Cover Shot! The Trouble with Being a Duke by Sophie Barnes

Cover Shot! is a regular feature here at the Café. I love discovering new covers, and when I find them, I like to share. More than anything else, I am consumed with the mystery that each new discovery represents. There is an allure to a beautiful cover. Will the story contained under the pages live up to promise of the gorgeous cover art?

The Trouble With Being a Duke by Sophie Barnes looks like a cute retelling of Cinderella.  I love the dreamy cover, too.  This hits stores August  2013.

    

Sometimes happily ever after…

Anthony Hurst, Duke of Kingsborough knows the time has come for him to produce an heir. But first he must find a bride. When he meets the most exquisite woman at his masquerade ball, he thinks his search is over…until the breathtaking beauty runs off. With few clues other than her figure, her scent, and the memory of her kiss, Anthony must find his mystery lady.

…needs a little bit of help.

Isabella Chilcott can scarcely believe it: she is finally at the Kingsborough Ball. As a child, she dreamed of dancing a waltz here and now, thanks to a gorgeous gown she’s found in the attic, Isabella is living her fairytale fantasy. And she’s waltzing with the Duke of Kingsborough himself! But she must escape before he discovers her secrets…for she is not who she pretends to be, and falling in love with Prince Charming is the last thing she can allow herself to do…

Review: Real Men Don’t Break Hearts by Coleen Kwan

 

 

 

Title:  Real Men Don’t break Hearts

Author: Coleen Kwan

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Ally Griffin is horrified to learn her new landlord is none other than the infuriating playboy Nate Hardy–the man she blames for getting her jilted at the altar six years ago. Plus, now her ex-fiancé is back in their hometown of Burronga, Australia, to marry his beautiful new bride…for real this time. Everybody’s treating Ally with kid gloves, as though she’s still heartbroken, but she’s just fine, thank you very much.

Nate Hardy is tired of his high-flying city career and bachelor lifestyle and is looking for something more real. The last thing he needs is to find himself undeniably attracted to Ally, the woman with whom he never saw eye-to-eye. But is he even capable of what Ally wants and deserves?

As Ally tries to pull her life out of the rut it’s fallen in, she doesn’t count on Nate stirring up her emotions. A short-term fling with the resident bad boy is practically irresistible, but only if she can guard her heart…


Review:

Real Men Don’t Break Hearts is a fun, quick read.  It’s about second chances and changing your outlook on life.  Both Ally and Nate learn to forgive and put the past where it belongs – in the past.  They finally take the lessons learned from a few challenging moments in their lives and start to look to the future.  Ally is especially chained to her past, having suffered a heartbreaking and humiliating breakup six years earlier.  Having been burned painfully by her fiancé, she turns her focus on saving her grandmother’s souvenir shop and decides that she’s not ready to trust again.  After being jilted at the alter, and worse, having hated Nate Hardy, her intended’s cousin, deliver the news, she’s not willing to put her heart at risk like that again.

Nate, a delinquent in his younger days, made it big in Sydney, but now he’s looking for something else.  All of his money and fancy toys don’t mean anything to him, and he’s searching for a new direction, and a new purpose, for his life.  He decides it’s time to face his past, as well as make up for some of the poor choices he made when he was younger.  Moving back to Burronga, the small town where he grew up, he reopens his deceased brother’s landscaping business.  Along the way, he is forced to realize that neither he, nor his older brother, were blameless for their poor reputations and the reluctance of some of those in town to welcome him back home.  Especially Ally Griffin.  He’s always thought of her as prissy, but as he gets to know her, he begins to think that he’s judged her unfairly.

I enjoyed how both Ally and Nate are made to reassess their opinions of each other as the story progressed.  Ally is having a hard time making ends meet at the shop, and she’s past due with her rent.  When she discovers that Nate is her new landlord, she’s terrified that he’ll kick her out, causing her to lose both her business and her home, the apartment above the shop.  She also hasn’t forgiven him for destroying her relationship with her ex. She has blamed him for years for being abandoned at the altar, and having to come to terms with her anger and resentment is hard for her.  She has blamed Nate for so much for so long that it’s hard to just let it go.  As she gets to know him better, though, she begins to realize that she misjudged him and that he’s not the cause of her relationship dissolving.

Nate’s attempts to make amends for his past mistakes makes an engaging backstory.  He’s matured and realizes what a turd he was when he was a teen.  He defaced public property, harassed the next door neighbor, and committed petty crimes.  He was on a ruinous path, and now he realizes how lucky he was to be able to put that behind him.  I liked the interactions between Nate and the neighbor and her crabby dog the best, and felt moved by Nate’s attempts to fix the relationship that he and his brother broke.

Real Men Don’t Break Hearts pushed all the right buttons for me.  Enemies to lovers, redemption, and discovering your path in life, one that makes you happy and enriches the person you are, are all themes I love to read about, and Coleen Kwan explores them with compassion and compelling prose. This is the first book I’ve read by her, but it won’t be the last.

Grade: B

Review copy provided by publisher

Leap Into Books Giveaway Hop–Win Starting Now by Debbie Macomber!

 

 

Welcome to my Leap Into Books Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and co – hosted by Jinky is Reading .  This hop runs from February 28th to March 7th,  and you can win lots of new reads.   Click here for a complete list of blogs participating in the hop.

Thanks to the super awesome Sue at Random House, I have a print galley of Debbie Macomber’s Starting Now to giveaway.  This is the next book in the Blossom Street series, and is the perfect read for your leap into spring!

About the book:

#1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber returns to Seattle’s beloved Blossom Street in this heartfelt tale of friendship, renewal, and discovering what’s truly important in life.

For years Libby Morgan dreamed only of making partner in her competitive, high-pressure law firm. She sacrificed everything for her career—her friends, her marriage, her chance at creating a family. When her boss calls Libby into his office, she assumes it will finally be good news, but nothing can prepare her for the shocking reality: She’s been let go and must rebuild her entire life . . . starting now.

With no job prospects in sight, Libby reaches out to old friends and spends her afternoons at A Good Yarn, the local knitting store. There she forms a close bond with Lydia, the sweet-natured shop owner; Lydia’s spirited teenage daughter, Casey; and Casey’s best friend, Ava, a shy yet troubled girl who will shape Libby’s future in surprising and profound ways.

As A Good Yarn becomes a second home—and the women a new kind of family—Libby relishes the different person she’s become. She even finds time for romance with a charming and handsome doctor who seems to be her perfect match. But just as everything is coming together, Libby must make a choice that could forever change the life she holds so dear.

Warmly told and richly textured, Starting Now is filled with the promise of new beginnings and the unending delights of companionship and love.

Sound good?  Ready to enter for your chance to win both of these books?  Fill out the widget below for your chance to win!  Earn extra entries for following.  US shipping addresses only, please.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Interview with Kathryn Fitzmaurice, Author of Destiny, Rewritten

Kathryn Fitzmaurice is our special guest today.  She’s here to fill us in about her newest release, Destiny, Rewritten.  Please give her a warm welcome!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Kathryn Fitzmaurice] extremely neat, mostly organized, mother of two boys, dog lover.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Destiny, Rewritten?

[Kathryn Fitzmaurice] Here is a review from Shelf Awareness, written by Jennifer Brown. I think it does a terrific job of summarizing the story!

From Shelf Awareness, (Jan 2013)

Children’s Review: Destiny, Rewritten

Destiny, Rewritten by Kathryn Fitzmaurice (Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins, $16.99 hardcover, 352p., ages 9-12, 9780061625015, February 19, 2013)

Kathryn Fitzmaurice (The Year the Swallows Came Early) creates another memorable 11-year-old grappling with her identity and her passions.

Emily Elizabeth Davis lives with her mother, aunt and cousin in the heart of Berkeley, Calif., where everybody knows everybody. Her mother named her for Emily Dickinson, but Emily prefers romance novels to poetry. She’s read almost half of Danielle Steel’s books, and copies down the happy endings of each of them.

Fitzmaurice portrays a strong bond between mother and daughter, and chronicles the tension that develops between them over her mother’s aspirations for Emily versus Emily’s own interests, and Emily’s growing resentment of her mother’s caginess about the identity of Emily’s father. The woman inscribes a first edition of The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson to Emily: "Emily Dickinson is one of the great poets. The same will be said of you one day." Rather than keeping a photo album for Emily, she records each milestone of Emily’s life next to a poem that ties in; "the road map of your life," she calls it. She wrote Emily’s birth weight and height in the margins of "Angels, in the early morning," and recorded the date of her first steps next to "I’ll tell you how the Sun rose." Just after Emily learns that her mother wrote her father’s name in the margins of the Dickinson poetry book, the heroine inadvertently places it on top of some donation boxes. Suddenly the road map to Emily’s life is gone. For the balance of the novel, she searches the town to find the volume.

Besides confiding in Danielle Steel through letters, Emily also has a best friend, Wavey St. Clair. Wavey is so loyal, she compromises her perfect attendance record to help Emily search for her book. Fitzmaurice possesses a perfect ear for dialogue when it comes to conversations between the sixth graders.

Emily grapples with whether destiny truly does rule her life, or whether, "if you do something every once in a while that’s unexpected,… it might change the way you are." Emily’s search for her book, her internal debate about destiny and the ways in which the heroine makes small changes in her life all come together into a moving climax. Emily comes to realize that sometimes the answer you needed was right there all the time. –Jennifer M. Brown

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Kathryn Fitzmaurice] My grandmother gave me a volume of Emily Dickinson poetry for my twentieth birthday. Inside she wrote, “E.D. is a revered poet. Perhaps one day the same will be said of K.H. Happy Birthday, Love, Gramma Eleanor.” This was the starting point for DESTINY, REWRITTEN. I thought she had predicted my future and then I decided to make this into a story.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Emily?

[Kathryn Fitzmaurice] friend, romance writer

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Emily is never without.

[Kathryn Fitzmaurice] Her notebook filled with happy endings.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Emily’s bedroom?

[Kathryn Fitzmaurice] Well, because Emily tries to change her destiny, she suddenly finds herself inside a messy room, but it really bothers her and she does her best to live with it. But before she became messy, you would have never found a pair of socks thrown on her floor, or things out of order. Everything in her closet was completely organized, even her tennis shoes were in order from lightest to darkest.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Emily had a theme song, what would it be?

[Kathryn Fitzmaurice] This is a very good question. Maybe it would be the song on the book trailer, which is on my website.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Kathryn Fitzmaurice] My grandmother, Eleanor Robinson, who wrote science fiction novels, and any novel written by Gary D. Schmidt and Kate DiCamillo, who are both brilliant authors.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Kathryn Fitzmaurice] My computer, my desk, and a cup of green tea.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Kathryn Fitzmaurice] THE DOG STARS, by Peter Heller. This was an amazing, very well written book that I could not put down.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Kathryn Fitzmaurice] The Little House Books, by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I still have my first edition set.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Kathryn Fitzmaurice] Walk my dog, Holly, to the beach and back. But since dogs are not allowed on the sand, I like to walk on the beach with my friends, barefoot, through the waves.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Kathryn Fitzmaurice] Through my website, there are many ways to connect with me. You may send me an email, or follow me on twitter, or friend me on Facebook.

Thank you very much for interviewing me!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

You can purchase Destiny, Rewritten from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the links below.  Available in print and digital.

 

About the book:

Des·tin·y: |destin?/
(noun) The hidden power believed to control what will happen in the future; fate.

Eleven-year-old Emily Elizabeth Davis has been told for her entire life that her destiny is to become a poet, just like her famous namesake, Emily Dickinson. But Emily doesn’t even really like poetry, and she has a secret career ambition that she suspects her English-professor mother will frown on. Then a seeming tragedy strikes: just after discovering that it contains an important family secret, she accidentally loses the special copy of Emily Dickinson’s poetry that was given to her at birth. As Emily and her friends search for the lost book in used bookstores and thrift shops all across town, Emily’s understanding of destiny begins to unravel and then rewrite itself in a marvelous new way.

In her third novel, Kathryn Fitzmaurice again weaves a richly textured and delightful story about unexpected connections, about the ways that friends can help us see ourselves for who we truly are, and about the most perfect kinds of happy endings: those that happen just on time.

Waiting on Wednesday–Waking Up Dead by Emma Short

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

I love the tag line for Waking Up Dead by Emma Shortt.  Where there is horror can there be love?  You betcha!!  I don’t know much about this book other than it will be in stores in October, and it has ZOMBIES!  Can’t wait!

 

 

Not Available

What are you waiting on?

Cover Shot! Tempting a Devil by Samantha Kane

Cover Shot! is a regular feature here at the Café. I love discovering new covers, and when I find them, I like to share. More than anything else, I am consumed with the mystery that each new discovery represents. There is an allure to a beautiful cover. Will the story contained under the pages live up to promise of the gorgeous cover art?

Tempting a Devil by Samantha Kane sounds like a fun read. I’m not sure how I feel about the cover, but the premise has me intrigued. With the female model’s hand clenched in a fist, I have the impression that the male model is being too aggressive. Or maybe she’s just helping him rip his shirt off, but she’s taking a break because he is so manly and tearing his shirt off is exhausting? What do you think?

In stores July 2013

   

In Samantha Kane’s erotic tale of secrets and temptation, a woman whose only defense is seduction targets a rake who teaches her the true meaning of love.

As wealthy and beautiful as she is desperate, Harriet Mercer can have any man she wants—which makes picking the worst of the lot quite easy. By convincing the ton she is a ruined woman, Harry hopes to outwit the greedy, conniving cad blackmailing her into a loveless marriage. Roger Templeton is a rogue with a scandalous reputation, no expectations, and no shame. He is perfect for Harry’s fall from grace. Her brazen attempts at a very public seduction are delightful fodder for gossip . . . and pure torment for Roger.

With his pockets as empty as his heart, Roger is in no mood for games and decides to show Harry how foolish it is to tempt a devil. But behind her mesmerizing golden eyes, he sees something unexpected: a woman in trouble. Her scandalous behavior would be amusing if he wasn’t captivated by her lush, curvaceous beauty. Worse, every libertine bone in his body has turned traitorously noble. Only a rake would seduce her. But only a gentleman in love can save her.

Includes a special message from the editor, as well as excerpts from these Loveswept titles: The Devil’s Thief, Flirting with Disaster, and Long Simmering Spring.

Review: What’s Left of Me by Kat Zhang

 

 

Title:  What’s Left of Me

Author: Kat Zhang

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

I should not exist. But I do.

Eva and Addie started out the same way as everyone else—two souls woven together in one body, taking turns controlling their movements as they learned how to walk, how to sing, how to dance. But as they grew, so did the worried whispers. Why aren’t they settling? Why isn’t one of them fading? The doctors ran tests, the neighbors shied away, and their parents begged for more time. Finally Addie was pronounced healthy and Eva was declared gone. Except, she wasn’t. . . .

For the past three years, Eva has clung to the remnants of her life. Only Addie knows she’s still there, trapped inside their body. Then one day, they discover there may be a way for Eva to move again. The risks are unimaginable—hybrids are considered a threat to society, so if they are caught, Addie and Eva will be locked away with the others. And yet . . . for a chance to smile, to twirl, to speak, Eva will do anything.


Review:

Wow, wow, wow!  This is one of the most original YA books I’ve read in a long time.  The narrative is tense and compelling, and the setting, which is revealed in small, teasing snippets, is thought-provoking.  I admit that when I first picked this up, I was skeptical about it holding my interest.  Eva, the narrator, is the less dominate soul, and she shares her body with Addie.  Addie has complete control of their body, and Eva, at first, just seems to be along for the ride.  As they make two new friends, however, Eva is given the hope that someday she might have some control back over the limbs and voice she shares with Addie.  Once the government discovers that Eva still exists, however, she and Addie are imprisoned in a medical facility where the evil Mr Conivent promises their parents that Addie will be “cured.”  Using their ill brother’s medical treatments as the bait to take custody of the girls, Eva and Addie discover a sinister plot to cut one of the forbidden souls from the hybrids the scientists are experimenting on. 

Addie and Eva are deviants in their society.  Everyone is born with two souls, and by the age of ten, most of the lesser souls have “settled,” leaving only the dominant soul behind.  Eva and Addie never settled, but after being shuttled from doctor to doctor, they have learned to keep Eva’s continued existence at secret.  They pretend that they have settled because they realize how important it is to be considered “normal.”  They are tired of doctors, tests, and examinations, and they are afraid of what will happen if it’s discovered that Eva’s soul still very much entwined with Addie’s.

When Addie and Eva form an uneasy friendship with Hally, their secret is exposed, and they are confined to Nornand, a government institution.  They discover the terrible truth about the fate of the children who they have been told have gone home.  With their lives on the line, they desperately seek a way to escape the institution.

I liked both Addie and Eva.  They are scared to death, but they take frightening risks to find a way to freedom, not just for themselves, but for all of the hybrids at Nornand.  In order to learn more about what’s going on, they do some things that had my heart pounding.  Sneaking around and learning the secrets of Nornand, when it’s obvious that the doctors and nurses, and later, the review board, don’t care about their health, safety, or well-being, had me on the edge of my seat.  I hated having to put the book down to go to work!

I’m going to keep this review short because I don’t want to give away any spoilers.  I loved the main protagonists and the the secondary characters, and I completely bought into the plot.  I found What’s Left of Me to be a suspenseful, exciting read.  This book lived up to, and even exceeded, all of my expectations.  I enjoyed the time I spent with Addie, Eva, Hally, and Devon, and hope to spend more time with them in the future.

Grade: B+/A-

Review copy obtained from my local library

Cover Shot! Resist by Sarah Crossan

Cover Shot! is a regular feature here at the Café. I love discovering new covers, and when I find them, I like to share. More than anything else, I am consumed with the mystery that each new discovery represents. There is an allure to a beautiful cover. Will the story contained under the pages live up to promise of the gorgeous cover art?

I enjoyed Breathe by Sarah Crossan quite a bit.  Great premise, and the world-building was interesting.  The next book in the series, Resist, hits stores in October, and I can hardly wait to read it!

In stores October 2013

 

 

Not available

What are you waiting on?