Sunday, June 30, 2013

BLOG TOUR: VENGEANCE BY JAMIE CANOSA {EXCERPT + GIVEAWAY}

Things aren’t always as they seem. In fact, in a world of secrets and lies, almost nothing ever is. But, Kaleigh made her choices and now she has to live with the consequences.

Haunted by her guilt, Kaleigh is forced to question everything she thought she knew. From friends and foes, to loyalty and love, she’s quickly losing faith in herself and those around her.

Everyone she cares about has been launched to the front lines, but can Kaleigh find the strength within herself to keep fighting? Or, surrounded by loss, deceit, and betrayal, will her fiery spirit finally be extinguished?


Where to Find Vengeance: 


A Lil' Teaser from Vengeance: 

“Go ahead. Kill me. I’d rather die than see you live another day.”

“Kaleigh . . .” Connor inches closer, but is stopped short by the guards itchy trigger fingers.  A blast rips through the air and the ground explodes between us.

Connor’s eyes meet mine across the two-foot void. He’s trying to tell me something. Problem is, I don’t speak eyes. He glances at my weapon lying on the ground in front of me and I get a sinking feeling so bad it feels like I’m in a submarine. This is it, the only way for it to end.

But first...check this out too! Book 1 in the series: 
Dissidence



About the Author: 

Jamie Canosa is a full time author of YA literature, which she absolutely loves. When she’s not writing or spending time with her family, she can usually be found with her nose in a book. She currently resides in Ravena, NY with her wonderful husband and three crazy kids . . . plus the dog, the bird and the rabbit.

Her debut novel, Dissidence, was published in 2012 along with several novellas, including ‘Temptation’, the first in her Heart and Soul mini-series, and her contemporary NA romance, Fight or Flight. 

She currently has several projects in the works. Another (spin-off) contemporary NA romance, Sink or Swim, coming in July, the fourth and final installment of the Heart and Soul series coming in August, and the sequel to Fight or Flight, entitled Now or Never due out this fall.

Where to Find Jamie Canosa:


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REVIEW: FIRE INSIDE BY KRISTEN ASHLEY

Lanie Heron isn’t looking for love—no surprise, considering her last serious relationship nearly got her killed. So when Lanie propositions Hop Kincaid, all she wants is one wild night with the hot-as-hell biker who patrols with the Chaos Motorcycle Club...

For Hop, Lanie has always been untouchable. She’s too polished and too classy for his tastes. But when she gives Hop the once-over with her bedroom eyes and offers him a night in paradise, he can’t say no. And he doesn’t regret it when he finds that Lanie is the best thing that’s ever happened to him—in or out of bed. Now the trick will be to convince her of that.

Where to Find the Book: 

Where to Find the Author: 


ebook provided by Netgalley for an honest review
Published: June 4th 2013


I was all prepared to dislike Hop, strongly, because of the impression we are given of him in Own the Wind. Well, as with most  all of Kristen Ashley's men, I ended up loving him. Hop is patient, kind, and has an interesting back story with his parents and his ex Mitzi. Once you understand the complicated story of his first marriage, you understand that he is NOT what he appeared to be in the first book of this series. He's actually a great guy, a former rocker, a great dad, and a loyal friend. 

Dude....it's like we have the same brain or something! I had read that this book was going to be about Hop...and all of the stuff that goes down in Motorcycle Man and Own the Wind...to say my feelings were mixed would be the understatement of the century. But...like all of our hot biker boys, I realized that they are more rough around the edges than I have ever experienced...so I decided to withhold judgement until we could really get in his head. And...knowing that all of this is going down alongside all of the events and beyond Own the Wind was very exciting and I of course devoured this quickly! 

So after Lanie propositions him one evening...and they hook up...it is evident that they cannot deny their chemistry. Try as they might, they cannot walk away from each other. Hop quickly discovers that he wants to be there to help Lanie slay the monster of her past, wants help, protect and take care of her. Swoon.

After meeting Lanie in the other books..you'll probably be as shocked as I was with the way that she propositioned Hop. Sure shocked him...and one experience with Hop will tell you that that is not something easily accomplished. While a lot of their scenes together are crazy sexy and intense, there is also a lot of other things going on with Chaos drama that is going to go so bad as the series goes on that I am already having palpitations about it, to them keeping all of this a secret from Tack and Tara....which didn't go well with Shy and Tabby, so you can rest assured that it does NOT go well this time around either! 

It takes a little longer for Lanie to come around to the idea of a 'Lanie and Hop' relationship. Lanie is justifiably scared off of men because 7 years ago her fiance got mixed up in some seriously bad and dangerous stuff and got her shot, Tyra stabbed and himself killed. She bears those scars literally and figuratively--the guilt she feels prohibits her from getting close to Hop (or any man). But Hop is like a drug for her...she fights it and fights it and when they fight and break apart she pines for him. She continues to resist and uses Tyra as an excuse and the legitimate excuse of her dad's cheating ways as reasons that things won't work between them, but Hop keeps wearing her down.


My heart hurt for her because the demons of all of the crap that her ex put her through are still huge things, but her family drama also comes to the forefront and keeps her in a bad place. Just when we think that, like you said, Hop is going to ride in on his bad ass bike and save the day....well shee-it definitely hits the fan. This alpha male is not one to be strung around by his you know what, so I was shocked with a good portion of the story and willing Lanie to take chances with Hop and talking to Tara about the things they had never really talked about for 7 years. My advice...have plenty of time to read once you get past 50% because I don't know how you would be able to stand taking a break. 

This book was another fantastic Kristen Ashley read: the seemingly odd couple of Lanie and Hop, the additional background you get about the Chaos motorcycle club, and the always enjoyable journey into a world that is exciting, tattooed, tough guy/girl awesomeness.  Another must read!

Fire Inside is up there for a favorite KA book on my list...and I definitely love being in the world of Chaos. I cannot wait to see what is to come...and I am crazy anxious to see how things end up with Rush's (Tack's son) story..even though it is probably the last one a lot (hopefully) down the line....he is going to make my heart hurt I can already tell! 

Shelley: 5 Stars
Courtney: 5 Stars

Saturday, June 29, 2013

REVIEW: HIGH RISK LOVE BY SHANNON MAYER

Photographs.

Images. Snapshots in time.

This is how I experience my life. I’ve hidden behind my camera and viewed the world through the lens. I watch other people live their lives. I’ve given up on my dreams, and sheltered my heart from love; because both have given me nothing but pain. Even thinking about opening myself up, sends my fears into overdrive. It’s better to be safe, than to take a risk and have your life shattered into pieces alongside your heart. This is what I believed.

Dangerous.

Risks. Fear Nothing.

I live for the rush of adrenaline I get when I work my stunts. Nothing else matters but the feel of my heart pounding when I challenge the line between life and death. Women are nothing more than a distraction; they use me for my connections, as I use them to escape the pain of my past before moving on to my next adrenaline fix. My life is consumed with excitement, danger and risks—it’s all I needed.

Denials.

Fear. The complete wrong time.

Jasmin and Jet will face off over photos, stunts and the truth hidden in their hearts. The last person Jasmin wants to be with is a man who takes life for granted. Jet wants to give his heart to no one; especially one who might not understand the secrets that haunt him. Despite their protests, Jasmin’s and Jet’s lives tangle; the threads of love and fear bind them. Between their passions and their pasts, they fight to hang onto each other . . . but will the stakes be too high when faced with the ultimate sacrifice?

** 18+ for adult situations, sexual situations and language

Where to Find the Book: 

Where to Find the Author: 

Expected publication: July 1st 2013 by HiJinks Ink LTD
eArc received from Author in exchange for honest review

I knew as soon as I read the prologue for High Risk Love that I would have to put it down immediately or risk doing nothing but reading it for the entire day. So with a deep sigh I put my Kindle down and moved on to the tasks I needed to accomplish. Before I knew it my day got away from me and it was 8 p.m. before I could give this book the attention it deserved.

The prologue completely sucked me in. I had an immediate desire to know all about Jet and how he was going to move past the horror that was his life and then after reading Jasmin's personal tragedy, I knew it was going to be a night of 'just one more chapter' promises to myself that would keep me up well into the night.

Holy hell Batman..Ditto, the prologue was an incredible way to get sucked into this story. I am quite the cryer anyways, but it usually tough to say I cried in a book at 4%. And with this one I did. It was a sad start, but set things up for some crazy angst to come, or so I felt like. 

I wasn't wrong. I stayed up until I couldn't keep my eyes open reading about the story of Jet and Jasmin. Obviously anyone reading the synopsis can see that these two are extremely damaged by the hurts and losses of their pasts...so of course they're going to end up torturing each other (and us!) with how much they wanted each other and yet how they could not possibly be together.

Yeah..*pouts*...their issues definitely were game changers for them...but I would like to point out that this is truly New Adult in every sense of the word! There weren't many sex scenes until the end of the book, so I was enthralled and in love with all of the emotion and relationship building that went on prior to that point. Soo...most of that only occurred because she was afraid of losing her job...for good reason...but Tortured Jet made for a lot of amazing scenes! 

I was most enthralled with Jet's story. I found it interesting that he was a stuntman; it fit his character so well. He had absolutely no fear of the physicality of the job--scarier to him was allowing a woman to get to know him beyond a one night stand. I'm sure this was rooted in his perceived failure to protect his younger brother from a horrific upbringing and the assumption that he'd only continue that failure if he allowed himself to feel anything with a woman.

Whew! Jet's story is definitely a heartbreaking one..but stuntman in a hottie MC is a new one that I thoroughly enjoyed. I thought that the scenes were very realistic and got my heart pumping! But then...his sadness and bitterness and guilt over all of the things that happened to him and Jasper also got my heart pumping. I loved him quick...but was still so sad. ***Ok, Ok, I forgot to add...the descriptions of Jet and just anytime that Jasmin is looking at him from behind her camera...are awesome...for real!!***

Enter Jasmin-- a woman who took none of his crap, could see right through his public persona, and held the same pain in her eyes as he did. Poor Jasmin lost every single immediate family member. Pile on the unpaid medical bills and a job in retail and she is desperate to prove that she can handle the one chance she has to work as a professional photographer. When she discovers that her first photoshoot and interview matter is the exact same person she isn't supposed to be interested in or attracted to, she immediately tries to talk herself down from the ledge. Surely she can be a professional and finish this job as quickly as possible--her livelihood depends on it. 

Jasmin insists that they remain professional and Jet continues to do his flirty cute boy thing but claims that he'll respect her wishes. Behind the scenes what we see is that they both continually try to convince themselves and each other that what they feel is NOT HAPPENING and yet they both seek the other's company. As it usually happens, once they get to know and learn about each other there is a chance to mess things up or push things in the right direction. Guess which one of those things happens? Yep. You probably guessed correctly. But then guess what happens a little while later? Well, let me give you a hint--there is no cliffhanger and the chance that a book in this genre ends anything other than happily is slim.

Jasmin was definitely just as unsure of everything as Jet was. She was up to her eyeballs in debt and needed things to her way for a change. She is smart enough to realize that she can't control anyones action but herself...and definitely not Jet....so she does her best to remove herself from the equation as quickly as possible..over and over again. He doesn't make it easy for her to not be friends with him. I really liked her as a heroine! A couple of times I seriously wanted to slap her friend though....gah...talk about hurtful! 

There are some scenes that strike me as particularly memorable--the surfboard scene (although I did find myself wondering how they didn't fall off), the waterfall scene, the final scene with Elise (it seemed to happen in slow motion), and well...sheesh I just realized I was going to list the entire book so let me just say that the way Shannon Mayer sets some of these scenes up--they way she writes them so that I can visualize them--is, well, memorable.

I was..like I said before...crazy impressed with the emotional scenes even without any smut. That did come later, but since they spent their entire time in Mexico and after fighting the attraction to one another to save each other heartache it was high on tension. The heaviness of the things they entrusted to one another would have probably made that seem redundant. Jet is passionate in every sense of the word and so he doesn't read some situations correctly when it comes to Jasmin and made her and my heart hurt! 

Here's what would be on my wish list, if I were asked: more story of how Jet and Jap get from their childhood home into their business. HUGH--I'm am soooo curious. Same goes with Lily--what's her story? Oh and then there's the ending. What happens next? I feel like I need about 100 more pages of this story and then some companion novels for Hugh and Lily. I wonder if there is any chance of my wishes coming true?

We are truly greedy when it comes to reading! I know I want to understand everything and there is definitely a lot of room for more here...and we would definitely read it..hint*hint Shannon! No..in all seriousness I thought this was a spectacular debut into the New Adult genre and can't wait to see what she comes out with next. 

Shelley: 3 1/2 Stars
Courtney: 4 Stars

SUMMER READING SATURDAY: KICK ASS CHICKS

This week we're paying tribute to some of our favorite Kick Ass Heroines. Whether they actually kick butt or figuratively kick butt, we respect our girls! We could've easily just shoved our Kindles and i-Pads in your face and said 'here--all of these books have amazing women in them' but that would be cheating. So here are just some of our favorites...

1. Jules from Rock Chick Renegade--she's the ultimate kick ass chick--she actually kicks ass. She's so good at it that the Nightingale security guys actually take her on ride alongs when they are looking for bad guys. I believe, correct me if I'm wrong here Court, that her book is where we first come to one of my favorite Rock Chick descriptions: "Bad Ass Mama Jama" and if that doesn't fit her, I don't know what will. (And there you have it guys...my token Kristen Ashley mention of the week!)

2. Evie from Give Me Love-- this bad ass Australian can handle all of the guys in her band and her brother and the security guys that are protecting her from a crazy man. My favorite part of her bad-assery? The hilarious things that come out of her mouth. Every single person I have recommended this book to has said it is one of their favorites and I know that our kick ass Evie has everything to do with that!

3. Fable in the Drew + Fable series--she kicks Drew's ass, the stepmom's ass, her mom's ass and her brother's ass...and then some. I kid. Haha. Not really. While she may not lay a hand on each of these people, she has no problem with a verbal gut punch here and there. I appreciate her tough exterior and the softness she has underneath it all. She does what she does out of need and love for Drew and Owen and I think that makes her totally kick ass.

4. DeAnna in The Girl in 6E--if I didn't respect what she does to protect an innocent little girl I might be scared of DeAnna and her murderous tendencies. This girl is seriously tough--she lives a life of complete isolation, she takes no crap from her clients, and is fearless on her mission to save Annie. This novel is so unusual and different than some that I've read and I cannot wait to read what Alessandra Torre publishes next. 

1. Brooke from REAL by Katy Evans. -- She has her own insecurities, but when it comes to Remy...she holds her effing own. She doesn't let him walk all over her, and she definitely does what she can to protect him from everyone else and most definitely himself. I really liked her perserverance to make a new life for herself after her dreams were dashed, and for choosing herself even though it broke my heart.

2. Erica from Remake by A.J. Sand. In Documentary, she isn't someone who I would have put on this list. But..when we get to the point in her story where she has decided that she is not going to let what has happened to her rule her life...watch out...It should be Remake: How Erica Got Her Groove Back. She still has some doubts and insecurities, but she chose herself....then she let her love figure out for himself what he wanted out of life with or without her.

3. Annabelle from A Beautiful Lie by Tara Sivec. Annabelle definitely falls onto the side of literally being a kick ass chick. She has a lot of secrets that unfold throughout the book...but if you like some best friend romance with a side of epsionage you should definitely check out this series!

4. Tris from Divergent by Veronica Roth. I often take a dive back to what would be considered more young adult selections, and I absolutely loved this one. Tris is definitely kick ass in fighting for what she wants, even if she is conflicted about how it will affect her family. By the end though being a member of the faction Dauntless means she is also literally kick ass and does a bit of kicking when all hell breaks loose. I haven't read the second book yet because I want to buy it in paperback! (I hate having different editions of one series!!!)


Friday, June 28, 2013

NEW RELEASE + GIVEAWAY: MID-LIFE LOVE BY WHITNEY G.


Release Date: June 28th
Author: Whitney G.
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions


If you'd asked me what love was two years ago, I probably would've said, 'It's this amazing feeling that obsesses and possesses you; it's what me and my husband currently have.' If you ask me that same question today, I'll say, 'Please get the hell out of my face.’'

Claire Gracen's life is picture perfect. Her career as a marketing director is on the brink of being legendary, and her marriage to her high school sweetheart has never been stronger. No, wait. It has. It used to be amazing and fulfilling, but one day Claire realizes that she's been living a lie and her best friend and husband have committed the ultimate betrayal.

Broken and depressed, Claire is in need of something new—new city, new job, new friends.

When she happens to attract the interest of the sexiest man she's ever met, a man significantly younger than her, she immediately turns him down—only to later discover that this man is Jonathan Statham, self-made billionaire and CEO of Statham Industries. Her boss.

Jonathan Statham is unlike any man she's met before. He's used to getting whatever he wants—whenever he wants, and he isn't about to take no for an answer.

Sexy, unpredictable, and charmingly clever, Mid Life Love is a story that will captivate you, entertain you, and force you to fall deeply in love with the characters.
Where to Find the Book:
Amazon | B&N | KOBO

Snippet: Claire Underestimates Jonathan


“Hmmm.” Jonathan leaned back in the chair and narrowed his eyes at me. “You know, I was having a pretty good weekend too. I was spending my nights talking to an extremely beautiful woman. I believe I talked to her every night and we made an arrangement... But then she stood me up on Saturday, so my weekend ended quite terribly.”
“Oh really?” I cleared my throat. “Well, that stuff happens sometimes. It’s all a part of life, young man. Live a little more and then—”
“I’m not sure what I should be more upset about—the fact that you keep insulting me by using my age against me, or the fact that I sat in an empty restaurant waiting for you for two hours.”
He waited two hours?
“Look, I’m sorry I didn’t call you. I just—”
“The last time I was stood up for a date was…” He stood up and walked over to me. “Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever been stood up on a date. It’s such a juvenile thing to do, don’t you think?”
“Yes. It’s quite juvenile. I can’t imagine why someone would ever do that.”
“Hmmm.” He reached down and removed the elastic band from my ponytail, letting my hair fall to my shoulders. “You have no idea why a beautiful woman would stand me up for a date?”
“Maybe there’s a lack of chemistry?” I nearly stuttered.
“No, she and I have plenty of chemistry…”
“Could it be that you two have nothing in common?”
He ran his fingers through my hair. “We talked for quite a while last week…I think we have more than enough in common.”
I shrugged. “Maybe she’s just not that into you then.”
“Oh, she’s definitely into me.” He smirked. “She just won’t admit it for some reason.”
“Well, if it were me, I would just give up and pursue someone else. She did stand you up.”
He tilted my chin with his fingertips so that I was looking directly into his eyes. “I’m not going to give up. She is. And I don’t want to pursue anyone else.”
We stood gazing into each other’s eyes and I realized that I needed to get him out of my house and get back to my bubble bath.
I should use him for inspiration…
“Look,” I said. “I was in the middle of something very important before you came over, so if you could leave right now so I can get back to it, that would be great. Maybe we can talk about what happened over the weekend at work tomorrow? For the record, I really am sorry I stood you up. I had every intention of being there but—”
He silenced me with a kiss and I kissed him back with a passion I’d never felt before. He reached down and untied my robe, pushing it off my shoulders and onto the floor.
Smiling, he assaulted my mouth with his tongue again, using his hands to tug at the drawstring on my pants.
All of sudden, I felt a vibrating sound going off in my pocket. Before I could reach down and shut it off, he reached into my pants and pulled out my favorite purple friend.
He examined it for a few seconds, blinking. Then he held it front of my face and smirked. “Is this what I was interrupting?”
It’s been four years….Four. Long. Years…
“Claire?” He cupped my chin and held my face so I wouldn’t be able to turn away. “Is this what you were doing?”
“I…” I swallowed. Then I went for it. “What if it was?”
A slow, sexy smile spread across his lips. “Then I think I should finish what you started.”

Author Bio:

A self-diagnosed candy addict, travel junkie, and hypochondriac, Whitney Gracia Williams LOVES to write about characters that make you laugh, cry, and want to (in the case of Selena Ross) reach through your Kindle and slap them.
She is the "imaginary bestselling" author of the Jilted Bride Series, Mid Life Love, Wasted Love, and Captain of My Soul.
When she's not locked inside her room, feverishly typing away on her laptop, she can be found here: http://www.whitneygracia.com
She also loves getting emails from her readers, so if you want to tell her how much you loved (or hated) her stories, email her at whitgracia@gmail.com

Where to Find the Author: 



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REVIEW: FALLING FOR THE BACKUP BY TONI ALEO

Title: Falling for the Backup
Author: Toni Aleo
Published: June 24th, 2013
By: Loveswept - Random House
Source: NetGalley
Available At: Amazon | B&N | Kobo
Find Toni Aleo: Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Facebook

After serving as a dutiful bridesmaid in the wedding from hell, Aynslee Shaw just wants to slink home to Nashville and forget the whole trip. That is, until the hottest guy she’s ever seen is seated next to her on the flight and dazzles her with his easy laugh and killer smile. But just when she thinks things are getting good, he vanishes, leaving Aynslee wondering, was that guy the one? And did she just let him slip through her fingers?

Former superstar goalie Jordan Ryan is back on the ice—finally. After a crippling knee injury that had him wondering if he’d ever play pro hockey again, he’s got his full attention on rebuilding his career. So a pretty—okay, beautiful—girl on a plane shouldn’t be a distraction. But Jordan is very, very distracted. And when Aynslee crosses his path again, he’s not sure any job in the world is worth missing his second chance with a woman like her.

So I am vain enough to be one of those people who say "I read and loved Toni Aleo before it was cool to read and love Toni Aleo!" Haha! I am so very happy that things are going so well for her! What Shelley and I do best is recommend books to one another, so I found a way to get this to happen a little bit sooner...since our reading list is epically long! Falling for the Backup being a novella was my sure thing! (P.S. I think it worked!) It did! As soon as we have a break in our reading, I'm downloading these babies!

Jordan Ryan is mentioned a few times in the other three books or the series as obviously being the injured goalie, therefore setting up for Tate in Book 3 to step in and take over. We don't get a lot of other info on him in those, but I was sufficiently curious. Jordan is my idea of a really good guy. He is sweet, he's hot and a hockey player to boot...but his injury has brought forth insecurities that hadn't probably plagued him, ever. All of my thoughts were how much I wanted this to be a full length novel!!! (Sorry, we always want more!) 

Yeah, Courtney, he's totally crushing on Aynslee but he lost his confidence when he was injured. Plus he's worried about starting a relationship with someone when he may be moving to play for another team. So instead of seeing if she's even worth this worry, he just shuts down or runs off before ever asking her out. It's kind of sweet that he's so insecure and worried--I guess we tend to equate physical strength with overconfidence but he's lost his. Once they finally hook up (for lack of a better way to explain it) he's so sweet in how he dotes on her and is definitely swoon worthy. As the time nears for the book to be over and for him to be transferred, he makes a decision NOT to ask her to go with him to his new job. He cares enough about her to not want to make her change her life for him...but FAIL--since he never even gives her a choice. He cares...to a fault.

While it sucked for Aysnlee...I was like, Awwww I can't believe he isn't being a douche and sleeping with her anyways! He was such a genuinely good guy. I hated his bad luck, but I thoroughly enjoyed being in his head. He had to do what was best for him, and was so thoughtful of what she would want to do and think of his decisions. I may've loved him even more because he was the opposite of the usual playboy/starts out a womanizer/has to grow up and almost lose what he wants to realize he's in love. Jordan knew what he wanted and was ready to take the next step with someone. 

Anyslee...is great. She just goes for it. When Jordan doesn't ask her out the first time, she decides to go find him because she just knows she felt the sparks. When the 2nd meeting doesn't go well...the third time she decides to take the bull by the horns and third time is most definitely a charm! Anyslee is so strong and independent. She moves away from home to go to school and when a relationship isn't working after 7 years she breaks it off and moves to a new city all by herself. Wow! I don't know if I would've been so brave as a 20-something. When it looks like he's going to leave for a transfer...once again SHE mans up...and tells him that she will move because he was too scared to ask. 


Aynslee is truly an inspiring girl. She knows what she wants in life, and I think a lot of her independence comes from being a middle child of 8 siblings. As a fellow middle child, I think it sort of makes a difference on how you're able to strike out on your own. You have a guide to see what not to do, but then you also have someone looking up to you to be responsible for your actions. That may have nothing to do with it, but I always ponder a little bit too much. And it gives me faith that I do not have middle-child-syndrome! (Hah!) My favorite parts of the entire story, which was just not long enough...was their conversations. Especially on the airplane when they first meet. Having amazing communication skills with someone is the key to it...so the fact that they discovered it early was special. 


This is a very short and quick read and people who have read the series will enjoy it. I know I did and I hadn't read any of the previous books in the series. If I had any issue with this book, it would be that it's a novella and everything just happens in warp speed and I'm a girl who likes the build up. That being said, I'll definitely read the full length novels in this series because I have a feeling that I will really, really like them.


I agree...I know it was supposed to be a novella, but since I enjoy Toni's writing so much...and the entire Assassin's world...I needed more desperately. I think I will try to re-read the series with you Shel, as you do for me so many times...because they are that good! 


A final favorite scene--when Jordan is at Anyslee's parents' bar and she's on speaker I laughed out loud because that is something that happen to me. Read it and you'll see exactly what I'm talking about! Haha! I loved his reaction too! :-P


I am impatiently, desperately waiting for the next installment Blue Lines...I may have a heart attack on release day! Shel...it will require some hand holding...FYI. I got your back, sistah.


Shelley: 3 1/2 Stars
Courtney: 5 stars

Thursday, June 27, 2013

COVER REVEAL: BREAKING THE RULES BY H.B. HEINZER



Release date: August 1st
Author: H.B. Heinzer


Book Description:

Growing up in small town Wisconsin, Carly Turner couldn't wait to escape when she graduated high school. Now, she's living the life in New York City, even if she isn't seeing her name in lights like she used to dream about at night. She's living paycheck-to-paycheck, working behind the scenes in small theaters off Broadway. When there's an equipment malfunction the week before opening night, Carly makes a call that winds up changing everything.

Life in the city isn't all it's cracked up to be. While she feels like she's getting closer to making the move from behind the scenes to center stage, she misses being surrounded by people who understand the quirks that come from living in a town of five thousand people. That, and the fact that he's sexy as sin, make Adam everything she feels like she's missing.

The only problem? He's her best friend's kid brother...

Adam Sanders wants to settle down, find a good woman and start a family like he sees so many of his friends doing. But how is he supposed to meet Ms. Right when he's constantly on the road for work? When he's sent to New York to handle a repair that would typically be contracted out as a favor to his
 
boss, he's just about to his breaking point.
 
Everything changes when the stagehand sent to open the theater for him is none other than his big sister's childhood friend. The same girl he lusted after as a teenager. Could this be fate's way of showing him that he was looking in the wrong place for love?

As Adam and Carly's friendship develops, lines will be crossed and rules will be broken. Will they be able to come out the other side without destroying everything they had back in Brooklyn?


Teaser:

"Hello?" A deep voice resonated from backstage. The way the timbre of the man’s voice echoed off the acoustic panels in the empty theater sent a shiver down Carly’s spine. She was surrounded daily by men whose voices could melt butter, but there was something about this particular voice that heightened her senses.
"Out here," she shouted, still wrestling to pull the set piece out of the curtain without causing any damage Dax would make her fix later. She blew a stray hair away from her eyes as the lighting contractor rounded the corner.
When she looked up, she did a double-take. The broad shoulders and angled jaw were all new but there was no mistaking the icy blue eyes looking down at her.  They were the same eyes she had seen nearly every day of her childhood. "Adam?" 
"Carly Turner? What are the odds..."
When she had moved away from home, Adam Sanders had been a bit gangly and not nearly this tall. She figured he would have grown up to be the man a woman grew to love for his heart despite his awkward appearance. The fact that it looked like he wasn’t opposed to spending time in the gym and he had lost the child-like face did nothing to settle her nerves. Carly shook the thoughts out of her head. This was Adam, the boy who had been the little brother Carly never had. Even if she had never felt that familial bond with him, there was definitely a rule about drooling over your best friend's little brother.
"Well, I think they're probably long enough that there's no point in buying a lottery ticket tonight," Oh god, did I just compare seeing Adam to winning the lottery?     

Author Bio:


With the exception of three years spent in the middle of Nebraska, H.B. Heinzer has called southern Wisconsin home. During that time in Nebraska, she imagined one of her favorite authors living on the far western edge of the county, just south of the highway. At the time, becoming a novelist was a distant dream for her. Now, she is the author living in that location. Ironically, she later found out that same favorite author lives just outside the town HB lived in for the first eighteen years of her life.
Now, HB lives in the middle of nowhere but still close enough to the city to not feel isolated. It's the perfect place to let her two kids run and explore their huge yard, teach them about the food chain as they prepare their first-ever garden and debate building a chicken coop. It's one of those dreams that is only possible thanks to the amazing opportunities that have come through writing.        


Author Social Media Links:



SWOON THURSDAY (3)



Visit YA Bound's super awesome blog for their post, and everyone that is participates in this weekly meme! 

Shelley: Swooning over Playing for Keeps by Emma Hart: 

"You don't know how just a touch of your hand can take away the pain from my past, and you don't know how lying next to you at night stops the nightmares. You don't know that you're the first person to really make me smile, and you definitely don't know that I'm so in love with you I can't see or think straight."

"I love her for who she is, and who I am when I'm with her. Everything Maddie does for you, times that by a million, and that's what Megan does for me..."


Courtney: ALSO Swooning over Playing for Keeps by Emma Hart: 

“I don’t need to aim for the sky. The only star I’ll ever need is standing right in front of me.” I brush my lips over hers. “Maybe the place I need to aim for is nowhere other than where I am right now.”
“Maybe I’d go with you wherever you ended up.”
“Maybe I’d never ask that of you.”

“Maybe you wouldn’t need to ask. Maybe you’ll never need to ask me for anything, because I’ll always be here.”

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

PLAYING FOR KEEPS RELEASE WEEK BOOK BLITZ: REVIEW + EXCERPT + GIVEAWAY

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Emma Hart, comes the second book in The Game series, and the story everyone wanted after The Love Game…

She's in love with him.
He's trying not to love her.
One night changes everything.

Aston Banks never meant to get close to Megan Harper – not even for that one night. Haunted by a childhood he refuses to face, he knew she could break through every wall he’d ever built and tear them down without even realising she was doing it.

Betraying Braden by starting a relationship with Aston wasn’t on Megan’s to-do list, but the second she sees a glimpse of someone other than the arrogant ass she’s come to know, she can’t walk away.

Aston’s childhood is worse than Megan ever guessed, but as he tries and fails to push her away, it’s clear her love is stronger than the demons that cling to him every day. And now, because of it, he finally has to deal with what he’s buried deep down.

What he doesn’t want to face. What he’s fought against for so long.
And they have to do it all without Braden finding out.
Keeping a relationship secret has never been harder.

**This book can be read as a standalone novel, but reading The Love Game (The Game, #1) beforehand is advised.** 

Published 6/24/13 by Emma Hart
eArc received from Author in exchange for honest review
Find Our review for Book I The Love Game HERE!

Where to Find Playing For Keeps:



Excerpt: ASTON

“You okay?”
I shake my head. “No. Every time. Every fucking time he brings her up. I thought he wouldn’t in front of you, but he did.”
“He has his own pain,” she says softly. “It doesn’t excuse it, but he does. He feels guilty for what happened to you – that he couldn’t stop it.”
My mind reels for a second and I look down at her. “He told you that?”
She nods, letting her hand drop from my back and standing in front of me. I stop.
“You’ve never let him tell you.” She reaches up and cups my face. “He hurts, too, Aston. You both hurt. It’s not something that will go away, but you can’t let it rule your lives. If you let pain rule you you’ll get lost in it.”
“What if I’m already lost?”
“You’re not lost. You’re hiding, but you’re not lost. I won’t let you get lost.”
I let my hands come up and rest on her back, pulling her into me. “What if there’s no map?”
“Then I’ll get lost with you,” she whispers. “I won’t let you let them win, Aston. I won’t let you get sucked in by those demons. I won’t let that happen. I care too much.”
And she does. I can hear it in her voice.
She wraps her arms around my neck, and I hold her to me tighter, our foreheads resting against each other.
“I’ll try, Megs,” I promise. “I can’t say I won’t, but as long as you’re here, I think I’ll be okay.”
“And you’ll talk to your Gramps? Just once?”
“I’ll think about it. How about we just focus on stopping me from getting lost for a bit?”
“You just need a place to aim for, that’s all. You need a place to go to.”
“Go on then.” I smile. “Give me a place.”
“Okay.” She pauses for a second, closing her eyes and chewing her lip.
“I’m waiting…” I tease her.
Her blue eyes open, shocking me with their vitality. “Aim for the moon, because even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”
“I don’t need to aim for the sky. The only star I’ll ever need is standing right in front of me.” I brush my lips over hers. “Maybe the place I need to aim for is nowhere other than where I am right now.”
“Maybe I’d go with you wherever you ended up.”
“Maybe I’d never ask that of you.”
“Maybe you wouldn’t need to ask. Maybe you’ll never need to ask me for anything, because I’ll always be here.”

Our Review:


You know, Courtney, I really enjoyed Playing for Keeps. It had many elements that I think readers will like, especially for those who read The Love Game. 

I did too. I didn't feel like you necessarily HAD to read The Love Game to enjoy this book, but it definitely gives you an amazingly clear picture of what the before Megan Aston was like, but without dragging down this book with him being a complete tool for the first 25% of it. I think that is why it is so refreshing..he has a past, they know it, acknowledge it and move on. No dredging it up every five seconds, or making him pay for it forever, or having that big moment be marred by an old girlfriend or insecurities ruining everything. 

I love how this novel jumps right into the story. While there is enough background given for those who haven't read The Love Game, for those of us who have the story of Megan and Aston quickly picks up where it left off.  We learn that both of them are wildly attracted to each other and fighting to reign that in. Needless to say, within pages they lose that fight. There is no reigning in...just a lot of repressing that they feel what they feel.

Ditto on the pace of the story. It made it very, very enjoyable. Emma took a heart wrenching subject, and didn't lighten it, but didn't necessarily make me feel weighted down by a dark cloud the entire time I was reading it either. There was fun and banter and amazing friendships and steamy scenes...but when it was time to be serious, she hit the mark, without being pretentious, preachy, or on a soap-box.

Megan has such a sharp and sarcastic wit. She's always got a comeback to every snarky thing Aston says and she never holds back. When she decides to give in and allow herself one night with Aston, I love that Megan has enough self-respect that she tries to stay away from Aston after her self-imposed one night stand and yet she's honest enough with herself to realize that after that one night all she wants his him. Megan's main problem isn't Aston's man-whore ways, for she learns early on that is just a front, but her best friend's overly protective tendencies. As she and Aston tentatively pursue their relationship, they are both reduced to lying and sneaking around behind all of their friends' backs. Not the best way to start a relationship, but I suppose understandable given Braden's cave man like tendencies when it comes to Megan. Megan handles the truth and the lies with calm and grace--just like she handles the story of Aston's past. I love how level-headed and non-dramatic she is--she doesn't really create unnecessary drama and doesn't run away when things get difficult. 

As confused as I was by Megan's intentions and friendship with Braden in The Love Game,  I was so glad that none of that showed through in this one. She figured out what she wanted, and sure she was nervous about taking the chance...but the alternative was a greater risk for her...so she went for it with the guy that everybody thought was all wrong based on outside assumptions. While the cover that is Aston is pretty to look at, there was so much more beneath the surface. I was a wee bit appalled by how much the thought of Braden's reaction to them dating caused problems. Hello...he is not your real brother, he is not your boyfriend...and he was as big of a man-whore as Aston before he found Maddie...so again...Pot..meet Kettle. The things he would say like she wasn't allowed to date because she deserved to find the one...he might as well have been sending her to the convent. Irritating, but I forgive him for being a caveman by the end.

Interestingly, the character in this novel who is broken is Aston. Poor Aston had a scarring first 6 years of life and even though his Gramps saved him from further horror, those first 6 years really did major damage. Aston is consumed with his past and hides behind his slutty ways so he won't have to let anyone close enough to force him to dwell on it or ask questions about it. As he spends more time with Megan, though, she begins asking questions that require him to relive and retell his story. Just as Megan doesn't run from complicated and difficult relationship stuff, neither does Aston. I love that he doesn't convince himself that he's too damaged and he allows Megan a chance to be good to him. I love the major that he's studying and why he's studying it. And, I love that as hard as it is, he's willing to work on conquering some of his demons.

I wanted to grab up his 6 year old self and just snuggle and love on him. Stories that involve flashback scenes of difficult pasts are hard, and especially hard with a young child. It was heartbreaking, and raw, but I thought Emma did a fantastic job with writing this serious topic into the story. It wasn't choppy or annoying to have his thoughts break into a conversation, because that was him, and it made it more like we were there with him in his struggles to be normal (Oh, how we love that word) and not repeat his own history. Aston's vulnerabilities and taking a chance with Megan made him a complete 180 from the guy we got to know during The Love Game. The real Aston with his Gramps were some of my favorite moments! 

You know what? I really liked this book. I liked that it wasn't overly angst-ridden or filled with melodrama. I liked that Emma Hart created characters that communicated with each other and worked on things together rather than hide, run away, or create additional problems. It's nice to not have to shout at my Kindle about all of the poor decisions a character makes. I think you'll like it too.

*Gasp* The characters of a book we liked communicated? What...are we in the Twilight Zone? (And if anyone thinks that has to do with Stephenie Meyer, please come shoot me while you're at it...) The story was full and vibrant and yes, even with them communicating like normal human beings and not creating a lot of unnecessary angst, I enjoyed every single word! 

Shelley: 4 Stars
Courtney: 4 Stars

About the Author:
By day, New York Times and USA Today bestselling New Adult author Emma Hart dons a cape and calls herself Super Mum to a terrible two year old and growing bump, due September 2013. By night, she drops the cape, pours a glass of juice and writes books.

Emma is working on Top Secret projects she will share with her followers and fans at every available opportunity. Naturally, all Top Secret projects involve a dashingly hot guy who likes to forget to wear a shirt, a sprinkling (or several) of hold-onto-your-panties hot scenes, and a whole lotta love.

She likes to be busy - unless busy involves doing the dishes, but that seems to be when all the ideas come to life.

Where to Find Emma Hart: 

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WHATCHA READING WEDNESDAY

This week felt more like a marathon than a sprint mostly because of poor planning on my part (I can't speak for Courtney). I somehow thought I was ahead in my reading for our blog and quickly discovered that if I didn't pick up my pace, I'd be behind. Fortunately, everything I've read has been engaging and we had quite a diverse collection of things to read. Sidenote: Court: Neither of us planned well...at all....how we made it out of this weekend alive and not zombies is seriously a miracle!!!

I started my week with J. A. Redmerski's The Edge of Never and that totally rocked my world (see yesterday's Texts and Talking about THAT!). I finished it at 2:20 in the morning and actually had dreams about the plight of those characters during the very little sleep I manage to get that night/morning. If you haven't read it yet, you may want to put it on your TBR list.

I also picked up Emma Hart's The Love Game and Playing for Keeps were so much fun to read. They are companion novels about several friends and their attempts at finding love while attending Berkeley. If you need something good to read while on vacation this summer, these would be great choices.

In the middle of the week Paris Love Match by Nigel Blackwell kept me entertained. This is less on the smut side and more on the action/adventure side. It's set in Paris and has a lot of snappy dialogue between our two lead characters (who are desperately trying to escape the clutches of criminals AND the police).

My last 2 reads couldn't be more different. Curtis Sittenfeld's Sisterland is a piece of literary fiction that demands that you ponder and think your way through it (or at least it did for me). By the end I was left with lots of conflicted emotions and I'm still working out exactly what I think about what happened. This is not a bad thing...it's a refreshing thing and one worth your time, if you're looking for something a little heavier than what we normally review here. Leaning more towards the light and easy reading, I just finished Falling for the Backup by Toni Aleo. I've not read anything by her until this novella and Courtney says that her Assassins series is swoonworthy..so I'll be adding that to MY TBR list. This novella was a very quick and sweet read...definitely good beach reading material.

I'm about to delve into Shannon Mayer's High Risk Love and if the prologue is any indication of the rest of the book, I'm in for a 'just one more chapter' kind of night. I'm also looking forward to J. Sterling's The Game Changer and J.A. Redmerski's Killing Sarai

Here's to another great week of reading! 

So yeah...we have this little thing going where we think..Hey! We are two books ahead, let's read KA books all night long...and that seriously almost killed us this weekend. Not going to let myself get that out of hand again.....Sorry... who am I kidding, I probably will! But she listed a lot of our book awesomeness! So I am going to say I'm not sure what...but if any other time of me blogging and being tired is an indication I talk too much! 

How about I take this moment to relish on how awesome of an invention I think NetGalley is? Anyone? It is like Christmas morning every single time we get approved for a book. I hope that we've found some great books that you all might like! Sisterland was a major NetGalley surprise. It looked promising, but sometimes you just can't ever tell...and I was completely blown away by it. If I get a chest clench of my heart breaking for a character (I know, my husband is mortified by this fact too...I get waayyy to emotionally invested) then I feel like I've hit gold...and these books we've read lately have made my heart hurt. 

I just finished Playing for Keeps by Emma Hart....and I just want to grab baby Aston up and run away with him....pure beautiful torture, that was. (Our review is live today too, so I won't rehash anymore details of that one, but check out Emma Hart!) 

Something I've waited on and let sneak up on me is the release of Come Alive by Karina Halle. It is book 7 of the Experiment in Terror series, and can that girl write some supernatural smut! Well...Dex and Perry can see ghosts = supernatural, and they don't really have any romance happen until book 4..so maybe not all that much smut, but now that it's happened...it is amazing. I was never one for a more horror type genre, until this, and this series is absolutely amazing, IMO. Book 1 is Darkhouse so check it, STAT! Darkhouse is also FREE on Amazon, so is there an excuse not to at least try it? No. No there is not. (And I just found that all the way through book 4 is currently 99 cents...sorry for being a bad used car salesman just now, but I LOOOVVVEEE this series! To quote our Twitter friend Stacy..."Pimpin' ain't easy, ya know"...and she is so right...\m/

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

REVIEW: SISTERLAND BY CURTIS SITTENFELD

Curtis Sittenfeld, New York Times bestselling author of American Wife and Prep, returns with a mesmerizing novel of family and identity, loyalty and deception, and the delicate line between truth and belief.

From an early age, Kate and her identical twin sister, Violet, knew that they were unlike everyone else. Kate and Vi were born with peculiar “senses”—innate psychic abilities concerning future events and other people’s secrets. Though Vi embraced her visions, Kate did her best to hide them.

Now, years later, their different paths have led them both back to their hometown of St. Louis. Vi has pursued an eccentric career as a psychic medium, while Kate, a devoted wife and mother, has settled down in the suburbs to raise her two young children. But when a minor earthquake hits in the middle of the night, the normal life Kate has always wished for begins to shift. After Vi goes on television to share a premonition that another, more devastating earthquake will soon hit the St. Louis area, Kate is mortified. Equally troubling, however, is her fear that Vi may be right. As the date of the predicted earthquake quickly approaches, Kate is forced to reconcile her fraught relationship with her sister and to face truths about herself she’s long tried to deny.

Funny, haunting, and thought-provoking, Sisterland is a beautifully written novel of the obligation we have toward others, and the responsibility we take for ourselves. With her deep empathy, keen wisdom, and unerring talent for finding the extraordinary moments in our everyday lives, Curtis Sittenfeld is one of the most exceptional voices in literary fiction today.

Where to Find Sisterland: 

Where to Find Curtis Sittenfeld: 

Published by Random House Publishing Group - June 25th, 2013
Received eARC from Random House via NetGalley

Our Review:

It's been almost 24 hours since I finished Sisterland and I'm still trying to wrap my brain around what I think...or more likely, what to think.  I think that's the beauty of literary fiction; it leaves a lot of loose ends that are flapping around at the end and you're left to mull things over and speculate about how things will work out for these characters. 

Wow. That is all I could say when I finished. I too am simply a little bit stunned. I think at first, I thought the psychic stuff was going to make it a lot more supernatural than it was...which made me somewhat hesitant, but I was so very curious after Shelley introduced me to it in a Waiting on Wednesday post. I am always intrigued by a twin aspect, and even more simply a sisterland bond aspect, so we couldn't request to read it fast enough. 

So we have these twin sisters, Vi and Kate, and they have the "senses" or what we might consider psychic abilities. This novel weaves various instances of their sensing of an 'event', how it impacts them, and how they each live with their knowledge of their abilities. It's a narrative that blends the past and the present to give us a full picture of how we arrive at the Vi and Kate we have at present day.

The way my views of each of the characters changed throughout is still the most forefront in my mind. I didn't think that Vi's irresponsibility would ever be overshadowed by her never failing love and devotion for her sister...which is ironic because really Kate is probably most at fault for giving me these doubting thoughts about Vi in the first place. I decided that each of them is so wrapped up in wanting the other one to either be and think exactly alike or punishing the other for not being more bending or understanding. Yes, this theme started my deeper philosophical thinking about the how we treat those we are closest to and I therefore subjected Shelley to some very long narratives of my own. 

Vi tends to be the more outspoken of the two sisters. She speaks openly about her 'senses' and manages to parlay them into being her primary source of income. She initially seems immune to what others think of her but don't mistake that for ignorance. She knows that people say some ugly things about her but she doesn't appear to allow it to rile her up or upset her too terribly. In many ways I respected Vi for her willingness to be herself and do what she wanted. There were times, too, that I wanted to throttle her for her unwillingness to accept that her way wasn't always the best or the only way to do things. Ultimately, though, I think I liked Vi's less judgmental ways. She had some vulnerable moments but she was a pretty tough chick too.

This is so true. She is the side of ourselves that we all wish could be bigger and brighter. Self esteem is a funny thing, and she was confident in herself to the point where she didn't get mixed up by people judging her...or not that we saw. Vi represented things to Kate that she wanted to erase from her life, especially when Vi's predictions become so public. 

Kate was kind of infuriating. She was so worried about what other people thought, or about being liked, or about being different that it felt like she didn't always live her life as much as react to it. Her anxiety overran so many of her decisions that I wanted to simultaneously comfort her and choke her for overthinking everything.  I have no idea how her husband, Jeremy, was as patient as he was. I also thought it was interesting that Kate was so judgmental and defensive (and in denial) of it. She seemed to operate under the 'how will this impact me' philosophy--she hid it, though, under the guise of how something would effect her father or her husband ...when really the bottom line was that she had a hard time accepting certain choices her friends and family made. By the end of the story, even though she did some things that made me furious and sad, I was relieved to see that she was beginning to be more accepting of the challenges that would stand before her.

This is so funny, because I said after about 60% that Kate with her anxiety and obsessive thinking could so be me! Am I just latching onto the possibility that other people over think what to say and do, all of the time?  Probably...but for this story, the scenarios that help cultivate these behaviors paint a clear picture of Kate, where I thought I had her figured out. I have never been more wrong about where I imagined a book going, so it basically blew my mind in a big way. Jeremy is the one person throughout that I never wondered if he was a good person. How he put up with her? Not sure still, but I did wonder is his being attuned to her helping her through her worry and keeping her grounded enough that she doesn't put her kids in padded rooms, or is he helping enable her behavior? She does everything in her power not to sense things, and sometimes misses the bigger picture until it is too late.

The periphery characters: Kate and Vi's parents, Jeremy, Hank and Courtney, Stephanie, and other friends helped round out the story and give additional conflicts and episodes that help define the twins even further. The more we see them interact with others the more we begin to understand and predict how they will each react to the drama that inevitably comes with the earthquake prediction and the events that surround it. 

Whoa. Did the secondary stories ever provide some insane meat to this story..(Pun intended...because Courtney and Hank are vegetarians...and Courtney is a Grade A B*tch). Primarily how much does your parents influence truly screw you up? Do the previous generations failures really cause such a paradigm shift? For Kate and Vi and less so Jeremy, they did for sure. (See, I told you I went on to some deep thinking) 

In the last 15% of this novel, some crazy things happen. No spoiler here, but let me just express my utter horror at some of the things that happened and the heartbreaking aftermath. I'm not sure ...I have no words...I'm still struggling. I have such a mix of emotions and it's a testament to Curtis Sittenfeld's writing and her story that my hurt/relief/sadness/hope/?? still clings to my bones and is begging me to examine this story further.

Genuine chest clenching moments, that was...which turned into me trying to grasp my thoughts like I am right now. This...even as much as it hurts...is why I love to read. The rawness and realness of where this went that pushed it over the top in my love for it will keep me reeling for some time, I think. There are a lot of issues addressed here, but I didn't find it be trying for too much, or too hard and the pace and writing were a breath of fresh air. Clearly I think too much, but the line "..curiosity we all feel when confronted with evidence of a world that dared to exist before our consciousness of it." Is something I marvel at too often....so Curtis Sittenfeld...I think we got it! Bravo.

If you have the time and are looking for something a little different, I'd definitely recommend taking a chance on it. 

Shelley: 4 1/2 Stars
Courtney: 5 stars