehashing.

6. The romance in this story is more lust-based and passion-driven than I felt Kayla and Jackson’s was, which was an interesting change of pace. Élise and Sean have this boiling chemistry that is very hard for them to put a lid on, much as they would like. I’ve always been a fan of the more traditional love stories filled with stolen glances and a slow burn. There was no slow burn here at all. While it’s not my favorite kind of romance, some of the kissing scenes… holy moly. Phew! Swoony. And, don’t get me wrong… sweet moments happen too. We’ve just got two very passionate people here.

7. Probably my favorite thing about these books is the family dynamic. I love this family so much, and I love how they stick together and protect one another.

8. LOVE Sarah Morgan’s writing style. I still adore her descriptions of the scenery, and she sure knows how to write scenes that leave you weak in the knees!

All in all, Suddenly Last Summer is a fun read that I would definitely recommend to lovers of Sleigh Bells in the Snow, as well as lovers of summer romances. The O’Neil family is too wonderful for words, and I think everyone should take a trip to the Snow Crystal. Even though I did not love this book as much as the first, I can’t WAIT to get my hands on Maybe This Christmas (CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!) so that I can finally see Tyler O’Neil (sweet single dad of a teenage girl) fall in love.


About Sarah Morgan

USA TODAY bestselling author Sarah Morgan writes hot, happy contemporary romance and her trademark humour and sensuality have gained her fans across the globe. She has been nominated three years in succession for the prestigious RITA© Award from the Romance Writers of America and has won the award twice, in 2012 and 2013. RT Book Reviews has called her ‘a magician with words’ and she has made numerous appearances in their ‘Top Pick’ slot. Sarah lives near London, and when she isn’t reading or writing she loves being outdoors, preferably on vacation so she can forget the house needs tidying. She loves chatting with readers by email and on Facebook and Twitter. More information can be found on her website.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads


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Boomerang by Noelle August | Book Review

Posted June 17, 2014 by Jana in Book Review, New Adult / 2 Comments

Boomerang by Noelle August | Book ReviewBoomerang by Noelle August
Series: Boomerang #1
Also in this series: Rebound
Published by William Morrow on June 10, 2014
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Romance
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher (Edelweiss)
Amazon Add to Goodreads
5 Stars
Welcome to Boomerang.com, the dating site for the millennial gen, with no-fuss, no-commitment matchups and where the action on the job is steamier than any random hookup

Mia Galliano is an aspiring filmmaker. Ethan Vance has just played his last game as a collegiate soccer star. They're sharp, hungry for success, and they share a secret.

Last night, Ethan and Mia met at a bar, and, well . . . one thing led to another, which led to them waking up the next morning—together. Things turned awkward in a hurry when they found themselves sharing a post-hookup taxi . . . to the same place: Boomerang headquarters.

What began as a powerful connection between them is treated to a cold shower, courtesy of two major complications. First, Boomerang has a strict policy against coworkers dating. And second, they're now competing for the same job opening in the fall.

As their internships come to an end, will they manage to keep their eyes on the future and their hands off each other, or will the pull of attraction put them right back where they started?

I think Boomerang might just be the first new adult novel that I LOVED. Those of you who read my post on how book blogging is a lot like online dating know and understand my plight in the dating world these days. Naturally, I was drawn to a book that tackled an unconventional method of dating. And I adored every last bit of it! As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. We all know that Noelle August is a pen name for Veronica Rossi (Under the Never Sky series) and Lorin Oberweger, right? I LOVE VERONICA ROSSI, so as soon as I found out she was teaming up to write such a unique NA novel… I had a feeling I’d love it even though I’m not completely on board with NA. *dodges tomatoes* I have a whole new view on NA now. And you totally can’t tell there were two authors at work here. The voice is seamless.

2. Ok, so I guess I should explain my problem with NA. So many of the back cover summaries I read for NA books make the stories sound SO emotional and heavy and angsty. Someone is suffering a huge loss or a huge physical/mental condition or have dealt with abuse or any other form of sadness. And/or there’s SO much drama. I’m sorry, but I’m just not a fan of books like that. Boomerang is fun! It’s about two normal people in a fun situation. I laughed. Yes, a couple heavier issues pop up, but not so much that heaviness becomes the major plot line. I did not know NA could be this way. It’s nice to see an author view my age group as being about more than drama and poor life decisions.

3. The story is just so sweet! I could totally see Boomerang as a movie starring Amy Adams or Kristen Bell. The characters are so loveable, and I really can’t say enough about them. Mia and Ethan “meet” in the most hilarious way, and the first couple chapters had me giggling a lot. From then on, it’s a sexy, flirty, funny, emotional, and fun ride to the end.

4. I particularly love Ethan, who is just a normal, good guy. Totally swoony.

5. The chemistry between Ethan and Mia is so perfectly complimented by this burning chemistry. And they know it, yet they really don’t want this to be the case. So they try to be friends, which does not work extremely well. It’s adorable to watch, though! Jealousy and competition and frustration ensues. It’s perfection.

6. The story was about so much more than an accidental one night stand turned co-worker/competitor situation. One would think that a story centered around a dating service specifically for clients interested in no-strings-attached hook-ups would be shallow and full of lust. This book has feelings and friendships and relationships. The characters care about one another. I just loved that the plot was so much deeper than I was expecting.

Basically this review is about to get redundant because I want to keep typing, yet I don’t want to tell you anything! I’m scared I’ll spoil the fun for you! So I’m going to quit here and say that this book is one of my absolute favorites of the year so far, and I cannot wait to read the second book! My mind has been changed on NA books, and I have a feeling I will be giving more of them a chance in the future!


Take Back the Skies Author Lucy Saxon on Cosplaying | Guest Post

Posted June 12, 2014 by Jana in Blog Tour, Guest Post / 2 Comments

Take Back the Skies Author Lucy Saxon on Cosplaying | Guest Post

It’s my pleasure to welcome Lucy Saxon to That Artsy Reader Girl as part of her Take Back the Skies promotional blog tour, hosted by Bloomsbury Children’s. Instead of talking about her book, it’s time to get to know Lucy a little better! Don’t fret, though, I’ve included all the vital information on the book anyway. Today Lucy is going to talk about one of her strong loves: cosplaying. This is something I have never participated in, nor am I incredibly familiar with it, so I found her post to be a very interesting read. I hope you do too!


lucy saxonThere are two questions I get asked regularly that will, without fail, make my brain go completely blank; ‘which characters do you cosplay?’ and ‘what’s your favourite cosplay?’. When faced with those questions, I tend to forget every cosplay I’ve ever worn except the one I am wearing at the time.

Asking a cosplayer which cosplay is their favourite is a little like asking a parent which child is their favourite; I love them all for different reasons, and it’s hard to say which I love most! But if I had to choose one, it would be my Captain America cosplay; while I’m actually remaking it at the moment as it had some issues, it was the first cosplay I’d drafted the pattern for myself, and I absolutely love the character of Captain America.

As for my clothing inspirations for Cat and the other characters in the Tellus’verse, I’m very much going towards Victorian-inspired looks and steampunk style clothing. I really like that sort of look – people don’t appreciate formal clothing as casual wear as much as they should! – and I think it suits the world of Tellus really well.

I don’t have any photo references of particular outfits, but my very talented friend Jerri (known online as Choupett Cosplay) is currently working on the costume design for some of the main characters in Take Back the Skies, so a group of my friends and I can cosplay them. The cosplay group is currently planned for the Sunday of London Film and Comic Con; which is a bit of a shame, as all my book-related things are on the Saturday, but I’ve already dedicated that day’s cosplay to Captain America in order to meet the god that is Stan Lee himself. I’m really excited for Jerri’s designs, and when they’re finished I’ll probably post photos online somewhere.

It’s pretty easy to get inspired by random things when you spend as much time on the internet as I do. Mostly Tumblr is to blame – if you want to keep track of things that inspire me to write, everything is under my ‘book ref’ tag on my Tumblr (Lucysaxonbooks.tumblr.com). It’s fairly eclectic, as I use the tag both for Tellus and for other writing ideas I’ve got bouncing about. So if you want to look for hints about future books, that’s the place to go!


About the Book

18594501Take Back the Skies (Take Back the Skies #1) by Lucy Saxon
June 3, 2014 by Bloomsbury Children’s
Add to Goodreads | Buy from Amazon

Desperate to escape an arranged marriage and the life her high-ranking government official father planned for her, Cat Hunter does the unthinkable. She runs away from her homeland Tellus, disguises herself as a boy, and stows away on an air ship. She’s ready for life in a new land where the general population isn’t poverty stricken and at the mercy of the cruel officials. What she isn’t quite ready for is meeting Fox, a crew member aboard the Stormdancer—which turns out to be a smugglers’ ship. So begins an epic adventure that spans both land and sea.

This explosive debut starts a unique six-book series. Each novel will be set in a different land within the Tellus world, with repeating characters and related, nonlinear storylines that combine to create a one-of-a-kind, addictive reading experience.


About Debut Author Lucy Saxon

 

Lucy Saxon has always loved reading, but her love of writing began at the age of 12 when she first suffered from the neurological disorder ME (chronic fatigue syndrome). She found herself missing lengthy periods of school, giving her the opportunity to indulge in creative writing. TAKE BACK THE SKIES is her debut novel. It was inspired by a dream and Lucy submitted a version of it to the National Novel Writing Month’s online competition. Lucy can often be found attending comic and fantasy conventions and ALWAYS makes her own, very impressive costumes.

Lucy’s Website | Twitter | Cosplay Facebook Page

Check out the rest of the tour!

Monday, June 2: Lili’s Reflections
Tuesday, June 3: Finding Bliss in Books
Wednesday, June 4: Head Stuck in a Book
Thursday, June 5: On Starships and Dragonwings
Friday, June 6: Skye’s Scribblings and Book Briefs Book Blog
Monday, June 9: The Bookish Daydreamer
Tuesday, June 10: Jessabella Reads
Wednesday, June 11: Hello Chelly
Thursday, June 12: That Artsy Reader Girl
Friday, June 13: The Windy Pages


Just One Night by Gayle Forman | Mini Book Review

Posted June 10, 2014 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult / 3 Comments

Just One Night by Gayle Forman | Mini Book ReviewJust One Night by Gayle Forman
Series: Just One Day #2.5
Also in this series: Just One Day, Just One Year
Published by Viking Children's Books on May 29, 2014
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Romance
Pages: 40
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Amazon Add to Goodreads
5 Stars
After spending one life-changing day in Paris with laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter, sheltered American good girl Allyson “Lulu” Healey discovered her new lover had disappeared without a trace. Just One Day followed Allyson’s quest to reunite with Willem; Just One Year chronicled the pair’s year apart from Willem’s perspective. Now, back together at last, this delectable e-novella reveals the couple’s final chapter.

So… I was not going to review this because it’s so tiny, but HELLO. I was so excited when I found out about this novella! We all know that I was not at ALL happy with how Just One Year ended. I felt betrayed and I was probably the most disappointed I’ve ever been regarding bookish things. But Just One Night saved me. A lot. I love Gayle Forman again, and all is right in the world.

THIS is the final chapter we all wanted! And if it had been at the end of Just One Day, I would have been happier than a fat kid on a cruise, partaking in a chocolate buffet (I may or may not have just gotten off a cruise last week that had a chocolate buffet during lunch on the last day…). Really, though, just to have this chapter makes me happy enough. I’m SO GLAD it exists. I’m not going to say much, but let me tell you there are tender moments and steamy moments and answers and everything you could ever hope for. I would have been even happier if this novella were 2-3 times longer, but I know that that’s just not real life. Stories can only be told for so long before the characters need to go and live their own lives off the pages, ya know.

To sum it up, read this novella. If you’re like me and are not a novella fan, make this one allowance. If you’re only going to read one in your whole life, read Just One Night and find out how things really end. Or begin. Because yeah. It’s Allyson and Willem. Thanks, Gayle! My heart is happy now, and I’ve got my closure.