Saturday, August 9, 2014

Stacking the Shelves - August 9, 2014

Stacking the Shelves is an awesome meme hosted by Tynga's Review.

Bloggers share the books they've received, bought, borrowed - and I collect more and more books for my 'must acquire' list.

Today is my birthday!!!  So you'd expect a huge haul, right? Well, when I first started writing this post, I wasn't all that impressed with my haul. And then an unsupervised Chapters visit happened. 

**All blurbs and covers were nabbed from

First we'll start off a little gently with the freebies I picked up over the last two weeks:

Rapture's Slave by Becky Lee Weyrich

When the virile young Nero first spots the exquisite Acte, illegitimate daughter of Emperor Claudius and a royal household slave, he knows he must have her. But even as Acte finds her deepest desires awakened by the magnificent Nero, she fears his sadistic nature. 

Though she has been fated to serve as Nero’s carnal playmate when he becomes Emperor of Rome, Acte finds the true love she dreams of in Sergio, a handsome gladiator. But in a loveless world where lust and power rule side by side, her secret obsession with Sergio might cost Acte her heart—and both their lives.

I probably wouldn't have grabbed this if it wasn't a freebie (also, the cover on the Kindle version I nabbed was more like the book below, so not quite so dated!)

The Bride's Gift by Raine Cantrell

Nicholas Dowling's mail-order bride is not what he'd hoped for—she’s too young, too delicate, and far too superstitious for a pragmatic man like himself. But not even Brianna's untamable spirit can't cast a shadow over her luminous beauty, and before long the blaze of their attraction grows into something neither one of them was expecting. 

Another that I probably wouldn't have grabbed if it hadn't been advertised as free in an email that I received.

Only for You by E. L. Todd

When Scarlet realized Penelope was dumping Sean, her best friend, she was devastated. Penelope was the love of his life, the woman of his dreams. Scarlet knew how far her best friend was going to fall and she had to catch him. Scarlet became Sean’s rock and helped him through a very painful breakup, but her own hidden desires bubbled to the surface in the process. When they finally gave in and slept together, she thought it was the start of their new relationship. Unfortunately, Sean didn’t feel the same.

Humiliated and heartbroken, Scarlet moved across the country and found what she least expected. She rekindled her damaged relationship with her brother, who she hadn’t spoken to in a year, and her brother’s best friend was attractive and interesting. Their relationship was natural and unforced, and she was immediately drawn to him. Would she be able to get over Sean, forget about him, by sleeping with Cortland, or would that just be another repeated mistake?

I loved the friends to lovers trope in romances and this seems to take it and run with it more than once.... I admit to being intrigued.

I thought that these three would give me some light reading to do if I found a few moments without a review book in hand. And then I saw this on

The Cater Street Hangman by Anne Perry

The Ellison sisters were proper young Victorian ladies. In the foggy streets outside their peaceful home, five women were found horribly murdered. And Police Inspector Pitt found himself wondering if the Ellisons were in fact too good to be true.

The cover didn't really do it for me, but it's the start of a series of period mysteries that seem to have a romantic thread as well and it was on sale... I debated and debated and then put it in my cart and forgot about it until I accidentally bought it along with (the book I was intending to buy):

Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

Eleanor Fitt has a lot to worry about. Her brother has gone missing, her family as fallen on hard times, and her mother is determined to marry her off to any rich young man who walkers by. But this is nothing compared to what she's just read in the newspaper—

The Dead are rising in Philadelphia.

And then, in a frightening attack, a zombie delivers a letter to Eleanor... from her brother.

Whoever is controlling the Dead army has taken her brother as well. If Eleanor is going to find him, she'll have to venture into the lab of the notorious Spirit-Hunters, who protect the city from supernatural forces. But as Eleanor spends more time with the Spirit-Hunters, including the maddeningly stubborn yet handsome Daniel, the situation becomes dire. An now, not only is her reputation on the line, but her very life may hang in the balance.

This book has been all over the place for a while now, and while part of me was hooked by simple exposure to that gorgeous cover, I'm also a sucker for a zombie story. My resistance to buying it was already weakened when I decided I could pick it up as a birthday treat.

Then I visited my local Chapters bookstore with that thought of 'birthday treat' in mind and ended up with:

Matched by Ally Condie

Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate... until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

Not going to lie, I'm really kind of hoping this ends in a menage situation, though I suspect given the YA genre this is extremely unlikely. Normally I'd shy away from the love triangle because I think it's overdone at this point, but that cover? Come on!  I had to grab it.

Game by Barry Lyga

I Hunt Killers introduced the world to Jazz, the son of history’s most infamous serial killer, Billy Dent.

In an effort to prove murder didn’t run in the family, Jazz teamed with the police in the small town of Lobo’s Nod to solve a deadly case. And now, when a determined New York City detective comes knocking on Jazz’s door asking for help, he can’t say no. The Hat-Dog Killer has the Big Apple–and its police force–running scared. So Jazz and his girlfriend, Connie, hop on a plane to the big city and get swept up in a killer’s murderous game.

Yup, I was so hooked after the first one, this is actually one of the two books I went to Chapters for in the first place (the other being the second book in Gail Carriger's Finishing School series).

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king's council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she'll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom. 

Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she's bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her... but it's the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best. 

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead... quickly followed by another. 

Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

I had to get it after seeing it everywhere. But I admit that this is not my favourite cover from the series (nor, I think, the cover on the version I purchased). Regardless, I've really enjoyed fantasy-YA/NA mash-ups lately, so I have high hopes.

A Lady at Midnight by Tessa Dare

After years of fending for herself, Kate Taylor found friendship and acceptance in Spindle Cove—but she never stopped yearning for love. The very last place she'd look for it is in the arms of Corporal Thorne. The militia commander is as stone cold as he is brutally handsome. But when mysterious strangers come searching for Kate, Thorne steps forward as her fiancĂ©. He claims to have only Kate's safety in mind. So why is there smoldering passion in his kiss?

Long ago, Samuel Thorne devoted his life to guarding Kate's happiness. He wants what's best for her, and he knows it's not marriage to a man like him. To outlast their temporary engagement, he must keep his hands off her tempting body and lock her warm smiles out of his withered heart. It's the toughest battle of this hardened warrior's life . . . and the first he seems destined to lose.

I grabbed a pair of romances to have on hand as quick reads when I need a guaranteed HEA boost in my day. Tessa Dare is a go to author, and I liked the blurb.

The Ugly Duchess by Eloisa James

Theodora Saxby is the last woman anyone expects the gorgeous James Ryburn, heir to the Duchy of Ashbrook, to marry. But after a romantic proposal before the prince himself, even practical Theo finds herself convinced of her soon-to-be duke's passion.

Still, the tabloids give the marriage six months.

Theo would have given it a lifetime... until she discovers that James desired not her heart, and certainly not her countenance, but her dowry. Society was shocked by their wedding; it's scandalized by their separation.

Now James faces the battle of his lifetime, convincing Theo that he loved the duckling who blossomed into the swan.

And Theo will quickly find that for a man with the soul of a pirate, All's Fair in Love — or War.

I've been wanting to crack into Eloisa James' Fairy Tale series for a while, and this one, for some reason, jumped off the shelf for me. Now at this point, you're probably thinking - okay, that's plenty of books, particularly when you're mostly reading for reviews these days anyways. Ha! Ha, I say. You see, there's this book that I eye every time I'm at the Chapters but it is $18 to pick up a physical copy and I cannot justify that no matter how hilarious it might be. So after eyeing it with increased disgruntlement this week, because if I can't justify it leading up to my birthday, I may never pick it up... well, suffice to say, I have an e-copy of: 

Wallbanger by Alice Clayton

The first night after Caroline moves into her fantastic new San Francisco apartment, she realizes she's gaining an intimate knowledge of her new neighbor's nocturnal adventures. Thanks to paper-thin walls and the guy's athletic prowess, she can hear not just his bed banging against the wall but the ecstatic response of what seems (as loud night after loud night goes by) like an endless parade of women. And since Caroline is currently on a self-imposed dating hiatus, and her neighbor is clearly lethally attractive to women, she finds her fantasies keep her awake even longer than the noise. So when the wallbanging threatens to literally bounce her out of bed, Caroline, clad in sexual frustration and a pink baby-doll nightie, confronts Simon Parker, her heard-but-never-seen neighbor. The tension between them is as thick as the walls are thin, and the results just as mixed. Suddenly, Caroline is finding she may have discovered a whole new definition of neighborly...

In a delicious mix of silly and steamy, Alice Clayton dishes out a hot and hilarious tale of exasperation at first sight...

Truly hoping that it's as funny as promised. And then, because the flood gates were opened:

Beautiful Oblivion by Jamie McGuire

Fiercely independent Camille "Cami" Camlin gladly moved on from her childhood before it was over. She has held down a job since before she could drive, and moved into her own apartment after her freshman year of college. Now tending bar at The Red Door, Cami doesn’t have time for much else besides work and classes, until a trip to see her boyfriend is cancelled, leaving her with a first weekend off in almost a year.

Trenton Maddox was the king of Eastern State University, dating co-eds before he even graduated high school. His friends wanted to be him, and women wanted to tame him, but after a tragic accident turned his world upside down, Trenton leaves campus to come to grips with the crushing guilt. 

Eighteen months later, Trenton is living at home with his widower father, and works full-time at a local tattoo parlor to help with the bills. Just when he thinks his life is returning to normal, he notices Cami sitting alone at a table at The Red. 

As the baby sister of four rowdy brothers, Cami believes she’ll have no problem keeping her new friendship with Trenton Maddox strictly platonic. But when a Maddox boy falls in love, he loves forever—even if she is the only reason their already broken family could fall apart.

This one I grabbed from Costco, and I'm glad I did, because it's gorgeous and I have high hopes. It looks to me like it should be a historical romance, but it's not, obviously, so we'll see how it goes.

The Assassin's Blade by Sarah J. Maas

Celaena Sardothien is Adarlan's most feared assassin. As part of the Assassin's Guild, her allegiance is to her master, Arobynn Hamel, yet Celaena listens to no one and trusts only her fellow killer-for-hire, Sam. In these action-packed novellas - together in one edition for the first time - Celaena embarks on five daring missions. They take her from remote islands to hostile deserts, where she fights to liberate slaves and seeks to avenge the tyrannous. But she is acting against Arobynn's orders and could suffer an unimaginable punishment for such treachery. Will Celaena ever be truly free? Explore the dark underworld of this kick-ass heroine to find out.

So when I was debating whether or not to jump on the Maas series, I read a review that suggested these novellas should serve as a good prelude to the series itself. And I decided I wanted this background to Celaena's story before I launched into the thick of her story. So in a final moment of insanity, I grabbed an e-copy and then called it a week.

Hopefully, I'll resist the siren call of book acquisitions for the rest of the month because I have more than enough to last me for the next year. 

Any recommendations for what I should read first? See anything here that you've picked up recently yourself or read an intriguing review for?  Send me your spoiler-free opinions, and your review links in the comments below!


  1. Yes Something Strange and Deadly has been getting a lot of talk. I may have to check it out. Throne of Glass is one of my favorite books. I really hope you like it! My husband is reading The Assassins Blade right now, and cant seem to put it down. We eagerly waiting for the third book to come out this fall. Congrats on getting so many books this week!
    New bloglovin follower =)
    Here's my STS
    Happy reading!

    1. I love the cover of Something Strange - I know this is a huge trend right now and it's kind of grown stale (the girl in a beautiful dress), but I'm still a sucker for it... nearly every time. Thank you *so* much for the follow!

  2. I need to read Something Strange and Deadly. I loved Matched. Now, for Beautiful Oblivion, have you not read the other books by the author? They weren't too bad, so I'm looking forward to this one, as well as like you I love that cover!
    Check out my STS

    1. I haven't read the other McGuire books - I've seen them around but they didn't get me the same way the blurb and cover of this one did. I also happened to see it at Costco so it was a bit cheaper than normal and figured.. all right, now is the time to splurge!

  3. Looks like a really fun haul. Hope you enjoy them! I have to get round to reading Sarah J. Maas' work.

    My StS.

    1. Thanks for dropping by, love the name of your site!

  4. Great haul this week. I honestly recommend reading Throne of Glass before you read the novellas, that's my opinion but that's what a ton of people recommending to me and I have to agree with them. Yes, it's a good prelude but I am pretty sure she published them after for a reason. Matched is a book I really enjoyed, hate to dash all your hopes for a menage situation though, haha. I hope you enjoy all of your reads this week :) Here's my STS.

    1. Aww, disappointment! ;) I'm not surprised though - it didn't seem like the kind of book that would end with everyone saying "hey, let's all love each other!" Re: Throne of Glass - I've read that the novellas don't do a great job of introducing the world, but I have this thing about reading chronologically, so if I'm ever going to read them, I need to read them first! Hopefully it works out okay!

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. I love Eloisa James' Duchess series. Every one of them is full of shenanigans and all too familiar romance tropes but the characters are endearing.

    Maas' series has been on my TBR for quite some time and will have to buy a copy soon too so I'll know why everybody loves it.

    My haul

    1. re: Maas - right? The series seems to be *everywhere*! And also, the covers (not of the first book, mind) look pretty badass. They kind of remind me of Drizzt from the Forgotten Realms series, but a woman! yay!

  7. Nice books! The Cater Street Hangman seems really creepy with that cover. I really enjoyed the Matched trilogy although there are better trilogies out there! And I loved Throne of Glass. Haven't read the other two or the novellas though. Hope you like all your books! Happy reading, Chelsea!

    1. Thank you so much for dropping by!

  8. I really enjoyed Matched, though I couldn't get into the rest of the series. I still need to read I Hunt Killers, since it's my type of read, so can't believe I haven't already, haha. :)

    Here's mine

    Kirsty @ StudioReads

    1. Read I Hunt Killers! It was so good. Creepy, but good! Re: Matched, I find that happens a lot with these YA trilogies - awesome first books, and then it quickly peters out over the next few. I think sometimes it's that there's a great concept at work in the first book, but it's hard to milk that concept through more than one book.