Favorite Reads of 2014 & An Update

It’s 2015 and I’m sitting here typing this up, wondering where the time went. I realize that I’ve had this blog for a while and that I always say I’m going to update more and I never really do. I’ve always loved books but as a sophomore in college, I’ve turned my love into a career goal.

For those who have stuck with me and still read this, gold stars and much thanks to you. To everyone who has recently found me (surprisingly, people still do since I get emails about subscribers): welcome! I forever apologize for updating infrequently, but I’ve come to terms with the fact that it will always be that way.

A little update on my life: Last fall, I interned with the literary agency McIntosh & Otis, Inc. (they’re known for John Steinbeck’s titles). This semester, I’m interning at Bloomsbury USA. Hence, why I never update  (plus college and classes and all that).

Anyways, I’m here to share my favorites of 2014. I read a whopping 42 titles in 2014 (not really, since some of those titles are mangas, but let me believe I read 42 books). As always, my goal for 2015 is to read 100 titles and we’ll see how that goes…Here are my picks for 2014:

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Favorite YA book released in 2014:

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Why: What can I even say? I love fairy tales, and I love re-makes of fairy tales even more. Hodge’s book is seductively beautiful. She is a wonderful world and character builder and I was hooked from page one. If you wanna know a little bit more of my love for this book, it’s up on YA Interrobang; all of us posted our fave reads of 2014 there.

Favorite NA book released in 2014:

London Falling (International School #2) by Chanel Cleeton

Why: I loved the first book, I See London and was excited for the sequel. Cleeton is my favorite NA author because she writes characters that I can connect with and understand completely. Not only that, but there are passages where I find thoughts and feelings I’ve felt forever put into words and that means everything.

Favorite YA book that wasn’t released in 2014:

The Selection by Kiera Cass

Why: I’m sad that I didn’t read this book when it was released a few years back. Everyone talks about this series and I finally got around to it. To me, the idea isn’t 100% brand new to hear about, the way Cass writes America’s story is very addicting. I’m hooked on the relationships in this series and America’s indecisiveness. Not only that, but I also love the idea of having a prince.

Honorable Mentions:

Branded by Abi Ketner and Missy Kalicicki

Why: Not going to lie, I was captivated with the Stockholm syndrome theme. While the action and destruction in this book is interesting, I really enjoyed this book because the romance is written well.

Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid

Why: Alsaid’s story beautifully captures moments and that’s all I’m going to say.

Now, since I have some time to read before the semester starts I would love to hear your favorites; I need reading material. In addition, what books are you looking forward to in 2015?

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Blog Tour: London Falling (International School #2) by Chanel Cleeton [Book Thoughts]

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Summary:

Maggie Carpenter walked away from the hottest encounter of her life when she left the seductive glitz of England for summer break in her South Carolina hometown. Now that she’s returned to the International School in London—and sexy, privileged Samir Khouri is once again close enough to touch—she can’t help but remember the attraction, the drama … the heartbreak.

She can’t help but want him even more.

Samir can’t afford to fall for someone so far removed from his world, not when his time in London is running out. It’s his senior year—his last chance at freedom before he returns home to Lebanon. There, he’ll be expected to follow in his father’s footsteps—not follow his heart to Maggie. But when a scorching secret hookup becomes a temptation neither can resist, they’ll both have to fight to survive the consequences … and find a future together.

My Thoughts:

Although I adored I See London, London Falling somehow made me fall in love with Maggie, Samir and the International School a hundred times more.

To be honest, I didn’t really know where London Falling was going to go. Yes, the first book set up a lot of things for the sequel, but I questioned the relationship between Maggie and Samir. Everything between them was already so intense and passionate that I honestly questioned how it could become more intense and passionate. In the end, it was wrong for me to question. Chanel Cleeton crafted an addictive sequel that intensified everything between Maggie and Samir, making me feel every emotion known to mankind.

Even though the book revolves around Maggie and Samir, Cleeton doesn’t forget about the other characters and other important things. For example, Fleur’s past comes back to haunt her, and she’s stuck getting through everything too. Maggie is also challenged with facing her own family issues. What I love about London Falling is that it mirrors true reactions and outcomes. In every scene, I understood and empathized with a character’s decision.

Chanel Cleeton does a wonderful job at capturing moments and emotions and translating them into words one can put on a page. I found myself staring at the book in awe at certain sentences and passages because Maggie’s thoughts about life captured my exact feelings. Those details brought me closer to the characters because I knew how they felt.

In the end, all I can do is applaud Chanel Cleeton for writing a wonderful sequel to a wonderful book. If you haven’t read I See London, the first book in the International School series, then you need to do so right now. If you have, you need to somehow obtain the sequel because this series is my favorite.

Buy Links
Amazon Barnes & NoblesiTunes Harlequin

Author Links
Website Facebook Twitter Goodreads

Giveaway!

Win a London Falling coffee mug, Tea, (4) signed London Falling bookmarks, (4) signed I See London bookmarks, (4) pens, a London case, and a $25 Amazon GC. Enter the rafflecopter here!

Please check out the rest of the LONDON FALLING tour here!

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Release Day Blitz: London Falling by Chanel Cleeton (International School #2)

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Summary:

We weren’t a relationship, we were a ticking time bomb…

Maggie Carpenter walked away from the hottest encounter of her life when she left the seductive glitz of England for summer break in her South Carolina hometown. Now that she’s returned to the International School in London—and sexy, privileged Samir Khouri is once again close enough to touch—she can’t help but remember the attraction, the drama … the heartbreak.

She can’t help but want him even more.

Samir can’t afford to fall for someone so far removed from his world, not when his time in London is running out. It’s his senior year—his last chance at freedom before he returns home to Lebanon. There, he’ll be expected to follow in his father’s footsteps—not follow his heart to Maggie. But when a scorching secret hookup becomes a temptation neither can resist, they’ll both have to fight to survive the consequences … and find a future together.

Don’t miss this explosive sequel to I See London, and the riveting conclusion to Maggie and Samir’s story. This is a New Adult romance recommended for readers 17 and up.

About Chanel Cleeton:

ChanelCleeton

Originally a Florida girl, CHANEL CLEETON moved to London where she received a bachelor’s degree from Richmond, The American International University in London and a master’s degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Chanel fell in love with London and planned to stay there forever, until fate intervened on a Caribbean cruise, and an American fighter pilot with smooth dance moves swept her off her feet. Now, a happily ever after later, Chanel is living her next adventure in South Korea.

Law school made Chanel realize she’d rather spend her days writing sexy stories than in a courtroom, and she hasn’t looked back since. An avid reader and hopeless romantic, she’s happiest curled up with a book. She has a weakness for handbags, her three pups, and her fighter pilot husband. Chanel writes New Adult contemporary romances and thrillers.

She is the author of I SEE LONDON and LONDON FALLING, published by Harlequin HQN, and FLIRTING WITH SCANDAL, the first book in a new NA series to be released by Berkley in 2015.

Buy Links
Amazon Barnes & NoblesiTunes Harlequin

Author Links
Website Facebook Twitter Goodreads

Giveaway!

Win a London Falling coffee mug, Tea, (4) signed London Falling bookmarks, (4) signed I See London bookmarks, (4) pens, a London case, and a $25 Amazon GC. Enter the rafflecopter here!

Launch Party!

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Join us for a party celebrating London Falling’s release! A group of amazing authors will be stopping by to host the party and there will be giveaways, teasers, games, and much more! Join here!

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Blog Tour: Branded by Abi Ketner and Missy Kalicicki [Book Thoughts]

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Branded-Cover

Summary:

Fifty years ago the Commander came into power and murdered all who opposed him. In his warped mind, the seven deadly sins were the downfall of society. He created the Hole where sinners are branded according to their sins and might survive a few years. At best.

Now LUST wraps around my neck like blue fingers strangling me. I’ve been accused of a crime I didn’t commit and now the Hole is my new home.
Darkness. Death. Violence. Pain.

Now every day is a fight for survival. But I won’t die. I won’t let them win.

The Hole can’t keep me. The Hole can’t break me.

I am more than my brand. I’m a fighter.
My name is Lexi Hamilton, and this is my story.

My Thoughts:

It’s always hard writing a review about a book you love because all you want to do is praise it – Branded is a seductively thrilling read that takes the seven deadly sins to a whole new level.

I’m going to begin by telling you that I started and finished this book within forty-eight hours. Lexi’s story starts in media res, like many other novels do. Unlike many other novels though, I was immediately hooked. Even though I’m familiar with the seven deadly sins, I have never read a story completely based off of them. Because of that, I found the plot to be extremely exciting and very original.

Even so, the book does have its fair share of clichés. The protagonist Lexi is not the girl everyone thinks she is. Cole is your stoic warrior. Two people, who aren’t supposed to become friends, break the rules and become more than friends. To be truthful, their relationship was obvious to me the second Cole was introduced to the story. With all this said, I didn’t mind the clichés one bit. Why? Because everything came together to make Branded a wonderful read.

Although I love a lot of things about Branded, my favorite would have to be the relationship between Lexi and Cole. Ketner and Kalicicki are able to artfully construct a true developing relationship; they added enough confusion, unspoken words and sexual tension to make any reader want to punch a wall with all the emotion running through the pages. It is not only beautifully written, but also evenly developed throughout the story.

This book is filled with terror and bloodshed. Never once, did anything Lexi experienced get tiring. Even though bullets were fired or another person was after Lexi, it was written in enough detail in such a thrilling way that similar experiences kept me reading instead of sounded redundant.

Overall, Branded is fast paced read that had my heart racing from beginning to end. It is the best self-published book I’ve read and I know I’ll be looking out for the authors’ other works! Check this book out!

Cover Reveal: I See Lodon by Chanel Cleeton

Title: I See London by Chanel Cleeton

Release Date: February 3, 2013
Publisher: Harlequin HQN (Digital First)
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance

Summary:

Maggie Carpenter is ready for a change— and to leave her ordinary life in  South Carolina behind. But when she accepts a scholarship to the  International School in London, a university attended by the privileged  offspring of diplomats and world leaders, Maggie might get more than she bargained for.

When Maggie meets Hugh, a twentysomething  British guy, she finds herself living the life she always wanted.  Suddenly she’s riding around the city in a Ferrari, wearing borrowed  designer clothes and going to the hottest clubs. The only problem?  Another guy, the one she can’t seem to keep her hands off of.

Half French, half Lebanese, and ridiculously wealthy, Samir Khouri has made  it clear he doesn’t do relationships. He’s the opposite of everything  Maggie thought she wanted…and he’s everything she can’t resist. Torn  between her dream guy and the boy haunting her dreams, Maggie has to  fight for her own happy ending. In a city like London, you never know  where you stand, and everything can change in the blink of an eye.

This is a New Adult romance recommended for readers 17 and up.

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m pretty excited for this book! But for now, I am happy to be one of the bloggers that is revealing the cover today! HERE IT IS!

I SEE LONDON COVER

Author Note About the Cover:

I love, love, love this cover.  From the beginning I wanted an iconic  London image.  I wanted something romantic, sexy, and adventurous that  really captured the heart of the book.  We played around with a couple  ideas, wanting to convey both the sexy NA feel and the unique setting.   It was a tough cover- my hero is half Lebanese, so finding stock images was a challenge.  Harlequin was amazing to work with and I was so lucky to have tons of input.  I actually created my own cover and sent it  over to them and they did a beautiful job of taking my idea and  improving on it tenfold!  There’s this line in I SEE LONDON about London nights being full of adventure and possibilities.  That will always be  London for me and I think this cover represents that spirit perfectly.   What do you think?

Teaser from I See London:

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Excerpt:

I SEE LONDON – Excerpt 2:

The Houses of Parliament were one of the most awe-inspiring things I’d ever seen. They dominated the landscape, proud and strong. I crossed the street, standing in a grassy square opposite the buildings. I basked in the moment. This was the epicenter of history and politics. Greatness happened here. And somehow I was a part of it.

I hadn’t totally chosen the International School on a whim. When I received that horrid letter from Harvard, I panicked. I didn’t have a backup plan—not a good one, anyway. I had no desire to stay in the same town where I’d lived my whole life, feeling like I never quite fit in. I wanted a chance to do something different. If I couldn’t make one of my dreams happen, I wanted a chance at another one.

Ever since I was a kid I’d been fascinated by England. I couldn’t say for sure when the love affair started. Maybe it was all the pomp and majesty that came with the monarchy, so different from my quiet life in South Carolina. Or maybe it was the history or my romanticism, the love of books filled with dukes and earls. Whatever it was, London had been a dream, one I promised I would indulge when I graduated university and made something of myself.

Now, standing in front of Parliament, I felt the sense of accomplishment that had eluded me since my Harvard rejection. I was living my dream now.

About the Author, Chanel Cleeton:

Originally a Florida girl, at seventeen Chanel moved to London to attend an  international university.  In the four years that followed, she received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees, learned how to dance, travelled  through Europe, and made lifelong friendships.  Chanel fell in love with London and planned to stay there forever.  But fate intervened on a  Caribbean cruise, when an American fighter pilot with smooth dance  moves, swept her off her feet.

Now, a happily ever after later,  Chanel is living her next adventure in South Korea.  An avid reader and  hopeless romantic, she is happiest curled up with a book.  She has a  weakness for handbags, puppy cuddles, and her fighter pilot husband.   Chanel writes New Adult contemporary romances and Young Adult thrillers.  Her New Adult debut, I SEE LONDON, will be released by Harlequin (HQN) on February 3, 2014, followed by a sequel, LONDON FALLING, later in the year.

Book Links:

Barnes & Noble:  http://bit.ly/1khLGx1

Author Links:

Giveaway:

Chanel is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card. Enter the Rafflecopter here!

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