Friday, October 31, 2014

Friday Flash Giveaway Plus Pretending Hearts Teaser


Pretending Hearts will be released in less than two weeks!!! Eep! I can't wait to share Delia's story with all of my readers. I'll be doing weekly giveaways to promote the release, so make sure you stop by the blog often to see what's happening.


Summary:

Delia Bridges is done living in the shadows cast by her ex-convict father and her football star brother. Attending Cook University will finally give her the chance to be her own person and hopefully find love at the same time. When she meets Wyatt Johnston, she knows immediately he’s the one.

Wyatt fulfills all of Delia’s requirements for the perfect man: he’s rich, handsome, and a talented forward for Cook’s soccer team. However, Wyatt turns out not to be the man she thought. When he dumps her and simultaneously ruins her reputation, she has to start over once again.

Levi Caldwell has every quality Delia doesn’t want in a boyfriend. He has no money, works for the maintenance staff at Cook, and has no problem sharing his judgmental opinions about how Delia is living her life. Despite her growing attraction for the tattooed drummer, Delia tries to avoid Levi. But when a new crisis threatens to destroy all she has rebuilt, she finds Levi is the only person she can trust.

***Standalone New Adult Romance-Ages 17+ Due to Strong Language and Sexual Situations***

Publication Date: November 11, 2014


Add to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22365006-pretending-hearts


Excerpt:

“I’ll make myself scarce after their set and you can invite Levi back to your apartment.”

My face was likely the shade of an eggplant. “I’m not going to sleep with him. Okay, maybe I’ve been a little hasty in my decision to push him away. But I can’t just suddenly pretend no outside forces are keeping us apart—”

Casey grabbed hold of my arm and squeezed. “As your friend, I am going to be perfectly honest with you. And tell you that you’re being a fucking idiot.”

I pointed to her beer. “How many of those have you had? Because I don’t think you driving home is a good idea.”

“This is my first one.” She put the beer down on the table. “Levi is in love with you and you can’t play catch and release with him over and over again. You’re not being fair to him or yourself.”

“He’s not in love with me.”

She slapped her forehead. “Like I said you’re a fucking idiot.” She shook her head at me and widened her blue eyes. “It’s not just a little crush. For chrissakes, he’s writing love songs in your honor. How much more obvious can he be? I don’t think he could do a much bigger gesture. He does have ink on his arms, maybe you can just wait for him to tattoo your name on himself.”

“You’re a huge pain in the ass, you know?”

“No, I’m the annoying voice of reason when it comes to love. Well, with the exception of my own love life.” Her stare was intense. “I know you have your issues with Blake and Autumn, but setting all other things aside, I think you understand how much they truly love one another. And what I’m witnessing between you and Levi is making me having flashbacks to when they first met.”

I didn’t continue arguing with her. I’d been fighting against the falling in love, but I’ve should have seen that love wasn’t what I should have been avoiding. I was afraid of heartache, but never having love in the first place was likely a worst fate.


Levi was a rarity. And smart girls didn’t run away from the Levis of the world. They ran straight into their arms.

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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Review: The Book of Ivy by Amy Engel

Summary:

After a brutal nuclear war, the United States was left decimated. A small group of survivors eventually banded together, but only after more conflict over which family would govern the new nation. The Westfalls lost. Fifty years later, peace and control are maintained by marrying the daughters of the losing side to the sons of the winning group in a yearly ritual.

This year, it is my turn.

My name is Ivy Westfall, and my mission is simple: to kill the president’s son—my soon-to-be husband—and restore the Westfall family to power.

But Bishop Lattimer is either a very skilled actor or he’s not the cruel, heartless boy my family warned me to expect. He might even be the one person in this world who truly understands me. But there is no escape from my fate. I am the only one who can restore the Westfall legacy.

Because Bishop must die. And I must be the one to kill him…

Publication Date: November 11, 2014


The Book of Ivy is a phenomenal YA series starter! I fell in love with the characters and the storyline held my interest. The ending is a cliffhanger and I can’t wait for the sequel’s release.

The novel has a dystopian setup: after a nuclear war, survivors form a society where arranged marriages are forced upon teens. Ivy is forced to marry the son of her family’s sworn enemy. Ivy has been trained by her family to kill her new husband as part of a plot to overthrow the ruling party. But Ivy finds herself falling for Bishop instead.

Ivy was a solid main character and I felt for her as she found herself pulled in two different directions. I loved her relationship with Bishop and I thought their slow-building romance was very sweet. Although there were suspenseful scenes in the novel, my favorite parts were the interactions between Bishop and Ivy as they settle into their awkward marriage.

The novel has thought-provoking themes about feminism and sacrifices for the greater good. I guessed the ending, but like Ivy, I couldn’t see any way out of the impossible situation she found herself in. The conclusion is a major cliffhanger and I am so eager to see how Ivy and Bishop’s story will continue.

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Thanks to the publisher for a copy of the novel for review!



Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Review: Nearly Broken by Devon Ashley

Goodreads Summary:

We’d both gone missing at one point, but Claire had one thing I didn’t. Someone to notice. So why was I the one still here and she the one still gone?

Nineteen year old Megan Smith has spent the past year working in a small town diner in the middle of nowhere. Life is quiet, simple, safe. Then comes the news that her look-a-like has gone missing.

Claire.

Still damaged both physically and mentally, Megan's not looking to be noticed. Wherever she goes from here, it's a road she needs to take alone. But when Nickolas Ellis takes the job as the new nightshift cook, it scares her how easily her defenses crumble down, down, down for him. But there are secrets she can't bear to share with just anyone, unspeakable acts that continue to haunt, and when the similarities of Claire’s abduction couples with the fear of an unwanted visitor in town, the urge to run before it all happens again inte

Publication Date: June 4, 2013


Wow! Talk about an unexpected plot twist! I completely thought the book was going down one path and then the author totally shocked me with the direction she went in. Nearly Broken turned dark—real dark. I was shocked by what ended up happening to the main character and couldn’t stop reading. I need the sequel now!

To start off my review, I would definitely say Nearly Broken is not for the faint of heart. I was seriously disturbed by some of the latter scenes and I may end up having nightmares for a few weeks until I recover. Based on the beginning scenes, I was expecting a cutesy love story and that definitely wasn’t what I got.

I never felt more for a character than Megan. The horrors she had gone through was imaginable and I responded to her strong sense of survival. I normally don’t cry in books, but I definitely found myself choking up during several intense scenes. I also loved the hero Nick. He was sweet and protective and I could see how much he cared for Megan.

If you’re looking for not your typical romance novel, then I highly recommend Nearly Broken. I was in a bit of a book rut and the story snapped me out of it. Can’t wait to read more from the author!
  
Rating: 5/5 Stars


Thanks to the publisher for a copy of the novel for review!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Guest Review: Torn Away by Jennifer Brown

Goodreads Summary:

Jersey Cameron has always loved a good storm. Watching the clouds roll in and the wind pick up. Smelling the electricity in the air. Dancing barefoot in the rain. She lives in the Midwest, after all, where the weather is sure to keep you guessing. Jersey knows what to do when the tornado sirens sound. But she never could have prepared for this.

When her town is devastated by a tornado, Jersey loses everything. As she struggles to overcome her grief, she's sent to live with relatives she hardly knows-family who might as well be strangers. In an unfamiliar place, can Jersey discover that even on the darkest of days, there are some things no tornado can destroy?

In this powerful and poignant novel, acclaimed author Jennifer Brown delivers a story of love, loss, hope, and survival.

Publication Date: May 6, 2014


Jessica's Review:

This book took me longer to finish because I had to stop reading I was crying so much. :) I loved this story. It was so realistic and easy to put myself in Jersey's place. The beginning of the story was far and away the best I've read in some time and though the ending happened sooner than I was expecting, I would have liked to see a little more of the relationship between Jersey and her grandparents, I don't feel like I'm missing anything. Worth a read!!!!

5/5 Stars

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Stacking the Shelves #108

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews and features books you've added to your shelves, both physical and virtual.

Purchased/Free:
Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover

The Frivolity Fairies by Jo Michaels

For Review:
Luck on the Line by Zoraida Cordova

Out of Control by Sarah Alderson

Dancing with Molly by Lena Horowitz

One Wish Away by Kelley Lynn

Friday, October 24, 2014

Book Spotlight: That's a Promise by Victoria Klahr

About the Book

Pain isn’t new to me.
I’ve been to hell only to find it never really leaves when you get back. It haunts me through nightmares, unrequited love, lies, broken hearts, and now death.
A monster almost took my life.
My best friend carries half my soul a world away.
My boyfriend broke my heart but refuses to let me go.
And my father is dead.
I don’t believe in fate and I don’t believe in happily-ever-afters, but for some reason, I still hope.
Live, even with a tainted spirit.
Long for my other half to come back to me.
Risk another broken heart, just to feel loved again.
And refuse to let another horror break me.
In the face of my most recent tragedy, I have to decide whether forgiveness is something I can give. But even if that’s an option, can I be forgiven?



About the Author

Victoria Klahr (pronounced “Claire”) lives in Elizabeth City, North Carolina with her husband and daughter, Stephen and Alexis. She loves her chug (Pug/Chihuahua), Bandit, and daughter to pieces. She is a huge and proud book nerd who looks at her bookshelf in admiration daily. When she’s not daydreaming about book boyfriends and fantasizing about being a badass heroine like Rose Hathaway, she’s busy doing schoolwork for her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and writing the stories that speak to her in her head. She loves peanut butter with Oreos, good friends, amazing gossip, driving in the middle of merge lanes, comedies, crude humor, pretending like she can dance, pretending like she can kick major ass, and a really, really good laugh.


Social Media Links:

Excerpt:

I’M IN A SEA of black. The beautiful May day gives no impression that there is any sadness or grief in the air. It’s one of those days that you want to spend outside, smelling the new blooming flowers, getting some sun, and walking in the grass barefoot, but none of those things hold any interest for me.
Everything is a blur around me, a haze that mirrors my own depression. I know people are talking to me, but I don’t hear them. They express sadness in their words, but most of them never sympathized with us before today. They talk as if they know us, but where were they before? They live their lives talking shit behind people’s backs, but don’t see the hypocrisy in their fake condolences.
I’ve learned to ignore the whispers and stares, a lesson received repeatedly as I grew up in what some would call an “unconventional” household. Apparently punching everyone who bullies you isn’t the socially acceptable way to handle things, so I try to just ignore them. I don’t want or need to let any of their negativity in, so I remain quiet. There’s been enough sadness in our lives, and there’s no need for nasty words from nosey neighbors to pile onto that pain.
A person in a black suit finishes shoveling dirt into the cold, deep grave. I focus on the earth closing around the person I loved so immensely and to whom I felt so close. The ground consumes the casket and takes my loved one away into a lonely pit; permanently putting an end to the best person I will ever know.
I look at my dad sitting next to me. He is distraught, but well medicated for the occasion, only showing emotion when he remembers he just lost the love of his life. He seems to have aged ten years in the past week. He was once the strongest and most commanding person I knew, but today, he looks like a child. He doesn’t speak, doesn’t do anything except for the essentials. He exists, but he’s not living. He looks up at me and I feel like maybe he wants to reach out and say something to comfort me, but I know his internal pain limits him from showing affection. I put my hand on his shoulder to show I’m here, hoping he understands what I mean.
People are finally leaving. Leaving us behind to grieve together in peace. That’s a lie. There is no peace for us, and there won’t be for a long time. With the preparations for the funeral complete, I have all the time in the world to sit and think about the gravity of what I just lost. That’s not peace. That’s torture.
“Dad,” I say, “I think that maybe we should head back to the house.” He sits there, giving no indication that he heard me suggest our departure.
“Dad,” I try again, after a minute. “Let’s say goodbye, and go home.” I can’t stand to be here any longer.
He stands slowly and walks over to the heap of dirt covering a life that was once vibrant and lively. He collapses onto the mound, and at first I’m startled by the sudden fall. Once I hear the heart wrenching sobs that escape his mouth, I understand he is saying his goodbye. I hear him murmuring about his undying love, and decide to give him some privacy.
I look toward the entrance of the cemetery, shaking myself out of the haze that I was in. I don’t even recall walking this far to get to the grave site, but I don’t want to remember, so I don’t try to conjure up the memory.
A figure leans against one of the nearby trees and I start to sweep my eyes past until recognition hits me in the chest heavily. I don’t think he wanted to be seen, but he was caught and he knows it. My throat starts to constrict and pain obstructs my chest.
He hasn’t changed much since the last time I saw him, except that he has no smile on his face today. He’s still breathtakingly handsome… but he’s also still the asshole I left behind at the cafĂ© a year ago.
Why is he here? How dare he show his face here on a day like today?
I’m in such a state of shock that I lose concept of space and time. I stare at him for a good two minutes before I jerk back to reality.
He gives me a small wave and a slight lift of his beautiful lips. It is a sad and withdrawn smile, enough for me to know he understands exactly what happened.
I glare back at him, not in any mood to be civil, and start stomping my way toward him, intent on giving him a piece of my mind. He has no right to be here.
As I draw closer to him, he pulls himself from the tree and approaches. We meet up and stand so close I almost forget the reason why I came up to him. In my mind’s stuttering state, he speaks first.
 “Hi Josie.” His deep, dominant voice washes over me, and I’m angry that it thrills me to hear his voice again. I swallow down the warmth, and try to keep my guard intact.
“What the hell are you doing here?” I hiss. “I’m pretty sure I made it clear I never wanted to see you again. How dare you show your face here?”
“Jo… I just wanted to come and say how sorry I am about your loss. I heard about Will, and I needed to come see how you were doing,” he responds, sadness clear from the roughness of his voice.
Hearing him use my nickname with his gentle tone makes me weak. I wrap my arms around my body to try and keep my anger from being impacted by his kindness.
“I don’t want you here,” I whisper, looking anywhere but at him. I don’t want him to see me break down ever again, but between my loss and seeing him, I don’t know if I will be able to hold back. In that one sentence, filled with the longing and sadness that I didn’t want to show, I made it clear to him that I’m still hurting over what happened.
“I understand. I needed to make sure you’re okay. I know how hard this is for you.” He slowly starts to reach out his hand, and while my cheek tingles at the thought of him touching even an inch of my skin, I think he knows that it’s unwelcome. As I turn the slightest fraction away, he lets his hand fall back to his side, a look of regret crossing his face.
“I can’t do this. Dad needs me right now. I have to take him back to the house,” I say, wanting to get rid of him and the memories he is bringing back.
“Let me stay with you for the day. We can catch up and I can help you with things. Today is tough as it is, let me help,” he says, confidence and determination starting to come back into his personality. This is the man I knew.
I hear footsteps behind me as my dad walks up to us. He stands there, lost in a world I don’t want to enter. He said his goodbye and now he’s retreated back into his shell. I look up at my unexpected visitor and get ready to tell him goodbye for the last time.
“Mr. Sommers, I am so sorry for your loss,” he says softly to my dad. “Josie and I were talking about heading back to the house to catch up and throw away some of the food your neighbors sent over.” He gives me a sly smile and then returns his attention to my dad. “Would one extra person be okay?”
My dad grunts and gives a barely noticeable nod, and we both know him well enough to know that he has accepted the offer. I shake my head at his response.
“Dad, go ahead to the car. I’ll be there in a couple minutes,” I say, hoping to convince Blake Porter to leave. When Dad is almost at the car, I whip myself around to scowl at the same stubborn Blake I used to know. He has a small cocky smirk playing on his lips, and I don’t like how distractingly handsome he still is.
“You need to leave and never come back around here or me again. I can barely even look at you without wanting to punch you in your stupid face!”
The last part is only partially true; a part of me wants to hit him again, and the other part wants to kiss him. His smile grows a little after he hears me say that, because he knows me well enough to figure out that I really do want to hit him.
“I get that you never wanted to see me again after the last time, Josie. Just let me be here for you today. Let me be your friend this one time. I can help. You know I can help,” he says sincerely. I know he can help, but that scares me.
I take a deep breath and try to sort out my thoughts. He is the last person I need to be talking to, and the second person I’ve wanted to talk to since this happened. I know exactly who is standing before me, and I know without a doubt that if I let him back in, I will be hurt and betrayed all over again.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Review: Remember by Eileen Cook


Goodreads Summary:

A thrilling tale about what a girl will do to get back a memory she lost…or remove what she wants to forget.

Harper is used to her family being hounded by protesters. Her father runs the company that trademarked the "Memtex" procedure to wipe away sad memories, and plenty of people think it shouldn't be legal. Then a new demonstrator crosses her path, Neil, who’s as persistent as he is hot. Not that Harper’s noticing, since she already has a boyfriend.

When Harper suffers a loss, she’s shocked her father won’t allow her to get the treatment, so she finds a way to get it without his approval. Soon afterward, she’s plagued with strange symptoms, including hallucinations of a woman who is somehow both a stranger, yet incredibly familiar. Harper begins to wonder if she is delusional, or if these are somehow memories.

Together with Neil, who insists he has his own reasons for needing answers about the real dangers of Memtex, Harper begins her search for the truth. What she finds could uproot all she’s ever believed about her life…

Publication Date: February 24, 2014


This is a clean teen read about a girl trying to unravel the mysteries of her past. Remember adds a slightly sci-fi element with Harper’s father having developed a medical procedure that erases sad memories. I liked Remember and I thought Harper was a strong protagonist that I could root for.

Remember took a while to take off for me. The beginning was slow and I found myself a little bored with Harper and her drama with her boyfriend and best friend. Once Harper undergoes the memory erasing procedure, the book picked up as she starts to have flashes from a life she doesn’t remember.

There was a love triangle, but I didn’t hate it in Remember. I liked the introduction of Neil and I thought the relationship between him and Harper was sweet. The two had great chemistry even though they met while he was protesting her dad’s company and the Memtex procedure.

I was surprised by the outcome, so I thought the author wrote a wonderful conclusion. I don’t think Remember will be a novel that stays with me, but I do think younger teens looking for a clean and solid mystery will enjoy the book.

Rating: 3/5 Stars

Thanks to the publisher for a copy of the novel for review!

Review: Burying Water by K.A. Tucker

Goodreads Summary:

The top-selling, beloved indie author of Ten Tiny Breaths returns with a new romance about a young woman who loses her memory—and the man who knows that the only way to protect her is to stay away.

Left for dead in the fields of rural Oregon, a young woman defies all odds and survives—but she awakens with no idea who she is, or what happened to her. Refusing to answer to “Jane Doe” for another day, the woman renames herself “Water” for the tiny, hidden marking on her body—the only clue to her past. Taken in by old Ginny Fitzgerald, a crotchety but kind lady living on a nearby horse farm, Water slowly begins building a new life. But as she attempts to piece together the fleeting slivers of her memory, more questions emerge: Who is the next-door neighbor, quietly toiling under the hood of his Barracuda? Why won’t Ginny let him step foot on her property? And why does Water feel she recognizes him?

Twenty-four-year-old Jesse Welles doesn’t know how long it will be before Water gets her memory back. For her sake, Jesse hopes the answer is never. He knows that she’ll stay so much safer—and happier—that way. And that’s why, as hard as it is, he needs to keep his distance. Because getting too close could flood her with realities better left buried.

The trouble is, water always seems to find its way to the surface.

Publication Date: October 7, 2014


I liked Burying Water. I enjoy books that deal with memory loss and a main character trying to discover the mysteries of her past. I think I preferred the chapters told from Jane Doe/Water’s point of view over Jesse’s, but I liked how the author weaved the dual narrative together.

Burying Water starts out with a brutal attack and it made me really feel for Jane Doe/Water. I liked that Water was a fighter and didn’t wallow in pity despite being left for dead and waking up with no memory of her past. She tries to make the best out of her situation and begin a new life. In Jesse’s chapters, we find out his connection to Water and how she ended up in her broken state.

The pace at the start and end was good, but I felt like the middle dragged a bit. I think the reveal came too early and took away from the suspense. However, I was still curious whether Water would remember her past and if she could escape it.

K.A. Tucker is a wonderful writer and I did feel the characters’ emotions jump off the pages. The plot of this book wasn’t my favorite, but I’d still check out the follow-up featuring other characters introduced in the novel.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Thanks to the publisher for a copy of the novel for review!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Guest Review: The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain

Goodreads Summary:

In The Silent Sister, Riley MacPherson has spent her entire life believing that her older sister Lisa committed suicide as a teenager. Now, over twenty years later, her father has passed away and she's in New Bern, North Carolina cleaning out his house when she finds evidence to the contrary. Lisa is alive. Alive and living under a new identity. But why exactly was she on the run all those years ago, and what secrets are being kept now? As Riley works to uncover the truth, her discoveries will put into question everything she thought she knew about her family. Riley must decide what the past means for her present, and what she will do with her newfound reality, in this engrossing mystery from international bestselling author Diane Chamberlain.

Publication Date: October 7, 2014


Jessica's Review:

It takes a little bit to get going, but this story really hooked me and I couldn't wait to see how it all turned out. I loved the flashback chapters from Jade's point of view and while the ending wasn't what I was hoping, it still was an amazing book and one worth reading.

4.5/5 Stars

Thanks to the publisher for a copy of the novel for review!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Review: Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

Goodreads Summary:

Everyone knows Bone Gap is full of gaps—gaps to trip you up, gaps to slide through so you can disappear forever. So when young, beautiful Roza went missing, the people of Bone Gap weren’t surprised. After all, it wasn’t the first time that someone had slipped away and left Finn and Sean O’Sullivan on their own. Just a few years before, their mother had high-tailed it to Oregon for a brand new guy, a brand new life. That’s just how things go, the people said. Who are you going to blame?

Finn knows that’s not what happened with Roza. He knows she was kidnapped, ripped from the cornfields by a dangerous man whose face he cannot remember. But the searches turned up nothing, and no one believes him anymore. Not even Sean, who has more reason to find Roza than anyone, and every reason to blame Finn for letting her go.

As we follow the stories of Finn, Roza, and the people of Bone Gap—their melancholy pasts, their terrifying presents, their uncertain futures—acclaimed author Laura Ruby weaves a heartbreaking tale of love and loss, magic and mystery, regret and forgiveness—a story about how the face the world sees is never the sum of who we are.

Publication Date: March 15, 2015


Bone Gap is likely to be a novel that divides readers. I expect a reader to either love or hate the novel. I can safely say I haven’t read a novel like Bone Gap before. Half of the time, I felt like I was reading a contemporary while during the other half, I felt like I was reading a YA fantasy.

Bone Gap is a character driven book and I did enjoy the unforgettable citizens of the small town. Finn was a wonderful narrator and I loved how the author was able to beautifully express how Finn sees the world differently than most people. His romance with beekeeper Petey was sweet and earnest and I hoped that despite their issues, they would end up together.

The secondary characters were wonderful as well. I liked that the story was told in multiple points of view and how each point of view added something different to the story. I never grew bored while reading, so I thought the pacing was well done.

The plot was confusing and a lot of times I had to put the book down and try to wrap my brain around what I exactly just read. I finished the book last week and I’m still not clear over what the heck happened during the climax. I almost wish the novel had either been written as a contemporary mystery or a YA fantasy, not containing elements of both.

Overall, my love of Finn and Petey kept me reading. I was invested in their relationship more so than the resolution of Roza’s disappearance. The novel did end on a positive note and I appreciated the author not leaving the conclusion open-ended.

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Thanks to the publisher for a copy of the novel for review!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Stacking the Shelves #107

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews and features books you've added to your shelves, both physical and virtual.

Purchased:
Finding Eden by Mia Sheridan

For Review:
Forgive Me by Eliza Freed

Vanished by Elizabeth Heiter

A Grimm Legacy by Janna Jennings

Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Review: Becoming Calder by Mia Sheridan

Goodreads Summary:

There is a place in modern day America with no electricity, no plumbing, and no modern conveniences. In this place, there is no room for dreams, no space for self-expression, and no tolerance for ambition.

In this place, there is a boy with the body of a god and the heart of a warrior. He is strong and faithful and serves his family honorably. But he dares to dream of more.

In this place, there is a girl with the face of an angel and a heart full of courage. To her family, she is the vision of obedient perfection. But she dares to want that which she has been told can never be hers.

Becoming Calder is the story of good versus evil, fear versus bravery, and the truth that the light of love has always found its way into even the darkest of places . . . From the beginning of time, to the end of the world.

Publication Date: October 5, 2014


I have to say I had no idea what I would be reading based off of the blurb for Becoming Calder. The cover has a post-apocalyptic feel so I thought that would be the direction of the novel. However, I didn’t expect to read about a cult and a young couple’s desperate attempts at freeing themselves from the evil leader of the cult.

I loved Calder from the very beginning of the book. He is strong, kind and I loved how protective he was of the people he loved. I liked that his relationship with Eden started with a friendship and grew over time despite the impossibility of the two of them being together. Eden is the intended wife of the cult’s prophet and even spending time with Calder is a crime. I liked Eden, but she was a little too perfect. I wouldn’t mind if she had a flaw (even a small one) to make her more relatable.

Eden and Calder’s love story was beautiful and touching. I love the author’s writing style and she didn’t disappoint in Becoming Calder. I could feel the emotion jump off of the pages when Eden and Calder had a few stolen moments together at their secret spot next to the river.

The central theme of the novel is good versus evil and the villains in the book do some disgusting things to Eden and Calder. Some of the scenes aren’t for the faint of heart. And the ending!!! I’m glad the author decided to release the sequel simultaneously because I don’t think I could wait months after the major cliffhanger ending. Becoming Calder is another must read from a super talented author.

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Guest Review: The Edge of You by Theresa DaLayne

Goodreads Summary:

Maya knows she’s doing the right thing by moving to Alaska with her parents, but that doesn’t mean she has to be happy about it. Forced to give up a scholarship to a prestigious art school, she relocates to a Podunk town with one college the size of her high school cafeteria, all to help hold her family together after the death of her little sister. But a fresh start can only do so much.

Jake doesn’t like handouts and he certainly doesn’t need any distractions. Working on a salmon boat in Kodiak, Alaska is the only way to pay for his mother’s surgery back in the lower forty-eight. Juggling college courses and constant worry about his mother’s health, Jake couldn’t imagine anything else fitting into his life. That is, until he meets Maya, the sexy Californian artist who tints his world in technicolor.

But when Maya’s family starts to crumble and Jake’s mom takes a turn for the worse, will they drag each other down, or can they find what they were missing all along?

In this new adult romance, Theresa DaLayne paints a swoon-worthy story about life under the midnight sun, following your heart, and learning to live on the edge.


Publication Date: September 24, 2014

Jessica's Review:

2.5 stars. I had a hard time with this story. It was a fairly quick read and it was written well, but there was just something about it that bugged me. The whole situation with his mom's abusive boyfriend was unnecessary considering all her health issues and I felt the situation with her parents was too choppy and unresolved. The best friend Beth was awesome, but that was sort of the most redeeming part of the book.

Thanks to the publisher for a copy of the novel for review!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Review: Take a Load Off, Mona Jamborski by Joanna Franklin Bell

Summary:

From an award-winning author comes a novel about a 528-pound recluse. Meet Mona Jamborski, who hasn’t left her home in years and is slowly eating herself to death, with one foot in her past memories and another foot in her grave. Mona sees no future for herself until one day, someone knocks on her door and unwittingly leads her into a life-changing decision. Take a Load Off, Mona Jamborski is a book filled with the wonders and heartbreaks of human relationships.

Publication Date: August 26, 2014

When I read the blurb for Take a Load Off, Mona Jamborski, I was leery. I read mostly romance novels and when I step out of my comfort zone, I tend to be let down. Luckily, that wasn’t the case here. The novel was beautifully written and thought provoking!

On the outside, Mona doesn’t sound like a character I would have much in common with. She’s trapped not only inside of her own head, but inside her apartment as well. Her scale has toppled over the 500-pound mark and her shame about her weight has led her to avoid interacting with people.

The author did a superb job on Mona’s characterization. Mona is complex and her overeating has nothing to do with food. She is emotionally damaged and doesn’t know how to move past her own fears. The author draws on Mona’s past and present experiences to draw a complete picture of how Mona came to this turning point in her life.

Although there is a lot of emotional depth to the story, I found a lot of humor as well. Between getting choked up over Mona’s solitary confinement, I also found myself laughing at her observations of human behavior.

The book is short, but I felt the length was perfect for Mona’s story. A fabulous must read!

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Stacking the Shelves #106

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews and features books you've added to your shelves, both physical and virtual.

Purchased:
The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey

Take a Load Off, Mona Jamborski by Joanna Franklin Bell

For Review:
A Cold Legacy by Megan Shepherd

Earth & Sky by Megan Crewe

First Contact by Kat Green

The Book of Ivy by Amy Engel

Friday, October 10, 2014

Book Blast and Giveaway: Unstrung by Kendra C. Highley



Unstrung

UNSTRUNG by Kendra C. Highley



Lexa Pate, seventeen-year-old thief extraordinaire, has burned a bridge or two in her life. You don’t make a career out of stealing other people’s property without making enemies.

When a risky job goes from bad to worse, Lexa and her adopted family find themselves on Precipice Corporation’s hit list because they’ve accidentally stolen the wrong thing—plans for a new model of genetically engineered super humans. Now, every bounty hunter, cop on the take, and snitch in the city is after them.

Lexa’s world crumbles around her as she fights to keep her family safe even as someone strolls out of her forgotten past. Quinn claims to know who Lexa really is, but can she trust a stranger she met while robbing his boss?

More importantly, does she really want to know what Quinn has to tell her?

Based on the fairy tale Pinocchio, UNSTRUNG takes you into a near future world where the lines between fake and real are blurred, all that’s pristine isn’t always innocent, and being a criminal isn’t always wrong.





Author Kendra C. Highley
Kendra C. Highley lives in north Texas with her husband and two children. She also serves as staff to two self-important and high-powered cats. This, according to the cats, is her most important job. She believes chocolate is a basic human right, running a 10k is harder than it sounds, and that everyone should learn to drive a stick-shift. She loves monsters, vacations, baking and listening to bad electronica.






BookBlast Giveaway

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 11/2/14

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Thursday, October 9, 2014

Review: Reckless by Priscilla West

Summary:

Everything about him warned me to stay away.

I’d seen bad boys before, but he had it all and more. The rippling muscles covered in tatts, the piercing eyes hiding dark secrets, the silky voice that could make a girl come with just a whisper . . .

He was exactly the type of guy that would get me in trouble, but when he jumped off the stage, inked skin glistening with sweat and breathed his seductive words into my ear, I couldn’t resist the temptation.

It was supposed to be the best one-night stand of my life, but fate didn’t let it play out that way. Things happened. I got upset. I got hasty. And worst of all, I got reckless.

After that disaster, I thought it was the last I’d see of him. But what I didn’t know was that I’d started something.

Something that could shatter the very thing I had worked so hard to protect.

I should have known back then that the most seductive things in life are also the most dangerous.

Publication Date: August 4, 2014


Sometimes I’m in the mood for candy. Reckless is pure candy and I loved my time with Jax and Riley. I can’t wait to check out the sequel!

To be honest, I was ready for a big cheese fest based on the first chapter. I kind of hated Jax and thought he was going to be a huge a-hole. But he grew on me, especially in the later scenes with Riley. And Riley was an awesome heroine. She’s funny and feisty and I loved that the story was from her point of view.

I love a good opposites attract romance like Reckless. I thought the story was going to be on the predictable side and I was glad to find that wasn’t the case. I definitely didn’t see the ending coming!

This is definitely a great book for fans of rock star romances. Jax and Riley had plenty of heat and the sex scenes between the two were scorching.

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Thanks to the publisher for a copy of the novel for review!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Guest Review: Truth or Dare by Mira Lyn Kelly


After her one attempt at commitment ends with the discovery that her fiancĂ© already has a wife and kid, Maggie Lawson vows that the only people she’ll love ’til death do they part will be her friends. Unfortunately that means Maggie letting her bestie rope her into a year-long dating dare: score a new date each month or pay a penalty. Seems doable—until Maggie’s date stands her up, leaving only one option: the sexy stud who just moved in upstairs. The problem? He and Maggie can’t stop fighting—and that’s just the beginning.

His name is Tyler Daniels and the last thing he needs is his neighbor distracting him with her girl-next-door smile and sharp tongue. Tyler’s in Chicago for one reason: to woo back his selfish ex in order to reclaim the child he once thought was his—and that means keeping Maggie out of his bed. A tall order, since Maggie has become a bigger temptation than he ever expected to face. But before they can even consider leaving the past behind, Maggie and Tyler must accept a brand-new dare: real, forever love.

Publication Date: September 16, 2014

Jessica's Review:

2.5-3 stars. I don't like giving up on a book and that's part of why this one took me so long to complete; I was determined to finish it even though I thought it was super boring. The writing is good and all the key elements that make a story are there, but it just fell flat for me. I didn't connect with the characters and Tyler playing a little whipped boy to Gina was pathetic to read. Definitely not one I'd read again.

Thanks to the publisher for a copy of the novel for review!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Blog Tour Stop and Guest Post: The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing by C.K. Kelly Martin



Book & Author details:

The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing by C.K. Kelly Martin 
Publication date: September 1st 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

Synopsis:
Losing weight over the summer gains Serena some popularity, but it also means discovering first-hand the pains of being a fifteen-year-old girl in a world that both sexualizes and shames young women. After narrowly avoiding exploitation in a shortlived relationship, Serena aligns with a new friend who was the victim of an explicit image that was shared at school. When Serena finds herself in a relationship with a new guy, she is surprised to find a different set of expectations. But have her previous experiences damaged her too much to make it work? As Serena struggles to find who she is as opposed to who she is expected to be, she begins sighting Devin – her older brother who disappeared months earlier.



Purchase:



AUTHOR BIO
C.K. KELLY MARTIN’s bestselling debut novel, I Know It’s Over, was published in 2008. It was followed by One Lonely Degree, The Lighter Side of Life and Death, My Beating Teenage Heart and the sci-fi thriller, Yesterday. A graduate of the Film Studies program at York University, Martin loves good books, movies, music, web design, and Ireland. She currently resides in Oakville, Ontario.


Author Links:

The Importance of Book Covers

Apparently that old adage about not judging a book by its cover goes back to at least 1867 and while I’m sure most of us would agree with it, and realize a compelling novel can sometimes be found lurking under the drabbest of covers, it’s difficult not to be momentarily awed by an attractive cover. 

Obviously every writer wants a cover they can fall in love with. The trouble is that what an author might love, might not be the same cover the publisher’s sales and marketing departments or Barnes & Nobel rep prefers. The truth is, an author doesn’t always have a lot of choice in what appears on their book’s cover. Sometimes their publisher doesn’t even have much of a choice. For several of my young adult novels, I was told by my publisher that Barnes & Noble wanted a girl on the cover as a condition of their stocking the book. 

Now, of course there’s nothing wrong with having a girl on the cover of your book and Barnes & Noble must have found these sorts of covers sell copies. But having any single image as a default for a YA book doesn’t make sense to me when there are so many different arresting images and designs to consider. In practice, what this girl on the cover (and usually not a large variety of girls – mostly pretty white girls in attractive poses, which makes you wonder where the heck everyone else is!) preference has led to is a flood of novels that are fairly indistinguishable from each other visually. We could aptly call them ‘the pretty girl covers.’ 

But a good cover isn’t just appealing to look at; it should also faithfully represent the distinctness of the story inside. For example, for a novel which is a nuanced exploration of a teenage meth addict’s emotional state, Beneath a Meth Moon (by Jaqueline Woodson) is a stunning cover. On the other hand, the hardback cover of Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver (the middle book in a series I absolutely loved by the way!) is pretty, but bland. It doesn’t reveal anything about the fascinating dystopian story within its pages. If I hadn’t already known something about the book, the cover certainly wouldn’t have made me pull the book off the shelf. 

It’s a tall order, isn’t it? That a book cover should ideally look intriguing, appealing AND be a genuine reflection of the novel it represents. But as an author that’s what I’m always hoping for. The last thing a book cover should do is misrepresent itself and look like a frothy romance when it’s really a hard-hitting book about mental illness, for example. 

It doesn’t escape me that the cover for my new young adult book, The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing, features one of the things I’m complaining about here—a girl on the cover—but I’m definitely not saying there shouldn’t be any girls on book covers; I’m arguing against being generic, like many of the covers in this photo I snapped of a collection of books on a Coles table back in 2011. 

This is a trend that’s had a fair amount of criticism over the last few years and as a result I hope it’s one that has finally begun to fade and give way to more distinct covers. Taste is incredibly subjective and opinions about individual covers will always vary 


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