Friday, 28 August 2015

Fantastic Five Friday ~ 5 YA/NA Picks

It's Friday - cue the celebratory music! 

As another week draws to a close, I'm going to take this opportunity to introduce you to - or remind you of - some great reads for the weekend or your TBR list.

But before I begin, I want it to be known that although I was provided with review copies of these books by the author and/or publisher, all opinions expressed in the following reviews are purely my own. To find out more, please visit my disclaimer page.

So, without further ado, let's get started!

#1: Just One Summer: A Romance Novella Collection
By Nicole Deese, Tammy L. Gray, Amy Matayo, & Jenny B. Jones

Rating: 5 out of 5

 Four best friends. Four love stories. All in one sizzling summer. What's not to love?! 

Four talented female authors have come together to bring your four memorable stories that will touch the heart and the funny bone. It would take forever for me to express my love for each of the stories included, so I'm going to have to summarise my feelings on each:

1: A Summer Remade by Nicole Deese  

Sentence summary: All boys next door should be as amazing as Drew.
One of my fave quotes
“We need to make a game plan for the float tomorrow,” he says. 
I pop right back up. “We are not talking about the float right now. We’re talking about your near-death experience from kissing me.” 
I don’t mean to say that last part aloud, but as I blurt the words into the room, Drew throws his head back with a laugh. “That was the most memorable kiss of my life to date!” 
I purse my lips and put my hands on my hips. “Glad this is all so amusing."

2: Waves of Summer by Tammy L. Gray  

Sentence summary: All bartenders should be as sexy as Jacob.
One of my fave quotes: 
'Sexy bartender turns his gaze to me, focused and intense. His eyes are brighter than I remember. A sapphire blue that contradicts his dark hair and summer tan. They’re eyes that should be alive with humor and fun, not dimmed by sadness.
“You said I stopped seeing him. What did you mean by that?” He pulls up his knees and wraps his arms around them. Arms that say sexy bartender must have a gym membership. 
I follow the line of muscle. No Sydney. Your sick attraction to type A, controlling men must stop!'

3: A Painted Summer by Amy Matayo  

Sentence summary: If all tattoo parlours employed men like Lennon, they'd never be out of business. 
One of my fave quotes:
'Lennon stands in front of me, his arms propped against the doorway with muscles in full view. Guys know better than to do this. It puts girls like me at a definite disadvantage—the kind of disadvantage that turns a fully-functioning female mind into nothing more than a pitiful state of wishful thinking. The sight alone makes my heart pound and my insides ache. He’s the oddest combination of intimidation, grace, chin-length brown hair, and black ink that defines both biceps. And it’s the ink that leaves me transfixed, every single time. 
He leans a little closer. Too close, if you ask me. “What were you doing in there so long?” His words slide over me like soft butter. 
Slowly my eyes travel from his arms—those tattoos…they’re just so pretty—to his face. The fog lifts, and I clear my throat. “Um…that’s a little personal, don’t you think?” 
When he looks at me and winks, I suck in a breath.'

4: Wild Heart Summer by Jenny B. Jones

Sentence summary: I seriously need to visit a dude ranch if they all have managers that are as amazing as Owen!
One of my fave quotes:
“It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” Owen slowly brings us to a stop, slips off his sunglasses, and looks out over the land. 
As I watch man survey creation, I study the profile of Owen’s face. His nose that has a slight bump as if once broken. The strong jaw that dares girls to trace it with their hands. The work-earned tan that covers every bit of visible skin. The sense of satisfaction and contentment lighting those eyes. 
“You love this place, don’t you?” I ask, almost afraid to interrupt his holy reflection. 
“I do.” He drawls the words and turns to me. “I hope you grow to love it too.”

#2: Damaged (Broken #3)
By Skyla Madi

: 4.5 out of 5
Notes: Contains mature themes

 On the run...but from danger or love?

Skyla Madi's book are always a treat. And Damaged is no exception. Although Skyla has always captured the rough edges of her sinfully handsome Jai perfectly in previous books, Damaged allows readers to see a different side of Jai. A Jai with the capacity to love and be loved.

Now that the days of fighting for their lives are (we hope!) over, it's time for both Jai and Emily to decide what they want with their lives, and whether they're ready to sacrifice everything to be together. It's also a chance for us as readers to experience adorable discussions like this one:
"What flavor ice cream do you like?” 
Just like that, her defensive exterior melts away and a smile curves her pretty lips. “Vanilla — no chocolate — wait. Maybe Strawberry. Oh, but I do love chocolate.” 
I blink. Well that has to be the most confusing thing I’ve ever heard. I frown. “ chocolate?” 
Emily tightly folds her arms over her chest and rakes her teeth across her bottom lip. “Sure, chocolate is good.” 
“Are you sure? ‘Cause I kind of get the feeling it’ll be the end of the world if I get the wrong flavor.”

Also, the ending to this book was insane. I am now dying for the next one, where - hopefully - the dynamic duo that is Jai and Emily will finally get their happy ending!

#3: Losing the Ice (Ice #2)
By Jennifer Comeaux

: 4.8 out of 5
Notes: This is a review of the audiobook version

In the rink of love one misstep can cost you everything...

Courtney and Josh are by far one of NA's most adorable couples. I fell in love with them immediately in Crossing The Ice (Book 1) and with the amazing Emily Stokes. 

I cannot describe how thrilled I was when I discovered Emily would be narrating Losing the Ice! She has such a gift for taking on the characters and their different voices, whether male or female. I've never enjoyed an audiobook more than when Emily has narrated it - there's something about her voice and the way she reads that makes it such an immersive experience. You feel like you're there, in Jennifer Comeaux's thrilling world of skating, budding romance, and competitive drive.

I can't exactly put up a fave quote - seeing as my review copy was an audiobook! - but if you'd like to hear an audio sample of the book, you can do so over on its Audible page.

The most intriguing part of Losing the Ice, for me, was seeing Courtney and Josh is a whole new way. Whereas Book 1 focused on them as individuals - both in separate teams - and on them finding their way to one another, Book 2 focuses more on them as a team. It gives readers a look into the difficulties of being a team on and off the ice, and how hard it is to balance the need to win with the need to be with the person you love. 

Will Courtney and Josh make it work? Will they be a dream team on and off the ice? Read and/or listen to Losing the Ice to find out! 

#4: What to Do with a Duke (Spinster House #1)
By Sally MacKenzie

: 4 out of 5

Welcome to the charming, fatefully named village of Loves Bridge, where a woman destined for spinsterhood can live a life of her own choosing—or fall unexpectedly, madly in love…

Who doesn't love a good historical fiction novel?! The gowns, the gossip, the rogues, the romance - What to Do with a Duke has it all. Including a feisty female protagonist and a duke who has no idea what he's gotten himself into...

The humour was one of the highlights for me. It was very Oscar Wilde-esque in nature. Here a few of my favourite quotes:
#1: "For God's sake, no one really believe in curses these days. The notion is laughable." He looked at Nate and Marcus and frowned. "Except neither of you is laughing."

#2: "Perhaps the man you'll fall in love with is standing on the vicarage steps right now." 
"I thought you said he was just riding into the village. He must move very quickly. Loves Bridge is small, but it's not that small."

Also, can I just say how gorgeous the book cover is? I'm suffering from a serious case of dress envy!

#5: Under His Skin
By Stacey O'Neale

Rating: 3.9 out of 5
Notes: Contains mature themes and is technically and adult novel not NA...but I was just so tempted to include it in this list!!
TBR: September 21st 2015

Lots of baking and beautiful men...what more could you ask for?!

Under His Skin is a paranormal romance creation that is as just as good as the cupcakes its protagonist Annabelle bakes. Almost like a sexier version of Jennifer L. Armentrout's Lux series, Under His Skin flirts with the idea of extraterrestrial lifeforms living among us and the dangers - and perks - that come with them.

But what's better than aliens who look like humans, you may ask? Aliens that look like sexy humans, is the answer!

Annabelle Sparks was a breath of fresh air in this book. I admired her resolve to stand on her own two feet and her awkward honesty when it came to her interactions with the opposite sex. The fact that she wasn't afraid to distance herself from Kaden (a.k.a kicking him out of her apartment!) when she felt she'd been wronged put her in my good books. We need more female protagonists who aren't afraid to stand up for themselves! 

But my favourite part...was actually Hilary and Cam! I know, I know - they're not the 'focus couple' of the book. And Kaden definitely beats Cam in the looks department. But that scene where Hilary (Annabelle's bff) and Cam (Kaden's brother) meet for the first time made me automatically long for their story. I needed it, like, yesterday! I can already tell that Hilary is going to give Cam a run for his money, being strong-minded and independent. They're perfect for each other and I hope we get to read more about them in the near future!

As for favourite parts...I was going to put the quote here in this review, but I didn't want to spoil it for guys! There's something about reading this scene/chapter for the first time that I think everyone should experience. 

The scene itself is Kaden and Annabelle's first date. Chapter 21. And I loved every single second of it! 

Lesson learned from it: Don't trust everything you read on Google! ;)

Have you read any of the books listed? Which ones will you add to your TBR list? 

Let me know in the comments section below!


  1. Thanks for the great review of UNDER HIS SKIN!!!

  2. I nominate you for Book Fangirling Award! ^_^

    -Ash @ Reviews of a FearStreetZombie


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